Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fame

I photographed a lot of rock and roll stars, but that wasn't all. All kinds of celebrities would show up backstage at concerts, or go to the parties thrown by the record companies. One of them was Jeff Conaway. He passed away this week after a long struggle with substance abuse. 




I don't know whether or not he was abusing drugs the night I shot this. It was the Seventies after all, but he seemed fine to me that night. And happy. Things were certainly going well in his career. This photo was taken at Xenon, at a party for Cerrone, the disco star. The woman is Rona Newton-John, sister of Olivia. They weren't married yet. Unlike many celebrities today, Jeff loved having his picture taken (at least back then)-- I have more from that party that haven't been scanned yet-- and he was a pleasure to shoot. It's so sad. 


Too many deaths lately.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Look Sharp! (Joe Jackson)

I liked photographing Joe Jackson. He always made it interesting, like when he was performing with FUBAR the robot. Loved the songs, too. Is She Really Going Out With Him? Still makes me smile, every time I hear those chords at the beginning. Every single time.

Joe Jackson and FUBAR at The Palladium, 1979


I was warned about Joe Jackson though. He doesn't like photographers, they told me, gives them a hard time. You don't want to go backstage and bother him. Yeah, well. I went backstage anyway. He was great. Posed for me and everything. Don't believe everything they tell you. 

Backstage at the Bottom Line, 1979
Backstage at the Bottom Line, 1979
This shot ran in CREEM. Check out the receipt I got from the magazine. Low tech even for its time. I can't believe I still have stuff like this, but I do. More to scan.


Jackson's new live album is coming out next month. Should be interesting, he toured last year with his original bassist and drummer. Here's a link to his recent interview with Billboard Magazine. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Reelin' - Phoebe Snow

I'm sorry I never got to see Phoebe Snow perform live. I know I did her signing photos for Atlantic Records in September 1980, but even then I didn't get to see her onstage. Phoebe cared for her disabled daughter at home from her birth in 1975 until she passed away in 2007, but would still manage to perform. It's amazing that she was able to do it.

Garland Jeffreys and Phoebe Snow, 1977
Phoebe would show up around town, and that's where our paths would cross. Then I'd be able to get pictures. She was always happy to smile and pose. You'd never know how difficult her life really was. She showed up backstage after a Garland Jeffreys concert, and the photo was used by Circus Magazine to illustrate a story about Garland, as she sang on "Reelin'" from his second album One-Eyed Jack. One of those backstage shots was also used in Circus for a story called "Phoebe Snow Never Let Go." Interesting how the article talked about Phoebe being cynical, but never mentioned anything about her daughter.



Billy Joel and Phoebe Snow at Studio 54, 1978

She also came to a party at Studio 54 and I shot her with Billy Joel, another musician I've only photographed offstage.
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It was hard to hear about her stroke in 2010. It was harder still to hear that we lost her. Rest in peace Phoebe.

And then it turns out we lost Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex this week too. Rest in peace Marianne Elliot-Said. Two strong women performers gone. 


All photos and text © sheri lynn behr unless otherwise noted.
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