On photographer Mark Weiss’ very short bucket list of music icons who avoided his lens over the past 35 years, one name stands out like a silvery, sequin-gloved hand.
Weiss never had a chance to shoot candid images of Michael Jackson.
“I shot his concerts,” Weiss says, “but somehow I never could get to him [backstage}.”
Weiss recently came about as close as he’ll ever come to capturing the Prince of Pop, who died in 2009, in an unguarded moment. Weiss, whose credits include some of the music world’s most memorable magazine (Ozzy Osbourne in a pink tutu) and album covers (Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet) was recently in Atlantic City to shoot images for the marketing and advertising campaign for Boogie Nights, the new retro 1970s and ’80s dance club opening at the Tropicana in early May.
Among the assorted characters and celebrity look-alikes who are part of the Boogie Nights crew is Pete Carter, a Michael Jackson impersonator from Toms River.
“It was pretty cool,” Weiss admits. “He looked and moved so much like Michael that I just kind of blocked out that it wasn’t really [Jackson] and started shooting. For a few minutes, I actually felt like I was [photographing Jackson].”
During a career that began when he was 14 and started sneaking cameras into shows, Weiss has captured concert, backstage and studio images of a veritable Who’s Who of modern music. Acts ranging from Aerosmith and KISS to Gwen Stefani and Beyoncé — and just about everyone in between — have been frozen in time for all eternity by Weiss.
Weiss can trace his interest is music photography to a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young concert in Jersey City on Aug. 9, 1974.
“I’ll never forget the date because that was the night that David Crosby announced that [President] Richard Nixon had resigned, Weiss, 51, recalled.
He also remembered that was the night he saw a photographer without a photo pass sneak his way into the photo pit near the stage with a beautiful young woman on each arm.
Weiss, a New Jersey native who continues to call the Garden State his home, met the photographer and went to his house the next day to look at his collection of concert photos. Then he found out the photographer was making money by selling the pictures after the concerts.
So Weiss bought some cameras, hid them in his baggy pants and developed the chutzpah to con his way into the photo pits. A defining moment came in 1977 when he was arrested outside a KISS concert at Madison Square Garden for selling concert pictures for $1 each.
“I was in the back of a paddy wagon with a bunch of [illegal] T-shirt sellers thinking, ‘What am I doing here? I’m a kid from Jersey, I’m not one of them,’” he says, laughing at the memory.
Weiss decided to go legit. He approached Circus, the leading rock ‘n roll magazine of the era, and later offered them pictures he captured during an Aerosmith concert.
“It was during their real dark drug days and they weren’t letting anyone photograph them,” he says. He offered the pictures to Circus, and two months later the magazine used them in a centerfold spread of the band and its lead singer, Steven Tyler.
Aerosmith liked the pictures so much that its management company made Weiss its official photographer to shoot the band and other acts it managed, like AC/DC, Ted Nugent and The Scorpions.
He was among the first photographers to capture Van Halen during a concert in Asbury Park, “and everything just sort of snowballed from there.”
Joe Perry: “I would have been fine doing the project [without Tyler]. It would have been quite exciting, but we never got that far and we’re still Aerosmith, which is where I would rather be.”
'The place was packed with people; some people who had gone to the concert, some people who had just been in the bar, and it was just one of those kinds of special, fun party, and music rock and roll nights.'
'I hope we always wage war against evil with everything we got. '
Boogie Nights grand opening at the Tropicana photos and video.
Like a slinky, the basic concept was pretty simple, but once Boogie Nights was unveiled on what seemed to be a retro-starved public about five years ago, the ’70s and ’80s themed nightclub took off like Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon.
“[Cuba Libre] didn’t want to be in nightlife anymore,” says Kauffman. “They just opened in Washington [DC] and Orlando and will soon be opening in Boston and Chicago, and really just wanted to get out of nightlife in general. So they offered [32 Degrees] to us and we just jumped on it.”
An entertainment classic never goes out of style — especially with casinos and the people they attract. That seems to be the booking strategy at several Atlantic City casinos as they scramble to complete their spring and summer lineups. What had already been shaping up to be a strong season for shows is now on the verge of becoming the biggest and most diverse collection of attractions the city has seen since the dice began rolling down the Boardwalk 34 years ago.
For the past two years, the ACWeekly.com Nightlife Awards and Resorts’ retro nightclub Boogie Nights have clicked well as a combo, recognizing exceptional contributions to the area’s after-dark social scene in a fun, nostalgic atmosphere.
On assignment at the event for Atlantic City Weekly, freelance photographer Nick Valinote was there and caught this wonderful early shot of one of the biggest names in music today....
When the Gang left the stage, the audience was still in smiling disbelief. People around me were remarking that, ‘if the show ended now, it would be a good night! We still have Van Halen to look forward to!’ And boy were they right.
Roth: 'The problem today is that kids don’t study and they should. They should study the Beach Boys for harmonies. They should study ZZ Top up until 1983 for guitar work. There’s a lot they should study. But a lot of young recording artists don’t study; they just do it on their own. That’s not right.'
Kool and the Gang will be opening for the legendary hard rockers, which also includes Eddie Van Halen, his son Wolfgang replacing Michael Anthony on bass, and Alex Van Halen on drums.
THE KISS ARMY WILL BE OUT in full force for this Saturday's show at the Trump Taj Mahal. However, they may be a disgruntled lot. Kiss message boards have been buzzing since the band kicked off its summer tour last month without two of its longtime members: drummer Peter Criss and guitarist Ace Frehley. It's not only that the two members weren't called upon for this tour by ringleaders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, what's more disheartening for some fans of the hard rock troupe is that the two semi-new members have, via face paint and costume, assumed the roles of Criss and Frehely's stage personas: the "Cat" and "Spaceman," respectively. Replacement drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Tommy Thayer have both played as members of Kiss in years past, but some of the many soldiers stretched out across the country that make up the Kiss Army aren't too pleased about the dissing of Criss and Frehely. Most seem to feel that the two original members' stage characters are sacred and shouldn't be played by others. On one message board a fan complained, "Kiss became a nostalgia act when they decided to keep the makeup on with the original characters but without the...
Tropicana officials recently announced that a deal has been reached to bring the popular retro nightclub Boogie Nights to Tropicana.
Down here at the southern Jersey Shore there has always been plenty to do -- especially in the summertime. This year, it seems like the possibilities are endless -- whether it's family fun, a night o...