Day 6 – June 19th – Las Vegas, Nevada
Off Day with Pierce The Veil- I took 1943 photographs today
We got our day off to a good start by walking over the highway to the closest In-N-Out. We were parked kitty corner to it on the other side of the highway, and we could see it from our bus. However, in Vegas everything is flippin’ massive and is made for traveling by taxi… so walking anywhere takes a lot longer than you think it will.
Back to the bus and everyone was ready to go swimming. Man, I was so stoked to go swimming. I headed to the pool with Tony, Casey, Jaxin and some other friends that came out to hang from SD. We were staying at the Tropicana and the pool was only a 5-minute walk from our bus- so that is where we went.
It was a typical pool adventure. It wasn’t too packed in there, just enough people to make it comfortable. I got a ball and a little floaty thing a joke. I think it was a dinosaur. We played some catch, had some drinks and relaxed.
After a bit in the pool we made our way to the little kids pool and rocked the water slide so hard. Sorry if I sound conceited here, but I consider myself a water slide pro. I had my fair share of rockin’ Noah’s Ark in the Wisconsin Dells when I was younger (Google it). We went down a few times the normal way. The line wasn’t too bad, it went something like little kid, little kid, taller little kid that might be 10, little kid, little kid, girl that was with her little bro, Tony, Jaxin, Casey, Me… Little kid, little kid, little kid. Once we got to the top on our third round it became apparent that the guy in charge of the slide did not give a fuck how that we went down. We went all at the same time. One after another. On our knees, stomachs, upside down and spinning in circles. I took pride in teaching the guys how to go as fast as possible. You lay on your back, and arch your back up so your stomach sticks out, only your heels and your shoulder blades should be touching. Then cross your arms like you are a mummy and you will travel quick.
I decided to get a little crazy and go down on that small floatation device I purchased. It made me go WAY faster than I anticipated and I ended up coming out the bottom on top of some kid that was like 1/6 the size of me, if that. I felt so bad. I immediately grabbed him out of the water and took him to his parents and apologized. He was fine and I gave him my floaty tube in return, he was stoked. Kids are so badass, I want a few for a year or something, then they can go away.
That night I had to do a two-hour shoot with Pierce The Veil. They had a feature in AP and need some images for it. We used their suit outfits and took some shots of them in the parking lot and the surrounding areas. It was so humid, windy, dark, and ugly out. Probably the worst shooting conditions ever and there were fans parked closely watching our every move. It was a hard shoot, given the circumstances I thought we made it through alright.
Another night in Vegas. It was Kyle of Breathe Carolina’s girlfriend’s birthday, so the night consisted of hotel-hopping and hanging around with a bunch of friends. We got a limo at one point but I am pretty sure we took longer to get in it than we were actually driving in it. I called it a night early as I had to be up early the next day to shoot an “A Day In The Life” piece.
Day 7 – June 20th – Las Vegas, Nevada
Show Day of Pierce The Veil – I took 1152 photographs today
I woke in a parking lot that was only a few blocks from where we were parked the past few days. Warped was being put on in the parking lot right in front of the Luxor (that Pyramid hotel). If you have been to Vegas recently, it’s right where they are building a massive ferris wheel. Anyway I woke up and walked over to the Luxor to take a quick bird bath in one of their sinks, shave, and got off to a good start. What else is involved in a good start? Bomb food. I love Panda Express. I never get any of their meat but they have this amazzzinggg deal there. It’s like $2.25 for a small and $3.25 for a large side. They are pretty good sizes and I always get half chow mein and half vegetables. It’s a great deal for airpots too, especially if you are trying not to eat super shitty. Man did I scarf that down quickly, I was so hungry.
That day I was assigned to follow Falling In Reverse around and photograph “A Day In The Life” for them (you can see it here). I was stoked as I had never worked with the band and only really knew their drummer by name. Ronnie was from Vegas so it was good to be with him while he was in his home town. I don’t know all of the drama surrounding this guy very well, but it has to do with prison and drugs and some other crazy stuff. All I know is what I experienced firsthand. Dude was a nice guy.
