Tag Archives: Mick Jagger

Michael Friedman’s Rock Photos: “Exposed”

Michael Friedman has done a lot in his 78 years.

The Staples High School Class of 1961 graduate produced “Hello, It’s Me.” He managed Todd Rundgren and Kris Kristofferson — as well as (with Albert Grossman) the careers of Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, The Band, Odetta, and Peter Paul & Mary. He did publicity for the Dave Clark 5 and Herman’s Hermits.

He sold Americana and folk art. He owned the Ash Creek Saloons in Fairfield and Norwalk, along with Darien’s Goose restaurant.

With such varied careers — and so much going on — he could be forgiven for losing the negatives of photos he took half a century ago.

They were not random snapshots of the Friedman family at the beach, or their naked newborn in a bathtub.

These were up close, personal — and superb — shots of some of the biggest names in the music world.

Mick Jagger (Photo copyright Michael Friedman)

The Stones. Janis Joplin. The Band. Johnny Winter. Gordon Lightfoot. James Cotton. Ian and Sylvia. All are artists Friedman worked with in the 1960s.

In 2016, his wife Donna stumbled upon them. They’re remarkable — not just for their power and professionalism, but because they’re atypical musician images.

They’re much more human. Freidman took his photos as a friend, not a “photographer.”

But he was a damn good one, for sure.

Friedman spent several months printing, restoring and mounting the photos.

He displayed them at a pop-up gallery the next year, in Bedford Square. Developer David Waldman offered him the space, after seeing one photo and hearing his stories.

Janis Joplin (Photo copyright Michael Friedman)

The show was well received. The photos were shipped to the California Heritage Museum, then to a year-long exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Attendees in LA and Cleveland repeated what Westport gallery-goers said: Michael should compile them into a book.

More than 5 years later, that daunting project is almost complete.

“Exposed: The Lost Negatives and Untold Stories of Michael Friedman” is in the Kickstarter phase — almost ready to print. Many of the 100 photos have never been seen — not even in the photographer’s shows. They’re accompanied by essays and explanatory text.

It was a long process. One of the hardest parts was figuring out exactly where each photo was taken, and when.

Donna spent many of hours researching. For example, a shot of an outdoor concert with Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge looked like a college — but there were no records they performed outside, on a campus.

Finally, Donna saw a photo online of a building that matched one in the background. The site: Columbia University.

Friedman also had no idea where he took a well-composed image showing a mother, child, VW bus and police officers.

Eventually, he and his wife realized the police officers were not Americans. They followed that rabbit hole all the way to the 1970 Festival Express in Toronto. They found a documentary film from 2003, which showed the same scaffolding behind the bus.

Friedman’s essays complement the photos. They are short but insightful portraits of nearly everyone he’s met in the music industry, from mega-stars to mighta-beens.

The essays also provide context for his life — including his introduction to rock music, as a Westport boy growing up in the 1950s.

He describes Mike Borchetta, the Staples High School student who brought Bo Diddley and Harvey & the Moonglows to town (and who asked 15-year-old Friedman to take over as drummer, when the Moonglows’ percussionist passed out drunk).

Harvey & the Moonglows gave Michael Friedman a signed photo. Leader Harvey Fuqua told their stand-in drummer: “Mike, you count to 4 good for a white boy.”

Friedman writes about his time with Westport’s first rock band, the Schemers (with lead singer Barry Tashian, later of the Remains).

Prodded by Donna, he brings the reader into the photos. “People want to know what it was like to be 25 years old in 1968 — in the middle of the music business,” he says. “I want them to take the journey with me.”

But it’s the photos that take center stage. The Stones on stage. Janis Joplin chatting in a hallway. Todd Rundgren in the studio. Levon Helm being Levon.

Michael Friedman with a photo of Levon Helm, legendary drummer for The Band.

Those images fill the 233 pages of “Exposed.”

Michael gives his wife — who found the negatives in the first place — credit as “curator, director, producer, editor, consultant and psychiatrist” for the project. “She had a clear picture in her mind, of how to put it all together.”

Unwilling to cede creative control to an agent or publisher, the Friedmans are self-publishing.

It’s a risky — and costly — venture. But it’s in fitting with Michael’s multi-varied career.

And his personal philosophy, honed in the music business and articulated by his longtime friend Kris Kristofferson: “By not having to live up to other people’s expectations, I was somehow free.”

(To see the Kickstarter page for “Exposed,” click here.)

(“06880″‘s tagline is “Where Westport meets the world.” We meet that world with readers’ help. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Musical Memories: The Sequel

Wednesday’s “06880” post about Bo Diddley‘s appearances in Westport sent Mike James scrambling for his scrapbook.

Sure enough, there it was: a ticket to one of the rock ‘n’ roll pioneer’s local shows. With an actual autograph from the star. (He apparently called himself “The Man.”)

Bo Diddley ticket - Michael James

St. Anthony’s Hall was on Franklin Street (you can read all about that history here.)

Meanwhile, Michael Friedman — the Staples grad who inspired that “06880” story — e-mailed me a few of the many photos he’s taken over his long musical career.

From Bo Diddley to Janis Joplin, Mick Jagger and Johnny Winter, he’s seen it all.

Janis Joplin (Photo/Michael Friedman)

Janis Joplin (Photo/Michael Friedman)

Edgar Winter and Janis Joplin (Photo/Michael Friedman)

Johnny Winter and Janis Joplin (Photo/Michael Friedman)

The Rolling Stones perform at a Hell's Angels concert in California. No, it wasn't Altamont. (Photo/Michael Friedman)

The Rolling Stones. (Photo/Michael Friedman)

Hello, it's Todd Rundgren. (Photo/Michael Friedman)

Hello, it’s Todd Rundgren. (Photo/Michael Friedman)

Matt Marriott: Mick Jagger’s New Drummer

So what do you do after you’re a Staples High School and Duke University track star?

