Armed with a guitar and a vintage Polaroid camera, Australian singer/songwriter Ry Cuming documented his brief stint as opening act for Maroon 5 with a collection of casual snapshots that catch him and his good pals enjoying life on the road. And he decided to share them with us right here!
Cuming told MTV News that scoring a supporting slot on Maroon 5's latest tour was a blast. "Getting to walk out and play for 10,000 people, and people being really excited to hear you straight off the bat, it was pretty wonderful," Cuming gushed.
Ry, currently promoting his self-titled debut album, was first introduced to the Maroon men almost eight years ago through a mutual friend. Their love of music and surfing bonded them instantly. Or as Ry puts it, "We just became bros."
Their continuing bromance is evident in Ry's off-the-cuff tour pictures. One portrait captures keyboardist Jesse Carmichael backstage in a silly hat trying to light up a honey pot. "He was pretending like he was an old school settler with his pipe," Cuming explained.
Another pic shows frontman Adam Levine post-show, gesturing toward the camera with the hand-written caption "Gimme some" scribbled underneath. "He was standing in front of me, and I was just trying to snap a candid without him realizing, and then he turned around and gave me that [pose]. It's just that energy after you get offstage." Cuming said.
Ry also had a good time rocking out with Maroon 5's other tourmates, Guster. (You'll notice Guster singer Ryan wearing a Maroon 5 T-shirt in Ry's photo collage.) "It was really nice to be on the road, playing with a group of people [where] every night you're [as] excited to get offstage so you can hang with everybody as much as be onstage."
In between gigs, Cuming got a taste of Small Town, USA. "You're out in the middle of nowhere, literally, and you pull up at these gas stations and these tiny marts, and you're trying to find anything to eat," Ry said when describing one photo showing a box of cereal. "I remember that little store; they had cheap beer, [a cereal called] Tootie Fruities, cigarettes and potato chips." (Cuming diplomatically refused to comment on whether he enjoyed the breakfast treats.)
Whether it was shooting a pile of "merch money," an antique 8mm film camera he found in Upstate New York or a Persian rug that Maroon 5 travels with in order to transform typically stark backstage areas into "vibey" hangouts, Ry's photography highlighted several smaller details of life on the road.
One of the more striking images is a snapshot of the Mohegan Sun venue empty during soundcheck. Cuming, who took the pic after climbing out of his tour van and onto the stage, said, "It's breathtaking when you know that you're gonna be walking out a few hours later and the place is gonna be packed with people. It wasn't nerves for me, it was excitement. You're on a stage big enough to just be yourself and have fun up there."
When it comes to showtime, Ry prefers to shoot his Maroon 5 buddies from the wings. "You've got 15,000 people who can shoot from the front. When you're backstage you break a little of that suspension of disbelief. You know you see sometimes other people in the wings. What I like is it separates the glam and the lights a little bit," Cuming said.
Ry's about to hit the road with Canadian singer/songwriter Justin Nozuka but will re-join Maroon 5 in October, along with OneRepublic. "It's gonna be a ball," Cuming said. "I'm gonna take a bunch of different cameras with me, as well."
What do you think of Ry's photos? Share your thoughts in the comments.