I got some good shots of him hanging on the bus in the morning. He has the most amazing dog as well.
The guys served lunch catering to everyone else on the tour for a few hours that day. After they were done doing that we all sat down and had food. Mathew Lillard sat down next to us and it took a bit for everyone to really realize who he was. We all had a “Oh shit, are you the guy from Scream/SLC Pink/Scooby Doo?” He calmy responded yes and introduced himself to us. We talked with him for a bit, took some pictures with him and then he proceeded to clean up everyone’s trash in the catering area. What the fuck? Who does that? Amazing. Such a solid guy from the little interaction I had with him.
I went to a signing with the band and met this awesome fan. She came up from South America and was so stoked to meet Ronnie.
Ronnie’s dad came out to the show. I really like this photo. So alike but so different.
I hung with the guys before they went on stage and shot their whole set. This is Ryan on the bus right before heading to stage.
I finished shooting their set and this is where my day started getting shitty. Mind if I open up and get a little personal with you? Hope not, cause I am going to regardless haha. Anyway, I have always had depression problems, always have, always will- just learning how to work with it has been one of the most difficult things for me over the past year. I have always had it, however prior to last year I had been medicated for about 10 years. I decided to go off my meds and learn how to do handle this on my own. Bad side of this? Sometimes I get depressed on the road and it’s hard to handle. Especially so when you don’t have your own bunk/area to retreat to when you need your own time. This is another reason why I try to always have a bunk these days when I travel. I can rock a back lounge, but sometimes stuff comes up and I just need to do my thing.
Anyway, I got pretty bummed that night and kicked it outside laying around the side of the bus on a wall for a few hours. I couldn’t shake the feeling and the reasons for my depression weren’t geting any better. Everything sorta started to blur together at that point and I just wanted to be alone so I could sort this out. However, no alone space really. Bus call came and I went in the back and tried to fall asleep as fast as I could.
The next morning I woke up at the venue and called a cab. On my way out of the venue I lost my laminate as I clipped my shorts in the bus door on the way out. My laminate was attached to the belt loop I clipped off by accident and I lost it. It was gloomy out and even gloomier in my head. My SKB case was missing a handle so it was really awkward to handle. Think rolling a suitcase without a handle on top of it, difficult to maneuver. I also had my Pelican case, backpack, and some other odds and ends. It took me three trips to get all my gear 5 minutes from the bus area to a fence where the cab could swoop me. The cab took another hour or so to get there. Him getting there involved me talking to a guy on the phone that had no idea where to go. Most of these shows are in the middle of nowhere, so there isn’t exactly an address you can give them to come get you, you just have to describe where you are. Eventually the guy came and I loaded up my gear. Man I was so dirty, just sweat and dirt and shit from the day before. I just wanted my home bed.
Sorry to sound like I’m complaining here, the goal isn’t to sound like I want any attention or anything, just trying to share my experiences cause I know other people can relate. Anyway I took the cab to the Amtrak station and took a train back home to San Diego. Navigating the gear onto the train was the hardest part. I had so much stuff that they could technically refuse to take it all, so I got it on fast when the train got there. I didn’t exactly look my best, on the verge of a backpacker or homeless rugged guy. In the train conductor’s eyes- a tad bit sketch. Getting on the train felt so good. Almost home. It was a few hours of a trip and I eventually got home another cab ride later and took a week to myself. I just needed time to sort my shit out. At that point I was 100% ready to be done with photography, not shoot anymore, and just go on vacation to whereever I wanted. I was already making plans to move on. But I took the time to kinda chill out and eventaully made up my mind that I wanted to go back on Warped.
Luckily I have good pals in Of Mice & Men who were nice enough to take me back out on the fly. I hit up their tour manager, he told me where to meet them on the 5th and I went at it. Round 2, here we go. Fuck, that week sucked.
