Sunday, September 30, 2007

Logo #64: GISM

Designed by GISM mainman Sakevi Yokoyama in 1985. Yokoyama, in a recent e-mail: "AK-47 T-SHIRTS FIRST USED IN 1985 MAY 30TH AT NAKANO PUBLIC HALL." Right! Just as SPK stood for SepPuKu, Surgical Penis Klinik, Socialistisches Patienten Kollektiv and System Planning Korporation, GISM had many bombs in its arsenal of acronyms: General Imperialism Social Murder, Gnostic Idiosyncrasy Sonic Militant, and God In the Schizoid Mind. This video footage from 1982 leaves a clue as to how wild and free their initial appearances were. Sakevi is in the beret and the studded leather jacket; he steals the microphone from the late Edo Akemi, lead singer of the band Jagatara. The fight rolls on as the mostly oblivious band just keeps playing. More fun: one press account, corroborated to this reporter by artist and composer John Duncan, maintains that Sakevi attacked a salaryman (white-collar worker) on a Tokyo commuter train for staring at him by using a can of hairspray and a lighter as a makeshift flamethrower.

It's curious how many people, even in this postmodernist day and/or age, make apologies for the quality of, say, their film footage. If any lesson was learned from the House of Sex, it would be Malcolm McLaren's truism, "Don't play, don't give the game away." You'd be surprised how many creative people argue away the power of their art by apologizing for anything from objectively imperceptible flaws to practically invisible mistakes. A corollary to the McLaren Edict is that of Pee-Wee Herman: "I meant to do that." GISM's smash hit "Nuclear Armed Hogs" can be heard here. After guitarist Randy Uchida died at the age of 45 on February 10, 2001 of cancer, the band effectively dissolved, with Yokoyama immersing himself in more art and design. At least Uchida wasn't around to see all the bad stuff happen that autumn - but he'd had a good full life, and there was nothing left about which to be sorry.

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