Graham Reid | | 5 min read
From the Elsewhere editor:
It is in the nature of change that music venues come and go but a new music and relaxation space – sophisticated, central, slightly secluded and very tasteful – has just opened in Auckland, and it is more than just a venue.
It is the project of rock photographers Robert Knight and Maryanne Bilham who – separately and as a couple – have taken striking, acclaimed and famous photos of some of the biggest stars in rock: from Jimi Hendrix back then to Carlos Santana today.
They count among their friends the likes of Def Leppard, Slash and other members of Guns N'Roses, Jeff Beck and many, many more.
Their new venue, the Anthology Lounge at Karangahape Rad -- down some stairs beneath the building opposite Coco's Cantina and remembered as the somewhat notorious Rising Sun for many years – is a long, industrial but elegantly decorated space with a stage at the far end, an excellent and well stocked bar (good wines, and by the glass too) and windows which overlook the motorway outside.
The room feels intimate but also open, there are semicircular booths and a long lounger and . . .
It is a music venue but you can see it will also be a retreat for the superstars after they've played somewhere in the city and just want to wind down with friends.
That is the vision of Robert and Maryanne who are enthusiastic about how much local talent there is in New Zealand, the place Hawaii-born Robert has now as one of his adopted homes, and the country Maryanne – a former Devonport girl – has re-embraced.
The Anthology Lounge (see here) also has some of their exceptional photos around the walls – not too many because the place is about understatement – so let's see who these people (delightful and personable I might add) are.
And we have some of their photos for you. (All are copyright and used here with their express permission.)
He was born into a strict religious family in Hawaii, caught the Beatles and the British Invasion on television, imported records from Britain (Pretty Things, Yardbirds, the man had taste!) and finally went to Britain (seated next to Noel Coward apparently) and was there on the set of the film Blow-Up . . . a film about a photographer in Swinging London in which the Yardbirds (with both Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page in the line-up) appeared.
He went home, bought a camera, wangled his way into the pits and . . .
As a teenager he was down front and centre to see Hendrix (his images were used on the Live at Winterland album), hung out with Jimi back in Hawaii, was there to see the young Elton John play, caught the first show at the Whisky a Go Go in LA by a band which had to change its name from the New Yardbirds (they went out as Led Zeppelin and no one knew who they were) and . . .
After that it was shooting Led Zepp, Cat Stevens for an album cover, met his future wife Maryanne (see below) in Hong Kong, was with his friend Stevie Ray Vaughan on the night he died and . . .
Jeff Beck became a close friend (he attended his wedding where Jeff and McCartney and others had an impromptu jam on old Fifties songs and always knew when not to take a photograph as much as when to point and shoot. He had the trust of musicians.
He is an unashamed guitar-centric music lover, encourages young talent (and puts them in touch with the likes of Slash for mentoring) and . . .
He has more great stories than you could possibly imagine.
There has been a doco made about his life and work (Rock Prophecies) which featured Beck, Carlos Santana, Sash, Steve Vai and others and . . .
Just so much more.
But now he and Maryanne have opened The Anthology Lounge as a platform for young talent, jazz groups, a haven for touring acts after a gig and . . .
The story continues.
Robert's work is here (and you can buy prints . . . and why would you not?)
Here are some samples, and you should know who they are!
We at Elsewhere liked Maryanne from the moment we heard that she took the striking inner sleeve photo for the Alien Weaponry album, the band windswept and defiant on Waipu Beach.
But her portfolio is wide and impressive, and not bad for a girl who went to Takapuna Grammar.
She loved photograph from an early age, took surf and beach photos, worked in Auckland with Philip Peacocke around the time of Rip It Up and ChaCha, was there to start up Paper in Auckland with Roger Jarrett (who had launched Rip It Up's predecessor Hot Licks), moved to Hong Kong where she worked in fashion shoots and opened a boutique photographic agency, met her future husband Robert Knight in '86, moved to LA . . .
She worked with the Guitar Center, did album and music magazine covers (check out God Bless the Go-Gos) and . . . .
Always came back to her homeland.
She and Robert were married at the Hunting Lodge in Waimauka just west of Auckland.
The list of artists she has photographed is legion: Carlos Santana, John Lee Hooker, Sheryl Crow, Cyndi Lauper, Def Leppard . . .
But back in Auckland she and Robert are as enthusiastic about the Anthology Lounge as anything they have done. And they have done a lot. And then some.
“The vision is a venue that sits between Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London and The Viper Room in Los Angeles,” she says, admiting she actually wanted to cal it The Elegantly Wasted Lounge but . . ..
Either way, it is a project and dream we should applaud, and which is as necessary as it is welcome.
You can see more of her work here
Here are some samples, and again . . .you should know who they are!
For more on Robert and Maryanne's Anthology Lounge go here