The lovely people at Sky News invited me in for a chat abouty my current & first public London exhibition. It’s on now until 11th April 2019. Heath Street Baptist Church, Hampstead, London NW3 1DN. It has been beautifully curated by the genius and artist in his own right, Alexander Rosenberg. It on 7 days a week - Weekdays 12pm -7pm Saturdays 11am-6pm, Sundays 1pm -5pm. Many unseen images of Queen, Bob Dylan, Amy Winehouse, Leonard Cohen. Oasis, Shane MacGowan, Paul McCartney, Chuck Berry, Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Status Quo, George Michael plus many more… #Queen #FreddieMercury #BobDylan #RollingStones #TheWho #AmyWinehouse #LeonardCohen
This Thursday night in West London, Subterania. Yes, its a big one. Lulu, Kiki Dee, Steve Overland & STAKS Band, All in one place for one night only! Do come along. It will be one of those “I Was there” gig’s. So, get online and buy your tickets quickly. Hopefully see you all there on Thursday
I will be on BBC Radio London tomorrow morning at around 11:30 am. Its the Robert Elms Show. No doubt, I will be talking rubbish as usual. If i get a chance I will talk about our exhibition in Hampstead. It has been curated by the brilliant, Alexander Rosenberg. It’s well worth a visit. It’s at Heath Street Baptist Church, Heath St, Hampstead, London NW3 1DN BBC Radio London 94.9FM in the UK. #BBC #RadioLondon #Hampstead #Exhibition #Queen #BobDylan #RollingStones #AmyWinehouse #PinkFloyd #LeonardCohen #TheWho
Here is a short video of the AMAZING Staks Band performing at London’s Subterania in January 2019. What a band.. The guests included, Beverley Knight, Roachie & Steve Overland. The band and singers were stunning. Next time they are performing, i would strongly suggest you join us and come and see them live..
The video was shot and produced by my very talented son, Sam (Copyright 2019 Sammy Lazarus).
West London had a big treat last night at Subterania, near Portobello Road. The amazing STAKS Band performed with special guests, Beverley Knight, Steve Overland & Roachie & the legendary Madeline Bell. The band also were filming a new video to accompany their forthcoming debut CD (& Vinyl album). It was a long day which included quite a bit of filming. The doors opened early evening and the crowd were treated to quite a brilliant band called Jawbone. They were so good and if you get the chance to see them, I would thoroughly recommend it as their music was contagious and one of those bands that you would love immediately.
Just after 9pm The STAKS BAND took to the stage and they were fronted by the superb, Steve Overland. This was his first time performing with the band. But, he is no stranger to performing live. I have been told that he has been voted as one of the worlds top vocalists and he has been in great demand by many bands throughout the years. They opened up with a sublime version of the classic ‘She’s Not There’ then many other songs including songs like, Norwegian Wood (Beatles), Down by the River (Neil Young). They also performed some of their own songs including, one fabulous song actually written by Mr Overland himself. Steve sung around 8 songs and then handed over to the larger than life, Roachie, who flew in from his home in the Bahamas. His performance was red hot and made up for the freezing weather and snowstorm outside at the time. Like Steve Overland, the audience loved him. After around 3 songs, Roachie handed over to the lovely, Beverley Knight. She was, like the other performers on the night, quite phenomenal. She gave such a brilliant performance and the crowd were loving it. I have to say that even the many celebrities who I spotted in the crowd were really into it and letting their hair down, so to speak. The legendary Madeline Bell was also there last night, but she kept a low profile. She had just arrived from Australia and possibly that was the reason why she was quietly at the back with the other INCREDIBLE backing vocalists. The whole of the STAKS band are SOOOOOO good. I have worked with some amazing musicians in my time but I have to say that this band are probably the best & nicest bunch I have worked with. Every one of them is absolutely ‘Top Drawer’ as far as musicianship. They work so well together and they have a sound that is unbelievable. I have heard other people say this and I have also said it, there are echoes of Joe Cocker’s Mad Dog & Englishmen’s days and also, The Band.
The STAKS BAND are now the band that everyone who is someone (if that makes sense), wants to come and perform with. After all they have had some stunning artists perform with them already, like Steve Winwood, Jack Bruce (Cream), Lulu, Imelda May, Kiki Dee, Paul Carrack to name a few. Oh and now, Beverley Knight, Roachie, Steve Overland & Madeline Bell.. Phew! What a band…
Here are some photos from last night.. I hope you like them. Spread the word about STAKS BAND. The world needs to hear them!
