This is a special guest article written by country music veteran Dan Smith. Dan has played in the country band outfit ‘Leather Tone’ for over 30 years, touring all over America, and even a few locations in Europe and Australia. They rose up through the ranks during the golden era of country music during the early 90s, and toured successfully all through the 90s and early 2000s. The band still plays a few shows every year, however they are more casual these days. He reached out to us to share his story of how he converted his old bands footage from VHS to DVD, and was able to share this iconic footage with the world.
The VHS to DVD Story
I was in my mid 20s when the band started gaining a bit of traction. What started out as just me and my brother and our friend Steve Muska jamming away in the garage quite quickly snowballed into us being asked to play some of the biggest festivals of the year. My brother Tommy and I were always the driving force behind the band, and although at the time we were doing it purely out of the love for the music, none of us really expected it to turn into a music career. But that is exactly what happened, and along the way we encountered all manner of people looking to support the band. One of these such people was Billy Kelly, a complete eccentric who loved making films and documentaries. He asked if he could follow us on our tours, and we gladly accepted, so for the next 2 or 3 years Billy essentially became part of the band. He filmed everything, and little did we know that we would be looking for VHS to DVD conversion services years later.
Billy the Kid
Billy would get all up in our faces, get in the way of stage crews, even knock things over, all just to get that perfect shot that he was looking for. He shot on what was at the time a state of the art camera, that recorded onto little cassettes that he would take home after the shows and edit through to make into mini movies. My memory is certainly a little fuzzy, but he would turn up every now and then with a finished tape of a particular show or festival. We watched them at the time, and I think our promoter ended up with most of them sitting in a box in his office. They were given to my brother and I in the 2000s, and would not be resurrected for another 10-15 years.
Digitising the Tapes
When we got those digital copies of the tapes, it was like discovering a time capsule. ‘We all look so young!’ exclaimed my brother Tommy. We could now relive all these magical moments, but more importantly, we could share them with the community, and people were overjoyed to see all those great old concerts in action.