Frank Zappa - Photo by John Gasperik

By George Gimarc

All photos by John Gasperik

If you’ve been to rock concerts in the ‘70s all the way up through the next several decades, you might have noticed John Gasperik in the pit at the very front, shooting pictures of some of the best known acts in music.

Interested in photography, he took some courses in photography while he was living in Sherman and learned to use a camera and operate a darkroom. John started coming down to Dallas in the mid ‘70s to go to shows and started taking pictures. Here’s just a few of the hundreds of compelling photos.

In September of 1977, Frank Zappa was in town and as many musicians did at the time, he came down afterwards to Mother Blues. He was coming in the front door and John said “Hey Frank, give us a snarl as if a weasel just ripped your flesh!” John says that Zappa flipped him off as he took the shot.

Led Zeppelin came through Dallas – Ft. Worth many times and Robert Plant and John Bonham came down to Mother Blues several nights after the show and John snapped a few pictures with Robert with several of the waitresses, and had one taken with himself seeing who could unbutton their shirts the lowest.  There’s a few pictures of John Bonham on drums too, probably sitting in with Krackerjack.

Freddie King was a true guitar king around DFW.  John had only been in Dallas a little while when Freddie walked in and John took a picture. He looked rather dubious about the whole thing but lightened up when a few girls started hanging on his arms.

John was the Hard Rock Café’s official house photographer for several years, beginning taking pictures of the club as it was being built on the bones of the Wrecking Bar there on McKinney.

Iggy Pop at the Hard Rock Café – It was for a CD release party or something

James Brown at a New Year’s party at the Hard Rock Café.

November 1990 – While most people think of Billy Joel as the piano man, he would step out from time to time and play guitar. This is one of the many photos made during the first three songs of a band that they would typically allow you to use your photo pass.

These days – John is facing the biggest challenge of his life. He’s had a series of troubles with landlords which have forced the closure of the long-lived Shake Rag Music store and now it is a daily struggle to keep the cash flow coming in, and some of the mountains of memorabilia flowing out, a warehouse or two full of it. Guitars by the hundreds, photos, stereo gear, toys, and all the stuff of a music and pop culture fan’s desires. If you want to help out, he’s set up a Go Fund Me where you can trade ‘donations’ for memorabilia, or you can simply arrange to drop by and go shopping with your cash.

One of several video stories about Gasperik:

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