I’ve got a fair collection of work with inputs from Chuck Ragan. A 7″ singles club, t-shirts, posters, CDs, tattoos. And that’s before you include Hot Water Music items. It’s a strange feeling meeting someone that, over the years, you’ve elevated up high – a mix of dread and excitement. I’ve seen him perform numerous times over the years, on his own and with bands, and he’s always come across as a friendly and sincere guy – very much living his dream and grateful for those around him that make it happen.
I recently met and photographed Chuck before his gig in Bristol. He was busy carrying in Joe Ginsberg’s double bass when I arrived as the band unloaded (on to a boat – the gig was at the Thekla). I don’t want to make out that he’s some kind of hero simply because he helps out, but it was kinda warming to see the whole band lugging their gear around, smiling as they did, doing it all for the love of making music and entertaining people.
The reason I mentioned my collection of memorabilia at the start was that I decided to get something signed. It’s not something I do but how often do you meet a hero? I mean I’m not Ross Halfin, jetting around the world with my mates on private jets. So I picked something a bit different, a Chuck Ragan baby-gro I’d bought for Evan. In hindsight picking a light grey piece of clothing that a baby cares little if he’s sick or pours dinner down it might not have been the best idea. But I got autograph. Chuck smiled. My opinion of him was reinforced. He walked off after the shoot to shake hands with the bar staff who were loading up the beer for the evening. I bet Bono doesn’t do that.
Recent work by Bristol photographer Adam Gasson.