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Twist Of Kevin

Posted in music with tags , , , , on May 7, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Danzig – Celebrity Theatre : June 17, 1989


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As soon as the band ripped into their opening song – Am I Demon – I knew the legend of Glenn Danzig was alive and well. The crowd exploded with unbelievable fury. Without stopping, the band roared into Twist Of Cain. And that’s when I first noticed it. The homemade wooden barricade the venue constructed, the one that separated the stage from the crowd was starting to bend. Inside this barricade, I was shooting alone with 6 or 7 security guards. As the music exploded in blistering riffs, and Danzig wailed, the crowd’s energy surged with indescribable fury. Cracks started to form in the barricade, and a guard shouted at me to get out of the pit. I shouted back, “no way.” I was in the middle of what soldiers call “the shit” and there was no way in Hell I was going to miss getting these shots. We got a reprieve when the opening notes of Mother calmed the crowd. But then came the bridge, and the solo, and the crowd surged forward once again. The barricade blew over like a piece of paper. The security guards leapt onto the stage, but I got caught beneath the fallen barricade. Miraculously, it wedged onto the lip of the stage, and I was trapped below it, with barely an inch separating it from my fallen body.

I could see the feet of fans – dozens and dozens – of fans, running over me, charging the stage. The wood barricade began to crack, and a hail of splinters rained down, covering my hair and nicking my eyes. There was no way out. The pressure and massive weight of the kids had me completely pinned. At that point, I honestly gave up. I thought for sure I was going to die. Then, by some miracle, a hand grabbed one of my ankles and began to tug on me. This superhero of a security guard dragged me out and lifted me onto the stage. It was complete mayhem – 60 or 70 kids convulsing all over the stage. The guards lined up at the edge of the stage, using their bodies as human walls, doing their best to protect the band. I took a moment to clear my head, and then my instincts took over. Danzig was rocking out two feet in front of me, and I had a camera. So start shooting. This is one of the chaotic images that I captured that night.

I shot this show with my Canon AE-1 Program (which was starting to see it’s last days) and a no-name, cheap-ass 28-80mm lens for Creem Magazine’s special edition Creem Metal. I was also honored to learn that Glenn Danzig approves who does and doesn’t shoot his shows, and that I was the only photographer allowed to shoot this historic gig. It was the start of a great relationship with Glenn that continues to this day.

Check out this photo pass – one of a kind, handmade – approved by Glenn himself.