Article by Deborah Benson, Big Fish Ideas
From her perspective, there is no better place than here and no better time than now for celebrating and recording our shared musical experience. “Now” is what Benson has captured for 29 years, beginning in 1976, months after Randall Kane built The Catalyst Club and Good Times Magazine opened its doors creating musical lightning and putting Santa Cruz on the map for good. One day in 1975 Benson pulled up to the Catalyst Club in her 914 Porsche, armed with a Canon, a smile and no small amount of determination. Benson drove west from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in search of a dream to contribute to and place herself firmly in the middle of the musical explosion of the seventies.
"One day in 1975 Benson pulled up to the Catalyst Club in her 914 Porsche, armed with a Canon, a smile and no small amount of determination."
Looking over her shoulder 30 years later, she has done just that. Working in the Good Times darkroom by day and pursuing her BFA in Radio, Television and Film at San Jose State by night, Benson earned the post of Good Times Staff Photographer and became a mainstay at the Catalyst Club. Through her lens we have gained a more intimate understanding of the musical icons of our time–Folk, Hard Rock, Pop, Jazz, Punk, New wave, Singer/Songwriter, Grunge, Alternative and everything in between. In addition to covering the scene for Good Times, Benson has shot several album covers, The Doobie Brothers tour book as well as photographed The Eagles 30th anniversary tour in 2001. Major festivals include the Monterey Jazz Festival and the 1982 US Festival. She has provided images to the Grammy Awards, the Guinness Book of World Records numerous web sites and publications, including Rolling Stone magazine and The New York Times. She also co-managed the career of Lacy J. Dalton, working alongside Bill Grossman to help her get signed by Capitol Records. Recently as Good Times Night Moves music columnist for three years she wrote about the music scene in the Monterey Bay.
Next time you are at the Catalyst if you look closely through the crowd, you can still catch her shooting the scene. If you want to know what it felt like to be there in the 70s, 80s and 90s, just look up, Catalyst has mounted a stunning 30-year retrospective of her work and their shared musical history. At present she is hard at work doing on her latest artistic endeavor: The Catalyst Film Project, a film documentary chronicling 30 years of music and rock ‘n’ roll history inside the doors of Randall Kane’s empire as well as her book, From Rock Stars, to Stone Circles.