Soundgarden put out solid music for their entire 30+ year career. One of the few bands that I never outgrew. The first time I saw them was at Lollapalooza '92 in Vancouver and it was a formative experience for me. My first big outdoor festival and they ripped it up like you wouldn't believe. The energy was animalistic, and the frenzied crowd was literally steaming! I still believe it was the most exciting era for live music.
I wouldn't start shooting bands until later that year, but I shot a few Soundgarden shows since then.
These photos are from the last time I ever saw them. Chris, Kim, Ben and Matt were in fine form that night. Incredible show. Even though it was a big room, the stage was more intimate that the times I'd shot them before. On a big outdoor stage everyone is more spread out so you're much less likely to get a shot like the first one in this series.
There’s a lot going on in the first photo of Chris with his arms swaying. Even before we lost him I found it very moving. Now it holds a whole other world of meaning.
Thanks to Jerome Crooks and Paul Lorkowski for making this happen, and to Kille Knobel for the stellar lighting!
I've known QOTSA singer Josh Homme for a while now, and he's always been gracious with me. When I was out with him and Them Crooked Vultures he made a point of saying he was glad I was there to document that tour because it's something he'll to want to remember forever.
As I touched on in a previous Billy Talent story, it's a privilege to be in these situations and I'm hyper-aware of people's comfort, or discomfort, having a camera around. So it's a balance between wanting to give them cherished memories and giving them space.
One place I won't stick around without being asked is the dressing room right before the show. Usually about 15 minutes before showtime the tour manager will ask friends to clear the room so the band can get in the zone.
At this particular show, when their tour manager Kevin gave them the 15 minutes to showtime warning, the only other person in the room was me. I was on the other side of the room taking photos of the band playing a warm-up song. So I looked up at Kevin like “should I go?”, and he gestured to me “Nah you're good”. That's Kevin in photo 7.
I was particularly stoked to stay because they were playing my favourite song My God Is The Sun.
This is the cover of The Hurry and The Harm, city and colour's 4th studio album. We first talked about doing this shoot while Dallas was driving me home from one of the Alexisonfire shows in Toronto in December.
He came up with the idea for the dots on the cover, and we played around with a few framings for the portrait, settling on this tight closeup with half his face in shadow. Justin Ellsworth at Dine Alone Records did an awesome job putting together the final artwork.
These were all pretty simple setups with either a single light or using natural light, which is what I do with 90% of my music photography. The cover was shot in front of a small white backdrop in his living room. Good stuff.
Even before I started shooting bands, I always thought the coolest moments were captured behind the scenes. Either in music videos or magazines, growing up I was fascinated with backstage imagery. And it doesn't have to be all sex, drugs and Rock & Roll to be interesting.
The moments leading up to a show are exciting to me. Even something as simple as the walk from the dressing room to the stage. Some of that excitement comes just from knowing how lucky I am to even be there.
In that regard no one has been better to me than Billy Talent. While still respecting their privacy, I feel comfortable enough with them to take pictures where I might not with someone else. Like the first photo where Ben is doing his vocal warmups in the shower stall. But I also know that all they have to do is give me a nod and I know it's time for me to go.
One of my favourite shots of Aaron is the one where he was doing some last-second stretches before the curtain dropped. That last bit of solitude before being exposed to 15,000 fans.
I like a lot of things about my job, but working behind the scenes might be the best.
The Hives and I arranged to do a quick publicity shoot while they were in town opening for Pink. I went to the arena with a backdrop, a light and my pal Scottie to give me a hand.
The referee locker room during hockey and basketball games is sometimes used as the opening act's dressing room on concert days. It's small. The only space available to me was in the even smaller alcove at the entrance to the locker room.
Once the light was set up it was such a tight squeeze that Pelle with his hands on his head and his elbows out, barely fit in the frame! I think Scottie even had to wait outside.
I ended up doing individual portraits then cutting and pasting them into these pairs. I actually really love the way they turned out!
The last shot was from a year earlier but I really wanted to include it. When the band was waiting in the wings before the show it was so dark that Niklas (on the left) asked me if the photos would even turn out. I said I was doing long exposures with the iso cranked, and even though I couldn't see him I could feel him rolling his eyes haha.
At the time I honestly didn't see Pelle pretending to stab his brother with a big hunk of wood. It wasn't until I got home and looked through the photos that I discovered this scene from an old vampire movie 🦇🎩