Monday, October 29, 2007

Logo #94: The Black Crowes

About his black crows created for The Black Crowes, designer Alan Forbes reveals, "They first showed up in 1989. It was the band's idea - also, my first commercial job. At the time, the band and I wanted to make them as dirty as possible, I guess in a "'70s rock excess" kinda way. I think in the end it worked out to be a real nice logo. I have continued to work on and off since then, working it in and out of various designs." You can buy a numbered silkscreen of this particular image (done for the band's two nights of live action in Philadelphia in 1999) here for a paltry $50.

Logo #93: Current 93

This cheery little alpha-and-omega figure was designed by Andria Degens and David Tibet in 2001. About its presence, Tibet writes:

"I would walk a million miles, I said
And Alpha-Omega smiles, and red
Scars appear on the Logos face
And he winks and laughs
And fades into space."

'Nuff sed!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Logo #92: Subhumans

Designed by the band in 1981 for their first 7".

Logo #91: Motörhead

Designer: Joe Petagno, 1977. Not so much a rock band logo as it is a visual Armageddon in which the cornerstones of heavy metal all battle each other across one demonic face. Fangs, horns, tusks, chains, the Iron Cross - this one's got it all. Speaking recently in an interview, Petagno says, "I met Lemmy while I was doing some work with Hawkwind. He had just quit and was looking for someone to do a logo for his own project which was of course "Motörhead". We discussed various ideas down at the local pub 'round the corner from his management office on the Great Western Road. A couple of weeks later, the now-infamous skull was born. Must have been around April-May of '75." This was a springtime that saw the fall of Saigon and the attendant chaos of choplifted escapes, the release of the giallo "The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance," and the Omaha Tornado. Here's some Motörhead now. Lemmy always comes off as remarkably modest and level-headed. The lady singing on that first track is Kelly Johnson (June 20, 1958 - July 15, 2007) of Girlschool. It should also be noted that Tawn Mastrey, who appears in the beginning of that clip from "The Decline of Western Civilization Part II", was a tireless promoter of heavy metal and a wonderful voice in her own right, died earlier this month, aged 53. Snaggletooth wept.

Logo #90: Screeching Weasel

Illustration by Paul Russel for Screeching Weasel's sophomorically sophomoric 1988 LP "Boogada Boogada Boogada." Their attitude can be crystallized up quite eloquently in a lyric from the album's track "Nicaragua": "I hate your problems / I hate your politics / and I hate the way you smell / 2-3-4!" They break up and reform more times than The Blob. The most recent reformation (apart from the Protestant one) happened in 2004. Screeching Weasel was one of the lone sweet smells in the grunge-stained garbage pit that was the whiny '90s. Bandmember John "Jughead" Pierson's 2005 book, "Weasels in a Box," was about the vague vagaries of the pop-punk world - which, it turns out, was a microcosmic comment on the vicissitudes of fame itself. Ben Weasel remains Ben Weasel.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Logo #89: Jurassic 5

Designed by Jurassic 5 bandmember Charlie "Chali 2na" Stewart in 1997. Perhaps their best-known hit is "What's Golden," the Bizarro-world analogue to Moloko's "Fun For Me," both running neck-and-neck in the wordplay sweeps. In case you find it difficult to keep score, 2na is the "verbal Herman Munster" on "What's Golden." Such a great line! In 2000, Jurassic 5's van skidded into a ditch and 2na came out of the experience with a titanium plate in his head and a closer bond with Allah (he's a Sunni Muslim). Yet any faith will come in handy now because Jurassic 5 is in the process of breaking up. Jurassic 5 member Zaakir, speaking to News of Australia, admitted, "Even though we do what we do, (that) doesn’t mean we’re the best communicators (emph. mine). For certain members, it’s been brewing for a while - I’ve heard in passing there are things that could have been brought up a long time ago about how people were feeling that weren’t said."

Logo #88: Adhesive

Micke Claesson (later Micke Fritz), singer and guitarist for Sweden politcal hardcore unit Adhesive, explains, "Our drummer, Robert Samsonowitz, designed the logo. It's based on an old Nothern Soul symbol. It first appeared in 1999." While the band only lasted from 1994 - 2002, this potent symbol - the fist inside the usually welcoming circle - has a long and storied history as a catalyst for agitation. Sprinters Tommie Smith's and John Carlos' Black Power salute at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, for example, or any number of political movements - American Indian Movement, Earth First!, Food Not Bombs, the United Farm Workers of America, and the Weather Underground - all using the simple gesture that can be replicated anywhere and just as quickly explained away by saying "I was stretching!"

