Thursday, August 25, 2011

IGGY and THE STOOGES, LIVE, Tribute to Ron Asheton, 4.19.11, Ann Arbor MI, PHOTOGRAPHS AND STORY

Here are the links to my Tribute to Ron Asheton with Iggy and The Stooges piece (originally in PARAPHILIA Magazine issue 12, pp. 3 - 18 plus front cover) and my piece on The Dogs, a worthy Michigan-born band also still here forty years on (originally in same PARAPHILIA issuw, pp. 97- 111.) Both are copiously illustrated with my photographs...

Iggy and The Stooges live in Ann Arbor MI LINK
                     The Dogs, their history therein  LINK

Top photo, Iggy Pop at the Tribute to Ron Asheton with Iggy and The Stooges gig, below, The Dogs
More on the entire Ann Arbor visit, Iggy and The Stooges show and assorted important personnel throughout that trip here LINK and here LINK.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

TRIBUTE! Part Troisieme, Funhouse...

Above, "Iggy" definitely knows the finer points of performing.
Below, "Iggy" clambers on top of the liquor bar and proceeds to become very unkind to the lightbulbs.

The Raw Power Rangers were back at it doing "Funhouse" by The Stooges, 8.21.11 at West L.A.'s Liquid Kitty. David Arnson channeled the in-your-face youthful exuberance of the silver opera gloves & dog collar clad "Iggy Pop" climbing up the liquor bar and assorted women, while Don Bolles, onetime drummer for The Germs as well as the RPRs filled in as guitarist "Ron Asheton."

A Raw Power Ranger ("Dave Alexander,") geddit?

"Ron Asheton"
"Rock Action"

For more Raw Power Rangers' action go to LINK!

Photo Op section, left: the back of Don Bolles ("Ron Asheton") and his friend's beautiful Retro-inspired visage; below right: Van Nuys neighbor, equally beautiful but bereft of makeup Kimberly Yee and onetime Creem magazine film reviewer, writer Brian Zabawski

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

an INGER LORRE story...

The Nymphs, signed for big bucks to Geffen when it mattered, were a New Jersey band relocated to Los Angeles in the early 1990s. They were compared to every hard rock category under the sun at the time -- Goth, punk, metal, grunge -- but to me they sounded like a female-fronted Roxy Music insofar as having a distinct band sound that quite differed from their peers, and for having as much dry humor as venomous bite in their songs which were primarily the work of singer Inger Lorre. The band derived its nomenclature from the post-larvae insect stage, not the semi-deity, nubile Greek maidens, although Lorre qualified.

For a while they were quite the P.R.-generators, probably in response to Geffen delaying virtually everything about their eponymous release. All the music media carried the story of Ms. Lorre pissing on the desk of company A&R person Tom Zutaut in front of him as visceral protest. She then revived the glam look of elaborate feather boas and showgirl headdresses onstage which would have been anathema on anyone else of that era. She had a quasi-ever-so-slightly flat but fierce melodic delivery that one might speculate was closely observed by Courtney Love, with occasional spoken word interludes of Biblical references. Then Inger became known for extreme tardiness to her own gigs, then for a (now acknowledged) heroin addiction alongside alcoholism. She was so talented, but it all got away from her.

I had looked forward to photographing The Nymphs (before their soon and inevitable implosion) as part of a multi-artist show heralding some sort of awards that Music Connection Magazine sponsored. Featured performers included Brian Wilson, Barbara Eden ("I Dream of Jeannie!") and lots more. This was one of the few occasions that got away from me as well, as somehow the one roll of film (of at least eight rolls needed to cover the whole show) with what was then one of the first post-Landy (his controversial shrink) appearances by Brian Wilson plus The Nymphs' single performed song disappeared from my camera bag. Mortified, I did however get the card of someone who had these shots and paid him in advance from my own pocket for same with his own promised accredation to fill in for what inexplicably was missing, since it was important to the assignment.

Fortunately for me a second chance at least to shoot Inger unfolded. For the awards' after-party there was a jam band with Frank Infante and Clem Burke of Blondie plus others upon whom we can't seem to agree nor remember. Inger had shed her feather boas for the see-through number depicted in my two photos above. She then begged, BEGGED, BEGGED the band to play "I Wanna Be Your Dog" by The Stooges, pleading with them worthy of James Brown's immortal "Please, Please, Please!" so that she could warble and wail her favorite Stooges song, which one gathers heretofore hadn't fit into their set plans. She sounded as obsessed as a rabid concert fan bellowing a favorite song request, for which I commend her. It's great to have someone else's music mean that much to someone even when that someone is a performer/songwriter herself.

The Nymphs went their separate ways soon, Inger eventually attaining successful to this day clean and sober-ness, and augmenting her music career by also becoming a successful fine art painter (see similar on Elastica's Justine Frischmann LINK) with many group shows. This makes sense, as her own quite excellent drawing of assorted modern-life demons and temptations circling down a whirlpool and/or toilet bowl adorned the cover of The Nymphs' debut release. Drummer Alex Kirst joined his guitarist brother Whitey in The Trolls, the solo band of Iggy Pop. But there can be no complete aggregate Nymph reunion: Alex Kirst was killed this last January, 1.13.11 by a hit and run driver in Cathedral City, California.

Vintage The Nymphs in dim lights but live!

