Normally when you go to experience a concert, you usually have to burn it into your brain because you’ll never see it (or remember it) quite the same way again, unless the band decides to document it properly for you. Not content with being one of the busiest men in the music business, Rob Myers, from modern funk outfit The Fort Knox Five, is also an avid photographer and he recently released his first book that chronicles his time spent playing sitar for the legendary live act Thievery Corporation during their 2006 tour.
“I put the book together because you have thousands and thousands of photos from a tour, and though it seems to have many of them, it’s really only 700,” he shared with me. “So there’s all this editing that goes down and so much of it was about finding the right tempo. Sometimes it was crazy because the bad photos could be more important than the good ones.”
I take pictures all the time. I can’t go without a camera. I just can’t do it. I’ve even lost cameras on tour before. I even had a DVX 100 video camera stolen in 2005 with tons of tapes and my digital camera at the time with tons of memory cards.
He then added, “I’m actually making a little documentary about the 2005 experience.”
While many photo books of bands seem to primarily feature the performers rocking the main stages or working the crowd, Myers’ selections are some of the most intimate and candid we’ve ever come across. Each show from the tour has been chronologically curated to perfection, so you can really go along for the ride without the need of your passport.
“It’s about storytelling,” he explained. “You can see it when a filmmaker is making a movie. Even if it’s a bad take, they’re going to have to put it in if it moves the plot forward. It has nothing to do with how well it was shot because if you have two great shots that are similar, you can only use one. So if you have one mediocre shot, you have to put it in to help tell the story.”
The images captured were from a tour that spanned Seattle to São Paulo before finally culminating with a triumphant homecoming gig back in the band’s native city of Washington, D.C. Despite the fact that the tour was nearly four years ago, each photo feels fresher than ever and has earned ample love from from Rob Garza and Eric Hilton from Thievery Corporation.
“They love it,” he laughed. “It’s our yearbook. I bring it with me and whenever we’re at some bar in Belgrade or wherever, we’ll bring it out.”
I love the idea that even though it’s so old at this point for me, it’s one of those projects that has a little bit of legs.
Much like Thievery Corporation and their label, ESL Recordings, Myers and his Fort Knox Recordings family are equally potent with their penchant for putting out high-quality projects. After the release of last year’s The New Gold Standard Vol. II, they’re ready to return with Myers’ main live project, the progressive reggae outfit See-I, along with a brand new Thunderball album.
It was a particular bit of Thievery Corporation scoop that turned out to be most exciting. The band will finally be releasing their first live DVD later this year.
“We did five nights at the 9:30 club ending the last tour and we brought in some friends from Australia to shoot it in HD,” he shared. “We even wore the same clothing for each of the five nights to keep the continuity.”
The special live documentation is set to coincide with the band’s first-ever Greatest Hits album, which was something that Myers was particularly excited about.
“They’ll be some remixes and it’s gonna have a special packaging. We’re even gonna do a photobook with it, so there will be a bunch of my stuff in there too.”
If you have your own label, you always have to be putting stuff out. Whether it’s music or images or interviews, it’s just part of the business. So the more you can control internally, the more you’re independent.
While he may be busier than ever, the quality of his work has never been better. It’s astounding to me that no matter if he’s rocking it live with The Fort Knox Five in Joshua Tree, rolling with Thievery Corporation, or releasing a photography book, you’re always guaranteed something special. With books already planned for the 2007 and 2008 Thievery tours, it’s fantastic that fans can now have a way to keep the live memories from their respective shows closer. Whether you’re a longtime fan or if you’ve never had the privilege of seeing Thievery Corporation live before than this book will help you feel as though you’re right there on the road with them.
Buy: Thievery Corporation Tour Book
Surf: Fort Knox Recordings