Oct 5, 2014
Here’s a story I don’t think I’ve told before: Many years ago, I had an idea to approach Paul Shaffer about helping him write his memoirs. My agent tracked down the band leader of “The Late Show with David Letterman,” ran the idea by Paul and pretty quick, we were on a four-way conference call. Paul was very excited about the idea and when we got off the phone, he said he wanted to meet the following week.
DEBORAH FEINGOLD podcast excerpt: "Musician Magazine was exciting. At that time in the 1970s, we had Creem, Circus, Rolling Stone, downBeat. But I didn't know anybody else who was shooting for all of them, plus New Age and World Beat. So I had the best job on the planet. I wasn't following one group of people, hanging out and going to the clubs. I was all over the place! Plus, the weirder my stuff was, the more support I got in shooting my vision."
“Great!” I said. “Terrific!” my agent said. The next day, my agent called Paul’s manager to make the arrangements for me to fly to New York City. “Fly?” the man said. Turned out they assumed I lived in the city.
DEBORAH FEINGOLD podcast excerpt: "It was 1979 or '80 and I got an assignment from The Soho Weekly News, which was the rival of the Village Voice. The editor said, 'There's a new guy coming to town from Minneapolis. There's a lot of buzz about him. He's playing at The Bottom Line' -- which was a great place to hear music and to shoot -- 'and we want you to get some concert shots and see if you can go backstage and get some shots there, too.' I was very shy, though. I easily could have lied and said they wouldn't let me do it. But I went backstage and knocked on the door. This guy answered and said, 'No, Prince doesn't do photos.' I was very relieved. 'Thank you very much,' I said, as opposed to, 'Just one?' I was happy to leave. I didn't feel I had the equipment. I was only shooting black & white, it wouldn't be lit well. This was 30 years ago, so it wasn't like I could look at the back of the camera and go, 'Cool, I did it.' So I went back out front. The opening act came out and I got a tap on my shoulder. The same guy says, 'Follow me.' He takes me behind the stage and says, 'You were so nice. C'mon and take a few photos.' I got through half a roll. Prince was more shy than me, which you can see in the photos. I shot horizontal, vertical; foot up, foot down. There was no room to move; I didn't know what else to do. Then I hear, coming out of my mouth, 'Would you like to take a picture of me?' And so I have a portrait of me, by Prince"
I was reminded of that story the first time I thumbed through photographer Deborah Feingold’s new collection, Music, when I saw a 1987 shot of Paul lounging in front of—seriously!—a place called Paul’s Lounge. And later, exploring Deborah’s website, I saw that she also shot the cover for We’ll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives: A Swingin’ Show Biz Saga that Paul eventually wrote with David Ritz. Both are wonderful shots—like most everything else Deborah does. Pick up her book and you’ll instantly recognize countless images ranging from Madonna (and lollipop) to barefoot Keith Richards, as well as from big jacketed David Byrne to Kid Creole and the Coconuts. If you’re not a music fan, you probably know a certain book cover Deborah shot featuring a future leader of the free world: The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama.