I was contacted by John Phillips, the bouncer at Hurrah’s who was sidelining as a radio promotions man, shopping Madonna’s first demo to radio stations. He put me together with Camille, of Empire Management, Madonna’s manager. Camille asked me to go to Uncle Sam’s Blues, a club in Roslyn, Long Island and make live photographs of just the singer who was fronting a band called “The Breakfast Club”. Just the singer, not the band. Hmmmm? There was this sexy, young woman wearing barely-concealing costumes of chamois skin and foxtails. She was oozing sexuality, but seemed shy or unsure of herself. I went back stage between sets to meet her. I asked her what her real name was. “Madonna.” I offered her encouragement and wrote a short list of suggestions regarding her performance. I was trying to be supportive. When her manager, Camille, discovered the note, she was furious and ejected me from the dressing room, screaming, “How dare you speak to my artist!” I stayed in the club and shot the second set. I took the train back to Manhattan and never heard from Camille again. I referred Madonna to the promoters of Club NY and we saw her shows at the Underground, Danceterial and the Roxy, without a band. My negatives of Madonna’sfirst gig sat in my files for 15 years before anyone had any interest in publishing them. I have since recouped my expenses and then some from my first meeting with Madonna.
Text © George DuBose
After Didi Zills last year presentation, about how he witnessed the recording of “Smoke On The Water” or how he had to pick up photography after the editorial department of german youth magazine “Bravo” sent him to America to photograph “Creedance Clearwater Revival” and “Sonny & Cher”, New York photographer George Dubose will visit the HfG on the 26th of May 2011. Dubose now lives in Cologne and started out photographing in New York. In a club he got to know multiple bands and invited them into his studio. He developed into one of the most demanded rock photographers in America. He nearly got shot in the Big Apple. ‘I had a shooting arranged in a rundown part of Brooklyn.’ He had an arrangement with Notorious B.I.G., who got shot in 1997. Puff Daddy composed the around the world known hit song “I’ll be missing you.” ‘When I arrived at the arranged spot, guns were pointed at me. The boys around Notorious looked so dangerous, so that I only took three pictures, and immediatly took off.’ It was different with Madonna. ‘She was still very young, around nineteen and very shy. She didn’t really know how to pose.’ (Express.de). The photographs of well known personalities like Madonna, Tom Waits or Andy Warhol, tell us stories from the world of rock and roll. He also created about three hundred covers.
Originally apprenticed to commercial and fashion photographers, George Du Bose first became associated with New Wave music after he began speculative work with the fledgling B52s from Athens, Georgia. He has photographed and designed over 300 album covers, collecting 18 gold andplatinum albums for groups as diverse as the REM, The Go Gos, Melissa Etheridge, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Biz Markie and Big Daddy Kane. The Ramones have commissioned him to photograph or design their last nine covers and it is their only gold record for Ramonesmania that he treasures most. He continues to provide creative guidance, art direction, computer graphic design, photography, manufacturing assistance for major record companies and up-and coming artists that want to produce their own albums.
Du Bose’s professional experience includes staff positions as art director and photographer for Island Records and Cold Chillin’ Records, the first photo editor for SPIN magazine and The Image Bankbook division and staff photographer for the original Interview magazine. His company, PopEye Designs International lists Island Trading Company, The New Music Seminar, PolyGram, Warner Bros, Sony and MCA among its clients.