Sunday July 25, 2004

Madonna appeared in a vision last night to the faithful believers in Atlanta.

 


Oh, Madonna. What have you done?

I'm still buzzing from being allowed to photograph Madonna. I'm still disappointed from the show. Her last tour in '01 is one of the top 10 shows I've ever seen so hopes were high for this one. It shouldn't have been called the "Re-Invention" tour. Maybe the "Re-Gurgitation" tour. I'm not saying that just to be flippant. What I mean by that is she just seemed to be throwing out all the old stuff that she thought people would want. It didn't seem at all inspired. It was just a show. Highlights were "Like A Prayer" and "Into The Groove." Lowlights were long transitions between numbers and at least 2 instances of songs being performed by video screen and not performer. Her lip-synching left a bit to be desired also. In "Vogue" it was particularly bad. She looks great and put on a fun Vegas style review. It'll still be in my top ten of the year (maybe) but compared to last time, this was pretty sad. Her yoga has made her incredibly bendy, though! Some of my favorite pics that I took are of her all contorted into geometric shapes. You'll see 'em soon enough. Bottom line: amazing performer, lukewarm performance.

Spent today recovering and uploading pics to Retna. It's good to have a night off. The line of the day today comes from Lou Anne on King Of The Hill. When a thunderstorm's lightning flashes over the house as their town floods, she says "It's like God's taking our picture...before he kills us."


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Saturday July 24, 2004

Beware the happenin' new hip-hop duo: Christa & Twista. "We're kinda like Hall & Oates," declares Christa. Guess which one fills the "Oates" role.

 

 

 


Alright, well we made it through the insanity of yesterday. Amanda did a heck of a job as "official photographer" for On The Bricks. Made me feel pretty unnecessary when I looked at her pics!

We got to the festival yesterday and shot Aslyn first. Her debut album is coming out on Capitol in January of '05. She's really soulful. Kind of like a cross between Carole King and Alanis Morrisette. After her set, I talked her into letting me get a few portraits of her. She was very sweet and was happy to help out lil' ol' me.

Then I had to dash off to Chastain Park to photo Liza Minnelli at 8 p.m. while Amanda shot Louque (pronounced "Luke") and Steel Pulse. I managed to get to the other venue within 15 minutes. I was there with half an hour to spare before show time. Of course, then show time was pushed back and again. I sat out there in that muggy park 'til 9:20 waiting for Liza to start. There was a brief set from the Atlanta Symphomy Orchestra but (as much as I hate to say it) it was kind of dull. At least I had Rick Diamond there to talk to. It made the wait a little more bearable.

When she finally did come on, she looked like "Liza With A Z". Unfortunately, her voice was pretty rough for "I Can See Clearly Now." It improved quickly but as I only stayed for 2 songs, I can't tell you if it held up or not. She did have one good line. After the first song, she was commenting on the overbearing heat and humidity. "It's like breathing peanut butter," she said. That was the line of the day for me!

The mad dash back to On The Bricks sucked. I got stuck in traffic and it took me 40 minutes to get back. At least I had The Scissor Sisters in the car disc player to soothe me.

Got back in time for Twista. I've got to say, he was much, MUCH better than the last two times I saw him. Not only did I enjoy the set a lot, I even hung out afterwards. It's rare for me to do that anymore, but those guys were a blast. See the pic of me in the upper left? That was Twista's idea. What a cool guy!

Kangol Kid from UTFO (remember "Roxanne, Roxanne"?) was hanging out backstage, too. I took a few pics of them together and even got Twista to let me do some portrait type shots of him.

Again, I say...what a cool guy!

As for today, I just edited the photos from last night. I feel pretty tired and out of it...almost panicky. Probably just exhaustion and stress. Tonight, I'm off to see Madonna. Gotta say I'm excited about that!

I went out and bought Nellie McKay's CD today. I can't believe how lucky I've been with music lately. I'd actually give the album 41/2 stars. I never do that. I loved The Hives but they'd only get 3 1/2. The new Truckers would get the same as The Hives. The Nellie McKay album is amazing. If you crossed Tony Bennett, Eminem, The Beatles and kd lang, you'd have her. That may be a weird thing to picture, but if you hear it, you'll know what I mean immediately. This may be the best album of the year. I can almost guarantee that it'll be nominated for GRAMMY's. The last time I made that prediction was with Norah Jones (who no one had heard of at the time). Go get her album now.


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Friday July 23, 2004
 

 

 

 


Today, the craziness begins.

Yesterday, right after I updated the diary, I got the new Drive-By Truckers CD in the mail. It's not released until Aug. 24 but I (duh) recommend it. It seems it was just the inspiration I needed. Before I finished even hearing it, I had to stop it to write a song that popped into my head. It's called "(I Know) Too Much For My Own Good." It's basically a Q-Sign song written for now. Check it out by clicking on the song title. The info (and direct link) on it is on the RARITIES page. Read all about it there. I just finished recording it an hour or so ago and it's uploaded before anyone but me has heard it.

I also added 2 recording from 2 years ago. Go to the aforementioned page link to download, listen to and / or read about "Driver" and "Say Yes."

Now...on to today. A Madonna ticket showed up via UPS this morning. I can't tell you how excited I am that they're finally going to let me photograph her. Last time, they turned me down flat. It's funny how a little time can change things! That show's tomorrow. Of course, first I've got to get through the madness we call today.

Tonight, I've got On The Bricks and Liza Minelli. I can't be in both places at once so I'm going to shoot the first On The Bricks act, then dash over to Chastain for Liza and back for the last two acts at On The Bricks. While I'm gone, Amanda's gonna do her best to do my job for me. We're both a bit nervous and stressed about it.

No more time for writing, I must prepare now.


