Over the past
with BASS PLAYER,
Art Director and
a shelf full of
and some dusty
some over the
next few columns
he can't remember
or they fail to be
NEVER, AND I MEAN NEVER, ASSUME
Do you know why one should never assume anything? Hmmm? Well,
I’ll tell you why. Its because it makes an ass
out of u and me!
Despite the fact that tomorrow I’m going to really regret
having written that
line, the following describes a situation in which I made (as I often do)
assumptions in the course of a shoot, all of which proved to be quite
Karl Coryat and I arrived in Los Angeles one fine day in 1992 with one
sole purpose: to interview and photograph Flea, the bassist for the
funk-rock powerhouse Red Hot Chili Peppers, and whose reputation
famously preceded him as a wild, punk-rock nihilist. Several times I
had seen him perform onstage with terrifying abandon and was thoroughly
expecting to be greeted at the door by a crazed maniac.
First misconception. Flea was not a crazed maniac. Flea lived in a
yet artfully decorated Hollywood home and proved to be insightful, artistic,
thoughtful. Perfect time to pitch the idea I had come down there with: to shoot
him dressed in an elegant suit instead of shirtless, as he is usually
in contrasts (I did go to art school, y’know.) Flea was agreeable to
this and went
to change, and my assumption was that all would go to plan, but Flea emerged
in a beautiful dark evergreen blazer ... and white cotton briefs.
“Where are the pants?” I asked.
“Oh, I don’t have the pants. I lost them
Uh, well okay. So we shot a few with just the blazer, and a few other
then I noticed an old tuba lying in a corner which seemed to have been used
primarily as an ashtray for some time, and suggested to Flea that he pose
with it, seeing as tubas are bass instruments after all.
Flea was game and put his lips to the mouthpiece. “Okay, now
grimace.” I instructed.
“What do you mean?”
“You know, like a squinty-face where you’re
blowing really hard.”
Flea gave me an annoyed look . “You mean like I
don’t know how to play?”
And I had assumed he didn’t know how to
play, but evidently he did, and
notwithstanding my callous, and insulting disregard of this potential, he graciously
indulged me and made his squinty-face, and I made the photograph
and as it turned out we all lived happily ever after, except that he is now a
rock god, and I am unfortunately still just an ass. But I do have a pretty boss
photo of Flea playing a tuba!