Lifelong Harborite and professional photographer Darrell Westmoreland has published his first book, a compilation of behind-the-scenes shots from his decades of work chronicling world-renowned musical acts that made their way through the Pacific Northwest.
The book, titled “Snap Click Flash: All Access Pass,” features scores of images of mostly rock ’n’ roll stars whose tours included the Seattle-Tacoma area from 1974 through 2006.
And the phrase “all access pass” rings true, as Westmoreland, who turns 68 in November, was hired by concert promoters and record companies.
“It was literally all-access,” he said. “I was hired by them. And since I was hired by them, I was part of the bands’ entourage. I rode in limos with them, ate in restaurants with them.”
The 210-page coffee table book includes 177 full-size black-and white action photos and portraits of performers such as Nirvana, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Van Halen, Santana, Tom Petty, Heart, Cyndi Lauper, Ozzy Osbourne, Huey Lewis and so many, many more. Almost all of the photos were originally shot with black-and-white film.
“It’s the old-days stuff, baby,” Westmoreland said with a wry grin.
Born in Aberdeen and raised in Montesano, his parents were longtime owners of the iconic Gene’s Stop & Go restaurant on Pioneer Avenue in Montesano. He got his start in photography in the late 1960s while attending Montesano High School (class of 1970), when he was hired by The Vidette to shoot Bulldog sports — making $35 to $75 per week.
Later, he was hired by one of the promoters of the Satsop Rock Festival in 1971, which was supposed to include the likes of Derek and the Dominoes (featuring Eric Clapton) and Ike and Tina Turner on farmland in East County. It was billed as the Western Woodstock, “but it wasn’t a legal festival and the promoters ran out of money,” said Westmoreland — so neither of those acts ever performed, as the festival began to fall apart in its second day.
He did see and photograph the Steve Miller Band, Spencer Davis and other acts performing on the first day.
“This is how it all got started, with the Satsop Rock Festival,” he said. The book’s foreword features a photograph from the event.
The lengthy table of contents features thumbnails of each photo in the book, paired with anecdotes from Westmoreland’s viewpoints — stories that were suitable for print.
When asked which band was the craziest experience to chronicle, Westmoreland’s answer came in, well, a snap: “Van Halen was the ultimate sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll band. Van Halen took it to another place. Nobody pushed the envelope like them when it came to literally mixing sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll.”
Westmoreland has been busy lately, making the rounds of radio and TV on the Harbor and in Seattle to promote the book. It’s self-published and sells for $50.
“I actually started on it last October, but April is when I found out that I had to (publish) the book myself,” he said. “That was a learning experience.”
He is holding two book signings and sales this weekend. The first is Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the D&R Event Center in downtown Aberdeen. The second is Saturday during the Fish and Brew Fest in downtown Montesano, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Whitney’s Chevrolet showroom.
Westmoreland plans two more books in this format — one featuring R&B and hip-hop acts, and the other with digital photography from more recent years.