The photos did not show in this cut and paste so here is the Link to TOM HAWTHORN'S BLOG tomhawthorn.blogspot.ca/2012/03/black-and-white-world-of-...
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7, 2012
The black-and-white world of photographer Bev Davies
Joan Jett sneers while in performance at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver in 1981. All photographs copyright by Bev Davies.
By Tom Hawthorn
Special to The Globe and Mail
March 7, 2012
For decades, you’ve been able to find Bev Davies squeezed against the stage of even the most raucous concerts.
Dressed in dark clothes, armed with a trusty Canon, she is still and contemplative even while all around her is frenzy.
She has photographed the famous (Bono, James Brown), the infamous (Iggy Pop, John Lydon) and the obscure, capturing in an instant a revelatory image from even the most familiar figures.
She’s been doing it for so long that young concertgoers now approach to ask if she has a son in the band.
“They’ve been kind enough not to ask if my grandson is in the band,” she said.
Her black-and-white photographs have graced posters, album covers, and the slapdash pages of fanzines. They have been in the pages of the Georgia Straight and on the walls of art galleries. Her image of the high-flying, scissor-legged bassist Randy Rampage of D.O.A. has even been imprinted on a limited-edition skateboard.
Some of her work is ephemeral, some of it timeless, and some of it only lasts as long as there are days in a month.
Ms. Davies has produced her sixth calendar of rock photographs, this one distributed free with each copy of the Busy Doing Nothing! compilation album put together by the Vancouver deejay Nardwuar the Human Serviette.
The photographer’s legion of fans prefer to think of her latest calendar coming with a free vinyl LP.
The calendar runs from May, 2012, until December, 2014, merrily ignoring the pending Mayan apocalypse.
It includes 17 photographs, including a striking cover shot of a teenager doing a jackknife dive off the stage into a crowd at a 1981 punk show in Pasadena, Calif.
Other notable images include a fully-clothed Iggy Pop casting a mesmerizing stare; Viv Albertine of the Slits in a babydoll dress a full decade before Courtney Love ever hit the stage; a sweaty and straining James Brown (“a bit too much girdle,” notes the photographer); an exhausted and shirtless Lux Interior of the Cramps on a leopard-patterned couch backstage at the Commodore Ballroom; and, Bono being grabbed by stagehands before tipping into the crowd at an outdoor festival in California.
One of her favorite images depicts John Lydon of Public Image Ltd. wearing a pajama-style shirt on stage at War Memorial Gymnasium in Vancouver.
“I like the shape of it,” Ms. Davies said. “So many of the shots are close-ups of people singing and playing guitar. He’s listening to the audience. He’s got his hand cupped to his ear.”
She began photographing the nascent local punk-rock scene in the late 1970s, suffering a black eye on her first shoot when she brought her camera to her eye while in the midst of the mosh pit. She quickly learned to keep elbows high while staking a spot stage left or right.
It was an exciting time when unknown do-it-yourself musicians filled out nightly lineups in dingy halls and decaying clubs. Ms. Davies offered a calm presence in a turbulent time. Her images were warmly received by the bands.
They were unknowns, but she thought they’d someday be famous.
She had seen it happen before.
Ms. Davies, the daughter of a auto mechanic and a potter from Belleville, Ont., left home to study art in Toronto. The Yorkville folk scene was “breaking out," she said, "and turning on and and tuning in and dropping out.” For a time, she helped operate the Cellar Club, a jazz and chess venue at 169 Avenue Rd., where musicians would drop by to jam and hang out after playing gigs. Among them was Neil Young, whom she befriended. He announced one day that he was leaving for California in a ’53 Pontiac hearse. Bev was invited to join him, though he wanted her to chip in for the cost of gas to the coast. She was penniless.
“The invite was pulled away,” she said. “Neil said I couldn’t go because I didn’t have any money.” Her reaction? “At that time, Neil didn’t handle women crying very well.”
Two of her roommates joined him on the transcontinental trek. Soon after arriving in Los Angeles, Mr. Young formed a group called Buffalo Springfield and within days opened for the Byrds. It happened for him just that quickly.
