Friday, August 27, 2004

Horns Explained

Horns explained
Originally uploaded by Charrmer.
Finally, the mystery of the Devil Horns and it's relationship rock n'roll has been explained-- somewhat anyway.
What we now know is this... Back in the 70's a guy named Ronnie James Dio, formerly of Black Sabbath, formerly of Rainbow, formerly of Elf and now in his own band aptly titled "Dio" was on stage and did it. He continued to do it at successive shows and it became his trademark until it caught on and is now seen on rocker hands held high all across this lovely world of ours.
The only thing that still remains a mystery is the why of it... why did he do it the first time. That we may never know. ;)
I bet these guys seen at a recent Pennywise show just do it they think it's cool... except for the renegade in the bunch who chose to shoot a bird for the camera instead.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Empire Interior

Originally uploaded by Charrmer.
So this is what a sold out show looks like! This picture was taken just after the headlining band Social Distortion left the stage and the house lights went on. I have been in this venue so many times now but I never saw a crowd this big. The building capacity is 872. Who wants to count the number of people in this photo? Go on, I dare you!
Social Distortion put out their first album in 1983. According to Lars they have been around for 25 years and he would know. I was looking forward to shooting them!
So, I sweetly introduced myself to the tour manager as one of the house photographers... You'd have thought I'd asked him if I could sing the first number with the guys. He was rabid! "NO PHOTOS, no video, no recordings of any kind! If I even SEE a camera (as he stared at the one slung over my shoulder) I'll take it away!" With that loud and terse statement he turned and left. Buh bye.
We skedaddled to the balcony...
I will add this though. Social Distortion did a fantastic cover of Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire. Wow. Loved it!

Lars Frederiksen and The Bastards (well not really in this photo)

Originally uploaded by Charrmer.
"It's nice to be important, but it's important to be nice." said Lars Fredricksen in a recent interview with Jamie O'Meara for
In person he is true to his quote. I met Lars last night during the Social Distortion show and he was as polite, genteel and sweet as could be. I had heard he was there-- somewhere. In the balcony area I sidled up to a man with a sliver of space to his right and asked if I could share. "Please do" he said with a smile. We talked about the band playing etc. and I saved his spot when he went out for a smoke. After a few minutes Kevin taps me on the shoulder and says "That's Lars!" I really had no idea. With all his leather and tatts I just figured he was with the Hells Angels group just behind us. His band is hardcore punk and very well known. He's in Rancid too. Don'tcha just love some of the band names?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Paul shoots Charr shooting Peja
Originally uploaded by Charrmer.
Here I am photographing Peja Stojakovich who is posing for a series of Paradyme ads I had the honor to shoot. It so happens that The Sacramento Bee did a story on the new alliance-- Peja and Paradyme-- and sent staffer Paul Kitagaki to document the ad shoot. Little did he know I would be there as one of his subjects. I used to work with Paul (a fantastic photographer) so it was wonderful seeing him... I was in the groove shooting and forgot he was there until I get up on the bed for the perfect angle and I hear "Oh man, I gotta shoot this!" and then a million shutter clicks later here it is. It's running with another story in tomorrow's paper about the concern Paradyme has about the ad campaign now that Peja has expressed a desire to leave the Kings.

Monday, August 23, 2004


I caught some good natured flack from a pal about my less than flattering visual description of Patti Smith. I pondered this awhile because I thought they may have had a valid point. I was unusually honest. I generally want to be nice but lately a part of me wants to be more real and free in what I show and tell so the bottom line came down to these three things--
First, my father gave me advice about writing a news story when I was a teenager. He said always determine what the most surprising or alarming thing you saw or heard was and tell it, tell it first.
The second thing-- and I will quote one of my favorite movies "Almost Famous", the seasoned rock writer gives this sage advice to the young man about to do his first piece for Rolling Stone Magazine... "Be honest and unmerciful". Those are powerful words.
The third-- It's a personal web log, full of fluff and occasional opinions wise or silly-- all viewed through my own personal filter of life.
Part of the issue here is Vanity (one of the seven deadly sins). It's the tricky underbelly some of us deal with on a daily basis so we want/need to be careful. I still respect the notion of honesty though as long as it's not meant to hurt anyone. Someone like Patti Smith is remarkable, able to express herself with exquisiteness. What I admire beyond measure about all entertainers and artists is that very courage to spill their insides out and share who they really are. I may not have painted a flattering visual picture of Patti but the point was that her inner beauty transcended all the outer trappings. If by some impossible chance Patti ever reads this then I want to say here and now-- Patti, you rock.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

A rocker thing

rocker thing
Originally uploaded by Charrmer.
So, what is this anyway? This devil horns, goat horns thing? What does it symbolize exactly? People I see and photograph at the metal shows do it ALL THE TIME. Does anyone actually know what it means specifically? Just curious....

