Archive for the ‘Music – Rock’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Henry Diltz: Man “Behind the Lens”

Henry Diltz

Henry Diltz

The name Henry Diltz may mean nothing to you. Yet Diltz’s camera captured  a whole generation of Sixties rockers on film. He was the official photographer at Woodstock and the Monterey music festivals. Plus his images can be found on over 200 album covers, including the iconic Morrison Hotel album by The Doors and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young‘s first recording.

Diltz credits being a musician, prior to picking up a camera, is what enabled him to hang out with soon-to-be rock stars in Los Angeles’ famed Laurel Canyon, a hippie mecca to singers such as the Mamas and the Papas, Graham Nash, Jim Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Brian Wilson and Frank Zappa.

Morrison and the Doors at Morrison Hotel

Morrison and the Doors

“There was just so much music there and a lot of camaraderie,” says Diltz. He credits many of the shots that were to make him famous were the result of “happy accidents”. His musician friends paid little attention to his shooting because “photography was not a big deal then.”

Talking with Diltz is like channeling a beloved, bygone era. He thinks Woodstock and the ’60s songs remain alive because that time was “like Camelot”.  Diltz sees current times as alive with some of that same spirit. “It’s alive in ideals like Greenpeace and the environmental movement and it’s popping up again with Bernie (Sanders).”

He and iconic rock muse, Pattie Boyd (former wife of George Harrison and Eric Clapton), are teaming up to present a special multi-media program, Behind the Lens: Up Close and Personal with Pattie Boyd and Henry Diltz. They begin a fivecity tour this Thursday in Los Angeles, moving to Nashville on Sunday, then at Chicago’s City Winery on September 16 before heading east to New York City and ending in Fall River, Massachusetts on the 23rd. The tour is being presented by Morrison Hotel Gallery, a photo gallery in Soho and Los Angeles that features the work of 120 music photographers, including Diltz, a partner in the gallery.

Diltz says his segment will feature 100 of his slides (his archive contains 400,000 slides) and open with his tale of making his first $100 for a photograph of Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills.  Boyd will also show her rock and fashion photography and tell stories.

Tickets for the Nashville, Chicago and New York dates are available at  To view more of Diltz’s photos along with other music photographers, go to

PostHeaderIcon It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll but I Like It

News Bulletin: CIMMFEST (Chicago International Music and Movies Fest) is on this weekend (April 18-21) with a lollapolooza lineup of movies and live events. Don’t let the weather keep you from catching part or much of this exciting event. CIMMFEST is a unique happening, celebrating the inseparability of movies and music.

Festival co-directors Josh Chicoine and Ilko Davidov have worked tirelessly to make this their best outing. I salute their vision and organizational chops to provide Chicagoans with a festival in the true sense–70 music-centric films from 27 countries, over 50 bands and live events spread over 14 venues.

As Chicoine and Davidov say in the festival program, “more venues, more stars, more up-and-comers, more legends, more everything!”

Chicago has become America’s summer music capital with Pitchfork and Lollapolooza but I admire the local, very indie, scrappy vibe of CIMMFEST. Their opening night was plagued by the weather which cut into the turnout for the tribute to composer/musician Van Dyke Parks last evening.

Tonight, you should run to catch the funk and bugaloo sounds of the Funky Meters along with the bluesy notes of J.C. Brooks and the Uptown Sound at the Congress Theater. And there are 3 other live shows performing tonight at the Hideout, Logan Square Studio and Township.

I plan to camp out at the Music Box Theater which will be screeing 10 features documenting 50 years of The Rolling Stones on Film. Another can’t miss documentary and a Chicago premiere is “AKA Doc Pomus”, a fabled songwriter who wrote some iconic songs of the early rock ‘n’ roll era. But perhaps my age bias is showing.

Admission to most events is $10 with tickets for live performances at $20-25. I’d recommend buying a weekend pass for a reduced price of $50 and just going from one venue to the next. Whatever you do, I think you should put a few CIMMFEST programs on your weekend “To Do” list.

To see the entire program, go to

PostHeaderIcon Tasty Musical Treats Times Two

At the beginning of this month, I urged you to put the upcoming European Film Festival on your calendar. Today, I’m alerting you to two April music festivals. They should but may not get much mainstream coverage. If you like alternative, creative music programming, these two festivals are definitely worth your attention–and attendance. And don’t overlook Fulcrum Point’s newest offering.

Todd Rudington with Ethel

Todd Rundgren with Ethel

Two words–Collaboration and Convergence–define the themes for two upcoming, highly promising music festivals. The 9th annual Spring Festival presented by Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music will run from Tuesday, April 2 through Saturday, April 13. Its 7-concert schedule, titled “Side by Side“, kicks off with a collaboration between the ebullient string Quartet, Ethel, appearing with rock musician Todd Rundgren.

