Friday, November 27, 2009

Jerry Quarry at Peace

This photo was taken at the memorial service for the heavyweight boxer Jerry Quarry.  I was there as a guest
 of the Quarry family, having become friends with Jerry’s older brother James, who hired me to develop The Jerry Quarry Foundation web site.

When I was growing up, Irish Jerry Quarry was one of my heroes.  He competed in a field of brilliant fighters that included Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Earnie Shavers, Ron Lyle, Jimmy Ellis, George Foreman and others, during one of the sport’s best and most competitive eras.  Among the most popular boxers of the day, Jerry was a smart, classy fighter and a dangerous counter puncher with a granite chin.

For all his talent however, Jerry was also an insecure, erratic, and at times foolhardy competitor, who lacked the training discipline to back up the risks he took in the ring.  A crowd pleaser with a tragic personal life, Jerry never won the world championship, but during his prime, he lost only to the best. When George Foreman returned to boxing and regained a world championship at the age of 45, Jerry attempted his own comeback. His last fight, in 1992, left him impaired with the onset of Alzheimer’s. 

I never got to meet Jerry.  By the time I was involved, he was too ill to carry on a conversation. He died in 1999.  The funeral was a certified celebrity and media event.  I met a number of Jerry’s old foes, who had long since bonded as friends, including Mac Foster and Joey Orbillo, as well as the actor-boxer Mickey Rourke, whom Jerry helped train.

After the service, I stayed behind.  As the guests filed out, I was struck by the tranquility of the scene, and took this photo.  In it, you can see the many flowers as well as stacks of Coca-cola, Jerry’s favorite drink, and the shamrock wreath entitled “Champ”, sent by Muhammad Ali.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Live with Jeff Oster's Band

Over the last year I've been playing out more than ever. It's a good thing for me, as I was all but ready to pack away my studio, pedals and guitar for good. Thanks to encouragement from friends like trumpet virtuoso Jeff Oster, bass-master Michael Manring and producer Noah Perry, I realized my disenchantment was with the business of music and not the experience of music.

For the first time since Delay Tactics (my 1980s studio group), I've enjoyed playing in a band. I've had a long career as a solo artist, but for now the group setting offers the same level of satisfaction without the heavy shoulders. I've spent 30 years developing my guitar style, and it's gratifying to offer just what I do best.

This video features Jeff Oster, Michael Manring, Dave Dilullo, Kelly Park and myself at The Shedd Theater in Eugene on September 3rd.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Aquarium Earth

Most of my photography is inspired simply by what's in front of me. Scenes are either stumbled upon, or familiar places with a changing cast of characters. If I'm lucky enough to capture the moment, the print becomes my witness.

Then there's the extended spontaneity of photo design, where Photoshop has become my second camera. Aquarium Earth began with a photo I shot during my visit to the Monterey Aquarium this last summer with my father. It was my first time there. My Canon G10 struggled under the low light of the big marine tanks and the sharks refused to pose for me, so I focused instead on the entranced people hovering at the glass. It struck me that the fish were as much out of their element as were the people watching in the darkness. Everyone was in outer space.

Aquarium Earth and two other new photos (Lucky Stars and Opening Night) are on display in the "Starstruck" exhibit at The Frank Bette Center for The Arts, Alameda, California through the end of December.