Archive for Canon

“Kevin…you have come so far!”

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 27, 2009 by Kevin Estrada

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Ozzy Osbourne
Us Festival
San Bernardino, CA
May 29, 1983

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Ozzy Osbourne
Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre
Laguna Hills, CA
August 3, 1989

I am blessed.  Ever since I was a kid all I wanted to do was take photos of my favorite rock bands and artists.  I am living proof that if you want something bad enough; if you have the talent; and if you never give up – no matter how tough things may get – you can achieve your dream.  I am often told, “Kevin, you have come so far.”

Take a look at that Ozzy photo from the Us Festival in 1983.  I was just a kid shooting from the crowd back then with a smuggled-in-camera.  Sometimes I could make my way right up front and sometimes I was stuck in the boonies.  Now look at the Ozzy photo I shot at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, I was living my dream shooting Ozzy for my first time up front inside his photo pit.

So yes, I have come pretty far…about 150 ft. closer to the stage to be exact.

Ozzy at the Us Festival shot on my brothers Pentax K-1000 camera with a Pentax 80mm lens.  Shot on Kodak Negative Film.

Ozzy at Irvine Meadows Amp. shot with my Canon AE1 Program and a no name 80-200mm f 5.6 lens.  Shot on Kodak Ektachrome film.

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Put A Cap On It

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Limp Bizkit
Hollywood, Ca
November 15, 1997

What’s wrong with this photo? Is the color off? No, I wanted it to look that way. Is there too much contrast in the photo? No, I wanted it to look that way too. Wait…Fred Durst is not wearing a baseball cap…did he forget his hat? No, I wanted him to look that way. But it wasn’t easy.

Limp Bizkit had recently released their debut CD, Three Dollar Bill, Yall$ and the sales were off to a slow start. At the time, the band was a touring machine, and were currently main support on Primus’ The Brown Tour. Touring is what was eventually going to break Limp Bizkit and make them one of the biggest rock bands in the world.

I hooked up with the Limp guys at the Palladium in Hollywood. Time and space were tight that day, so I had to set up just a few feet away from the stage and shoot the session as Primus rolled through their soundcheck. Before we started shooting, I chatted with the band a bit so we could loosen up, get to know each other a bit. The guys were very confident, borderline cocky as they told me that they were a unique band and there was no other band like them. They went on to tell me that they wanted this photo shoot to be different than all the rest of the shoots they had been doing…for me to get creative and do something really different.

Realistically there was not much I could really do – I had a colored backdrop set up on the floor of the venue…how creative can you get? I pitched the idea of creating a different color scheme for the band, one that was over saturated and extremely contrasty – more edge and less pop. They loved the idea. But I needed something more.

I walked over to Fred and told him that he should lose the baseball cap he was wearing. He freaked out on me and told me there was no way he was doing a photo shoot without his hat. No way. I pulled Fred aside and told him that he needed to trust me. Fred was ready to walk. Then I said, “I thought you guys weren’t like all those other bands, I thought you really wanted something different…something that matched your music.” He looked me in the eye, raised an eyebrow and removed his cap.

The result was a very rare Limp Bizkit photo session, one that I truly believe is unique and not at all like the rest of the shoots the band had done prior to my shoot or even afterwards.

Photographed with my Canon EOS1, a Canon 28mm-80mm 5.6f lens, and a small Novatron strobe kit. Shot on Kodak film.

Pasadena Openers…Odin

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

ODIN
Perkin’s Palace
March 16, 1984

***
Part three of a five-part series that I am doing this week on local L.A. bands in the ‘80s that were opening acts on some big gigs at my favorite venue as a kid – Perkin’s Palace in Pasadena California.
***

Odin was fairly new to the L.A. rock scene, but they rapidly built a strong and legitimate following around the rock circuit. Their street cred became undeniable, quickly getting the band added to the big shows – like this one at Perkin’s Palace. At this point, Odin had just recorded their first 7” single, Caution (which I bought that night at the show for $2.00). Despite the homemade artwork and misspellings on the single, Odin looked like a band on the verge.

From 1983 through 1985, Odin’s sound was heavy and fast – pulling influences from bands like Armored Saint and Metallica, but adding the Blues elements of Aerosmith and Van Halen. Odin’s opening act days were numbered, and the band soon found themselves headlining most of the rock venues in Los Angeles.

