Since you asked…

02011-02-26 | Photos | 8 comments

Since you asked… I was certain that I wrote about both of these photos before, but all I could find was this entry.

This first photo appeared in the booklet of Euphoria in 1995. It was also used for the Havana Club 12″ Vinyl in 1997. The photo was taken by Eric Swanson on the old Camino Real, south of Santa Fe, in 1995 or perhaps the year before. I believe we had two guitars for this shoot, a $25 pawn shop guitar Eric had picked up and a guitar that I had received because the manufacturer wanted me to endorse it. People seem to think this image was photoshopped, but that is not true. The photographer picked a great angle for the shot and I really did get some decent air with several of the throws. We assumed we would only have one chance (per guitar) to get it right, but guitars, perhaps especially cheap guitars, are much sturdier than they look. I had always been very careful with my guitars and was so tuned into every scratch that appeared on them that I was quite surprised by this.

The whole experience was pretty interesting. The feeling was not unlike a Christian hearing a blasphemous Jesus joke… that strange feeling in the stomach. (((I speak from experience since I was an altar-boy))) But it was also exhilarating and freeing – perhaps also like a Christian hearing a blasphemous Jesus joke? (((when one notices that the world hasn’t ended…)))

The second image was photographed by Ashkan Sahihi for the weekend magazine of the German paper Die Zeit. A year later Ashkan came back to Santa Fe to take all of the photos for the Opium abum. (((He also took this cover photo)))…

I just went to Ashkan’s webside and noticed this amazing series of images called What I Want. Powerful.

I am not sure what kind of guitar we used for this image. I think we used the left-over pieces from one of the guitars from the first shoot. The location is Diablo Canyon north-west of Santa Fe, very early in the morning. It was very cold.

Related: music from the Havana Club single


  1. Carol Anderson

    is there some way to see all the photos that you have/had on your your Opium CD. I try to and I can sometimes get one or two, but my computer doesn’t like to. Those ones of you way up on the mountain, and your tatoos. Some of you Dad. I loved them all.

  2. Panj


  3. steve

    This guitar has some serious hang time: an amazing image.

  4. Ottmar

    Carol: I don’t think so. I don’t have a computer that can access the images either. Ashkan Sahihi owns the images.

    Panj: gern geschehen

    Steve: thank you

  5. Adam Solomon

    Ottmar, whose guitars were you playing back then? Any of the famous Spaniards? Mostly American luthiers like de Voe and Vizcarra? (No

  6. Adam Solomon

    (I’m not sure why the word “no” showed up at the end of that :) )

  7. Ottmar

    Adam: I have played a few famous Spanish guitars, but have always preferred American guitars. As you probably know Lester DeVoe is in high demand in Spain also.

    I played guitars by Eric Sahlin from 1990 through 2002 and Lester DeVoe guitars since then. I recorded most of the music for Leaning into the Night on a Negra by Keith Vizcarra, whose Midi guitar I also used from time to time, starting in 1993.

  8. Adam Solomon

    Thanks for the info! Yeah, Lester’s held in the highest regard over there as far as I know. My teacher in Connecticut had two of his guitars, a blanca and a Brazilian rosewood negra. Beautiful, beautiful guitars; easily among the nicest I’ve played (surpassing some of the Condes, etc. that I’ve tried). The negra especially! And of course Paco and a bunch of other flamencos (I think Vicente as well) have been playing his guitars too. When I was over there this summer I bought my first real flamenco guitar, a Valeriano Bernal from their shop in Algodonales, a tiny town somewhere between Granada and Cádiz; beautiful little blanca, with a good flamenco gut but a surprisingly melodic voice to it too.

    And I’m really curious to know what a MIDI guitar is…


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