August 9, 2011 SOUNDS ⁄  BAD BRAINS: DOWN THE RABBITHOLE

Niall O’ Brien is an acclaimed young photographer who exhibits his work all over the world and spends weeks photographing crusty punks for fun. He gave up a Claudia Schiffer shoot to spend the day and night photographing Bad Brains. Sucker!

Here’s Niall’s take on the day and night we spent in the company of some hardcore legends. For the full (and very weird) interview and story, check out JUKE Vol.01.

“Bad Brains and a box ticked. I never really get starstruck. It’s only when I meet a group of people who have actually curved the way others think and perform that I get a bit nervous with respect. Apart from being slightly intimidated, especially by Earl during the outdoor portrait shoot, they were everything I thought they’d be. H.R. was insane – I’m sure I caught him talking to a pigeon. Backstage, he told me stories of his high school gym teachers and general love for life. It was there I realised Earl wasn’t as frightening as I’d first imagined. There was a really relaxed and well-rehearsed attitude backstage. I tried to be invisible and get as many off-the-cuff pictures as possible, but at one stage I found myself having a conversation with Darryl Jennifer about what sort of swimming pool to fit in his upstate New York garden. When the gig started, HR came out and people went wild. He walked to my friend Harry who was in the photographers’ pit and gave him a loaf of sliced brown bread. He asked Harry to hand it out to the crowd. No questions were asked.Watching the gig gave me chills. I’ve never wanted to get into a moshpit more in my life. At one stage a dwarf crowdsurfed pretty much the full length of the pit, only to be ushered right past me, between the stage and the barrier. He was pulling faces at my camera – I went to take pictures, only to run out of film! He was in an absolute Bad Brains frenzy; nothing mattered. I knew where he was coming from.”

 

Photos: Niall O Brien