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Published: 5/17/2011

Photo exhibit of rock icons to aid project for homeless

BY TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Harry Sandler, a veteran rock 'n' roll tour manager and photographer, will donate all the proceeds from his October exhibit at 20 North Gallery to 1Matters, an agency trying to improve living conditions for the area’s homeless. Harry Sandler, a veteran rock 'n' roll tour manager and photographer, will donate all the proceeds from his October exhibit at 20 North Gallery to 1Matters, an agency trying to improve living conditions for the area’s homeless.
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As a tour manager, photographer, truck driver, sound engineer and jack-of-all-trades in a rock ‘n’ roll career that began in San Francisco in 1964, Harry Sandler has immersed himself with some of the biggest names: Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Nicks, John Mellencamp, Harry Chapin, Billy Joel, Peter Frampton, the Eagles, the Rolling Stones, Van Halen, the Who — you name it.

And there’s a good chance Mr. Sandler’s either managed the act, photographed it, or played a role in its production.

This October, his amazing collection of photographs will be on display at 20 North Gallery in downtown Toledo, a fund-raiser for 1Matters and its efforts to improve living conditions for Toledo-area homeless people.

Mr. Sandler is donating all proceeds from that exhibit to 1Matters. Gallery owner Eric Hillenbrand likewise is donating all of his commissions.

“I thought it would be the most productive way I could contribute,” Mr. Hillenbrand said.

The gallery is at 18 St. Clair St. across from Field Third Field.

The plan is to have the opening reception on Oct. 9 in conjunction with World Homeless Awareness Day.

Back for a second year that day will be 1Mile Matters, a milelong walk in support of homeless services.

An all-day musical extravaganza called the 1Rocks — 1Matters Benefit Concert is to be held inside the Erie Street Market immediately after the walk, from noon to 9 p.m. Oct. 9.

Mr. Sandler’s Oct. 30 closing reception is tied to the final day of Tent City, the annual event in which area volunteers camp out with the homeless in Civic Center Mall near the Toledo Police headquarters and provide a variety of services while listening to live music.

Tent City is scheduled from Oct. 28 through Oct. 30.

Bruce Springsteen is among the subjects of photos taken by Harry Sandler. Others include Stevie Nicks, Billy Joel, Peter Frampton, and John Mellencamp, who became involved in Toledo’s tent city project last year. Bruce Springsteen is among the subjects of photos taken by Harry Sandler. Others include Stevie Nicks, Billy Joel, Peter Frampton, and John Mellencamp, who became involved in Toledo’s tent city project last year.
HARRY SANDLER Enlarge
Mr. Sandler, 67, was described by an online publication last year as “one of the top tour managers in the music business.”

He attended Woodstock and had a hand in producing the largest festival to follow it, the 1983 US Festival in southern California.

While on the road, he was a frequent contributor to Rolling Stone, Circus, and Crawdaddy! magazines, among others, and shot photographs for record companies.

His many credits include a stint as tour manager of Springsteen’s The River tour and a long association with Mellencamp’s road shows, up until his unsuccessful effort at retirement in 2008. He jokes about how he has come out of retirement three times since then, but — now that he’s in his “fourth retirement” — he’s retired for good.

That is, except for a little dabbling with photography he expects to keep doing, with his sights now set on America’s national parks.

He said he was inspired by the recent Ken Burns series on them. “I’ve been around the world and haven’t seen a thing,” Mr. Sandler said. “Hotel rooms and gigs. That’s it.”

Mr. Sandler admits there were times the glamour and glitz of rock ‘n’ roll started to go to his head.

But, unlike many others who immersed themselves in the music business, he didn’t lose sight of his humble roots.

According to Mr. Sandler, his upbringing included some abuse during his formative years in Atlantic City and the Bronx, places his family moved after his birth in Tallahassee.

It culminated with a bout of drug addiction, including when he was living in San Francisco during some of the rock industry’s most pivotal moments out there from 1964 to 1967.

“I always thought of how lucky I was to survive,” he said.

Now, he said, he wants to be part of an event that gives back to those in need.

“As a nation, we don’t care [enough] about the old, the sick, and those unable to care for themselves,” Mr. Sandler said yesterday while visiting 20 North Gallery. “Many are veterans.”

And many, he said, are the kind of people who can give something back to society with a little patience and help.

“It’s the same with children,” Mr. Sandler said. “Teach them to do something and their hearts open up.”

Flanking him in the gallery were photographs on canvas he took of Roger Daltry, lead singer of The Who, and Mellencamp.

Both had paintinglike qualities to them, which Mr. Sandler attributed to a special technique that involves a creative marriage between his iPhone and more conventional photography.

Mr. Sandler said he met Ken Leslie, Tent City founder and the creator of 1Matters, while managing a Mellencamp road tour.

Mellencamp was Mr. Leslie’s inspiration for 1Matters, commenting during a 2007 concert at the SeaGate Centre how every person matters in life.

Mellencamp told his audience he was touched by the caring atmosphere he came across while visiting Tent City the afternoon of his concert. One of his assistants came back with a fistful of 70 free tickets for the homeless. The singer-songwriter from Indiana struck up a relationship with Mr. Leslie’s group after that, doing public service announcements for 1Matters and checking in from time to time.

“People will see things here that are not available anywhere else in the world,” Mr. Leslie said of the upcoming exhibit.

The music biz is in the rest of Sandler family’s blood.

Mr. Sandler’s wife, Debra Rathwell, is a senior vice president for Los Angeles-based AEG Live, the world’s second-largest music and entertainment promotion company; his son, Jesse, 37, is Bon Jovi’s production manager. Mr. Sandler’s daughter, Emilie, 24, is road manager for Mellencamp and production coordinator for Phish.

Contact Tom Henry at: thenry@theblade.com or 419-724-6079.



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