Monday, January 28, 2013

Drink Small 80th Birthday Show Photos

Drink Small
80th birthday show
Club 145, Winnsboro, SC
January 27th, 2013
all photos 2013 Daniel Coston

Silent Fragments

I can see you now
through suffering blue skies,
the chill of the distance 
clears of the air
of my perspective.

You were
a difficult soul.
You dreamed for much,
yet the darkness overtook you. 
You traveled to the edges
of your knowledge,
yet could never pull away
from what you had been.
You wanted to be there,
but you wanted to be 
somewhere else,
and the two poles
of circumstance
do not always balance
on an easy bridge.

By the time
I knew you, 
you held back 
who you were,
and the frustrations
of what 
had never been.
Time told me whispers
of what had happened,
and the objects 
you left behind
speak more of you 
than you ever told me.
Their words twine
together in slow motion,
forming a faded image
of deeper waters,
filled with rage and duty,
an uneasy calm.

I wear your coat, 
and I am 
a different person. 
Not you, 
nor me,
but someone 
caught in the middle
of what we want,
and what life
gave us. 
Who are you, 
and who am I?
Somewhere between
the man you wanted to be, 
with scraps of words
left unsaid,
as I am
standing here
to fill the fragments
of my future,
and my own mirror.

-Daniel Coston
January 28, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

1960s NC Book Is Done

Hello All-

I've finished the NC 1960s book. There's still name-checking, fact-checking and other checking to do, but it's very close to the next stage. If I interviewed you for the book, please send me your email address. so that I can send you the chapters that you're in, so that you can make sure that all your statements are correct.

This book will also have its own website soon, as well. More soon, stay tuned.

January 24, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

North Carolina Musicians Book (the other one)


While you all have been following the process of my NC 1960s book, I'm also happy to announce that my photo book on the musicians of North Carolina will be released this spring by McFarland Publications. 140 photos, 60,000 words, and 19 interviews, all done by yours truly. It's official title is-

North Carolina Musicians: Photographs and Conversations

I'll keep you posted on the release of both books. Book signings, and blatant self-promotion will follow after the release of both books. Stay tuned!

January 21, 2013

Saturday, January 19, 2013

RIP Stan Musial

My grandfather tried out for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1936. He didn't make the team, but he rooted for the Cards the rest of his life.

My grandfather's favorite player was Stan Musial. An all-around nice guy that was also a great baseball player. A combination that is now harder to find in any sport. Stan was one of those guys you always pulled for, whether you were a Cardinals fan, a Yankees fan (like myself), or you followed another team. I never saw Stan play, but I collected his cards, and his autograph, and I knew what he meant to George, my grandfather.

With Stan's passing, I am reminded that another piece of my childhood is no longer on this earth. Yet no matter how much the names and the faces among us change, the meaning of those we love never does. In your hopes and dreams, the people we care about are always in an eternal spring, waiting to step out on the ballfield for one more swing, and one more wave to the fans.

Here's to life, baseball, and the dreams that never grow old. Safe travels, Stan, and say hello to George for me. He's been waiting to say hello.
-Daniel Coston

January 19, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Who review and pics on the Mountain Xpress site

January 15, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Answers to questions on Youtube about my Avett Bros. photos

A few years ago, Charlotte Magazine did a big feature on my photos of the Avett Brothers through the years. You can many of the photos here-

They also put together a video of my photos, which has me taking about the photos. That can be seen and heard here-

I recently began wondering if anyone had ever looked at the video since then, and discovered that the video has received about 20,000 hits, with 142 likes, and one dislike (because there's one in every crowd).  However, I felt that the questions that people posted in the comments deserved an answer, so I decided to post them here.

1. The video incorrectly states that I stopped working with them in 2004. I worked with the band through 2007. I stopped when I realized that I could no longer break through the embargo that the band's other photographer and videographer had created. But, as you may have found online, I have shot the band on a few occasions, and we're all still in touch. It would be nice to work with the guys again, but you never know. Life is unpredictable.

2. Yes, that is my slightly froggy voice. I was getting over a cold.

3. No, I'm not that other photographer and videographer. We're very different people.

4. All of these photos were shot on film. I didn't go digital until 2010. I preferred Ilford B&W film, and Kodak for color film. However, I sometimes switched to Fuji color because it was easier to find, and you buy it in bigger amounts at Wal-Mart and Wolf Camera. I used a Canon AE-1, late 1970s model camera for all of the photos.

5. The last statement came out of me talking about how I didn't look at those photos for a long time. I was disappointed and felt like I had failed, or that the photos hadn't been good enough. One day, I was looking at a portrait of F.D.R. that was being painted on the day that he died. Only the face had been painted, while everything else had been left as an outline. What the artist felt was unfinished, I realized that the painting was a work of art, until itself. That helped me to come to terms with the photos I did take, and I came to realize that I had taken some good photos of a good time in the band's lives, as well as my own. I don't think of my work as art (it's easier to leave that to others), but I think that I have taken some good photos along the way.

