Paul Slavens Looks Back on a Decade of Ten Hands Press Photos

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A stack of Ten Hands pics literally shot out of the filing cabinet the other day while thumbing around in the Observer photo vaults. The photos highlight the local band throughout their decade-long run, from the mid-'80s through the mid-'90s. We reached out to Ten Hands' frontman, Paul Slavens, and asked him to further explain each photo. This is what he had to say...

"I was afraid you were gonna find this one. As I recall, this was one of those times when we thought something stupid was a great idea. We decided we would take a pic of us banging our heads. I remember we all knew this picture sucked but we submitted it to the Observer anyways. Big Al Emert was the only one with sense enough to look like a proper rock star. I don't think this was taken during a particularly positive time in the band's career."

"I can trace my history of this time by observing what stupid hair\beard\mustache mode I was in. Here, I had finally had the good sense to shave my head, but was sporting a straggly soul patch that I referred to as my 'Genghis.' This is a photo of the last incarnation of Ten Hands, after Steve Brand had moved on to San Antonio and Big Al joined Brave Combo. Ed McMahon and Greg Beck joined for the last year."

"A lot of our pictures were taken by our good friend Bobby Jack Pack. This picture is of the longest running version of Ten Hands, taken when we were going pretty strong. I think this lineup lasted about five years. That hat was given to me by Matt Chamberlain, who was the original drummer for the band. I still have it."

"This photo comes from the same session as the last one. We were a pretty happy bunch for the most part. And good friends, too. We traveled around a lot and had fun. A lot of disappointment and frustration, too. At this point, I am pretty sure we still believed the rock 'n roll dream would come true."

"This picture is from the first photo session Ten Hands ever did. We never really did one while Matt Chamberlain was in the band. Earl Harvin had only been with the band a very short time. We were probably playing every Monday or Wednesday at the Prophet Bar when this was taken. We had probably just started playing at Club Dada. This was a great lineup; we were all young, naive and cocky. Seeing these pictures makes me remember what an amazing array of great musicians and friends I have had the pleasure of playing with over the years. That's a picture of me when I thought I was in the best band since the creation of music. It was a beautiful dream while it lasted."

"This shot was taken at a photo session for the DOMA. We had just won the Best New Act award and were about to be on the cover, which was the coolest thing that had ever happened to me at the time. This is a picture I have not seen from that session. It's not the one the Observer used for the cover. The thing about Ten Hands photos is that there are very few that don't have somebody being goofy in them. There was a silly streak in that band, and it ran through every aspect of the band. But there was a dead serious side, and a very competitive one, too. I think this shot catches that."

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