People from the era tell their stories.
Andrew "Beezer``Beese was born in the city of Bristol on October 22nd 1965. The youngest of five, he went to school at St. Mary Redcliffe and Temple School.
In the '80s, London's traditional monopoly of the UK music scene faced rivalry from some unlikely places. Manchester may have grabbed most of the headlines for the debauchery up at The Hacienda, but down in the port town of Bristol, a vibrant scene was busy bubbling away.
With its significant black population, Bristol already had a solid foundation of reggae and soul music. Then some beat-obsessed kids christened themselves The Wild Bunch and threw some of the craziest parties ever to rock the city. Years later, members of The Wild Bunch helped define the UK's emerging club sounds-Nellee Hooper went on to produce everyone from Soul-2-Soul to Bjork, and most of the others, well, they formed the hugely influential underground force Massive Attack.
A childhood friend, Andy Beese, aka Beezer, captured those early years on film and has since ended up in Tokyo. His first book, Wild Dayz, a compilation of 220 original photos taken by the then fledgling teenage photographer, was released in Tokyo in 2004. Wild Dayz is a rare document of an emerging underground youth culture that helped shape later mainstream lifestyles in the UK.
"I left school in the early '80s with fairly low grades, due to me going out a lot between the ages of 12 and 16. There was a brand new audio-visual course going on at technical college in Bristol, so I borrowed a camera from a mate, put together some photos," says Beezer, who was born and raised in Bristol. "I didn't have a clue what I was doing but I was accepted on the course. I did a documentary series of photos at a very rough boy's school in Southmead in Bristol. There, I met a religious education teacher who was putting out a book called God Rules, OK with kids from broken families reciting bits from the Bible. She asked me to take the photos, and that was my first book."
This could have been the start of a righteous calling for the young Beezer, but wicked basslines and the devilish pleasure of all-night parties won the battle for his soul. "Bristol had a very healthy scene at that time, both for live music and DJing. In 1984, Technics just brought out these DJ decks, all my friends were DJs, they would play all kinds of records-funk, punk, post-punk and then a lot of US hip-hop and electro stuff was coming in. There was also the graffiti that people like Goldie were doing. But we had no idea what it would escalate into."
Escalate it did, and the word soon spread outside of Bristol. "For me, the peak was about '85, '86," Beezer recalls. "The Bristol guys would go up to London to play with the other sound systems and sometimes combine to hold big warehouse parties. These were completely illegal events attracting 700 or 800 people in a freezing cold warehouse with a bathtub full of beers, and a ropey old sound system but the vibe was incredible. There was attitude, but none of the egotistical face of things we see too often now."
There is a spontaneous, relaxed feel to the shots in the book (mainly black-and-white), perhaps a reflection of Bristol's easygoing character, and the fact they were all friends out for a good time.
"I knew most of the people around me, and they knew me. So it wasn't a problem hanging out with the camera. I put my own darkroom together at home, so I'd take photos, develop them and show them to my mates the next day."
In the 2004 edition of The Wild Dayz, no clues are given of the places and faces depicted and this approach saves the book from deteriorating into a train-spotter's bible-leaving the viewer free to focus on the general atmosphere, rather than just the famous faces. Yet, without such pointers, flicking through the first few pages of graffiti-covered walls, breakdancing black kids in stonewashed denim and sportswear, (Kangol, Fila, and of course, Adidas), those unfamiliar with the UK could be forgiven for thinking that this was the Bronx, not the southwest of England. The 2009 Wild Dayz, to be published by Tangent Books in the UK will carry captions at the end of the book and with some additional until now unseen works by 3D of Wild Bunch/Massive Attack.
Still, it was an energetic scene he was determined to record. This time was later coined The Wild Dayz Period and this period lent its name to the title of 2004 Japan publication and the accompanying Tokyo exhibitions. Beezer has a knack for capturing the moment and this collection of images shows how it all started. Many of the shots are of the Wild Bunch performing at the Dug Out Club, the infamous Red House Jam and at St Paul's Carnival, but there are also many more shots from festivals and events and a selection of portraiture.
Since The Wild Dayz Period, Beezer has continued to document Street and Urban Culture both on film and as technology has evolved, digitally as well.
Beezer's careening artistic vision of the Documentation of Street & Urban Culture, over twenty five years, five major periods, in a dozen countries and with different media (film, digital camera, mobile camera, mobile video) can be seen in it's earliest days in The Wild Dayz.
Taken from: http://www.beezerphotos.com/about.html