If you are here to find the photos from last night's St. Andrews Society photos, they are here-
Thank you, and see you all again soon,
December 1, 2023
If you are here to find the photos from last night's St. Andrews Society photos, they are here-
Thank you, and see you all again soon,
December 1, 2023
Tomorrow! Saturday! November 18th at 1pm! Come hang out with David Menconi, Dolph Ramseur, Don Dixon and myself as we discuss the history of recording studios in Charlotte, and the people that made the music. Books by Menconi, Ann Wicker and myself will also be available. Hope to see you there.
November 17, 2023
I'm proud to say that I have photos in this first-ever lyric book of Mr. Cash's career, chosen for the book by John Carter Cash. My thanks to the Cash and Carter families, and my their music live forever.
November 14, 2023
Many years ago, I was driving back home from a gig up north. I wandered into a gas station somewhere in rural eastern NC. I realized that someone was lurking behind me in the next aisle. It was Johny Williams, whom I'd known well from his days in Glory Fountain, and my nights photographing across NC. Johny and his wife had just gotten married, and we had somehow wandered into the same gas station at the exact same time.
Friday, photos of one taping of Carolina Business Review, and one choral concert at Christ Episcopal Church. Saturday, photos of one conference, Vetarans Day parade and festival. Charlotte Folk Society gathering, Hot Sardines with the Charlotte Symphony, and the YAM Fall Ball at the Mint Museum.
Next Saturday! November 18th at 1pm! Come join me and my friends David Menconi, Dolph Ramseur and Don Dixon as we discuss the history or recording studios in Charlotte over the past 100 years. David will also have his new book Oh Didn't They Ramble on sale, courtesy of Park Road Books. Come by and say hello, and see you again soon.
Thursday to Saturday, photos of one golf tourney, Verse & Vino event, Carolina Business Review TV taping, one discussion of the new Beatles song with Plastic EP and heavy friends, Kansas at Ovens Auditorium, and the Bella Notte gala for Opera Carolina.
Less than six weeks away! Hope to see you there.
November 7, 2023
Friday, photos of one Novant Health event, Charlotte Symphony concert with Cody Jinks, and David Childers at Devil's Logic. Saturday, photos of Ricky Scaggs at Gardner Webb University, and Guided By Voices at the Grey Eagle in Asheville, NC. Sunday, photos of the Mark Myers memorial in Mooresville, NC, and Fred Fest at the Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte.
One of the first bands I ever photographed. I loved this band. I still do. Their original 1994 demo is now available. Spread the word. That is all. Over.
November 4, 2023
Lenny Kaye: Of Nuggets And Moving Forward
by Daniel Coston
featured in the forthcoming issue 93 of the Big Takeover Magazine
Opportunities and new paths in life can be viewed as passing windows. Something that shows you the possibility of a greater life and perspective, if you’re willing to explore what you see through that window. The chance to glimpse something better can come in many forms. Your grandparents, a chance introduction to a record of movie, or finding an all night radio station that plays something that you’ve never heard before.
For many of us, the Nuggets compilation was a widescreen window that changed our perception of what the music of the 1960s was, and can still be. Curated by a young Lenny Kaye, the collection introduced many to the notion of what is now termed garage rock, and that music that changes your life is infinite. It doesn’t matter if it was created in the past, it just has to affect you now.
With Nuggets celebrating its 50th anniversary, Kaye is hitting the road for a few select shows this year, including a show at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC on November 12th. Over the years, music has taken Kaye many places. From over forty-five years in the Patti Smith Group, to music old and new that he still enjoys discovering, Kaye offers his thoughts about Nuggets, his upcoming show in North Carolina, and the influence that this music has had on himself and others.
Lenny Kaye: The thing about Nuggets is that they’re great songs. I have a sensibility about garage rock, and that’s its own kind of genre. I like songs that are beyond genres that are great records, essentially. That for me is why Nuggets has lived on. It’s not just a strange excavation of a moment in time, but they all are great records.
I think that you could make a Nuggets out of any slice of music. Girl groups, or reggae, any of the variety of hip hop. Just find the 20, 25 most accomplished records, and its a great listening experience. I think now they are called, playlists. (laughs) The fact is that I was really putting together songs that I thought were great, from a period of time. I guess the instincts came later, all seared in attitude, but I also thought that these were songs that need to live on. Amazing enough, a half century later, its still a signifier of something elemental in rock and roll.
