Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Random Rock Star Moment: Robert John

This post is a direct result of a late night listening to an old Guns N' Roses album while drinking red wine as a Black Kitty and a Siamese Cat stared at me from a couch...

Awhile back, Umlaut found himself backstage after a Motörhead show in Anaheim; I was there for work. As what usually happens backstage at big Rock shows, I started chatting with random strangers who happen to be standing next to me.

Towards the end of the evening I found myself chatting with a cool, friendly couple: The woman worked with Motörhead and the gentleman was their photographer. I was familiar with the man's recent photos of the band and when he introduced himself his name was setting bells off in my head but I couldn't place why... We ended up talking about music... records... vinyl... how kids these days don't even fucking know... etc. etc.. We were on the same wavelength, man.

Later, as we walked to our respective cars, we traded business cards and said our goodbyes.... THEN I remembered! Robert John: One of the legends of Rock N' Roll photography! The person responsible for most of the iconic photos of Guns N' Roses, including the back cover of Appetite For Destruction:

This is someone from the generation of Rock photographers who lived The Life AND captured it on film for history. When you look at Mr. John's photos you will understand how Rock N' Roll really is dead in many respects... Yeah, it's still viable, but it's NOT the same in the post-Internet 21st Century where you can find out everything about anybody online.

Indeed, Umlaut is an old fart.. I miss the days when your favorite bands seemed like Super Heroes and you got a sense of accomplishment from hunting down their latest releases at record stores. I miss the days when you didn't know alot about Rock Stars, but you felt like you knew them through their music and not via Internet forums or online gossip. I miss the days when you could not be casual or lazy if you were a Music Geek; it's what separated the fans from the posers... and when I look at Mr. John's photos all of that is reflected in them. Cue Almost Famous.

Long story short, I stayed in touch with Mr. John and was fortunate enough to have him sign my copy of his Guns N' Roses : The Photographic History (Little Brown & Co. - 1993)... which I think is pretty cool.

Wow, it's late...