Neal Preston Photo Shoot Info?
This might be my favorite set of Stevie photos ever! From what I have read, they were done by her photographer Neal Preston. I thought I read something about a rooftop with these though? Does anyone know the story of this photoshoot (what were the photos intended to be used for) or have additional takes from it/ higher res?
Last edited by bluecalmsea : 03-02-2013 at 02:53 PM.
And these were all taken on that same day:
“Remember, in the grand scheme of things, what we do for a living is not very important. After all, we’re not curing cancer here.” - John McVie
Last edited by Sanne2 : 03-02-2013 at 03:11 PM.
"Venice, Calif., 1982: This was shot for PEOPLE magazine on the roof of Stevie's condo in Venice Beach. This was the first real one-on-one shoot that we did together. If I widened [this photo] to full frame, you'd see an assistant's hand with a light meter. The wind was blowing so hard up there, we almost lost her -- literally -- and only didn't because another assistant was given the task of holding onto her boots. The day was absolutely intoxicating, and the next afternoon a bouquet of flowers arrived at my house with a note thanking me for a "magical shoot." She's a friend for life and one of the most creative people I've ever met."
I seem to recall there was a photo of her in her full white regalia actually sitting on the roof which had quite a pitch.. Not sure if anyone has that one
Last edited by bombaysaffires : 03-03-2013 at 12:41 AM.
I also love these sets of photos thanks for sharing them!!
...."Blue Water....I sit and I wait for the morning to come...."
...."All the beautiful worlds...that I have seen so far have all fallen down....Ooh, it used to be yours....calm , beautiful ,childlike victim...calm beautiful, childlike victim...."
..."There is a legend passed down through the ages...down through the crystal visions...down through the crystal clear-water fountain...the charmed ones remain...They are mine (you remain...ooh)...."
EXCLUSIVE: How George Harrison babysat Bob Dylan, Tommy Lee nearly froze on a glacier, Sinatra grabbed Dean Martin’s butt and Stevie Nicks almost fell off a roof: Rock photographer tells the stories behind music’s most iconic pictures
Renowned photographer Neal Preston’s new book, Exhilarated and Exhausted, documents his lifelong career taking pictures of rock stars on and off stage
‘I’ve been beyond blessed,’ Preston, 65, told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview. ‘I had the opportunity to do what I love'
His work space is lined with filing cabinets containing at least a million photos he has taken - the first of his 122 cabinets is marked Abba-Aerosmith, the last is Young — as in Neil — to ZZ Top
And he has photographed just about everyone in between — one exception being John Lennon
'Gregg [Allman] was unlike anyone I’d ever met. He exuded an ethereal magnetism so strong it cut through the druggy haze that always seemed to envelop him.’
He snapped Rod Stewart getting make-up for an appearance in drag. 'I told him he looked like an older Miss Moneypenny,' said Preston
He tells how he shot ex-lovers Bob Dylan and Joan Baez - 'she is the only person who could get away with tousling Dylan’s hair' and how Kiss lead guitarist Ace Frehley was so drugged up he could hardly walk
It’s one of the iconic photographs in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. The four members of the band Kiss, in full make-up, making snowballs as they sit in the white stuff with a cheesy Christmas scene behind them.
But like so much in showbiz, all is not as it seems. For a start it was taken in October in Los Angeles, so the snow isn’t real. Instead it was plastic polyurethane, a toxic compound that it is no longer made.
And while Gene Simmons, Peter Criss and Paul Stanley were happily mugging for the camera, the fourth band member, lead guitarist Ace Frehley, was so drugged up he could hardly walk.
Photographer Neal Preston knew he had to move fast or Frehley would be lost to the shoot, but as he went to grab a lens, he heard a thud. He rushed back only to find ‘Space Ace’ face down in the poisonous material, which was slowly turning red as he coughed up blood.
Frehley was bundled into a limo before anyone could call 911. The shoot was over before it had barely begun — but Preston had got the one shot he needed for Creem magazine’s December issue.
It — along with another snap of Frehley face-down in fake snow with his six-inch wedges pointing at the camera — are among dozens of pictures included in Preston’s new book, Exhilarated and Exhausted, documenting his lifelong career as a rock photographer including his years as the tour photographer for Led Zeppelin.
