Just in case you think I stopped attending events at the Morrison Hotel Gallery at Sunset Marquis, here you go! Last night I was in attendance at the gallery for none other than the man who inspired me to pick up a camera and shoot rock stars; Neal Preston.
If you’re into rock music (and I’m assuming you are if you read my posts), then you have to know the name Neal Preston. If you’re a fan of Led Zeppelin, then you really have to know Neal. He’s the photographer most commonly associated with the band, having traveled with them on their plane, hung backstage with them, and shot the iconic image of Jimmy Page swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. I’ve often wondered if that picture was something that Page staged, or if he was really just doing that and it happened to get captured by Preston. Well, last night I got that answer and it was in fact real.
Preston was at the gallery last night signing copies of his recently released coffee-table book, Neal Preston: Exhilarated and Exhausted for those lucky enough to be in attendance.
I got the chance to chat with him and like all great artists, the man is all humility and grace; “I can’t believe that people even know my work” he said to me. I was floored! The man has shot so many awesome photos and has doubtless inspired many a photographer. Not only has he shot what are arguably the best photos of Led Zeppelin, he’s shot just about every major act you can think of, Live Aid, sporting events, and was closely associated with the movie Almost Famous. Preston has been on the scene for almost 50 years and is still active to this day.
Also in attendance last night was another legend; Ernie Cefalu, a man I wrote about here at The Beat back in 2015 (Behind The Art Behind The Music). Cefalu is credited with creating over 200 album covers and is the progenitor of The Rolling Stones “lips and tongue” logo. I caught part of the conversation between these two old friends and it was like “The Hammer Of The Gods” so to speak. There’s a lot of history there.
Copies of Neal’s book can be ordered online at Morrison Hotel Gallery but really should be obtained in person at the gallery where you can see and purchase all these wonderful photos and maybe spot a rock star or two….