Black Light Burns @ The Majestic Theater, Detroit

I am the first to admit I'm terrible at keeping up with more commercial, mainstream music. So even though this band has a song on the latest Underworld movie soundtrack and is opening for Combichrist, I had not heard of them before this show.

I love the old school "goth" favorites like The Cure, Joy Division, Bauhaus and the Sisters of Mercy. I love the movie "The Crow."

But when Black Light Burns took the stage in makeup, bassist Jr's was very reminiscent of a Brandon Lee look, and I was annoyed. My expectations were lowered to anticipation of gothy cliches and emo-ness. I may have been shooting with my camera, but inside, I was figuratively crossing my arms and tapping my foot. Especially when they launched into a cover of the Sisters "My Lucretia."


I didn't like the makeup. I still don't. But, I have to say, Black Light Burns is a nice blend of electro rock with roots in old school goth. Their "Lucretia" cover paled in comparison to the original, but honestly, whose wouldn't? I found their set growing on me, despite my prejudice against the Crow-ish makeup of the bassist and the outright strange makeup and crazy moustache of vocalist Wes Borland (of Limp Bizkit) — the songs and the band's performance are high energy but with a bit if a dark edge.

Vocalist Wes Borland worked the crowd and drenched them, throwing more water than he drank. Guitarist Nick Annis (NOT the folk singer, thank you) was mesmerizing me with that crazy ass mane of hair of his.

Okay, I admit they put in a respectable "Lucretia" cover. And I particularly liked the Underworld track "I Want You To."

Black Light Burns walks a fine line bewteen techno electro pop and old school goth. It's rather catchy I must say. And not a bit emo.

Thank god.








Nashville Pussy

I’m doing an interview piece to accompany my Nashville Pussy photos. This will be a first for me, packaging the two, and I’m stoked it’s for a fairly well-known band.

Although, in my opinion, not nearly known enough.

Nashville Pussy is one of the best live bands I have ever seen. I do not pass out this compliment lightly. I would go into more detail, but my interview intro will elaborate.

Ruyter Suys…jesus, I couldn’t keep up with her. Thank god I had good light, because even at 1/250th of a second, for most shots, it just wasn’t fast enough. She is a whirlwind of wild maned rock and roll frenzy. Utterly mind-blowing.

I kept thinking that my dream tour would be Nashville Pussy and the Koffin Kats — bad boys, bad girls, plus a whole lot of liquor and raw sex appeal. I can see it now…the “Bad Kitty” tour.

Here’s one of Karen. And a rather young fan:


Zombie Ghost Train at Club Red, 2007


Captain Reckless and Stu Arkoff at Club Red, Tempe Arizona, 2007.

I always have a dilemma when I shoot — the question of color vs
black and white. I started out shooting black and white, processing and
printing everything the old fashioned way, and that sort of stuck with
me. Plus I developed a love for the great documentary photographers,
such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, James
Nachtwey…an image in black and white has such a timeless quality to

And yet, when people wear vibrant red coats like Stu’s that night,
or when I have beautiful colored stage lighting, I get a little
intoxicated in all that color. But I eventually go back to my roots.

I had Vic Victor put in a word with Stu about shooting some stuff
for Zombie Ghost Train, when they played together shortly after the KK
naked shoot for Girls and Corpses and shortly before this show. So Stu
calls me to chat about doing photos, and asks me, "we don’t have to
take our clothes off, do we?"

I’m never gonna live that shoot down.

Stu and Reckless trade a lot of banter on stage, and they are one of
the funniest bands to catch live. Also of note: Stu has quite a hard
time keeping his tongue in his mouth, as anyone who has seen photos of
him can attest to. And Reckless is one of the fastest damn bass players
I have ever seen.

The Quakes at Chasers

Quakes000128Here in Phoenix, not only are we lucky enough to have The Quakes
come through on their rare tours, but to have Paul Roman as a resident.
That means seeing him at pretty much all the local psychobilly shows.
He comes out to hear — and support — all the local and national
psycho acts coming through, and we had a brief discussion last night
about how many people came out for the Nekromantix…that we never see
at the other shows.

For those who love bigger bands like the Nekromantix, and only go to those shows, remember this:

At one time, those big bands were little unknowns, playing shitty
dive bars for a handful of people. But somewhere along the line, they
must have found a group of people who came out to see unknowns, liked
what they heard, and supported them through the tough years.

This is important people — you MUST come out and
support the smaller acts. Without doing that, there will be no new
bands you like. Without the diehard local supporters, there would be no
Nekromantix, or Tiger Army, or whoever the hell you like. And think
about this: think about what it would have been like to discover a band
like the Nekromantix or Tiger Army before anyone else really did. To be
able to see new bands and get to know them in intimate venues, and
follow them through their rise to a national audience.

Support your local music scene. Or it will die, along with the  next…[insert name of your favorite band.]

Mad Sin at Chasers, 2007


For those of you who think that being a rock and roll photographer
is "glamorous," let me tell you a little story…a story about the Mad
Sin show. Not that it was that much different than any other, but
somewhat more… intense. And lengthier.

We had a lineup of what, about 8 bands? Now, this is a small venue,
and they did set up a barrier because it was an all ages show, and they
needed the barrier for the bands to have beer on stage. The width of
the distance between said barrier and the stage was about, oh, foot and
a half…two feet, tops. Those who know me know I’m kind of a big gal.
Of course, I could stretch a bit between sets, but I spent the better
part of 6 or 7 hours crammed in that space, sitting on the floor so as
not to block fans’ view as the stage is really only a slightly raised
platform. If I put my feet under the rails, they got trampled, so I was
sort of twisted up like a pretzel trying to shoot, or on my knees.
(This is why I now own a pair of kneepads.)

Also remember we are talking about Phoenix. And a whole lotta people
packed in a tiny bar. It was HOT. I was sweating so much, that it was
rolling down my back most of the show. I ended up getting so
dehydrated, that the next day I felt like I had a hangover, but without
the benefit and fun of getting drunk.

On top of the that, the always rowdy Phoenix crowd was in rare form
for Mad Sin, and the whole damn venue was the "pit." When I’m shooting,
I get into a sort of weird, zen-like state, and was only vaguely aware
of getting kicked and a few people kind of…falling on my head. But
apparently it looked a lot worse to some of the fans. A few people I
know were like, "Di! You’re fucking amazing! People are falling on you,
and you just brush them off and keep shooting!"

So I’m down in front, sweating like a pig, getting kicked in the
head, and then the band decides to throw confetti glitter. Please note:
Glitter really sticks to sweaty bodies. Someone told me afterward I
looked like I had been to a David Bowie concert, but I think the people
at the Jack in the Box drive-thru afterward really enjoyed my new look.
Think a big vanilla ice cream cone with multicolored sprinkles. A big
wilted one, after sweating for about 6 hours.

BTW…colored glitter stains you skin. Bad.

And oh yes, my knees hurt afterward for a week.