Mark Weiss has been photographing Rock legends for 35 years now. You know his work from classic album covers like Twisted Sister’s Stay Hungry, Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet and Gwen Stefani’s The Sweet Escape. He was also responsible for some of the most memorable shots from the U.S. Senate’s 1985 Parents Music Resource Council hearings, where musicians as diverse as Frank Zappa, John Denver and Weiss’ personal friend Dee Snider testified.
After being invited by Snider to see his performance on Broadway in Rock of Ages, Weiss decided to showcase some of his images from the era at the Helen Hayes Theater where the production was being staged. That collection grew into “Photographs That Rocked The Ages” which debuted to a packed crowd last month at GalleryBar in New York City.
Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen served as guest curator just prior to his band embarking on a huge summer tour along with fellow 80s Metal Rockers Lita Ford and Poison. The exhibition ran through June 18th when Weiss was joined by Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider after a live show from Dee’s son, Jesse Blaze Snider, at Tammany Hall. In addition to album covers, cover shots for Circus Magazine and other posed and concert images, the exhibit also featured some never-before seen photos of the infamous PMRC hearings, where Snider testified on behalf of his fellow musicians’ First Amendment rights.
It’s apt that the clash between the Religious Right and the Hard Rock music of the 1980s plays such a significant role in the plot for Rock of Ages (both the play and the movie). It’s an authentic representation of what was going on in the era.
Of course, in the long run, whether on the stage, on the big screen or in real life, the music wins.
You can see more of Mark “WEISSGUY” Weiss’ work on his website at http://www.weissguygallery.com.