So who would have thought that 40 years later we would all be gathering together in London to celebrate the anniversary of this epic and groundbreaking film, Quadrophenia. This was all in aid of the amazing Teenage Cancer Trust. So, I arrived tonight at the Michelin star restaurant, Locanda Locatelli in London. The one and only Bill Curbishley was the first person I saw as I walked in. It was lovely to see him. It was quiet and really nice to have a catch up and a laugh as well. Very soon after this plenty of people started arriving. Richard Desmond, Chairman of Northern & Shell with his wife. The cast started arriving, Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash, Sting & Trudy, the director, Frank Roddam, Phil Davis, Mark Wingett and others. Pete Townshend and Rachel Fuller arrived as well. We all went in for dinner and I took some photos as well. As it was a special gathering, I couldn’t resist and miss this opportunity. I have had a copy of the original script of Quadrophenia since 1978. The chap who wrote the screenplay was Dave Humphries. He used to come and type up the script every day in our office (actually, Bill Curbishley & The Who’s office) in Wardour Street, Soho, London. He was disabled and I would always help him and his driver carry Dave up and down the stairs. When he finished writing the script, he gave me a hand bound copy of it. So, tonight, I got the whole cast to sign it for me, which was nice. That will be one for the kids, I suppose..
Pete Townsend and I had a lovely chat about the old days and we were chatting about one concert in particular, Charlton FC in 1976. Pete told me tonight how much that gig meant to him and why it was so special. It was fascinating. Then we started speaking about Soho. I had forgotten that Pete actually lived in Soho. It was on the corner of Wardour Street and Broadwick Street. At least I think that is where he said it was. He was telling me that this was where he wrote most of Tommy! He went on and was telling me about those hot summer nights in Soho. I actually remember them myself. As a young kid, I was often hanging around in Wardour Street. It’s funny to think that it was only yards from there that The Who would have their offices and I would have an office within it. I did remind Pete that he did written about those drunken hot nights in Soho and he said ‘Oh, I probably did’, I just said, ‘Who Are You’ and he then smiled and me and said ”yes, that’s true” It was so nice to catch up with lots of people tonight. I am not going to go on anymore as I have an early start tomorrow and I am with The STAKS Band tomorrow who are rehearsing for the big gig at Subterania on Thursday night.
Here are a few photos from the night with the Quadrophenia Crew.
There is so much doom and gloom at the moment in this big wide world and that’s without mentioning Brexit. So, this night out may well be just what the doctor ordered! At the end of this month on January 31st in West London there will be THE event of 2019. I know you must be thinking, well, we are only just into 2019, which is true. But, this is going to be one hell of a night. The incredible STAKS Band are performing at Subterania in West London, along with some very special guests. I mean REALLY special. STAKS have also finished recording their first Album, which I must say sounds sublime. This will no doubt be released in due course. I will update you all when I know a release date. I also understand it may well be released as a vinyl as well.
So, the 31st of January is going to be a BIG night.. The STAKS Band with Steve Overland & Beverly Knight at Subterania in West London. All proceeds are going to Nordoff Robbins. Get your tickets right now from www.subterania.net. It will no doubt sell out very fast, so, don’t hang about. It’s going to be amazing!
I found out this morning after reading a post from one of Ted’s close friends and band mate, Chris Glenn, that Ted had suddenly passed away after a standard operation for a hernia. This is awfully sad news. Not only was Ted a lovely chap, but he was a sensational drummer. I havent seen Ted for a few years, but, its still a shock. I first met Ted when I was working with the Sentastional Alex Harvey Band around 1975. I shot this photo after the gig, backstage in Portsmouth’s Guildhall on the south coast of England. I dont know Ted’s family, but, my thoughts are with them right now. Not that really helps them much at this very, very sad time.. Here are some photos from happy times with Ted..
Two or three years later I started working and touring with the brilliant Rory Gallagher. The band was Rory, Gerry McAvoy & Ted. Here are a couple of shots from the Rory Gallagher days. The photograph below of Ted on the drums was taken during the pre-tour rehearsals for the “Photo Finish” tour.
The last photo here is Gerry McAvoy, Ted McKenna & Rory Gallagher walking throught the streets of London during rehersals just before the tour. This shot or one very similar was one of my shots used in the album “Photo Finish”.
Yes, yes, yes.. we all know it’s the baby Jesus.. I know he walked on water and turned water into wine, but he didn’t have a massive Xmas hit with ‘Fairytale of New York’ nor was he lead singer of the ‘Nipple Erectors’ or lead singer of ‘The Pogues’! So, who am I talking about, yes, the amazing, legendary, Shane MacGowan. He was born on December 25th 1957.
Back in the late 1970’s, I had an office in Wardour Street, Soho, London. Along the street was a market in Berwick Street. At the bottom end near Shaftesbury Avenue was a record store. Strangely the store had normal albums for sale, but they also had quite a lot of records that were marked ‘Not For Sale’ ‘Promotion Copy’. This seemed to be the place that everyone in the record business would sell their free sample albums. Kind of naughty, but, that is what happened. In that particular store worked one Shane MacGowan. We knew each other then and we used to chat about different bands, music, life, the Spanish civil war etc etc. I am not actually joking about that. I didn’t know much about the Spanish civil war and I still don’t know much. But, Shane was well versed and knew quite a lot. He is very well read and extremely knowledgable. Around this time there was a kind of riot or big old punch up in Berwick Street market and guess who was there in the thick of it.. yes, the one and only Shane MacGowan. I have spent many an enjoyable time with Shane. I must say every one of our times together have been great fun and a small piece of history in the making. One night we spent the evening and night together in a pub and sat chatting after hours until the sun came up.. Sounds all romantic doesn’t it. He was very funny and it was always so interesting and such a nice chap. He and Jen Finer wrote one of the biggest Xmas songs of all time, ‘Fairytale of New York’. What a classic! Although the single has Kirsty McCall singing on it, which is brilliant. It was written with Pogue member and bassist, Cait O'Riordan in mind as the singer. I have toured with the Pogues a bit and whilst on the road I did get some nice shots of Shane and Cait dancing during that song on stage at the end of the shows.