7/4/2012 – San Diego, CA => St. Louis, MO – Travel
I flew out of San Diego, my flight was only $150 bucks, it was awesome. When I got to St. Louis another crew member that was starting tour the next day with them picked me up from the airport with the hotel shuttle guy. It was hotttt. We went back to the hotel and took my gear up to the room. The dude’s name was Kroeger, he was out to help sell merch as one merch guy wasn’t doing it for them. We got an apple from reception and conjured up a smoking tool and chilled in the parking lot for a bit while we blazed. Kroeger was an awesome guy and it was good to just sit down and talk with him. That night we passed out hard at a reasonable time as we knew the next day was going to be super hot and kick our asses.
Day 8 – July 5th – Maryland Heights, Missouri
Show Day with Of Mice & Men – I took 1578 photographs today
That morning Of Mice & Men picked us up from the hotel in the tour bus. Man, I’ll be honest, I felt like a badass. Wuddap million-dollar mobile home just picking us up from the… shit motel we just stayed at. Off to the venue!
I had to get a new laminate that day, got some flak for losing it. They said they found it on someone else a few days later somehow (even though I wasn’t on the tour) and took it from the person, then cut it up. I had to pay to buy a new one anyway.
I did a quick shoot with Tino before the set to show off his new in-ears. In-ears are basically monitors that block out all other sound and just give the user the sounds they want. So click track and then a mix of some guitars and other stuff. When you start out you just have speakers on stage and everyone hears the same thing. This is why listening to any band that wears in-ears from stage is pointless, you don’t hear a good mix.
Staff shooting below to get that high up effect in the trailer.
After shooting the guys gettin’ ready to go on stage I ran into the pit to shoot with my staff. The stage was super low so I could get way up high with my shots and get some solid angles.
I hung out with Todd Owyoung for a bit that night. Todd is a super awesome nice tea-drinking Asian dude from St. Louis. I have a lot of respect for what he does. When I first started shooting I didn’t understand what he did exactly. I saw his live shots and thought, good live shots? So what? But dude, I get it now. He rules at getting the best solid looking magazine/publication-ready live images you can get. Lighting is perfect, positioning is spot-on, he has it down to a math and he manages to snag good shots every show. That is hard to do. I also envy his writing skills, he is a well writ human being.
Day 9 – July 6th – Auburn Hills, Michigan
Show Day with Of Mice & Men – I took 1072 photographs today
I woke up and leaned over the edge of my bunk. Tino was my downstairs neighbor, so I took a pic of him doing his morning bunk internetage.
Hot as a moth fucker today, and I had to walk a lot. I don’t know why my notes had this as “moth fucker” instead of motha fucker but it rules. Oh it just did it again, it’s the auto-correct in TextEdit. Genius.
I shot Of Mice & Men’s set that day from the pit. After the first song, Austin, the frontman, had all of us kicked out. I didn’t assume I could stay cause I guess I just assumed I had to go. Turns out someone was shaking his mic stand to get his attention and he wouldn’t stop. This was also the day a photographer next to me got a bloody head, sucked for him. After the set I was told I could have stayed, but I woulda felt weird assuming that.
I wore a bandana that day cause it was so sweaty I kept getting my own sweat in my eyes. I have never been bald before so I wasn’t really used to this. Bandana it is. They had “No Room For Rockstars” playing in the catering area that day. Well, it was half catering, and half inside area for kids to rest and cool down in. So weird eating your food to half an arena of kids watching. “No Room For Rockstars” was a documentary shot on Warped Tour two years ago, basically showing how Warped works and what goes into it. The reason it’s called “No Room For Rockstars” is because Warped is already at capacity… har har har.