‘I’ve been beyond blessed,’ Preston, 65, told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview in his office right under the flight path of the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California.
‘I had the opportunity to do what I love. If you’re a musician, what you love is making music. I’m a photographer, I love making pictures. Anyone who is able to do what they love for a living is lucky beyond belief.
‘I never planned on this. It was fluke that some pictures were shown to some people who turned out to be concert promoters and started letting me and my buddies into shows in Queens, New York, and all of a sudden I’m a published photographer.’
He spoke in a small room lined with filing cabinets containing at least a million photos he has taken in his near-50-year career. The first of his 122 cabinets is marked Abba-Aerosmith. The last is Young — as in Neil — to ZZ Top.
And he has photographed just about everyone in between — the one exception being John Lennon.
‘I did see him once,’ he said. ‘I was driving along 57th Street in New York about 1978 and I see John and Yoko coming towards me. They’re walking west and I’m driving east.
‘I try to race around the block so I could see them again and park. But you’d have a better time racing around Belgium in a quicker amount of time. By the time I had got around the block he had gone.
‘That is one of my great regrets as a photographer — and as a fan who reached puberty the night the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan. If it’s possible to reach full puberty in the space of an hour that happened to me.’
He has taken plenty of pictures of the other three Beatles — although none of Ringo made the book.
He remembers being called by a contact to go to a house in Encino, California, for some shots of Tom Petty and a few friends. ‘Tom’s gonna call you and he’ll give you the details,’ she said.
When Petty called, Preston asked for directions. ‘“Well, it’s er, it’s um, er… here, talk to George. So he hands the phone over to a guy named George, and this guy says “Hi, this is George.”
‘I ask what’s the address and it’s a distinctly Liverpudlian accent and I suddenly realize it’s George Harrison and he telling me what exit to get off the 101.
‘I’m in a haze now. I remember nothing about the rest of that phone call, but I managed to write the address.’
When he got to the house he found Petty not only with George Harrison, but also Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne. They were just forming the Traveling Wilburys.
‘I get to the house about an hour later, knock on the door and a roadie lets me in and I walk in and George is sitting at the table and I see Roy in the kitchen mixing some tea or something and I think this is pretty wild.’
But while Preston was in awe of Harrison — ‘in my world, a Beatle trumps anyone,’ he said — the musicians were more worried about Dylan.
‘George pulls me aside and takes me in this small room, closes the door and says: “Now, listen to me, Bob is in a pretty good mood. I’ll let you know when the mood is just right, I’ll give you a sign and then we’ll shoot, But we won’t shoot until Bob is ready.”
‘Then Tom Petty walks in, gives me a hug and says: “Now, Bob’s in an ok mood.” It’s all the same thing. They’re walking on eggshells around Bob Dylan.’
He got the picture he wanted of the five Wilburys together, but not before another shot of four of the supergroup with Dylan way in the background, hunched over playing pinball before he would join his bandmates.
Many years later, after George’s 2001 death, his widow Olivia visited Preston with a documentary about the Traveling Wilburys. She had wanted him to see that it opened with a picture the roadie had taken of Preston’s shoot.
Of the five Wilburys, only Jeff Lynne and Bob Dylan are still alive and so many others that Preston snapped over the years are now gone, most recently Petty himself.
Other pictures in the book include many who died before their three score years and ten were completed. There’s Prince and Glenn Frey, for instance, and Linda McCartney and David Bowie and Gregg Allman and George Michael and Marvin Gaye and the list goes on and on. Frank Zappa and Keith Moon and John Entwistle and Marc Bolan and Greg Lake and Stevie Ray Vaughan and Warren Zevon and Johnny Winter and Sid Vicious and Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison and Michael Jackson and Bob Marley and Freddie Mercury.
‘I don’t want to do the tally of the dead versus the living in the book,’ said Preston. ‘Unfortunately, it ain’t stopping any time soon.’
