Saturday, October 31, 2009

Quiet Riot: Logo #316

From the cover of Quiet Riot's third album, "Metal Health," this enduring metal mascot was designed by Quiet Riot and Jay Vigon in 1983. Makes a fairly synchronistic follow-up to the previous entry about Left Insane, really. The album ultimately sold six million copies - how many of those six million people do you know? "Cum on Feel the Noize" was the big hit that everyone knows; its video came from the same cosmos of dread as Greg Kihn's "Jeopardy" video and the clip for Dio's "Last in Line." Each - Kihn's impending marriage; Peluce's menial delivery job; the kid from the Quiet Riot video waking up early and having that mask hanging over his head - seemed to have their respective menaces spawned from a sense of middle-class responsibility that none of the curly-haired heroes wanted to assume or pursue. And here you thought people thinking about heavy metal only concerned themselves with messages playing backwards. Crushing, middle-class fears factor very heavily in the dull, beige, backwards world out of which heavy metal attempts to pull its listeners. Quiet Riot's late singer Kevin DuBrow (possibly the man behind the mask) dressed up in straitjacket and mask onstage, and while that makes for great theatre, it also represents a rare moment of explicit empathy between elevated performer and downtrodden fan. Guitarist Carlos Cavazo recently discussed the album cover: "It was an idea created by the whole band. It's supposed to be a guy who goes crazy banging his head, and they had to put a straitjacket and an iron mask on him, so that he wouldn't hurt himself. I remember the mask was Rudy's [Sarzo, bass] idea. He got the idea from the movie ‘The Man In The Iron Mask."

Here's "Night of the Living Dead," in glorious black&white. Happy Halloween, folks. All Souls' Day is just around the corner!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Left Insane: Logo #315

South Bay avant punk band Left Insane had their logo designed by drummer Tony Cicero - from an original sketch by singer/guitarist Paul Radabaugh - in 1989. A masterpiece of simplicity and perspective, it graced the cover of the band's "Visa Weekend" 7" on No Reality Records, an unheralded record label with a catalog that includes Nip Drivers, Pinhead Gunpowder, and Crimpshrine. Radabaugh: "The rendering in your post is my drawing and that's what got used in most of the fliers and promo materials. Tony and Mark Segal (from the SST band Paper Bag, which hailed from deepest darkest Tarzana) cleaned it up a little for the "Toolbox" album." Cicero got his start in Carson - a suburb between Los Angeles and Long Beach with a really beautiful old movie theatre nearby in Wilmington - in 1979 with a band called The Meathooks (I'm told there are recordings hidden deep in the heart of Lomita). He left when SST superstars Saccharine Trust needed a new drummer; after Saccharine Trust, he played in Vida with Dez Cadena. One of the most complex, driven and creative of all the drummers working in the Southern California punk world in the '80s, he's criminally underrated and I'm not just saying that because he's on the payroll. Now he's in Black Love - my band - and we are absolutely dipped in chocolate gold to have him with us. Someone asked recently what Black Love sounds like. We sound like Nick Cave and P.J. Harvey watching scrambled porn - but not necessarily the same channel at the same time. Also: disorienting hard rock.

This just in: Black Flag / DOA / Danzig / Run-DMC drummer Chuck Biscuits has died of throat cancer at age 44; BrooklynVegan has the most comprehensive tribute to Chuck, including a video possibly from 1988 in which Chuck shows off his collection of cereals (!) including Fruit Brute, Fruity Yummy Mummy, Count Chocula and his favorite: Quisp (?!)

Also just in: Chuck Biscuit death hoax?!?

Update: Yes, he's alive. Move along, people - nothing to see here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Psychic TV: Logo #314

Designed by Throbbing Gristle / Psychic TV co-founder Genesis P-Orridge in 1981. Deceptively simple and endlessly reproduced in a variety of materials and locations, it is at least a distant cousin to Raymond Pettibon's Black Flag bars and at best a close brother to Jesus Christ's cross - well, wait, let's not talk about that. That cross around your neck? You think Jesus is going to want to see that when He gets back and comes up to shake your hand? So distasteful. The Temple Ov Psychick Youth file declares, "The Psychick Cross is a symbol of TOPY. That is its main meaning. It can also represent a trinity, a reversal of the Papal Cross (i.e. two long crossbars and one short), and a TV aerial (receiver and transmitter of information). No meaning is imposed upon it by the group." Speaking rather incisively in a recent interview, P-Orridge recalls, "One reason we came up with what we called the Psychic Cross was to have a non-verbal icon, where if you saw someone with that on a jacket, or a tattoo, you would think, "They’re probably relatively close to my way of thinking…they're part of my invisible tribe." It doesn’t have a linguistic definition - it's beyond words.

(William S.) Burroughs was really interested in hieroglyphics. One of the things he pointed out was that he believed that the hieroglyphic so-called 'languages' work on the nervous system rather than the intellect because they're pictograms, which are received in our brains very differently to a linear, alphabetic language. And the subtleties and the nuances in this holographic information - of a hieroglyph - is more far-reaching and less specific than an alphabetized language. Whether alphabets go from right to left or left to right or up and down, they're basically teaching the brain to create habitual pathways that are - supposedly - logical…but actually they erase imagination from language. They erase the individual's subtle interpretations of meaning - and therefore meaning becomes very dogmatic."

With more than three dozen members coming and going since the group's inception in 1981, Psychick TV is a cross (har) between a symphony orchestra and the Justice League of America. Genesis P-Orridge - now Genesis Breyer P-Orridge - welcomes the publication in November on Feral House of the 544-page "Thee Psychick Bible." Finally - something to read this winter.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

:zoviet*france:: Logo #313

One of the greatest musical groups of all time - flat-out, hands down, bar none. They make the mystical and transcendent into something intimate, they make some of the best record packaging ever created and if ever there were a need for meditative drones made of sticks and stones, :zoviet*france: fulfills it. Robin Storey, late of zoviet*france:: "The ZF logo developed organically with input from all the artists involved in the early days (including Lisa Hale). I can't remember when that particular configuration (Nb. the star-crescent) was first used, but it must have been around the mid-'80s." The band is fractured and fractious now, for various reasons - which is sad, but their music is immortal and surpasses the paltry emotional firefights in which mere humans tend to delight from time to time. :zoviet*france: came out of a confluence of avant-garde minds working in northeastern England in the late '70s and early '80s - The Hafler Trio, Metgumbnerbone, Alien Brains, The New Blockaders and various variations of the people in those great creative brain-trusts. Here's :zoviet*france: about 20 years ago. Here's their incredible discography, which is fraught with some of the most luminescent titles ever - including "Shouting At the Ground," which comes from a slightly longer quote, "Shouting at the ground won't make it hear you any better." AMEN TO THAT!

By the way, that comment on the Operation Ivy entry just totally made my week. It's not that I'm running out of logos or affection for the form - I'm just overwhelmed in my current state of human limitation. Further bulletins as events warrant - lightning strike or sudden radioactive mutation notwithstanding.