Logo #87: The Screamers

A face as iconic as any minted for Roman coins, this image was drawn for the Los Angeles synth-punk unit by Gary Panter in late '77 or early 1978. Panter would later design everything the sets on "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" to the playroom in the Paramount Hotel in New York City. Various pundits have pegged Lisa Simpson on "The Simpsons" as the logical extension of this mascot's aesthetic. Various pundits have a lot of free time on their hands. Conversely, there may be more than one set of pundits active at any time. The Screamers, led by mascot model Tomata du Plenty (born David Xavier Harrigan, May 28, 1948 – August 21, 2000) were one of the most influential bands that never released any records. Plenty of bootlegs out there, though - oddly, however, their original plan to release records as VHS tapes instead of vinyl has now come to fruition with the advent of YouTube. Tracks like "122 Hours of Fear", "Eva Braun" and "I'm Going Steady With Twiggy" now appear in the proper aspect in which the band originally intended. Royalties notwithstanding! Screamers synth mangler Paul Roessler is big brother to Black Flag bassist Kira Roessler. Presumably there's a lost L.A. punk band called The Moaners out there someplace.

Some interesting birthdays today.

"Johnny" William Carson (October 23, 1925 – January 23, 2005)
William "Sonny" Criss (October 23, 1927 - November 19, 1977)
Harald Grosskopf (Ash Ra Tempel; October 23, 1949)
"Baby" Jane Holzer (Warhol superstar; October 23, 1940)
Tristan Honsinger (October 23, 1949)
Misty Martinez (To Live and Shave in L.A.; October 23, 1977)
Milton Marx (Gummo; October 23, 1892 - April 21, 1977)
Pierre Moerlen (Gong; October 23, 1952 - May 3, 2005)
Graeme Revell (SPK; October 23, 1955)
Ned Rorem (October 23, 1923)
Jordan G. Wood (Deathwish; October 23, 1969 - June 7, 1994)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Logo #86: The Crüxshadows

Designed by frontman Rogue (born Virgil Roger du Pont III - yes, that du Pont) for the Florida goth multimedia band The Crüxshadows in 1993. Jessica Lackey, dancer with the group and future Mrs. Rogue, explains, "The symbol is a pictogram similar to a hieroglyph, although it is not related to any Egyptian hieroglyph (or) Chinese character. In the center of the symbol is a cross; "crux" is Latin for "cross." This cross is a Byzantine triple-bar cross. The white on the left is a symbol of light, and the black on the right is a symbol of shadow. The circles around the outside are the mathematical representations of a set within the set; hence a subculture. So, the symbol can be read to mean "the subculture of cross shadow" or "The Cruxshadows." Rogue made the original design with Wite-Out on black paper. We liked it enough to keep it for the last ten years!" du Pont: "The symbol for our band is a cross (a tri-bar Eastern Orthodox cross, to be precise) with a field of light on one side and a field of dark on the other. What is important here is the idea of exclusion - or outsiders - because when all is flooded with light, the cross will still render a shadow; a place the light can't reach."

They recently became the first goth band to play an open-air festival in China. What might Mao have made of goths? Workers or corpses, most likely.

Logo #85: Children of Bodom

Illustrated by Graham French, Roy the Reaper first appeared on the Finnish metallers' 1997 "Something Wild" LP. Roy is named for the scene in the 1991 film "Hot Shots!" during which Admiral Benson (played by Lloyd Bridges) is watching a painting. Most recently, Roy (or a reaper like him) manifested himself in the video game "Guitar Hero," playing his scythe like a guitar. You can just barely make out Roy's resemblance here to Max von Sydow; here, on the cover of the "Follow the Reaper" LP, he's a far more contemplative Reaper than Grim Reaper's Reaper - but is he a cheaper, deeper keeper of a Reaper? Fittingly, Children of Bodom is named after the unsolved multiple murders in 1960 at the shore of Lake Bodom in their hometown of Espoo, a city just west of Helsinki. Here they are with their brilliantly titled smash "Needled 24/7."

