Iris Harrison interviews Ethan Russell
Tuesday, November 8th
Tuesday, November 8th
Iris Harrison interviews Ethan Russell
Iris here with 92.3 KGON am and on the phone. With me is Ethan Russell multi Grammy nominated photographer. And boy does he get accolades high praise from Rolling Stone bassist Bill Wyman who says even Russell. Has taken some of the greatest pitchers in rock and roll may be the greatest ever that's happened while how does that feel. Well I didn't have to ask this that was a it feels great terrific meant to bill and to. Sure as I've interviewed him and he's just a great guy. Yeah absolutely and Addai ran across a close actually in his book so. I don't know the base bill. I have a credit kudos really your coming here to Portland to the Newmark Theatre on Saturday February 25 2017. At 7:30p. For an evening of stories music in over 350 photographs. And I can't wait for that especially. Because I'm sure there's some amazing stories that go along with the photographs. To me at all by the story. I want to rewrite her aunts and and I eventually became on the way after cardinal of photography and directing you various things did and it's. It was and writing the books that I was able to tell the stories and it's really two hours of stories. While looking at what my gag uses to. Looking at pictures program outline its. And and hit the place to get ago on the it's really great evening but it small. But it's it's I it's hard to say it's is it more about this story that is about pictures. It's both. I go back to the beginning as you mentioned you went into writing in that then you got into that so. How did you first get your foot in the door to photograph did that very first rock band. And I think. Like quote music photography particularly those things the movie blow up which if the fear of my generation and especially if our freedom exactly were the movie is well that looks like fun and everything. Everything was about music. In the you know and I was living in San Cisco and I was a kid I was an arts student and my program band. And so I took pictures of them but it wasn't like go on them photographed bands and I went to England has had the opportunity. Because ending with the Mecca of everything musically in those states. And and I got off the plane and I fully expected the block and it paid actuary in England you know and it just wasn't like that at all. Beloved England so Wednesday. And part of and I think. Joy of the evening is that it's trapped by got a dog was completely unexpected and now what is happening to me than. Anybody in your audience. Went to my dad needs. Well what are you using your time as well in my eyes as short of going. Around the world he said let you do that violent England and then I didn't know anybody and a guy came by the visibly. Friend of a friend. He and it was a writers who were rightly so a couple pictures I had and asked me if I photograph his next interview and I said what was it muted Mick Jagger. And he really you can't make that how to call. A so the thing that I part of my jagr and in this thing ankles and back about. I've ninety days players as you want to rip my next interview and I suppose that this time and he said gentlemen so those are really my first two. Sanctions. It's amazing yeah I mean. I can't even fathom what that must have felt like I mean did you did you have like a moment where he went okay. I'm terrified that this is so cool I have to go through it. I was exactly that I was terrified the obvious. Terrified it Jagger because isn't my idea nothing but the early southern new their music but I also that knew them by their image which was the bad boys of rock kind of thing. To that could be. Marketing. By. It I was scared to really kind of scared of what I might encounter. And Jagger was nothing like. You'd expect certainly in those days you're very polite you know ways and he was well dressed it was just so I don't know what I expected let it was. Even more foreboding because he was Jeremiah it was a Beatle and so I remember very clearly my knees shaking as I go to the front door enough. Well absolutely I I can't imagine being able to even hold the equipment. And do it well I hit I a. Well if that's the case you know it in there and say that I actually did it I kept doing. I kept. You know put one foot in front of the other and doing because I thought about it too much a problem I might have been too scared to deal honestly. Is it harder and gave floor you know I have been coming photographers to get that kind of access demands. I think impossible. For me you know I mean what happened. This apartment in the music business so humble enough I was born when Elvis Presley was him right Mick Jagger was too when I was born so. I really grew up in the same market all the date. And then I also am old enough now that I watch rock rolls sort of go in back into being in the entertainment systems which is really what happened circuit ticket date 1970. And it becomes the entertainment business that that point. The lawyers in the agents. There are all really circling. Rock and roll in a way that they want in the early days. And out then they tie up all the words he's it's not only is it hard to get access it's almost impossible hold on your copy right. So I it's it's a very daunting prospect altogether in the big treat the dark like cattle and there's there's not much could be obviously. That's in my opinion that is a shame that. Oh shame you know what you really lose other than these four people are trying to do it if you lose history but the allegation that the history and when you come to the show. You really do get to be where you get to be part of this history because I got to be part of this history and the pictures that I talk. Didn't change and that wasn't Michael