Photographer Henry Diltz on SCVTV ‘House Blend with Stephen K. Peeples’

Henry Diltz and Stephen K. Peeples on the "House Blend" set at SCVTV Media Center in Newhall, California, after taping the show in October 2010 for a November premiere. Photo: John Nussbaum.

Legendary music and pop culture photographer and storyteller Henry Diltz was the special guest on the eighth edition of “House Blend with Stephen K. Peeples,” broadcast on SCVTV in California’s Santa Clarita Valley in November 2010.

Born Sept. 6, 1938, in Kansas City, Mo. (Peeples’ birthplace, coincidentally), Diltz is the son of a globe-trotting U.S. State Department film producer. Growing up, Henry lived in Japan, Germany, Thailand, and eventually Hawaii, where he picked up the banjo and co-founded the Modern Folk Quartet with a few college pals in Honolulu in 1961.

In Los Angeles a few years later, as the British were invading America and Dylan and The Byrds were inventing folk-rock, MFQ connected with Phil Spector, who in 1965 produced their bright wall-of-sound single “This Could Be the Night.” But it wasn’t the breakthrough hit they needed.

MFQ with Phil Spector at Gold Star Recording Studios in Hollywood, with Henry Diltz at far right, October 1965. Photo by Robert W. Young.

Fast-forwarding to summer 1966, on MFQ’s final tour, Diltz discovered photography, quite by accident, and over the next several months took a lot of random photos of his musician friends who considered him a peer and a pal, not pesky paparazzi. Many of those friends would soon become world-famous, and

A year later, former Diltz Greenwich Village roommate Erik Jacobsen, by then manager of The Lovin’ Spoonful, invited Henry to tour with the band for the summer. Diltz’s photos appeared on the cover of their next album, “Hums of the Lovin’ Spoonful.” It was the first of hundreds of album covers featuring his images.

In California, living in rustic Laurel Canyon surrounded by musicians and idyllic natural landscapes providing convenient photographic backdrops, Diltz was an official photographer at the June 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival.

The Who wreaked havoc on the Monterey International Pop Festival stage on June 18, 1967. Photo: Henry Diltz, courtesy Henry Diltz Photography and Morrison Hotel Gallery.

Michael Lang tagged Henry as the official photographer for all three Woodstock festivals, in 1969, 1989, and 1994. Diltz’s vast archive includes historic, iconic images of The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Hollies, Cass Elliot, The Byrds, The Monkees, Jack Nicholson, Buffalo Springfield, Steppenwolf, The Turtles, Joni Mitchell, Richard Pryor, Truman Capote, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Eric Clapton, The Doors, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, America, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Eagles, Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, Emmylou Harris, Bob Seger, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Blondie, Martha Davis and The Motels, Michael Jackson, Keith Richards, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and hundreds more.

(On a personal note, Henry and this writer met in early 1978 and have been fast friends since. He soon introduced me to Texas artist and hell-raiser Boyd Elder (another book altogether). I soon introduced Henry to my friend and co-worker at Capitol Records, Peter Blachley, and a decade-plus years later they co-founded the Morrison Hotel Gallery. Henry also took photos of Nadine Martini, also a Capitol Records co-worker, and me after our engagement in 1979, and then shot our wedding two years later.)

In October 1992, when I co-produced Rhino/MIPF’s “Monterey International Pop Festival” box set and wrote the accompanying book, it featured many of Henry’s photos from the festival (in early 1994, the box earned a “Best Historical Album” Grammy nomination).

In 2011, less than a year after Diltz’s “House Blend with Stephen K. Peeples” appearance, Morrison Hotel Gallery Publishing and Rare Cool Stuff Unltd. published “Unpainted Faces,” a book of Henry’s classic black & white images, and I was honored that Henry asked me to write the foreword, intro, and biography.

Read even more Henry Diltz stories here.

Here’s Part 1 of our “House Blend” conversation:

Here’s Part 2:

Stephen K. Peeples is a Grammy-nominated multi-media writer-producer and award-winning radio/record-industry veteran raised in Miami and Los Angeles by career newspaper journalists and music lovers. Based in Santa Clarita, California, he is (as of spring 2022) writing a Boyd Elder art book-biography, “Boyd Elder, Artlaw: The Greatest Artist You’ve Never Heard Of” (due in late 2023). Peeples is also co-authoring a new book with artist and pop-culture legend John Van Hamersveld commemorating the 60th anniversary in 2023-24 of Hammer’s iconic poster for Bruce Brown’s epic surf movie “The Endless Summer.” And Peeples is conspiring with Cindy Johnson and Jeri Jenkins, founders of Home At Last, the Miami-based concierge service for rock stars recording at Criteria and Bayshore Studios, on the dynamic duo’s memoir. See the “About” page on his website. More original stories and exclusive interviews are posted there and on his YouTube channel.

Article: Photographer Henry Diltz on SCVTV ‘House Blend with Stephen K. Peeples’
Category: News and Reviews
Author: Stephen K. Peeples
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