Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Nuge

It was 20 years ago...that I first started shooting concerts locally for WIZN. I was 18 and thrilled for free concerts, and cool photos. No pay - but it didn't matter it made me happy. One of the first major bands I got to work with was Bad Company, and their opening act - Damn Yankees. Once Bad Company actually told me the name of some songs they recorded, I at least knew I knew who they were. And that they were okay and fun. The other band? The main players were Tommy Shaw of Styx and Michael Cartalone of Knight Ranger. At least in my mind. (Only from the mind of Minolta).

There was this other guy though who seemed to strike fear into my parents hearts at first. Ted Nugent. "The Nuge." I had fun over the course of 2 years catching up with these two bands and shooting whenever and wherever I could. Even at one show earned my stripes and got an All Access Pass for the two bands - in case I could make it to New Orleans. I was 20 and in college. The show in New Orleans was right after school started - but hell, yeah, I was on the road and going.

The final stop of their worldwide tour, these two bands were in New Orleans to play (literally) and play and have some fun. My view of New Orleans will forever be seen through the eyes of these two bands, and a few Banana Banshees.

These were some amazing memories from that tour - but my two favorites were from Middletown, NY where I managed to get a kid who was at the concert through Make-A-Wish backstage to meet Ted. He'd gotten amazing tickets, but not been granted permission to go backstage. Bully on that! It was a great thing to be able to see happen.

The other was much more personal. The morning after the last show in New Orleans, I called home and talked to Mom and Dad, and found out Nana Visco was not doing well. Not expected to make it through the week. I still had a few more days left on the trip, but knew I wanted to get back to New York to see her. Ted and Tommy got up after 3 hours of sleep, helped me pack, rearrange travel plans and got me a limo to the airport.

You know they put on their pants the same way you and I do - one leg at a time.

So, when 20 years later, Ted's coming to town - I had to take pictures. Had to. No real reason why - just for the sheer fun of it. The memory of what was. Well - he didn't let me down. With a single email request I had my photo access, and Geoff and I ended up with seats in the 6th row center. SWEET. First three, no flash. Same rules as always. Only now, the audience is allowed cameras, just not video or "professional cameras."

There I am, side by side with Alison Redlich from the local daily and the newly hired Communications Director for the Fair. And loving it. 20 years later I know that I am THAT good. That my pictures are that good. That I have every right to be up here with these people. And we talked cameras, favorite shows, and why I do it.

Why - because it makes me feel alive. I have an adrenaline rush a high that is almost unexplainable. To Ted fans - it's the thrill of the hunt - for the perfect picture combining good photography, sense of the music, the persona and a glimpse of the real person. It's my relationship with the person I am shooting.

So all said and done - I had a ball. Got some great photos and made a couple of new acquaintances. Maybe 20 years down the road I be looking back at this night and realizing what came from it, just as I look back to 1990 and New Orleans.

1 comment:

Rene' said...

Remember when we travelled up to the Orange County Fair Grounds (NY) to see Bad Company and Damn Yankees. I remember talking to Ted Nugent and Jack Blades back stage and wondering what they hell I was doing there. After watching Almost Famous, I realized that I shared Cameron Crowe's a much smaller extent, but I never did get my story that least the one I wanted. Loved the piece Staci!