Saturday, October 25, 2014


We set the Wayback Machine all the way to the late 1400s/early 1500s for the above photo (photographer unknown) documenting actual Moctezuma II's headdress, the only surviving example from the Aztec empire. Mr. Twister and I saw it in Vienna, and it's so fragile that only a few may view it at a time in very subdued lighting (which turns 
off the second people leave.)

Although the actual snatching away from the Aztec Emperor is unrecorded, its provenance dates to its appearance in the collection of the Archduke Ferdinand in Austria circa 1575, which coincides with the Age of Exploration and assorted aristo patronage/spoils of internecine Euro-warring. Past (wrong) restorations such as thinking it a mantle instead 
of headdress have been removed (it has leather straps amongst the gold to tie it 
on a head.) This fragile relic is astonishing in person....

Monday, October 20, 2014


Whoa!! Special secret pre-gig gig by ‪‎Precious Metal‬, everyone's favorite all-female band,  newly reunited after 20 years with all original members (Leslie Knauer, vocals, guitar; Janet Robin, guitar; Alex Rylance, bass; Carol 'Control' Duckworth, drums--absent, Mara Fox,) and it was a doozy! 

10.18.14 was for friends and family at prestigious NoHo (North Hollywood CA) music complex AMP: just check out these photos of the band giving their all! Their Precious Metal and Friends* Reunite to Save The Tatas breast cancer benefit is next Sat. at The Mint in West Hollywood CA, utterly sold out of course. The beneficiary is ChemoWize charity foundation, see LINK. *reportedly, a huge percentile of some of the most famous female rockers of the classic rock, punk and metal eras, plus a celeb musician/actor known to monkey around...)


Janet and Leslie, back in the day. Because these pro musicians have been working ever since, Precious Metal are EVEN BETTER than you remember them!

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Fair usage of PH-401 by Clyfford Still, 1957, oil on canvas. Although 
sui generis, Still's work can be said to be exemplary of color field Abstract 
Expressionism in the 1950s. In fact, Still is the only color field abstract 
expressionist I liked because the color fields seemed organic, like cowhide.

Check out this astonishing article, click LINK. According to the U.K. Independent, America's Central Intelligence Agency actively promoted color field Abstract Expressionist/modern art in the 1950s as subliminal anti-communist propaganda. Our CIA sought to stem the associations of artists and writers, a left-leaning bunch, from out and out defections to the Communist Party with concomitant loss of American culture dignity.

Wowza!! No wonder this 1950s baby liked Clyfford Still! And I wish governments still supported the arts (even if for the wrong reasoning.) Fostering the arts would be proof of a government's humanity, intellect and creativity promoting problem-solving in all walks of life. Because it's a 2-way street, that. Overall as my friend Leslie Jacobs wrote in response, "Nothing is as it seems...God bless the spooks!"

  Oddly, I found this article on a Facebook Pre-Raphaelites page...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Under the pseudonym Nimiety Enterprises, above depicts my photo and art direction for Rhino Records fourth ever release, Twist Again with the Low Numbers. (I also was employed to shoot and art direct Rhino's second and third releases, Rhino Royale with its wrestling theme and Saturday Night Pogo, the first L.A. punk compilation see LINK.)

I show the top, salient half of the record album because I shot it in 1978 in front of the Sheik al Fassi mansion at 9577 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills, Calif., the one with pubic hair notoriously painted on the outside Italianate nude statuary in front of the manse.

The Low Numbers themselves had suggested pastoral gauziness in Franklin Canyon a la at least 1,000 album covers trying to ape the Rolling Stones' High Tide and Green Grass cover shot by Guy Webster. But I wanted something sui generis, and placed them in front of the 38-room mansion and nudes while, yes, twisting.  I believe that Steve Martin's subsequent comedy film "The Jerk" was the only other location shoot of note thereupon. 

The Sheik's indulgences were legion, as architects marveled at his carpeting all of his rooms in all colors available, ripping up and replacing each successive color carpet until he decided on just the right hue; and his private bowling alley with the neon signs that lit up spelling "Good one Mohammed!" at each strike. The City of Beverly Hills itself marveled then transmogrified into a veritable lynch mob issuing constant citations. When the mansion burned to the ground two years later, most of Beverly Hills came to chant "Burn! Burn! Burn!" when the copper roof finally collapsed. 

