It was raining in the city that doesn't allow rain. Pouring, at times. I had been awake since 2am and on the move since 4am-- with a lengthy, bumper to bumper drive to Palm Springs stretching out ahead of me. By the time I arrived in Palm Springs to shoot a corporate event, I had been conscious and working for 22 hours. That's the grind of Los Angeles-- keep up or keep out.
As I pulled into the event space slinging gear and wearing my monkey suit of dress blacks; I watched a band pull in and begin to unload all of their equipment. Four dudes in varsity letter jackets. "Hmmm. just what will this be?" I wondered to myself.
My job for that evening, was to photograph the employees of a Canadian corporation enjoy their retreat. I had been advised not to shoot the way I normally shoot. This was straight forward stuff-- nothing fancy or artistic to it, so my boss for the day had said. Shoot everything on automatic. Don't bounce the flash. It was shoot and burn photography 101, but it was also a paycheck.
The show began and immediately it was evident that these guys were pros. They may have born a resemblance to high school students in their letter jackets, but there, on stage and in their red suits and thin ties, it was as if Ritchie Valens, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, and Buddy Rich had transported there from beyond the grave to inhabit the men on stage before me. For 3 hours, and with unflagging energy I might add, these boys played every single 1950's classic rocknroll and doowap song you could think of. The Dreamboats also write their own original music, but for this gig, it was the classics. Johnny B. Goode, Surfin USA, Rock Around the Clock, Shake, rattle and Roll-- a genre with infinite fun embedded in the music.
After the show was done, I asked the Dreamboats if they would mind staying a little longer to take a few pics with me. They obliged, and as they packed up their gear, I changed out of my monkey suit and back into my own clothes-- jeans and a Led Zeppelin t-shirt-- then headed back in once the crowd had cleared. We had about 10 minutes to shoot before the venue closed, so we found an empty room and ducked in for a few fun shots.
The Dreamboats came to me when I was dead tired and my spirit had been roped up and left in a corner in favor of paying the bills. Spending some time with them, shooting my way, reminded me why I'm in the game in the first place. It is a beautiful thing when your passion intersects your paycheck, but it doesn't always happen and that's when life's most lovely and serendipitous of surprises can take you somewhere you've never been before. You just have to let it.