Logo #84: 45 Grave

Designed by poet and esoteric mystic Stanislas de Guaita for his 1897 book La Clef de la Magie Noire, the Baphomet Sigil was appropriated by 45 Grave drummer Don Bolles in 1980. Bolles: "That was designed by St. Bartholomew, in 1377. Not actually, but it's been around for a while; more recently, it was popularized in the late '60s by Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, and was on the cover of the official "Satanic Mass" LP that featured LaVey and came out in 1968. The background of that cover was red, the pentagram / goat head black and white. In 1980, I appropriated it for the 45 Grave 7" "Black Cross" / "Wax". While we were waiting for that to come back from the printer Venom put it on the cover of one of their albums. Then ours came out. Then Plasmatics and Mötley Crüe used pentagrams on their next LPs. Then all Hell broke loose with the thing..." Here they are on "New Wave Theater" (hosted by the late Peter Ivers, September 20, 1946 - March 3, 1983), performing "Black Cross."

Anton Szandor LaVey (April 11, 1930 – October 29, 1997), while endlessly stylish in life, left an estate drowning in disarray. Records show that the settlement dividing his personal property went as follows: to High Priestess Blanche Barton, a Rasputin chair, bed of nails and vintage gramophone; to daughter Zeena Schreck, a vampire boy painting, devil-horn cap and one-third of LaVey's cremated remains; and to daughter Karla LaVey, a skull from ritual chamber, "Satin Doll" pinball machine, a coffin and an examination table. Amongst others, no doubt. There was also a garage sale open to the general public not long after his passing.

Presumably, some lucky devil got the best stuff early.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Logo #83: Christian Death

Christian Death has a new album out, their latest since the band formed in 1979 - which, depending on what one considers to be a Christian Death album, could be 30 records or 100. Gitane DeMone: "Valor (Kand) designed that logo around '87, possibly '88, whilst living in London. I remember him making that design." One of the simplest, most evocative and direct of all possible rock band logos, it appeared prominently on the inner sleeve of the "Sex & Drugs & Jesus Christ" LP. Christian Death front man Rozz Williams (born Roger Alan Painter, November 6, 1963 – April 1, 1998) formerly had led the band Daucus Karota, the Latin term for carrots.

In other news, my review of Stephen Colbert's book "I Am America (And So Can You!)" finally published in last Saturday's Los Angeles Times. I never thought I'd have to differentiate, to an editor of a major national newspaper, the clones of Bruce Lee.

Logo #82: Wilt

James Keeler, he who do what thou Wilt, explains, "I think I had some photo manipulated image of a butterfly on the limited 1999 release "blackhole butterfly," but it wasn't a logo, just a graphic. I had created a logo back in 2003-2003 that used a silhouette of a black bird just up and right of the "t" in Wilt, and now I have a "black metal" version of the wilt logo. Not that we're black metal, but the sounds we have been doing more recently have been a bit more raw and dark than usual, hence the logo. I have designed all logos. I'm a designer professionally - Industrial Design and Graphic and Packaging Design." Gloomy but never glum, Wilt is James P. Keeler on bass, field recordings, pedals, mics, objects, sampler, short wave radio, synths, vocals, and viola, and Dan Hall on acoustic and baritone electric guitar, amps, field recordings, pedals and vocals. And what have you done today?

Logo #81: Ah Cama-Sotz

Belgian noisemaker Herman Klapholz is really into bats and cats. This logo, for his band Ah Cama-Sotz, was realized by Laurent Pietsch in 1994. This video for "Hungrr-ah" is sort of like that "Star Trek" episode where the guy with the half-white body is chasing the guy with the half-black body. Or vice-versa. Except this isn't outer space and "Star Trek" didn't have women strolling the cemeteries with froofy umbrellas. Whenever I hear the word "Sotz" I always think of the 1962 film "Zotz," which starred good ol' Tom Poston as the bookish professor who can slow down time, cause pain or kill just by pointing at someone and saying the word "Zotz!" Poston later played George the Handyman on "Newhart." God bless you, Tom Poston.

Logo #80: The Dickies

Dickies guitarist Stan Lee reveals, "A girl named Lori McAdams did that for us in '77 or '78. Very early on. Awesome logo, isn't it? Like the Monkees' guitar logo or the Milwaukee Brewers catcher's mitt, it's great as well." A friend of the band, McAdams was one of legions of friends who have, since the twilight of pop, been drafted into service crafting the public image of a band based on whether or not they could draw a straight line. Or, in this case of Holism lying limp, wouldn't. The Dickies use to have a keyboard player in Chuck Wagon (born Robert Elliott Davis, August 11, 1956 - June 6, 1981) until his untimely suicide, reportedly spurred by a messy break-up. They haven't used keyboards since. Somewhat relatedly, the day before he died, five men in Los Angeles were announced by the CDC to have a rare disease that would ultimately become known as AIDS.

