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.
Elliott Landy is a phenomenal photographer with a 40+ year career having documented the classic rock-and-roll era with greats such as Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix to name a few. He recently sat down with Laura Ingle on Fox News Radio’s, “Bonus Track,” to discuss his latest book, The Band Photographs 1968-1969.
I designed and created this book entirely in my own studio, with complete creative control. Because of this, I was able to lay out the photos as I wanted, in order to create the most harmonious visual book experience and communicate what was going on in front of the camera.
Landy had taken photos for the band through the production of their first two albums, Music from Big Pink and The Band, producing over 12,000 photos. The Band Photographs 1968-1969 features 200 of those, more than half had never been published before.
This interview comes just in time for the 40th anniversary The Band’s farewell concert appearance, The Last Waltz. The concert took place on Thanksgiving Day in 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. It was filmed by director Martin Scorsese and made into a documentary under the same name in 1978. To this day, the concert is still referred to as the best of its time.
When I knew them, it was pure brotherhood in the best sense of it
The Band Photographs 1968-1969 is Elliot Landy’s chronicle of the Band from 1968-1969. The mutual trust and collaborative partnership was so deep that this collection of photographs forms an intimate portrait of the a group of miscians not only engaged in their craft, but captured as they created a new genre of music.
The book features commentary from John Simon who produced the Band’s first two albums and was considered the Band’s sixth member. There is also an introduction by Jonathan Taplin, their tour manager form 1969-1972.
When they made music, all they wanted to do is that music to come out right. So that’s what I hope they’ll take away from this, is peace and love.
Click here to check out the full interview.