Album Cover Hall of Fame’s Album Cover News Recap – May 2015
By Mike Goldstein – Curator/Editor, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Having suffered through the most-annoying of technological dilemmas – that being, the death of an old computer and the subsequent re-launching on a new one (along with the transfer of all files, contacts, emails, etc. from an ancient operating environment to a new one) – I have to apologize to all of you for the tardiness of this month’s recap. With that in mind, rather than bore you with a wordy introduction, I’m simply going to take you to the summary – suffice it to say that there was a lot happening in the space that would be of interest to album art fans everywhere…
May 1st – 1) There’s a new gallery in Austin, TX (AKA “SE Portland”) called the Modern Rocks Gallery (well, it’s been there a short while, but I just learned about it this week) and I wanted album art fans in that part of the country to know about it and a couple of shows – one current, one upcoming – that are/will be on display there. Running thru May 23rd was an exhibit called “The Smiths and Friends – Iconic musicians by Stephen Wright” that featured a nice collection of shots of the band by the acclaimed photographer. In addition to the images of Mr. Morrisey & Co., you’ll also find nice shots taken of Miles Davis, John Lydon, Madonna, New Order, Prince and Bono of U2. At the end of the month, a large collection of Nirvana photos taken by famed underwater photographer Kirk Weddle (of “Nevermind” fame) was put on display.
Along with rock photography, owner Steven Walker – the former guitarist for Modern English – displays and sells actual rocks, minerals and crystals (truly a rockin’ joint). To learn more about the current and upcoming events, visit the gallery’s events page via the link – http://www.modernrocksgallery.com/events/
2) To follow-up a previous article on album cover photos found in the collection of the U.K.’s National Portrait Gallery, The Guardian’s Michael Hann has posted a list of other seminal rock portraits – found on album covers from the 1960s up to the present – that he feels ought to be added to the museum’s prestigious collection. Musical acts featured in the photos on the list include Patti Smith, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Sade, Bjork and many others. I’d be proud to include any/all of them in my personal collection and hope, one day, to see more of them on public display – http://www.theguardian.com/music/gallery/2015/apr/29/bjork-blondie-and-bruce-the-cover-portraits-that-deserve-to-hang-in-a-gallery
3) Another well-known seller of in-demand music imagery is Wolfgang’s Vault, the retailer which built its business based on offering music fans a chance to own something from the Bill Graham Archives. Now in business for over 12 years and having expanded its online presence to offer subscription and on-demand viewing of concert recordings, the company is working hard to continue to offer its customers unique opportunities to both watch and listen to their favorite classic acts in performance and then take home a souvenir from that show (or others), so it is interesting to get a chance to learn a bit more about the operation from their head of eCommerce (Grant Feichtmeir) in this recent interview article by Ken Sharp on the Goldmine Magazine site – http://www.goldminemag.com/features/peek-inside-wolfgangs-vault
May 4th – 1) As part of the promo behind the release of his band’s new record titled My Waterfall, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James (am I the only one that automatically adds “and The Flames” whenever I hear his name?) has penned a feature article you’ll find on the Vanity Fair web site that lists his “Top 6” album covers of all time. Included in the very diverse list are records by Link Wray, Bob Dylan, The Mamas & The Papas, Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson, Curtis Mayfield and a record that’s often included on the many “WTF?” lists, the Louvin Brothers and their 1960 release Satan Is Real. You’ll find covers containing work by Gary Burden, Bob Cato & Reid Miles (for Dylan), David Lau & Scott Townsend (GSH) and one featuring Margaret Bourke-White’s flood victims photo that was featured on the cover of the 2/15/37 edition of LIFE Magazine. I’m sure that you’ll find Mr, James’ comments quite insightful, so click on over now to see and read more – http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/04/jim-james-my-morning-jacket-album-art-the-waterfall
2) Photos of the Grateful Dead lifted from the extensive portfolio created by famed cover shooter Peter Simon will be featured in two soon-to-be-published books on the band. Taken while on assignments from Time/Life and Newsweek, this will be the first time that several of the photos have been published, so with this being the 50th anniversary of the band, fans can now celebrate a little early by linking on over to Mr. Simon’s site to dig through an archive area he’s put together featuring scads of these photos – https://productsandportfolio.petersimon.com/cgi-bin/store/imageFolio.cgi?direct=The_Grateful_Dead
Peter also announced that some of the photos will also be seen in a new documentary by Martin Scorsese – congratulations, Peter!
