I spent my birthday at Pier 84 photographing the Sailor Jerry Fleet Week party. It was the culmination of a week of Sailor Jerry Fleet Week events honoring sailors (Navy, Marines & Coast Guard). They gave out free drinks, hair cuts and tattoos and then threw this huge free party with a live performance from Cage the Elephant.
I didn’t make the other events but I saw Cage The Elephant at Lollapalooza in 2011 and they blew me away so I figured this would be a pretty good way to get paid to have fun on my birthday. I have shot thousands of bands over the last 20 years and Cage The Elephant are one of those bands that really sticks out. I went out and bought one of their albums after seeing their live show
Aside from the Cage show there was a lot going on. For some reason there were a couple Playboy Playmates hanging out and arm wrestling sailors. No one seemed to mind them cheating for some reason.
Ink Master judge Oliver Peck was giving sailors free Sailor Jerry tattoos all day. I have photographed a lot of Sailor Jerry tattoo events and it was awesome seeing the right people getting the classic tattoos for their original meanings. Last time I saw Oliver he was tattooing my knee so it was nice to see him without wanting to pass out.
They were giving out on site silk screened shirts and my friend Myles was sewing Sailor Jerry patches on the shirts or whatever you wanted. And did I mention the free drinks? There were a lot of free drinks.
Shortly before Cage went on, the Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus drove a custom Sailor Jerry Harley Davidson on stage and gave a toast to the troops and the proceeded to take hundreds of selfies with sailors and other fans. It was pretty impressive to see him spend over an hour taking photos with people and signing autographs.
Finally Cage went on and after shooting their first few songs I decided I had taken enough photos to just enjoy the rest of the set. I had a couple of drinks and they got right on top of me because I hadn’t eaten or slept because I am terrible at life. So I ended up staying late talking to US Navy guys about the nature of war and service. Pretty intense way to start Memorial Day.
I finally left and met up with some friends for dinner and ended up sobering up a lot as soon as I got food in me and then started to get drunk again and ended up at some punk show and on a roof in the rain and talking hockey with some fucking Penguins fan at a metal bar and then went home and ordered $40 of delivery food before passing out while watching Game of Thrones. Did anything important happen?
Oh right, photos, sorry… let’s do this.