We have had some very deep conversations over the years. Some of which were almost unbelievable and yet absolutely true.. Shane being a cousin of Che Guevara is one.. Sounds rediculous? Well, it’s not.. that’s a story I shall tell another day. Saying that, it did lead to me doing a photo shoot with Shane dressed up as Che Guevara, but this photo shoot I renamed him Shane Guevara! He is quite a unique and lovely guy.
Shane was in London at the Q Awards receiving a lifetime achievement award. He wouldn’t go to the toilet without me. He was once attacked in a toilet and has a scar above his lip to show for it. So, whilst he was relieving himself, I thought let’s get some shots. This is one and the other shot is just before we went back into the reception. Shane was doing his hair in the mirror and asked me if I thought he looked like Jonny Burnett.. obviously he did!
This year he married his lovely girlfriend Victoria. They have been an item for a very long time and they make a lovely couple. as I mentioned above, Shane was actually born in Kent, England on Christmas day 1957. But, he is Irish through and through.. So, Shane, have a lovely happy birthday me old fruit and hopefully see you very soon… #ShaneMacGowan #Pogues #ThePogues #Ireland #Irish #PeteDoherty #Babyshambles
By all accounts he was a lovely guy. A great musician & songwriter. They all were in that AMAZING, BRILLIANT band. I cant say I knew Pete Shelley well at all. Yes, I met him quite a few times back in the late 1970’s. But, I didn’t really get to know him. But, I know quite a few people who did. I must say, I never heard a bad word said about him.
Buzzocks were, back in 1979 pretty big. I was living in between London, New York and Los Angeles around that time. There was no internet, twitter, facebook mobile phones, whats app etc etc. Therefore, it was kind of hard for me to keep up to speed with the very different music scenes. California was VERY laid back, New York was, laid back, country, blues, Punk & rock. London was everything! I also felt that it was like the sixties, very much a hotbed of talent with Punk, New Wave, Ska, Rock, everything.. I could only keep up with various music trends, bands and happenings via, Melody Maker, Sounds, NME for UK and Rolling Stone, Circus and Creem for USA. So, when I flew back into a foggy London from NYC in autumn 1979 I was keen to hit the ground running and get to shoot as many British bands I could. Saying that, I used that term metaphorically speaking. I preferred to slowly land in comfort aboard a nice 747 PanAm or TWA plane. So, November the 9th I went over to the Rainbow Theatre in London’s Finsbury Park to photograph Buzzcocks. Excuse the pun, but, there was a big Buzz around the Buzzcocks at that time.. Looking back now at that show is hard, as it’s distant in my mind. However, I do remember it being a great show and musically brilliant. It was a full house rammed with thousands of people. Buzzcocks had such an amazing following fo loyal fans. So, poor Pete Shelley has now left us. He was young, only 63! It must be very sad for his family and loved ones that he has left behind. These two of my photos are from that amazing gig at The Rainbow Theatre, London November 9th 1979. RIP Pete Shelley and long live Buzzcocks! #Buzzcocks #Punk #PunkRock #1979 #PeteShelley #Music #RealMusic #MusicLegends @Buzzcocks #RainbowTheatre #London
Back in 2003/04 I found myself travelling around various parts of the world photographing Eric Clapton. Japan, Europe and USA. Whilst on the US leg of the tour, Mr Clapton organised a massive concert for his Crossroads Charity. It was a 3/4 day event in Dallas. It was so hot in Dallas that weekend. I think it was about 150 degrees. Ok, that was maybe a slight exaggeration, but believe me it was incredibly hot. So much happened that weekend and it was very busy and a lot of fun. My brother Simon was also there as he lives in LA. There were so many people that I knew there and lots of friends. Obviously the wonderful Tony Edser & Where’s Eric team. Other great friends of mine, Joyce and Sam Moore (Sam & Dave), Billy Preston, Michelle Breger & Sandy. Last year I got a call from Genesis Publications. They were producing a very exclusive limited edition book for Eric Clapton. It was going be called Eric Clapton & Friends, Sunshine of Your Love. Genesis Publications had been told that I was official photographer for that event and they had been asked by Eric Clapton’s office to get in touch and ask to see my photos from the event. So, I edited up a few hundred photos and off they went. Its been quite a time, but, early this morning a courier arrived with my Official Crossroads Guitar Festival Limited Edition book of which there will only be 2000 copies. I was rather touched as it was personally signed by Eric Clapton. There was also a lovely letter enclosed thanking me for my ‘Valuable Contribution’. The reason I have mentioned this is not to be brash or anything like that. Obviously I was paid for this, but, the fact that I have been thanked in this way with a nice letter is quite rare these days and I really appreciated it. Now, about the book! Yes, it’s beautifully produced and full of some fantastic photographs. Mine were only from that particular event. There were other Crossroad events and they are in there as well. There are some great photos from some brilliant photographers and friends of mine. Robert Knight, Kevin Mazur, Michael Putland & Jun Sato to name a few. So, if they are not yet all sold out, get on the www.genesis-publications.com and try and buy one. It really is a collector’s piece and one to keep! I am very proud to have so many of my photos in this beautiful book.
