The incredible work of Chicago-based photographer Gene Ambo spans numerous genres over 40 years, many of which Gene spent shooting bands at the Metro–the most iconic venue in Chicago and one of the most important in the world. It is in this intimate setting of the Metro which holds a capacity of 1,100 and no “photographer pit,” that Gene found his photographic “voice” and began shooting the heavy and hard rocking bands he loves. One of the very first bands that Gene photographed in 1983, was Mötorhead. From there, he continued making history as one of the world’s most sought-after rock photographers with his work prominently featured on album and magazine covers, and numerous publications worldwide.
“Heavy Metro: Access All Eras” is Gene Ambo’s first book and spans his legendary career to date with a specific focus on rock, hard rock, heavy metal, punk, and hardcore capturing some of the most notable and rebellious bands of our time—before and after they became legends themselves. This visual journey and time-capsule of musicians who have graced the Metro stage also features both iconic and little-known shots of such famous and infamous musical acts including Metallica, Slayer, Ramones, Slash, Bad Brains, Megadeth, GBH, The Exploited, Mercyful Fate, SOD, Anthrax, Nirvana, Nick Cave, Babes in Toyland, Circle Jerks, Samhain, Cro-Mags, Trouble, Garbage, Ice T, Type O Negative, Hüsker Dü, Jane’s Addiction, Korn, Goo Goo Dolls, Celtic Frost, VoiVod, Chicago’s own Smashing Pumpkins, and many more.
A portion of all proceeds from “Heavy Metro: Access All Eras” will benefit #SaveOurStages which supports independent venues like the Metro who were hit hard by the pandemic.
“I was just lucky to be at the Metro in the beginning and to have met people who have really helped me out throughout my life, and I look at this book like I’m documenting time. ‘Access All Eras,’ like the book title says. Metro is my home base…for so many years. Between the Metro and Smart Bar, I have spent a lot of time there—many days AND nights. Literally!” – Gene Ambo
Gene Ambo is a world renowned, Chicago-based photographer whose career began in 1983 at Chicago’s legendary Metro music club where he began shooting bands he enjoyed with his father’s camera. He is celebrated for his stunning images of legendary, underground and emerging bands and musicians, including Metallica, Mötorhead, Madonna, Prince, Slayer and Broken Hope. “Heavy Metro: Access All Eras” is Gene’s first-ever photo book.
The Metro opened in 1982 under the guidance of owner Joe Shanahan. The first show Shanahan booked and promoted was R.E.M. and over the next 40 years, the venue would host concerts by Metallica, James Brown, Iggy Pop, Chris Cornell, George Clinton, Slayer, Joe Strummer, and Prince, among many others. Bob Dylan performed two shows at Metro to celebrate the club’s 15th anniversary.
Stygian Sky Media (SSM) creates books to stimulate imaginations. SSM books include trade paperbacks, traditional hardcovers, deluxe/limited editions, and groundbreaking original works in the genres of crime, thriller, horror-noir, dark fiction, and non-fiction titles including photo books, music, memoir, and more. SSM connects and creates works with authors from diverse backgrounds, from bestsellers to cult, bringing readers books they’ve never imagined.