In some respects, maybe Chuck was the lucky one.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Logo #79: The Turbo A.C.'s

Turbo A.C.'s guitarist and singer Kevin Cole reports, "I drew that on a bar napkin in 1996 when I got the news that the shipment of our first album (Nb. "Damnation Overdrive") wouldn't be delivered in time for our tour - because they were destroyed in a chemical spill at the airport." The band takes their name from a riff on the Turnbull A.C.'s, a gang from the 1979 urban meller "The Warriors," from which Martin Scorsese plucked no small amount of inspiration - beyond the historical - for "Gangs of New York."

Logo #78: Fear Cult

Matt Riser, singer of Fear Cult explains, "I personally designed the logo (I have a BFA and do 99% of the Fear Cult design work). I'm not sure when I first used it; it wasn't on the 1994 demo tape, but it was on the 1996 "Your Darkest Romance" demo, and it was on fliers and such before that. Basically, it was created to represent Night Life... with the nocturnal wings of the bat and the Egyptian symbol of life... and I used to call it the "Night Life ankh." There was also a Fear Cult song on the the "Your Darkest Romance" album titled "Night Life (While You Were Sleeping)." Later, the logo was humorously renamed "The Bankh" (pronounced "bonk") by Fear Cult guitarist Van Shock as a mixture of bat + ankh. That name, sadly, stuck among bandmates and close friends."

Logo #77: Soul Coughing

Drawn by rightly lauded and applauded graphic blandisher Jim Woodring for Soul Coughing's final album, 1998's, "El Oso." Frontman Mike Doughty once described what the band was all about by calling it "deep slacker jazz" - which is about as fair an estimation as any other that we lameoid rock journalists have ever foisted upon the public consciousness at large. Here's Soul Coughing's best song, the endlessly remixed single "Super Bon Bon," playing behind a bunch of footage from "The Crow." Not that there's anything inherently wrong with "The Crow," but we all know that YouTube, the greatest jukebox on Earth, is basically there to play old good songs in the background while you're working on other things.

Logo #76: ALL

Karl Alvarez, bassist for Descendents and ALL - for which he designed the Allroy mascot in 1988 for their debut "Allroy Sez" LP - recently suffered a mild heart attack. A MySpace page (occasionally the corporation can be used for niceness and not for evil) for his health care fund sits here. It should be pointed out that The Ataris' mega-smash chart-topper "In This Diary" sounds a lot like ALL's "She's My Ex," a song from the EP of the same name. One of the more underrated mascots in the survey, Allroy exists as (not "in") an eternal state of overexcitable bliss and "all", aptly mirroring the manic energy of the band itself.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Logo #75: HIM

The "heartagram" was designed by Ville Hermanni Valo of Finnish melodic heavy rock band HIM in 1996. To be precise, we are told, it was designed on 23 November 1996, the day after Valo's twentieth birthday. While HIM contains within it all the tiresome, traditional trappings of metal both heavy and Very, the fact that they've even tried to suggest that "love" be a part of metal is perhaps the most revolutionary concept since the lady suggested putting lemon in the dishsoap. "Kiss of Dawn" and "Killing Loneliness" are fairly emblematic - so to speak - of this idea, so here they are now. At the very least, HIM inspire so many twinkling panties that males, who are extortionately uncool in the face of it, will gnash their teeth and forge their own brilliant and insular worlds - worlds in which the cold comfort of "love metal" seems progressively less frigid at 20, 25, and 31 years of age.

Logo #74: Dillinger Escape Plan

Graphic designer Jason Kernevich chats briefly before rocketing back to his wild blue yonders about this 2003 design for the band. "That logo was designed by Dustin Summers and myself almost 5 years ago. We run a design and illustration studio called the Heads of State. We did some tour merch for them back then and the logo originated as part of a t-shirt design." Dillinger Escape Plan play what is loosely termed as "mathcore" - which essentially means that they're fond of playing in 17/2 really really quickly. Just think of the heavy metal equivalent of those autistics who can solve Rubik's Cube with their genitals in 5.4 seconds. Kernevich and Summers are blithely modest about the implications of their logo: that, in the right hands, words have teeth and will arm the faithful in times when grace and elegance wither on the vine from an onslaught of the unnecessarily stupid. To wit: right now I gird myself with the lexicon of awareness and contemplation to reach that point at which I forget completely that She Who Shall Forever After Be Referred To As "So-And-So" entered my life in the first place. At its most base and basic, this episode casts aspersions on my character, as if to hold up to God and the Pantheon that I have intensely wretched taste in women if I am to choose someone like that who would fail and implode in such a reprehensible and nonsensical way.