Last night was the much anticipated launch of Miel’s EP. I must say I have heard snippets of her new music at the odd rehearsal and also in the recording studio. But, to hear it live with such an enthusiastic audience was something rather special. In line with everything Miel does, it was a superb evening in West London. The amazing restaurant called ‘Ours’ on Brompton Road, London was completely taken over for this event.
The most senior people from the WWF came over from Geneva, Switzerland to hear the new music. Marco Lambertini The Director general of the WWF International was there with Will Skinner. This charity has been one of Miel’s passions since she was a child and to be honest, the WWF’s cause is MUCH more than saving Pandas. It’s really ALL about our planet. So, take a look at their website and donate and get involved..
The room was called a ‘Living Room’ and how appropriate as it was. Miel’s EP has three tracks, 1, I Was Given Nature. 2, Unique Flower. 3 How Are You So Grounded. So, with the link to the WWF and her songs, the living Room with tree’s and plants growing everywhere was rather spectacular.
The WWF have chosen Miel’s single I Was Given Nature to represent a new campaign by the WWF called Connect2earth. Which in itself is quite something!
So, hearing Miel and her phenomenal band play her new songs in this setting was breath taking!
I have been working with Miel for about 5 years now and I have watched her go from strength to strength with her music career guided by the incredibly talented Andy Wright, which is now gathering pace beautifully. Miel is not only one of the nicest, kindest, thoughtful people I know, but, very, very talented. Not to mention determined. So, please go and check out her new music and also, if you can check out the WWF and maybe make a donation.
#Miel #MielMusic #IWasGivenNature #Ours #WWF #Music #AndyWright #SamSwallow
What have David Bowie, A-HA, Simple Minds, Ultravox, Echo & The Bunnymen, Bronski Beat, Howard Jones, Tina Turner, Simply Red, Chris Rea, Chicago, Roxette, Foreigner, The Cars & The Pretenders got in common? Well, they are all on this wonderful new album titled, ‘80’s SYMPHONIC’ released on 9th of November 2018.
It is full of some of the most amazing songs, but, with the addition of a stunning orchestra. I suppose I have cause to be slightly biased, as I was involved in this project as photographer. However, Andy Wright, one of the world’s best and most in demand record producers, who I am proud to say a great friend of mine, has produced this masterpiece. Andy was Warner Brothers first choice for this for many reasons. A couple of them are;- He is exceptionally good at his job. He has worked as a producer with many of these artists. In fact, I understand that Andy has produced around 10 albums for Simply Red alone. Let alone his work with the other bands mentioned above. The orchestrations on this album were created by the brilliant Sam Swallow, who I have worked with quite a lot as well. He is such a clever fellow and he has done a beautiful job here on ‘80’s Symphonic’. So, we have all of the original tracks with the addition of magical dust from Andy Wright & Sam Swallow. A-HA - Take On Me, Simple Minds - Alive & Kicking, Ultravox - Vienna, Tina Turner - What’s Love Got to Do with It, The Cars - Drive, Simply Red - Holding Back The Years. David Bowie - Lets Dance. By the way, that track by Bowie was brilliantly orchestrated / produced by Nile Rodgers. Obviously Nile was the first choice for this track as he had worked with David Bowie on quite a few things as well as being a legend and lovely guy as well. David Bowie’s estate insisted that Nile worked on this track as Nile knew how David Bowie would have wanted it to sound.
There are more on tracks on this album, but you get the idea I am sure. These are big bands with big songs. All of which sound stunning. Stuart Crouch has also done a fantastic design job on the album cover and booklet. As did Gavin Goldberg who was engineered and mixed the album assisted by Lewis Chapman. All great guys brilliant at their jobs and friends of mine as well. Here are some photos during the making of the album at Abbey Road. Some photos were taken in Studio 2 of Beatles fame and some in Studio 1. In fact that’s silly of me because everyone seems to have used those studios.
Also, some of my photos from Tuesday evening at Abby Road in Studio 3, where Andy, Sam & Nile did a bit of a press Q&A.
Warner Brothers told me that they will be taking this out on the road next year around the UK. Oh and A-HA are on TV in the UK tomorrow evening (9th of Nov) promoting this, which is nice!
