Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Steve Nieve - Buffalo 1978
In April 1978 one of the biggest Blizzards in decades hit the East Coast of America, it covered the ground in over two feet of snow. I was on tour with Elvis Costello and the Attractions and we were in New York when the blizzard hit. It snowed for eighteen hours and when the snow stopped it was obvious that there was no way we were going to be able to drive the bus to the next gig.
Elvis hated flying and would normally do anything to get out of traveling by plane, but we had no choice as we had to get to Buffalo in upstate New York in order to play a show at the University that evening. The travel agents worked like crazy to get us tickets and eventually we were able to fly there via Boston.
You always see those classic photos of bands with planes and I was lucky that in those days you often had to walk from the plane to get to the gate. Knowing this was the case in Buffalo I made sure I was the very first person off the plane. When Elvis saw me lying in wait for him he laughed, not something you usually saw him do back then, but we were good friends so I saw a different side of him.
In front of EC is his keyboard player, Steve Nieve, behind him is Nick Lowe, also known as Basher, writer of hits and the producer of EC's first three LP's. I have to say that this is one of my all time favourite photos.
Elvis Costello at the Hoover Factory 1978
One of the songs on Elvis Costello's Demo Tapes for Stiff Records was called Hoover Factory. It was written about the giant Art Deco building out just outside London that EC saw every day on his way to work as a computer operator at Elisabeth Arden. It's a simple song, and quite unusual in subject matter and lyrics. In early 1978 the Sunday Times commissioned me to shoot Elvis for the colour supplement and I thought it would be an interesting place to go and shoot. Given that nobody knew the song at that time it also provided yet another of the little "in jokes" that were so often contained in his record sleeves.
We both went out to Western Avenue and did a bunch of different photos outside the Hoover Factory gates, many were full length and featured the vast building in the background, EC wore a number of outfits, from an American Brass Bandleader's jacket to a bright blue sweater with stripes.
It's the latter which is featured here, knowing him as well as I did he did not mind me using a wide angle lens and being only about 15 inches from his face. Looking back at this image he seems so young, and that impish look in his eyes makes for a great photo of the best new British singer/songwriter to have come along in decades.