The
House Of
Blues
Sunday
July 1,
2001

Click Here To See Photos From The Chicago House Of Blues Show !!!


 Thank You Joan Jett... 

 An Article By Victor Modlinski 

The Internet is a great tool in finding and renewing relationships. It recently helped me renew a relationship with an old love of mine: Rock & Roll.

Twenty or so years ago, I originally discovered rock music with “a little help from my friends”, some of which still dabble in it and some that have unfortunately passed on before their times.

Photography was my thing back then and I quickly discovered that my love of taking photos crossed over with my love of rock and roll. I took to taking photos of my friends and their bands, mostly for free, in garages, dive bars and in basement jam sessions.

My photo talents developed slowly but surely and I soon learned the secrets of getting “the picture” under the worst of conditions. Hard work meant great pictures.

All through these times, I yearned for the big chance at a real concert, with a real band, just to see if I could do it.

My big chance came in the early 1980’s at a little old music fest called ChicagoFest at Navy Pier. One of the favorite bands of my youth was The Runaways, the all girl group featuring Cherie Curie, Sandy West, Jackie Fox, Lita Ford and yes, Joan Jett.

The Runaways broke up and Joan went out on her own. She put the band The Blackhearts together and made herself the headliner. They were coming to ChicagoFest and I was going to be there to take the photos of my life, of a band and of a person I had only seen photos of on album covers. 

This was really big for me and the challenge was great.

I went to that concert early, the seating at ChicagoFest was festival style, first come – first served. I was there at 10 AM for an 8 PM concert. Insane isn’t it?

I quickly made friends with the people around me by offering to go for the beers if they promised to hold my seat for me. This worked and I got to keep my 7th row center point of view that I wanted. It cost me about thirty or so dollars in rounds of beers and a good buzz going before the concert started.

When Joan and The Blackhearts took the stage and started kicking out their tunes, the crowd went wild. The band kicked some serious ass and the ChicagoFest fans fell immediately in love with Joan. Throughout the concert, we all stood on top of the high school stadium type plank row seats that made up the rock stage area. The planks were literally vibrating to the music as everyone bounced up and down.

This was hell on earth for me, it’s something I didn’t anticipate when I chose my seating location, and now I had to deal with the low light conditions.

   

In life you learn by your mistakes and I made a couple of them that day – most of the photos from the show came out blurred. 

I did however get some really great shots of Joan and the band when the people decided to stop bouncing during some of the songs. I was disappointed at the overall results but I was thrilled with “the photos” I got and my chance to see one of my favorite rock stars live and up close.

I went on to take other photos of many other bands over the next few years, many of which anyone would recognize that lived during that time period.

ChicagoFest eventually died due to city politics and most concert venues started to prohibit cameras. So there I was again, back to square one.

After this happened, my photographic efforts began to focus more on personal financial gain. It started to become more like work than the fun it started out to be.

At some point along the way, I gave up on photography as a financial resource and tried to make it fun for myself again. I still like to take a few photos now and again. I am quite technically expert at it and still have the eye for it.

But computers have since become my true passion and torment. My technical expertise, my ability of pre-visualization and keen eye for detail have made me very successful in this field. But something continued to be missing in my life, and that bothered me…

It took me a number of years, but I finally figured out what it was. I missed the music... the music I loved in the times of my youth, the music that helped make so many memories; the same music that could help bring those memories back to me. 

The music that most stations play on the radio now was just not doing it for me.

So I decided to dig out some of my old LP’s and listen to them again. I even used my computer to convert some of them over to CD and MP3 to preserve them for the future.

What I failed to realize right away, (man can I be stupid sometimes!) is that the Internet was probably filled with web sites of the bands of that era and all it would take was a good search engine to find them.

That’s how I found the Joan Jett & The Blackhearts web site, I was happy as shit that they were still making music. I had lost my first true loves... my photography and my music, and now I was thrilled to death to have found a way back to them again.


The Official Joan Jett Website...

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