(A later meeting between the photographer and the rocker, with Nardwuar in tow, is told in hilarious detail by the Vancouver novelist Kevin Chong in his nonfiction work, Neil Young Nation.)
Later, after she settled in Vancouver, Ms. Davies befriended the science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. They first talked when she called an open-line radio show on which he was appearing. Intrigued, he later asked the host for her contact information. They went for dinner — an odd experience for Ms. Davies, still broke, who associated such extravagance with visits by her parents — and established a platonic friendship.
He later wrote her a warm letter in which he described his latest relationship woes — he would be married five times before his death in 1982 — with candour.
“Bev, you were nicer to me than anyone else I met in Canada, and I’ll always remember that,” he wrote. “You made me feel like a person.”
In recent years, acolytes and those studying Mr. Dick have approached the photographer for her insights on the writer.
“He was nice,” she said. “He wasn’t crazy. I know crazy.”
She continues to attend shows, her dedication creating an important documentation of the music scene in Vancouver over the decades. Incredibly, her work has yet to be gathered in a book. Publishers, start your bidding.
Stagehands grab Bono as he teeters toward the crowd at the US Festival in San Bernardino, Calif., in 1983. Photograph ©Bev Davies.
POSTED BY TOM HAWTHORN AT 10:27 AM
LABELS: BEV DAVIES, D.O.A., JAMES BROWN, JOAN JETT, KEVIN CHONG, NEIL YOUNG, PUNK ROCK, U2
Bloodied but Unbowed traces Vancouver's punk history
By Mike Usinger
photo bev davies June 9, 1979
Vancouver punk pioneers, including D.O.A.’s Randy Rampage (left) and Joe Keithley, are featured in Susanne Tabata’s long-overdue documentary film Bloodied but Unbowed.
Entirely appropriately, if you think about it, more than one pioneer responded in a way that was totally punk rock when asked to be a part of the documentary Bloodied but Unbowed.
“I got told to fuck off a lot,” director Susanne Tabata says bluntly, interviewed at the Georgia Straight offices. “But I expected that—I really did. In other words, it was like, ‘I’m not interested.’ People have moved on with their lives, and to ask them to recapture, relive, rethink moments of their youth can be an emotional experience. And it was an emotional experience for people.”
The “it” that the independent filmmaker is referring to is the late-’70s birth of the Vancouver punk-rock scene. At a time when the world was fixated on feathered hair, flared jeans, and coke-dusted discotheques, the West Coast spawned a musical movement every bit as important as high-profile ones in Los Angeles, New York City, and, arguably, London, England. Vancouver bands like D.O.A., Pointed Sticks, Young Canadians, Modernettes, Braineaters, Dishrags, and Subhumans seemingly exploded out of nowhere, overnight. And, just as quickly, an alienated generation embraced them.
Bloodied but Unbowed takes a loving—and long overdue—look at one of the most fertile scenes in North American music history, with Tabata mixing rare archival footage with modern-day interviews with those who were on the frontlines. Among the many things the director gets right is making it clear that Vancouver punk was about more than just D.O.A.; lesser-known acts like Rabid, U-J3RK5, and Active Dog also get their due. As stylistically varied as those bands were, Tabata says, they had one thing in common: back when they were planting their flags at ground zero, they had no idea what they were creating.
Watch the trailer for Bloodied by Unbowed
“From my point of view, when this musical thing was happening, I don’t think anyone, for a second, stopped to consider what it was,” she says. “I don’t think there was a sense of ‘This is important. It’s going down and happening right now.’ It was something that was very transitory. But as time goes by, you can look back at that era in Vancouver, and it becomes more and more mythical.”
And with good reason. As much as the likes of D.O.A., Subhumans, and Pointed Sticks seemed to gig every other weekend at the long-defunct Smilin’ Buddha, punk was actually underground in a way that’s almost unfathomable to the Internet generation. You didn’t discover bands on MySpace, Facebook, or Pitchfork, mostly because computers were something you only saw in science-fiction films. And you sure as hell didn’t hear classics like Pointed Sticks’ “Out of Luck” or the Modernettes’ “Barbra” on commercial radio, which completely ignored every important local record released during Vancouver punk’s golden era.
