Say Cheese! The Wonderful World of Rock Band Photos.
Evening Folks! Let’s have a little fun with music tonight, and the almost never disappointing phenomenon surrounding rock band photos. If you’re scratching your head while contemplating just where we’re taking this one, I want you to picture a group who’s photo you might have seen recently plastered on the side of a bus, a brick wall, or an ad board outside a local concert venue. Starting to come into focus? Fair enough. Let’s make an attempt at jolting that idle memory.
Any of those photographic gems resurfacing some nightmares? Reminds me of walking into a Best Buy or Sam Goody (holy SHIT remember Sam Goody?!) and seeing these posters stare right back at me, terrifying me as a young boy.
When I sat down and started writing this article I thought I could take the approach of somehow “rating” bands based on how they posed in group shots. For example, we would dish out our report cards with low scores to bands who’s members opted for the ‘thumbs jammed in front pockets’ look, or high scores to the members with much more flare and creativity (think Robert Plant tossing his hands in the air smack dab in front of a plane with HIS BAND’S NAME ON IT). I quickly found out that this mindset was destined for failure. You see, on one hand, we have bands the likes of Creed posing like a group of disgraced magicians, and on the other we see Led Zeppelin striking sadly similar stances (cheers for alliteration!). Let’s not make the mistake of assuming I’m foreshadowing the influence of one band’s marketing strategy on another’s. That would be silly. We’re here to merely have some fun with these jesters of the musical realm. Court is in session.
Recall the first pose I mentioned earlier in this post; the thumbs hanging out in front pockets. That right there is a classic. A pose that could very well find itself in the top 10 of high school senior photos. Class president, starting quarterback, varsity letter jacket on while leaning against a tree. Thumbs inserted in pockets. Future demolished. When did this stance take a hold on society? I feel that the only legitimate scenario would be for a cowboy, and one with a six-shooting belt buckle. Thumbs are meant to be hooked into bullet belts. So unless you’re singing “Rawhide” from the bar in Blues Brothers you just can’t claim that maneuver as acceptable.
And how about the squatters? Why do you insist on being so low in the shot whilst your arms lay draped over your knees? Must be tired from all of that average music you’re making.
So, tell me this: If you cross your arms over your chest, does that mean you must be leaning against some type of foundation; whether it be a wall or a post? Or is it your last attempt at supporting your otherwise faltering music career?
Moving even further on down the line of heinous phalanges placements….
Hand in hand hovering over your crotch? That’s your play? I don’t know if anybody told you this, but covering up your jimmy with your hands doesn’t keep the crabs at bay. Entertaining observation coming quickly here: Why do folks (or victims) who have volunteered to have an object shot off of the top of their heads insist on covering their jewels? Perhaps a more important question one might ask is why you’ve agreed to this disaster of a trick in the first place? You’d think that the protection of one’s surface area from the shoulders up might be a more appropriate section to take care of? Oh, you want to snipe an apple right off the top of my freshly conditioned hair-do? What say you if I just eat the apple for its nutritional purposes and we talk about the 10 day forecast? For an apple a day keeps the doctor away, however an arrow to the throat lands me in a hospital bed for WEEKS. Also, and I apologize for the continuation of this tangent, who in the shit needs to brush up on their arrow firing skills enough to prove that they can shoot an inanimate object off of a terrified subject’s head? Where does that talent transfer too? Are they still doing that type of shit in the circus? If they are then I suppose we can let it slide. As long as I’m not the one standing against a tree waiting for my impending death I’ll watch a little thrill ride happen right before my eyes!
WOW. Let’s reign this one back a bit. I think we’ve established that hands crossed over the genitalia is a bad move, no matter the situation.
Let’s keep this rock guitar solo going!
What say you to the suspects peering off into the distance? They’re not even involved in the shot as far as I’m concerned. What are you looking at, or looking for? What exactly is the message? Why couldn’t you have just walked out of the shot? So many questions! Seems to me no one wanted you in there in the first place. You’re an afterthought. I think it’s even worse when the entire band is looking anywhere BUT the camera lens. Oh hey bud, you deep in thought? Too important to give the photographer the time of day? Typically that’s not the case because that damned picture-taker (anyone can take pictures for Christ sake, they don’t get their own title) told them to look off into the distance. Gives the photo that “edgy” vibe, right? That same vibe the band’s trying to emulate through their music. We get it guys, you’re “artists”. How about we just pick one avenue and polish the skills in that area. You’re a band. Music first. Weird photos later.
Enough of the negative. Let’s highlight the short list of quality shots, shall we?
Sure, you could shame me for what some might deem an “obvious” choice, but is there any better picture of a band than the album cover to Abbey Road? For God sake, Paul’s just cruising across the street barefoot with a cig dangling from his hand. See that? No thumb in pocket there. Now I know that The Beatles are breaking one of the rules by not holding the camera’s gaze, but 1) they’re the fucking Beatles, they can do whatever they want, and 2) I wouldn’t expect them to worry about a photo when they should be looking both ways for oncoming traffic. Good on you boys for respecting the safety first mantra.
The other acceptable group photo? It’ll make ya jump. Any guesses? Yup. Kris Kross. They wore their clothes BACKWARDS! Has anyone risked venturing into that wild and wacky territory since? I submit that no one has even come close. I’m sure as hell jumping right now. Again, I get it. These boys aren’t looking at the camera either, but their entire wardrobe is facing you. Good enough for me.
And there we have it. A fitting ending for such a ridiculous topic. Kris Kross completes the finale. Night lovers.