Photographer Danny Clinch Talks Hanging Out With Eddie Vedder & Sean Penn, New Shannon Hoon Documentary

As recently reported on the Alternative Nation site, photographer Danny Clinch is currently working on completing the much-talked about film comprised of Hi-8 video footage that late Blind Melon singer Shannon Hoon shot between 1990-1995 (for which a sneak peak can be viewed here).

Danny was willing to chat with me for the Songfacts site about the Shannon film:

“I knew all the Shannon footage existed, and we decided we would ask Lisa [Shannon’s girlfriend] and Nico [Shannon’s daughter] if we could use this footage that Shannon had shot. She agreed, and we started to look through the footage. And really, it was Brad Smith [Blind Melon’s bassist] who kept saying all along, ‘This should really be a film about Shannon through Shannon’s eyes.’ And we were like, ‘Yeah. This is such a big story.’ At the end of the day, I came to the conclusion that it was a really cool idea. We started to dig through, and really the important thing to us was, ‘Could we sustain the film with just this footage?’ What we realized was that Shannon was a really dedicated filmer – he filmed a lot, and with purpose. I feel like he felt all along that he was going to make a film with it at some point, so we thought that we would oblige him and help him make the film.”

And he discussed photographing other rockers, such as Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder (including the story behind a new famous photo session, of Mr. Vedder holding a ukulele while floating on a paddleboard in a pond – of which the photo above was taken):

“The cover of my book, called Still Moving, is a photo from that session: the cover of his ukulele record. My friend, Gary Ashley – who’s my assistant for over 15 years – we had a conversation of, ‘What was one of the best photo shoots in this book?’ And we had to agree that going to Oahu to hang with Eddie Vedder for three or four days was one of the best shoots ever. It involved going surfing, going paddleboarding, driving around Oahu with Ed in his Jeep to location scout, sitting around at night after the shoots, having a beer with Ed and Sean Penn. It’s like living the dream.”

You can read the rest of the interview (including memories of photo sessions with Neil Young and Tom Waits) by clicking your clicker here.