I was on the fence back in 2010 about attending Rifflandia. I had not been, but something about close to 200 artists on 11 stages lured me. Hearing they had snagged Melissa Auf der Maur sealed the deal.

Touring her second solo effort “Out of Our Minds,” she would be featured mainstage and, more intimately, at The War Child Lounge, a much smaller space back then.


I became fascinated with Melissa Auf der Maur back when she held down the stage with one Courtney Love and HOLE from 94–99. She went on to tour with the Smashing Pumpkins, and has toured or collaborated with the likes of Marilyn Manson, The Cure, Muse, and K-OS.

Melissa was also the reason I got a band autograph from HOLE (including Courtney), citing “wanting to help out a fellow Canadian,” back when I was an autograph enthusiast.


My excitement also helped me to become a bit braver as I took a small step into a bigger version of live music photography. I wanted to shoot Melissa’’s appearances. I approached a very kind lady (then unknown to me) named Keri Coles, who helped me make sure I could do just that.


With an early Canon Rebel kit, a 17-200 f/3.5 lens and no real skill, I shot Melissa at the very small War Child set, and less successfully at the mainstage Market Square show. I talked with her a while after the acoustic set, starstruck, a mere shadow to her tall stance. Another autograph and blurry cell phone shot later, she wandered off, and I’’ve wanted the chance to shoot her again ever since.