A story about the Bangles

In the 1980’s The Bangles burst on the scene with some catchy pop music and a lot of cuteness. I started photographing them when they first started touring to promote their first album. They were a lot of fun and really nice people. At one point, while we were sitting in a park on Chicago’s lakefront Susanna Hoffs asked me about my heritage. Seemed that she had relatives with the same last name as mine, and we figured that we might be related in some way. Turned out not to be, but it was a fun fantasy (maybe having holiday dinners together). Oh well.

In 1986, the band hit it big with the song “Walk Like an Egyptian” and started playing large venues. So, I capitalized on my relationship and asked for a photo shoot when the band came to town to play the 25,000 seat Poplar Creek Music Theater. Got to the venue early and set up a studio backstage (backdrop, light, etc.). At the appointed time, three of the four band members walked in and we made small talk while we waited for Susanna to arrive. Five minutes later, she walked in with a piece of paper in her hand. She told me that she had just gotten off the phone with their manager and he a=had dictated a contract for me to sign. CRAP!!! She handed me the hand written contract, and I read it over. It stated that I would have to get photo approval before using any of the photos. I would also have to tell them what magazines the photos would be submitted to. My heart sunk as I started to reread the text, getting ready to tell the band that this was all for nothing. And then…. I saw two fateful words in the first line that I had missed the first time I read it. Photographs taken in concert at the Poplar Creek Music Theater. Seeing as the photos I was about to take were not in concert, but instead a backstage portrait, I quickly signed the contract and had a great photo shoot!

After the shoot, I packed up all my stuff and left before the show even started (the part the contract was written for).

When I got the film processed, I sent images out to every major magazine I worked for at the time, and almost all of them published them. I also sent a letter to the bands manager, explaining why I wasn’t going to send him anything for photo approval, and also sent him a quick note every time a photo was published with the name of the publication and the page number of the image. Never heard from him again!!

I just read that the band has a new album and they are probably going to do a tour. I wonder what their photo policy is going to be in 2011.

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