‘The First Three Songs’ - local photographer's coffee table book of rock stars he has photographed

Sunday, November 21, 2021

The First Three Songs - photography by Steve Schneider

Sunday, November 21, 2021 at The Local 104 Winter Market from noon to 4pm. 18498 Ballinger Way NE in Lake Forest Park.

The Grateful Dead, Nirvana, David Bowie, Soundgarden, the Rolling Stones and many more - Shoreline resident Steve Schneider has photographed them all.

And now he has published his photos in a gorgeous book of photography, "The First Three Songs," a  hardbound book with 220 pages of concert images printed on archival acid-free matte paper.

350 photos showcase five decades of live music -- the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Tom Petty, Pearl Jam, the Rolling Stones, and many others. 

Soundgarden at The Paramount from The First Three Songs by Steve Schneider

At ten of the concerts featured — including shows by David Bowie, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Neil Young, and Willie Nelson — Schneider was the only photographer with access.

The title comes from some acts’ directive that photographers only shoot the first three songs, but many of the best images in The First Three Songs are from when Schneider pushed around that. 

A shot of the Grateful Dead at the closing of the legendary San Francisco club Winterland in 1978 was taken at 5:30am in the morning. 

“This was back in the days of film, and I had saved just a few frames for when they would end,” Schneider recalled. “They started on at midnight, but I saved enough to capture their good-bye early in the morning.” 

The Grateful Dead liked the image enough that it was used on a CD and DVD of the event, and it ended the film of the event. The band signed a copy of a 1977 New Years’ photo from the same location in Winterland. They also gave Bill Walton a 20”x 30” signed copy of the same photo.

U2 at Key Arena from The First Three Songs by Steve Schneider

Many of Schneider’s photos were shot for UPI, but he has also worked for Sipa Press, Reuters, and Gannett. His images have appeared in hundreds of newspapers and magazines, and Time used one of Schneider’s photos of Jerry Garcia in their 1995 coverage of the singer’s death. Schneider’s work has also been featured in numerous exhibits. He is represented by the Jeffrey Moose Gallery in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

“The book includes over five decades of photographs,” Schneider says. “In the case of Neil Young, as one example, you can actually see five decades of Neil in photographs.” 

Young was one of the last performers Schneider photographed pre-pandemic in 2019. Schneider says the book also serves as a document of how concert photography is transformed with the development of digital photography, and how when bands began to light their stage for video.

Copies of "The First Three Songs" are available for $60 at www.schneiderphotographystore.com. He will be selling them in person on Sunday, November 21, 2021 at The Local 104 Winter Market from noon to 4pm. 18498 Ballinger Way NE in Lake Forest Park.


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