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Posts posted by Raspbernie

  1. This was quite an extraordinary day for me, LC.

    Famous celebrity photographer David LaChapelle shot this photo in Los Angeles in 2000. Elton was in town recording what would become his "Songs from the West Coast" album. It was my idea to have an all-white set: room, piano, glass of milk with Elton wearing a very brightly colored outfit. My copywriting partner supplied the headline tying the Elton John hit song title to the ad's message about osteoporosis. David added some extra touches like the white cake, chandelier and cow sculptures.

    The day we were scheduled to shoot, Elton's people called to let us know he worked late in the studio the night before and would need to postpone a day, so we wrapped and came back the next day. That day, another call came that Elton just simply couldn't make it, "Let's try tomorrow," they said. Keep in mind, these postponements cost lots of money. We had a full crew and a rented studio with a fully-built set ready for action. Not to mention a truckload of lighting and camera equipment, stylists, makeup artists, etc. Everyone was getting paid to sit around and do nothing. These were expensive photoshoots costing hundreds of thousands of dollars!

    At this point, Davidā€”who is a good friend of Elton'sā€”tells me a story about another photoshoot he did with him. MasterCard was sponsoring Elton's tour that year and wanted some publicity shots for an advertising campaign. When Elton came to the set, he only had time to pose for a few frames, saying, "You've got your photos. I have to go now." When the MasterCard advertising manager complained, Elton told her to shove her complaint somewhereā€”the location I'll keep private, but use your imagination.

    On the third day we got devastating news, "Elton is not going to be able to make it." David told me he didn't think Elton was making these decisions himself and we needed to get past his "people." David told me Elton collected Jeff Koons dog sculptures, so he had one of his assistance purchase something at a nearby gallery and send it to Elton with a note that said, "Sorry we couldn't work things out for the photoshoot. If anything in your schedule changes, we're all ready for you."


    Mere moments after Elton received the gift, David's phone rings. It's Elton. "David! Thank you so much for your very thoughtful gift. I didn't know we had a photoshoot scheduled for today. I'll be right over."

    Seriously...this happened.

    Ever since we started the milk campaign, each celebrity's mustache was created live on the set with a glass brought up to their lips. Real milk on lips. Oh, we added some other dairy productsā€”ice cream, yogurt, cream cheeseā€”to the concoction to allow it to last longer than a real milk mustache so we didn't have to keep applying it too often. But we never added mustaches using Photoshop or any other post-effect.

    After hearing David's MasterCard story I just wanted to get a photo of Elton on that set so I'd have an ad. I told David, "Don't worry about the mustache this time. The minute Elton gets here, just get him in front of your camera so I can have an ad to run." He agreed. We'd make it as painless as possible.

    Elton arrived. He loved the concept and picked the magenta polka dot outfit himself from a few Gianni Versace combos pre-selected for him to choose from. He got onto set and David started snapping away. Then, all of a sudden...Elton stops and shouts, "Hold on. HOLD ON!"

    "Here it comes," I thought. "He's going to tell me where to shove my idea."Ā Instead, Elton asks, "Where's my milk mustache?" True story.

    Not only did Elton pose for hundreds of photos. He asks what David was doing for lunch and David told him he was having lunch catered at the studio for the crew. So Elton asks, "Can I join you?"

    Elton sits right next to David and I sit directly across from him at the table. Yes. I had lunch with Elton John. It was an off-the-cuff, unguarded, unrehearsed and uncensored Elton...the one that doesn't appear on talk shows. Some of the stories he told had me laughing my ass off. Not only is he a remarkable talent, but he is a sweet, funny, endearing manā€” who has a genuine knack for telling a story.

    Yeah, I worked a job like everyone else. But my job was unlike everyone else's.

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  2. reunion-guitar_picks.jpg

    Another one of the many things I designed for the Raspberries. We even made earrings out of them for the reunion show merch tables. Jim's pick wasā€”shall we say, redundantā€”but I wanted a full set. Needless to say, he's probably got the most left over.


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