Category Archives: Musicians and Bands

Feeling the love… Tod Burr, Lara Johnston, & Casey Abrams

I want to post some support for two people I know, and one I don’t – but all three have some very cool footage on national TV this week!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMcWk5w_37w

First up is Tod Burr, also known as drumtech! I first became aware of him while he was on tour with INXS – and more recently I saw him with one of his own bands, Merle Jagger, out in a dusty bar in the middle of the desert. It was so much fun! He’s brilliant, and talented, and hot – which is a pretty good combination. And he’s in a new commercial for Lexus! When I first saw the finished commercial I thought it was all faked, but turns out it’s real – and he’s part of the team who made it happen. And he’s wearing black nail polish in a Lexus commercial, which is a whole new level of hotness!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_vT5kMWxPE

Second, I have to give a shout out to Lara Johnston! I shot her backstage at Rock the Cradle, in 2008, and at the time she was just the freshest, sweetest thing – and a true talent! Well she’s back! She was on last night’s American Idol, and she got a golden ticket, which means we get to see her again at the next level. The footage of her is a little short, but hopefully that just means they’re saving her for better things later in the season!

And third, here’s another American Idol contestant – one I’ve never met – but he lives in Idyllwild, and attended Idyllwild Arts, and he’s talented, so I’m feeling the love for Casey Abrams…

A Little Update…

Tracii Guns / Photo: Cheryl SpeltsA site called Mystic Metal in Australia did an interview with Tracii Guns back in August, and included some of my images of him and his band, LA Guns. I love the image of Tracii they chose, so I’m glad they gave me an excuse to use it again, in this post!

And in June The Quietus did a really interesting interview with Tracii, and included one of my images of LA Guns.

Then in October, Loud Magazine, in Australia, did an interview with Tracii, and ran the same image of the band.

And one final, little, silly tidbit… I love that my name is showing up on sites like bestbuy.com, cduniverse.com, fye.com, pricegrabber.com, buy.com, artistdirect.com, sears.com, and dozens of other big sites because of this CD – it’s fun!

LA Guns “Shrinking Violet” Deluxe CD Cover

If you know me, then you know CD covers are my ultimate goal. The very idea of one of my images on a CD cover makes me happy!

And I’ve had some success in that arena – I did a couple of beautiful CD single covers for Marty Casey, and a CD single cover for Lukas Rossi – as well as two CD covers for an indie band back in the late 1990’s. But somehow, a full-length CD by a major band hadn’t come my way yet… until last summer!

LA Guns' Shrinking Violet Reissue CD Cover / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

I’d shot LA Guns live in concert and backstage several times in 2008 and early 2009, so when they called late in the summer of 2009, I was there! We shot the images in and around, and behind a rehearsal studio in North Hollywood, on the day before the band left on tour. Beautiful images. Some of my favorite images ever of the band.

It was nearly a full year later before I held the actual CD in my hands – but was it ever worth the wait! It’s a beautiful CD, and I’m totally thrilled with the way my images were used. Favored Nations’ graphic artist, Maria Villar, really did a bang up job! When you open the cover, and pop out the CD, you’re immediately hit with one of my images – it’s big and bold and backlit and beautiful!

LA Guns' Shrinking Violet CD CoverAnd another of my images is on the back cover.

A little about LA Guns… The band was formed in the mid-1980’s by Tracii Guns, and at one point merged with a band called Hollywood Rose led by Axl Rose, to become a new band called Guns N’ Roses. Tracii eventually reformed LA Guns, and in 1989 they had a platinum album with Cocked & Loaded, and their single, “The Balled of Jayne” peaked at #33 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1999, former Love/Hate singer Jizzy Pearl joined LA Guns, and with former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke producing, the group released the album, Shrinking Violet.

In 2006 bassist Jeremy Guns joined LA Guns, and in 2007, drummer Chad Stewart joined the band. This CD is actually a Deluxe Reissue of the 1999 CD – but it also contains five bonus live tracks with the current line up – which is why they needed new artwork – and why I got the call!

