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LED ZEPPELIN, JIMI HENDRIX Producer’s Photo Exhibit Offers Rare Look At Rock Icons

Photo exhibit offers rare look at rock icons

As a producer and engineer for the past 40 years, Eddie Kramer has overseen some of the most significant albums of all time. Among them: Jimi Hendrix's groundbreaking ''Are You Experienced?" (in fact, all of his studio albums); five Led Zeppelin albums; the Rolling Stones' ''Beggars Banquet"; and works by Santana, Small Faces, David Bowie, and the Beatles. That Kramer, 63, helped shape the course of rock music comes as no surprise to anybody who grew up gazing at gatefold LP credits while ''Whole Lotta Love" or ''Voodoo Chile" blasted from the speakers. That he took pictures while he was at it — more than a thousand of them — is a more recent revelation.

''From the Other Side of the Glass" is a new traveling exhibition that features a selection of Kramer's intimate, little-seen photographs of three of rock's best known subjects — Hendrix, Zeppelin, and the Stones — at work and at play. Drawn from roughly 450 images at his Kramer Archives website (www.kramerarchives.com), the exhibit opens at the Paradise Lounge on Tuesday.

''I'd keep the camera next to me," says Kramer on the phone from Los Angeles. ''It was my constant companion, and it was always loaded and ready to go. Sometimes I would be working the board and the artist would be sitting behind me on the couch, and I'd wheel around in my chair and just snap away and keep working with the other hand."

Tied in with the exhibit is ''Experience Hendrix! A Celebration of the Music of Jimi Hendrix," a multimedia event April 6 at Axis. Kramer will be on hand with Billy Cox, bassist for Hendrix's post-Experience outfit, Band of Gypsys, for a screening of the recent film ''Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock" that features a newly restored soundtrack Kramer engineered.

The British engineer began snapping photos in 1967, when he was 24, as a lark.

''This was a hobby," Kramer says. ''When I first came to the States, I befriended [photographer] Linda Eastman, who laterbecame Linda McCartney, and she showed me some of her stuff, which was brilliant. I was encouraged by her and so continued taking pictures until 1972. But I had no preconceived notion about it. Literally, the stuff was sitting in a box."

Fast-forward to 1982, when a Boston University student named John McDermott, researching an article on Hendrix, contacted Kramer. McDermott would, years later, collaborate with the engineer on a Hendrix biography, ''Setting the Record Straight," and become the producer and catalog manager for the Hendrix-family-owned company, Experience Hendrix. McDermott encouraged Kramer to show his photos to the world.

''Of course they're wonderful," McDermott, 43, says of the photos. ''What Eddie had was tremendous access to all of these great artists, and that was what really made [the pictures] so unique."

None of Kramer's associations has ever been as fruitful as his friendship with Hendrix, which lasted from 1967 until the guitarist's death three years later. Kramer remembers the first time the young guitarist walked through the door at Olympic Studios.

''Jimi was so shy," Kramer says. ''He never said a word in the beginning. He was very polite, very reserved, but once he plugged in and started playing, I realized, 'Hey, this is pretty special.' Very quickly, we got on extremely well and could communicate — even though he would describe sounds to me as colors, like, 'Man, I want it to sound kinda purple, you know what I mean, man?' And I would come up with a sound that was purple. We inspired each other, I guess. He certainly inspired me."

"From the Other Side of the Glass,’’ rock ’n’ roll photographs by Eddie Kramer from 1967 to 1972, opens Tuesday at the Paradise Lounge. Reception from 6 to 9p.m. Visit www.thedise.com or call 617-562-8814.

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April 2, 2006 - Posted by | ROCK

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