Archive for David Lee Roth

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.

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Heard You Missed Us…We’re Back!

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2009 by Kevin Estrada

Estrada_VH_PC_Blog_XX

Van Halen
Reunion Press Conference
Four Seasons Hotel
Los Angeles, CA
August 10, 2008

This was the day I had been waiting for since the DLR and the band split in 1986.  A reunion…well, not exactly…not without Michael Anthony.  But I think true Van Halen fans, myself included,  felt that this was the closest we were going to get to a true reunion.

This was the first big press conference I had ever really attended…I really don’t go to these kinds of things…but hey, this is Van Halen!

I had never felt so much excitement and electricity in the air that day.  Everyone attending had smiles across their faces.  And as soon as the band marched through the crowd to the stage, everyone regressed to acting like a teen.

Diamond Dave proved that he had not lost the gift of gab, but it was the brotherly hug between Eddie Van Halen and DLR that made the crowd melt.  It was magic, if only for a brief moment in time.

I was on cloud nine as I left the building that day looking through the bands list of tour dates for the reunion tour.  I noticed that the L.A. date fell on my wedding anniversary…ugh!  Guess how I celebrated our anniversary?  That’s right, my photos came out great!

Photographed with my Canon 5D, a Canon 24-70mm 2.8 lens and a Canon 580 EX flash.

A Roll Of The Dice

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Andrew Dice Clay
Wiltern Theatre
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.

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.