An Idiot Never Forgets #3: Bay Area Photographer Jay Blakesberg Shares His Memories (and Photos!) From the Slim’s Show!

Idiots, you’re in for a treat.

Our third installment of An Idiot Never Forgets features Jay Blakesberg, a Bay Area music photographer of great renown.

Jay has photographed hundreds, if not thousands, of musicians in his illustrious career. He was the go-to music photographer in the Bay Area during the period when the Slim’s show went down. His photos and my (Tim’s) byline were paired up on numerous occasions, especially in the pages of the late, lamented music weekly BAM, where Jay worked as the staff photographer. He was essential in chronicling the Bay Area music scene of that era, and in fact his photos were ultimately used for the High Times article that allowed Mike and I entry to the pivotal Green Day gig at Slim’s that our book centers around.

Mike and I reached out to Jay to get his memories from the show, and he was gracious enough to provide not only his memories, but his photos from that day. We hope you enjoy both.

In an odd twist, Jay’s story intersects with our second installment of An Idiot Never Forgets by Gil Warguez, who was next to Jay in the audience at the show. Gil recalled that he “had a nice chat with him before the show started.”

Small world, huh? But a magical, friendly, and tight-knit world, and one that we are thrilled to share.

Check out more of Jay’s work HERE.


Read on for Jay’s thoughts on the Green Day gig at Slim’s, and enjoy the photos:

Before the show that night I did a band portrait shoot with them in the alley behind Slim’s.  The shoot in the alley was for a tattoo magazine. They were goofy, bouncing off each other, hard to keep in one place.  But I did get a few memorable portraits, and some good live shots while getting crushed in a sea of people that was ebbing and flowing like the tide, but in this case it was the music that was fierce and powerful that was making the crowd sway and move in all directions. I was just a few feet on the other side of the pole you see on your book cover. Close enough to shoot Billie Joe and see Mike in the background, but not a good angle to shoot Tré, so most of my images are of Billie Joe. He was playful as ever, making rock star poses (I’m sure with a touch of sarcasm), and fierce as any punk rocker!

We all could feel this band was on the verge of exploding…and as we all know, they did.  But at Slim’s that night they played like they still had lots to prove.  

Killer rock and roll in San Francisco. It was a good time to be shooting Rock and Roll in SF!