A photographic account of heavy music in Portland, Maine
I have a well-documented history of saying stupid things to people I admire.
For instance: Sixteen years ago, I met blues/rock legend Chris Whitley at a CD signing. I wanted to tell him how much I loved an earlier album — the much-maligned “Din of Ecstasy.”
“Din of Ecstasy” was a career-killer for Whitley. It’s a deeply distorted, heroin-soaked nightmare coming from a guy who was best known for a jangly song about Big Sky Country. Whitley’s debut album felt like a warm, southwest breeze in springtime. His follow-up, by comparison, was like a pile of day-old slush on a city curb. The album decimated his fan base and ostensibly extinguished his rising star.
Here’s the thing: “Din of Ecstasy” is a bona fide work of art. And I love it.
As I stood in line to meet Chris Whitley, I made a mental list of all the things I wanted to say. I wanted to tell him that I got the album. I wanted to tell him it had been like a brother to me during some bleak months. I wanted to tell him how I listened to it nonstop during a semester in college.
Here’s what I ended up saying:
“Hi, Chris! Oh man! I listened to ‘Din of Ecstasy’ so many times my roommates wanted to kill me! They hated it! … Well, it was nice to meet you.”
That’s just one example. Over the years, I’ve pulled the same shit with well-known actors, authors, photographers and musicians. Years ago, when I spotted Fred Schneider (of The B-52’s) in a seafood store, I tapped him on the shoulder and said, “I recommend the rock lobster.”
By now, I should know better, right?
Last night, Wolvhammer, Mortals and Ramlord played a killer show at Geno’s. Afterward, I approached Mortals’ three members and, in a sincere attempt to bestow the praise they deserve, I said some characteristically stupid things.
So here’s my second take:
I feel extremely privileged to have seen you last night.
Years from now, when you take your rightful place in the pantheon of heavy metal legends, I’ll be able to tell my children that I saw Mortals in a little club in Portland, Maine, on a quiet and rainy night. I’ll tell them that I met you afterward, and you were each very kind, patient and polite while I prattled pure nonsense.
Godspeed on your well-earned rise to stardom.
Full-resolution photos are here. If you borrow these images for Facebook or whatnot, please credit us. (Watermarking sucks and we don’t wanna do it.) Also, don’t crop or alter.
Yes, we’re monsters.