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Alto Reed: MSG 1980

Tom Weschler is a baller. The man was there, in the moment, and saw it all from behind the lens. Not only is Tom a world-class rock photographer, but he is also an excellent storyteller. Is entrance into what became his career started on the school bus. Here is Tom’s story…

In November of 1963, my family moved from my hometown of Allen Park Michigan to a town called Rochester, 25 miles north of Detroit. The day we moved was a double shocker for me because it was the day President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.  The Beatles were just coming into their own as the next hit record group in America; I was a fan right out of the box.  For Christmas 1964, I was given a Kodak Brownie Super 27 camera.
In January the news was that Ed Sullivan would have The Beatles on his Sunday night TV show. A photo opportunity that I would not miss!

On February 9, 1964, my time was taken up with fixing my camera to be able to sit on a tripod. I accomplished this by gluing an HO model railroad part to the bottom of my new camera so I could secure it to the tripod. That endeavor worked out well and I got plenty of shots of the first live performance of The Beatles right off of my TV.  I developed the film and printed small prints in my ‘darkroom’, which was actually a bathroom. The next day I got on the bus and sat next to the coolest girl I could find who, when I sat down looked at me like I was nutts. I was a sophomore and had no business sitting next to this senior-class beauty. I asked her if she had seen The Beatles the night before she replied: “yes, didn’t everyone”? Before she could say anything else I opened my notebook, it had 20 small photos from The Ed Sullivan Show’s Beatle’s performance taped onto the pages. She gasped! It was of course pre-VCR 1964 and you couldn’t see The Beatles again until Ed Sullivan said so.  She asked me if she could borrow my notebook with all the photos in it.  “Meet me in the lunchroom and I’ll give it back”, is what she said. I agreed.  At lunch, I sat down across the table from her as she slid $35.00 in quarters half-dollars and singles toward me. I asked her what the money was for.  She replied: “You do have the negatives for these prints, don’t you”? I said: “Yes.”  She told me to print the photos on a list she gave to me. Then said that we could do this until all of her friends had photos. The Beatles were going to be on the show for the next two weeks so this would be a good thing for the two of us.
I thought about it for a split second: “photography, girls, music and a little bit of money” I put the blinders on and never looked back!

  • First Job

    I got a job in a music store and drove the company truck delivering band equipment to other stores, clients, and stage performances and at the venues, I always had my camera. One of those venues was The Grande Ballroom in Detroit, where I photographed The Jeff Beck Group, Cream, Fleetwood Mac, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, The Who, Pink Floyd, and so many others.

    Pink Floyd at The Grande '68

    Pink Floyd at The Grande ’68

  • Working with Bob Seger

    In 1968 I met up with Bob Seger and became his road manager for 5 years, kinda right up my alley given my experience with band gear. On the road, with Bob, I had my Nikon with me and was able to photograph some goings-on that were not the usual stage photos. I was able to photograph his performances from a vantage point not available to everyone with a camera.  I worked on album covers and designed Bob’s albums that were released while I was working for him and his manager, Punch Andrews.

    Bob Seger '75

    Bob Seger ’75

  • What Happened Next

    When I left the Bob Seger office I got involved with record company promotion men and women and photographed artists for Capitol, Atlantic, Mercury, EMI, Columbia, Arista, and many other labels. This kind of photography was mostly about traveling around the Midwest with Rock, R&B and Jazz artists while they were promoting their latest releases.

       After a few years of doing this promotion style photography, I worked for a time at CREEM Magazine doing various photographic chores like shooting pictures of feature subjects for the magazine.  Later on, we published the book; ‘Travelin’ Man on the Road and Behind the Scenes with Bob Seger’. And I still haven’t looked back.

    Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo '79

    Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo ’79

  • Tom Weschler Gallery

    Eddie Van Halen (this picture hangs in the WCSX on air studio)

    Eddie Van Halen (this picture hangs in the WCSX on-air studio)

    Tom Petty: Cobo Arena '79

    Tom Petty: Cobo Arena ’79

    Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bob Seger and Mr. Bruce Springsteen

    Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bob Seger and Mr. Bruce Springsteen: Pine Knob ’78

    Roger McGuinn, The Byrds at Pine Knob '87

    Roger McGuinn, The Byrds at Pine Knob ’87

    Seger and Springsteen: Pine Knob ’78

    Joe Cocker Armada '78

    Joe Cocker Armada ’78

    Cream at Olympia '68

    Cream at Olympia ’68

    Rolling Stones: Masonic '78

    Rolling Stones: Masonic ’78

    John Mellencamp in Birmingham, MI '82

    John Mellencamp in Birmingham, MI ’82

    Mongrel LP back cover

    Mongrel LP back cover

    Bob Seger at The Palace 2012

    Bob Seger at The Palace 2012

    Jimi Hendrix

    Jimi Hendrix

    Led Zeppelin: Kinetic Playground Chicago '69

    Led Zeppelin: Kinetic Playground Chicago ’69

    Queen: Cobo Arena '77

    Queen: Cobo Arena ’77

    The Eagles Circa '78

    The Eagles Circa ’78

    To view our full Tom Weschler Photo gallery, click HERE,