Off to Asking Alexandria’s homeland of Europe, or at least closer to their homeland. I boarded a plane in San Diego and had a layover in Newark with a final destination of Dublin. A few things about my tour life are different from everyone else’s in the band/ crew. I travel to and from tours alone. Most bands/ crew meet up somewhere in their country and fly together to the next tour. I always fly out on my own, and I book all my own flights. In addition I am on tours for a significantly shorter amount of time than most of anyone else. A tour may go on for a month, but I’ll just be on it for a week getting some shots and then off to another tour. After a certain amount of time you do run out of things to photograph, I usually take it as a challenge to create new things or angles to photograph – but that can only go on for so long.
My job on the road is as follows – shoot photos of the band’s life everyday, post them the next day on the band’s Facebook. I do everything else cause I wanna do it, videos, blogs, etc etc.
1/13/2013 – Dublin, IE – Travel Day
I landed in the airport and headed to get my bag. I knew I had a slew of security/customs/immigration stops ahead of me and I was not excited. I was so out of it, traveling really takes a toll on me. If I could I fly out to tours a few days early to a) adjust and b) do fun tourist shit. Snagged my Pelican case off the conveyor belt and went to the security check. They looked at my passport, asked me why I was visiting, and that was it. The next door I went through led to the general area of the airport. Really? That was all? Amazing, instant mood booster. Some videos of the gear I brought with me on this trip.
Breakfast was in the general area. I love Irish breakfast, or English, or whatever it is called. I love it, eggs, hash browns, bacon, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms and coffee. I ate up! I had about 4 hours before I could check into my hotel so I went and figured out which bus I would have to take into town, and then sat down in an area with an electric outlet. I was doing the internet when the one and only Danny rolled around the corner. I was in a day early so I was confused why he was here. What are you doing here man? He told me everyone was getting there that day… I told him no. He e-mailed his manager, turns out they booked him a day early on accident… hahaha. We hung out for a bit and eventually took a cab into the city and put our suitcases in my room. Next stop? More breakfast! We walked a few blocks and found another breakfast place. I think it was 11:00am by now and I was exhausted. I went back to my hotel and took a nap and Danny took a cab back to a hotel by the airport to rest for a bit.
We met up around four and went for some shopping. Danny needed new boots and a jacket. We walked to a cab and all he had on was one layer. I had three on and I was freezing. I asked him why he wanted new boots, his were sick. He showed me the bottom, his wonderful foot was sticking out because he had worn them away so low. He must do a lot on his feet. We ended up at a cool place and I got a new jacket as well. Next stop, food. We found a pub and got some seafood-based meals. Whatever soup I had it was amazing. I ordered a half pint of beer and Danny got a cup of wine. They gave Danny a bottle and me a full pint. So much for that. I usually don’t drink but I had no work to do that night and it was rad to just kick it with Danny, so I made a conscious decision to get shitfaced. Plus they had amazing Guinness on tap. I thought I was going crazy when I saw the size of my beer. THIS is a half pint? A full pint must be huge.
We finished up at the first place and headed to a bar Danny had been to before. It was a huge place connected to a hotel and it had about 15 people scattered throughout it. I order a half pint and Danny got a double something on the rocks. Jameson? Jack? I can’t recall exactly what it was. Whatever he got, it was just two shots of it, and ice. How the hell does he handle that? I couldn’t handle that if you mixed it with a 2 liter of Cola. They gave me a full pint. This time I asked Danny, “Is this half?” “No, that’s full,” he responded. I double checked with him, just to make sure I wasn’t a crackhead- I ordered a half, right? I said half. He reassured me that I had. I summoned the bartender and requested a half pint. He looked me in the eye and said, half pints are for women. I looked him back in the eye and did that kind of quick head shake and slight eye open that didn’t involve any words but said “andddd I don’t give a fuck, give me a half pint and don’t try to secretly up-sell me.” He wasn’t stoked on pouring the drink out. I drank my drink, got another half pint… I know, that equals a full, but I had to pace myself if I was going to last another 8 hours, it was only 8:00pm or so. Danny had a few more of his drinks and we headed off to another bar per suggestion of some locals.
I forget the name of it but it was wooden, three floors, and smelled like absolutely rubbish. We ended up staying there for a good 4 hours and eventually the rest of the band got in at about 1:00am and cabbed it to us to hang out. By this time I was done, could definitely not handle anymore drinks. I had maybe… 6 half pints? and some other stuff, and a nasty ass Sambuca shot. Now I know where they put all the licorice flavor no one will eat. In this terrible alcohol! The night got pretty blurry, I eventually got a cab back to my hotel and crashed out.