The next evening features award-winning jazz vocalist, Kurt Elling, teaming with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra to celebrate the songbook of Cole Porter. Then, classical guitarist Jason Vieaux matched with accordion and bandoneon virtuoso, Julien Labro. The closing weekend features the Asphalt Orchestra, a unique, cutting-edge, 12-piece marching band of top musicians on Friday, April 12 and guitar virtuosos,  Sergio and Odair Assar, along with jazz reed giant, Paquito D’Rivera, on Saturday. For the full schedule and additional artist information, go to

Asphalt Orchestra

Asphalt Orchestra

The man responsible for all this musical alchemy is Richard Van Kleeck, director of concert activities at the Bienen School. He is responsible for programming 250 concerts a year on campus which includes 100 student recitals and performances by 20 performing ensembles. The Spring Festival follows on the heels of a John Cage festival last fall. For the festival’s kickoff in 2005, Van Kleeck had 10 Steinway Grand Pianos on stage with a bevy of  distinguished pianists, including Leon Fleisher and Marcus Roberts, performing.

Van Kleeck’s view of collaboration is that 1+1 is greater than 2. He says pairing artists in collaboration is “just like a chemical experiment where something special goes on.” To be part of hearing something special, go to to download a full festival schedule.

CIMMfest 2013 stands for the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival. If you haven’t heard of it until now, neither have many other Chicagoans. Though it’s celebrating its 5th anniversary, it’s still under the radar though not amongst local indie musicians. It’s a festival with a relatively miniscule budget but with large ambitions matched by the lollapalooza determination of its two founders. It literally gets the job done with a lot of help from its friends, a coalition of 50 trade, media and college partners. That high level of convergence could make 2013 CIMMfest’s breakout moment.

CIMMfest rolls out over four days, April 18-21, with an incredible 99 events spread over 15 different venues. Now that SXSW has ended, the action moves to Chicago. I spoke with co-founder, Josh Chicoine, last week. Chicoine, a talented musician whose band once opened for Wilco and The New Pornographers, joined forces with documentary filmmaker and visionary, Ilko Davidov, in 2009.

The fest’s overriding mission is to spotlight music-centric films. This year, Chicoine says they are “dialing it way up” in terms of activity. They will screen 70 films from 25 countries and showcase more than 50 musical acts around town. Eleven music films will be world premieres! There’s no way you can avoid CIMMfest this year.

Funky Meters

Funky Meters

Opening night features music, film and conversation with composer, producer and performer Van Dyke Parks. The next night is a must-see, a monster mash at the Congress Theater with headliners, the Funky Meters from Louisiana, local band, J.C. Brooks and the Uptown Sound plus the funk, jazz and boogaloo sounds of The Greyboy Allstars. The live show also includes a “Music in Movies” panel discussion. Its scheduled to run from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. or later. Another highlight of the long weekend are 10 films documenting 50 Years of the Rolling Stones.

Melvin Van Peebles

Melvin Van Peebles

On Saturday evening, CIMMfest will present its inaugural lifetime achievement award to filmmaker, actor, director and Chicago native, Melvin Van Peebles, most noted for his 1960s film, “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.” The 80-year old artist will then perform with his band, Laxative. That has the makings of a truly wild event.

I’ve not made it to prior festivals but I plan to get onboard this year. Listen to what one of CIMMfest’s many musical fans, Louis Black, co-founder of the South by Southwest Festival, has to say. “CIMMfest has been really wonderful. It reminds me of what SXSW was when we were starting it. It has the same intensity and intention and it cares about music and movies.”



Tickets are only $10 for the films and an incredible $25 for the live shows. The April 19th show is a special limited sale online so buy your tickets in advance.  Besides individual sales, CIMMfest offers a 4-day Fest Pass for $79, less than the cost of a one-day pass to Lollapalooza. Check out the full schedule lineup at

Footnote: If you are looking for still more music after CIMMfest, I’d recommend you catch the ever-inventive, top-flight new music ensemble, Fulcrum Point, at the Harris Theatre for Music and Dance on Tuesday, April 23rd. Music Director  Stephen Burns has once again devised a special program. He will lead a 100-member orchestra in the complete film score to the accompanying screening of Ken Russell’s 1980 sci-fi classic, “Altered States.” The film was scored by noted composer, John Corigliano, and received a Best Original Score Academy Award nomination that year. Fulcrum Point’s performance is part of the citywide celebration honoring the composer’s 75th birthday.