I have these Spandex suits I rock. One is black, one looks like a tuxedo man, and the last is zebra print. Breathe Carolina was nice enough to let me go on stage during their set in one and shoot a watergun on their fans. I love dressing up in Spandex suits, I have no idea why, it just feels awesome and I have tons of fun. I guess I do have an idea why. A girl that went to their show has a tiny bit of footage of it. You can also watch my head mounted GoPro footage of it on my video at 28 minutes 30 seconds
Everyone was partying that night. Every Time I Die had a bar. Which basically meant they had a shit ton of alcohol, stuff that makes alcohol not taste like shit and someone to serve it.
These rappers killed it. I have watched the video of them rapping so many times. You can see the video at 29 minutes 50 seconds So good. Also note how hard it is just for me to get around these people and take images, trying not to disrupt what’s going on but I am not very tall.
Bayside also had a bar. It was the same as the Every Time I Die bar, just different people and a tent.
I walked around like I always do at parties, doing a lot of hit-and-run shots of people. You Me At Six were a UK band that were playing beer pong that night, you know living the American dream.
I tried to shoot for my project again that night, failed again haha. Oh well, I made an effort. Everyone was too hot and sweaty, plus they were drunk.
This was my first real Of Mice & Men crazy bus party. Don’t get me wrong, I knew they partied, I have traveled with ’em before- but this is a new level. They have been on Warped for the past two years, this is their third in a row so they had to keep it interesting at night. Sorry about the darkness of the video, but hopefully it gives you an idea just what it was like.
I am so loud in these videos, it’s annoying. But I am right up next to the microphone as well, so it happens. The bus was sweaty, humid, and it smelled like a packed high school hallway on a summer day.
Day 10 – July 7th – Tinley Park, Illinois
Show Day with Of Mice & Men – I took 2421 photographs today
Chicago was a good day for crowd shots. It’s one of the highest selling dates in both attendance and merch. Most bands do about double their numbers here. So I tried to shoot crowd shots!
I shot You Me At Six with my C-stand setup. I shot from right where the soundboard was, on the side of the barricade where all the kids are. Then You Me At Six commanded the crowd to make a giant circle pit around the tent I was standing next to. Well shit, I had to stand sorta in the way of the kids cause I didn’t want anyone to trip over the leg of my light stand. I needed to move my stand a tad closer to the barricade. There was a little hole by where the corner of the barricade was, so I planned to put one of the legs in that area and have two of them sticking out. The thing weighed… I dont know how much it weight but a lot. So I had to lower it first. I stood up on the legs to make sure it didn’t tip over, they can support my weight and started losing the handle. Only problem was I loosened the boom arm part that allows for the arm to rotate like the hands of a clock. I immediately caught my mistake as I noticed the whole fully extended 6 or 7 foot arm starting to tip one way. I hugged the shit outta that stand so hard and tightened that thing so fast. Heart racing holy crap I just about killed a kid. I lowered the stand and moved it closer so no one tripped. Catch a video of the circle pit at 35 minutes 40 seconds seconds
For Breathe Carolina’s set I took a backstage elevator up to the top floor of the amphitheater. No one was up there except for a security guard alllll the way on the other side. I tried to stay out of his view as I wasn’t exactly sure if I was supposed to be up there, but my friends went up and said it was safe, so I tried it. I snagged my shots during their set and made my way back down on a staircase. Good thing I took a different route as someone put a giant table in front of the double doors that I would have exited through if I went back down the elevator. Well, I wouldn’t be going back up there.
I went to shoot a signing at the Alternative Press tent. It was hard to shoot because there were so many kids and tent legs blocking the people signing. I did get this good shot though. While I was shooting with my 70-200mm f/2.8 I dropped it on my right toe and it speared me. It was better than dropping it on the ground as I didn’t want to wreck the lens or my camera body but man It was like getting stabbed with a 7 pound weight. I bruised my foot so badly.
I carried my C-stand around so much that day. I shot at All Time Low’s stage and then ran across the whole venue to Yellowcard’s set. It was so heavy, I had to have gained a few muscles in new areas that day. I got backstage for Yellowcard and then realized I forgot my GoPro so I had to run back to the buses and grab it. I brought the C-stand with me to on the way back to bus and put it by the front of house tent in the middle of the crowd. Ran back to Yellowcard stage, shot some images of them on stage, then I went back to crowd and shot some crowd shots with the C-stand.