1/14/2013 – Dublin, IE – Show Day
Woke up around 10:00am, packed my gear and walked to the venue from the hotel. Not sure why I didn’t look up the directions, but I didn’t. I had met someone at the 2nd bar we went to last night who told me the venue shared an alley with them, so I figured go to that bar, go behind it and tada! I am there. Only problem is I couldn’t find the bar. So I stood in the middle of this bridge staring at my phone when I looked up and saw a giant metal statue with this epic dude stood all heroically on it, and then there was a pigeon on his head. I could tell other pigeons had sat there before cause his head was covered with drip like oxidation marks from all the birds that shit on his head. Fun fact, the white part of bird poop is pee. So technically pee and shit. I just remember this statute. Anyway, found venue, arm was KILLING me from dragging my Pelican case. I had to pick it up over the cobblestone roads or else I felt like I was shaking everything up all crazy for no reason if I let it roll on the ground.
The guys weren’t there yet so I plopped my Pelican case down in front of the venue and sat on it like a chair. I love my Pelican case. The guys were all exhausted from the night before.
First thing I do when I get to any venue is figure out how I want to shoot it. I am on these tours for at least a week so that typically means about 5 different venues a week, sometimes more depending on the tour. So I figure: What makes this venue special? Meaning, which shots can I only get at this venue? For this first venue, it had a balcony right over the drummer, so I could literally stand right above him and take insane drum shots, and that’s what I did. In addition I try to figure out the weaknesses. So for this first venue it was the size, you always want to make the venue look big and the band look as big as possible, and this venue was rather small. It’s hard to be massive in every market in the UK/ Europe. Because… well everything is so different. You can play a 1k cap one day, and a 5k cap the next. So I avoided crowd shots. I did get a few but they don’t really show the size of the venue.
After the show we loaded up in the bus and went to a rest stop close by that we could park overnight. We had two shows at the same venue because they sold so many tickets at such a small place.
1/15/2013 – Dublin, IE – Show Day
Woke up early and got some classic breakfast from inside the stop, it was so good! I actually got it twice, once at 7am and once at 11am. Four breakfasts in three days, fuck yea. We left for the venue about 1:00pm and did it all over again. I was happy I could shoot the same setup another night.
I reviewed the images from the night before and figured out what I could do better. I had been shooting with my camera on my monopod from up on the balcony behind the drummer. I could basically get 100% over James’ head and get some great angles.
The show ended early and we were back on the bus by 11:00pm. Off to the next venue. I fell asleep pretty fast that night and woke up at 4:00am. I quickly got to work editing images from the night before and took a few breaks to read a book on my Kindle.
1/16/2013 – Belfast, GB – Show Day
I got off the bus around 7:00am to find a bathroom. We were parked right inside of a student union. I stayed close to the venue as we were told to not travel too far away because there were a lot of riots going on and I didn’t want to get stuck in the middle of that. Found a place, went back to the bus and got some videos done for ontheroadwithAE.tv and then everyone woke up so I went to get breakfast with them. After we were done with breakfast I went to go find some WiFi, it was pouring out and I was stoked I could finally justify my heavy ass waterproof Pelican laptop backpack. I got a few mint teas and uploaded all my galleries/ videos for the day. Back to the venue, passed out in my bunk until about 5:00pm on accident. Oops, at least I didn’t sleep through the show. I have done that once before and I felt soooo bummed.
The stage was terrible for this show, really low, you can see the drummer in back pretty much touching the ceiling. This meant terrible lighting and the venue itself was small. So strong points of the venue? None, weak points? All! In this situation I usually take it upon myself to try a new technique and shoot a lot of candid images/ stay out late with the guys. The new technique I tried was shooting really wide open, at 1.4 or 2.2 and putting my camera on top of my monopod and shooting wireless from the pit. It was incredibly hard to a) grab focus and b) get a well lit shot. So what I did was found a focus point about 4 feet away from me and put my camera on manual focus. Now I just tried to shoot people when they were that distance from me. It didn’t work too great but when I did get the images right, it looked pretty cool.
That night got a little wild. We went upstairs to their bar/ pool room and played some pool and had a few drinks. They closed at 1:00am which is slightly early than the guys 6:00am bedtime- so they asked the bar if they could buy some bottles from them.
This night we decided to have a wine drinking contest. I would tell you how it went but how about I just show you instead. Four videos below.
