The Star Shooter: STEVE THORNE!

Today's Elevenses Throws Eleven Quick Questions At 'The Star Shooter' Steve Thorne!

Steve Thorne is a Rock Photographer who has been shooting the stars since he first smuggled a small rangefinder camera into a Sabbath gig in 1974. Since those early beginnings, Steve has taken thousands of concert images from Jeff Beck to Iron Maiden to Killswitch Engage.

So what’s your drink of choice at 11am in the morning?

A nice cup of tea with milk, no sugar … medium strength! At 11am, I will probably be on my 3rd or 4th cup. I’m off skiing in March so will probably be enjoying a Vin Chaud or three at 11am in the mountains!

Which song/album really made you want to play guitar?

Key To Love by John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers did it for me! That Clapton solo sent shivers down my spine, and I knew I had to have a go. I eventually played lead in a few covers bands, but these days, accepting my limitations on six strings, I much prefer to snap you guys in action!

Who’s the world’s greatest guitarist?

So many styles, techniques, sounds … it’s an impossible question, but Jeff Beck would probably be at the top. I photographed him a few years ago … mesmerising.

Who’s the world’s most underrated guitarist?

Andy James and Nick Andrew are mightily impressive! Seeing them both (along with all your other talented twangers) at the All Out Guitar Festival last year was a big treat.

So what are you up to at the moment?

I shot Allan Holdsworth recently (if you know what I mean!) His technique is mind-boggling. Chad Wackerman was on drums, another master of his instrument. I’m awaiting the next batch of concert passes via my agency Hottwire - which is run by Danny Clifford. Danny knows and has snapped everyone in his time... check out his website

Megadeth, Velvet Revolver, Joe Bonamassa and many others are coming up soon... very exciting! I’m also shooting the Bloodstock Festival for CliveAid this summer, aswell as their Battle of the Bands final in May (Tygers of Pan Tang and Shy are also on the bill). CliveAid is the charity started to help Iron Maiden’s ex-drummer Clive Burr, who tragically suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. The charity has expanded its activities over the last few years to help all manner of less fortunate people .. great work is being done.

Talking of Maiden, Steve “diamond geezer” Harris of Maiden asked me if I’d like to go to any of their forthcoming gigs (John McMurtrie is their official tour photographer). He always sorts me out a pass and we often enjoy a post-gig beer or two... he’s a genuine top bloke! I was hoping to get to see Maiden in Oz this Feb but other commitments have clashed with those dates, so I will get to some of their summer shows in Europe... they are magnificent!

What was the last gig you went to (as a member of the audience)?
Who would be in your dream line-up?

Dweezil Zappa at Shepherds Bush late last year… he was brilliant (like his Dad). I would often listen to Hot Rats as a teenager and always regretted not seeing Frank live, so catching Dweezil in concert has made up for it!

Vocals: Glenn Hughes (or the late Jimmy Dewar from Robin Trower’s band, God bless him)

Guitar: Jeff Beck

2nd guitar: Gary Moore

Bass: Steve Harris

Drums: Ginger Baker (saw him live in 1976 with Baker Gurvitz Army .. magnificent!)

How many guitars do your own and which one is ‘your precious’?

Bearing in mind my profession, shouldn’t that be how many cameras do I own … the answer to that is loads! As it happens, I do own a Gibson Les Paul Standard, but in the past I’ve owned a beautiful mint green Jeff Beck Strat (ok, I’m a fan!), a US plus deluxe Strat, and double cutaway Hamer, and a Firebird copy (which was totally unbalanced... no wonder the bloke who sold it to me made me sit down to play it!).

What’s the last great album that you bought (or were given)?

I recently bought Billy Cobham’s Spectrum on CD (great guitar work from the late great one-time Deep Purple member Tommy Bolin) to replace an old worn out vinyl copy, and my nephew bought me Black Stone Cherry’s debut and United Abominations by Megadeth (it’s great having a sixteen year old nephew who loves music and plays rock guitar!)

Do you suffer from stage fright?

Not when I’m in the pit with a camera!

So what’s your drink of choice at 11pm in the evening?

If I’m at home, it would be a nice Rioja, or possibly a malt whisky. If I’m in a pub, it would definitely be a real ale!

Interview date - January 2008