Tommy Pons designed the clown Bill Z. Bubb for the eponymous debut LP for Texas hard rock band Dangerous Toys in 1989. I've never understood why some people get so freaked out by clowns but I can completely understand how the band felt when they first saw the artwork for that all-important first record. They probably celebrated with some drinks, wrote some more Dangerous Toys songs, and had an amazing day in which everyone felt like they were at the absolute height of their creative powers. There's a purity to that feeling - a great and exciting simplicity - and it's one of the myriad of little blessings one must necessarily count when things get sluggish and repellent.
Tommy Pons responds: "About Bill - well, he sort of came about by coincidence, really. All bands would love to have a mascot like the clown; Maiden being the #1 example / blueprint to go by. Eddie was and still is one of the most recognizable characters in music, hands down, right up their with Zeppelin's "Swan Song," Rush's "Redstar," Motorhead's dog thingy and The Stones' "lips." Anyway, I was reading Stephen King's "IT" and had just seen the movie "Killer Klowns From Outer Space" around the time Jason contacted me about doing a clown design. I was already planning a piece of art from the book so what became Bill kinda began then (the original clown design is under the CD tray of their "Vitamins and Crash Helmets" release). Sony thought it was too over the top so they made me tone it down. I also had to neuter the cover as the clown had skeletal remains of children around the box. Sony also neutered the cover for "Hellacious Acres," making me paint that over colourful piece instead of the dark moody painting I had planned. Maybe one day I'll re-paint the first two covers the way I originally intended, since I think I've actually learned how to paint a bit better compared to the nightmares I did back in the bands heyday. It's been flattering seeing people getting tatts of the clown and/or seeing them painted on cars, boats, whatever...I just wish my artwork would have been better. Bill's gone through some changes since coming out of the box and the latest pieces I'm doing for Toys are more darker I think...and they're executed a whole lot better. Bill did earn me a gold record, so that's something, I guess."