The album is released on the 9th of November. With Xmas around the corner, I think it will be a great success. Saying that, I am waiting for critics to have a pop at them for this album. Only because that seems the fashion these days! After all, only a week or so ago the critics were pretty much full of bad revues for Bohemian Rhapsody. Oh, how wrong they were as its now probably the most successful film in the world right now and like Bohemian Rhapsody, this album ‘80’s Symphonic’ is brilliant.
Well, it’s been a week since I went and saw the fantastic Bohemian Rhapsody. I loved it. I am going to go and see it again as soon as I can. I am sure I have mentioned this already on social media, but, it brought so many fabulous memories back. I had something forwarded to me during the week which again, I thought was nice. It was one of the first photos I took of Freddie. Along the side of the photo was the story of what happened when we met. This was under the stage at Hyde Park, London in, I think, 1976.
I need to actually sit in a darkened room and really concentrate on that day (and others) and I will then be able to recall some of the other things that happened back in those days. Or, it would be easier if I actually went and got out my old diaries and read them. Yes, that would be a help.
I was at school and had decided that I wanted to be a photographer. I was finishing off my exams and I started looking for a job. I opened up The British Journal of Photography and looked through the adverts. One just jumped out at me. It looked exciting and they were paying £11 per week, woohooo! Now, I was about 15 and yes, we could leave school at that age here in the UK in those days. I phoned the number in the advert and the company looking for a messenger in their photo library was Fox Photos Press Agency in Farringdon Road, London. I recall that the man who I spoke to was Tom Smith. I got a train straight into London and met him. He gave me the job straight away. On my first day working at Fox I met a girl who also worked in the library, her name was Shirley. I told her I wanted to be a music photographer. She said, well, you had better photograph Queen then! All she ever spoke about was Queen. So, I took her advice and started to keep an eye on them and I tried to find out where they were playing and touring. It wasn’t easy in those days. No mobile phones, no internet, no facebook, no twitter. Just music papers and fan clubs. So, when I had the chance to stumble upon them I did.
Well, I am so glad I did get to work with them. What a band, what musicians, what incredible songs. I got myself a little bit involved with them when they were managed by John Reid. He was always lovely to me. At the time, he was also managing Elton John. I spent a bit of time with them through the late 70’s and early 80’s in the US. They were fabulous times. I still do work with Queen and Brian. In fact it was through Brian that I was asked to work with Nelson Mandela and his 46664 charity. One of the things we did was very Queen based, although very sadly, now without Freddie. It was 200 miles North of the Arctic Circle, in Tromso, Norway. Here is a shot of the rehearsals up there. Brian was rehearsing with Zucchero, Jamie Moses, & Spike Edney (SAS Band).
The man running the show was, for those of you who have seen Bohemian Rhapsody, Miami Beach himself.. Yes, that really is Jim Beach, Queen’s manager. And here he is being slightly camera shy..
Here is a shot of Brian on stage with Freddie on the screen. I think this was around 2005 and funnily enough, it was where it all started for me, Hyde Park..
Some of you may know that I held my first exhibition in London at the HQ of my wonderful Lawyers, Keystone Law a month or so ago. Well, some of the very talented lawyers are also incredibly brilliant musicians and singers.. Yes, it’s true.. They are brilliant.. There is a charity called #LawRocks and it’s rather Global. So, the British heats were held last night at the legendary 100 Club in Oxford St, London. There were quite a few different UK law firms competing to go through to the next international round. Anyway, I raced down from Leicestershire late afternoon and obviously hit all of the rush hour traffic. I finally skidded into a parking spot just off Oxford St and ran to the 100 Club with cameras at the ready. As I flew down the stairs probably for my 100th time at least as I have been going there since the mid early 1970’s.. Anyway, as I ran into the main area there they were, on stage and in full flight.. The Keystone Roses as they are known. I knew it was them immediately as there were so many people screaming and singing along all wearing pre printed ‘Keystone Roses’ Tee shirts. It was obviously well organised. I wouldn’t have expected anything less from Keystone Law.. I photographed what was left of their set. They really were sooo good.. I was very pleasantly surprised.. Then on came the other bands from other Law Firms around the UK. I decided to wait and watch them all as I heard that the judges would be deciding there and then who the winning band was to be.. So, moving on to the end of the evening and as far as I was concerned, The Keystone Roses were by far the best band by a country mile…”They was robbed Guv”. I cant remember the name of the band who won, but, its for charity, so, well done to them.. As far as The Keystone Roses go, well onwards and upwards for them. Maybe Eurovision? They were a lot of fun and they looked like they really enjoyed it. I guess it was quite a contrast from their normal life as top drawer, high flying lawyers as well as all of them being absolutely lovely people.. Here are some photos of the Keystone Roses in action. #KeystoneLaw #Lawyers #LawRocks #Music #100Club #OxfordSt #Charity #Solicitors