Sheik al Fassi then moved to Florida where annoyed billionaire neighbors complained of the sheik's goats escaping and ruining their lawns and posh landscaping. Our mega-rich young troublemaker despite possessing the riches of Croesus had a short-ish life, dying at age 50 in 2002.


Even recent archeological excavations can yield interesting finds, to wit this triple portrait from just a coupla years back in Long Beach, California: Jimmy Recca (The Stooges, New Order,) Dire McCain (editor of Paraphilia magazine and publishing) and Billie Holiday (Goddess of Song.) We were there to see Deniz Tek perform; to view photos of that gig and more photo ops, click LINK.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014



Presenting the kind of local band that won't be local too much longer. 
 10.11.14 at El Cid Club, Los Angeles, herewith Dr. Boogie-- bigtime talent, bigtime A-list rock and roll sound. 

They are one of the best "new" bands I've ever encountered in all my forty-year+ career. (Rock couturier Evita Corby and I once walked in on the last two songs of a previous incarnation and with this scant evidence I surmised the exact same thing.) This time they debuted their new self-titled EP songs, were on fire as players, and really put out for the audience throughout the whole set.

It would be an oversimplification to pigeonhole their sound. A near miss would be sorta like The Faces rumble with the Stones but nice 'n' LOUD, with Chuck Berry cheering them on and drummers Jerry Nolan of the NY Dolls and his chum Micky Waller of the original Jeff Beck Group smiling down from heaven. Jaunty songs sported amusing lyrics and far more textures than first hearings implied. All four bandmembers are sonically important.

The band are: Chris P- lead vocals, guitar; Dustin James- guitar, vocals; Jeff Turpin- bass, vocals; Luis Herrera- drums. Catch 'em in venues the size of El Cid while you still can.

Here's some Dr. Boogie music for ya  
More band info here: LINK


Just another night looking out my window in our neighborhood...

There were seven squad cars, one helicopter and innumerable officers. I grabbed my camera at the prospect of photographing with those blazing helicopter searchlights, but they had disappeared by the time I got back to the window hence the low light pixel noise. I couldn't hear much of the proceedings but did distinguish the words "stolen car."

Deceptively serene portrait of our place in the daytime...
Pertinent video: 


I use my 48 years of music photography archives in my work, otherwise the past justs sits there in the past for me.  I wouldn't give it a thought except for fact-checking. The present is just as exciting as those wild rock and roll days of yore in no small part because I'm doing better work than ever. I embrace new stuff that suits me so there's no possibility of burnout. 

The only lingering trade-off is that I must be braver about carrying on despite some physical problems here and there. My aging seems to bother more people around me a lot more than it does me. I worry about my friends and loved ones but the only personal fear factors remain disability, all funds disappearing (don't ask,) or dementia. ( My friend Mary of THE DOGS piped up "Blind, broke and crazy-- that sounds like a country song!" ) Otherwise it can all be worked through.

Above photos, a thank you from filmmaker Amy D'Allessandro in the credits of her documentary dvd included in the forthcoming solo album James Williamson Re-Licked which is a fairly current representation of yours truly 2014; dishabille' after a Hollywood night shooting Glam rockers in 1975 with my first sighthound, the Russian Wolfhound Lucretia Borzoi as a puppy.

Friday, October 10, 2014

THE PRETENDERS, 1980, 1994

The Pretenders, captured in 1994 (with Chrissie Hynde wearing a skirt!) and 1980, their first American tour.

Friday, October 3, 2014


Face from a distant past, 
haunting in its seeming modernity of makeup and hair styling in addition to its beauty-- above: Melva Frances Cornell, photograph by Albert Witzel, 1929. 

An actress with a c.v. of Broadway hits like Fifty Million Frenchman (1929, songs by Cole Porter,)(her NYC stage shows found here LINK) and the films The Devil's Circus and Movietone Follies of 1929 which name-checked Stepin Fetchit and burlesque queen Dixie Lee in its cast, Cornell had been born in swank Santa Barbara CA, was a Hollywood High School classmate of Myrna Loy with whom she remained friends all their lives, and danced with her in the Fanchon and Marco Revue. Cornell eventually married Universal Studios P.R. flack Marc Lachmann (original name: Edward Ohrenstein.) The only known six photos of her 5-year Broadway and film career presented herein: below left comporting herself like the professional dancer she was, photo by Edwin Hesser, 1925; right unknown photographer, from 1930; below right: mermaid publicity shot from aforementioned film, and at bottom, from the international movie magazine Cinemundial in 1926 stating her casting in The Devil's Circus.



