More Access: Inside
All Access by Ken Regan

 Yesterday we told you about Ken Regan‘s humble beginnings in photography, but today in part two of our five part series we delve a little deeper. Ken received a few lucky breaks early on when he was able to review live events like Woodstock, but getting into the Fillmore East in Manhattan proved a little more difficult.

“Bill Graham ran the theatre and you weren’t allwed to take photos there unless he said so,” Regan explained. “Not having those connections at the time I would bring in a camera under my jacket and every time he caught me, so often in fact it became a joke.”

The Doors (1970) Westbury Music Fair, NY 

But one day, The New York Sunday Times asked Regan to photograph a Thanksgiving day concert at the Fillmore, complete with Thanksgiving dinner afterwards personally hosted by Graham. Graham once again caught him with a camera and nearly threw him out until he saw his credentials and personally called Regan’s editor, confirming he was allowed access to the show.

“He told me, ‘Just don’t get in my way,’ and everything went smoothly from there,” Regan said. “The Sunday Times Magazine ran three pages of my photographs with a nice credit. So I sent a nice note to [Graham] with some prints and the magazine, and I never heard anything back from him. That is, until two months go by, and he called me and said, ‘No photographer has never sent me photos like that before…you can come by and take pictures here any time.'”

Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell (December, 1975) Cambridge, Mass.

After that, Regan had total access to any of the rock stars that played at the Fillmore, including The Stones, Bob Dylan, and many, many more. Bill also became a mentor and an older brother figure in Ken’s life and they were close for many years. Tragically, Bill was killed in a helicopter crash in 1991, but Ken still remains close with his family to this day.

“At my most recent All Access book signing , his son came up to say ‘hi.’ I tried to give him free copies of the book, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He bought three copies, one for himself, one for his sister and one for his mother,” Regan said.

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