ABC Radio Interview

Vicki and Marlene, “We’re With The Band,” San Francisco, 1969

Baron had a really great interview with ABC Australia breakfast host Fran Kelly yesterday.

For my own reasons, I chose to illustrate this post with two gorgeous naked women. Here’s their story from the book.

“Periodically bands would come to my home studio to be photographed. One particular band arrived with some beautiful young women (what else) in tow. I shot the photos of the musicians and when we were done the guys told the girls to get naked so I could photograph them all together. Two of the women also posed together for me alone; one of those shots turned out great, more than great, so the next day I took a print into Rolling Stone.

Everybody in the office also loved the shot and it was published in the next issue on the same page as the publishing information. That particular spot was always reserved for a unique horizontal photo, sometimes even without a caption – just an excellent picture speaking for itself. I loved that Jann had the audacity to run even nude photos for no reason other than they were first-rate pictures.”

The Who Recording Tommy

The Who with Kit Lambert recording Tommy, IBC Studios, London, 1968

This book is packed full of behind-the-scenes gems. Here we find Baron in the studio while The Who record what will become the album ‘Tommy’. It’s 1968, Baron’s photographing George Harrison on this trip and it’s after this session with the Who that he went to visit Mick Jagger on the set of ‘Performance’.

Tucson celebrates the art of rock n’ roll

Lighting scaffold, Woodstock Music & Art Fair, Bethel, NY, 1969
Can you spot the guy who later had pants airbrushed on him by Encyclopedia Britannica?

In conjunction with the exhibit “Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present” the Tucson Museum of Art hosts a talk by Baron Wolman from 1 to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, September 10. Free with admission.

“Rockin’ The Desert,” exhibit of photos by Baron Wolman and Lynn Goldsmith. Reception and “Rolling Stone Years” book signing, Saturday, September 10, from 7-10 at the Etherton Gallery.

Personal Stories

Big Sur Folk Festival, Esalen, Big Sur, CA, 1969

We’d like to thank Michael Maurer Smith for the frank and enlightening note he sent to Baron upon receiving his copy of the book.

“I recently got your book, “The Rolling Stone Years.” It is an absolute pleasure and treasure. And I want to say thank you.

From 1968 until the late summer of 1972 I was serving in the Marine Corps. Although I did not go to Vietnam I did serve tours in Guantanamo and Okinawa. While in Okinawa I remember one of the guys rushing into the barracks, very excited. He yelled out to everyone that they were now carrying “Rolling Stone” in the PX. That was the first time (1971) I had heard of the magazine. I’d come from a small town in Michigan and had joined the Marines at 18. I knew little about anything and next to nothing about rock and roll.

Okinawa at that time was under the control of the United States, and had been since the end of World War Two. It reverted to Japanese control in 1972. Because of this the American Military command had a firm control over what we service personnel could do, what we could read and where we could go.

At one point Donald Sutherland and Jane Fonda came to Okinawa. To prevent us from seeing them the Marine Command confined all Marines to base. I never forgot this act of censorship. Believe me it was not the only one.) So you can understand how “Rolling Stone,” becoming available in the PX on Okinawa, was so significant at that time.

Your book with its superb photographs and commentary has given me at least a little bit of the San Francisco/Rock and Roll experience I wish could have known first-hand. I’m sure it will do the same for many other veterans. For that – for giving us a bit of our youth that was denied us at the time – we are all indebted to you. Thanks again.”

Cosmic World Book Tour and More, Tucson

Joan Baez, Big Sur Folk Festival, Esalen, Big Sur, CA, 1969

Who Shot Rock and Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present – a museum-sized traveling exhibition of rock photography – rolls into the Tucson Museum of Art on Oct. 22. Organized by the Brooklyn Museum, it celebrates not only the music’s stars – Kurt Cobain, Mick Jagger, Debbie Harry – but the photography stars who made the music’s makers indelible.

Megastar rock photog Annie Leibovitz is in the show, of course, along with a host of others, including Baron Wolman, the first-ever photographer at Rolling Stone magazine; Lynn Goldsmith; and the late Linda Eastman McCartney. New York curator Gail Buckland approaches rock shots “as an art form,” says TMA chief curator Julie Sasse. “She captures an era, giving photographers credit for helping shape our vision of rock ‘n’ roll.”

Once the show was booked, the TMA folks enlisted as many partner venues as possible. The Etherton Gallery quickly took the bait. Its show, Rockin’ the Desert: Photographs by Baron Wolman and Lynn Goldsmith, features two photographers who are also in the TMA show. Wolman has “shot” everybody from Johnny Cash and Janis Joplin to Joan Baez and Mick Jagger, not to mention a groupie here and there. Rockin’ the Desert will actually open first, on Sept. 6, and continue through Nov. 12.

As the song says – sort of – there’s a whole lotta cross-fertilization goin’ on. Rolling Stone alum Wolman will give a talk about his work over at TMA, at 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10, the same day that Etherton stages an evening opening for Rockin’ the Desert, from 7 to 10 p.m. Then, right after the party, revelers can ramble round the corner to the Rialto Theatre, for real-life rockin’ by Jefferson Starship, a band piloted by Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane fame. Doors open at 10:30 p.m.; show starts at 11 p.m.

Janis Joplin – Concert For One

Janis Joplin, Belvedere Street Studio, San Francisco, 1968

“I needed to get some color shots of Janis, but there were no concerts scheduled so she came to the studio… I don’t know what goes on in the head of performers; maybe they either perform or they don’t perform… As I recall Janis could not “not” perform, so for an hour she gave me the gift of a Janis Joplin live performance. I call it “The Concert For One.” I was taking pictures and she was singing just for me alone.”

B.B. King

B.B. King, San Francisco, 1967

“B.B. King welcomed me into his inner circle like few others. He was ever so hospitable – “Want something to eat? Want something to drink?” Backstage with B.B. and his entourage I felt as if I was a guest at his home. I took B.B. King out to the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco where there is a copy of The Thinker, the famous statue by Rodin in the courtyard. I posed B.B. against this statue so that Lucille, his red guitar, and the arms of the sculpture are kind of parallel. It’s a beautiful shot but most people don’t quite understand what I was trying to do, what I meant by the slightly ironic juxtaposition.” Read more in the book.

Johnny and June Cash

Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, Circle Star Theater, San Carlos, CA, 1967

Baron talks about the sombre mood of Mr Cash backstage before the show, but this photograph is just so sweet – look carefully. “The Cash photos are some of the first I took on assignment for Rolling Stone. We started publishing in October of 1967; these were taken in December of that year at the Circle Star, a popular theater-in-the- round south of San Francisco.”

Jeff Beck’s Hot Rod

Jeff Beck, S&C Ford, San Francisco, 1968

“…(Beck) asked me if I knew where he could buy an American hot rod so I took him to the showroom of a car dealer who had one which was for sale. Jeff was immediately fascinated with the car and decided to buy it on the spot…” Read more in the book and listen to the story via this podcast.

Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell at home, Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, 1968

Excerpt about the beautiful Joni Mitchell – buy the book to read more!

“Joni’s lyrics are neither simple nor simplistic; they’re complex and soulful and usually reach the heart of the matter. Joni is also a skilled painter; you can see her work on her website. But unlike other would-be musician-painters she refuses to market or sell them at all. I admire her for that although I would love to publish a book of her paintings; that would be one good way to share them without selling them.”