Buddy Guy- January 2016

Still one of th3 greatest performers on the planet!

15 shows down, 1 to go.

Guest stars- Sinead O’Conner??? Simon Kirke of Bad Company!!

Buddy Collage

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Martin Luther King

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.

 I think that we, people of privilege, take certain things for granted in this world. One is that we can put our stuff down in our house and sit down to a nice meal. I wish that was true all over.

1/18/16- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Chicago. I was one degree outside with a minus 25 degree wind chill factor. I was at a homeless shelter on the south side of Chicago. I met 6 young adults. They had been outside all day in the weather, carrying backpacks with all of their possessions. They told me about a friend who broke two ribs carrying a 75 pound backpack around. Another story concerned a young man who took the SIM card out of his phone every night and put it in his ear so if someone in the shelter stole his phone he wouldn’t lose all his documents.

I was there to photograph the installation of 65 lockers to be used by homeless people to store their stuff so they don’t have to find abandoned buildings to hide their stuff instead of carrying it all around all day. A friend of mine is spearheading a program to install these lockers around the city.

So where is Dr. King’s equality and brotherhood? It is a sad world we live in.

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David Bowie RIP


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Otis and Haskell

It is getting really difficult to write about people dying. Especially this week. My friend Otis Clay passed away on Saturday. A nicer person cannot be found. Warm, friendly and humble, Otis walked through the world with a smile on his face and a good word for everyone. A fabulous singer, he infused every one of his shows with great performance and show biz moments.

Otis Clay on 6/9/90 in Chicago, Il. (Paul Natkin/Image Direct)

The last time I saw Otis was at a book signing event for our soul food book in December. We did not have a large budget for entertainment, but knew that Otis was the perfect choice. We told him what we could pay him, and he immediately said yes. The night of the event, Otis appeared with full band- backup singers-horns. The whole show. He must have lost money on the deal, but he wanted to put on a great show. That was his last performance in the Chicago area.

He will be sorely missed by any one that appreciates great music and show biz move!

Another person that passed away this week was someone who I never met, but greatly admired. Haskell Wexler was a Chicago film maker and cinematographer. In 1969, he made his first film, the Chicago based film “Medium Cool.” Centered around the 1968 Democratic convention, it opened with a scene that is forever burned into my brain. The protagonist, a news cameraman, is driving home from work in the early morning, He happens upon a one car wreck on the highway and pulls over. He sees people dying in the wreckage. He has a choice- help the people or film the wreck for the news. He films it- then calls it in to the station!

He went on to become the cinematographer for “Days of Heaven,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “American Grafitti,” and “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Wolf,” among others.

Both of these guys, giants in their fields, will be sorely missed!

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It is really difficult to write about a second death in a band within a two month period. Lemmy from Motorhead died this week , marking 2 thirds of the band passing away in 2015.

Lemmy was one of the nicest people I have met in this business. Although ferocious on stage, he was a soft spoken gentleman off stage. Very smart and thoughtful. One fateful day in August 0f 1983, I was asked to do a photo shoot with the band. I arrived at their hotel, and the guys were standing out front waiting for me. Lemmy jumped in the front, the other two in the back. He was armed with provisions- a bottle of Jack Daniels, a bag of pot and a bag of some kind of pills! (I didn’t ask!!). For some strange reason, they wanted to go to a McDonalds, and who am I to argue. Some great fun ensued, and some of my best pictures were taken!

Motorhead on 5/22/82 in Chicago, Il.  (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Motorhead on 5/22/82 in Chicago, Il.  (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Motorhead on 5/22/82 in Chicago, Il.  (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

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Saw a pretty weird cell phone commercial this weekend. A family is frolicking during the holiday season, ice skating, buying a tree, etc. and the daughter is acting like a total moron- ignoring everyone while she looks at her phone, taking selfies on the skating rink, and pretty much ignoring her family in leau of her phone. If I were her father, I would have snatched it out of her hands and not returned it till we got home!!

Then we see her in her room wrapping a present, which she gives to her father. He opens it up and- wait for it- it’s a cell phone!!!

Then comes the tagline:    GIVE THE PRESENT OF BEING PRESENT

WOW! Does that mean that you can only be present if you are on the phone? Maybe I am just getting old.

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Good deeds!

I have always complained about the lack of social consciousness of musicians in the 21st century. Seems that athletes are leaving them in the dust this year!