After the contest was over I went back upstairs to my bunk to start downloading my images from the day. It had to be bout 4:00am now. My bunk-hanging was interrupted by some loud yelling and low-level cheering outside that led everyone to believe there was a fight going on. Instantly our bus emptied… because that’s what you do for your friends, and this wouldn’t be the first time that the guys have gotten into some trouble. Really what was happening were all the While She Sleeps guys had just gotten back to the venue and everyone was celebrating… so we took a group picture. Little video of the events leading up to it below:
We had a ferry ride a little bit after leaving Belfast. I didn’t sleep and got up with two of the other guys to go in and hang out. We got a small hotel room to sleep in for a few hours. I just hung out in there, had some tea, and then went downstairs to utilize the free WiFi and get some breakfast. Traditional breakfast again and uploaded my images for the day. I knew I had a busy day ahead of me so I wanted to get as much done as possible. I went out on the deck of the ferry to try to take a picture with my iPhone, but it was so windy and nasty out that I couldn’t even snap one. I went back on the bus and passed out after the ferry. Woke up around 12:00am or so and got to work.
1/17/2013 – Glasgow, GB – Show Day
I had been to this venue once before, about three years ago. At the time I was on tour with A Day To Remember and Bring Me The Horizon. I remembered how to get in the venue so I hopped off the bus and walked past the kids that were already somehow lined up outside the venue. I was freezing, at least I don’t have hair anymore though so people can’t tell that I literally just woke up. I went to the shower area and got undressed and got my shower stuff ready. It was freezing and I was stoked to get in a warm shower, as it had been a few days. Nuh Uh! No shower, no warm water, some weird contraption that didn’t work was supposed to heat the shower… and the bottom of the shower had days-old water just sitting in it. Gross, I washed my face in the sink and shaved. Such a bummer feeling getting all ready for a shower and then none, but this wasn’t the first time this had happened. I would expect more from a larger venue. I think they ended up working, it’s just that no one was there to show me how they worked at the time.
We went for a signing at a local store called Pulp before the show. It went smooth and it was fun seeing the couple hundred kids freak out over meeting the guys one at a time. After the signing we went back to the venue, it was night by now and there was literally a line of 2k kids wrapped fully around the venue, and covering the area we had to enter through. The door was locked so we circled the venue a few times in the cabs until someone could come open it for us. Getting through the kids was another story, but for the most part they behaved.
This venue was great for crowd shots, would have been better if there was more light in the crowd, but still it was a big looking venue.
That night ended pretty early and we headed off to London for our off day. I can’t remember my sleeping patterns that night, but I did sleep. All I know is I woke up sick the next day.
1/18/2013 – London, GB – Off Day
We arrived to the hotel and it was snowing like crazy. By the way, I don’t think I had ever showed you guys our bus. This is our bus, it’s a double decker. Bunks and two areas to chill upstairs, then all chill area downstairs. You can’t really stand up straight upstairs, but who cares! How often to you need to stand by your bunk? Get inside! I prefer the double deckers but I know most people like the single ones you get in the States.
I was sick, I had to get some extra sleep. My sleep schedule was pretty much non-existent up to this point and had mostly consisted of two naps a day. I might still be on that sleep cycle right now, 10 days later, but I am not quite sure. Anyway, got some sleep and missed out on some sightseeing that day, but I had to in order to be able to get my job done the next day. The guys had a big show coming up and I wasn’t about to be sick for it.
That night we took a cab into the city, about an hour away, and met up with their label, management, and Kerrang! magazine, it was a interesting night to say the least. For some reason we were having dinner at this club, loud as fuck, could barely hear anyone. I was picturing a nice chill place where we could all hang out, have a few drinks, talk…. you know, but that was not the case. I think other people had the same thing in mind but apparently that was the best could get. I wasn’t really complaining, I’m not the focus, more just assessing the situation. Anyway, I got a full rack of ribs, a few waters and chilled in the corner. It was amazing, the food was awesome. I met one guy from Kerrang! but he just said hi and then immediately moved on. I was stoked to meet ’em cause they have a cool magazine but oh well, I assume he was preoccupied and busy, maybe next time.
A sprinter van picked us up after the dinner and we went back to the hotel. I sorta got shafted on having a place to sleep that night. One of those things their tour manager… just sorta forgot. We got 6 rooms, 2 per room, only I made 13. I slept on the floor which I wasn’t complaining about. I didn’t sleep very well but that is okay, if that was the worst part of my day then I was having a good one.
