The big problem with the band photo is, of course, that by definition the band is not about the visuals. Our face paint is 1 part invisible ink. Zits, nose hairs, blubber, paleness, scars, jaundice and swollen tongues are better left undocumented. Turn the lights down low. Our mission is not to crack mirrors, but to crack sound barriers. The point is not our garage band mugs, because the point is there might be no point. On any given night, given the choice to pummel boredom with the tack hammer of a camera or the sledgehammer of bass, drums, and guitar, we heave ho. Sometimes we just heave. Would you like a photo of our puke, too?

Yet, there is sort of a challenge with regards to the band photo, a sort of right of passage, a requirement beget from tradition. Setting aside the grumpy it's-all-about-the-music attitude long enough to conjure up a daydream for the sake of argument, just suppose that the band did do the band photo. The question arises: what would we do? Forced at gunpoint to come up with some publicity photos, how would the band respond to the photo shoot challenge? With cold beer being trucked by the truckload to our neighborhood convenience store where it is sold in convenient suitcase-like boxes, we might never know.

"Guys, the Publicity Department needs a glossy band photo, or we are going to have shoot this little dog."


"OK, let me try again. Do a damn photo or we drain this keg into the gutter."

So with little alternative, but to be photographed, how exactly would the band deconstruct the band photo?

One possible solution would be to take some photos of the band in the most contrived situation going. Take a gander at these pics.

Here is shot of the band headbutting your grandmother. Here we are falling into the Grand Canyon, only this Grand Canyon has undergone centuries of erosion which have created a giant hole in the ground the exact shape of a G clef. Over here the band is mingling with the riff-raff from other planets, who happen to be wearing leather jackets just like Ramones. Perhaps, you are not sure if we are old enough to smoke, would you like to see the trusty document of every Penis Fly Trap vacation to New Cheap Cigarettes Hampshire, our fake ID's?

I think now you are beginning to understand. We are doing the band photos as an act of aggression. Not publicity photos, but pubescent photos. What if, instead of taking photographs of fire, we set fire to the camera and see what mischief happens. Ideally, the unsuspecting fan picks up the full-color photograph only to realize that some fixing agent is missing and some chemical gooey emulsion stains their fingers with color inks that will not wash off for several days.

Break out the tripod, bartender. We know a good disembodied hand trick.

Given that all those ideas suck, the band made a plan to solve for the band photo. We would approach as if we were solving Fermat's Last Theorem with a slide rule and a Birdie Nam Nam. Step one, procrastinate nine years. Step two, clear up our party calendars. "I am sorry I cannot get roaring drunk with you on Friday, I have to get roaring drunk doing a band photo." Step three, write a song satirizing the glossy publicity photos of babe-hacking magicians and two-bit bit-part actors. Step four, wait until football season and work on the project during the commercial breaks that do not require trips to the refrigerator. Step Five, rummage through all the photographs we have to see if we can get back to the merry making. Congratulations, you've solved Fermat's Last Burrito.

Then there was the party to decide whether we get glossy or matte finish. That was a shutter slammer. And the party to decide if we get 8 1/2 by 11 and wallet photos, or just the 3 by 5 double prints. Drunk and out of focus. Naturally followed by the party for the sake of the art of photography, this freezing of time, this chemical light ghost imprinting, this shadow casting of raw radiant energy, this camera obscura- Stop right there! You've gone and summed up the whole project quite nicely. Obscura!

A band is about ears, not eyes. The shutter click is not really the most rockin' sound around. Exhibit A, Linda McCartney. I rest my case of beer. Photography just deals with the surface. And, while, sure, there are X-ray photographs, the guitar, bass, and drums reach the caverns where they whisper words like soul before the commode flushes. What it comes down to is...

"Excuse me, chaps, does anyone know where I mislaid my lens papers?"

I have perhaps zero more years left of this freakaziod waking-dream adventure and now I understand what the "dust to dust" Mr. Preacher at the death ceremony is talking about. The damn lens. The lens has a speck of dust on it. Need anyone warn you? The world is too dirt-filled a place for photography. The moment you bring into the rehearsal closet any sophisticated piece of optical engineering, like say, a single reflex camera, it is going to be instantly gummed up, filthy, dusty, doused dirty, dented, drop-kicked, and generally entropy-spent. Here are the damn lens papers, I think they fell into this spittoon here. Oh, hmmmn, looks like they are damp with yesterday's beer spill, today's cancer hawk, and tomorrow's random stranger's coffee-colored feces.

Given our staunch do-it-yourself upbringing, we did not waste any time building a small darkroom in the basement of our rehearsal studio. We collected some chemicals from the Boston Harbor to use as developer and fixer. For our shallow pans we borrowed some bedpans from the nursing home across the street from our favorite night club. We took one of the red lightbulb from the rehearsal complex's bathroom. We crafted a pinhole camera from a cardboard box. We fabricated a light meter from an old effects pedal using the photosensitive wings of beetles that burrowed in the bark of the trees on the Commons.

We tested our equipment while listening to Civil War II and damn it if we didn't feel like Mathew Brady. Here we were, brother shooting brother.

On the day of the actual photo shoot, we flew to Paris and did our best to look sassy. Maybe you can save us all the trouble and picture it in your head. Picture poutty lips with beer foam. Picture the beer-belly- buttons showing like the teenage tramps that we are. Picture attitude that has you handing over you hard-earned money for our album no questions asked.

There was a minor mishap when we discovered that our leather jackets did not make it through customs. We had to settle for baseball mascot costumes. So there we were getting our daguerreotypes as Wacky Macky, Snortnose Rose, and the rabble rouser, Furface Pussyfoot. Our photographer couldn't control his chuckling when we presented him with our pinhole camera. He insisted on using his Leica R3 LW with a Apo-Macro-Elmerit-R 100mm f/2.8 lens.

"What kind of name for a camera is that?" we asked him.

He said, "I am not so sure you should be the ones critiquing names."



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