6. I'm very proud to have worked with the guys, and my sincere thanks to everyone that complimented the photos. I don't see them often enough, and I miss them. Not as rock stars, or photography clients, but as the friends that I have known.

I hope that answers some things. Safe travels,
January 13, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Travels With My Camera - Pete Best

Pete Best photo copyright 2004 Daniel Coston
In August of 2004, I drove all night from North Carolina to Randall's Island, on the edges of New York City for Little Steven's Underground Garage festival. The weekend was an adventure that deserves its own entry in this series. I don't remember much from that weekend, though that was due more to exhaustion than drink. Thankfully, I took a lot of photos, including when I met Pete Best.

Pete and his six-member band played midway through the day-long festival, which featured 45 (yes, 45) bands. As with most bands on the bill, Pete's band played only two songs, "What I'd Say" and "Twist And Shout". Pete's band aims for the scruffy early-rock sound that the Beatles had in Hamburg, and for the quick set that they had, they did all right. (Perhaps next time, though, they can get the band to all down Benzadrine and lots of alcohol, just like the lads did back in the day. Now there's something you'll never see advertised.)

The thing that struck me, though, was how inconsequential Pete was in his own band. With Pete's half-brother Roag Best (who is also the son of Beatle associate Neil Aspinall) playing on a larger drumkit on the side of the stage, and the rest of the band handling the vocals, many probably did not even notice the slightly gray-haired man tapping away in the back. Pete did not even step up to a microphone, and apart from waving to the crowd at the end of the set, it seemed like the famously shy and reticent Best was content to let others handle the lead roles. Despite the fact that Best has spent the last several years trying to reclaim his place in the Beatles' legacy. I know for a fact that Pete was, and still is uncomfortable singing, and he may have more to say in his full-length show, but after all the years of insinuating that Ringo wasn't any better a drummer than he in 1962, it would have been nice to see more of that famous drumming.

About 30 minutes, the photographers were all shown a note, written on a paper plate with a magic marker, "Pete Best in press tent in 10 minutes." Several minutes later, with his band still in tow, Pete ambled into the press area. After doing an interview with VH1, Pete then posed for photos for the media, most of whom dispersed after the photos were taken.

After signing a record for a photographer, I walked up and told him how much I enjoyed the book that he and Roag had recently put out about his time with the Beatles (a really thorough book, which I highly recommend). Pete's eyes widened a bit, and he said, "Thank you." I think it was the first time that anyone there had mentioned the book that day. I asked him how that book had come about, and he told me that it had come out of an original wish to document their family history for themselves, and their future relatives. The more that they cataloged everything, he said, and the more that the Casbah (Mona Best's coffee bar, where the Beatles played numerous times) was renovated, the more that he and Roag began discussing the possibility of a book.

Pete is an interesting mixture, in person. He does not talk much above a whisper, which sometimes made it hard for me to hear him over the noise of the festival. At the same time, he does answer questions very directly, and looks straight at you with the eyes that once made him labeled "mean, moody and magnificent." Still shy, but he seems much more comfortable in dealing with the public. Pete also hasn't seemed to age much in the past several years, and looks younger with his mid-60s age. Pete does also let Roag handle his business and music affairs, which seems to work well for both.

After getting him to sign my festival list of bands (I apologized for this, telling him that my records were several states away), and posing for a few more photos (including the photo enclosed), Pete walked off to his next destination, and I left to photograph Bo Diddley. In short, I came away with more respect for the man himself, although I'm still undecided about his band. I still believe that the Beatles without Ringo are not the Beatles we've come to know (imagine Abbey Road or Revolver without Ringo- enough said), but I'm glad that Pete has a place for himself in the public eye.
-Daniel Coston
August, 2004/January, 2013

Other Authors Talking About Me

Losering author David Menconi talks about me, and my photos of Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown here. Don't forget to check my photos in the Southern Folklife Collection's new exhibit, which opens this weekend.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Head In A Book (again)

Hello Everyone-

Happy new year. My original plan for the New Year was to have a bunch of new essays done for this page. But ah, how plans can change. With some time off this week from my usual cavalcade of photography work, I have finally been making headway on my book on the North Carolina rock and roll scene of the 1960s. Nine tapes transcribed and inputted in three days, and then eight chapters edited yesterday. There's still some work to do, but it is coming soon. There will also be a new blog for this book coming soon, where you'll be able to buy your own copies.

For those of you that have found me through the recent feature on the Avett Brothers in Our State Magazine, welcome. More writings about the Avett's, the recent Robbinsville reissue, and my photos of them coming soon. FYI, you'll also be able to see and read more about the Avett Brothers later this year, when my coffeetable book on NC musicians (separate book from the one I mentioned above) comes out through McFarland Publications.

I'll be back soon with more updates, and a big photo announcement. Happy new year, and safe travels,
January 5, 2012
Happy one-month birthday to my niece Milah. Uncle Daniel is coming back with his camera soon.