AUDIO SLIDE SHOW
Transcript: On the Road with Gerry Beckley
A founding member of the rock band America leads us through photos from his View from a Hotel Room series. Read the transcript!
New York City, N.Y.
"I really love downtown in New York and try to stay there whenever I can. We've recently completed a new album called Here & Now, and we're based in Soho. I love this skyline of these water towers, and this village environment that still exist down there. Every time of day this looks different. What's happening in this particular evening Soho shot is the dusk, and the bronze-gold is the reflection of the sunset behind me. I took dozens of these to get this particular final moment, when I can get the most gold on those windows, because it goes a bit lower and all the gold disappears, and you're basically left with a silhouette. There's something tranquil about this, and I remember coming back in the evenings from the studio and thinking, 'You know what? I've got a couple of invitations to go here and there, but I think I'm just going to have some room service and put my feet up.'"
"Quito is about 10,000 feet up in the Andes, and it's a really remarkable city. We were there April of this year, and obviously very changeable weather. One of my favorite moments is this contrast of storm and bright sun. It's just very fleeting. I remember being up there, and we would go for walks and stuff, but came back, not wanting to get trapped in what was obviously going to be a torrential downpour. This particular shot was just a moment. Although it's a nice shot of the hillside, it's really dictated by this bizarre weather condition."
"Oshkosh is a festival that we play along the water, and we've done it twice in the last five years or so. I really got fortunate here. To a certain extent you can't set this stuff up. You're really at the disposal of what's down there, but this just made a really great shot to me, and it was a matter of waiting for that sun to come out from the clouds."
North Haven, Conn.
"I'm on the first floor, or maybe the second floor, and there are lines and a very boring collection of cars or rent-a-cars. That engine that's in this picture is the back engine, and there was an engine in the front. Within another half second, that whole thing is gone out of view. So from the time I heard the rumble, to powering the camera up, to framing, to grabbing the last engine as it slipped out of view, at about 60 to 70 miles an hour. I was just very lucky."
Sao Paulo, Brazil
"Sao Paulo is what I call a Simpsons sky. It's one of these receding cloud-filled skies, like in the cartoon series, The Simpsons. Sao Paulo is one of the largest cities in the world, and it just goes on forever. We were at a brand-new high-rise hotel that was, as you can see from this shot, somewhat more on the outskirts, out near towards the airport. So I am looking back at one of the high-rise sections of the city. And, so, by being removed, there's a long expanse of suburb before you see this whole collection of high-rises again in the distance."
"Because of the reflective nature of that building, it was also a self-portrait. You can kind of see where I'm at. I'm in this older brick building across the way, and the reflection, even thought it's pretty severely warped, shows you the false front on my hotel building, the extended roof being held up by the beam, and I'm on the top floor, you can see me with the window up."
San Diego, Calif.
"It's a fantastic place. We actually hold the record for, I think, 14 consecutive years we've played and sold out this venue. I happened to look down and realize that there was not one person on the seats, and if I framed this right I can fill the entire window with the seats. So that was the concept, and I just lined it up as smoothly as I could, and got a pretty unique shot."
"The Westbury shot is just one of those weird things where you look out and it's of a building across the way with some kind of irregular evergreens along the bottom. You couldn't have scripted it. You don't ever like things to be exactly too perfectly balanced and stuff. And what I have found is very often I'll shoot something like this, and I'll frame it the first time. And then I'll go and think, 'Hmmm, let me try a few other ways,' and very often I'll come back and realize that I got it with the first shot."
"Australia is one of our favorite places to tour. Canberra--I don't know a lot about it. It's a business center, but in this particular hotel, I was looking inside. This was a fitness center. All of a sudden, this guy came in his Speedo, and I thought 'Oh, this might be good.' He got his goggles out and everything. I ended up taking a dozen shots, and had to be a little bit cautious, because I don't like to be spying on people. I ended up going with this shot here with the ripples where it looks like he just stuck his toe in to test the water, and he's about to head in for his swim. I think that it shows that, although the concept is 'view from my hotel window,' how widely that can take you. It isn't just 'well, here's what's out the window.' Sometimes, without going nuts, you can tell a little bit more of a story."