I was a big fan of this band, their early material was the perfect combination of chuggy guitar riffs and melodic metal hooks mixed with raw, punk rock production. Their 7” sounded like it was recorded in a basement for $10, but this was the perfect sound for this band.

After their first full release, Don’t Take No For An Answer in 1985, I – along with many others – lost interest in Odin as the the band became influenced by the early stages of “hair metal.” Odin drastically changed their sound, their live show, their clothes, their hair, and their overall outlook on music. I was pretty bummed out that a solid, quality band would give in so quickly and jump on the “hair metal” bus, especially after working so hard to gain the respect that they had built. But, for every one of me that they lost, I am sure they gained two or three “hair metal” fans…but that was not my thing.

Legendary club owner,Bill Gazarri, proclaimed that Odin would be bigger than Van Halen, but Odin’s potential remained unfulfilled. A major label deal failed to come their way. But it would be their appearance in The Decline Of Western Civilization Part 2: The Metal Years, that would turn the band into cult metal heroes or the laughing stock of rock, depending on how you look at things.

Photographed with one eye on the camera and one eye looking over my shoulder on my trusty, smuggled in Canon AE-1 and a cheap, no name 70mm-210mm lens. Shot on Kodak negative film.

Help to save and preserve The Raymond Theatre (aka Perkin’s Palace):
http://www.raymondtheatre.com
RaymondTheatre@aol.com
http://www.myspace.com/raymondtheatre

Jump…Might As Well

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , on June 20, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Van Halen
May 14, 1984
Los Angeles Forum

Van Halen had now broken through to the masses. It was no longer just us long-haired rock/metal fans at their shows. Their hit single, Jump, had propelled them into the big-time…even my mother was singing along with Van Halen.

I had some pretty decent seats for both nights at the L.A. Forum, so of course there was no way I was walking through those doors without my camera. I remember looking over my shoulder for security guards and snapping when they weren’t looking. Although this photo has never been published, I have always loved this shot. I really felt that this image captured the feeling of where Van Halen was at that point in their career. I felt that there was some sort of symbolism in the image. David Lee Roth all alone on that stage holding an oversized “Jump” banner. Little did we know that Dave was about to jump ship.

This image stuck with me for years, and it really was my final memory of the Classic Van Halen lineup. The 1984 tour would mark the last time that I would ever have to smuggle my camera into a Van Halen show…it was all done legally with photo credentials from then on.

Photographed with my trusty, smuggled in Canon AE-1 Program and a cheap, no name 80mm-300mm f5.6 lens. Shot on Kodak Negative Film.

Fight…For Your Right

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Rob Halford
Burbank, Ca
May 11, 1993

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(This photo and many others available for sale.  Email: IamKevin@fairwarning.com)

Rob Halford had shocked the Metal world the previous year by leaving Judas Priest and announcing he was forming a new band of his own – Fight. Halford had been living in Arizona and put together a team of young, hungry, aggressive metal-heads from the area. At that time, Halford was more influenced than influential and was very swayed by current and newer metal acts, particularly Pantera. For Halford, it was not only the music that was compelling to him, but also the lifestyle. Halford gained a new interest in his body – he began working out and toning his body, and with that came his passion for tattoos. His arms, legs, stomach, his head, and areas that I cared not to see, were decorated in tattooed art.

I met up with Rob Halford as he and the new band were in rehearsals for the first Fight tour. Before we started shooting, he and I spoke about what we wanted to get out of the shoot. We both agreed that we wanted something different – there were enough photos of Halford covered in leather, spikes and sunglasses floating around. I could tell that he really wanted to be looked at as a bad-ass – someone you would be afraid to pass by on the street or in dark alley. I also picked up on the fact that he was really into his body and tattoos and would like to show them off. I came up with the idea of going shirtless and just surrounding him in black, allowing his skin, his tattoos and his attitude to take over the photos. He loved the idea.

As we started shooting, he stood in a very strong, menacing stance – really capturing that bad-ass vibe that we spoke about. But as the shoot went on, and he and I established a rapport, he began to let his guard down. He became more and more comfortable in front of the camera, becoming less and less of a bad-ass and more and more of who he really is deep inside. At one point he lowered his trousers a bit so I could see that his lower abdomen also had artwork tattooed on it – the word “Grunt.” The “grunt” artwork led a lot lower than I cared to behold. We had all heard the rumors and I sure didn’t need to verify first hand. I remember telling Halford, “That’s cool…that’s low enough.” He smirked a bit, and the shoot continued.

