I was recently asked to take a few shots of legendary drummer, Gerry Brown, for an upcoming press release announcing his move to Paiste cymbals. It is always thrilling for me to meet and spend a little time with these amazing drummers. As any musician or artist can tell you, the key to getting the gig is to be good at your job and easy to work with. Gerry is amazing at his job and warm human being. Having performed and recorded with a long list of diverse artists including Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Chick Corea, Marvin Gaye, Stanley Clark and , on the night I was seeing him, Diana Ross, Gerry’s page in the musical history book is long and important.
On the afternoon we were to meet, Gerry was playing a show with Diana Ross at The Borgata in Atlantic City, NJ. We had a plan to meet at the venue and spend an hour or so catching up and shooting some photos. I arrived a little early and contacted Gerry, who put me in touch with his drum tech Darren. Darren would get me into the venue so I could start looking over locations for the shots. I was hoping we could use the drum set and shoot on the stage. As we walked in, it was apparent that the crew was running a little late getting the stage finished and dealing with some unexpected issues. No problem, I still had a good amount of time.
As our scheduled time approached, the stage was no less available and I started to think about some options. There was a pretty cool staircase with some internal lights where I could sit Gerry for shots, and other general theater faire. No problem, I still had time.
Soon after our appointed time passed, Darren let me know that Gerry had gotten a little caught up and was going to get to me as quickly as possible. Gerry and I have been conversing on Facebook for a while and I knew that this wasn’t any “rock star stuff”. He is a courteous person and was just running a little late. No problem, I still had time.
I knew that the actual soundcheck was set for 4pm and that time was fast nearing. The stage was still out and if Miss Ross got to the room, there would be no photos. I decided to head to the lobby and see what else might be available.
In the lobby I found some curtains that had a nice texture and were up-lit for a more dramatic look. Since it was about 20 minutes before 4:00, I decided that this was my place. I ran back into the venue and grabbed my things. Just then, Gerry pops in and apologized for being late. I told him my plan and went to get the lights set up as he did a quick check of his instruments.
About five minutes later, I was set up and Gerry came out with Darren and a nice cymbal to use as a prop. I shot my first image at 3:42 and Gerry was on the way back to work at 3:45. I got a few images to send to the office for the press kit and was tearing down my set up.
Gerry made sure to get me a ticket to the show and I was off to find a bite to eat. Later that evening I was able to watch the legendary singer, Diana Ross, and her amazing band treat the audience to a string of the hits that made her the Diva.
As a nice bonus, after the show I was able to spend a little more time with Gerry and met his amazing father as we left the venue.
Gear Used for this shoot:
Nikon D800, a Nikon 70-200, 2 Nikon SB800s, Pocket Wizard Flex TT and Mini TT, Westcott Apollo Softbox