I became friends with Marc Ruvolo in 1987 when his band No Empathy played at the Lost Cross House in Carbondale, Ill. In 1994 he asked me if I wanted to go on a West Coast tour with them. I gladly accepted. At the time, I was living in California and had never been on a tour before, but hey, it’s punk rock; as long as you can hang out with friends and drink beer all day, then it’s good, right?
Over the next few years I got myself to Chicago and hit the road with No Empathy. We always toured during the winter so we could get out of the cold in Chicago. My job on tour was to sell merch, make up directions to the next show because I was too hung over to call the club and get actual directions, trade CDs for free drinks, and, most importantly, make some lifelong friends.
I eventually moved to Chicago where I continued to go to shows, drink beer (and eventually stopped drinking alcohol completely), and make more lifelong friends. It’s possible that I would have eventually started taking photos of bands had I ended up somewhere else, but because of all the people in Chicago who I met through No Empathy, it made it much easier when I finally did decide to take my photography of punk rock bands more seriously.
This photo is from Fat Chance in Albuquerque, N.M. on the first tour I did with No Empathy. Earlier in the day a cat pissed on Steve’s sleeping bag as soon as we got to the house we were staying at for the night—which is better than the time, years later, when a drunk promoter whose apartment we were staying at pissed on Steve’s sleeping bag while he was in it!