Elliott Landy interviewed by Night Flight
Posted by HLPAPG
Elliott Landy, author of The Band Photographs: 1968-1969, was interviewed by Night Flight! Elliot talks about the Kickstarter campaign that launched the project, and how he was able to create such an intimate portrait of The Band.
The Band’s organic debut Music from Big Pink came out in 1968 during a year that included the psychedelic Magical Mystery Tour by the Beatles and heavy acid blues of Cream’s Wheels of Fire. Here was a group that was consciously avoiding the LSD-tinged sound and visuals that nearly every other major rock band of the day was cashing in on.
The Band not only looked they were from the 1800’s, they even wrote songs about it (their second album included “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”). In an era when the Yippies were suggesting that teens and twenties should (metaphorically) “Kill Their Parents” — and everyone between the ages of 15 and 25 were battling the ‘Generation Gap’ — the inside of the Big Pink album proudly displayed a photo of The Band with all of their next of kin, primarily their mothers and fathers!
Elliott Landy’s new book of vintage photographs of The Band doesn’t look like images of a classic rock band. The (mostly) black and white images appear to be five guys from a previous century (think of Mathew Brady’s iconic photos of Abe Lincoln) who’ve been given instruments and equipment from the future. The hardcover book is 12×12, album cover size, allowing for the intimate photos to be as large as possible (and the printing quality is top notch).
There’s a 160 pages worth of photos — only about 30 of which which are previously published, behind-the-scenes shots inside the studio, backstage at gigs, at home in the kitchen, plus expected guests: manager Albert Grossman, promoter Bill Graham, and, of course, Bob Dylan. There’s out-takes and alternate album cover photos, even The Band having lunch at a local Saugerties diner.
The book was initially financed by a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised the money needed to print and review about 8000 photographs from the original negatives.
As Landy pointed out to me when we spoke on the phone this week– and he was remarkably down to earth for a man who has walked among giants — The Band in 2015 just aren’t commercially viable for a publisher to invest all that start up money.
That said, once the heavy lifting was done, Backbeat Books stepped up the plate for the copies being offered at retail and online stores like Amazon, while deluxe editions are available at Landy’s website. The casual fan can get a copy of The Band Photographs 1968-1969 at any good bookstore for the list price of $45 (which is a deal), but for those who want something a bit more fancy there are other options:
LANDY: “The copies that I offer on my website are signed and they also have something that is called a tri-fold sheet in it, which is the index, the thumbnails and the captions of all the images are on the fold-out sheet, so that when you’re sitting and you’re looking at these pictures, because there are no captions in the book, I put all the captions in the back of the book, but if you wanna sit down in an armchair, you can fold out this tri-fold sheet and read about each picture, rather than having to go back and forth, to the index in the back of the book, which is actually a very important part of the experience to do that.”
Then we made 325 deluxe copy editions, again the same essential book, but in that is an original print of The Band with the dog named Hammond, who was Bob Dylan’s dog, and it’s the same setup as the Music from Big Pink photographs but the dog got in the picture. I made an 8×10 fine art pigmenting print that will last two hundred years without fading, and I signed each one, it’s printed in my studio. I signed and numbered each one so that’s included, along with really nice slipcase and also the tri-fold sheet. That’s now $500. We have a hundred of those left, by the way. I made 325 and I’m down to probably less than a hundred now.”
Click here to read the full interview!