Sports Illustrated cover girl (Sportsperson of the Year) Serena Williams proves to be a thoughtful person who grew up as one of the only people of color in a lily white sport (the other being her sister). She overcame prejudice, and recently returned to the Indian Hills Country Club, where she was booed of the court a decade ago!

There are two pages of people doing good this year, or as Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitols superstar calls it-“ For charity and good stuff.”

Ovechkin lobbied to be picked last in the Charity draft at the All Star game last year so that he could win a car, to donate to a hockey team made up iof kids with developmental disabilities. When he didn’t win the car, he lobbied Honda to give him one anyway, so that he could give it to the kids. They did, and he did.

Similarly, Russell Westbrook won a car as the MVP of the NBA All-Star game. He had it shipped back to Oklahoma City, where he gave it to an 18 year old single mother of two.

Then there is Warrick Dunn, former NFL star, who’s mother was murdered doing a second job to try to pay for a house for her family when he was a kid. So he started Homes for the Holidays in 1997, and since then has given away homes (completely furnished) in 13 cities!

Finally, there is Sean Dolittle, pitcher for the Oakland A’s. He and his girlfriend Eireann Dolan provided the funds to host a Thanksgiving dinner for 21 Syrian Families in Chicago! They also bought back tickets from asshole (My word) fans who didn’t want to attend LGBT night in Oakland and gave them to people who wanted to celebrate!

Maybe some musicians should take note.

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A super group!

How times have changed!

As I am going through my old stuff to scan, I came across some pictures of John Mayall, and was amazed by the access that I used to have. I remember reading the paper one day (June of 1982) and thinking- I should take some pictures of this guy. I had a lot of his albums and was always amazed by the musicians that he had in his band. So I grabbed my bag and went to the venue (a 1000 seat club in Chicago). I walked in and decided to go up to the dressing room and see if I could talk Mayall into taking some posed pictures. The door was open and the 4 musicians were just lounging around before the show. They didn’t know me at all, but gladly got up and posed for a picture. I then shot the show, went home and filed the pictures away, never to be seen again until last week.

CHICAGO, IL-JUNE 13: John Mayall on June 13th, 1982 at Park West in Chicago, Illinois (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage)

As I was scanning, I noticed that the guys in the band looked kind of familiar. YIKES!! Turns out that this was a veritable super group! And I just walked in and shot whatever I wanted to.

CHICAGO, IL-JUNE 13: John McVie, Colin Allen, Mick taylor and John Mayall on June 13th, 1982 at Park West in Chicago, Illinois (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage)

From Left to right: John McVie (Of Fleetwood Mac fame), Colin Allen, Mick Taylor(of the Rolling Stones) and John Mayall

Could this happen today? I doubt it!

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A sad week

Another week of people passing away.

Last Sunday Allan Toussaint passed away in his hotel room in Spain. He was a major talent, who mostly flew under the radar. But for anyone who ever saw him perform (or met him), he was a wonderful guy and an amazing producer and songwriter.

Allen Toussaint_023


Among the many hits he wrote were:

Mother In Law

I Like It Like That

Fortune Teller

Working In a Coal Mine

Yes We Can Can

Play Something Sweet

Southern Nights

A Certain Girl

Sneaking Sally Through The Alley

That in itself is a “Greatest Hits” of soul music!!

As a producer, he wrote and produced “Right Place, Wrong Time” for Dr. John and “Lady Marmalade” for Labelle, among many others.

During his concerts he would play all of the above, always with a big smile on his face. He will be greatly missed.


On another note, Randy Rhoads mother Delores passed away this week at the age of 95. She was a tireless promoter of her son, and kept his name and vision alive after his death. I always appreciated the classy way she protected his legacy, and always tried to follow her lead with the licensing of my pictures of her son.

Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads on January 24th, 1982 Chicago, Illinois United States January 24th, 1982 Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage.com

And one more sad story:

Phil “The Animal” Taylor, longtime drummer of the band Motorhead, also passed away this week. I will never forget picking up the band at their hotel, and taking them, (for reasons I still can’t remember) to McDonalds for lunch. Hilarity then ensued, and some of my best pictures were taken!!!

Motorhead on 5/22/82 in Chicago, Il. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

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More video!!!

As my photo career dwindles to nothing, I have continued to learn more about the world of video. I have started another series of short interviews, this time a series about blues people in Chicago- both performers and behind the scenes people. The first four can be found here, with many more to come (I am doing 4 more interviews in the next two weeks). My third series, subject matter being farmers and chefs, will be posted next week and will continue to grow!

Comments are welcome, as are suggestions!!


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