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Marvin Rinnig

Legendary "Sunset Strip" photographer, Marvin Rinnig, was born in Santa Monica, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles and it was the best of times, the 50's & 60's. Cool cars and the dawn of Rock & Roll plus television. Marvin soaked up all the kooky culture.

Marvin says, "Growing up in L.A. was fun. There was a lot of art and entertainment in many forms. From an early age I loved it all. But of course everything changed in 1964. The Beatles and The British Invasion changed everything. The day after The Beatles first infamous Ed Sullivan show, I started taking guitar lessons. Music had already been a passion but playing guitar kicked me into high gear. I won tickets from KRLA to see The Beatles at The Hollywood Bowl in 1965 and Jimi Hendrix at The Bowl '68. It was all Godhead. The music scene was changing the world. I had gone to The Teenage Fair every year starting in '62. When it moved to The Hollywood Palladium it was huge. Every Easter vacation for 14 days, companies like Vox, Fender, Revlon, Yardley, etc etc would have big concerts, booths, contests, a big carnival, and especially the Battle of the Bands. It was nirvana for me. I took the bus there every day. A true paradise I could escape to. Hollywood always drew me in. I loved hanging out on The Sunset Strip in the 60's. Pandora's Box, The Whiskey AuGoGo, The Conspiracy Head Shop. It was so PopArt and the people were all these crazy hippies."

"When I was 13 I formed a band called "The Knights of Time". We played Beatles, Stones, Who, Kinks, Doors, etc. When we played on KHJ TV 9, I sang "Fortune Teller" by The Stones. While there I met DJ Sam Riddle, an icon broadcaster, while doing his radio show and I got to hang out in the booth a little while. I was hooked by the showbiz bug.

When my band played the school pep rally, I sang "7 and 7 is" by Arthur Lee & Love. I was so nervous in front of 3,000 people but the adrenalin rush was addictive."

When I was 15 I went through a major change. I moved into my Dad's mansion in Laurel Canyon at Mulholland. It's where all the rock gods lived. A mile down the hill and I was on The Strip. I had new friends, rich and decadent, who were into everything I was. It was a blast.

School soon had a major impact on me. I took a photo class for fun and started taking my camera to concerts. People bought my rock shots. Then I saw the cinema masterpiece "Blow Up" from Michelangelo Antonioni. The story of a hip young London photographer in the swinging 60's. Driving around London in his Rolls Royce convertible and taking pics of luscious young babes. What a dream, what could be better? It was an inspiration. I found photography & music to be my passions. I was a straight A student and wanted to be a doctor. I changed my career direction and became an Art Major. While I couldn't paint, photography was my creative outlet and I was making money from it. Upon graduating high school in '71, I bought my first Porsche, a late 1958 red Speedster. I started shooting concert photos, advertising work, models, whatever jobs I could get. It's feast or famine, but always fun. I started doing various assignments for Jon Boutwell Enterprises, the largest merchandiser in the world. His clients were KISS, Elton John, Cheap Trick, Barry Manilow, EarthWind& Fire, etc. All the dolls, lunchboxes, Tshirts, posters, everything, was from Boutwell. It was a great contact for my concert work, whether shooting for the band, the manager, record label, a magazine, whoever."

"In 1977 I expanded my horizons and interests. Being an avid car guy, I went to Europe and bought rare exotic sports cars to resell back in LA. Then I began managing a band but I got axed after they signed to a major record label. So I started producing a few concerts at local colleges. Life was good. I moved into a large penthouse above the Sunset Strip and opened up my photo studio there. I started doing actor's headshots, bands and models. I've been here for 30 years and shot the biggest stars and the fresh kid off the bus. Sometimes it's very surreal."

"Around 1983 I started a band. My guitar was a psychedelic swirl of sounds. Like Hendrix meets Brian Eno. A great singer came into the band and we started "Screams for Tina". We recorded a vinyl LP in 1985 that became a Gothic holy grail and the band was the darling of the underground music scene. In 1989 my daughter Chelsea was born and I left the band in 1991 to raise her."

Marvin continues, "Photography has always been good to me. It's always interesting and it's never work. The role of a photographer is to capture a moment in history. I've met the coolest characters and I've been thrown into the craziest situations. Imagine when I shot The Mentors with strippers in front of Hollywood High School on Sunset Blvd. Car horns honking, people yelling at us, it was crazy..."

"So I think these photos should bring us back to a different era. When all these old guitar wankers were young and relevant. Long live Keith Richards."

All images and designs are copyright 2020 Marvin Rinnig.
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