Musicians are barely getting a slice of music industry revenue, largely eating off of live performances instead. For ’Tour Tales,’ we dig into the rider requests, delayed shows, diligent preparation, and future of touring by talking with the multitude of people that move behind the scenes. Record executives, photographers, tour managers, artists, and more all break down what goes into touring and why it’s still so vital to the livelihood of your favorite artists. What happens on tour stays on ‘Tour Tales.’
In the last two years of Juice WRLD’s life, Chris Long was able to capture the late rapper around the world and grow an indelible friendship. “Between [Juice WRLD] and I, we had a serious talk and it was a fulfilling moment because afterward, he looked at me like, ‘That’s why you’re my best friend.’ You don’t forget that,” the photographer told REVOLT.
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” Long opens up about capturing candid shots of Juice WRLD on his last tour, photographing the dedication of Trippie Redd’s fans, and Lil Pump’s early shows. Read below.
One of your first shows in 2017 had you photographing Lil Pump at The Observatory. What was he like back then?
That was pretty crazy. I went on the tour Lil Pump went on with No Jumper. I was basically the tour manager of that tour. I was someone who was in charge, drove the van, got everyone out of hotel and where they needed to be on time, while also taking pictures and filming. It was crazy. It was super early on, so Pump was a little wilder. It was before he was super famous. We went to the mall, just all of us in the group. He was recognized, but not like if he went to the mall today. It probably wouldn’t be possible.
What was his live show like?
It was good. It was super early Pump, so it was more unpolished and raw. He was really interacting with the crowd and jumping in the crowd. I don’t know if he can do that today. He probably wasn’t wearing clothes worth as much money as he does now. So, he probably had a little bit less fear of having fun. It was raw. We had fun f**king around and smoking a ton of weed.
What sort of shots were you trying to get of him?
It was like any show. You feel the vibe and chemistry with the artist. For something like that, it was just me getting in and getting what I could. I don’t really have a game plan. When I see something in my head, I start snapping photos. If Pump was in the crowd, that’s an instant classic photo of early Pump in the crowd. I think about that stuff.
How did you start photographing Trippie Redd?
Trippie’s team needed a filmer and photographer for the last tour (“Love Me More Tour”). Pete Jideonwo hit me up with [a] six hours notice. He was like, “Hey, Trippie goes on tour tomorrow morning. We need a photographer.” It was only for two weeks. I packed my bags for two weeks, went to bed, and caught a plane the next morning. After a week of hanging with Trippie and his crew, Trippie asked me, “You should stay for the whole tour.”
What was the most memorable show you shot for him?
The show I like a lot on this past tour was at Austin, Texas. It was at Stubbs BBQ (on March 8, 2020). It was an outside venue and the stage was small and low. I’m usually onstage with the artist when I shoot and I’ll go in the pit for some shots. Since the pit was so low, the stage was only three feet higher. So, I could hold my arm up and be eye level with Trippie. It was such a small stage. He got on the roof of one part. It was a really good show.
What have you seen from Trippie’s fans at shows?
It’s crazy. I did all the meet-and-greet photos for this tour. It’s crazy the tattoos people get. They get “1400” tattoos, “Trippie” tattoos, and you can really see the emotion in some people about how excited and starstruck they get. You can feel that they’re actually super grateful.
What did you learn about Trippie’s personality when you were on the road with him?
Trip’s a good dude. Trip cares about his friends. He’s a good person. On tour, I got to see how he treats his friends and the people around him. He cares about his friends, his mom, animals.
Some of your best work is with the late Juice WRLD. How did you link up?
Juice and I met early on before he was signed. I filmed the “Juice WRLD Exposed” interview on No Jumper (shot March 2018). That was the first time we met and we clicked right away. He’s the type of dude who tries to find what you have in common right away and that’s your connection. I filmed another video of him later on. I went to the studio with him. We had super deep conversations the second time I hung out with him. One day, I went over to his house to film something and he was like, “Come over tomorrow.” I came over the next day and he was like, “Come over tomorrow.” After that, I never left. We were together every day after that. I had another job, but eventually, I got in full-time with him.
What are some shots you got of Juice that show a different side of him?
Juice was completely open with me. He let me do whatever I wanted. I could film and take pictures. The whole time we were together, he probably told me to turn off the camera two or three times because of the conversations happening in the moment. Besides that, I filmed everything. It was super early on in his relationship, so he had just started dating Ally. I filmed their entire relationship together. I got videos of him making hits. The Legends Never Die album that just dropped, I have him making a lot of those songs. He’s the best freestyler. I have hours and hours of him freestyling.
How often was he recording after performing shows?
He was really recording four-six songs a night. Even when we were on tour, his engineer Max [Lord] set up all the equipment and that was it. Half of the time, I slept in Juice’s room because he’d be recording all night and I’d be sleeping on the couch. He’d record about eight hours in his hotel room. Most of the time after a show, me, him, and Ally would be hanging out watching a movie, playing video games, or recording all night. Usually, around four in the morning, Ally would be like, “Come on, let’s go to bed.”
You captured a sweet moment of Juice singing to his girlfriend onstage. Did you know he was going to do that?
Most of it is on the fly and you never know what was going to happen. Most of the shows, he would end up bringing Ally out, but that was if he wanted to. It wasn’t part of the show. It was just based on how he was feeling. He would pull her out and just freestyles whatever. You can’t plan for that, it’s just like, “I hope I’m in the right place at the right time.”
What’s the most memorable moment at a Juice show?
Rolling Loud Bay Area. He used to always do this Fromunda joke. You ever heard about this restaurant called Fromunda? Fromunda? From under these nuts (laughs). We would do that all the time. We were in the car on the way to the show and I called him out. I said, “You won’t do that onstage to everybody.” He was like, “I won’t?” We get to the show, the show happens and I forget about it. Then, as he’s walking to the side of the stage, I’m sitting there with a camera in his face, he goes on the microphone and says, “Y’all want to hear about this new restaurant Fromunda? From under these nuts!” Then, he walked off stage and we were all crying laughing.
You have some of the most candid photos of Juice. You got one of him meeting Tyler, the Creator. How did that happen?
Honestly, that was early on for us. That was when I first started hanging out with him consistently for days in a row. I remember that day because we were riding dirt bikes at the house and he was like, “Well, let’s put these in a truck and go ride.” I was like, “We can’t. We have to do Flog Gnaw tonight.” He was like, “F**k that. I just want to ride dirt bikes.” I’m like, “Let’s just go to the show. You’re just making an appearance, doing three songs, and it’s right down the street. You can go and come back after.” Then, he went, “Fine, alright. Whatever.” As we were walking to the stage, Tyler was walking off the stage, and he just walked up to [Tyler] and started talking to him. I just started shooting.
You photographed his last tour when he did a few shows in Australia in late November 2019 a few weeks before he passed. What was that experience like?
We had a lot of fun on that trip. It had its ups and downs, but we had a lot of fun. We had three days off and he wanted to go to Japan. He wanted to go really bad. It was a long flight to just go to Japan for two and a half days. Everybody was up in the air about it, but he was like, “Nah, I want to do it.” We all went to Japan and had a f**king blast. He did a club appearance at 1OAK in Japan (on November 26, 2019). It was so much fun. He was popping bottles, spraying champagne and dumping it all over the crowd. He doesn’t drink, so we were having fun. There were some other issues that came to head, obviously the drug stuff. Max and I were starting to have a lot of concerns and bringing attention to other people. Besides that, we had a lot of fun. Between [Juice Wrld] and I, we had a serious talk and it was a fulfilling moment because afterward, he looked at me like, “That’s why you’re my best friend.” You don’t forget that.