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Thursday July 22, 2004

 


I just got asked to do a pre-show photo shoot with ZO2. They're the band opening for KISS / Poison on the current tour. I'm ambivalent about it but I guess I'll do it. Why not? If they blow up (doubtful, I've heard the stuff), it'll really be good for me. If they don't, nothing lost.

Tomorrow's going to be a difficult night. I was hoping that my "second", Brian McCall, could fill in for me tomorrow night at On The Bricks. It turns out, he can't. So I've got to go shoot the first act, leave Amanda there in my place to shoot the second and third act, drive out to Chastain Park to shoot Liza Minelli, then rush back to Centennial Olympic Park to catch Twista and do trade shots, etc. What a drag! I was really hoping to see Liza's full show. I love those timeless, legend types. Plus, she has a recurring role on my favorite recent TV show, Arrested Development.

Oh well, I'll do what I have to do. It's work after all!


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Wednesday July 21, 2004

 


More inspiration searching. I got The Hives CD sent via overnight courier to me. It smokes. It's 12 songs in 30 minutes and is the audio equivalent of a caffeine overdose. If you need energy, put this sucker on, it'll jump start you. I also got deeper into the Franz Ferdinand album. It's better than I thought on surface glance. There are hints of Duran Duran and Soft Cell in with the Interpol, Strokes, modern alt stuff. It's like if The Strokes had grown up listening to Giorgio Moroder (producer who's responsible for Donna Summer and some of Blondie's hits) instead of Television. It's good while I'm looking back at Floyd and Joni to also be looking to the now at Franz and Hives. I recommend both of those discs highly. But don't give up on 'em after one listen. If you listen 2 or 3 times, you'll be hooked!

Other than that, I'm still wallowing in depression. It's good for creativity but it sucks for living. I am sleeping a little now but I still feel like there's a hole right in the center of my chest. I have so much work to do on Concert Shots that I don't even know where to begin and scheduling conflicts to deal with this Friday so that's all adding in.

I also talked to my Mom again tonight. It keeps getting worse and worse. I'm not going to say anymore detailed info than I have in previous posts but it's even worse than we feared. She may be having surgery within the next couple of days. I'm worried. No, I'm downright scared. I went through this a year ago with the most negative results imaginable. The difference that I have to hold on to is that my Mom has a team of great doctors and she's a nurse. My Dad had no one really doing their jobs. They let him die. At least my Mom's got a good crew and a strong support system. Hopefully, that's enough to make all the difference in the world.

Mom will do everything she can...Dad was too proud to do that.

I'm scared. But I'm hopeful. Hang in there, Mom.


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Tuesday July 20, 2004

 


I've been looking for inspiration lately. I've got a lot of new material on the tips of my brain, tongue and fingers but I need to push myself into a new place before I translate it to tape and / or hard drive. Otherwise, I'll give you the same old thing I always do. I'd like to shake it up a little, you know. To that end, I watched a couple of DVD's today that Tom let me borrow. One was on the making of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon. For those of you who don't know, I decided (after much soul searching) that to me that's the greatest album of all time. It's not the songs as much as the whole package. It's perfect. Every thing fits like a glorious puzzle. Not to mention that it expresses a lot of feelings that I still feel everyday. If you don't know it inside and out, get it now. I also watched a documentary on Joni Mitchell. She really is a phenomenal lyricist and "artist" in the true sense. To me, she's frustrating at times and there's a bit too much estrogen in there but what I like, I love and I admire and respect it all.

Today, I called my Mom and caught her right after her doctor's appointment. She's still not able to sleep (even with medication) and they tried to do blood tests on her only to find that she was too dehydrated to get what they need. They needed 300 cc's (absurd in its own right) and could only manage 50. When I talked to her, she sounded frustrated and tired. I guess so. Now she's just got to go back tomorrow for them to try it again. How maddening!

My sister's about 8+ months pregnant and she's not doing too well either. She's alright so far but the baby's breach and they may have to c-section her as she's already got pregnancy onset diabetes. Guess when they're thinking about the surgery? Why, the week of my Dad's birthday, of course.

With Mom's, Grandma's, Missy's and Shawn's problems (not to mention a certain plot in a field), I feel the gravity of South Carolina pulling on me at all times.

I need a break to breathe. No chance of that anytime soon.

By the way, a slew of my shots (including the past few Fridays) have been updated to the galleries at On The Bricks. Check 'em out.


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Monday July 19, 2004

 


Spent the day tidying up loose ends and finishing this week's On The Bricks pics (as well as getting them in to Retna). Nothing special. Amanda had a rough day at work so we went to TransMet for a Hungry Sasquatch. It's been a while. We felt like spoiling ourselves. We've earned it.

Afterwards, I made another trip to TransMet for rock and roll trivia at the bar upstairs. I've got to say, we did a little better than last week. Our pride was on the line after getting beaten by 10-points the last time. That's something that's never happened. Well, we made up for it tonight. We won by a 30-point margin and got (get this) every question right! Usually, I'm blase about it and just go for a little diversion but I was excited about that victory. That was a silly, ridiculous goal I had set for myself way back when I started going...to have a perfect night! We finally did it. One more goal to scratch off the list!

The high was short lived. When I got home, Amanda let me know that my Mom had called. Her health is not getting any better, in fact...well, it's worse than that. I'm very worried and almost panicked about it. Tomorrow she has more testing. By some horribly, God forsaken coincidence, it was about a year ago that my Dad's health started really nose diving.

There's nothing I can do but wait and see and hope.

In the mean time, I'll try to think about how much we stomped the competition at (what will possibly be) the penultimate rock 'n' roll trivia match!

Click here for last week's updates, including unfortunate hair and Los Lonely Boys!


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