I did one [Nuggets] show in Bethlehem, PA. I sang all of the songs there, which I don’t plan to do in North Carolina. Then we did the highly professional and well organized show in Glendale [CA] with the Wild Honey Orchestra. We also did one in San Francisco where Alec Palao led the house band. It was the other end [from the Wild Honey show]. It was funky in a cool rock setting. Then we did two nights in New York with a bunch of characters, including Bob Mould, Juliana Hatfield and a bunch of local stars. Now we’re coming to North Carolina. I like that a lot of people get up and sing songs they love. The North Carolina one is actually really great. A lot of friends will be there. Peter Buck, Kevn Kinney, Steve Wynn, Alejandro Escovedo. There are my brothers in arms, in the music universe, and its going to be a really great night celebrating great music.
Coston: Now that you’ve playing these songs live, what else have you discovered about the Nuggets collection? And what is it that makes this collection still thrive?
Kaye: In the end, there’s a core of why we play music. There’s a sense of yearning in them, there’s a sense of becoming who you can be, and the sense of desire. Which to me, is the root of any wish to make sense. I can only speak for myself, but in the early 60s, when I learned my first guitar chords, I’d hope to be a lonely folk singer in the garage. Then, seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, all of the sudden there was a new band model. You don’t have to be a doo-wop group and sing high tenor. It also happened at a formative moment for me, where I’m a mutant teenager in New Jersey. I’m not good at sports, I’m not a particular collegiate achiever. I’m looking for a way to understand who I might become, and at that moment in time, getting ann electric guitar, joining a bunch of your friends and howling at the moon is really a defining moment, especially for me.
Not that I thought that I’d be playing more than half a century later, but that I could become that, which I hoped I could become to be. That sense of identity, and learning one’s realization is at the core of any music that’s being made. There’s a sense of relief, and a sense of ecstasy about this music, because you’re turning it up, and trying to make yourself live up to the power of music. That’s a little abstract, but to me, there’s a sense of expressing these sounds. The very abstract language is one of the beautiful things about us being human. We see it all over the word, and how we go find way to express these undefined emotions within ourselves, and understand them.
There’s a lot of garage records where someone will come up and say, “This is a great garage record.” And I’ll listen to it, and it’ll have all of the tropes. The fuzztone, the yowling lead singer, and the banging drums. But does it transcend that? Is there more than what you would expect from a garage record? Some of these songs, I’ve been singing for as long as Nuggets has been out, and I never tire of them. I probably understand them far too well, at this point.
Coston: For me, there is still something beautiful about being able to play it loud, and let go.
Kaye: I don’t take the music that seriously. It helped form me. I don’t think that it’s better or worse than any other musical genre that you can choose out of the cornicopulatta (laughs) of musical manifestation. But the fact is that its fun to sing, and it’s fun for the audience to sing along. I’ve been so charmed by the response that these songs get. And if you go back fifty years from when these songs [came from], you’re in the era of Al Jolson, Mamie Smith. The microphone hadn’t been invented yet, so they’re still projecting to the far reaches of the balcony.
The fact that these songs are still honored, it’s a remarkable thing, and it speaks to their longevity, and a testament to a vital spark. I call it, the original sin of rock and roll. All of a sudden, there’s this blast of sound and noise, and it electrifies you. I feel that when I play these songs. They’re fun to negotiate, and they’re not even as easy to negotiate as people think. In all of these songs, if you started trying to understands how they work as a band, you’ll find lots of little strange hooks and sound effects, and ways in which the chords turn around on each other. They’re really fun to play, and at this point, I understand how to play them.
Coston: When you originally put Nuggets, my understanding is that you weren’t sure that [Elektra] was going to release it, so that the root of that original collection was, “I like these songs the way they sound together. Let’s see what happens.”
Kaye: At the time, all of the songs on Nuggets sounded wildly different from each other, and they still do. Back then, garage rock had yet to be defined. For me, as Mayo [Thompson] from the Red Krayola once said, “Definition defines limits.” If I had thought, “Oh, this is garage rock,” they all would have sounded similar. But then you have Sagittarius, which is symphonic rock. You have proto-punk like the Seeds. You have sophisticated musicians blending the blues and psychedelic [music], like the Blues Project. You had weird things like the Third Rail, which was two Brill Building writers creating a novelty record.
They sound very different to me, and its only with the passage of years that I see how it all fits together. Much more so than I did back then, and all credit to Jac Holzman and Elektra Records for letting me play in the fields of the Lord. Jac had this idea of an album that gathered together these orphan tracks of a one hit wonder, or a deep track on another album. He gave me hardly any direction, and let me put it together and trusted me. That was a great aspect of them as a creative record company. In the 60s and 70s, Elektra was the most forward and progressive record company of them all. Folk music, and then the Stooges, the Doors, and Clear Light. They also had Nonesuch Records.