One who is very much alive is Bruce Springsteen, and the picture Preston shot of him at Wembley Stadium in London during his Born in the USA tour over the Fourth of July weekend of 1985 is one of his favorites. He wanted something different and decided it should be Springsteen facing the camera with the immense crowd behind him.
‘I went to his dressing room during intermission and I said “I know you’re playing to 80,000 people but I’ve mounted this camera and there is a remote cable going down underneath the stage. So, when you’re up there if you can turn around and play to the back of the house we could get an amazing shot of you where I could see your face with the entire crowd of Wembley in the background.”
‘He kind of looked at me, not disinterested, but he had stuff on his mind and he said: ‘Um, yeah, ok,’ I turned around and walked out of the dressing room. I was still never dreaming that he actually would do it.
‘So, I go underneath the stage and during Hungry Heart, the fourth song of the set, I see his boots coming through the little slats in the wood and I know he is right on top of me and I count to 10 and I just press the button, 36 frames and the camera fires right on top of me. I didn’t know what I had until I developed the film the next day.
‘He was completely mugging for the camera and I couldn’t have been happier. He completely nailed it.’
But things didn’t always go right. During a stopover in Vancouver, Canada, Nikki Sixx decided it would be a good idea for Preston to take pictures of Mötley Crüe on a nearby glacier. It would cost tens of thousands of dollars to fly two helicopters there but Sixx thought it was worth it.
The next day Tommy Lee and the band’s two other members turn up early, rarin’ to go. Two helicopters are fueled up, pilots at the ready. But Sixx had had a hard night and is awol.
The following day it was a go. As they flew, the pilot told Preston it was going to be cold. I said “How cold?” He said “Pretty f…ing cold.” It was something like minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
‘We land about 100 yards away from each other and it’s so cold the band doesn’t want to have to walk up to our chopper and we don’t want to walk to theirs.
‘We do the diplomatic thing and decide to meet in the middle which now means we can only shoot in two directions unless I want to get a helicopter in the shot — which in retrospect wouldn’t have been a bad idea.
‘It is just mind-numbing cold. I have to take one test frame on a Polaroid. I wait and I pull the Polaroid and it cracks in two. It is so cold it just cracked like an icicle. This is the uh-oh moment.’
Eventually Preston got three rolls of film off. ‘But all we could think about was saving our lives and not freezing to death.’
Making matters worse, the all-white of the glacier meant the pictures were virtually unusable. ‘I don’t know that they were ever used for anything. That was one expensive experiment.’
And Preston admits he almost killed Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks on an At Home shoot for People magazine.
‘She was living in Venice, California, at the time and she had a condo on the top floor of a six-story building right on the sand in Venice Beach and we had a great shoot, she couldn’t have been easier.
‘But I still wanted that one last killer photograph and I said almost at the same time as she said: “Why don’t we go up on the roof and shoot as the sun is going down?” I thought it was a fantastic idea.
‘She had put on this white outfit with long sleeves of fabric that really caught the wind like a sail on a sailboat. The second I put the camera to my eye the wind starts kicking up. She is posing and the sleeves are going all over the place, and I realize about three frames in that the wind is going to be blowing so hard that one gust and she could be blown right off the side of the building, six stories down, which would have ruined Time Life’s insurance department’s day.
‘There was only one thing to do because we were getting great photos and the sun waits for no man and it was going down. So I made an assistant of mine lie on his stomach out of frame and I said “You hold on to that white boot — you do not let go.” ‘And that is what he did. She stayed in one place and we got great pictures. But that is why you don’t see her boots in the pictures. There could be no full-length shot.’
Preston grew up in Queens, New York. He went to Forest Hills High, the same school that spawned The Ramones. He was already photographing bands and set to go to the Philadelphia College of Art when he realized the career he had chosen didn’t need a degree.
‘I marched into my mom and dad’s bedroom and I said: “So we need a carton milk, a loaf of bread, I’m not going to go to college and can I pick something up for you at the other store.
‘I just slipped it in there and thankfully they were cool with it.’
One of the hazards of Preston’s job has been a loss of hearing. But it hasn’t been gradual exposure to loud music so much as one day in a Seattle garage with the Foo Fighters.