I shot Yellowcard’s drummer, LP for most of the set. I accidentally got this shot, but it’s a great shot so I am stoked I got it.
Of Mice & Men was up next. I shot them from stage for half the set and then headed back to the soundboard.
Austin had the crowd pass him from the stage to the soundboard I was standing in at the end of the set. It was pretty epic. You can get a better idea of how I got these shots by watching the video at 43 minutes 50 seconds[/caption]
After he got passed to front of house I had to switch my lens super fast. I needed to get rid of the 70-200mm f/2.8 and put the 17-40mm f/4.0 on the camera. I left my camera on the ground uncapped as I didn’t have enough time and just put the new one own.
Austin sat down and I did the same thing right infront of him, carefully trying not to be too intrusive. Kids were shaking the whole tent and chanting “Austin”, surreal.
The shots of him sitting down don’t fully express how he felt in the tent as the kids were screaming his name . If there is one part of the video you absolutely need to watch, it’s at 45 minutes 35 seconds.
Austin specifically told the crowd not to steal his shirt… but sure enough a 18-year-old guy stole it. So weird to me. I saw him after the set holding the shirt up proud. I mean, I get it, if someone came up to me and said this is Jim Carrey’s anything I would be pumped… but dude, you just ripped another dude’s clothes off of him right after he told you not to. I guess it could have fallen off, I don’t recall.
That night everyone was hanging out in the bus area. I started to take a group picture and slowly more and more people joined. After taking the picture everyone lifted me up in the air and it made me feel so happy. So many friends being so supportive… literally. The video shows it best, start watching at 46 minutes 52 seconds
The bus was bouncing… visual proof at 48 minutes 32 seconds
After we left the venue that night we went to a few different fast food places but nothing was open. We eventually found a Wendy’s but the bus was much too big to fit through anything like this. Below we have Austin and Alan trying to convince random people to buy them food at the drive-through. Probably would have worked better if Alan wasn’t dressed up as your favorite childhood tea eye double guh errrr. And then there was their lack of sobriety.
Day 11 – July 8th – Shakopee, Minneapolis
Show Day with Of Mice & Men – I took 1048 photographs today
Minneapolis local Matt Vogel was nice enough to pick up Tom Falcone and I and take us to breakfast. Tom texted me sometime in the AM inviting me, I was in the porta potty so I sent him a pic of my legs. Sorta gross but he responded with an actual picture of shit, making me seem modest. We went to the midwest equivalent of Denny’s – Perkins. Perkins was all I knew growing up in Wisconsin, I didn’t realize they didn’t exist in some corners of the States, until I ventured to them. It was really nice to be able to hang out with Tom as well. Even though we were on the same tour I would seldom hang out with him. We worked all day and all night, and when we had downtime we were usually working as well. It’s hard to justify not shooting on a tour like Warped Tour. It would be like going to the gym and not working out.
Off to shoot OM&M for their set. First on! I was bummed cause my friends from home were coming to the show that day and they missed OM&M. It’s one of my favorite feelings in the world, being able to show my friends what I have been up to. They have always been super supportive. I have two main best friends I grew up with, Crague and Ian. Actually, Ian has yet to come to a show- one of these days I’ll get him out to ’em. But Crague has come to a handful and came to Warped two years ago as well. After high school Crague took the college route and I moved away. I wish I got to see Crague more, he lives in Wisconsin still. We grew up doing everything together, from 4th-12th grade. I never would have really started listening to “Warped Tour” type bands if it wasn’t for my high school girlfriend Emilia and Crague. He was a year older than me and had a car. The amount of time we spent in that Ford Focus blasting Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Yellowcard and various nu metal bands- to and from school, going the mall, movies, parties, just driving around endlessly to get away from home life. I can’t thank that guy enough. But yea, it’s so awesome to be able to go to these shows now and be able to hang out with the bands that changed our lives and they don’t even know it.
