Sunday, November 30, 2008

D.I.: Logo #293

Frederic Taccone, first bassist of Orange County punk band D.I. reports, "The D.I. dog came from a round silver-and-red coral pin/button about the size of a 25-cent piece that I found and bought at the swap meet at the Orange Drive-In; I think it's from the Indians in Mexico. I was opposed by the band but I insisted on this being used for the band as a symbol, as I was sick of the usual stuff of the day. We were kind of different and I wanted something that when you looked at it, you didn't know what kind of band we were. Dianna "Mac" Macalear was guitarist Tim Maag's girlfriend and a graphic artist. I asked her to come up with a way of writing "D.I." that looked like something between hieroglyphics and street graffiti, and she came up with the style of writing that appeared with the dog on our first five-song EP, later re-released as a full-length album on XXX called "Team Goon." Dianna did the drawing/direct copy of the pin in 1983."

L7: Logo #292

L7's skeleton hands were designed by the brilliant Randall Martin for the band's 1992 release "Pretend We're Dead." Here's Donita Sparks in 1992 throwing her used tampon at the fans at Reading and having a lot of sex. Well, not all at once - and by definition, a tampon company cannot be the best tampon maker in the world. They're not #1 - but they're up there. Looking at those clips from the whiny '90s, you realize how much time goes by and just how much things like Double and clean lines and quality dining start to mean. Very L7, that.

M.O.D. (Method of Destruction): Logo #291

This take on Uncle Sam was designed for New York thrash unit M.O.D. [Method of Destruction] by Anthony Ferrara for their 1987 LP "U.S.A. for M.O.D.". Not to be confused with the Uncle Sam that Uncle Slam uses - although M.O.D.'s latest logo - that of a guitar laid across red intertwined M-O-D letters - is an almost total ripoff of the logo for the Michael Schenker Group. Does New York thrash really need to look to mid-'70s German prog-metal bands for their artistic cues? I mean, really?

This Day in Death:
Francis-Marie Martinez Picabia (Jan. 22, 1879 - Nov. 30, 1953)
Phil Tucker (May 22, 1927 – Nov. 30, 1985)
Bobbi Brat (Red Scare; Jul. 14, 1962 - Nov. 30, 1988)
Charlie Rouse (Thelonious Monk; Apr. 6, 1924 - Nov. 30, 1988)
Guy Debord (Dec. 28, 1931 - Nov. 30, 1994)
Tiny Tim (Apr. 12, 1932 – Nov. 30, 1996)
Kathy Acker (Apr. 18, 1947 - Nov. 30, 1997)
Donald Scott Smith (Loverboy; Feb. 13, 1955 - Nov. 30, 2000)
Elsa Stansfield (Mar. 12, 1945 - Nov. 30, 2004)

Arx Kaeli: Logo #290

Evgeniy Kuleshov from Russian ambient/IDM band Arx Kaeli reveals: "A similar emblem appears in the book "Encyclopedia of Doctrines of the Middle Ages". In one article there is almost the same symbol connected with air. My friend Yaroslav Proskuryakov stylised this symbol in 2005. Arx Kaeli (Arx Caeli) means that place where the sky becomes one with the earth." What a concept! The logo is quite beautifully simple and captivating as well - simplicity, as we all know, solves more problems than it creates, ultimately (too many chromosomes, for instance).

The Song of the Moment is "Corporate Cannibal" by Grace Jones.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dangerous Toys: Logo #289

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."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Radiohead: Logo #288

The Radiohead "Death Bear" was designed by Stanley "Dan Rickwood" Donwood in 2000, rivaled only by the crying minotaur from their Grammy-winning "Amnesiac" LP in 2000. Radiohead have about six great songs in them - the rest is industry and gratuitous enigmaticism. Look for late-career forays into jazz, opera, ballet and other gracefully aging irrelevancies. My review of the paradigm-punching "In Rainbows" CD that released last year follows.

I've learned that there’s another version of English that’s spoken across the world. It’s called “Gimme.” So Radiohead offers their latest album as chiefly an online download option. You pay as much as you want for it when you order it. On 2007 October 10, the day of its release, purportedly 1.2 million copies were downloaded. As one of the blog wags so eloquently crystallized it, “So 1.2 million downloads = $20.82?” And yes, while there are going to be an overwhelming contingent of stalwart do-gooders whose heart lies squarely in the right place and will clearly pay generously, the “Information wants to be free” crowd has essentially rendered music almost completely worthless with the support of this paradigm. And when you free that “free free free!” toothpaste genie, no way is he going back in that tube. Worthless. Disposable. Gimme. If a violently huge band such as Radiohead gives away their records, the implicit logic is this: well, why should I give a shit about your crappy band? Your band who scrimped and slaved to put an album out, spending countless hours perfecting something true and good, only to be faced with the concept of scorn heaped upon your labors because you dared put a fixed price on what your time and creative energies were worth? Oh, a copy of the album? Thanks – just let me put it on the hard-drive containing all the other nameless records by bands I never heard of before and never want to hear again. I’ll get to it, baby – I’ll get to it…

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Circle One: Logo #287

The good folks at Circle One Central report: "(It's) just your standard symbol for revolution and it originated from some anarchist movement. We think it represents underground unity. Our original bass player Mike Ituarte designed it in 1980. He modified it a bit. I believe it was Turkish." Lead singer John Stephen Macias (January 29, 1962 - May 30, 1991) was by all accounts a deeply scary guy (also, conversely, a staunch Christian) and was shot dead after a confrontation with Santa Monica police after knocking a security guard off the Santa Monica Pier when told to stop preaching the word of the Lord. Purportedly Macias walked into a hail of bullets and just kept going - and so have Circle One, actually.

The logo's from Turkey. It's the best I could come up with for Thanksgiving Day. If you know which anarchist faction from whence this logo originally sprang, we'd like to know!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Ramones: Logo #286

Designed by William Barton and Charles Thomson in 1782 and detourned by Ramones confidant and lighting director Arturo Vega in 1977.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Jamiroquai: Logo #285

In the tradition of Miles Davis' silhouette or Dolly Parton's latest public image, the Jamiroquai man-bull was conjured up by singer Jason Kay in 1993 for the band's debut album "Emergency On Planet Earth." Much scorn is heaped on Jamiroquai whenever this logo appears in "best of" lists (such as the recent NME list that ripped off my work without even so much as a link in return), but as an admixture of smooth jazz and driveway-moment fuck music goes, it's not half bad. They're still packing audiences in throughout Europe, so that's more than you've probably done.

Dilated Peoples: Logo #284

The Dilated Peoples cyclops was created by Brent Rollins / Ego Trip NYC in 1997 for "Third Degree," the band's first 12" on ABB Records. One of the members, DJ Babu, coined the phrase turntablism and hails from Oxnard. Oxnard! Go figure. Oxnard was in fact one of the first places on the West Coast to play hip-hop with any regularity. The prime mover of this movement was a DJ named H.T., who, last I'd heard, died in a car crash in the late '80s or so. When I brought the subject up to DJ Babu, he replied, "What?! HT! KMIX 106!!!!! I used to stay up every Saturday night to record HT...I remember when he passed and all they did was replay old HT recordings for a week, then the station folded...that brings me back!!!!!!!"

Howard David Thomas, November 22, 1962 - August 14, 1988. Rest in peace, Mr. DJ.