Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Thanks For Reigning : Tribute To Jeff Hanneman

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 24, 2013 by Kevin Estrada

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Jeff Hanneman Memorial

Hollywood Palladium

May 23, 2013

I started shooting Slayer in 1984…and in that time, I became close with the band.  From sneaking my camera into the club shows to becoming a co-producer on the Soundtrack To The Apocalypse box set – it has been a great ride.  But this one hit hard.  At his celebration, every snap of my camera brought me closer and closer to the end of a big chapter in my life.  I know Slayer will go on – in one form or another – but there is such a sense of unwanted closure.  It is hard to put in words – so I am giving you a little taste of what Slayer gave me over the years.  Thank you Tom, thank you Kerry, thank you Dave, thank you Paul and Jon…and lastly – thank you Jeff, and farewell.

A Different Kind Of Show

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2012 by Kevin Estrada

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Van Halen

February 8, 2012

Los Angeles Forum

Final Dress Rehearsal

So what happens when a photographer (and the biggest Van Halen fan I know) goes to Van Halen’s dress rehearsal and forgets his camera?  He ends up with photos like this.  Confused?  Read on.

I had heard of Van Halen’s “Friends And Family” dress rehearsal shows since I was a kid growing up in the San Gabriel Valley – Van Halen country as we call it.  This was a dream come true!

I knew I would not be allowed to bring my usual high end camera gear to the rehearsal, so I charged up the battery in my trusty Canon G-10 and cleared the memory card and was ready to snap away.  I was allowed to bring a guest with me to the show, so I immediately chose my 12 year old daughter – she loves the DLR!  I didn’t tell her where we were going, it made for a great surprise.

As we parked in the L.A. Forum parking lot, our excitement grew.  The second I stepped out of my car, I knew I had blown it.  I left my camera at home on the living room table – I had placed it there so I would not forget it.  Great job, Kevin!

I was devastated!  Immediately, my excitement turned to fatigue, all energy was sucked out of my body.  The walk into the venue must have been the longest walk of my life.  My daughter tried her best to console me, but she knows what a VH fan I am and how much I was looking forward to snapping some photos.

I began convincing myself that we would not be sitting close enough to the stage to get decent photos – that made me feel better. As we approached the inside of the arena, an usher asks us if we would like to sit in the upper seats or the loge section or if we wanted to go up front on the floor. Of course we chose to go up front on the floor.   Nothing like Van Halen right in front of your naked, steaming eyes!

We scored a spot so close to the stage we could nearly touch the band!  Kool And The Gang opened the show and I saw that everyone was snapping photos and shooting video with their phones.  We were all so close, that even the photos on the phones looked pretty good. It was killing me – there was no way I was going to make it through the show without shooting photos.

So I scouted the area and I found a friendly (and a bit intoxicated) woman and her pissed off punker husband with a Canon PowerShot. I couldn’t take my eyes off their camera. After about 10 minutes, I walk over to the husband and explain that I forgot my camera at home and I need to shoot some photos. I tell him that I will give them $20 if they let me shoot a handful of photos with their camera. They stare at me like I am nuts and ask me to explain it again – and again and again. Finally, after some begging she agrees and hands me the camera, just in time for VH to hit the stage.

At one point, the alcohol had her feeling a bit artsy, so she grabs the camera from me and starts screwing up the settings I had dialed in and tries to snap some miscellaneous photos. Just then, Alex jumps behind his drum kit and the lights drop.  Her husband yells at her, grabs the camera and hands it back to me and says, “Just to hold on to it for the rest of the show.” Yes!!

I dial my settings back in, and Van Halen tears into “You Really Got Me.” The camera shot a bit slow for me and had a bit of lag time, but it did the job. At the end of the show we exchanged numbers and email info so I can have them send me the photos.  The next day I discover that the couple does not know how to get the photos off the card.  I am getting worried the photos are going to be deleted or lost, or worse.  So I jump in my car and drive 60 miles to their home and grab the photos.  I must have had a smile a mile wide the whole way home!

This was one of the greatest nights of my life, so I wanted to share a handful of my photos with you…hope you like them.  And be sure to support Van Halen by buying their new CD and seeing them when they come to your hometown.

Ross Hogarth…you da’ man!!

Photographed with a borrowed Canon PowerShot SX130.

…Introducing…Judas Priest – 2011

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2011 by Kevin Estrada

Judas Priest

May 24, 2011

Renaissance Hotel : Hollywood, CA

The Judas Priest saga continues…and luckily into my hometown.  I was lucky enough to be invited to the official debut of Judas Priest 2011.  The addition of new guitarist Richie Faulkner and exit of founding member K.K. Downing was the initial focus of the gathering, but discussions of the band’s upcoming farewell tour – The Epitaph Tour – and the future of Judas Priest soon took over.