Patti Smith

Patti Smith
Originally uploaded by Charrmer.
Patti Smith, a rock and roll legend in many ways, performed at The Empire last night. She's a remarkable songwriter and artist/poet. In fact, Gilda Radner did a takeoff on Patti Smith on Saturday Night Live as "Candy Slice," a rock singer who belched and spit her way through a song before collapsing on the stage in a heap. She was also a close friend and roommate of controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Smith was wonderful on stage last night (and didn't spit even once... ;).
The promoter let me know somewhere mid-show that there were certain restrictions. First he was told no pro photogs at all but when he explained we were the house photographers her people acquiesced. Ok, we could shoot from the sides only, not upfront or up close, and only during the second song. Hmmmm, well, since we were about five songs into the show by then I figured oh well, headed up to the balcony, shot some stage overalls and enjoyed the show.
This photo was shot during the second song... She had such a welcoming and appreciative manner as she stood on that stage. She has masculine features, a bit of a mustache, her hair hung loosely in a tangle and her clothes were weathered and sagging on her thin frame-- but she was truly beautiful. The kind of beauty that permeates a being, and invites you in to bask for awhile.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Mama's Pride

mamasprideMeet Kimberly and Tiffany, the twin sisters from the group Mama's Pride at Empire last night hanging with the guitarist from Flaw and another unidentifiable but friendly guy.
The great news is that Mama's Pride just released their new CD, in stores very soon! I can't wait-- it's all my photography on the cover, the disk and sleeve. When we did the photo shoot we played the CD over and over. Their CD release party is September 4th at The Blue Lamp. Check it out, buy one, support our local musicians!
Originally uploaded by Charrmer.


Originally uploaded by Charrmer.
Went to the heavy metal show Drowning Pool show last night at The Empire. My project "101 horrible photos of myself with famous (or nearly famous) people" continues as you can see from this cute foursome-- me and the band in question-- Drowning Pool.
There were four bands in all and it was a solid show. Turns out the sound guy from the club has his own band too and they were the opening act. The mosh pit was large but also largely uneventful, even if I was a bit too close and got stepped on a few times. ouch....
You know, these guys were totally cool, chatty, sweet even. They had massive amounts of equipment. This was a huge production from all appearances. I have yet to edit everything so expect to see more one of these days.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen
Originally uploaded by Charrmer.
Eddie Van Halen, the rock god. The beautiful thing about Eddie is the glowing smile that comes across his face when he plays, like he's having the best time of his life in that very moment.
What I saw of the show I loved, though frankly when you are working, which I was, it's hard to enjoy because you are stressfully working the camera, the variables, lighting, who's doing what and shooting like mad to make sure you get something good since you have hardly any time at all. It didn't help that the third song featured Eddie on a solo at the start with a very dim blue light on him and all I could do was groan and hope they kicked in quick. With a photo pass and the rules are strict. three songs and in this case-- from the soundboard-- substantial distance from the stage. So, we got escorted to our spots (me standing on a chair to see above the crowd) and then promptly at the end of the third song we were escorted back out to the backstage area. No ticket, no stay for show. Worth it all anyway to see living legends in action.

Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar
Originally uploaded by Charrmer.
Yay Sammy! What a cutie, what a fun guy to see performing. Strutting up and down the stage, smiling and gesturing and drinking it all in, flowing it all right back out again to the adoring public.

Shinedown Drummer

Shinedown Drummer
Originally uploaded by Charrmer.
Wow, the Shinedown drummer kicking ass. The stage show started in strobe mode, which made exposures a nightmare for me (and the other photogs) and then it seemed to change again every two seconds. Tough one. It stabilized after a time but let me tell you, it took a bit to get a handle on it. Yes, only other photographers will care about my lighting and exposure issues but I felt the need to vent. :)


Originally uploaded by Charrmer.
Shinedown had the honor of opening up for Van Halen at Arco Arena last night. I had heard the name but not the music and can see why Van Halen chose them to open-- they were really great. We got to shoot from the pit on this one. This is the lead singer jumping from the drum platform. The guy had energy to burn and boy did he. He had an edgy look and attitude. At some points looking in the audience with almost a meanacing grin, and evil glint in his eye. At some point early on someone from the audience yelled "We want Van Halen!" How rude of course especially since Shinedown was putting on a solid show.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Stairway to Stardom

Originally uploaded by Charrmer.
Just a fun pic from the event. This whole gig was really something. I was there shooting it for Skip's Music and they wanted every band. I have officially set a Charr record for the most bands shot in one day, which was previously 9 but is now 25. Woah! These kids-- ranging in ages from 10 to around 17-- were all mini rock stars for a day, complete with groupies. It was impressive how they got onstage, had all the moves going. The winning band, Nephilim, had the crowd in a frenzy-- a front row of head bangers and a major mosh pit too!

