My buddy Jason Strange (wearing the black shirt) was Kerry Simon's (Iron Chef fame) personal assistant and loyal right-hand man for many years before Chef Simon sadly became debilitated and succumbed to MSA (Multiple-System Atrophy) in September of 2015. Although I haven't seen much of Jason in the years since, I've kept up with him vicariously through his father Ronnie who I worked with at Caesars Palace. Then, a few months ago, Ronnie told me I should give his son a shout-out because he was in need of a photographer for some musical talent that he was representing. I did just that and Jason has been keeping me busy ever since with clients such as J.D. Fortune and local favorites Zowie Bowie.
As the winner of CBS' 2005 Reality Show Rock Star, J.D. Fortune was thrust into stardom as the new singer of INXS, replacing the late Michael Hutchence who died in 1997. Fortune fronted the Australian band for over five years and found wide acceptance among die-hard INXS fans with songs such as "Pretty Vegas" and "Afterglow." I really like "Afterglow" and although it's suppose to be a tribute to Michael Hutchence, I get a whole different vibe from it.
Now that INXS is on hiatus and only playing limited engagements, J.D. Fortune is planning to move from his native Canada to Las Vegas to re-brand his career. When J.D. was in town last month Jason arranged a photo-shoot at the Parisian Palace, a large manor often rented-out for filming movies or for large parties. I met my buddy Steve there (thanks for your help and for bringing your lights!) and we scouted locations around the estate, both indoors and outside. All in all I took a few hundred photos in many different areas. After J.D.'s fourth peek at the photos on my camera he told me, "You're my photographer from now on." That was awesome to hear and I look forward to working with him more in the future!
Factoid: The limousine in the photos once belonged to John "The Teflon Don" Gotti.
Ask anyone who lives in Las Vegas and they'll know who Zowie Bowie is. Fronted by Chris Phillips, the band has seen a few different incarnations over the years but I think the current line-up featuring the beautiful and talented Nieve Malandra finds Zowie Bowie at it's best yet.
With plans to pitch CBS a reality show about Zowie Bowie, Jason needed up-to-date photos of the band and the current venues where they play. Over four days I shot the band performing at Cleopatra's Barge in Caesars Palace, Rocks Lounge at Red Rock Casino and finally, a full blow-out gig on the Third Street Stage at the Fremont Street Experience.
Again, I took a few hundred photos but the cool part was I had carte blanche use of the stage! I tried to be discreet while moving around and I'm thankful my size 13 shoes didn't snag a power cord or topple the drum kit.
Both J.D. Fortune and the whole Zowie Bowie band were awesome to work with. They were fun, kind, appreciative and HILARIOUS. I had an absolute blast.
Then there's this:
It's not like I'm going to frame it and hang it on my wall because let's face it, it's not the cover of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition, but hey, it's my first photo that's ever been on the cover of a magazine.
Yes, it's been a busy summer and things aren't going to be slowing down anytime soon. Next month I'll be covering the 3rd Annual Pigs For the Kids BBQ Competition & Music Festival and I'll also be taking an epic road trip around this awesome state that I've lived in for nearly 25 years but have never really experienced much of outside of Las Vegas. I'm also working on a story for Nevada Magazine about the Pinball Hall of Fame.
"I will take your photo for a sample of your barbecue."
Speaking of Pinball Wizards, I finally got to see The Who perform on August 9th at The Colosseum at Caesars. I can officially die now.