The band blended very well with the K.K. Downing / Point Of Entry looking Faulkner, who seems to be bringing some well needed energy and youthfulness to the Metal Godfathers.  It will be interesting to see what 2011 brings us – it has already brought Judas Priest into our living rooms last night via American Idol.  Long live Metal! What’s next?

The Beast Kicks 2011 Into Action!

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2011 by Kevin Estrada

Paul Di’Anno

The Key Club

West Hollywood, CA

January 5, 2011

First off…I am back – Happy New Year!!

If this is a sample of what 2011 is going to be like, then this year is going to blow my mind!  My first show of the year was Paul Di’Anno of Iron Maiden.  For those of you wondering whether Di’Anno still has it or not, he definitely does!  These handful of shows were extra special as Paul ran through the entire Iron Maiden LP as well as the best of Killers.  Also thrown in were some of Di’Anno’s favorites from his solo years.

Icarus Witch backed up Di’Anno and provided all the Maiden music.  I must say, they were nearly spot on.  Eddie Trunk had mentioned that he was a bit disappointed because he thought Icarus Dream played the tunes a bit too fast – not true, the tempos were just as tight as the current Iron Maiden plays them live.

Except for a few minutes where the venue seemed a bit quiet due to the crowd getting a bit “Hollywood”, the club was filled with maniac Maiden fans  – and Paul was feeling the love!   I was lucky enough to swipe Paul Di’Anno’s set list – one of the benefits of being smashed up against the stage all night.

Enjoy the slide show!  Up The Irons!!

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Dio’s Final Farewell

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 31, 2010 by Kevin Estrada

Ronnie James Dio

Hall Of Liberty : Forest Lawn

Hollywood Hills

May 30, 2010

Since 1983, Memorial Day Weekend held a special place in my heart when it came to Heavy Metal Music.  It was on May 29, 1983 that I attended Heavy Metal Day at the US Festival in Devore, California.  300,000 dedicated metal fans came out that weekend to support what was important – Metal.  Once again, Memorial Day Weekend holds a new place in my heart when it comes to Metal Music.  Yesterday, May 30, 2010, thousands of dedicated metal fans came out to support what was important – the life of Ronnie James Dio.

I was one of the lucky ones that was able to attend and take part in this special farewell to one of the founding fathers of Metal.  I was privileged to be able to document the entire Memorial Ceremony – the load-ins, the soundchecks, the arrivals, the fans, the music, the memories, and the tears.

It was a touching and tasteful service, led by Eddie Trunk.  Ronnie’s life and musical talents were broken down and chronicled era by era, section by section, accompanied by live musical performances, video clips, and friends.  Three and half hours was not nearly long enough to display the gifts and love that Ronnie gave to all of us throughout his life.

I hope you enjoy my slideshow…it is my gift to all of you.  I am and always will be a fan and I am blessed to be able to make my living doing what I love.  Rest In Peace Ronnie, your impact in music and your huge warm heart will never be forgotten.

P.S.  Thanks Rob, for being by my side on both of these special Memorial Day Weekends!

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The Man On The Silver Mountain

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by Kevin Estrada

Ronnie James Dio

(July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010)

Dressing Room

Los Angeles, CA

April 1, 2005

Just like the millions of Rock Fans around the world, I was stunned this past Sunday morning to hear the news that Ronnie James Dio had passed away a few hours earlier.  Just a few weeks ago I was excited to see him on stage at the Golden God Awards, throwing his metal fingers in the air – as it should be.

Metal and Hard Rock has truly lost an icon, an innovator, and a gentlemen.  I had the pleasure to work with Ronnie a number of times over the years, and every experience was memorable.  He had the heart of a giant and the vocal pipes of an even larger man than that.  The music world will never be the same.

I shot this photo  of Ronnie in Motorhead’s dressing room in Los Angeles a few years ago.  As always, RJD was in a great mood and really played it up for my camera.  I am really going to miss the Holy Diver.

RJD Memorial Info:

Wendy Dio has asked that in lieu of sending flowers, please make a donation to the Ronnie James Dio “Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund.” You can send your check or money order to the Niji Entertainment Group, 12400 Ventura Blvd. #624, Studio City, CA, 91604. From all of us at the Niji Entertainment Group.

Lastly, there will be a Public Memorial Service for Ronnie James Dio on Sunday, May 30th at 2:00 PM at The Hall Of Liberty located at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068.