Yay Eagles

Originally uploaded by Charrmer.
This is Skip, Timothy B Schmit from The Eagles and me!


Originally uploaded by Charrmer.
This is one of the bands that competed in Skip's Music Stairway to Stardom event this past Sunday. Great event and wall to wall music. There were 25 bands, who each got 15 minutes to play three songs for a panel of judges. Last years winning band-- The F-Bombs-- performed first. This is not the winning band, but they were in the hallway waiting their turn and in high spirits so I turned the camera on them to catch this image. Thanks guys. Fun.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

San Francisco Mayor in Sacramento

Originally uploaded by Charrmer.
Here I am with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, the man who openly challenged California state law by allowing same-sex couples to legally marry. I was hired to shoot pics at a party in his honor in Midtown the other night. It was quite an event too. So tightly packed with people that moving around was nearly impossible. Absolutely wall to wall people. Fun though. The photographer originally scheduled to shoot it was called away to shoot a bar-b-que for Govenor Arnold so I got called last minute. Happy to oblige! All night, repeatedly, everywhere I went someone was leaning into me telling me how cute the mayor is... asking me to get their photo with him... men, women, old, young. Everyone in that room wanted a little piece and he was right there to charm them all. I guess I did too since I added him to my collection. Thanks Gavin for indulging me!

Monday, August 02, 2004

A better view

Originally uploaded by Charrmer.

Normally, when they have a photo pit they let us be there to shoot for three songs. Tonight they said no photos from the pit at all. Too dangerous due to crowd surfing. Ultimately there were maybe three people who went over the barricade but that's it. One of them was a huge fan who was in a wheelchair. Jacoby started a "Parting of the Red Sea" as I heard it called. (also known as "The Braveheart"-- Okay, so I can be kinda geeky when it comes to the rock and roll lingo) Basically asking the audience to split into two sides and wait for his signal to slam into the giant mosh pit. The security guys took good care of him and he was safe and sound. Everyone I have ever seen go over the barricade comes out of it thrilled and exhilarated. Almost like getting that close to the band is like touching the almighty (or whatever it is you subscribe to). Don't think I'll be crowd surfing anytime soon. Ahhh, youth. Anyway, I managed to plant myself in one decent spot and stayed there while Kevin roamed. At least they had decent stage lighting for a change. The bigger bands usually do.
One last thing-- You know, I never considered myself short until I got seriously involved in shooting this kind of stuff. If you want to see more pics from this show go to

Meet Dave

Originally uploaded by Charrmer.

This is Dave, the drummer. He's married to Mia Tyler, Liv's sister! Woo Hoo! He's also exceptionally nice. Had a decent chat with him at sound check (he said I could shoot from behind him on the stage but the tour manager nixed it) and then after the show too while he was meeting fans outside the tour bus. He hugged me hello much to my delight! It's interesting... I try not to get in the way, act like a fan, or try to get something from these people. They deal with enough of that already. I just do my photo thing. But now and then you meet someone unusually genuine and friendly. That's Dave

"Celebrity whore"

Originally uploaded by Charrmer.

That's the (affectionate) moniker Kevin has given me... Gee, thanks. But the truth is he's really just jealous... :) Can't help it, love doing it.
This is me and Jacoby Shaddix, out front of the club after the show. It's actually a pretty good one of me for a change! Bless my sweet little fisheye lens!!

Papa Roach wows the Empire

Papa Roach put on a great show at The Empire last night. His energy is astounding. More than that though I couldn't help but get the sense of him being a Love Junkie... but in the nicest possible way. he wanted so much from the audience, gesturing with his hands to draw more and more love out of them. Hundreds of hands raised nearly the entire set and it was a visual treat. After the show he was outside for the longest time happy to talk to anyone, hugs, good natured with the fans, posing, laughing, generally a super guy to everyone who wanted some bit of attention.
Originally uploaded by Charrmer.

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