Pat Blashill – “The Cutting Edge”: Behind the Scenes


Photographer Pat Blashill was in the right place at the right time back in 1985 when MTV rolled into Austin to film an episode of their show “The Cutting Edge” about the city’s thriving, youthful “new music” scene. Blashill was a photojournalism student at the University of Texas and had been taking pictures of many of Austin’s bands already when the MTV crew hired him to take still photos of the production.

[See Blashill’s Photos]

The Reivers, then still going by their original moniker Zeitgeist, were a fairly new group at the time. Blashill recalls, “John and I worked together as ushers at the State Theatre on Congress, and I had previously photographed his mod band The Make. By a weird twist of small town fate, I knew Cindy Toth in high school–she was a fellow drama fag friend–and then we met again in the middle of the Austin music scene.”

He adds, “Even then, people really, really adored Zeitgeist and [later] the Reivers. I sometimes saw a look on John’s face that seemed to say he was flattered but a bit surprised by all of the attention his band was getting. I think a lot of my friends were surprised they didn’t become a more famous band.”

Blashill’s black and white photos are important in their documentation of a vibrant slice of music history, but they’re also striking in their composition. He had an artist’s eye for just the right shot at the right moment. “ I was friends with many of the musicians before I took their pictures–I was trying to photograph my own life in a way. I thought this was an important scene, but I also just liked all this crazy music” he says now.

Leaving Austin for New York City in 1987, he continued taking dynamic shots of bands in his new home. You can view many of these as well as The Cutting Edge photos on his website: poison- music pictures by Pat Blashill.

[Watch Zeitgeist/The Reivers’ segment on The Cutting Edge.]