Always read the contract!!

In June of 1997, one of the radio stations in town (now defunct) put on the usual hodgepoge summer concert spectacular comprised of all the top people who they were playing at the time. It is a tradition throughout the industry that if you “make nice” with the radio station b=y playing their show, they will keep playing your records, or, if you are new they will start playing your records.

I would always ask for a photo pass, because it was a good way to get photos of many bands, both established and up and coming. One of the bands playing that day was Veruca Salt, a local band that was famous for about 5 minutes. They looked kind of cute and sassy so I took a few pictures of them.

After their set, we were all waiting around in the pit for the next band, a very weird set comprised of one half of the band Bush (Gavin the singer- Mr. Gwen Spefani and Nigel, the guitar player) doing acoustic versions of a few Bush songs. As they were very popular at the time, it was a perfect time to photograph the two guys on a big stage with good lights.

Into the pit walked a very harried manager type, who proceeded to pass out contracts to all the photographers, telling us that we couldn’t photograph the Bush guys unless we signed the contract. Many of the photographers pulled out their pens, but I proceeded to actually read the contract! Imagine my surprise when I found out that the contract was for Veruca Salt. I yelled for everybody to stop, and I asked the guy why he was bringing us their contract after they played (illegal and unenforceable- you can’t ask someone to agree to something after the fact; they have to be given the right to read a document beforehand and decide if they want to sign it). He admitted that he had forgotten to get them signed before the band went on. He told us that he worked for a big management company, and he forbid us to shoot Gavin and Nigel until we signed the contract. I tore up the contract and handed him the pieces as the Bush guys took the stage, and proceeded to photograph them. There was nothing he could do. The rest of the photographers followed my lead.

Too bad neither band had any real success after that and the pictures are pretty worthless!!

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