It happened in about 2006. I no longer remember the exact date. My friend who was as a sound engineer at the Moscow music club B-1 often offered me to “hang around” behind the scenes. He knew that I was keen on taking informal pics.

Chuck Berry greating the people. Чак Берри, музыкант. © Sasha Krasnov - Portrait Photographer

Chuck Berry greating the people

It was almost night when the phone rang and I heard him inviting me to come to the club today in his broken Russian (he was a Czech):

I know that you like to shoot backstage. Today we will have a concert… (illegible). Please come, maybe, you’ll manage to take some good photos.
And who is performing?
………. (illegible)
Oh, sounds great, I’m coming!

I felt uncomfortable to refuse his invitation, although I was unable to make out what he said. So I decided to go.

The group performing at the stage by the time I got there struck me as strange and boring. And I decided to take a few photos out of courtesy, as one can always spot something interesting if they keep their eyes peeled.

It was long after midnight when I started thinking of going home. But when I found my friend to thank him for the invitation – not every person can get behind the scenes of a major music club – he stared at me as if I was mad and said:

Are you crazy!? Chuck Berry has just arrived! I told you about this on the phone!
You’ve only seen the warm-up! He’s already coming to the stage! Maybe, you’ll manage to snap him.

Chuck Berry walking to the stage. Чак Берри, музыкант. © Sasha Krasnov - Portrait Photographer

Chuck Berry walking to the stage

This is how I found myself at a Chuck Berry gig.

In fact, as it turned out, Chuck Berry was very late and went straight to the stage, so I had no chance to meet him one-to-one, but still tried to snap a few photographs from the stage.

This image of him walking along the corridor to the stage in his captain’s cap stuck in my memory.

  • Camera: Pentax ME
  • Lens: Pentax 50mm F1.4
  • Film: Ilford Pan 400
// Sasha Krasnov