‘As I go in, the roadie taps me on the shoulder and says: “Here, you’re gonna need these. Earplugs.” I say, no, no, no, no. I don’t need them. I never liked working with them because I can feel my shutter fire but I can’t really hear it properly.
‘He said: “Trust me, you’re going to need them.” I tell him it’s really hard for me to use. He tries one more time, he says: “Just take ‘em.” By now I’m saying, “Hey, I work with The Who, I work with Kiss,” and I throw some more names around. He says: “As you wish,” and closes the door behind me.
‘Within 15 seconds my teeth are rattling. Within 25 seconds I’m sure there’s blood coming from my eardrums. It’s so loud, it’s like a 747 taxiing through the room. It’s beyond loud.
‘Thirty seconds in I had a migraine and 45 seconds in I was physically ill to the point of having to vomit — literally. And I didn’t want to vomit in front of the band or into my camera bag. I don’t know how these guys played. I shot out the roll, opened the door and got out of there and went to the bathroom.
‘From that day on, my hearing was never the same. I can never, ever, have a first date in a crowded restaurant. Last time I did that, I went out with this actress and we met in this bar and every question she’s asking, I’m going “Huh? What?”
‘So all I can say is: “Thank you Dave Grohl for that.’
STEVIE NICKS 1981 ‘I knew Stevie was beautiful and talented but I didn’t know how hysterically funny she is. To this day I tell her if this rock ‘n’ roll thing doesn’t work out you could be a stand-up comic. This was taken on the roof of her building in Venice, California. Because of the high wind my assistant is grabbing her ankle. That’s why it is not a full-length shot.’
His work space is lined with filing cabinets containing at least a million photos he has taken - the first of his 122 cabinets is marked Abba-Aerosmith, the last is Young — as in Neil — to ZZ Top
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEOS AND ALL THE AMAZING PHOTOS WITH AWESOME ANECDOTES IN THE CAPTION: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...#ixzz4vs0Mv3Cx
Thanks Sister Nightroad for that great article!
I never realized the famous pic on the steep pitched roof was from the same shoot as the billowy-wind pics...wow, that roof was REALLY steep.
I remember sort of rolling my eyes with Stevie's commentary on how hard it was to walk on the rocks in the water for the EVERYDAY video. I'm amazed she made it through the steep roof photos!
I think the pictures with her in that conveyor bucket were actually taken at Jim Ladd’s house. She described the approach to his front doorway exactly like that in a radio interview from I think, 1983.
Also, the roof isn’t flat. Note the tented entryway to her left.
Does anyone know the condo building she had at this time?
I have always really loved this photo shoot. I'm a sucker for the Bella Donna era to begin with. Neal is a great, great photographer and he captures Stevie's stunning beauty so well. I can't ever seem to get enough of pictures of her. Gorgeous.
Thank you for the pics and info.
"No one ever leaves, everyone stays close 'till the fire fades..."
A backstage pass to history
Stories from a legendary music photographer
He’s toured with some of the greatest rock bands in history, getting the kind of rare access that hardcore fans would almost kill for.
He’s photographed Ozzy Osbourne’s wedding, played chess with Ray Charles, and spent time in the studio with the Jackson 5.
And now, photographer Neal Preston is opening up his legendary archive and sharing the stories behind his images.
“Neal Preston: Exhilarated and Exhausted,” an upcoming book from Reel Art Press, includes many of Preston’s iconic photos and some shots that have never been seen before.
“I want this book to really let the reader experience, as much as possible, what it’s like to have a job like mine,” he said. “When you finish the book, I want you to be able to feel like you’ve just come off the road with Led Zeppelin for six months and Queen for two months and around the world with Bruce (Springsteen).”
For nearly 50 years, Preston has photographed the biggest names in music. He’s photographed them on stage, backstage, on the road and in the studio. Many of his photos have appeared on album covers or in magazines such as Rolling Stone, People, Time and Newsweek.
His new book allows him to take a step back and share details of these shoots, the stars he met, and “the whole roller-coaster ride I’ve been on.”
“I wanted it to be conversational,” he said. “I want it to be just like when people come up to the house and look at prints and have dinner or something and everyone wants me to tell them stories.”