Whilst I was at school in the early to mid 1970’s, I remember writing the names of my favourite bands all over the cover of one of my books. I still have that book somewhere. I had Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Yes, ELP and of course, Status Quo. They were, like the other bands i just mentioned, enormous and brilliant… Quo had massive hits in the UK and around the world, saying that, not so much in the USA, but big hits almost everywhere else. In the late 1970’s Status Quo had another whopping great big hit with a Creedence Clearwater Revival (John Foggerty hit), ‘Rocking All Over The World’. Now, the good looking, blonde geezer in Quo, Rick Parfitt, heard the John Foggerty version of that song on the radio in his car. According to Rick, he told me that it was a bit of a light bulb moment when he heard it. The original song was slow and melodic. Rick thought, “hold on, we could do this and it could be really rocky”. The next thing Quo had it on their new album, which incidentally was produced by the genius and lovely guy, Pip Williams. They had to quickly do a music video for the British TV show ‘Top of the Pops’. Then all of a sudden, entering stage left, was the quite young and eager me! I was asked by Ivor Arbiter, the boss of Soho Sound House, and Fender importer, to go and photograph Status Quo. They were using products that Ivor Arbiter was importing and distributing throughout the UK & Europe. I arrived, as instructed, at a studio called Ewarts in Wandsworth, South London, around lunchtime. As I arrived, I walked straight into the band, or at least 3 out of 4 of them. There were so many people there. It was very busy. They hadn’t started filming yet. They were standing and chatting whilst two people were standing on a short ladder to the right hand side of the stage. Those two people who I didn’t know were, (Tour manager) Bob Young & their manager, Colin Johnson. They were hanging up a puppet. This was supposed to look like Alan Lancaster, Quo’s Bass guitarist, who was still in Australia and was going to miss this video recording. Everyone thought it was very funny having a puppet hanging there. Anyway, the band took their places, the music started and they did their first take of the Quo version of ‘Rocking All Over The World.’ I have to be honest here, I was absolutely stunned. I had never heard it before and I LOVED it. I was excited and was a little overwhelmed being there with one of my favourite bands. This wasn’t the first of my favourite bands that I had worked with, but, nonetheless, I was very excited. The director of this video was Mike Mansfield. He had produced and directed many music videos and TV shows. He took a shine to me, but that’s another story and one that will go in my book..
Anyway, I photographed the making of this video and loved every second of it. Towards the end of the filming, Colin Johnson, the bands manager, said to me that he had a bit of work for me. He told me to be at a film studio next week and bring my overnight bag, as well. So, next week I arrived at, I think, Bray Film Studios, near Windsor in the UK. I found the hangar where Status Quo were rehearsing. I told security that I was with the band. There was nobody there when I got there at about 9am. However, the place was full of Status Quo equipment, amps, guitars, drums etc.. So, I sat there like an obedient puppy for about 6-7 hours, just wondering if this was a wind up and they had been and gone, leaving some equipment behind that would soon be collected and stored away. Then suddenly I heard the giant shutter doors opening at the end of the hangar. I thought, here we go, who is this then? In drove a metallic green Porsche 911. It parked in the corner and out jumped Rick Parfitt. The road crew had also arrived and walked in. Then suddenly another Porsche 911 arrived and it was metallic light blue, out jumped Francis Rossi. Then a white Range Rover and this time, the fabulous drummer, John Coghlan. Alan Lancaster arrived by limo as he had come straight from Australia. Then another Porsche arrived, I thought who is this then? Out jumped their tour manager, Bob Young. I thought to myself, blimey, Quo look after their tour manager! I subsequently, found out that Bob was co-writer of many of Quo’s big hits.. So, that might explain the Porsche. The band then immediately started rehearsing. They were loud, tight and it was bloody exciting for me.
Just a handful of people standing in front of them watching and listening to them. After about an hour, Colin Johnson said, okay everyone, ‘On the bus please” I remember looking at Colin Johnson and just waited for him to look at me and give me a nod or something. I didn’t know if I was going on this tour bus or not. He then did look over and said, “come on Danny boy, get on the bus'“. I then joined the band on the tour bus.
This was my first tour with the incredible Status Quo. I very quickly formed a close friendship with them and long association until today.
Sound Check at Wembley Arena, London.
Sadly, we lost the wonderful Rick Parfitt a while ago, which was a shock and, at the time, quite unexpected. In fact, Rick had been unwell and had had yet another heart attack, but, we didn’t expect it to end.. Strangely, Rick and I had been emailing each other just before he left us. It was all rather surreal. Anyway, I don’t want to dwell on the time when Rick left us all, but, I do try and remember the good times and there were many. He had such a great sense of humour and not to forget what a great musician he was. He was one of the greatest rhythm guitarists I have ever heard. I was away in Los Angeles last week and whilst I was there, I saw all over social media that it would have been Rick’s 70th birthday at the time. I was a bit too busy to write my own little bit commemorating what would have been Rick Parfitt’s 70th birthday. So, I raise a non alcoholic drink to you, ‘Tricky Ricky’ and wish you a Happy 70th Birthday, Mate!