You work as a production assistant on “Get On Up,” the new movie about the music and moods of James Brown.

And what do you do in the middle of filming on location in Mississippi?

You play drums, while Mick Jagger dances.

Get On Up posterThat’s the crazy twists Matt Marriott’s life has taken in the year since he graduated from college as an English major (no jokes, please), and moved to Los Angeles.

A friend of his aunt’s hooked him up with the 2 producers of the film. They liked him, and hired him for pre-production back East in October.

“I didn’t have any special qualifications, other than I seemed like a nice person and my aunt’s friend vouched for my work ethic,” Matt admits.

“That’s sort of how the film industry seems to work. In the beginning it’s more about who you know, than what you know.”

Matt learned fast. He kept in constant contact with the producers’ personal assistants back in LA — “even if that meant calling doctors to make a house call at 10:30 on a Saturday night.”

Production assistant Matt Marriott, on the set of "Get On Up."

Production assistant Matt Marriott, on the set of “Get On Up.”

Playing with Mick Jagger was much more fun.

He’s one of the film’s producers — the Stones owe a lot to the Godfather of Soul, after all — and spent a week on set.

One Friday night, Matt was hanging out at a Mississippi bar with some friends from the movie. Mick strolled in, with an entourage and a gaggle of higher-ups.

A DJ was playing random pop songs. Mick joined the crowd on the dance floor. Spying an empty drum set on stage — and figuring you only go around once in life — Matt hopped on stage and banged out some rhythm.

“People were enjoying it, so I turned to Mick,” Matt recalls. “He looked right back, and shot me a smile and nod of approval. That was one of the coolest moments of my life.”

The movie was released August 1. Matt is now working at a running shoe and apparel store in Santa Monica, and looking for his next movie gig. In the meantime, he’s producing music.

And, of course, for the rest of his life he can say, “Yeah, I played drums for Mick Jagger.”

Time Is On Their Side

The music you listen to as a teenager becomes the soundtrack of your life.

I love my soundtrack. And for that I thank Greg Katz.

Greg Katz today — many years after Long Lots.

Greg and I became friends in Long Lots Junior High. The youngest child of a blended, somewhat bohemian family — they had a house right on Old Mill Beach, which was very cool — he introduced me to a wide range of musicians and genres. The Blues Project, Richie Havens, Frank Zappa — Greg was my guide for all of them.

His 1st concert ever was the Beatles, at the Atlantic City Convention Center. He was 11.

His 2nd was the Rolling Stones, the next year. Greg remembers it at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, though his sister thinks it was in Manhattan.

Greg went on to accomplish many things. Music was one — though not the only — motif.

His photo of Buddy Miles performing at Staples was published in the Westport Town Crier.

Gregory Katz’s story on John Lennon’s murder ran in the Rolling Stone issue with this now-legendary cover.

In 1980 — during the chaotic hours following John Lennon’s murder — Greg was the only journalist inside the Dakota building. (His parents owned an apartment there.)

Greg’s interview with Jay Hastings — the doorman who was the 1st person on the scene — ran in Rolling Stone. It became the definitive account of that night.

Greg’s journalism career includes a share of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. He was part of a Dallas Morning News team that produced a 14-part series on violence against women throughout the world.

For many years, Greg covered Latin America and the Mideast. Now ranging all over Europe, he’s written about popes, politics and Queen Elizabeth.

But until Sunday night, the only time he’d seen the Rolling Stones was that elementary school day, in either Brooklyn or Manhattan.

As acting news editor for AP’s London bureau — and with the regular arts reporter on vacation — he assigned the story of the Stones’ 50th anniversary bash at London’s 02 Arena to himself.

The Rolling Stones last Sunday (from left): Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts.

When we spoke earlier this week, Greg surprised me by saying he’d never been a big Mick Jagger fan. “I always thought he was trying to imitate Otis Redding,” Greg said. “And not well.”

Watching Mick live was different.

“He really, really moved well,” Greg said. “He’s fully engaged with the crowd. He looks very fit, and pain-free.”

The crowd ranged from Stones’ contemporaries — in their 60s — to those born 30 years after “Let’s Spend the Night Together.”

Greg says there are at least 3 reasons why people in their teens and 20s were there. “They hear a couple of songs, and really get into the rest of the catalog. Jagger is seen as cool, and undamaged by time. And the Stones are really tied into this whole sense of British pride.” They’re the latest attraction in a year that’s included the Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee, and James Bond’s 50th anniversary.

Greg’s concert highlight was “Midnight Rambler.” A wicked blues harp, Mick Taylor’s “incandescent” lead guitar, the brilliant backing of Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, plus Charlie Watts’ energetic drumming, made for 9 minutes of “crackling intensity,” Greg said.

Another highlight: Jagger and Mary J. Blige’s rock-the-house duet on “Gimme Shelter.”

As for Richards himself — Weston’s most famous resident — Greg said, “he wasn’t flashy. But he looked confident and strong. He seemed really happy.”

Weston’s own Keith Richards.

(On Huffington Post, Greg wrote that Richards’ “survival has surprised many who thought he would succumb to drugs and drink.” The guitarist told the crowd: “We made it. I’m happy to see you. I’m happy to see anybody.”)

The Stones are not Greg’s favorite musicians; he prefers the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. And this wasn’t the best concert he’s ever seen. That would be Brian Wilson and his band performing the entire “Pet Sounds” album.

But, he said, Sunday’s show is among the top 5 concerts he’s seen recently.

I know. It’s only rock ‘n’ roll. But Greg and I like it.

(Click here for Greg Katz’s full story on the Stones’ show.)