Helen Bradley Owers
I was born in Cheltenham but moved to the New Forest when I was very young. I knew from an early age my musical taste was 'different' to other girls at school, while they were all listening to the Osmonds and David Cassidy I was listening to Cream, Zep and Purple, I just about managed to avoid being a complete social outcast by my obsession with Cat Stevens and T Rex. Things took off when I got to college and for the first time met similarly music- minded people and started going to gigs. I have no regrets about being an 'old bird' because it meant I saw legends who are no longer with us like Rory Gallagher, Gary Moore, Phil Lynott and Randy Rhoads along with first tours by the likes of Rush and the Scorpions, in the days when supports were bands like UFO and Def Leppard. I will never forget going to see Black Sabbath, watching Van Halen for the first time, or later seeing Randy Rhoads with Ozzy.
In the 80's I moved back to Cheltenham and began a long relationship with a musician from Evesham, which expanded my musical taste into glam and sleaze. In the early 90s I returned South and married another musician but because of family commitments my love of music got put to one side for many years until I got divorced in 2012. In need of a social life I started going to gigs again on my own and took my camera to give me 'something to do.' And suddenly I discovered something I truly love doing. I've been incredibly lucky, a chance meeting with a freelance music journalist at a parent teacher evening has led to taking photos of production set ups of bands like KISS, Muse, Thin Lizzy and Bon Jovi. As a consequence I have made some amazing friends among road crews and they are kind enough to invite me along whenever they're in the country. This and taking photos has taken me to places I never in a million years thought I'd be: such as a whole day with KISS at the London Forum, watching Bon Jovi from side stage at Hyde Park and the Isle of Wight, and watching War of the Worlds in rehearsal. I was asked to write a review of the KISS gig and I've been contributing reviews and interviews for assorted publications ever since, which has meant interviewing and reviewing wonderful musicians and being at the frontline of finding new bands.
My taste in music is varied but Richie Kotzen always has something for every mood and will always be my 'one true love'. The rest of the time I listen to all rock from metal to AOR but I'm a big blues fan too, so I love the point where the two genres collide, and at that point Beth Hart is my girl. My other joy is fetching up at a pub and finding astounding musicians and bands, no deals, no tours, no managers. They're just doing it because they can't help but do it. I love that passion.
I am genuinely grateful every day for what rock music and photography has given me over the years. It's provided the sound track to my life, amazing experiences, friendships and now Fireworks Magazine and Rocktopia. I met contributing photographer James Charlwood in the pit at Skid Row, he recommended me to Dave Scott and hey presto another adventure begins. I can't wait to see what happens next!