A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

In the late 70s I started taking pictures of alternative rock bands in Vancouver. One of the best of the musicians was guitar player and composer Stephen Drake. You can see him in six, just a small fraction, of the many I took of him for about 15 years. My favourite is the first one I ever took of him, the one with the picket fence. The man in glasses in front is Gary Cramer perhaps the only singer that in my book could compete with Art Bergmann. The band was called Gary Cramer and the Works.

The Works was the three piece band behind him. In later bands Drake fronted the Odds and an alternate version of it called the Dawn Patrol. The last I heard he was a music producer/recording technician. If indeed Drake is doing that there is no doubt in my mind he is really good at it.

Sometime around 1990 Drake composed a song with the startling (it was autobiographical, he told me) title I Was F..... Wendy Under the Stars the Night That Elvis Died. I believe that to get a chance for airplay he kept the title in the lyrics but changed his tune to Wendy Under The Stars. The jumping shots of Gary Cramer and the Works I took in the men's bathroom of the old Pier BC which is now Canada Place.

Bill Evans & Stephen Drake

How did I end up taking pictures of Stephen Drake not wearing anything in my studio? Vancouver Magazine art director, Chris Dahl had told me, "Photograph Drake wearing a see-through white gauze. He is a Scientologist and I want you to make him look like he is from outer space." I proposed to Drake that he wear the white stuff and he countered with, "I would rather wear nothing." I took him up on it and the picture, while not revealing anything, was the first ever full-frontal nude in Vancouver Magazine.


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