Somewhat unrelatedly, the new Bloodhound Gang single "Screwing You On The Beach At Night" is on my short list of best songs of 2007. "I would show up for our pottery class / dressed like a pirate with John Waters' moustache / on a unicorn that shits your name in stars." This is the peerless caliber of James Franks' writing talent, toward which I bow in reverent reverie.

We find our respective escapes wherever we can.

Logo #73: Conflict

Contemporaries of Crass, Icons of Filth, Gauze, Lost Cherrees and other paragons of freedom, Conflict's striking "Mortarhate" logo was designed by Paul "Nihilistic Nobody" Friday, the visual mastermind behind the band. The symbol first appeared in 1980 published in "Thanatos," a modest underground pamphlet helmed by Toxic Graffity editor Mike Diboll, who currently teaches Comparative Literature in the Middle East. Dicey! Conflict toured the U.S. this past springtime, and, judging from the interactions on their website, seem rather friendly. Handy tip: whenever you're traveling around the world and you stay in a squat, the cleanest room in the whole building will likely be the laundry room. Anarchists like clean clothes occasionally just like anyone else. Per Conflict drummer Francisco ‘Paco’ Carreno, the Mortarhate is not an stylized acronym for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, but instead "...incorporates two 'A's for anarchy and autonomy, and an 'N' for nihilism." And yet for all that anarchy therein, there's that lovely all-inclusive comfort of the circle tying the whole thing together as nicely as a well-placed Mylar Barcalounger really brings a room together.

Like the man sang, "Going against nature is a part of nature, too."

Logo #72: Nurse With Wound

Steven Stapleton - a.k.a. Babs Santini for this 1992 cover of Nurse With Wound's "Sugar Fish Drink" and its smiling girl mascot - is one of the greatest living artists. Here is where you go to find out more about Steven Stapleton. This is a possible video. Anything else I could say would detract from your enjoyment of this image. It would be, to paraphrase Frankie Poullain from The Darkness, stopping halfway up Mt. Everest to self-fellate.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Logo #71: The Exploited

Drawn by Brian "Pushead Lamort" Schroeder for the hardcore anarchist hardcore band's "Let's Start A War...Said Maggie One Day" LP in 1983. The LP was based on the seemingly whimsical reasoning behind Margaret Thatcher's invasion of the Falkland Islands off Argentina. I say "whimsical" because, for one reason, since when had you heard of any kind of benefit to Great Britain emanating from the Falklands save for sovereignty and an easier ride around Cape Horn? Possibly one of the most difficult-to-discover creators of a logo I've yet had the pleasure of pursuing. Usually things like that happen if there's some kind of ownership dispute about the image between its creator and the band itself (see the upcoming entry detailing the desperately sad circumstance behind the woman who designed the Circle Jerks' "Skank Kid" logo for more on this). The face that launched a thousand kids, all clad in denim emblazoned with the bone-hawked cartoon exploitee. The Exploited's finest moment comes in "UK82", which blasts with rare and terrifying anger across the opening and closing titles for "Made in Britain," Tim Roth's acting debut in which he becomes like unto a living laser of contempt. That it comes highly recommended from this part of the world is perhaps the greatest understatement since "I'm not going to pay a lot for this muffler."

Logo #70: The Tubes

Designed by Matt Leach - most times credited as simply "Leach" - for The Tubes' 1981 album "The Completion Backwards Principle." Quite possibly the greatest rock music logo in the history of Home Depot. The album, based on the eponymous sales instruction manual, features guitar work by the redoubtable, deathlessly skilled Steve Lukather on "Talk To Ya Later," which also contains one of the best couplets in '80s popular music: "It's been six months / she hasn't shut up once." The Tubes would forever be remembered by the early MTV Generation for their terrifying video for "She's A Beauty" But don't fall in love, because it'll turn you into a kid with an old guy mask from the Halloween costume section at Gemco.

