KEITH RICHARDS LEADS THE ROLLING STONES THROUGH THE BACK HALLWAYS BEFORE TAKING THE SPECTRUM STAGE 1975
ROLLING STONES: THE SPECTRUM (JUNE 30, 1975)
In this super rare photo (where else have you seen a shot like this by a non Stones photographer?) Keith Richards carries hi black fender telecaster guitar as he leads the band to the stage. This is one of my rarest and funniest photos, because I can’t believe I actually got in front of the Rolling Stones, pulled out a camera from a brown lunch bag and shot them. I’m about nine feet away from Keith.
On the right-hand-side foreground is the Rolling Stones lead tour carpenter, Roy Bickel. I had worked with him during the day, and later found one of his old Stones Tour shirts hanging around and kept is as a souvenir. It was white and the Stones Tour of The Americas (TOTA) was featured in a red block on the front.
Two Philadelphia policemen are seen on the left side of the corridor, watching the Stones. To the very left are sections of the Spectrum stage. The Stones had brought in their own stage (the lotus leaf design), so our’s was stored away. Behind Keith on the right is Billy Preston, Charlie Watts is visible over Keith’s right shoulder.In the background Ollie Johnson’s Afro towers over the group.
To photograph anybody walking backstage was very difficult. The lighting was uneven as you can see by the bright areas just under the fluorescent lights and reflections on the walls, while other parts are very dark. If a subject was in the brightest area, I could shoot at a 15th or even a 30th of second. All at f2.8, the widest opening on my lens.
I used Kodak’s fastest transparency film at the time, Ektachrome 200, pushing it one stop to 400, as all the magazine photographers had suggested. In addition, they suggested using Ektachrome 160 Tungsten Type B. The Ektachrome daylight 200, was extremely sensitive to red lights and the photos could easily be washed out. I experienced this several times. The tungsten B also was unique in its response to daylight or, in my case, white spot lights: every image picked up a blue cast in daylight balanced lights.
Eventually, I learned how to use both films in a way to enhance my creativity and the images. Both films performed poorly under fluorescent lighting, leaving a greenish (daylight Ektachrome) or more bluish tint (tungsten Ektachrome).
A lot of the professional photographers gave me tips, as noted earlier, Elwood P. Schmidt, of the Philadelphia Daily News was wonderful to me. He always gave me film and advice whenever he saw me during a Flyers’ or Sixers’ game.
Imagine what it was like for a 19-year-old Stones fan to take this photo, and the work involved in getting me to this particular location at this time. It was fun!