October 22, 2007 by A.C. Rhodes
at an interview or while reviewing a show? This includes en route and return.
Extra points if you work in an abandoned warehouse building. Put your witch/warlock hats on and share.
Category: Question of the Week
All right, I’ll bite.
Covering a dance/hip hop festival I met a freelance photographer who didn’t have a press pass and so couldn’t get close enough to the stage to get any decent shots. Feeling a sense of journalistic solidarity I lent him my pass. A security guard recognised him from an earlier attempt however, and shooed him away. After he gave me back my pass, the security guard started approaching us, hollering and waving his arms. I split, ducked into the crowd, took my shirt off and pretended to be enjoying some godawful DJ set.
That wasn’t the scary part, though. The scary part was the sea of fluorotrash I wound up being surrounded by.
I have two.
1. Not specifically a “critic” situation; more as a fan. I had front row seats (purchased, by the way, not scammed) to see Miles Davis in Charlotte NC a year or two before he died. I was still a concert taper, so naturally I smuggled my gear inside. But I didn’t count on that LiveEvil Miles Glare: at various times it was as if he was looking at us (me) down front, and I just knew he was going to have security come grab that ofay motherfucker in the front row with the tape recorder. Luckily, that never happened; and I lived to tell the tale (not to mention get the tape out to Miles fans everywhere).
2. I was reviewing Guns N’ Roses + The Cult concert in Columbia, SC, for Creative Loafing (Charlotte). Somehow I was given a photog pass too, and rather than squander the opp (the staff shutterbug couldn’t go) I took my battered Nikon and said what the hell, I’ll do it. Got some great shots of The Cult. Then I went back down for GNR, the usual first three songs scenario, blah blah blah. About a song and a half into the set I was grabbed and physically carried out of the photog pit by some goon, who summarily informed me that no photography was allowed (funny, I’d wondered why I was the ONLY guy down there at the time). Turns out Axl insisted on shots taken at the END of the shows when everyone was at their most hog-worthy sweatiest rock and fucking rollest. Who knew!
I was carried backstage, my camera taken away, and told that they’d probably destroy the film. Meanwhile I’m missing the show, too. This gorgeous rock-chick type, uh, rock-chick walks by, spots dejected me, and sits down to see what’s up. Turns out she’s Ian Astbury’s girlfriend, and long story short, she goes to get Ian, who comes out, nods his approval at me (back in those days I sorta looked like a rock-dude type so I could walk the walk, despite the fact that I sold men’s dress shoes for a living… ask me sometime…), and goes to smooth things over. Voila: my camera is returned, I’m sent back out to the show with the caution to wait until the LAST three songs (encores), and I even get a pat on the back from Ian Astbury. Sob! I haven’t bathed since!
OK, it would have made a better story if the goons had beat me up. But I was pretty scared there for a few minutes. And sitting in an under-the-stage corridor in a coliseum while a rock concert is going on, screaming and stomping overhead, is even scarier: I thought my drive down to Columbia was gonna leave me with a boring 2-hour purgatory to report back on.
So you *did* wind up seeing Guns n’ Roses. 😉 Ha!
I was backstage at the Fillmore East in 1969, in the dressing room with Led Zeppelin, whom I’d interviewed the day before. I was proudly wearing my handmade-by-me Janis Joplin lace-tablecloth pantsuit, with very little on underneath, and talking to Jimmy Page and one of the omnipresent groupies when I heard a bellow from across the room.
“Hey, you in the lace nightie, get over here and sit on my face!” It was the golden god himself, Mr. R. Plant, who was not exactly short of companionship at that particular moment, being surrounded by a shoal of very pretty groupies.
Since I had recently begun my relationship with my future husband, Jim Morrison, you can bet I didn’t respond to the kind invitation. And I immediately set Plant straight with some very sharp words indeed. I guess he didn’t remember me from the intelligent conversation we’d enjoyed in the interview the night before, and also didn’t think any chick, having been summoned to the favor of the sultan, would ever turn him down. But, hey, I had the Lizard King’s face to sit on any time I wanted, and he was handsomer, smarter, wittier and made far better music, so no thanks, Bob.
But you know, he himself was wearing sprayed-on pants and the rest of him half-naked under an open shirt, so how come he could dress like that and I couldn’t dress the way I wanted without being subject to unwelcome attentions? Most unfair.
So a very scary moment indeed, really. Eeek.
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