Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Decade

Happy New Decade

Here's a 17-year-old Rita Hayworth hoofing her teenaged heart out, to help you celebrate New Year's Eve dancing, whether actively or vicariously. (Her best routine, the Shorty George with Fred Astaire in "You Were Never Lovelier" hasn't made it to Youtube yet.)

Happy Last Decade
Here's my list for RocksBackPages of my favorite, significant 20 releases of 2000-2009 (I was congratulated for my last choice as "brave.")

Awesome Color: Electric Aborigines
The Black Crowes: Lions
Johnny Cash: The Man Comes Around
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Dig!! Lazarus, Dig!!
Chainsaw: We Are Not Very Nice
The Detroit Cobras: Life, Love and Leaving
The Dogs:Fed Up!
The Fiery Furnaces: Gallowsbird's Bark
The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Petra Hayden Sings The Who Sell Out
MGMT: Oracular Spectacular
The Raveonettes: Whip It On Recorded in Glorious B Flat Minor
Sonic's Rendezvous Band
The Stooges: You Don't Want My Name You Want My Action
Tool: 10,000 Days
Gillian Welch: Time (the Revelator)
Brian Wilson: Smile
Amy Winehouse: Back to Black
Scott Walker: The Drift

Monday, December 28, 2009


photo (C) Heather Harris. All Rights Reserved. Judas Priest live at some metal festival in my native L.A., gawd knows when. I quite like the fringe on Rob's jacket, little bats and things. Why did I, or anyone else, shoot black and white in the pre-digital Pleistocene? Because that's what the magazine that this was going to go in was going to print it in. My high-key/high contrast choices made in the darkroom would, I knew, reproduce better than theirs with a color original.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


As fellow blogspotter Evanesco so noted, it's not Christmas until I post "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" (yes, I draw too) and my Goth tree, both from my daze of sending Xmas cards.

Friday, December 11, 2009


photo © 1989 Heather Harris. All Rights Reserved.

It was the end of the 1980's, my most lucrative decade of photographic work. Hair metal, post-punk and proto-grunge had been very, very good to me. But life events caught up with me bigtime in the last dwindling days of the decade. My graphic art business was sued and taxed out of existence by the California State Board of Equalization, who had decided that drawing art was a quantifiable product, not a service (how many yards of art would you like, sir?) My favorite cousin was diagnosed with AIDS, a death sentence then which indeed ensued. My beloved grandfather died on my birthday. My favorite local colleague and friend Suzan Carson (she did the Kill City Iggy and James Williamson pix, see LINK) died of cancer on Christmas Eve. And my close friend in England Shelley Benoit, the one who had introduced my better half and me 20 years prior to this, died on Christmas day of a completely preventable medical accident in hospital in Cornwall.

To say I was reeling in my psyche would have been an understatement. One's first flurry of personal deaths is usually the hardest. Post Christmas, I did not go to sleep for 5 days and nights in a row, 80% harrowing emotional inertia, 20% "other" (it was the 1980's and I did work in the music business.)

Then metal group Misguided, whom I had photographed in my studio, invited me to photograph their well-publicized debut at the Whisky. I noticed someone from the Group of the Hour, Guns n' Roses, hanging off the front of the stage like some kid at Altamont, a very unusual display of musical fandom from a ridiculously timely superstar. I don't normally corner stars a la paparazzo, but I felt that my clients would love a photo of themselves with the Guns guy, and he just might have enjoyed their set enough to be approachable.

So I did. At first he made a sign of the cross to get the vampire away, and then it hit me. Having been up for 5 days and nights straight, I looked like Keith Richards, the living dead, the hills have eyes, army of darkness, tales from the crypt and all decadent rock stars rolled into one, which is to say I looked like complete hell, which is to say I looked like "one of us" to the Guns' n' Roses guitarist. Who amiably said "yes."

So above is my backstage photo of Izzy Stradlin with 3 of the 4 members of Misguided. And the first paragraph should be self-explanatory as to why I don't exactly celebrate Christmas. At the Fastfilm and Mr. Twister residence during the holidays there is no tree, there are no decorations, just presents for friends to cherish the ones that are still alive.

There's a photo of Suzan Carson at LINK. Below, Mr. Twister, Shelley Benoit and yours truly in London and Warwick, England, autumn, 1978

Friday, December 4, 2009


photo (C) Heather Harris. All rights reserved. Katey Sagal, pre-Married With Children, pre-Lost, pre-Sons of Anarchy, singing at the Palomino, North Hollywood, California with Jimmy Wood, god knows when. However, I do recall that she was singing "Hey Gyp" as Donovan recorded the song (also known as "Chevrolet" by its writers The Jim Kweskin Jug Band and also when covered by a solo Maria Muldaur, whose voice Sagal's somewhat resembles albeit bluesier.) A legitimate working vocalist, Ms. Sagal also was tapped by Bette Midler to sing backup as a "Harlette" for their 1979 tour.
Above, Jimmy Wood still rocking on harp 9.8.11 live with the Michael Des Barres Band.
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