Jac is a total visionary, and he gave me this project. I worked with them for about six months as a talent scout, and nothing I suggested to them took hold, and nothing they wanted me to get interested in took hold. So I had given them this list of random songs, many of which I was familiar with from working the Village Oldies record shop, in the Village. For a while, I thought that this was gone with my tenure at Elektra, but then they called up two months after I was at liberty, and they said, “We have the rights to all these songs.” And I said, “Let’s make this as good as we can.”
I turned down two covers, before that incredible Abe Gurvin cover came across the transom. It was like a weird accident. The record came out in the winter of 1972, and was not a commercial success. Rock critics liked it, but it found its place. especially in Europe. In America, we knew who the 13th Floor Elevators were. We probably even knew who the Seeds were, but in Europe that was quite a shock to the nervous system to have it over there. And then Seymour Stein with Sire reissued it in 1976, and then there was a new generation of bands who were having to reconstruct from the bottom up.
It just seemed to have a lifeline of its own. I can’t tell you how many times, I’m somewhere overseas, and someone walks up and says, “Nuggets changed my life. Can I buy you a beer?” And I say, “Well, it’s gonna change my life in about thirty seconds, when I enjoy a nice cold beer.” (laughs)
Coston: After that release, Elektra decided to pass on putting together another volume of Nuggets. In that gulf, a wave of independent garage rock compilations came out, and pushed that whole movement forward. Were you aware at that, at the time?
Kaye: I actually predicted it in the liner notes to volume one. I knew that there would be dedicated archeologists spreading out and finding all of these more obscure records. Ones that I would not have had to put in the original Nuggets.
[Elektra] did want to put the album out, but in the interim, when they picked up the option, Jac Holzman had sold the company to Warners. On the first album, we had a lawyer who, at a time when licensing wasn’t as easy as it today, now there’s departments for licensing, he was just chasing rogue people who owned the rights to these songs, and tried to figure out who to get them. He was dogged, Michael Kapp. And the new person, at the end of a year, they only had three clearances, so it faded.
But in the end, I felt like it was Johnny Appleseed. Planting seeds, and collectors being who they are fan out and find more. Its like the Gold Rush, “Oh, we’ve found a strike here,” and all of a sudden, hundreds, if not thousands of records are unearthed. Some are generic, and some are shot through with genius. I love that, because to be honest, I felt like I’d done what I needed to do with Nuggets.
Rhino wanted to recreate what I’d wanted to do with Volume 2 [for the 1998 boxset]. I got to put some songs that I’d discovered in the intervening years. I also took some songs off that as the years had passed, they were not needing revelation. Nuggets is kind of in the middle ground. There’s some hits on there. On Volume 2, it opens with the Lovin Spoonful’s “Do You Believe In Magic”, because the Lovin Spoonful ultimately were a garage band.
My last notes in volume one was to have people write in and say if the magic was in the music, or if the music was in you. That was my concept, anyway (laughs), but the truth is that a lot of the songs on Nuggets are more familiar. It’s not like its a record designed for obscurest record collectors. It’s a listening above. For me, Back To The Grave, Pebbles, Boulders, all of them are for the cognoscenti. I’m still like a popularizer, in a certain way.
I always say that I’d known that I’d be talking about Nuggets fifty years in the future, I would have f—ked it up, because of the pressure and the weight of history. “Oh, am I being conceptual enough?” In a weird way, I was just indulging my fancy, and putting a lot of my favorite records out there. I can’t say that they’re the best of everything, but it definitely seems to have struck a chord and paved the way for, if you’re a fan of sunshine pop, there’s sunshine pop on there. If you like gritty, straighter-ahead two-chord mania, there’s that, too. Or sophisticated arrangements.
I feel like I opened the door and suddenly, everybody had a realization and flipped through it, in the same way that when I discovered the series Brown Acid a few years ago, it almost opened up a genre that I had not been aware of, which is proto-metal of the early 70s. I’m just happy it lives on, and at the Cat’s Cradle, it’s gonna be a real fun time.
We’re just going to have a good time, all the time, like they say in Spinal Tap.
Lots of photos from recent social events and galas posted at danielcoston.photoreflect.com. New music pics posted over at @danielcostonphotos. Say hello, and see you on the road.
October 17, 2023
New event! On November 18th, I'll be at the Charlotte Museum Of History for a discussion about the history of recording studios in Charlotte over the last 100 years. Joining me will be David Menconi (whose new book Oh Didn't They Ramble is out now), Dolph Ramseur, and the legendary Don Dixon. More info can be found at the link below. See you there, and see you on the road.
