Do you like the image they ended up using more than the original?
I go back and forth. I love the original because looking back, it fits them so well with the content of their music, lyrically. But I do like the image they used because it was kind of their introduction into pop-punk, or the scene. I know they probably don’t like having their names right on the cover, but I thought that was cool.
Was the coloring of the image and the old jazz record feel something you added?
No, that was actually the designer. I just shot the image; it was full color. My vision was the image and placing them how they were. I’m blanking on the designer’s name, but he put that together. I don’t know if he worked with any of the members of the band on wanting it to be blue and putting their names on the cover, but I thought it was a cool touch.
What was Chicago’s music scene like back then?
At that point, it was in 2003, and there were so many bands. Alkaline Trio were huge, Rise Against were blowing up; there were some other bands, Mest were big… For some reason, that pop-punk/emo scene was really blowing up—not just in Chicago, but in the Midwest. There were some Kansas City bands getting really big, and some bands in Minneapolis and MIlwaukee. But it was a cool scene to be in; everyone knew each other. Pete and Tim [McIlrath] from Rise Against were in a band together, and that was cool. I shot Tim a handful of times for Rise Against. It’s just so funny how everyone knew everyone and everyone was in a band with somebody else. It was great to be a part of it. For the following few years after Take This To Your Grave came out, I would run into members of Fall Out Boy quite often at shows and parties because we had mutual friends. I remember running into Joe at Tower Records—when those things still existed. They had those little music listening stations, and I was listening to Brand New’s Deja Entendu. Joe came up and was like, “Oh my God, you have to buy that album, it’s so good.” I barely even listened to it; I just bought it because he was so excited about it.
As far as your involvement in that scene, was it something you fell into?
It wasn’t actually something I fell into. I randomly built a really strong relationship and friendship with John Feldmann of Goldfinger. They had taken me on tour with them and done all sorts of things for me to photograph them. Through them, I started meeting other bands. I got to know Midtown, Gabe [Saporta] from Cobra Starship. I got close to them and into certain labels just because of that. It was a very organic friendship sort of thing, but I was also able to provide something beyond a friendship. I was able to provide them something they could use. I eventually built [friendships] with Thursday and all of these other bands that weren’t really Chicago-related. Thursday were on Victory, so that’s local scene oriented, I guess. So a lot of it did stem from the relationship I had with the Goldfinger—and they’re from LA. But John’s a producer and he knew so many bands. It all seemed very natural. It seemed like your group of friends expanding in a way. >>>