Over the past
with BASS P LAYER ,
Art Director and
a shelf full of
and some dusty
the next few
either he can't
more or they fail
to be interesting,
| Photograph, from August 2003
I AM A 98-POUND WEAKLING. ACTUALLY I WAS A 98-POUND
weakling, but as of late I have consumed much too much pizza and beer and
so I am not only weak, but also pudgy and out of shape—well over 98 pounds.
And so I am always envious of the muscular and fit, like Tim Commerford of
such great and rebellious bands as Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave.
Tim has a lean and hungry edge like he is always ready to leap at you to argue
with a ferocious vehemence his position on freedom from oppression, or freedom
from whatever. This persona, combined with powerful bass playing, made
him a great choice for the August 2003 cover.
When Tim arrived at the offices around 1:00 pm for interview and
the spacious and glamourous photo studio (closet) had been prepped for full-
length shooting. My intent was to capture as much of his imposing physique as
possible. Tim got right to the point. “I’d rather not do this shoot, but management
insists that I should, so I’m here.”
Wow. Within one sentence he was already raging against my machine. This
attitude is what a photographer seeks. At that moment I knew I was not going
to have to work very hard to capture some of this marvelous disdain through
the lens, and humbly, with all modesty aside, I was right. As the strobes
popped, Tim came through with a series of powerful poses, gestures, grimaces,
and glares. He flexed, and postured, and twisted, and then he jumped.
The first jump caught me off guard, and I missed. The following
caught, but he was up so high his head had cleared the top of the backdrop. No
matter: We will simply retouch and extend the background up. Believe me, I
am no Henri Cartier-Bresson; no Lee Friedlander; no Jim Marshall; no in-
camera composition purist. If the image is fl awed, I bust out Photoshop faster
than a teenage girl can text OMG.
Afterward, as usual I acted cool and nonchalant until Tim had left and
out of sight, and then I leaped into my car and sped the film to the lab in a
of spastic glee, impatiently waited the three hours it takes for the E6
and then repeated the action to go pick it up. Upon first examination, there
preserved was a spectacular array of mighty images—a wealth of cover possibilities,
the foremost of which were the jumps.
The next day Tim called and thanked me for the shoot. He is a good guy
under his fierce exterior. “Oh, and don’t use the jumping shots.”
“I’m not getting enough air. Don’t run them.”
Indeed this unneccessary vanity was most frustrating, as I generally
use images vetoed by the subject, but in this case Tim was incorrect—he was
up too damned high. He cleared the backdrop in bare feet off the solid floor
Pete’s sake, so we snuck in this one on page 57.