On Friday 21st I went down to Abbey Road studios today to firstly meet up with my friend and one of the very best record producers in the world, Andy Wright. ‘Shock Horror’ my wife Lyn actually decided to go with me. What a surprise that was for me! Anyway, we arrived and parked the car at the front of the studio. It’s always interesting when I go to Abbey Road Studios. The crossing must be one of the busiest in the world. There are always loads of people crossing and stopping for a quick photo ‘Beatle Style’. There are also quite a lot of people taking photos of anyone arriving and parking in the spaces at the front of the studio. Lyn and I went inside, signed in and headed straight to Studio 1. Andy Wright was starting a media TV interview. Lyn and I waited outside of the control room as requested by the media company who were filming him. So, whilst this was going on, I showed Lyn around the place. Studio 2 was open and no band in there. So, in we went and I showed Lyn where the Beatles recorded their classic albums. So, many other stunning bands have recorded historic albums there as well. Actually not only in Studio 2, but also studio 1. Actually, what am i talking about? The whole of Abbey Road and all studios and mixing rooms etc have pretty much produced amazing music over the years. Here is Lyn in Studio 2.
As soon as Andy had finished, he, Lyn and I went into the famous canteen and had lunch. Whilst we were sitting there, Giles Martin (Son of Sir George Martin) popped over to say hello to Andy. He seemed very nice.
After lunch, we headed back to Studio 1. Where we met up with the lovely people from the record label & Nile and his manager, Merck. I first met Merck when he was with Sanctuary Records and that must be around 2002 ish.. However, Nile and I have known each other since 1980 when we both went to a Studio 54 party in New York. Nile, Diana Ross, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Keith Richards, me and many others. That was also the night when I photographed the one and only Chuck Berry, who was performing at the club. I introduced Lyn to Nile as we reminisced about that night in 1980.. Mind you, we didn’t chat about that for long, as we had work to do. Nile is actually working on a track on the album that Andy Wright is producing. I can’t say too much about it, but, let’s just say that there quite a few major artists on it and Andy has done an incredible job on it. He really is an amazing producer. Anyway, Nile knew what he had to do and he got on with it. I did take some nice shots of Nile and some of the musicians who were on that session.
Here is one of Nile for now. The classic ‘One Sugar Please’ shot..
I have lots more, but, they need to be held back for the record label, so they can choose what they want for the album.
#AndyWright #RecordProducer #NileRodgers #Chic #DavidBowie #AbbeyRoadStudios #Music #MusicPhotographer #TourPhotographer #London #Studio54 #NikonPro
After all these years photographing in the music industry, I finally decided to have a little private exhibition. It took place last Wednesday & Thursday evening at our lawyers (Keystone Law’s) office, in Chancery Lane, London. Everyone who attended one of the show’s will probably agree that it was a great success. It was an unconventional setting as the offices are used daily by the law firm. So, we had to fit around them. I was thrilled to have the AMAZING Alexander Rosenberg as my Curator. What a fantastic job he did. Everyone who attended said how wonderful it all looked and it was primarily down to him. He was also assisted by our youngest, Sam Clifford. So, from Lyn and I there is a big thank you to them both. It would not have been the show that it was without them. Keystone Law also were fantastic and couldn’t have been more helpful and accommodating. Although we had quite a few of our friends attend the shows, it was primarily an event for Keystone Law and their clients. The feedback that we have had was fabulous. We would like to thank everyone who has bought one of our limited edition prints and also our Ultra Glaze Resins, as well. We have been overwhelmed by the response. I actually had no idea that my photos were going to be that popular with people. But, hey ho, there you go, they do seem to be. By the way, our photos can be purchased online at our website www.dannyclifford.com/prints So, please go there and check out the limited edition prints. Also, whilst you are there please sign up to our newsletter. You should see a pop up box asking for your email address. We will notify you of all of our shows coming up in the near future and details of special offers etc. Thank you to everyone who attended these two private shows and hopefully see all of you and more at our new shows coming up soon..