Seeing my name alongside Tracii Guns and Steve Vai and Gilby Clarke in the credits? That’s just the best! But perhaps even better is that in Tracii’s “Thanxs” section, he spells my name as Cheryl Speltz – instead of Spelts. My name is spelled correctly in the credits – it’s only spelled creatively in Tracii’s section – and I gotta say, when a guitar god with a name ending in two i’s gets creative with my name, it’s just fine!

related posts

>> LA Guns in North Hollywood
>> Marty Casey – I See Stars
>> Marty Casey – Crime of Fashion
>> Lukas Rossi – So This Is Christmas

Marty Casey’s “Crime of Fashion” CD

Crime of Fashion CD Single, by Marty CaseyI’ve been such a bad blogger this year! So much has happened, that I haven’t mentioned. It’s partially due to the fact that when you’re working with musicians and record companies there can be a delay between shooting an artist, and then seeing the final CD debut. But I also have to admit that I’m just behind… So I’ll try to rectify that a bit now – with another CD that debuted this year, with one of my images on the cover!

Marty Casey released the CD single, Crime of Fashion in the late Spring, and it’s only available with a purchase from his Silver Elements Jewelry line – available at silverelementscollection.com. You can hear a clip of the song at Silver Elements Collection: Music – just click on the song title on that page, and then in the popup window, click on the sound icon!

We actually shot the cover last summer, in an elevator in a swanky hotel on the Sunset Strip – can you guess which one? The shiny textured metallic wall may offer a bit of a clue!

My images have appeared on four CDs in the last two years – and of those images this one is definitely the closest to my fine art work. I’ve always been attracted to multiple and long exposures! And I love that Marty is brave enough as an artist to go a little wild with me, and make an image like this happen – and I love it even more that he chose it for his CD cover. Says a lot about him as an artist!

related posts

>> Marty Casey – I See Stars
>> LA Guns – Shrinking Violet
>> Lukas Rossi – So This Is Christmas

I found myself on eBay!

Seriously! I found myself on eBay! I was trying to find a magazine article that came out in June, so that I could finally blog it, and while searching I also found a reference to a CD cover I shot – on eBay – and as silly as it sounds, it made me super happy! I haven’t seen the actual physical CD myself yet, so even though I knew my images were used on the liner, it doesn’t really feel real until I can hold it in my hands – you know? But somehow, seeing my name listed in the credits for the CD, on this eBay listing, just made it all feel a little more real. Besides, have you really arrived as a photographer if you’ve never found yourself on eBay?

So here’s the article – it’s from All Access Magazine, the June issue – and they used some of my images of LA Guns in the article – which is very cool! And it’s a real printed magazine, not just online, which is doubly cool in my world.
Music, Musicians and Myths: by Kim Thore for All Access Magazine – June 3, 2010

And while we’re at it, here’s a link to an Italian music site called SpazioRock, that also has an interview with Tracii Guns – and uses one of my images.
Interview with Tracii Guns: by Daniele Carlucci for SpazioRock – May 27, 2010

I can’t wait to get a copy of the actual Shrinking Violet CD and see my images in person! But until then, it’s cool to stumble across my credit in a listing anywhere – even eBay – I’ll take it!

LA Guns / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Shrinking Violet by LA Guns, was released by Favored Nations, and is available now on iTunes and at Amazon.com!

Ryan Star’s Breathe

I’ve blogged in the past about how few artists are creating art that references the housing crisis – and that’s still the case – but a musician I love has just released a video that shows another current crisis – unemployment.

I was at a private VIP event with Ryan Star last December – I was there shooting, and dropped a piece of equipment during the space between two songs, and so of course everyone in the very small room had to turn to see who the dork was who was making noise during his set! Well Ryan made the most of it, and made a joke at my expense and then dedicated the next song to me, and it was this song, Breathe, and it was the first time I’d heard it, and I fell instantly in love.

Real love, truly madly deeply. It’s a great song! And the video is moving. It’s so moving it debuted on CNN this week – way to go Ryan!

Watch the video!