A Roll Of The Dice
Andrew Dice Clay
Los Angeles, CA
April 13, 1989
I know Dice is not a rock and roll star, but at the time, he was just as big and as legendary as any of them. Dice had the number one comedy album in the nation and it was continuing to blow up – he was the hottest ticket in town. Just about every big name in the rock community came out for this show – Glenn Danzig, Guns N Roses (yup – Axl, Slash, Duff, Steven), Lemmy Kilmeister, Rick Rubin, David Lee Roth, Tom Petty, etc. It was THE show of all shows and I knew I had to be there, and for some reason, I had to shoot it.
At this point in my career, I was starting to legally photograph rock acts, but I still had not figured out how to secure a photo pass. I knew that the Wiltern Theatre was notorious for brutal security pat downs as you enter the venue, so there was no way I was going to be able to smuggle my camera in. I needed to devise a new plan.
A friend of mine at UCLA wrote a column for the campus paper, The Daily Bruin. He happened to get his hands on an unused Campus Police Press Pass. I had no idea if this thing carried any clout, but I had no other options. I typed my information onto the card and popped a few mug shots of myself in one of those old Polaroid photo booths. I stuck the photo in there and slapped on some lamination. It looked pretty official, official enough to get into a school debate, not a Dice show. But I was going to try anyway.
When I arrived at the venue, I walked immediately up to the Will Call window, acting like I had done it a million times. I flashed my Campus Police Press Pass and told the girl that I was here to photograph the show for The Daily Bruin. They searched and searched through a long list and told me that my name could not be found. I told them to check under the “A’s” , explaining that my name has been misspelled many times on lists like these – totally bluffing, them. They searched again and came up with nothing. So then I said, “Well, this is just great, what am I supposed to do with all this photo equipment? I know this is not your fault, but I think I need to talk to your supervisor.”
Just then a well-dressed man jumped in front of the glass window and took over asking what the problem was. As the girl began to explain the situation to him I started to get nervous. This guy was a seasoned pro, he has heard every story in the book…. you could just tell by looking at him, and he was not amused with my story. I heard him mumble to the girl, “I get it, don’t worry, I’ll take care of this.” I knew my plan was about to blow up in my face.
The man looks at me and says, “Here’s the deal – I am Dice’s publicist. Every press pass for this event goes through me, and I’ll tell you right now that I did not approve ANY photos for this show. And I can also tell you that your name has never come across my desk. Can I see this press pass she is talking about?” I nervously pulled out my hand made UCLA Campus Police Pass and showed it to him. He looks at the pass and his eyes just about popped out of his head. “Stay right there, I’m coming around. Don’t you move.” I began to really panic – should I run? This is bad. He is probably grabbing security and coming straight for me. I decided to run!
Just as I was about to make a run for it, he was standing directly in front of me. I had no choice but to try to play it cool again with him even though my legs could barely hold me up. He looks me square in the eye and says, “You’re a Bruin?” I thought, “What the hell is this guy talking about?” Again he said, “You’re a Bruin, UCLA right?” And I said, yea, UCLA, yes, I am a Bruin.” He pats me on the back and shakes my hand with a huge smile on his face. “I’m a Bruin too, class of ’78.” I couldn’t believe it, this guy was now my best friend just because I go to the same college that he did. He then takes me into the ticket office and grabs a pass and writes “Photo – UCLA” on the front of it in big, black letters.
He walks me down to the very front of the venue and sets me up. I am the only photographer in the whole place. As I am still trying to absorb what just happened, he tells me, “I usually go by that list, if your name is not on there, then that’s it. But us Bruins gotta’ take care of each other, right?” We shook hands and gives me his card, “Be sure to give me a call if you need anything for the Daily Bruin again.” “No problem, thanks!” The lights went out and I snapped off a couple of rolls of my favorite comedian – The Dice Man!
Photographed with my Canon AE1 Program and a cheap, no name 80mm-200mm 5.6f lens. Shot on Fuji Negative Film.