Tabata knows all this because she was there as a player. Her résumé includes, but is hardly limited to, the skateboarding documentary SkateGirl and a producer’s credit on the Jason Priestley–directed Barenaked Ladies doc Barenaked in America. But long before moving into film, she was a teenage correspondent on Nite Dreems, a pre–MTV, DIY Vancouver cable show that spotlighted local music. Involved at the time with UBC’s CiTR, she also recalls making the rounds at commercial radio, only to find that its power brokers had no interest in underground music.
In some ways, Tabata wonders how much the mainstream media’s interest in vintage punk has changed since those times, noting that she’s worked for three-and-a-half years on Bloodied but Unbowed.
“The funding came together and fell apart three times,” she says. “There have been some really lean times and some trying times in trying to put this together. What I found quite surprising was that, even though I had solid production experience and good credentials, the powers that be—the people that control the purse strings at major networks—didn’t think that this was a story worth covering.”
Bloodied but Unbowed proves them wrong. Making it clear that Vancouver punk was a big deal for more than those who lived here, luminaries such as Henry Rollins and Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan pop up to pay tribute to our city. Tabata—who credits B.C. public broadcaster Knowledge (formerly Knowledge Network) with helping get Bloodied but Unbowed made—may have been told to fuck off more times than she can remember, but she also managed to secure interviews with many of the scene’s key players. What she excels at in the movie is getting great stories, whether it’s members of D.O.A. and the Subhumans recounting how they met in grade school, or Paul Hyde of the Payolas remembering how he learned that you don’t show up to a punk house party in a cab.
Ultimately—and fittingly—it’s the characters who made Vancouver’s original punk scene so vibrant who make Bloodied but Unbowed so watchable. There are moments of total surreality (ex-Modernette Mary Jo Kopechne’s postmusic existence in rural Alberta), moments of serious reflection (Subhuman Gerry Hannah ruminating on Direct Action), and moments of painful poignancy (ex–Young Canadian Art Bergmann trying to make sense of where it all went wrong).
What makes Bloodied but Unbowed more than ancient history is the legacy that Vancouver’s first-wave punks left on these shores. They laid the foundation for a Vancouver music scene that has since given the world the likes of the New Pornographers, Black Mountain, and Japandroids. Quite rightly, Tabata thinks it was important to make her documentary for another reason.
“In defence of doing this now, and not later, well, people aren’t going to be around for much longer,” the director says. Pausing, she adds with a laugh: “Right now, there are still people who are able to recount, with clarity—and some with no clarity—this period in history.”
Susanne Tabata will attend the world premiere of Bloodied but Unbowed at a DOXA festival special presentation at the Granville 7 Cinemas next Thursday (May 13) at 8 p.m.
my photo of Randy Rampage on a skateboard
July 24 to aug 31 2009
Bev Davies: Play It Loud
A retrospective of the legendary Vancouver Photographer
by Gerald Deo
Bev Davies displays a consistent and practiced eye at capturing the performer freed of the self-awareness that often plagues formal or posed photos. Her retrospective show Play It Loud, which ran at Chapel Arts in July and August, is a selection of concert photos from the last 30 years and is a fascinating slice of local live music history in addition to a collection of stunning photography. The show features a selection of black-and-white photos shot on film in the late ‘70s to mid ‘80s and colour prints of digital photographs that date from 2007.
The unexpected surprise of the show, though, is undoubtedly Davies herself. Her presence placed the photos in a context of both local history and personal art by reversing the distillation of a concert from the sensory entanglement of sound, motion and presence into the visual stimulus taken from a minuscule fraction of these. Davies didn’t skimp on providing technical details and freely discussed the rigours of shooting concerts on film as a photographer for the Georgia Straight in the 1980s. It was with her guidance that I saw an otherwise unremarkable pair of shots, looking markedly unlike her other works. The photos taken at Maple Leaf Gardens in April 1965, are in colour, in that oddly saturated way that only old film stocks seem to get right. These two shots, taken from the Rolling Stones performances, were Davies’ gateway into concert photography, and though they lack the verve or polish of her future work, her talent is already apparent.
