Dirty rock & roll to get your bones moving – that’s what it’s all about! Back in 2017 I had no idea who Rival Sons were but they came onstage at Download Festival and I was utterly hypnotised by their big fuzzy riffs and the raw emotion that soared through Jay’s vocals. I didn’t even take photos for the first half a song, I just stood in the pit soaking it up! After meeting the guys for a Guitar.com shoot over a year later I was invited to their upcoming gig at the Camden Roundhouse. I made it back to the UK just in time and with a JD & Coke to fight the jet lag, hit the photo pit. You MUST see this band on their Feral Roots tour!
That rare creative bird, Jonathan Wilson, and I met for the second time amid the paint-peeling, sublimely decrepit Victorian railway arches of Omeara London. I’d come to photograph Jonathan and his gear for a Guitar Magazine feature, but this prolific tourer travels light and I found myself with only a beaten up Strat (a partscaster he built with his dad), a battered & bruised 1947 Gibson acoustic and a Jackson Brown Gibson that I believe he said functioned as the communal band guitar. Is touring with only one electric guitar risky? I asked. What if it dies? “Then I play the piano!”
Five minutes with Nathaniel Rateliff (& the Night Sweats) in a service corridor at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Sometimes that’s all you need when someone is this photogenic and the guitar tech is rapid with the gear! Bang bang bang! Check out Guitar.com for a rig rundown and interview with Nathaniel. If you somehow haven’t come across this band yet, check out their appearance on Jimmy Fallon playing S.O.B – the performance that prompted Paul McCartney himself to call Fallon and ask, “Who was that guy?!”
It was an uncharacteristically wet month in California when I was invited to visit Taylor Guitars HQ in El Cajon, San Diego and cross the border to their Tecate, Mexico factory. The state’s long drought ended with more rainfall in one weekend than the whole of the previous year, and most of it seemed to fall while I sloshed my way down Harbour Boulevard towards the car rental. Walking was a terrible idea, but by the time this became apparent I was already ankle deep in rainwater and it pounded down so hard I could barely lift my head. I arrived soaked through and stood dripping in the doorway! There was little more sun to be had in Mexico, but the trip was thoroughly enjoyable all the same – as you may know, I love a factory tour! Master luthier Andy Powers took us around the enormous facility and we got to see each stage in the build process of Taylor’s Academy Series guitars. Taylor are big on ethical responsibilities – they are both socially and environmentally conscious as a company and quite unique in that they produce almost every part of the guitar, even the case. I…
Don’t go into the forest with Silvio! Whether you know him best as Silvio Dante from the Sopranos, Little Steven of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, Frank Tagliano from Lilyhammer, or the inmate that accompanies Kurt Russell’s Santa cellblock band in my new favourite festive film, The Christmas Chronicles, Steven Van Zandt has had a long and varied career for sure. I didn’t know what to expect when I went up to Manchester to photograph Steven on tour with his own band, The Disciples of Soul, but was happy to be greeted by a rock & roll gypsy! The band put on an amazing show with a huge sound – the walls were shaking!