Well, not really, but yeah, some of you may recognize the dork shooting photos in this interview clip of Dez Fafara. And those who don't will now know why I work on the other side of the camera. Haha.
Anyway, more important than that, this is a great interview of DevilDriver's Fafara by my new media pal, James R. Chesna, and really illustrates what a great work ethic this band has. I admit I'm getting back into the metal scene after MANY years away (I last listened to Ozzy's "Blizzard of Oz"…when it first came out) so I'm still getting to know the new metal bands musically, but really like this band on a personal level. Hard working guys with none of the ego bullshit, living their dream on the road and not in a five-star-hotel-glamorous way.
This is what's it's all about kids. People who do it for the love of it and not to become famous or have a gazillion dollar house.
"Since first forming in 2003, the Santa Barbara metal quintet has
stuck resolutely to this mission, even though it's often meant
traveling a rougher, less glamorous road than most musicians would
prefer to endure. Rather than cashing in on the popularity of his
previous successes, frontman Dez Fafarainsisted from
the get-go that DevilDriver should not only forge their own unique
sound, but should also start at the proverbial bottom of the bill and
work their way up through endless touring, earning the music world's
respect one fan at a time.
"I get that hard-working attitude from my father," says Dez. "I
believe in gnawing at the bit, you know? It's taken its toll on us,
sure – but hard work, road work and belief in ourselves is what we're
I was bemoaning with a media comrade the common misconception that being a music photographer is oh-so-glamorous. So let’s walk through a day of shooting, as there are several lessons to be learned in getting through a shoot.
I emailed the venue two days before the show (after not reaching them by phone) to let them know I was shooting promos of Devildriver at 6pm on show day, and asked them if I could come early to scope the place out and set up lights, so I could whip through the 15 minute photo shoot with the band. I also let them know I had never shot there before and to let me know if there were any special procedures or entrances I needed to utilize.
LESSON: If you are shooting in a venue or location and you need to set up, try to arrange early arrival. These bands are VERY busy, and you will be lucky to get 15 minutes of shooting time. And trust me, that ain’t much time when you are trying to wrangle 3-6 strangers into a pose where they all look good at once. Also, by asking the club about procedures, you are showing you respect their rules and don’t want to be a pain in the ass.
I emailed my media contact the day of the show to confirm shooting promos for Devildriver
at 6pm at the venue. Typically, you get no response on that short of notice as they are busy people. Fortunately, she had already provided me with the road manager’s name and number to contact to round up the band when I was ready.
LESSON: Always get the road manager’s contact info if possible. I don’t care who gave you permission to shoot, they control the band’s schedule. God himself could set up a shoot or photo pass, but if the road manager says “no,” then you are not shooting.
About 3-4 miles from the venue I called the road manager to make sure we were on schedule and make sure I could get in the venue as doors had not opened. Left message with road manager’s voice mail.
LESSON: Road managers rarely answer the phone, but hopefully screen calls.
Fortunately, I had the venue phone number. Called them and told them I was coming and confirmed I was booked for promo shoot. They asked what I looked like so they could watch out for me. I informed them I was a “fat middle-aged woman with a shitload of camera gear. I so do not look rock and roll, but then neither does Annie Leibovitz.”
LESSON: Have the venue number as well. Self-effacing jokes can be effective with staff.
I arrived at the venue one hour before scheduled shoot, and the stage door was wide open. I gathered up my gear, and as I was entering the side door, the road manager came out. It was apparent the staff had passed on my little joke as he sort of laughed and said, “you must be my photographer!” and shook my hand. He told me he was glad I was early, as the band now had an interview at the time I was supposed to shoot and wanted to bump up our photos to 5:45pm. “No problem!” I told him, and thanked him for help with promos.
LESSON: Be there early to also adapt to any scheduling changes. Thank road manager profusely, which, along with self effacing jokes, now has him firmly on your side.
I dragged my lights in and sure enough, there were no outlets within reach. But that was okay, because I brought my power pack like a good Girl Scout and that would save me. So I thought.
LESSON: Prepare for no electric. Make sure to have a Plan B.