Here are just a few of the stories Preston shared in his book and in a telephone interview with CNN:
Bruce Springsteen, 1985
Springsteen plays at London’s iconic Wembley Stadium during his “Born in the U.S.A. Tour.”
Preston was actually under the stage here while Springsteen performed. He had a camera set up on stage, and he operated its shutter with a remote cable.
Preston remembers prepping Springsteen on the plan – face the back of the crowd during “Hungry Heart.” But it was frantic right before the show, there were a million things going on at once, and Preston walked out of the dressing room never thinking Springsteen would actually remember to do it.
But “The Boss” was a total pro, Preston said, and he came through. As Preston saw Springsteen’s boots come running down the runway during “Hungry Heart,” he took a deep breath and fired off 36 frames. It wasn’t until he developed the film the next day that he saw the amazing results.
“It was unbelievable,” he said. “Not only did he do it. He almost over-gave this.”
Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, 1982
“Sharon is a tough cookie and I love her, and she and Ozz have both always been great to me,” Preston said. “They had me come out and shoot their wedding (in Hawaii). I’ve done a certain amount of weddings in my time. …
“We had some funny pictures to send out the magazines. And Sharon never had any problem going along with the jokes.”
Stevie Nicks, 1981
“I love anyone with a great sense of humor, and Stevie was funny as hell,” Preston wrote. “In fact, absolutely hysterical, with more charisma in her little finger than most people can ever dream of having.”
For this shoot, an assignment for People magazine, Preston photographed Nicks on the rooftop of her condo in Venice Beach, California. Her dress was perfect to catch the wind and make it look like she was a bird about to fly away.
But what you don’t see is one of Preston’s assistants, lying flat on his stomach, holding one of Nicks’ ankles to make sure she doesn’t actually fly away.
“She was right at the edge of the roof, and it got so windy and dangerous I became very concerned she would fly right over the side of the building — which would have made it a very bad day for the people in Time Life’s insurance department,” Preston said. “Besides, I didn’t want to be in the grocery store looking at the next cover of the Enquirer with the headline ‘Rock Star Falls Six Stories During Bizarre Beachfront Photo Shoot!’ ”
The Jackson 5, 1974
Preston shot many photos of the Jacksons for teenybopper magazines. He took this shot through the glass as they recorded at Motown’s studios in Los Angeles.
“Michael even then, if he wasn’t the star he was certainly being groomed to be the star,” Preston said. “And then he became even bigger than anyone ever imagined.
“I shot him many times over the years. When he got older, he remembered me and he was always very sweet. He always had a sense of — how can I put this? — pressure on him. That was hard to explain. … Like the weight of the world was on his shoulders deep inside and you knew there was something going on but you obviously weren’t privy to what it was. And I always found that interesting about him.”
Elton John, 1974
“When Elton first burst through,” Preston said, “every tour he did got more and more flamboyant in terms of the show and his costumes. ‘Elton’s coming to town. What’s he going to wear this time?’ You know, that kind of thing. And I think it probably peaked around that time I think I shot that picture. …
“I was in the corridor in front of the dressing rooms, and he just popped out. He was going on stage, I didn’t realize he was, and I had a Nikon with a 24mm (lens) on the body. And I shot from the hip. It’s a true ‘grab shot,’ and it just turned out the framing was perfect.”
Sinead O’Connor, 1990
O’Connor made People magazine’s list for the year’s 25 Most Intriguing People, and Preston was assigned to get shots of her for that issue.
“I don’t know how she is now, but she was very serious,” he recalled. “And I have a slightly snarky sense of humor.”
Preston was tasked with getting some light-hearted pictures, and he considered it a breakthrough when he finally got her to smile in one of them.
“She was a really tough one to crack,” he said. “I mean I did everything I could but stand on my head and spit out nickels. … She was as serious in life as she is in this photo.”
The Traveling Wilburys, 1988
Preston had photographed Tom Petty before, and he remembers Petty calling him out of the blue and asking if he’d swing by for a photo shoot.
“(Petty) puts me on the phone with some guy named George. ‘Hello Neal, this is George and the address is …’ And as he’s telling me the address — with a distinctly Liverpudlian accent — I realize it’s George Harrison.