Breaking The Code : Pantera

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2010 by Kevin Estrada


The Palladium

Hollywood, CA


The 1980’s were undeniably the decade of Metal.  Metal was born, Metal evolved, Metal went mainstream, Metal was everywhere.  Until the Fall of 1991.  Grunge exploded and took over the airwaves and took over the music biz.  It is no secret that many blame the Grunge movement for the death of Metal.

When something dies, something new must emerge. Metal, or at least the music that was being called Metal had to die.  Come on…at this point bands like Poison, Winger and Bullet Boys were considered Metal.  Metal needed to evolve, and Grunge is what was needed to come in and start the change.  A few heavy bands took Metal to a new degree, pushing the envelope, giving Metal new life.  Bands like White Zombie, Prong, and Helmet breathed new life into Metal.  But it was Pantera who led the pack.

Metal no longer wore spandex, Metal no longer wore moussed hair, Metal no longer wore eye-liner.  Pantera was pure, pissed off energy and they set out to take over the world.

I will never forget the first time I met Phil Anselmo.  It was at the Foundation’s Forum in Burbank, California in October of 1991.  Pantera had just won the award for Top New Metal Band.  My bladder was ready to explode so I snuck out of my seat at the Awards Ceremony to take a quick squirt.  The bathroom was dead empty – everyone was watching the Awards.  About halfway through my piss, Phil comes in holding his award – with a serious pissed off game face on – and starts pissing in the stall next to me.

It was one of those moments when all you can do is look at the wall directly in front of your face.  We both must have had a lot to drink, because it felt like 15 minutes of pissing silence.  Finally, I decided to break the ice.  With my eyes still focused on the ceramic tiles in front of me I say, “You guys totally deserve that award, man.”   Phil breaks the men’s room code and turns his head.  He looks me in the eye with a hard, cold look on his face.  He says, “What was that?”  Now I break the code and turn my head to him and say again, “ I said you guys totally deserve that award, man.  You guys are reinventing metal.”  Suddenly, Phil’s game face drops and a smile the size of Texas appears.  He nearly zips himself into the hospital with one hand and shoves the other in my face to shake my hand.  He is thanking me and telling me how he could not believe they won…it was like a dream he said.

He is going on and on, like a little kid at Christmas…so happy.  The whole time, all I could think is, “This guy needs to wash his hands…there is no way I am shaking that hand.”  I pretend to have problems zipping up to avoid his extended hand.  Finally, his excitement gets the best of him and he bro-hugs me.  I walk over to the sink and start to wash my hands, hoping that the water and soap invite him to join me.  Nope.  He keeps on talking, and just watches me as I wash my hands.  I dry up and we walk out together into the lobby and back into the Awards Ceremony.

I knew Metal was back!

Photographed with my Canon EOS-1, and a Canon 28mm-80mm 5.6 lens.  Shot on Kodak Ektachrome film.

Stand Up And Shout!

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2010 by Kevin Estrada


Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre

Laguna Hills, CA

July 26, 1986

Besides battling wizards and dragons, Ronnie James Dio has gone head to head with such heavy-weights as Ozzy Osbourne, Gene Simmons, and even his former and now current band-mates Tony Iommi and Bill Ward. Ronnie is currently involved in the biggest and most fierce battle he has ever had, and we need to send him our prayers.

Just before Thanksgiving of 2009, Ronnie James Dio was diagnosed with the early stages of stomach cancer.  He jumped right into his cancer treatments, and despite canceling his European Tour, Dio and Heaven & Hell will perform in July at the High Voltage Festival in London.

I have had the honor to have met and worked with Ronnie a handful of times, and I can honestly say that Dio is one of, if not THE, nicest and most down to earth people in heavy music that I have ever, ever met.  For a man who has helped to bring Heavy Music to the masses as well as spearheading numerous charities and community fundraisers, he is genuinely grounded and modest.

The first time I met him, I thought I was going to crush his bones when we shook hands…and I am not much bigger than he is.  Besides, if it weren’t for Dio, who knows what two fingers we would be sticking in the air!

You can send cards, letters, well-wishes, etc. to Ronnie at:

Dio Fan Club

12400 Ventura Blvd.

Suite 624

Studio City, CA  91604

Diary Of A Legend

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2009 by Kevin Estrada


Ozzy Osbourne Tribute

Sunset Strip Music Festival

House Of Blues Sunset

W. Hollywood, CA

September 10, 2009

It’s been 40 years…can you believe it?  Ozzy has been inspiring us musically for 40 years now.  To help celebrate this, the Hollywood rock community joined together and kicked off the 2nd Annual Sunset Strip Music Festival with a special tribute honoring rock legend, Ozzy Osbourne.

