Rock n Roll visual history in Chicago via Sun-Times/WBEZ

Written by Michael E Dehn

Founder and CEO of Metro Pulse a continually running enterprise since May 1980.

February 10, 2023

Great Chicago music moments in photos, from Led Zeppelin to Liz Phair to Nirvana

Name a concert in Chicago over the past four decades, and the odds are good Marty Perez was there with his camera.

As a high-schooler in Beverly, Perez started bringing his camera to stadium shows by groups like Queen and Led Zeppelin.

Soon, it became a life capturing the onstage and offstage moments of musicians, from blues legends like Muddy Waters and Tail Dragger to Mudhoney and Lou Reed.

 Blues great Tail Dragger, shown in 2009 singing to a fan at Buddy Guy’s Legends. It’s among 200 photographs by Marty Perez in his new book documenting 30 years of photographing the music scene in Chicago. | Marty Perez

Perez’s new book “Kill a Punk For Rock & Roll” ($34.99), published by Chicago’s HoZac Books, reflects many of those moments, with more than 200 pages of his photographs, spanning 1976 to 2019.

Perez says he’s still motivated to photograph new bands, but making a living at it has become harder due to the decline in print media and explosion in phone technology that puts a camera in everyone’s pocket.

“There’s definitely new folks coming up through the ranks keeping the music alive and the drive to capture it still resides in me,” he says.

WBEZ’s Mark Guarino has more with Perez and the stories behind some of Perez’s most iconic photos here.