In 2006 I had a new Canon EOS consumer grade camera. I can no longer recall the model number. It was a good camera for a N00b. At the time, I had visions of becoming a famous rock photographer and after years of shooting small gigs for my online webzine, I was ready for the big time.
Somehow, don’t ask me how, I managed to get entrance (and permission) to shoot The Buzzcocks at The Fonda Theater (AKA The Music Box) in Los Angeles. I went by myself, little camera in tow, and got into the press pit. I basically looked and felt like a rookie reporter for a teen magazine.
If you’ve never been to a punk show, they’re what I lovingly refer to as “sausage fests.” Girls are often in short supply. If you’ve ever taken notice of a press pit, it’s even worse. I was the only girl in the foxhole, pressed up against the stage, elbow to elbow with photographers from actual magazines and papers. I was a baby and was not quite welcomed. I managed to evade the scornful looks from the other photographers, who all had big fancy expensive cameras. I’d never shot a big concert before. I had no idea what I was doing. I thought I’d use the opening band (the name eludes me now) as practice for when the Buzzcocks came on. What I got was nothing short of a miracle. My camera was not intended for concerts where the lights are flashing and the musicians are moving around at top speed. It’s abilities shine in family portraits and vacation photos. That I got anything worth sharing is most likely a testament to luck.
I have loved The Buzzcocks a long time. I fell in love with Pete Shelley sometime in the middle 80s when I heard his song “Homosapiens” on KROQ. When in high school I found out he was also the lead singer of the seminal punk band, The Buzzcocks, it was like Moses on Mt. Sinai. To say they’ve gotten me through hard times in an understatement. From breakups to deaths to wondering what it all means, The Buzzcocks haven’t just been my friends, they’ve been my soul mates. What I feel for the Buzzcocks isn’t just idle fancy and it’s not obsessive toxic fandom. It’s true love and appreciation. I marvel at what fun and amazing music they have created. Plain and simple, The Buzzcocks make me happy and can bring me out of a funk like no other. Punk music was originally intended as a source of solidarity for bored and artistic teens. As a means to express their distrust of the world and share their (for lack of a better word) angst. I was, in the late 80s and early 90s, their target audience: An angsty artistic teen with no real outlet. I don’t know that what I’m writing here even conveys my emotions properly. It’s deep admiration and gratitude, if you want to get down to it. And now that Pete Shelley has died, the world seems lacking somehow.
The Buzzcocks will always be here. The music they created will last and last and last. How can I thank them for letting me know I wasn’t alone? For getting me through it all? I don’t know that I can. All I can do is love them and listen and feel it.
*These may not be Rolling Stone calibre photos, but they’re what I got. They were taken with lots of love and a little moxie. I nearly got clobbered in the pit and was heroically rescued by a bouncer. I have not shared these photos since 2006.
Date: July 26th, 2006