A couple of months ago a friend asked me if I wanted to go and see Shinedown at the O2 Academy in Newcastle – possibly, I replied, but in all honesty – I’m not a concert person.
Nonetheless, today, as I was walking to work past the O2 Academy in Newcastle I realised that there was a big band on tonight and when I got to work I had a look out of curiosity and discovered that it was Shinedown. Damn, I had completely forgotten about this gig!
Ignoring any other thoughts for the moment, I wondered what the chances of "strangering" the band would be so at lunchtime I walked past backstage but when I asked the security guard if Shinedown were inside he said that he didn’t know – I took this as a ‘get lost’! I walked to the end of the road and whilst trying to decide if I was in the mood to go looking for a random stranger I noticed that there was some movement from one of the tour buses so I walked back down and asked a stage hand that had appeared if there was any chance of meeting the band – no was the simple answer – two of them were asleep and two were "wandering around" – when I asked how to go about meeting them he simply said that he didn’t know but I could try coming back around 5pm – I took this as another ‘get lost’!
… at 5pm, as I was walking past backstage four people came out of one of the tour buses and one of them looked familiar – whilst I am a big fan of Shinedown (or at least their music) I don’t go to concerts and I’m not a teenager so although I recognised him I didn’t know exactly who he was. There was only one way forward from here …
Me: Excuse me, are you from Shinedown?
Stranger: Yes, I’m Barry … bit of a pause … the drummer.
Me: Cool …
I explained what I wanted and he said sure no problem explaining that after every gig they come out to sign autographs. I knew this wasn’t going to work for my project so I pushed a bit more but it was no go as the rest of the band were currently in interviews but Barry said I could take a photo of him on his own if I wanted. Good enough for me – I was more than happy with that!
As it was late and dark I looked around for some light but there was absolutely nothing usable nearby so I started digging out my pocket wizards for their inaugural appearance in my project praying that I didn’t mess this up but thankfully they started flashing their little test signals as soon as I switched them on. Three shots later I got a keeper with a nice dark feel to it (not sure that I’ve quite achieved Chiaroscuro – but I like it anyway).
Whilst I was setting up the flashes I explained to Barry that I have a question I like to ask my strangers and if I couldn’t ask a Rock Star then I really couldn’t ask anybody!!!
I got three answers to my "What’s the maddest thing you’ve ever done?" question …
"Played in front of 100,000 people"
"Had 15,000 people sing Happy Birthday to me"
Cool, but not quite what I was after but Barry left me with this little nugget – "I once wrestled an alligator with my bare hands" – excellent, that’s the sort of answer I wanted – I don’t want to know the details, the headline is good enough!
Whilst Googling aimlessly I found this link about Barry which I think is pretty damn cool!
Barry, thanks very much for being in my project – I might not have recognised you individually but that doesn’t take away from the fact that I love your music and I can’t wait for your next album to finally come out.
Please feel free to provide constructive critique on the technical aspects of this photograph.
This picture is #69 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page