the book in a nutshell
He and his buddies often tricked naive box office personnel into giving them concert tickets, press and backstage passes that allowed him to capture candid close-ups of Van Halen, Judas Priest and Metallica in their prime. To support his passion, he acquired black market marijuana pipes to sell to crowds in parking lots before concerts, which covered the costs of film and flashcubes.
Rudy was raised in Boston, but eventually left because the city performed the greatest act of sacrilege—they banned Led Zeppelin from playing the Boston Garden. He flew to the Califfornia World Music Festival [sic] in 1979, hitchhiked back to DC, and encountered a host of colorful yet questionable characters along the way. Once settled in DC, his grandfather got him a job with the railroad. He took full advantage of his free travel benefits and attended iconic shows like Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
On the one hand, his friends had his back when it came to burrowing a path through arena after arena for Rudy to take photos, and entered shows with lenses and film down their pants and in their jacket sleeves in order to smuggle in his camera equipment. On the other hand, they enabled his habit of consuming hard drugs as he tried desperately to get straight. Regardless, he was never without chutzpah. In 1983, he attended the US Festival where he riff-raffed press credentials, impersonated a writer for Kerrang! magazine and was chosen to conduct an exclusive interview with the Scorpions.
In an unconventional manner, he found room numbers on maid’s carts to track down rock stars at their hotels, partying with them and being gifted backstage passes. Although once Rudy confiscated Bob Seger’s beer from his dressing room as he jammed onstage, sometimes connecting with rock’s elite was not always a great experience. Rudy was tossed out of Ozzy’s dressing room by an enraged Sharon Osbourne while totally blotto on PCP. Futhermore, he had the webs of his fingers sliced with a razor blade by an uptight bouncer, was mummified in toilet paper and lit afire by his roommate in Indiana, and survived a birthday brawl during which he was tossed into a dumpster and forced to defend himself with a broken bar table. Rudy found it difficult to find true love in the rock scene, as he wasn't about to partner with groupies, yet his dream girl would never put up with his drug addiction. He had fun dating, nonetheless. Once he found a lead singer‘s girlfriend grinding herself to ecstasy on the back of his neck while on his shoulders at a concert, and he was caught off guard when the back door of a moving truck rolled up to reveal Rudy getting it on with a girl for all of the Sunset Strip to see.
Rudy managed the fledgling cover band Forcer molding them into an all-original act to be reckoned with as they ventured to California to sign a record deal. Though offered a contract, drugs hindered their efforts and Rudy fell down the rabbit hole into an abyss of angel dust and cocaine. Opting for the rehab route, he never stopped rocking and ultimately became an award-winning documentarian, published rock photographer, boxing producer and a married father of four. The book is a tale of both ambition and destruction, uniquely told from a fan’s perspective.
It’s quite the rollercoaster ride, so buckle up!