John Jr is a guitarist in SF’s finest punk band Culture Abuse and a designer, artist, and photographer the rest of the time. Culture Abuse are one of our favourite bands in the world right now (did you catch them at Reading and Leeds? They were a good time!) and we’re also really into tour diaries at the moment. So knowing a bit about John’s background, we asked him to send us a few pics he’d taken of his touring experiences and oh, boy, did he come through with the goods.
Check out his beautifully shot, lovingly captioned series of 35mm film photos in the gallery above. They were taken over the last couple of years of almost solid travel and stage time, and if they don’t make at least part of you yearn for the camaraderie and adventure of life in a touring rock band, then you should take a long, hard look in the mirror, friend.
We had a word with John while he was demoing the new Culture Abuse record in Amsterdam. We were so psyched on his photos - which you should be scrolling through right now - that we forgot to ask about CA’s forthcoming tour or their recent European trip, and instead mainly discussed his photography (and partying):
Hi John! How’s Amsterdam?
Amsterdam is an amazing city! I keep saying to everyone that if I ever wanted to leave California, I think Amsterdam might be the place for me. The architecture is really beautiful and I like how low key it feels in some areas and then it’s like a busy city in others. Best of both worlds.
How’s the new record coming along?
We’ve been working our asses off. Rehearsing for like 10 hours a day. We flew out our friend that recorded our last record Peach and we’ve just been demoing songs with him to get them ready for the studio.
Have you found time to party out there?
We’ve been hitting the coffee shops everyday for weed. But unfortunately we are working really hard everyday. No time to party. We’ve been having a beer or two after rehearsing but we haven’t had one of “those nights”.
All these photos were shot on film weren’t they?
I only shoot film. Started with Polaroids (‘cause they used to be easy to steal) then moved up to SLR cameras. I messed around with 120mm film for a bit but that got expensive so I only shoot 35mm now.
Culture Abuse - So Busted
What cameras do you use?
If you see me with a point and shoot, I more than likely stole it from a thrift store, but you can’t control those as much as a manual camera. I currently shoot with a Minolta X-700 but also just got my hands on a Canon AE-1 again. I’m stoked about that cause my last Canon got stolen from a party.
What do you love about film in particular?
I love that you can control your shots a lot more, I love that you always get prints, I love the color and quality of film. Digital photography has come a long way and it’s amazing but nothing compares to film.
What’re your favourite things to shoot?
Always depends. On tour, I like to shoot documentary style of the band, to capture life on the road, good times and bad times. The only issue is I’m always left out cause I’m the one behind the lens. When I’m home in SF I find the dirty disgusting parts of the city fascinating, so I shoot trash, homeless people, partying at friends houses, graffiti, vandalization, things like that. Troublesome photography.
You make zines of your photos too, right?
I’ve been making zines for over 10 years. I started in 2006 when I went on my first full tour of the states. I took a Polaroid camera on that tour and made a full colour zine after of the things I shot. I’ve been consistently making them since, I love it. I love coming up with a concept for a zine and shooting specifically for that.
Thanks for the amazing photos John!
Catch Culture Abuse on tour:
OCT 29 - - LOS ANGELES, CA - - LA WATERFRONT - - THE GROWLERS SIX
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR WITH JOYCE MANOR & WAVVES
OCT 30 - - NEW ORLEANS, LA - - JOY THEATER
OCT 31 - - MOBILE, AL - - MERRY WIDOW
NOV 02 - - ORLANDO, FL - - BEACHAM THEATER
NOV 03 - - PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - - PONTE VEDRA CONCERT HALL
NOV 04 - - CHARLESTON, SC - - MUSIC FARM
NOV 05 - - CARRBORO, NC - - CAT’S CRADLE
NOV 06 - - BALTIMORE, MD - - BALTIMORE SOUNDSTAGE
NOV 07 - - PHILADELPHIA, PA - - UNION TRANSFER
NOV 08 - - BOSTON, MA - - PARADISE
NOV 09 - - BROOKLYN, NY - - BROOKLYN STEEL
NOV 11 - - MORGANTOWN, WV - - MAINSTAGE
NOV 13 - - TORONTO, ON - - DANFORTH MUSIC HALL
NOV 14 - - DETROIT, MI - - MAGIC STICK
NOV 15 - - CHICAGO, IL - - CONCORD MUSIC HALL
NOV 16 - - ST. LOUIS, MO - - THE READY ROOM
NOV 17 - - LAWRENCE, KS - - BOTTLENECK
NOV 18 - - LINCOLN, NE - - VEGA
NOV 19 - - DENVER, CO - - SUMMIT MUSIC HALL
NOV 20 - - SALT LAKE CITY, UT - - IN THE VENUE
NOV 22 - - BERKELEY, CA - - THE UC THEATRE