September 13th 1978 was quite an important day for me. I was up at 5am. Showered and got a ride to a private part of Los Angeles International Airport. At 7:30am I finally found the Intertek Aviation private lounge. I went in and there were a few member of Bob’s band. I had never met them before, but, I did recognise them because I had now photographed them a few times. I quietly sat down and kind of nodded at anyone who made eye contact with me. I don’t recall speaking to anyone at all. The lounge started to fill up with all band members and lots of people that I didn’t know at all. After about 45 mins an old red car pulled up outside. I can’t remember what it was and more importantly, all American cars looked pretty much the same to me at that point. Then out of this oldish basic looking car jumped Bob Dylan. He had driven himself there. Someone took his car keys and he grabbed a small holdall from the passenger seat and he walked straight into the lounge. Then Road Manager, Mike Crowley said “OK, lets go”. Everyone grabbed their hand luggage and we all boarded the airplane. I went up the steps and found myself a seat on one of the armchairs. It was a real Rock n Roll jet. Beds, lounges, couches etc.. For its day, it was very luxurious. So, there I sat on my own as the doors shut and we started to taxi off and away ready for our flight. We were actually heading right over to the other side of the US. Our first destination was Augusta, Maine. It wasn’t long before we were airborne and on our way. After about half an hour, we had levelled out at our flying altitude and someone wandered around with a tray asking me if there was anything that I wanted. I glanced at the tray and declined. I couldn’t see any chocolate biscuits so they could keep all of the strange looking things on that tray! There were two members of the band sitting across the plane from me playing BackGammon. They were the whole width of the plane away from me. So, we hadn’t spoken at all up until this moment. One of the guys looked over and said “are you Danny the photographer” I said “Yes, I am” he said “come on over and sit with us” So, over I went and sat with them. I was watching their game, but, I didn’t have a clue how BackGammon is played and still don’t. I asked one of the band member’s his name and he was Jerry Scheff. I asked him how long he had been with Bob and he said about a year. I then said who were you with before Bob? He just said “11 years with Elvis” I nearly choked on my whatever I was chewing.. I then said to the other guy (Steve Douglas) and you? He said, “Elvis too”. This was amazing. I was thrilled. Anyway, as time went on, I took some photos on the plane. After a couple of hours, Bob sent someone down the plane and said, “Bob wants a word.” Up I got and went and sat with Bob for about an hour. I took some photos of him sitting on a couch. Bob, then took one of me standing up as I was holding a drink. Oh, and I also have hair! Well, I was only 20..
I had a lovely conversation with Bob on that first flight. We spoke about many bands I had worked with and he seemed rather interested in one band I had worked with quite a bit at the time, Dire Straits. That was a great flight and it was my first real conversation with the legend that is Bob Dylan.
I have posted a few stories leading up the the start of this Dylan tour 40 years ago. I will stop boring you all now and save the rest of the Dylan tour for my book. I can hear you all gently sighing with relief. Well, you can all now relax.
Here are a few photos from that first flight.. Including one of me, taken by Bob Dylan himself..
It was very hot there in Los Angeles on the morning of 12th of September 1978. I was laying in bed and it was 7:30am. I could hear the house phone ringing in the distance. I thought no more about it other than the fact that phones ring differently in the US. Then suddenly there was a knock on my bedroom door. Auntie Connie was there saying that there was a Paul Wasserman on the phone. I jumped out of bed and followed her to the telephone. I said, ‘Hi Paul’ he said, ‘So, Danny, what brings you to smoggy LA?” I immediately said I was working with a few British bands that were out here in LA. He quickly got to the point of the call. He said, “Okay Danny, you kindly dropped your pictures from Paris into my office. Bob and his manager, Jerry Weintraub popped in yesterday and Jerry & Bob love your photos” I was rather thrilled to hear this. Paul then said, “ I have three questions for you. How old are you? Have you a green card? Are you available to do Bob’s tour and we leave tomorrow?” I answered him and said, “I am 21’. This wasn’t true as I was actually just 20. But I had figured out that you have to be 21 to buy a drink out there. I didn’t want my age to be a problem. However, what an idiot I was, as it showed my correct age on my passport should anyone want to see it. The second question was if I had a green card (Permanent resident card for living and working in the US). I said “No, but I will get one”. Again, what an idiot I must have sounded. You can’t just get one and in reality they are very hard to get. The third question, was I available? Now when I think that I had been planning this journey for quite a time and here I was on the brink! So, what did I say to Mr Wasserman about my availability. I said, “Sorry I am really busy and don’t think I can do it” He said, “ Oh that’s a shame, Bob really wanted you to come on the tour.” I then quickly said “I am only joking, I would love to come on the tour” Paul Wasserman then said and quite abruptly, “Well, don’t joke with me, be at my office in Beverly Hills by 10am today” Now I was standing up straight and paying proper attention, in fact I almost was saluting whilst I stood there in my underpants. I was thinking bloody hell.. I need to get myself dressed and down to his office.
I got to his office by 9:30 and informed the receptionist that I was there to see Paul Wasserman. A few minutes later, out he came and seemed quite happy and jovial. He said “Morning Danny, follow me” which I did into his plush office. Once we sat down he simply said, ‘Bob loves your photos from London and also now, Paris and he wants you on the tour” We discussed the details in which it was paramount for me to retain and own the copyright to everything I shoot. He agreed and basically we shook hands and he handed me the envelope with my Paris photos of Bob and he said “ You are now Bob Dylan’s official photographer. See you tomorrow morning at 8am at The Intertek Aviation private terminal at LAX” (Los Angeles International Airport). I walked out of his office and got back into my cousin Paul’s Beetle convertible. Before I started the car, I just sat there and took a moment. I looked up at the blue sky and just thought to myself, how the hell has this happened? I am a 20 year old Londoner and now, I am Bob Dylan’s official photographer! I was rather pleased to say the least.