Logo #69: 999

This ticket logo was designed for British punk band 999 by George Snow in 1977. Formed Sunday the 5th of December 1976 - amidst a cultural maelstrom that included the Sex Pistols scandalizing Britain on Bill Grundy's Thames TV talk-show, the Eagles' "Hotel California" and seemingly endless ABBAmania - here they are now, doing their smash hit "Homicide," which features some of the most ineffectual condenser mics imaginable to capture some of the worst lipsynching conceivable that's only saved by some of the most triumphal harmonies ever delivered by a punk rock band. Another 999 hit, "Emergency," is not to be confused with Motörhead's "999 Emergency." Their newest LP, "Death in Soho," is available now on Voiceprint. Here is where you can buy an original poster on which this logo appeared in 1977. The logo is symbolic of the thought - in those early happy and hectic days of endless energy fueled by both soul and substance (so the books tell us) - that it was all for a lark, any amount of attention came from no small amount of luck, and it could all vanish up into a trivia question at any moment. That it could all come flying back on the wings of nostalgia was but an all-too-distant dream. Like winning the lottery.

Logo #68: The Adicts

About Smart Boy Alex, the overall look for British punk band The Adicts and mascot gestalt for the band, Adicts Central reveals, "The Adicts logo and Image was designed by Pete ("Pee Dee" Davison, guitarist) of the band. The "Clockwork Orange" Imagery is a piece of each member of the band put into one mask, therefore it represents the band as a whole. Keith "Monkey" Warren the singer has developed the image over the years with different colours and slightly different strokes with his make-up, but one cannot get away from the original design. We aren't really sure when it first appeared, it was so long ago - maybe 1978! But it was when punk rock had lost its way, so we went with what we were into prior to it...the whole Image now has become known as "Ziggy's Bastard Son"." The longest-lived punk band with its original line-up, they tour incessantly and likely shall all be buried together in the same bowler hat. Here they are discussing what punk means to them. Has Malcolm McDowell ever gone to an Adicts live action? That would be a beautiful moment of total awareness, really. Add Lower Class Brats to the bill and you hit the cosmological trifecta!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Interstitial #1: Gong

Daevid Allen of Gong writes: "Great work, David... great idea! The only thing is that I feel the Gong mandala is really the official band mandala, given that it is a Pythagorean-inspired power symbol which resolves 22 and 7... something that is mathematically impossible, of course, but possible as here through the art of sacred geometry. It took me four years to work it out, and even then I only succeeded thanks to two or three vital clues from Pyramid Bill Harkin, designer of the original Glastonbury Festival Pyramid Stage, who himself studied with the Sufis. You can draw it yourself using a straight ruler and a compass, in 32 easy steps. Beyond the official Gong mandala, there are three other main contenders:

Firstly...the Pot Head Pixies (PHPS) (well chosen)...who will be displeased with me unless I mention that they are the representatives of the Invisible Planet Gong preparing to land in 2032. They don't really mind if they are not the central symbol, but they would rather like a mention. I mean, they are the ones that are fully on a mission! Also, and by the way, they don't really like being called Pot Head Pixies. They would prefer to be called Radio Gnomes. Actually, they are telepathic space gnomes blessed with the power of positive transmission & startling progressions. In other words: quality good vibes. These aliens will introduce a new system of music so magnetic and so subtle that it will transform the human concept of space and mathematics and with it the entire group consciousness of Planet Earth. There will be unanimous agreement that it was a change for the better. But, ho yes! Why should you believe this? You have heard of the Velvet Revolution? Well, this will be the Purple Suede Shoe Revolution. "They who dance not know not what we know!"

Anyway, I agree with your choice of the Pot Head Pixies images as icons or glyphs. The first drawings in 1962 were the early signal that there was a whole tribe of them out there. Certainly they spring out of my pen at the drop of a nib. They are the most numerous inhabitants of the Planet Gong. They have an expanded sense of humour and I am very respectful of them. I bow.

Secondly, there is the Banana Moon, or moon in the first quarter. In 1959, I chose the nubile crescent moon as my Glyph and called it my Banana Moon Signal. From this point on, I used it in my signature at will. Much later, I had the vision of Selene...goddess of the moon. Born from the shadows the rising moon is the rebirth of the virgin whereupon enriched by love she grows to her full splendour only to slowly ripen into such succulently sweet womanly wines that her most fervent lovers regularly lose their cellphones. Selene came to me in this form. Interestingly, selenium is a conscious mineral from afar. Finally, as the wisely wrinkling crone, she dips into the darkness of the group unconsciousness to return with teaching stories that turn lives. Then she is gone. No moon. Not even nothing left. And I digress...