I felt that Rob Halford and I really pushed our limits and the end result was one that showed a different side of Halford…at least a side that Halford had not publicly spoken about yet. I walked out of that shoot knowing that the two of us really accomplished our goal – we got a session that was really different than all the other sessions he had done.

Photographed with my Canon EOS-1, a Canon 28m-80mm f5.6 lens and a Novatron Strobe Light Kit. Shot on Fujichrome film.

Grindcrusher…I mean, Gangbanger Tour

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Napalm Death
April 20, 1991
Grincrusher Tour
Country Club : Reseda, Ca

I didn’t plan on this, but yesterday’s post on Godflesh and The Grindcrusher Tour had to be THE most popular post thus far. I was asked by a number of loyal readers to talk a bit more about the set by co-headliner’s Napalm Death that evening. I guess many of you have heard the rumors…so here is the truth. And away we go…

For some reason, besides all the “Death Metal Latinos,” Napalm Death seemed to attract a handful of the most violent gangs in Los Angeles. It made sense to me when the Venice gangs would show up at the D.R.I. gigs…but Napalm Death? They are from Birmingham, England…what does England have to do with the gangs in L.A.? I still have not figured that one out.

Anyways, as the openers burned through their sets, the gang-bangers would walk around in a slo-mo, kind of crazed style…almost like an animal as it stalks its prey. As Napalm’s set got closer, you could feel the tension in the room rise, and the crazed looks of the gang-bangers got crazier and crazier. Just before Napalm Death hit the stage, a few dozen more gangsters entered the venue. I have no idea how or where they came from, but the room was filled with blue and red bandanas and gangster-plaid shirts.

As soon as Napalm’s fury began, so did the gang’s. Violent and bloody fights were breaking out everywhere. My roommate was in the balcony watching the fights from above – he couldn’t believe his eyes. There was nothing that the club security could do – the violence was way to extreme and it was in every corner of the room. They had no choice but to frantically call the police, otherwise it was not just gang members who were going to get hurt.

Just before the police stormed the venue, a huge pile-up broke out on the floor – right in the middle of the mosh-pits. Yes, unbelievably, the mosh pits continued, even during the gang violence – amazing! Almost in unison, all the gangsters jumped off of the pile and stood in a circle. The circle quickly opened and out came a slow, stumbling man. He was shirtless and dripping wet with sweat. People began pointing fingers at the man and jaws began to drop. Then I saw it. The man’s stomach was sliced wide open – the only thing holding his belly together was his hand. His innards began to poke out of the gaping, bloody wound – he shoved them back in with his left hand. I had never seen anything like it. Then, to make things even more unbelievable, he started jumping up and down and then he started running around the club and “high-fiveing” people with his right hand as he held his guts in with his left hand. Perhaps he was smoking some of that Angel Dust that was going around that night.

The bloodied man ran straight out one of the emergency exit doors that lead to the outside parking lot. Dozens of people followed right behind him. As soon as Napalm finished their set a song or two later, I ran out the same door to see what was going on (yes, I kept snapping photos until they were done). I saw a crowd of people fighting to get past the police. Cops were everywhere, police helicopters, everything. I fought my way through the crowd and got up to the front. I was distracted because I saw my good friend Melissa freaking out, screaming at the cops. I couldn’t figure out why she was so upset – she didn’t know this gang-banger. Then I saw what was upsetting her. The police had her car taped off with yellow “do not cross” tape. And there he was, dead – sprawled out on the hood of Melissa’s Mazda RX7.

I am not sure what you heard, but I know most of you Grindcore fans heard something about this amazing show. This is what happened – straight from an eyewitness. That show had to be THE craziest show I have ever attended. Little did I know that in just a few minutes, I too, would be bloody and sliced up – for that story read yesterday’s post, Grindcrusher…I mean, Grindcutter Tour.

Photographed at the casting call for the movie Colors with my Canon F1 and a cheap, no name 28mm-80mm f5.6 lens. Shot on Kodak Ektachrome film.

