Two esteemed Vancouver rock photographers, Art Perry and Bev Davies, have a joint show coming up next week at the Red Gate Arts Society (1965 Main). It’s part of a series the Red Gate will be hosting called Mixed Gems; curated by Lauren Ray, Mixed Gems will showcase bands, artists, “stick’n poke” tattooists, DJs, and more.
The bands for Friday (December 14)–the opening of the photography show–will include Shitlord Fuckerman, Rinse Dream, and the newest band to rise out of the ashes of the much-missed Jolts, Chain Whip, last seen tearing up the stage at the Astoria at the Sore Points record release a couple of months ago (Joshy makes a formidable lead vocalist).
Emily Carr instructor Art Perry will be showing, perhaps, the wider range of photographs, including portraits of non-Vancouverites like Nick Cave, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Dizzy Gillespie, and others, as well as shots of non-musical figures like local painter Attila Richard Lukacs (best remembered, perhaps, for images of frolicking gay naked skinheads) and Beat poet legend Allen Ginsberg, photographed in New York’s Central Park at a Buddhist festival.
Perry has some areas of overlap with Davies, however: there will be photos of Art Bergmann and Jim Cummins, for instance—both shot by Davies many times—and even a shot of Joe Strummer with the “Cut the Crap” Clash, a gig Davies herself was at.
Perry suffered for his art in a very literal way at that show, at the Pacific Coliseum in 1984: pressed against the front of the stage, he got booted in the face repeatedly, and emerged from the pit bloodied, but not before having taken a great photograph of the Mohawked Joe Strummer (Perry tells the whole story in his captions for his photographs).
Are there any other pics from gigs that he and Davies were at, the Straight asks Perry? He’s not sure, “because I'm not exactly sure what Bev will be showing. But she had her punkish niche, and mine includes people I met like Lou Reed or Patti Smith and Allen Ginsberg. Lou Reed and Laurie were friends of mine; Patti and Ginsberg I met out of my interest in their work.”
Like Davies, Perry is still active as a photographer. “I'm still taking photos every week in small spaces where local bands like Jock Tears, Necking or Bored Decor play. Also, many of my students from Emily Carr (both artists and musicians) have kept in touch and we've become friends who I photograph: Neko Case, 12 Midnite, Lauren Ray. I seldom if ever see Bev at the small local gigs I photograph these days at 333 or Red Gate.” (She’s more a Rickshaw/ Commodore kind of person, we suspect).
For Davies’ half of the show, she has chosen some of the more indelible of her images of the Vancouver scene, including classic images of much-missed punk heroes like Dave Gregg and Randy Rampage, both of D.O.A.
Some of these, like Rampage taking that incredible leap at O’Hara’s, or Dave Gregg lighting his guitar on fire, in tribute to Hendrix, are iconic enough that they have almost taken on a fame of their own, though Davies says that to her, the photographs are not so much iconic images, as much as they are “old friends.”
She won’t only be showing pics of local bands, however. There’s also a rather menacing black and white of Black Flag that looks like Greg Ginn and then-singer Dez Cadena are planning to murder their photographer. That picture, Davies explains, was taken August 4, 1980. “We decided to go and get some photos of them holding a can of Black Flag. Well, there are none in Canada, so we headed to the houses in the 500-block of Victoria Drive. Most of the photos that day look normal but this one, the one I printed, has no reason to be so strange. Just strange, I love it.”
She also has photographs, like the one shown here, of Ron Reyes’ ill-fated initial tenure in Black Flag, to be distinguished from his more recent ill-fated tenure in the same band; Reyes, of course, has relocated to Vancouver and still occasionally shows up onstage with different acts, from his own (officially retired) band Piggy to whatever Richard Duguay is up to.
There are also photos of other touring bands with local connections, like one of the Dils, featuring Vancouver’s own Zippy Pinhead on drums.
“The Dils were friends,” Davies remembers. “Bands came to town, and when they came they hung out, and partied.” The photo also appeared as part of a recent display at D.O.A.’s Fight Back festival, which took place a short time after news of (Dils co-founder) Tony Kinman’s death broke.
“I love them,” Davies says. “Their singing together gives an amazing effect,” which she illustrates by pointing to “The Sound of the Rain.”
There will also be at least one photograph of the attendees at a concert, a singularly welcoming and charming image of Flo, Sally, and Miss Mustard at the original Smilin’ Buddha, greeting Bev as she came in the door. “Flo and Sally have passed away, and Miss Mustard, I have not heard where she is. But the women were always so friendly to me, saving me a seat in the Buddha, ‘come sit with us Bev.’ ”
You can soon expect to be seeing photos Davies took that have never before seen the light of day, by the way. She has been “scanning negs every day,” sometimes of pictures of bands she has no recollection at all of seeing, back in the day.
“One example is New Order—one was published in a calendar I did with Nardwuar. I still have no memory of the show,” save that it was at the Commodore. She would “love to see their set list for that night,” if any Straight readers can oblige her.
Both Perry and Davies’ prints will be available for sale, if you have wallspace or an inclination to collect. “They're large and the're cheap,” Perry offers. “C'mon down and take a look!”
For more information on the Art Perry/Bev Davies show at Red Gate Arts Society, go here.