The SSMF event honors icons who have made an impact on the legacy of The Sunset Strip. On Ozzy Osbourne’s first U.S. tour with Black Sabbath in 1970, the band performed a five-night stand at the legendary Whisky A Go-Go.

Ozzy’s well deserved tribute included special guest speakers Slash of Guns N’ Roses, actor Billy Bob Thornton, Henry Rollins of Black Flag, Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee, and comedian Jim Norton.

The evening commenced with an all star jam / tribute that included musicians John 5, Steve Stevens, Billy Morrison, Frank Perez, Steve Jones, Kenny Arnoff, Chris Chaney, Donovan Leitch, Mark McGrath and Corey Taylor.

The SSMF culminated into a huge live show that blocked the streets of the Sunset Strip that had Ozzy as the headliner and Korn as direct support.  Sure, the traffic and parking was nuts, but it was mind-blowing to see the Sunset Strip shut down…all in the name of rock!

I will be posting some live shots of Ozzy and Korn from the big event in the next few days.

Stay tuned…

It Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2009 by Kevin Estrada


Heaven & Hell
Greek Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
August 11, 2009

Have you ever had one of those nights when everything seems to go just right?  If you’re anything like me, you start waiting to get slammed with something negative to balance things out.  Here is my story…

First off, I get to shoot Heaven & Hell…that alone is cool enough.  Next, they set me up with free parking…not in the stacked area, but in the good lot.  Then, I’m hooked up with a great seat for the show.  Then, my best bud Rob decides to come to the show and we work it out to sit together for the show…just like old times.  Heaven & Hell are amazing…Tony Iommi proves he is still inspiring.  Then, we get hooked up with hospitality at the show… you know – free booze, coffee, desserts, finger foods, etc.  Hung with my bro Rudy Sarzo a bit…greatest guy!!

So, basically, it was an amazing night of Heaven & Hell…and it did not cost me a dime.  But it’s not over yet.  As Rob and I are walking out of the venue, I explain to him what a great night it was and I run the list of greatness by him.  Then I say, “The only thing missing was a free t-shirt.”  Rob says, “Well, you can’t have everything.”

We walk to his car, and three rough looking dudes are drinking beer and leaning on his car.  They look at us, stare us down as we approach.  I am very cautious as I am carrying 15 grand worth of photo gear.  The thugs say, “Hey, is this your car?”  Rob says, “Yeah.”  Then they say, “Hey man, we’re just hanging out man, you gotta’ problem with that?”  Rob says, “No, it’s cool.”  They continue to watch us.  Rob opens his trunk and I start putting my photo gear inside.  Then one dude says to me, “Hey, come here.”  I am cautious, I don’t move.  I say, “What do you want?”  He says again, “Come here.”  I say, “I’m right here, what?”  He pulls out a Heaven & Hell shirt that he bought from some bootlegger in the parking lot.  He says, “This will fit you, right?  It’s a large, I need extra large.  You want it.”  I roll my eyes, the last thing I need is to pull out cash in front of these boozers.  I tell him, “I’m a medium guy, large is too big for me.”  He tosses the shirt to me and tells me to check.  I hold it up against my torso, it’s too big for me.  I tell him, “This thing is like a dress on me, it will fit you.”  I toss it back to him.  He tosses it right back to me, “No man, I need extra large, I’m too fat.”  This guy is not taking no for an answer, I figure he must want more beer money.  So I say, “How much do you want for it?”  He says, “No man, take it, free, I don’t want it, it’s yours…take it.”  I look at Rob.  Rob looks at me.  “Really?” I say.  “Yeah dude” he replies.  We exchange a good bro hug and I tell him that I am happy to know that there are still some good people out there.  He liked that, and tells his buddies, “You hear that, I’m good people.”

Rob and I get in the car and snicker.  I look at the shirt and tell Rob that it is one of the most hideous shirts I have ever seen.  Then I tell Rob, “This thing is not going to fit me, I need a medium.”  I ask Rob if he wants it and he tells me he also needs extra large.  We start to drive off, then I spot a bootlegger selling shirts on the other side of the parking lot.  I tell Rob to drive over to him.  I roll down the window and call the guy over,  His hands are full of dozens of the same hideous shirt.  I tell him, “Hey, I told you I needed a medium and you gave me a large.”  He says, “Oh, sorry” and gives me a medium in exchange for the large.  I roll up the window and look at Rob.  Rob tells me, “I guess you can have everything.”

Like I said, a great night!

Photographed with my Nikon D300 and a 300mm 2.8 lens.