This is the cd package exterior for forthcoming Re-Licked by James Williamson album; the two pocket trays hold the cd and dvd of The Making of Re-Licked respectively; the 24-pp. booklet sets in the middle. I took the photo on the left in Evil Spirit Engineering (custom bike/rod shop,) and art direction provided by Joel Pelletier and yours truly. It's a blast!
Below, James Williamson at the board producing Re-Licked, the same Neve board now that starred in the recent Sound City documentary, which is now and utilized by Dave Grohl at his Studio 606.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


photo by Mike Frye

The missive this morning hit me like a steamroller/ton of bricks/lead weights et al.,  crushing the breath right out of me. Her newly widowed husband had navigated his wife's Facebook page and informed her friends near and afar that after a confirmation of an extremely rare cancer but two days ago and concomitant appalling news that there were only days left, she had died at the hospital within 36 hours and that the cremation funeral was this coming Friday, tomorrow. 

Horse-keeping still retains the oral tradition of learning amongst individuals to compare notes, be it from horse-trainers, veterinarians or fellow horse-owning buddies. I have had three horse mentors, my friend Mary Kay, bassist of THE DOGS with whom I spent many happy years trail-riding together until she got even more serious about her life's work of rock and roll and sold her last horse to a mutual friend; Christy Monfort my current horse Indy's trainer extraordinaire who took it upon herself to bring me up to speed along with my then young and extremely feisty National Show Horse (so named Indiana Jones because he was an adventure to ride;) and Ginny Frye whom I initially met online through her capacity as the friendliest board of directors' member ever of the otherwise somewhat rather occasionally prone to snobbery National Show Horse Registry. 

Ginny was a successfully winning showhorsewoman with a specialty in driving our notoriously highstrung National Show Horses and Arabians, and was a true, unprejudiced horse appreciator. She later found Norwegian Fjord horses to her liking and happily took up trail-riding her beloved Fjord Hoover, just because the breed are such cool little equines. Residing in Vermont and then North Carolina with her husband Mike and horses, Ginny and I shared a longtime correspondence and fortunately one in person stayover visit as she wanted to meet Indy. Indy promptly payed his respects to his NSH Board of Directors' member by picking up then flinging a flake of hay on her head, something he had never done before nor has done since. She just cracked up. 

She also encouraged me to enter my horse Indy in the NSH Registry debut category of "Sport Horse of the Year, 2002" for his High Point Championship in Dressage under his wins with aforementioned trainer Christy Monfort (I'd only placed second on him in my far lower level Dressage shows) since they counted training shows as well as A-class ones the one year I could afford to show. So there in the American Show Horse Association (of all horse breeds and disciplines) for all time is its first winner in the National Show Horse category, Sport Horse High Point of the Year 2002: Indiana Jones RLB owned by Heather Harris. 


 Above, Indy showing with his trainer Christy Monfort first 2 photos; Indy and I trail riding in our dressage saddle as is our wont.

She was a razor sharp wit, whip smart, highly educated and appreciative of same when mutually encountered. Her online advice on now dormant NSH chats to rookies frequently proved hilarious. She once led on some youngster that the correct way to stop a runaway carriage horses in the show ring was to hurl yourself Roy Rogers style onto their furiously galloping backs and wrestle them to a halt... Not!!! Or when queried what the ancestral breeding of National Show Horses was, she began quoting "Well... Allah took part of the East winds and the spirit of the West winds and fashioned it into the holy horses...or something..." (quoting apocryphal mists of time legends of the Arabian Horse breed.)

She considered me a genuine free spirit rather than a write-off flake like some arty types she knew. She was generous to a fault. We had still exchanged Xmas gifts all these seventeen years later. But the gift I most treasured remained her constant encouragement and appreciation of my better half and me throughout our respective serious travails. Yes...we of the rather oddball backgrounds and creative arts vocations for the staidly traditional sport of horses. That's her gift I'll take with me everywhere forever. Rest in peace Ginny Frye.
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