Despite testing said power pack before leaving, for some reason I was getting no juice to my light. Nada. I played with it and realized I was going to have to come up with Plan B. I nonchalantly laughed along with the South Park episode the staff were all watching to hide the panic rising in me. Must. Act. Calm. I looked around and there on the post near me was an outlet. Cord reached it. I was saved.
I think this is pretty cool, and I would love to see music coverage go back to its roots with more behind the scenes, documentary type coverage rather than the glossy posed stills that fill all the magazines these days.
I’ve shot Killswitch Engage live a couple of times, and like these guys. They seem like a fun, down to earth bunch of guys, and Howard Jones even tried to get me to give him my camera to take a shot of the crowd when I shot them in Kalamazoo opening for Disturbed.
Nice as he seems to be, no one touches my camera but me, baby.
This past October, Killswitch Engage
embarked on their first ever tour of South America. With stops in
Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Chile and Colombia, the Massachusetts
natives played in front of ravenous crowds eager to catch the rare
glimpse of KsE live in their respective countries.
The landmark trek was documented by the band, and starting today
we will be releasing one behind-the-scenes clip every Monday over the
course of the next six weeks.
While the videos range from tour bus shenanigans to backstage
experiences, the band can be seen interacting with fans and engaging in
some typical, hilarious Killswitch fare. The first offering (below) sees the band arriving on Brazilian soil and being greeted by their mass of eager fans.
Watch as Killswitch conquer new territory and don’t miss the band on tour starting February 4th as they embark on a US headlining run with The Devil Wears Prada.
Among the films featured this year in the After Dark Horrorfest is the Brian Pulido directed flick "The Graves," starring Tony Todd, Bill Moseley, Clare Grant and Jillian Murphy. I was lucky enough to get to shoot some studio shots for the website. The movie also features a cameo appearance by Calabrese, a great horror punk band based in Phoenix and one of my first clients.
From the website:
day. Arizona. Megan and Abby Graves are inseparable sisters that
couldn’t be less alike. Megan is a self-assured, naturally attractive,
ass kicker. Abby is a cute, caustic, Hot Topic Goth who’s afraid of her
They do share a few things in common: a life-long
obsession with comics, pop culture and rock ‘n’ roll. Simply put, they
are beautiful geeks.
In a few days, Megan will start a new job
in New York. To send her off in style, the Graves sisters go on a wild,
pop culture bender that includes a trip to uncharted Arizona in search
of a kitschy roadside attraction.
Instead, they’re lured to
Skull City Mine, a weather-beaten, abandoned mine town that harbors
terrifying secrets. It appears to be haunted — Its twisted caretakers
are murderous — Victim’s souls are ripped right out of their bodies –
and that is only the beginning…
When Megan suffers a mortal
wound, Abby must save her sister, but to do so, she must confront her
fears and unlock the mystery of Skull City alone.
Can Abby survive Skull City’s threats? Can she rescue Megan or are they doomed to a fate much worse than death?
This didn't end up being the official poster, but created quite a stir, including Mr. Gaiman himself posting it on his blog.
I’m doing my first cut edit of the Stitch Hopeless and the Sea Legs shoot last weekend, and of course I’m looking for the technical stuff
and trying to find the best shot. But I also find myself waxing a bit
poetic about the medium of photography in general, and having one of
those moments when I realize how much I love it. I mean really, really love it.
love the feeling of capturing a moment, or a place or a person in a way
that really shows something about them — in that little fraction of a
second in time — and freezing that moment for eternity. And once I
capture a little piece of that person, I sorta can’t help but fall in
love in a way. Annie Leibovitz noted this same phenomenon when she
said, "A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people."
Yeah…I totally get that. I know exactly what she means.
you know, the thing with these guys, is they’re not just a band, but a
traveling party of close knit people. Every time they play, they bring
a whole crowd with them. And the thing I have discovered in the last
week or two, is that that crowd is not "fans" but friends.
the record, let it be known when you mix copious amounts of alcohol and
rowdy Irish boys, beer will be spilled and glassware broken. Thanks to
the Pub and Grub for allowing me to shoot from behind the bar and
Hollywood Alley for putting up with our jackassery, and being the
coolest fucking bar on the planet.
So anyway, enough soppy, sentimental bullshit. Here are a few outtakes