1/19/2013 -London, GB – Show Day
London was a big show, 5000 people, sold out in presale, and the guys were using pyro. Before the show we went around front of the venue and took a group picture with the sold out sign. There were about 200 kids already lined up, maybe more. So I went down the line ahead of time and told them I was brining AA out, and they could take pictures but if they got out of line we would have to leave. I tried to find security at the venue to help, but none to be found. So we did it, and the kids listened. By the end of the shoot security had arrived and was mad at me for not telling them first. I told them, well where were you haha? He just said, “This is Brixton Academy, you can’t do this.” And I just looked at him like… bro… we just did it. I suppose it could have gone south but for the most part the fans listened very well. Much respect! Thanks for letting us get our shot.
We practice the pyro before the show so that the guys could get a feel for what would be exploding in front of them.
I took advantage of this and asked the guy if we could get a group photo with the pyro, he said sure! So sick. Quick behind the scenes video of how the just band version of this image was shot.
The guys are sponsored by Fireball, so we took a bunch of photos with their whisky. I think they sent us 24 bottles that day.
I met Tom Welsh that night, he is a badass who does some amazing work. Scope it over at getdeluxe.co
I had to shoot all crowd shots that night. It was hard, I had to run around the venue a bunch and it was definitely maze like. In addition there was a 15 person film crew shooting a DVD for the dudes that I had to work around. That was really hard, there was a guy by the drums that was incredibly nice, only thing was every time I would set up for a shot he would ask me to move. He did have priority so I missed a bunch of good pyro blasts, but I understand they wanted video. I didn’t like to speak with him very much cause his breathe was god awful, I don’t understand how this happens, do people just not taste their own mouths? In addition I had to stay out of the way of the pyro, this limited where I could go but I made it work. Not trying to get burned.
I fucked up that night, on a few different occasions. My main fuck up was my GoPro died right before I had to take the crowd shot of them on stage and I was very bummed. I wanted first person for that. So I was late to taking my group photo. Still got it though!
Now my main mistake was I dwelled on that and became bummed out with myself when really I should have just moved on and kept doing my thing. Because my mind was elsewhere I started making other mistakes. I have this little coin holder on my belt that I use for full memory cards and change, and I left it open. I had done this once before right when I got the thing, but after getting used to it I never really messed up… this day was an exception. I hopped off the stage front after the set and ran to Front Of House to get my camera I had mounted in the crowd. Most people were gone by now, just security and cleanup crew. While doing this I lost one full memory card from that night and one empty one. I was bummed. I actually didn’t even notice until I returned back to the stage, hopped back up when security guard stopped me and handed me the cards. I thanked him and hugged him. That coulda been bad.
Next mistake, I dropped by 5D Mark II on the floor while exiting the stage, right after this. I was rushing, I wanted to clear my gear out of the dressing room that was crowed with at least 50 people. I broke the bottom plate but it still works so I’ll just get it fixed next time. Okay I had begun to settle down and gather myself, I needed to just chill out. I went out back as my cousin from London was coming to hang with me after the show, I met up with her and walked her inside. We hung out for a bit, unloaded my gear, got my “going out” shooting setup on. Basically just a camera, wide lens, and an onboard flash. Good for hang out pics. We went back in the venue and ran into a man from Rocksound and a guy from Fearless Records. They invited the two of us out to a bar. I was hesitant at first cause I didn’t want to get stranded and miss bus call, but that was a good 4 hours away so I should be set. I wanted to get to know the Rocksound dudes and I love Fearless Records so this would be a good thing for me to do. We took a cab down to this place, it was about 25 mins away.
It was packed, warm, but had a good vibe. I think it was called Big Red. I got a drink I had never heard of before but it tasted great. My cousin warned me that it would get me wasted faster that I thought, I believed her but still drank it rather quick. We hung out with the two guys we went down there and talked about everything, they were really good dudes and I had a lot of fun hanging with them. Happy I went out, thanks for the invite dudes! Two hours later I was shitfaced. Two drinks in and I could barely stand. I wasn’t expecting that much, but I don’t drink much at all so fuck, everything was so blurry that night. I don’t really remember what else happened at bar, lots of talking, I got this photo of the While She Sleeps dudes hanging.
I also remember seeing people doing blow off the ground, which to me, was wild- because, well… because. I stumbled over to their group of people and snagged a photo of the coke on the floor. Not sure how that worked out, but hey, here is a photo of floor coke. Now you have to believe me.
