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

Pantera

The Palladium

Hollywood, CA

1992

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

Dio

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

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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

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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.

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California Steel

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2009 by Kevin Estrada

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Judas Priest
Gibson Amphitheatre
Los Angeles, CA
August 2, 2009

Hard to believe that it was nearly 30 years ago that Judas Priest released their groundbreaking LP British Steel.  And yes, as Rob Halford told the crowd, it was an LP.  From beginning to end, Priest ripped through the legendary album in its entirety and through in a few fan faves…it was Metal History.

Set List:

Rapid Fire
Metal Gods
Breaking The Law
Grinder
United
You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise
Living After Midnight
The Rage
Steeler
The Ripper
Prophecy
The Hell Patrol
Victim Of Changes
Freewheel Burning
Diamonds And Rust
You’ve Got Another Thing Coming

Photographed with my Canon 5D with a 70-200mm f 2.8 lens and my Nikon D300 with a 24-70mm 2.8 lens.

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Brotherly Conspiracy

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 20, 2009 by Kevin Estrada

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Max & Igor Cavalera
North Hollywood, CA
January 24, 2007

This had to be one of my proudest moments of being a rock photographer.  I go way back with these guys…we are family.  I received a phone call from Gloria Cavalera telling me that Max and Igor were back together and going into the studio…and they wanted me with them to snap away and document the whole thing. I had been waiting for this call for a long, long time.

This was the birth of The Cavalera Conspiracy.

This was the very first official photo of Max and Igor together as band-mates since Sepultura disbanded. I shot this set-up of Max and Igor for Revolver Magazine. The mag was just as excited as I was…they ran this photo as a full page.  Well deserved!

Photographed with my Canon 5D and a Canon 24-70mm 2.8 lens.