Missing Ronnie Barron

Ah, Ronnie Barron, what a great musician he was, and a great guy. This photograph would have been in Everybody I Shot Is Dead, if it wasn't a single frame in a Chuck E. Weiss (still alive and playing amazing) roll of film. This photo was taken at the Troubadour a year or two after I shot Ronnie in Vancouver when he was playing with Paul Butterfield Better Days. And then I ran into him again when he was playing with John Mayall and I was working on Starart.

 
 

RONNIE BARRON
10/9/43 - 3/20/97

Not a lot to grab from YouTube. This video looks like crap but Ronnie's talent breaks through just fine...

 
 

Ronnie Barron is one of 48 musicians I honor in my book, Everybody I Shot Is Dead.  

Chuck E. Weiss

Another set of black and white negatives has been opened. The neg envelope says "184 - Eric Carmen" but I found so much more. I somehow managed to shoot three musicians, three different nights, on one roll of film. And that's only 36 frames, potentially giving me 12 frames each. I took 10 photos of Eric Carmen, 15 photos of Andrew Gold (who I will highlight tomorrow), and 12 of Chuck E. Weiss. Oops that's 39 frames...I was always really good at getting the most out of a roll of film. I'm just wondering why I called the roll Eric Carmen since he has the least number of photos. He was the last one on the roll so I think I was paid to shoot him and I have another roll kicking around that also has backstage pics. May post some pics of him when I come across the other shots.

The surprise on this roll of film - there's always a surprise - was the last frame of Chuck E's. He was the first one on the roll and when I got to frame 12 I couldn't believe it. I actually had to message Sir Weiss to ask him if this other guy had ever played with him or whether this other guy had a twin. He verified it was indeed the musician I thought it was. Damn. I really wish I had gone through all my negatives one-by-one when I was creating Everybody I Shot Is Dead because I could have added this photograph to his section. I was not happy that I only had one photo to represent him in the book. And this one is such a beautiful and happy photograph of both of them. Today, I am happy to unveil this special photograph for the first time. Chuck E. Weiss with the late, great Ronnie Barron. This and the other never-before-seen photographs in this post were shot at the Troubadour in Los Angeles in March, 1976.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
184_Weiss07.jpg
 
 
 
 
 

Lastly, for those of you who missed out on the short film I made of Chuck E. Weiss and released last summer, hit the play button....

Today Is The Day

It's the official launch of my remodeled website (always a work in progress). And my return to the blogosphere after a very long absence. But most important event of the day is...

The World Premiere and Release of my new short film!

Click the photo to see the film.

Click the photo to see the film.

Way too long in the making, the idea for this 2:54min hybrid (aka my short documentary photo essay music video flipbook film) was semi-hatched when I reconnected with musician Chuck E. Weiss after not seeing him since the Troubadour/Tropicana days. He invited me to his show at the Piano Bar in Hollywood. I took some photos and was so inspired by the show and the energy of the crowd that I asked Chuck E. if I could do a photo essay on him. 

Not really knowing what a photo essay was myself, I told him I'd like follow him around for whatever time he could spare and take some candid photographs. He said yes! and invited me to meet up at his place. I spent a few hours documenting a day in the life (you may be surprised) and recording a couple of sound bites along the way for no particular reason. At this point I still had no idea what I was doing with all this but I knew I wanted to bask some more in the aura of Chuck E. Weiss. I took a friend to see him at the Piano Bar so I could turn her on to his brilliance (she was duly turned on) and brought my camera to shoot more photos I thought I might need for whatever this photo essay would become. That included Chuck E. arriving at the venue and some backstage stuff. And for no specific reason I pulled out my iPhone and recorded a song and some random banter. Again, there was no real plan. No script. No outline. No structure. Just my desire to shed some light on this very special person who was always nice to me back in the day when I transplanted from Vancouver to Los Angeles where I knew no one.

Then came the editing phase. I basically tossed all the photos into Final Cut and put a portion of the song on it. This process was without thought or purpose. I was just trying to create a photo essay, still not really knowing what a photo essay was. And in my judgment it was a mess, but I still went ahead and showed it to a few people.  And much to my surprise, they thought it was really cool. (Tip of the day: Make it black and white and people will think it's cool) At that point I decided I owed it to Chuck E. to make something out of this mess...something that would show how amazing he is as a musician and performer, but more important >>> how cool and authentic he is as a human being.

I'm embarrassed by the amount of time that has passed since I started this little personal project - it should have been finished a long time ago. But I also believe that every project has its time and, hopefully, this one is better late than never and it will find an audience and turn some people on to Chuck E. Weiss. Maybe if you are in Los Angeles or going to be there, this little film will entice you to see him play live. It's well worth your effort to experience him on stage. Or maybe you'll want to check out (and buy) his new album Red Beans and Weiss <<great title. It's available on the Tom Waits Official Store (choice of CD or double album vinyl!) and iTunes. It's also streaming, along with an interview at American Songwriter.

 
 

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this post and watch my film.

And...

Please support the arts and artists.

(*special thanks to Aron for kicking my ass)