Sunday, December 5, 2010

Soul Man (The Blues Brothers)

I was teaching music in the Bronx while I was shooting rock and roll at night. Teachers get 10 sick days every year, which they tend to hoard and then use mostly for mental health days. I'd use mine to work. If I'd get a call from a record company to come in and do a shoot during school hours, I'd take a sick day. As a music teacher, I wasn't responsible for a class, so I didn't feel too guilty about it. Most of my jobs were after school ended anyway.

One on my favorite "days off" was spent at Atlantic Records in NY doing a signing photo for the Blues Brothers. The Blues Brothers were Jake and Elwood Blues (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd of Saturday Night Live fame.)  

I rode up in the elevator with Danny, who was a really nice guy who shook my hand and introduced himself to me as if he wasn't famous and I didn't already know who he was. Which I did think was really kind of cool. And down-to-earth. Not John Belushi though, he was there with a flunky who'd light his cigarettes for him. 

The Blues Brothers (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd)
sign with Atlantic Records 1978

I suggested hats, sunglasses, and cigars for the record executives, which was a bit unusual for this kind of photography. Then it got a little crazy-- records were thrown so hard they would stick in the ceiling. And fall down, usually on someone's head. It was a really fun shoot. But Belushi never got out of character for a minute, which did seem strange. Of course, we all know how things turned out for him, just a few years later. So sad.

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