Sunday, August 7, 2011

How Did I Get Here?

This week I saw that Aztec Two-Step is still around and they are performing at George Eastman House (Rochester NY, too far away). Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman have a special place in my heart because sometimes I think if it wasn't for them, I might not have really gotten into shooting rock and roll.

Aztec Two-Step, Schaefer Music Festival, Central Park, NYC, 1976

At that time, I was taking photography classes, and I wanted to photograph for myself and not just for class assignments. I wasn't really interested in doing street photography, so I'd take my camera to concerts. I'd use the photos to work on my printing in my tiny darkroom, in my tiny bathroom, in my tiny studio apartment. In June of 1976, Aztec Two-Step was opening for Jesse Colin Young in Central Park. A friend of my friend Sara knew the band and said we should definitely go see them, but it was the first summer Saturday of the Schaefer Music Festival and the concert was sold out. Since Sara's friend was living in St. Louis and couldn't really do anything at that point to get us in, he said we should hang out by the press gate and mention his name to Rex and Neal.

Neal Shulman of Aztec Twp-Step

So we're hanging out and of course, we can't get near Neal and Rex. But then Stu comes out with the list (which did not have our names of course). He's the publicist for Aztec Two-Steps' label RCA Records. We start talking, he sees my camera, asks if I have a portfolio (which I was starting to put together) and tells me to call and make an appointment to show it to him. And then he lets us in. Yay! It was a good show!

Rex Fowler of Aztec Two-Step

I finish the portfolio, make the appointment not long after, and Stu gives me my first official photo pass (Jefferson Starship- but that's a whole other story) Not long after that, he gives me my first paid assignment too, the first of many. (The Deadly Nightshade at The Bottom Line) And that's how I got here.

Oddly enough, while I photographed Aztec Two-Step six more times, I never actually got hired to shoot them.

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