It’s usually hard to get really solid shots of people in the noon sun, as it’s right above your head. But after shooting Warped for a few years I have learned some tricks. My favorite place to shoot- the semi trucks that transport the gear and serve as a mobile backstage area are the best thing to happen ever. They are basically big giant soft boxes with a main light coming in from the opening on one side. The bands hang out in these right before going on stage.
I spent the whole set trying to get good images of Tino drumming. Again, the noon sun is rough so it’s hard to get stage shots, because the lighting can change so drastically if any of the members that move on stage step in or out of the light. But Tino stays in the same area and for the most part his light stays the same. I tried to get super low in the above image so I could cut out the people standing behind him, it worked out well. If they were in the image it wouldn’t look as clean. See how I took the above and below images at 51 minutes 35 seconds
I have the trust of Tino to a point where I can shoot him from any angle. When shooting from in front of the drums I have to be careful to not bump any of his mics with the PocketWizard on top of my camera or to step/fall onto any of his cables. That would suck. Then when I shoot from directly behind him I just have to take note of how far back he swings his arms and then get about two inches away from that spot. It’s not my gear I am worried about, more so just messing up their live show. That is one of my biggest fears- and I know it has to happen eventually. It’s like falling off stage for a guitarist. They don’t want to do it, but it’ll happen eventually and it’ll be embarassing and mess up the show a tad. The only difference is me being on stage is a privilege, not a necessary part of their show. When it happens, my day will be shitty, I just have to hope the client understands and forgives me.
I just like how you can see what Jared is looking at in the image.
My friends arrived shortly after their set finished. The day was filled with constant drinking and partying. It’s nice when the band plays early- cause then you have nothing to worry about for the rest of the day. I still shot around a little bit, but I had to convince myself it was okay to take an off day for my friends being there. I don’t get to see them very often so I needed to take advantage of the time. I had a terrible headache for a good part of the day so I had to take a nap and try to get rid of it. The change of environment everyday can be rough on the body, and sometimes headaches kick in.
Towards the end of the day, when all the bands are done playing- everyone gets to hanging out again. Our party area was set up by our trailer behind our bus. We had a few tents out, music, drinks and food.
I couldn’t resist doing a few walks around to take some photos. Found good man Tasty passed the fuck out before the sun went down.
I get most of my good images when I am just walking around not expecting it. Tony and I were walking at each other between the buses. I lifted my camera, grabbed about 10 images, we passed each other and kept going with our nights. I love that the people I work with will let me do this, it’s key in getting the images I truly love. So happy Tony approved of this to be sold. Pick up a print, support a brotha.
BBQ, walking around, hanging with friends a lot, I like to just browse around. It’s hard to not be on tour when on tour.
Day 12 – July 9th – Bonner Springs, Kansas
Show Day with Of Mice & Men – I took 1398 photographs today
I photographed Of Mice & Men in the trailer before they went on stage. I used my staff to get up above them, snagged some video of it at 55 minutes 15 seconds .
That day I jumped off the stage to shoot Austin while he went up on the barricade. I am not sure if you can see it in the at 57 minutes 6 seconds, but there is a cable right by my feet that isn’t plugged into anything. Well, when I jumped off the stage that cable hooked on my feet and half-pulled them right out from underneath my feet. I landed really close to the ground and almost ate shit. So happy I didn’t. Next think I did was turn around and see what I unplugged. I didn’t know that cable wasn’t plugged into anything. Worse case scenario: I unplugged Phil’s pedal board, best case scenario… the cable wasn’t plugged into anything. Glad it was the latter. I know one day it will happen, I will fuck up a set and trip over something. I have never had it happen yet but it has to happen- it’s inevitable. I just hope that the artist I am working for is forgiving and understand that once in awhile I am going to slip up.
I shot Sleeping With Sirens but didn’t get any solid live images. However I did get this rad candid after their set.