Proof that it pays to be kind to others: Jesse Chandler and I connected during a Side Project Sundays show years ago, when Jesse accidentally locked his keys in his car before driving home to Denton. While we waited for the locksmith to arrive, Jesse and I chatted it up and formed a relationship that has grown into something like digital pen pals. When Jesse mentioned working on this crazy psychedelic live album with legendary musicians like Peter Walker (an accomplished reggae guitarist who studied under Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan, and served as the house musician and Music Director at Tim Leary's "Psychedelic Celebrations"), Nels (frickin') Cline (Wilco), the great dudes of Mercury Rev, Steve Shelley (drummer of Sonic Youth), and Martin Keith - in a studio with Grammy-winning recording engineer Ted Young - I decided I needed to get in on this. I asked Jesse if I could come shoot some photos, and to my surprise, the team said yes!
In a similar show of kindness nearly 30 years earlier, my father babysat Rob Barnett's mega record collection for a couple of years while Rob ran off to California. He ended up going on a journey that would determine the fate of his media career. When Rob finished his California stint and landed a gig with a new television channel in NYC called "MTV," it was my father who drove that collection all the way from Dallas to New York. So, naturally, Rob was the first person to whom I reached out when I needed a place to stay in New Jersey.
We made our way to the Studio in Hoboken, NJ where we greeted and shook hands with everyone. Then the music began. This was a live recording, so I wasn't able to go into the (very dark) sound room until there was a break. So between the very long takes, I snuck in and snapped every angle I could for as long as it felt right. Then I hopped back out and sat next to my side-kick Rob, both of us smiling like children as we basked in the meditative music and observed the room around us. There were barbies and paintings, an untold number of nick-nacks, and the evidence of years and years of life clinging to every corner of that studio. It was one of those distinctly intense moments, with energy so dense you could slice it with a knife.
And, finally, the product of this beautiful journey was delivered to my door today - with my name on the back of the album, sitting alongside all those badasses.
Album for Purchase: http://www.tompkinssquare.com/harmony-rockets.html