On Wednesday Alternative Press held the opening for their 25th anniversary art show at Sloan Fine Art Gallery on the Lower East Side and I showed up to cover the event for Complex Magazine. The show featured art by a number of musicians including Marilyn Manson, Black Francis, Shirley Manson, Tim Armstrong and Travie McCoy. The show also featured a room with art and souvenirs from the Alternative Press archives. It was a cool show with a lot of different types of art represented but I spent the most time looking at the AP archival stuff. I had no idea they started out as a little fanzine mostly dealing with local Ohio politics. It was very cool.
While I was there I had some pretty interesting conversations. I talked to the founder of Alternative Press Mike Shea for a long time and he introduced me to the AP editor in chief who wrote a cover story on the Insane Clown Posse more than a decade ago. We had a pretty good conversation about ICP and my trip to The Gathering Of The Juggalos. The band the Plain White T’s were there and I realized I met one of them at Sundance two years ago and we talked about our mutual friend. For me though, the highlight of my evening was meeting Michael Azerrad.
Azerrad is a rock journalist who wrote two of my favorite books about music, Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana and Our Band Could Be Your Life. His book about Nirvana completely changed my life. When I was 13 I was obsessed with Nirvana. I didn’t listen to any other music. I had pretty much memorized Come As You Are. When Kurt Cobain killed himself I realized I wouldn’t have any new music to listen to so I went though Come As You Are and picked out all the bands that Kurt mentioned listening to in the book. I bought CD’s by the Melvins, Mud Honey, the Meat Puppets and on my 14th birthday my friend Erich bought me the album My War by Black Flag. Black Flag changed my life completely. From then on I listened to nothing but punk rock. I started a punk zine, a record label and started taking photos to document my favorite punk bands. My DIY ethos, mostly straight edge lifestyle and my photography career all came from those punk rock days. Without Come As You Are my life would be completely different. On top of that when Our Band Cour Be Your Life came out I was managing The Gaskets and it is the most inspiring books I have ever read about being in a band. I made it required reading for the guys. I shoot a lot of celebrities and musicians and I rarely get excited about meeting them, but meeting Michael Azerrad was a fucking honor.
Anyway, sorry for the tangent. Click here to see all the pictures from the Alternative Press 25th anniversary art show at Sloan Fine Art.