“I remember nothing after that point of the conversation,” laughed Preston, who fell in love with music after seeing the Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964. “I know (Harrison) gave me the address. I know we got there. I remember nothing else.”
When Preston got to the house in Encino, California, he was amused at how everyone in the supergroup sort of walked on eggshells around Bob Dylan. The shoot was dependent on Dylan’s mood and when he was ready.
“I’ve been around Bob before, and Bob’s a good guy. But, you know, he’s Bob Dylan,” Preston said. “We all have our good days and bad days in our lives.”
Once it started, the shoot lasted about an hour or so. Orbison died later that year. “It was never meant to be the iconic Wilbury shoot,” Preston said.
David Bowie, 1973
It’s been a rough time for Preston as he’s watched many of his friends and favorite subjects pass away in the last few years.
“Every one of those (deaths) takes a chunk of my heart,” he said. “It’s not good. And they all really upset me. (The death of) Keith Emerson really upset me. Glenn Frey really upset me. Tom (Petty), a couple of weeks ago, really upset me. …
“David Bowie I had shot eight or 10 times but never as a one-on-one thing. And even that chips away another 3% of my heart. And it’s just weird that (these deaths) happen in such rapid fire.”
The Clash, 1982
“I was working for The Who at Shea Stadium in ‘82 and The Clash opened,” Preston said. “I was standing backstage, and up drives this car and four guys pop out and I didn’t even realize who it was until they popped out.”
Sid Vicious, 1978
This shot was taken on the last show of the Sex Pistols’ US tour, Preston said. Just hours later, the punk band would break up.
“They went back to the hotel, and my girlfriend at the time told me she just was down the hallway and she heard that they had broken up,” Preston said.
He said the necklace Vicious is wearing here is on display at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
“A guy bought it at auction who works for the Hard Rock, and he used my picture in back of it. So if anyone wants to see the necklace, it’s in Vegas.”
“I would call this Madonna having a private moment in front of 80,000 people. And leave it at that,” Preston said.
The photo was taken in Tokyo during the pop star’s Blonde Ambition World Tour.
This holiday-themed shoot was an assignment for Creem magazine. It didn’t go according to plan.
“I was in the next room grabbing a different lens when I heard a sort of flat ‘thud’ come from the set,” Preston wrote. “It sounded like someone had dropped a couple of sandbags on the floor. I was worried that something had fallen on one of the band members, and I immediately ran back in and found that the inevitable had happened: Ace Frehley had passed out cold, face down in a ‘snowdrift.’
“Unfortunately it was a highly toxic snowdrift because the fake snow was made out of some sort of chemical that was not to be inhaled (that particular brand of prop snow is not made any more just for that reason). He had taken a few big whiffs of the stuff and started coughing uncontrollably. I saw a little blood come up and I knew that was a wrap for the day.”
Dr. Dre, 1994
“My favorite photographs, not necessarily mine, are photographs of people in the recording studio,” Preston said.
“To me, the recording studio is kind of a secret place that I’m not really supposed to be. ... It’s where (musicians) make their magic. To me, it’s reverential. It’s almost hallowed ground. And to this day I always feel a little bit of an outsider in a recording studio.”
Rod Stewart, 1996
Stewart dressed in drag for his music video “If We Fall in Love Tonight.” Preston also took some photos of Stewart getting made up.
“I like that he looked like an aging Miss Moneypenny from a James Bond movie,” Preston said. “Like if the original Miss Moneypenny had come back 40 years later to play Miss Moneypenny, that’s what she would have looked like.”
Ray Charles, 1981
Charles had a braille chess set, and Preston was happy to take him on.
The game didn’t last very long. Charles won in seven moves.
“He knew he was going to beat me, OK? He knew it,” Preston recalled. “Now I’m not Bobby Fischer, but I’ve been playing chess since I was a kid. Yeah, I was a little distracted because I wanted to make sure I could shoot, but I was fairly certain I could beat Ray Charles, with all due respect to everyone out there.
“And he hammered me.”
Janis Joplin, 1970
Preston was only 18 when he shot this photo of Joplin performing at the Transcontinental Pop Festival in Toronto.