To help out Theatre Charlotte, I have donated a print of my photo that was featured in the Avett Brothers' Mignonette album in 2004. This print was made just for this auction, and is signed and noted by yours truly. Twenty years before it was a musical, there was a group of friends making music, and I think that this photo reflects that. You can bid on the photo now, with all of the money going to Theatre Charlotte. Spread the word, and see you on the road.
October 11, 2023
One of my best ever birthday gigs was photographing the reunion of Stewkey Antoni and Thom Mooney of the Nazz in 2019. Watching these guys play Nazz songs for the first time in fifty years was nothing short of magical. It was one of those nights that keep you in this business.
This past week.
A whole lot of photos last week, a whole lot of photos this week, and much more this weekend. If you've seen me at an event the last two weeks, post below. Where should I be this weekend? Post below. See you soon, and see you on the road.
September 22, 2023
Now available for pre-order! The Cyrkle's first single on Big Stir Records! "We Thought We Could Fly", b/w the band's new recording of "Red Rubber Ball". "We Thought We Could Fly" features the harmonies of original Cyrkle member Tom Dawes, and comes courtesy of a 2003 recording by Andrew Sandoval. My sincere thanks to Andrew, and everyone at Big Stir that is a part of this new adventure. The single officially arrives next Friday. Spread the word, and there is more to come!
A few weeks ago, Steve Crump called me to say that he was doing a story on the Double Door. In seconds, it was as if the years melted away. What photos do you have? When and where can I interview you? Head full of ideas, and hands full of camera gear. That was, and will aways be Steve.
August 1, 2023
How are you? My apologies for not posting as many photos here as I have in previous years. The last year and a half has been a remarkable blur.
Here's where else you can find my photos-
Event photo site- danielcoston.photoreflect.com
Music photos archive- danielcostonmusicphotos.com
You can email me here at danielcoston at aol dot com, or through the sites listed above.
Thank you, and see you again soon,
July 31, 2023
Hello all. I wanted to give you all an update on the Double Door Inn's 50th anniversary show, set for December 17th at the Neighborhood Theatre.
July 31, 2023
July 31, 2023
I've heard it said that I've been at nearly every gala in Charlotte for many years. For all of those years, Ernest Perry was the host or emcee of those events. I always looked forward to seeing Ernie and his family, and watching him raise money for the causes that he cared about.
It's Fabfest Weekend! AND the last weekend for my exhibit at Dilworth Artisan Station. I will be at the studio at different times today, and Sunday. (The exhibit will be there until the 27th.) I will be at BritBeat tonight, and then at Fabfest all day tomorrow. Come see me on the author panel at 10:10am, the Beatle Brains panel at 3:30pm, and interviewing Gregg Bissonette on the main stage at 2:15pm.
July 19, 2023
July 19, 2023
It's Fabfest Week! Here's news about that, and my current exhibit.
So here are the details on my new exhibit.
Tuesday, July 4th. Went to Denton, NC to the Threshers Reunion, and photographed a Johnny Cash tribute show, almost 20 years to the day that I met and photographed Mr. Cash at his last show. Back to Charlotte for a cookout, then out to Huntersville, NC to photograph Generation Radio, and met drumming legend Steve Ferrone.
At last, it's nearly here. My new exhibition will be at Dilworth Artisan Station throughout the month of July, with an opening party on July 7th from 6 to 8pm. My thanks to Trudi Norris and everyone else involved in the show. Spread the word, and see you there.
Mr. Cash, twenty years on.
I first met Scott Schinder in Austin during the 2000s, during my many SXSW travels. We got back in touch in 2020, as we put together the Strangers On A Train CD for our beloved Left Banke. Scott was my co-producer on the CD, and wrote the liner notes.
I had the good fortune to photograph George Winston on a couple of occasions. George would not allow photos to be taken during his show, but he would allow you to photograph him while he ran through soundcheck. You could jump on stage, stand behind him, whatever you like.
Just a reminder that my photos will be at Theatre Charlotte this weekend, and next weekend. My show at Dilworth Artisan Market will go up on the walls after the 10th of this month.
May 27, 2023
Hi everyone! Here's an update on my new and upcoming exhibits.I have ten photos at Theatre Charlotte, all tied to the play Detroit 67, which debuts tonight. The show runs the next three weekends, so please check out the play, and my photos.
Five years ago, I drove ten hours to see the Cyrkle play in Van Wert, Ohio. I enjoyed the show, took some good photos, and drove home. Looking over the photos the next day, my first thought was to ask them about writing a book. However, a second thought soon followed, and kept coming back to me. I want to hear a new album from the Cyrkle.
