It is not every day you get a personal performance by a world renowned guitarist and even rarer to get one from the legend Dave Stewart himself. That was the case on this shoot at his private members club The Hospital. (By that I mean he owns the club and opened it before any of the other big members clubs in London. The intention was to have a place where creative minds could get together and talk creativity….) Yes, it was about half way during the shoot, moving away from the green backdrop to the tree lined wallpaper backdrop. Dave had gone to change clothes and came back with a new outfit, a VOX amp and a shiny Fender Shop Customised Strat. The guitar was a work of art in itself; shiny metal body with a woman engraved on it. We set up in the corner a little area where he could pose with guitar and amp. I have to admit that I was a little wary to shoot him with guitar and amp as it can sometimes seem a little obvious and staged. That was until he turned the thing on. He pumped the volume up to 11 (out of 10) and went straight into playing his own tunes, (and a little Jimmy Hendrix), before returning to his own tunes again. It is at that moment you realise what it takes to be a world class guitarist. The music filled the room (and the rest of the members club could also hear it through the closed door). A woman with a baby asleep in the dining area had supposedly asked a waiter if they could turn it down. (The waiter just looked at her, realising it was Dave Stewart playing and Dave Stewart’s club, and said ‘no’.) I was quite aware that the images taken at this time would probably not be my favourite from the shoot, but I kept the flash triggering, I kept shooting, I wanted to keep Dave feeling that the shoot was happening in order for him to keep on playing.
Dave Stewart, not just because of the event mentioned above, was a lot nicer than I had expected. He has always seemed to me to be the quiet, serious guy from Eurythmics, but his legacy expands far beyond Eurythmics, and his personality was colourful and vibrant. The hat and glasses remained on – a part of what has given him the serious image – and when I asked him if he could remove the glasses for a couple of shots he replied: I haven’t worn these glasses for decades to remove them now… “Fair enough!” I replied.