“I like Janis Joplin, I love the Big Brother (and the Holding Company) album, but I wasn’t a mega fan and I was kind of shocked at how unhealthy she looked,” Preston said.
“She sounded great, but she did not look good. And I think that she did about seven or eight more gigs in her life before she passed away.” Joplin was 27 years old when she died from a heroin overdose.
Leonard Cohen, 1996
“This was a People (magazine) assignment, and the assignment was to go up to Mount Baldy — which is a couple hours outside of LA — for this monastery where (singer) Leonard Cohen was a monk,” Preston said.
It was a far cry from Preston’s usual shoots.
“So we get up there, and it’s very nice. But he’s a monk! I mean he’s not playing a monk in a movie. He’s a monk, he’s living the sterile life and everything. It’s not like he didn’t talk to me, but he’s really a monk — except that sometimes on weekends he’d go down the hill and play a couple of gigs. It was a little odd.”
Soldiers pose with Freddie Mercury, center, and other members of the rock band Queen during a tour of South America. The band performed in massive soccer stadiums.
“The fans there treated the band like they were the Beatles,” Preston said. “I mean, it was unbelievable. Kids yelling all night in front of the hotels ‘Freddie, Freddie, Freddie.’ It was insane.”
Peter Frampton, 1976
“To the real true rock fan, the Holy Grail — you know, the top of the mountain, the summit — is to go backstage, to go to the dressing room, for whatever reason,” Preston said. “Most people would rather just go backstage than see the damn show. … Walking through an audience with a pass around my neck, it’s kind of a stone-cold aphrodisiac, and if you throw a Nikon on my shoulder it’s even more so.
“And look, let’s be honest I’ve been offered all kinds of things to take someone backstage, be it cash, merchandise, guitars, cameras, drugs or sex, you name it. And I’m not going to say I haven’t accepted a couple of the latter.
“But don’t forget you’re there to do a job. You have to do the job. You can’t let any of that stuff interfere with your job.”
CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE AMAZING PHOTOS: http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2...ton-cnnphotos/
These Explosive Photos of Led Zeppelin, Stevie Nicks, and Alice Cooper Will Make You Believe in Rock’n’Roll Again
Intimate portraits of legendary musicians from the 1970s and 80s.
Rock photography is dead. Blame publicists. Blame managers. Blame overzealous, predatory photographers. Blame all the people who made access to musicians near impossible. As the newest book by legendary rock photographer Neal Preston proves, when it comes to the best in music photography, access is everything.
Exhausted and Exhilarated, (Reel Art Press, 2017) is filled with never-before-seen photos of unguarded backstage moments, shots from behind amps on stage and in limos and hotel rooms, of all the biggest musicians of the 1970s and ’80s. Preston captured some of the most notorious rock tours of all time: Led Zeppelin, at their absolute peak; The Who in their full Keith Moon raucousness; Frampton filling enormous stadiums.
Photos like these just don’t happen much anymore, at least not without clearance from a phalanx of publicists and managers and lawyers and only after signing away all rights to the photos. Not that Preston didn’t have to get through Led Zeppelin’s notoriously gruff manager Peter Grant before getting the greenlight to shoot them, but the photos in his book have a loose familiarity about them that feels absent from a lot of music photography today.
Preston didn’t just focus on the candid backstage moments. Those just happen to be among my favorites. His live shots are on fire, putting you right there, front and center, or often right on stage with the musician. You can feel the sweat. And he captures excellent pensive moments in the studio, like Bruce Springsteen standing as if he’s studying the microphone before him.
Preston, now 65 and living in Los Angeles, earned his reputation by being a well-rounded photographer, able to bring out the best—or at least capture something real—in the musicians he photographed. The portraits convey a connection that can be hard to coax out of famous people who are so used to being documented.
The list of bands covered in the book is far too long to even dip into. Basically, if they were popular between the very late ’60s into the early ’90s, they’re likely in here. Sprinkled throughout, Preston shares vignettes and bits of wisdom about touring as a rock photographer, including this vital ego-checking nugget: “You are not a member of the band.” He goes on, “Almost all musicians, (other than the obvious key ones) are expendable and photographers are no different.” It’s as much fun reading as it is flipping through this heavy 336-page volume.