After much work, plenty of recording sessions, and an occasional pandemic, the Cyrkle and I are proud to announce that our new album will come out in 2024 on Big Stir Records. This new edition will feature more new songs, with new singles released digitally beginning this summer. The Cyrkle are also now labelmates with the legendary Spongetones, whom I'll also be working with again soon.
Congrats to the Cyrkle, and everyone along the way that believed in this crazy dream. See you (again) on the charts, and see you on the road.
May 15, 2023
Saturday, photos of two JazzArts concerts, Charlotte Folk Society gathering, Veterans Bridge Home gala, and co-produced a new single by the Mannish Boys. Sunday, photos of Picasso at the Lupin Aigle at Divine Barrel, and Branford Marsalis at the Knight Theater.
I interviewed designer and illustrator Mark London for the new issue of The Big Takeover Magazine. (www.bigtakeover.com). Look for it on the newsstands, and look for a link to the article here soon.
May 12, 2023
For those of you that have asked when I'll be doing an exhibition of my photos in the Charlotte area, that time has arrived. In a couple of places.
Photographed three to six events a day for the past two weeks. Check out my appearance on Meagan RockRadio Paese's History Of Rock & Roll radio show, online at www.thehistoryofrockandroll.net . Much more soon. See you on the road.
April 28, 2023
Saturday, photos of my friend Marin's birthday party, then to the Cat's Cradle for photos of Holsapple & Stamey, Johnny Folsom, Too Much Fun, John Howie and the Veldt in the main room, and John Harrison, Mayflies USA and Jennyanykind in the back room. Happy birthday John! So good to see so many friends from long ago. Check out some of the photos at my Instagram page, @danielcostonphotos. Happy Easter, and see you on the road.
This past week. Oh, my.
Saturday, lunch with Larry Sprinkle and Dolph Ramseur, photos of the Deborah Triplett memorial, LAWA gala, and Parker Gispert at a house concert. Sunday, photos of the Oscar Party at the Independent Picture House, and Falllift at the Evening Muse.
Tuesday, photos of the Blumenthal LEAP event, Ascend 20th anniversary party, Nebula at Snug Harbor, one video shoot, one phone call with a record label for an upcoming project, and a 2 1/2 talk on Stan Cocheo's Musical Conversations radio show.
St. Patrick's Day. As a child, I went to St. Patrick's School in Seneca Falls, NY. This was always a special day. All of the students would gather in an adjacent parking lot, and we would all release green balloons with our contact info, in the hope that someone would find our balloon and write us back. We would then get the rest of the day off, and I would wonder where my balloon had wandered to.
Friday through Sunday, photos of the Make A Wish Ball, Todd Johnson and Heavy Friends at JackBeagle's, JazzArts Charlotte, Charlotte Symphony, High School talent showcase at Blumenthal Arts, and Rhiannon Giddens, Justin Robinson and Laurelyn Dossett at Davidson College.
Thank you John Hancock for the kind words. See you in the stars, Mark Federal.
February 18, 2023
This Friday, I'll be joining the Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte for a celebration of Doc Watson. I'll have several of my photos of Doc on display, and will have pics and books for sale. This will be a fun night of all things Doc.
If you're at the Heart Ball tonight in Charlotte, a lunch with me is back at a silent auction item. All subjects are open for discussion. Photography? Charlotte history? Music? North Carolina Rock & Roll of the 1960s? Marx Brothers? Comparing music of the 1920s to the 2020s? Bid, and let's discuss.
It's here! The new EP by Todd Johnson & The Revolvers. Love Sessions, produced by Dan Hood and yours truly, has been an absolute joy to put together. Check it out now, and see Todd debut the EP this SSaturday night with a special Valentine's show at Oh My Soul. See you there, and play it loud.
Congrats to Cheryl Pawelski, Jeff Tweedy and Bob Mehr for winning Grammys for the Wilco YHF boxset. What an adventure!
I have been meaning for some time to write about my time with Wilco in 2002. It was quite a journey, from hopeful photographer, to having ten pages of photos in the recent Yankee Hotel Foxtrot boxset. These are some of the verbal pieces of the puzzle that go with the visual ones.I first saw and photographed Wilco in Charlotte, NC in the summer of 1998. They played halfway through a remarkable show dubbed The Newport Folk Festival tour. Alongside Lucinda Williams, Dar Williams, Mark Eitzel, Marc Cohn, Nanci Griffith and Lyle Lovett, this show had everything but ticket sales on this day. A few of my photos from this show later end up in the 2014 Wilco best-of What's Your 20? I then saw them in Raleigh, NC the following year, thinking that I would photograph them opening for REM. However, I found out upon arrival that my pass was only good for REM, so I had to watch their set that evening from the lawn area.