I met these guys recently when they were referred to me for band photos. I admit, based on their whiskey swilling rough-and-tumble image, I went to our first meeting with some trepidation. It has actually turned out to be one of the best experiences I've had photographing a band. They have shown the utmost professionalism and respect for my craft and my input. Together, we developed the look and concept for the new album and we had an amazing photo shoot. The band, their label rep, my assistant and I --- even the weather--- worked together seamlessly and created some pretty epic photos. After braving snow,rain, fire and ash together, we definitely felt like we'd bonded.
After my post on Friday night, about going to see their show, I received concerned calls and emails from friends.
"Milwaukie? Really?" and so on.
I grew up in a zona roja a "red zone" for Colombian guerrilla activity...I wasn't that worried about surviving a night in a suburb of Portland. Still, one friend made sure I had his number on hand as an emergency contact. A new online acquaintance, and coincidentally a long-time friend of some members of the band, also offered to come "rescue" me and keep me company.
There was hardly a need for such preparations, but it was endearing.
The band has definitely surrounded itself with some good people.
Vinny, the singer, emailed me recently with the quote "Behind every good man is a great woman" and these boys certainly seem to live by that idea. Their girlfriends and wives are all bold, sassy, and strong...and immediately welcoming and friendly.
Despite everyone's best efforts to make me feel included though, I couldn't help but feel a little out of place in the saloon-like atmosphere of the venue, at least at first. I was definitely out of my element, and as my new myspace acquaintance had predicted, I felt I stuck out like a sore thumb.
It was a great show though, and the crowd was enthusiastic.
My hosts for the evening invited part of the entourage back to their house for an after-party. It was pretty funny watching a houseful of drunk musicians try to play Guitar Hero. When everyone tired of that, we all moved out to the hot-tub.
I ended up having to dodge the advances of the "nice boy" one of the girls was trying to set me up with. I felt sort of bad. After all, it was pretty innocent---reaching for my hand or trying to "sneak" his arm over my shoulder---it was just awkward. He's seems nice enough, but I'd rather not get involved with anybody in their little circle of friends and risk awkwardness. They're too much fun!
It was a fairly innocuous adventure by CoatCheck Girl standards, hang-over notwithstanding. My hosts were impeccable in their hospitality. They saw me comfortably settled into the hide-a-bed after everyone had left, and the lady of the house even brought out some cozy slippers for me to borrow. They took me out for brunch the following afternoon, where we met up with some of the other revelers from the previous night. They were ready to do it all over again, at that night's show up at Government Camp. They tried to coax me along, but I realized long ago I'm not cut out for the rock n' roll lifestyle. And that would be three nights in a row hanging out with them--- I don't even do that with my closest friends.
Besides I had their photos to edit...
Here's a preview of the back cover from their upcoming release "When Hearts Break":