Go to any Tavana show on Oahu - or any other major Rock show for that matter - and you are bound to see legendary Rock & Metal photographer - Bill Hale - camera in hand - contorted in whatever body position necessary to get 'that shot.' That shot that can make all the difference in an artist's career. And it's what Bill has been up to since the early '80s when he was the Chief Photographer for 'Metal Rendezvous Int Magazine' (which he co-founded) in the Bay Area from 1981-1989.
Tired of the rock magazines of the time turning a blind eye to some of the upcoming bands out of the UK and locally - the harder rock and metal groups - Bill and his circle of musicians, journalists, photographers, and friends came together to help build a scene that would benefit all, and one major part of that was sharing images, music, and stories with fans - all of which would help to inspire a generation of rockers and give up-and-comers a shot at getting the necessary attention to continue to grow their following.
As a result of these efforts, Bill - and by extension, the magazine - gave some of the very earliest photo media coverage to no lesser groups than Metallica, Anthrax, W.A.S.P, L.A. Guns and Armored Saint - to name just a few.
Metallica in the early days. Photo: Bill Hale
From 1982-1984, Bill captured Metallica in their early days having known Lars even before he formed the band. When closer friend, Dave Mustaine got fired from Metallica, Bill would follow him, turning his focus to Megadeath from 1984-1987.
With a huge volume of photographs of these two bands, Bill decided it was time - over the course of a few years - to curate his extensive collection, the result of which was the two classic books, 'Metallica: The Club Dayz, 1982-1984' and 'Megadeath, Another Time, Another Place.'
Over the course of his career, Bill also shot Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Riot, Freddie Mercury, Bon Scott, Phil Lynott and so many more.
In the 1990s, Bill moved to LA and took some time to focus on other things, including turning his lens towards travel images, landscapes, and even products. But it wasn't long before he was back to his old passions, moving to Oahu, and spending much of the 2000s photographing and collaborating with the legendary Hawaiian musician - Henry Kapono.
In this current decade, Bill continues to practice his passion, taking photographs of both up-and-coming and already renowned rockers, and supporting the growing Rock scene in Hawaii. He attends nearly every Tavana concert and produces astoundingly good photographs of both Hawaii's 'Rock Star' as well as the guest performers that Tavana features as part of his 'Tavana Tuesdays' at Crossroads Hawaiian Brian's.
Tavana @ Crossroad's Hawaiian Brian's - Photo: Bill Hale
This dynamic seems incredibly synonymous to the scene that Bill helped to support and build in the Bay Area in the '80s. Where there are talented musicians who are just about to make it big, you'll find Bill Hale, camera in hand, ready to capture those moments on the way to super stardom.
Says Tavana, 'Bill Hale is a rare animal. It's not often you find his kind of passion and commitment. Someone who's walked with lions but would rather run with the underdog. He's been supporting me from empty bars to packed showrooms. And he's so much more than just a photographer. He gets involved with the artists on a deeper level...just really lives to help build the scene here in Honolulu. And without a doubt, he has helped make me the musician I am today. '
You can check out Bill's photos in the books mentioned above, on his Instagram, on Twitter, and on album covers he shot as a freelance photographer for RCA Records, Polygram Records, and Zoo Records, among others. In fact, just Google 'Bill Hale' and you'll find a treasure trove of some of the great Rock & Metal musicians of a generation captured just before and during their prime.
"Thanks for all you do for the music scene here in Honolulu, Bill - You Rock!!!!" - T.