Grindcrusher…I mean, Grindcutter Tour

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Godflesh
April 20, 1991
Grindcrusher Tour
Country Club : Reseda, Ca

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(This photo and many others now available for sale.  Email: IamKevin@fairwarning.com)

At this point in my life I was heavily involved in three music genres – the underground L.A. Rock scene – in which Jane’s Addiction was leading the pack; the early stages of what came to be known as Grunge – I was seeing bands such as Soundgarden and Mother Love Bone and of course Nirvana; and my new love at the time – Grindcore. Grindcore was a new movement in metal spearheaded by hostile bands such as Napalm Death, Terrorizer, Bolt Thrower and Godlflesh.

At the time, I was still struggling to establish myself as a rock photographer, trying my best to have my images and my name printed in as many publications as possible. There was a lot of anticipation for this L.A. area show as it approached. I don’t know where they come from, but there would be masses and masses of death metal Latinos that would come to these shows – I’m talking hundreds of them. The violence inside and outside the venue started even before any of the bands hit the stage as three of the most notorious gangs in Los Angeles were in attendance. And to make things worse, they were all rivals. If that was not enough, add handfuls of concert-goers high on PCP / Angel Dust. I’m not kidding, this show was out of control.

As each band played their sets and the night progressed, so did the level of violence. I began to notice that there were less and less photographers as the night went on. Just before Co-Headliner Napalm Death hit the stage, there was just me and the photographer from the Los Angeles Times left in the barricade. As soon as Napalm came out, a horde of kids rushed the stage…the stage was filled with dozens and dozens of crazy, violent kids, you could barely see the band – and they were using us as stepping blocks to get on the stage.

At one point, during Napalm’s first song, the L.A. Times photographer started freaking out, totally panicking. He started grabbing me and pulling on me. Then he started screaming that we needed get out of there. The venue was way out of control and he feared for his life – and mine. He must have thought I was nuts, because I was getting off on the chaos, my adrenaline was so high, I did not want it to end. I looked at him with a crazed smile and screamed back at him that I wasn’t going anywhere. He grabbed his gear and ran…I never saw him again.

By the time Godflesh hit the stage, I was the only photographer left. I was either the bravest photographer that night, or the stupidest. I am sure it was a fine line between the two. My passion for the music just took over, and I was in it ‘til the end. I noticed that the PCP usage really kicked in during the Godflesh set. There were people freaking out, hallucinating and hurting people right behind me.

As I was snapping Godflesh, I began to feel a cold, tingling sensation on my back. Every once in a while, I would need to scratch or rub my back as the sensation grew more and more frequent. A few songs later, I again rubbed my back, this time I noticed that the top of my hand was smeared with blood. I had no idea what was going on. Was it my blood? Was it someone else’s blood?

Then I saw it. One of the kids, out of his mind on Angel Dust, had an exacto knife and had been slicing my back. The back of my shirt was in strips and I had about eleven bloody slices on my back. I started screaming at the kid and I knocked the exacto knife out of his hand with my camera. Just then, one of the other PCP freaks started biting the kid’s cheek. He then ripped a handful of hair out of his head and pounded him in the face until he was in a bloody daze. The whole scene was surreal to me…it was almost like Godflesh was playing the most amazing soundtrack music to the most out of control, violent, drug induced movie that I had ever seen. But this was not a movie, it was real, and it was exploding right in front of my face. Godflesh finished their set at about 2am and I was still standing, camera in hand. I went home, feeling like I had been run over by a bus, but I knew I got some killer photos.

The next morning, my telephone woke me up. It was the publicist at Earache/Relativity Records – Godflesh’s record label. It turns out that the Los Angeles Times heard how out of control the show was and they wanted to do a story on the show and on the Grindcore movement – but they had no photos because their photographer bailed. I was the only guy with the photos that they needed. I tried my best to negotiate with the L.A. Times – I got a whopping $60 – I was lucky to get paid at all. Nevertheless, my photo and my name made it onto a full page in the Sunday Calendar Section – the biggest entertainment section that the L.A. Times runs. It was a huge success for my career and me. I might not have been paid very much, but this photo and this story gave me street cred that you just can’t buy. Talk about having to pay your dues.

Photographed under the blade with my lethal Canon F1 and a cheap, no name 28mm-80mm f5.6 lens. Shot on Kodak Ektachrome film.