3:30am crept around and I was ready to pass out, time to take a cab back to my bus. I went with my cousin outside of the bar and she got me a cab and I got myself one. I hate being drunk and having my camera on me, but hey, sometimes it just happens. My cabbie was super nice, we talked about his family and a little bit about my job. My go-to question when getting into a cab is usually “You just starting shift or finishing up?” from there I can usually start any conversation. I passed out for two mins in the cab and woke up to him yelling HEY HEY WAKE UP, so I did. It felt like I could’ve been asleep for 30 mins. I woke up in a slight panic before remembering, oh yea I’m shitfaced in London taking a cab back to a bus somewhere. I paid the cab guy and got out of the cab. It was freezing out and I had nothing covering my bald head cause I went to the bar on a whim. I usually wear a hoodie under my coat, but nope. I did my muscle memory pocket check and my heart dropped as I tapped my right butt cheek. No wallet. Fuck. I need my wallet, it has money and pictures of me in it. I started chasing the cab in front of me. I eventually caught up and realized that it wasn’t mine. Surprise, drunk me forgot something. I started chasing the next cab I saw but I caught up to it a block or so away and that wasn’t mine either. Fuck, defeat, and I was cold.
I bummed myself back to the bus a few blocks away and went around asking to borrow people’s phones. I didn’t have a phone that worked in UK as I was only traveling for a week. The two people on the bus I asked both said no. I think it was because they were tired from the long day/ drunk / exhausted / it was 4:00am and they didn’t even realize I was asking them. But drunk me didn’t see the difference – I was bummed. Felt a little abandoned and when I needed my friends to help me out they wouldn’t. So I went back outside with my phone and connected to the venue’s WiFi, used Skype to call my cousin and let her know what happened. By this time I was crying a little, can I admit that? I was overwhelmed and drunk and felt pretty shitty. I hate losing stuff. Anyway I told her the deal and she called the place we got a cab after I hung up with her. I went back on the bus and sat down. I passed the fuck out for 30 minutes and luckily woke up. I coulda fucked it all up if I didn’t wake up. I called her back on Skype and she told me the cab was on its way back and that they had my wallet. I waited outside for 30 mins in the area just looking for the guy cause he didn’t drop me off at my bus earlier, so he didn’t 100% know where I was. He eventually found me, drove up, and gave me my wallet. I was super thankful and I gave him a tip of twice the fare, in addition to paying the fare again. What a good dude. It was 5:30am by now and it was bus call. I passed out faster than you can say alcohol plus Adam isn’t good.
1/20/2013 – Brussels, BE – Off Day
I woke up at 4:00pm the next day and we were in Brussels, Belgium. I had been here twice before so I knew the area. I went with everyone to get some food close by. They went to Pizza Hut so I went to a healthy cafe around the corner on my own as I needed some good food, not pizza. I also just wanted some time to myself, alcohol makes me so depressed, only drink with a) making connections or b) with family – and yesterday was both of them. I ended up falling asleep around 3:00am that night and quickly got back on my schedule.
1/21/2013 – Brussels, BE – Show Day
I had a quick shoot for Big Cheese Magazine with Asking Alexandria…. only my assistant fell on the ice and ended up in the hospital so I had no gear for it. Covershoot with a speedlite? Check, I’ll post photos if and when the shoot gets used. Other than that my day was fill with great food, shooting / uploading the normal workload. I also self-assigned some portraits that day. It’s not everyday you get a venue with white walls. A few of the portraits are below, if you want to read more about it please look at this blog post. Behind the scenes video included as well.
1/22/2013 – Amsterdam, NL – Show Day
Amsterdam is my favorite city, it’s beautiful, the people are nice, and weed is legal. I think every time I go there I have the best time ever. If I didn’t have to rush to another shoot after this tour, I would definitely have just stayed a few more days. We hung out in the city a lot that day. I love when the guys go out during the daylight because I can get a lot of solid images.
I filmed a lot of snippets for this series I am putting together. It basically involves a bunch of bands members I work with kissing my head, one at a time. I should be done in a few months, so far I am at like 10 people or so.
That night I had to leave at 4:00am, when the guys’ bus would be leaving. My plane didn’t leave until 9:00am but I had to head to the airport early, cause I had nowhere else to stay. The show ended at 11:00pm or so and the rest of the night was filled with sitting on the bus watching a handful of dudes trip on truffles. Truffles are basically a legal form of shrooms sold in Amsterdam, they taste absolutely terrible. I ate a tiny peace cause I couldn’t really take them… I had to fly in a few hours, and I instantly gagged and thew up. Don’t get me wrong, I love them, but I can’t handle the taste at all. Anyway it was an interesting night, I don’t have any photos cause it would be a tad too intrusive, but it was definitely a fun night.
Off to Orlando! Thanks Asking Alexandria, I always have the best time.