Finally (ahem): The Teapot! What is this? A symbol? Ah, yes - this, too, could be seen as a contender. Cripes, it isn't easy to decide which it should be. So, maybe they all deserve to be included. Over to you...

Daevid Allen"

Friday, October 5, 2007

Logo #67: Rush

Designed by Hugh Syme, occasional Rush keyboardist and Mellotron maven, for the back of the "2112" LP in 1976. I fully cop to the fact that I don't "get" Rush - but I also fully appreciate constancy, as evidenced in their rendition of "Anthem" from 1975, an "easter egg" on some video or other such. Look at how minimal Neal Peart's drum kit is! And yes, if any rock band logo ever suggested following one's own star, it's this one. Although thematically the hero here, finding the lost miracle of the forbidden guitar and learning new ways to make unheard music with it, is facing off against a dystopian future in which a beknighted few dictate all culture mores for the people at large, and so on. And that hero was Derek Bailey. Or, it's all a thinly-veiled metaphor for all those times the Justice League of America faced off against Starro the Conqueror. Whichever. Speaking in Creem in 1983, Syme recalls, "Initially, that logo didn't begin as an identity factor for the band, it just got adopted. We didn't consider it a mascot overall icon of representation for the band at the time. What I did do with that particular cover was read their lyrics, and understand that there is a good force and a bad force: the good force was music, creativity, and freedom of expression - and the bad force was anything that was contrary to that. The man is the hero of the story. That he is nude is just a classic tradition ... the pureness of his person and creativity without the trappings of other elements such as clothing. The red star is the evil red star of the Federation, which was one of Neil's symbols. We basically based that cover around the red star and that hero. Now, that hero and that kind of attitude about freedom of expression and the band having that kind of feeling ... at the time, it never ready occurred to me, to be honest with you, that they would adopt it quite so seriously as a logo. Because it's appeared just about everywhere, thereafter."

Logo #66: 666 Volt Battery Noise

Although New York composer David Brownstead now focuses his efforts on his Tidal project, his early '90s were given over to 666 Volt Battery Noise, a band of impeccable depth of field when it came to hitting heights both evocative and evacuative. Brownstead: "The scorpion logo has been in use ever since the first eponymous, privately-circulated demo cassette in 1993. It (or, in one or two instances, a slightly different version of it) has appeared on every 666VBN release, in the attempt to establish some degree of continuity and to have a bold image that one (hopefully) instantly associated with the project. While I put the "666" and "VBN" vertically alongside the scorpion, it is actually the handiwork of Charles Manson (Nb. titled "Purple/Scorpion"). It was not at all chosen for that reason; I was merely looking for a bold and easy to reproduce scorpion, and that particular one - from "The Manson File" (Nb. authored by Nikolas Schreck) - struck my fancy. I suppose it contains some degree of cognitive assonance, at any rate... "Negative Energy" being our working theory." Inquiries to our friendly neighborhood Manson acolytes at ATWA as to the date of this illustration's premiere have as-yet gone unanswered, but likely this was a design from the mid- to late-'70s, when Manson suddenly had a lot of free time on his hands to study the chitinous and the poisonous.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Logo #65: This Heat

Painted by Pete Cobb in 1980 for This Heat's "Health and Efficiency" 12" on David Cunningham's Piano label in 1980. Cunningham, leader of The Flying Lizards (who had a huge hit with their deadpan deconstruction of "Money"), released one of the shining - if almost virtually ignored - examples of British pop in the '80s with this single. Its refrain, "Here's a song about the sunshine / dedicated to the sunshine," works on multiple levels and orbits eccentrically around the Brixton trio, composed of Charleses Bullen (guitar, reeds, strings, tapes, vocals) and Hayward (keys, percussion, tapes and vocals), and Gareth Williams (April 23, 1953 - December 24, 2001; bass, keyboards, tapes and voices). Here is the first part of a live action from 1982; "Out Of Cold Storage," the 6-CD retrospective of This Heat's work, was released on ReR earlier this year. While not necessarily an official logo for the band, it's as lovely and direct a type of shorthand as anything, and it carries with it some degree of the band's anger and beauty, resembling a chalk body outline with 16" NBC transcription LPs as bullets.