Here’s a brief taste.
I had been given a magazine assignment to shoot Alice Cooper around Hollywood for a sort of photographic “guided tour.” This was at the point in his career when Alice had started hanging around with people like Groucho Marx, playing golf all day and appearing on TV game shows like Hollywood Squares . It was all about Alice playing against “type”…so I went along with the joke. We shot all over Hollywood Boulevard, went to all the cheesy gift shops and bought some maps to stars homes…just like we were tourists fresh off the bus from Iowa. One of the last shots we did that day was in front of a run-down strip bar, which was a pretty normal building to see in Hollywood in those days. So much for the glamour that was Hollywood.
I found this shot on a roll of film I always considered a throwaway. Bob Marley played the Santa Monica Civic and I believe he opened for The Clash (although I may be wrong). I was never a big reggae fan and I wasn’t there to shoot Bob, but I shot a couple of rolls of him just to pass the time, since I was on the stage anyway. It turned out to be one of those little hidden gems that you stumble over once in a great while when you go back and look at proof sheets that you haven’t seen in years. It’s another reminder that you should never ever toss a roll of film away.
This is one of my most favorite shots that I’ve ever taken. It was shot during the song “No Quarter,” which begins with John Paul Jones’ keyboard intro followed by Robert’s vocal. Jimmy was standing by his theremin waiting to come in with his guitar part and I was sort of hiding in back of Peter Grant (which was usually a very good place to park myself and remain invisible). Jimmy suddenly locked eyes with me and I shot this picture; he then walked right up to me a few seconds later. He asked me if I had noticed the tour doctor in the front row, who was surrounded by about five hot blondes. I told him, “Yes, that’s Dr. Larry alright…” He was clearly not happy about this..so he walked back out to center stage and proceeded to tear off an absolutely blistering guitar solo, glaring at Dr. Larry the entire time. To me, this photograph FEELS what it was like to be on stage with Led Zeppelin.
This shot is from my first one-on-one session with Stevie Nicks in 1981. Stevie was living in a condo on the 6th floor of a building in Venice Beach, and after an all-day shoot we decided to do one last picture on her rooftop as the sun went down. As soon as we started shooting the wind really began to pick up to the point where I was worried that she’d be blown over the side of the building. I wasn’t about to let a little wind ruin a potentially great photo, so there was only one thing to do: As a safety precaution, I had an assistant lay on his stomach out of frame while he held on to her right boot. I said, “Whatever you do, do NOT let go of her!”
This was shot at a Peter Frampton concert in Florida at the height of Frampton’s popularity in the mid-70’s. Promoters would usually go to the local college and always hire the biggest, most massive dudes to do security on stage and backstage. The fatter the better. These guys were never hired for their smarts, or their ability to think fast on their feet. It was all about intimidation, with the benefit of only having to pay these guys minimum wage and a case of beer. I probably shot this picture because the guy refused to move out of my way.
This shot is a perfect example of what I like to call a “happy accident.” I happened to catch Elton John just as he came out of his dressing room at the Forum in LA in 1974. I literally shot this from the hip with a 24mm lens. It looks like he’s alone but there were plenty of other people around; luckily I got the framing just right.
This shot of Kiss was done for a holiday cover of Creem Magazine. I rented the cheesiest winter backdrop I could find and bought lots and lots of fake polyurethane snow- the same stuff that the movie studios used. We spread the fake snow all over the photo studio at A&M Records and it really started to look and feel like winter, even though it was September in Los Angeles. I had a couple of assistants hanging in the rafters with bags of the stuff so I could have flurries any time I wanted. Unfortunately, Ace Frehley had started his holiday partying a few months early and in the middle of the shoot he passed out face down in the snow, which unfortunately was highly toxic. He took a big whiff of the stuff and started coughing up blood—and that was the end of the shoot. The snow also got into the studio’s ventilation system and for six months every time the air conditioner was turned on some of the fake snow would blow out. I was not-so-politely asked to never set foot in that studio again.