come on guys stand against the wall Arctic picture and change up. I just took pictures of where it isn't part was what was incredible. I think that and especially the artistic is being lost to. Along with gas because. We see so much in social media everybody's. Taking pictures of everything but it's not always artistic I mean you'll see pictures of celebrities in. Didn't you know interesting places and so forth but it's not the Arctic you created. I think it's really very different and I think it's the machine got to be so capable. At. You don't you don't have to puppets so let's stop is the map the camera politic meet three weeks I understand what Dallas writes I was and I would never took the course but I had a roommate and so. I asked him to explain it thanks to me and I was very slow learner. But now you don't need an on the record uses the camera does all the work and that makes. What you're talking about possible. Of them image uses confetti is probably. In Albany images that are just constantly. Calling on our heads and really it's that's what feels like to make. And it's a barrage it it's really you it's like to have visual noise so it's a your favorite band to photograph and why. Probably at this day the Rolling Stone just connect photographed them so much added one entire tour with them and just trying. It's almost impossible complete problem match and how different it was the state is four feet are. There were fourteen of us. We travel by commercial airline it's. Always kept somebody. You know the two words that make up department today is bigger than are the entire group. So oh. It was a very very different kind of experience altogether and since that was so unique. And I photographed them again and 72 so I had to answer that question that was. There was this stone because it was such a special sent to access and there is so I think that's in particular question. All right well I know it's a hard question as like when people say you know what's your favorite song I try to just stop in my tracks and you know my my head spins so that. Well I sort of you know. When they had when I get asked about the top of the so like which repair kit. Yeah I love them all. Del Monte you know a words that you've been up four and accolades from people like Bill Wyman. Is there one favorite photographs that you've taken. Whether it's artistically or just the moment was so incredible but one photographs that means the most TO. There's one thing that I learned and that demand that Torre told about it because I was lucky enough to get on the stage. So on the favorite photograph that this is my favorite Angola computing ban. And so I can shoot from behind this page and number pictures of keeper. Making people aware I'm looking from behind the stage. And route them to the audience and end. That is what they get the city you know we all go to the concert and we see them now. But they get to seek out. And and that photograph that includes that experience which is the seeing them because they really did react right. But also seeing it audience. Is looking back at them is really an angle and I've done La when it. The shop and we're tickled dominant loosening the white album from the very first circulated with a which which for awhile I would never have. My photography in my home particularly liked my work but that picture crept in because John was to me. And it really threw his passing the bill one that kind of hang hung on to. The the things that mattered to me about the sixties that way. Target I can understand that there was such a las I still every time we do we go to that day in in history. I I almost just don't want even think about it because it was his date of such a loss. I've directed the last album my became a director I was in new Europe the picture of them walking through Central Park as Martin. I directed that witness. So they in my in my career sort of went through that period and then. And then I kind of got music really. And now you're doing mess look at with the. An attempt and abdomen and that I became a father and feeling like I've a thirteen year old boy today and a and there was an agent in. Canada than it and that was just it was buying my photographs was totally one of those you know on my web site by pictures and that's we have tried everything on the shelf like that. Have ever thought about doing socialize and now. By half. Had to be honest I have thought about it but never really dieting and he does well counseled and I'm you you know. Two years later I walked up on the stage for the first time I've never done it. First but I haven't this is what his guys do. Get them at a record level like that but I'll use ordinance is camping out thing and people cope applaud news. I. But it was fun and people liked it so much that was during Garnett today. And so that's how it started at I hadn't. Written books. Thrilling because I spent the time writing the book that I Ridley had enough of a narrative figured out it's not just the guys standing upon state going. You know look at that you know this car. It's really this great story that happened this kid they got to be in all these places. And you get to be their true that's why it's a great point. That's amazing and you mean the photographs that you take in and I'm gone endear website and looked at this and just. Linda Ronstadt what the most gorgeous woman I mean seriously I think she's just. That it's beautiful angelic face to match the voice. Yeah and I think that's the right way to put it this is the face and the voice were so close you know changed a lot of people are still less and so. Frequently because. The quality that she. Did issue is so wonderful. Test here honestly and I did prisoner and his guys only hasten them away and blown. The other thing of course is