The works from the first half of Davies’ career float away from the wall, pairing the impact of monochrome imagery with a unique mount evoking the d.i.y. ethos of the ‘80s punk scene. Each photo was scanned from the negative and printed on plastic and mounted on adapted metal shelving. The shelves have their sides covered in collages created from reproductions of punk show posters dating from the same era as the photos, and the whole construction is attached to the walls by three-inch bolts that terminate with wingnuts, regular nuts or metal anchors. The complex mount doesn’t distract from the photos themselves, and the posters around the sides provide a subtle reminder of the era of the photos.
The second half of the retrospective begins with 2007. After leaving the Georgia Straight in the mid ‘80s, Davies’ output waned significantly and the lack of feedback from processing constant shoots led her to stop shooting. The purchase of a digital camera and its instant feedback reignited her interest, and a meeting with Anton Newcombe (The Brian Jonestown Massacre) rekindled her old affair with concert photography. Behind glass and bordered by wood, her new works are printed in colour and framed more conventionally but are no less impactful. Ranging from Jan. 2007, right up to Arrested Development at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival in July 2009, her shots in colour are saturated and while they lack the historical authenticity of her earlier work, her keen eye for expression remains in effect.
Play It Loud is an impressive distillation of a historically fascinating and visually potent body of work, and with a narrator as exciting as the work, it is an unforgettable art show.
More of Bev Davies’ work can be found at www.bevdavies.com or at www.flickr.com/photos/bevdavies/.
It's Feb 14, 2008 and here is the link to a new interview
It's Feb 22, 2009
I am trying a bit of blogging there also.
John Mackie, Vancouver Sun
Published: Tuesday, August 22, 2006
People will put out calendars of most anything: dogs, cats, old cars.
Bev Davies has come up with one of the most unusual concepts: a calendar of vintage photos of punk rockers.
Today Davies is a welfare worker with the provincial government. But back in the heyday of Vancouver punk in the late 1970s and early '80s, she was one of a handful of photographers who documented the thriving local scene.
Many of her photos appeared in the Georgia Straight, others became album covers. With some financial help from her parents, she even put out two punk rock calendars of local bands in 1980 and 1981.
Those calendars are now as rare as vintage copies of the old punk magazine Snotrag. TV and radio personality Nardwuar the Human Serviette somehow tracked them down, and now, a quarter of a century later, he's convinced Davies to issue an all-new punk rock calendar.
It's called Nardwuar the Human Serviette vs. Bev Davies, A 2007 Punk Rock Calendar! Local legends such as DOA, the Subhumans and the Pointed Sticks are featured alongside shots of international acts such as the Clash, the Gang of Four and the Ramones.
There is an amazing shot of the Go-Go's back in their early, early punk phase where singer Belinda Carlisle looks about 12 years old. The Motorhead shot from 1981 is a classic, featuring a typical heavy metal rude gesture.
Davies was a wee bit older than most punk rockers -- she hung out with Neil Young in Toronto in the '60s, and was a last-minute dropout from Young's famous trip from Toronto to L.A. in a hearse that ended with him meeting Stephen Stills and forming Buffalo Springfield.
She discovered punk after coming across a DOA poster. She had just taken a photography course and was looking for inspiration, and found it, in spades.
"They put out this poster that said, 'We were banned in Vancouver, and you thought you got rid of us!' So, they played about two blocks inside Burnaby at some hall," she laughs.
"I went to that but I didn't take a camera. I thought, 'Hot damn!' And I went back to the next show that was happening and took a camera with me."
She is currently scanning her thousands of negatives with the goal of putting out a book.
Mint Records is sending the calendar around North America as a promotional item, but it will be for sale in September, after a release party Sept. 9 at 1 p.m. at the downtown library featuring Nardwuar's band The Evaporators.
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Stephen Rees says:
"I have yet to meet bev. but I am in awe of her talent. I first saw her photographs at Northern Voice in 2009. I have never cared for punk rock - or punk rockers - but the amazing talent she demonstrated was clear from the first frame. She also demonstrated abilities as a raconteur - and has a lovely sense of humour as well as a keen eye."
February 22nd, 2009
- bev davies
- September 2005
- Vancouver, BC, Canada
- I am: