Woodstock and The Band
The Band FAQ by Peter Aaron, digs deep to discuss different facets of the Band’s collective and individual stories – providing intensive analysis of their recordings; highlighting their key concerts, plus more. The following is a feature a brief history of the formation of the band plus their connection to Woodstock.
Snow was general over the mountains, just a little more to the north, but Woodstock basked over Thanksgiving weekend in chilly air and the last fall leaves, hanging on and brightening the streets and yards of the little town. The big tulip poplars, shining, stayed gold in the graveyard that covers the right-hand side of Rock City Road, heading out of town. Before we went to the launch of Peter Aaron’s new book, The Band FAQ,we stopped by to say hello to Rick and Levon… as we often do.
The launch, arranged by The Golden Notebook — one of the best independent bookstores you could ever hope to find, and right across Tinker Street from the venue — was at the Kleinert/James Center of the Byrdcliffe Guild, an American treasure for arts in all media since 1902. In Woodstock, the embarrassment of riches for such an event is evident, when a book launch to do with the Band is combined with a conversation with friends of the musicians — Elliott Landy and Happy Traum — and a concert of their songs.
Landy had the eye they needed to make their first album cover, most literally, the rock of ages. Asked by Albert Grossman to photograph “the guys in the band” with no name, yet, for their first record, Landy grappled with locations and ideas. “We drive all over the place,” he remembered, and the first two shoots gained nothing. Then he paged through a book of Civil War photographs and thought of ways in which the men were connected to the faces from the past. “I hadn’t heard their music yet,” Landy grins. He would go on to take over 15,000 photographs of Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson — as well as photographing his friend and neighbor Bob Dylan (one of Landy’s portraits is on the cover of Nashville Skyline, 1969).
Read the rest of the feature here.