that. She was completely island. Ego driven. Which is so refreshing. And so is huge yes that's wonderful. Artist who could sing like an early. And and the fact that she actually is the reason the Eagles exist. Shows that she had no ego about it you know they they said they want to go off on her own and she gave him her blessing and said go be wonderful but there. I mean but you know you really can tell. It that people have a clue how. You know it comes out and Angie has clients suppose. We can't get an idea of what we're gonna see when the show comes to Portland I mean we're gonna see amazing photography we're gonna hear some of the music. And you're gonna tell us stories also others acute in May at the end to write a different from. Partly out I like the whole evening frankly the little intimidating. I do like the holy being a part of my favorite party music tunic as you tend not to know what people heard. Gonna ask. It just tends to be interesting hardly anybody release here in Europe and the and so it's by. You know what what what are some of the most amazing things that people of askew or are out of left field questions that people who've asked here. Well you know I come printed on have a quick answer to that I get a certain number of substandard. But they've cut the question that certain standards like is you know how did you shoot who's next now. That they already know that Kaczynski in the chuckles. A sort of we'd sell those kind of questions out. And public debate and mean it happens to be related to. The age of the people so it appears certain age you have an expectation what it was like it made me ask a question into the answered. If they're younger they're seeing something they've never I mean these initial payment and that's elections there where. But you can't have that experience that has. But congress can get that. And so I think they get defeated in a way that. Is really unimaginable to me because today it's all about image really you know. And the this idea of just being guy is that put on the GT students. And and were devoted to their father. Work into their craft and it has some years you just don't get an inside look. I can't wait to see this show it is going to be quite the night tickets on sale through Portland five and as for the Newmark Theatre is you're gonna love the theater it's related to. I like came opposites of magnificent space is. And a wonderful yeah. Saturday February 2730. In the evening and just as is that as a last thing I know it's one of those hard answer questions but I have to ask in his. Would borders some top bands that you still like to listen to exit war. It I've listened to lend. And I'd still occasionally I think in a funny way I don't listen so much to the to Beatles and because I listened to and so much you know listen to this stuff and so much. My paperwork in of their Israelis the work that I was around four and before. The first generation we've Brian Jones. And then the adoration would make Taylor. Really were my favorites that I love actually and the birds sometimes because they were big for me when again because they would. The band that at harmony and so Dylan you know. And so that some of that spill and then my son turned me into. Two Mac more technically tambien instinct artists because the because that would change should not be a series is really true the real change in popular music. Cain because the singer in the song became the and the performer became the same person. That what's really true and pop music was human blows. To a country but until billing and along mostly being born right now material so that was really the difference. And they also wrote in much in my opinion they wrote about. Things that mattered things America damn things are bad people and things have mattered if there audience. And we went for a long way away command. And I think Michael Moore does writes tells the truth about his experience in rights on. I love it that you talk about what your your child is brought to you in in this experience too and I'm sure. That your audiences quite a varied. Age group. Where when they deserve a good pars. So I start my son does seem to growing. In Oakland but you know like two years ago. And the last time I was in the Oakland coliseum with a growing I was on stage with Bam and my father was in the audience. So at the end for the next day but times and who was you know I guess. News Wednesday it was like ten or something he says to me gap is only Mick Jagger said. But Jack races doesn't seem. It's I don't know. Hero. Is the best start to my son to see the stones to you and and he enjoyed it as much as I did so. Yeah great it's great when you can share that with your Kenyans like Islam and go out for children. Absolutely. I mean you know he's still moves like Jagger. Yankees still looks like a wolf that's ready to pounce on his brain man. The thing is it's hard for people imagined today after the fact how impossible it was at that time. That at least when I was trying within that something like this could ever happened it was truly. They did not know if there were going to be it will keep going. People assume they'll knew they were gonna be where there today not a chance. No actually you go back in some of the documentaries you'll seeds Jagger saying exactly that. Yeah it's amazing. It was lying to a news. Who adds spice in the book the writer. You know and nick was saying well. I don't know overdue and after the us make his 69 built almost thirty we can't keep doing the. Oh that's a rich I love it even Russell thank you so much for spending his time with me this morning. If my pleasure I've looked toward this thing yeah. Absolutely I hope we meet when you come here on in February. I'm sure it's possible all right take cleared out they view. But by.