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These Ramones' photographs were shot on assignment. At site I realized my autofocus wasn't working, and my manual focusing skills varied unpredictably in low light (what prevails between the stage lights to be metered) so I quickly rethought everything for the unnecessary three-song limit, a short time to be sure with the Ramones' speedy ditties averaging 90 seconds per song. I'd go for nontraditional images of the band in higher aperture/depth of field to keep focus sharp, rather than low aperture/spot-focus freezeframes of the familiar Johnny Ramone leaping in the air, Joey Ramone hulking over his 45-degree angled microphone stand, etc. action shots. (I'm reminding those outside our field that flash isn't allowed. Fine by me.)

I was satisfied with these images that ended up resembling horror movie posters, not what one normally associates with this band's visuals, but which apply in context of their songs' subject matters. Dee Dee Ramone worked out best for same.

Below is Lemmy of Motorhead joining the last of The Ramones for their final show in the song he wrote about them, "R-A-M-O-N-E-S!"

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

CLEO VIPER, retro-burlesque at The Viper Room

Cleo Viper, a young retro-burlesque dancer from Italy, appeared as one of the opening acts for The Michael Des Barres Band (see LINK) on 8.6.11 at the Viper Room in Hollywood. 

I accidentally got one of the best shots I've ever taken, above, of her "Butterfly Metamorphosis" act onstage replete with flapping wings action.It was the first and only photo I took of her: one glance told me I wasn't ever going to get better than this. It's uncropped and unretouched (just color-balanced from its RAWfile to restore accurate stage lighting look.) I'm proud of this one.

My live photograph as well as her own studied look do indeed harken back to the Belle Epoque era, as I'm a devotee of Art Nouveau from my art studies. It's what my late grandparents hypothetically might have encountered, which would have been themed exotic dancing with perhaps a moral --a nod to freedom and free love perchance within the butterfly's casting off her binding cocoon--accompanying the strip tease.

The glittering costume unfurled to an eight foot wingspan over her lithe dancer's mainly unclad physique festooned with tattoos of, amongst others, SpongeBob SquarePants. Her graceful act remained entirely enjoyable throughout, even to us Hooters-eschewing hetero females.

Cleo Viper also entertains penchants for other retro eras, such as the Roaring '20s, incorporating Charleston flapper dancing into some routines plus of course accurate costuming to be shed. Check out her act, biography and touring schedule at the Cleo Viper site here LINK.


The Viper Room sizzled 8.6.11 to the tail-feather-shakin' all rock&soul stylin's of the Michael Des Barres Band (for more info on its charismatic frontman, see LINK.) Harmonica great Jimmy Wood (see
my photo of him playing with then full time singer Katey Sagal
at the legendary Palomino club LINK) and Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens (above) joined the fun jamming to "Hoochie Coochie Man" and venerable minimalist hardcore lust-lullaby "Wild Thing" amidst band originals like "Baby Saved My Ass."

Hard workin'
MDBB rock out
for some
serious fun.

the traditional kiss from onstage

I accidentally took one of the best photographs I've ever taken with one of the acts which preceded The Michael Des Barres Band, such that she deserves her own separate piece which shall be the next one forthwith, LINK.

Photo Op section: Rock couture designer Evita Corby and Stefan Arngrim share a cinematic moment or two outside the Viper Room after aforementioned sizzling gig.

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Get all this hot fashion right here! LINK!
Your Stoogewear wardrobe soon will feature this fabulous Rock Action logo
(designed by talented Kim Baise, fulltime artist as well as fulltime mom) T-shirt in appealing and cool colors, plus assorted accessories.

The surly Stoogechild featured in the Youthwear Division photos is Ruby Matheu, daughter of the Iggy and The Stooges' staff photographer, pictured outside of sullen model mode in the third photo from the top with promoter/marketer Leanna Asheton (actual daughter of the band's drummer Rock Action) who graciously performed stylist duties for the session. Leanna's brother Aaron Wallis also modeled. Ruby's own illustrations of this clothing line adorn the seamless backdrop behind the two, and it's my own skull ring in this last photo.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

TRIBUTE! Pt. Deux, Led Zeppelin, Heart a la faux

It's Led Zeppelin performing all their greatest hits live in 2011! Or at least the closest today's fans of classic rock can sidle up to same, given the non-existence of the band in its youthful, mighty heyday. Heartbreaker, this Zep tribute band, remain sufficiently superb musicians to pull it off, to look the part and to fill their own coffers to the brim from excellent, large venue gigs, such as this one at the Orange County (California) Fair, 7.30.11. Lest one think less of a series of rock shows that featured tributes to Aerosmith, ABBA, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Journey, Morrissey and Jimmy Buffett amongst dozens, one should add that the Fair's other attractions included the real Bob Dylan and his band, B.B. King, Paul Rodgers, Weezer, Chris Isaak, Melissa Etheridge, Steel Pulse with The Wailers, and Blue Oyster Cult...

The "Heart" women, Nom du
Tribute Dog 'N Butterfly, joined the Heartbreaker guys for some supergroup-type jamming. I had forgotten that the earliest incarnation of Ann and Nancy Wilson's band dressed as if they all were going to the Renaissance Faire...

Heartbreaker, in their own youthful, mighty glory heydays right now, present a fun replication of thunderous Zep verisimilitude, from musicianly proficiency with its quirks (yes, the mandolin was played by "John Paul Jones" not "Jimmy Page" on Ballad Of Evermore as with the originals) to their studied look, correct not only in costuming, but respective relative heights and girths. Vocalist Jefrey James is dead on as "Robert Plant" in both timbre and stage moves, "John Bonham's" Moby Dick is as bombastic as its progenitor's. It'll always be a good show: they rock!

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