3) Now album art collectors will have a chance to support a new exhibition planned for later this Spring at The Hyde Collection Art Museum & Historic House located in Glen Falls, NY. In support of a new show featuring the works of Andy Warhol, the museum’s curators are working on a companion display they’re calling “Can You Dig It?”. As part of that show, and taking into account that Warhol had produced over 50 covers during his career, they’re looking to borrow album covers from collectors that will be put on display. Record covers from albums released between 1973 – 1987 are preferred. To read more of the details and to contact the museum if you have covers to lend, click on over to the press release as posted on the Poststar.com site – http://poststar.com/print-specific/brief/hyde-seeking-album-covers/article_bcff5988-3272-5af7-abfc-a8f79a4c6d00.html
May 6th – 1) Nice story on the DIY Magazine site about how a relationship between a talented young art student (musician and, later on, video director) and the singer Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs led ultimately to that artist’s commission to produce the colorful artwork for the cover of the band’s debut record Fever To Tell. When young Cody Critcheloe – who now operates by the name SSION – first arrived in New York, hoping to tap into the music and art scene there, his arrival coincided with the beginning of the band’s uphill climb to rock stardom, and so after a chance meeting with Karen O during which he introduced her to his artistic talents, he was soon given the opportunity to help establish the band’s visual side through his efforts, the results of which are still impressive to this day. Read El Hunt’s interview with SSION about this important first project via the link – http://diymag.com/2015/04/30/ssion-on-art-rock-and-creating-the-artwork-for-yeah-yeah-yeahs-fever-to-tell
2) When nothing else will do…you gotta do what you gotta do. At least that was writer Albert Mudrian’s approach to securing one particular artist – Dan Seagrave, the man responsible for many a well-known metal album cover image – when he needed a new cover image for the updated version of his book about the origins of the Death Metal music scene titled Choosing Death: The Improbable History Of Death Metal & Grindcore. This commission produced a painting titled Origins Of Madness, and in this interview with the author conducted by J. Bennett for the Noisy.Vice site, Albert shares a bit of info of the process he went through to revise what was already considered “the definitive work” on the topic and the work it takes to keep his writing on the topic (seen both in his books and in Decibel magazine) compelling for an ever-growing audience. http://noisey.vice.com/en_au/blog/albert-mudrian-decibel-choosing-death-interview
3) An iconic album cover image, created by Pacific Eye & Ear’s Joe Petagno in 1977 for Motorhead, is the basis of a newly-interpreted sculpture-turned-Halloween mask now being offered by the folks at Trick Or Treat Studios in Soquel, CA. Shipping later this summer, the new. officially-licensed “Warpig” mask was sculpted by Rick Fisher, a noted artist who has been creating popular masks since 1999 (including a very cool DEVO Booji Boy model). Motorhead fans have long-sported t-shirts based on the various versions of this figurehead since the late 70s, so it’s about time that they’re able to go full-throttle (like the Hellraisers that they are) into this year’s Holiday with a proper costume accessory. http://www.trickortreatstudios.com/motorhead_warpig_mask.html
The same company gives Alice Cooper fans a similar option, just in case you can’t make up your mind – http://www.trickortreatstudios.com/alice_cooper_halloween_mask.html
4) When I saw this article, I wasn’t quite sure how/whether to report about it as, on its surface, it seems to cheapen the basis of the work that we all are fans of here at the ACHOF but, as it is that we now live in a society where “there’s an app for everything” and artists have been using computer-based tools to aid their efforts for some time now, this simply adds another tool to the repertoire of album art creators of varying degrees of talent, right?
As detailed in this article on High Point University’s web site, computer science/math major Nick Zayatz has released an application he calls “Album Pop” (available via the iTunes Store) that lets anyone looking to add album cover art to their recorded music to accomplish that feat “in three easy steps”.
As I was a participant in the era where you made interesting covers for your mix-tapes, I can somewhat appreciate that the young man has produced a tool allowing anyone to personalize their music products but, to me, it simply is another in a long list of products that have only served to industrialize and homogenize an important aspect (at least to fans of album art) of creating memorable music packaging. Your opinions on the topic would be greatly appreciated – http://www.highpoint.edu/blog/2015/04/new-app-created-by-hpu-junior-makes-it-easy-to-design-album-covers/
May 7th – Two talented rock photographers “gettin’ their dues”…
1) The work of Art Kane, the late photographer who created the covers for albums including The Kids Are Alright by The Who, An American Prayer by Jim Morrison and Point Of Entry by Judas Priest, has found a home in a new book published by Reel Art Press. While his long career’s work was never organized and published in a retrospective monograph, Kane’s son Jonathan made sure that his archives were properly feted in this volume and, in this new photo collection assembled for display on the DailyMail.com site, fans are able to see examples from every aspect of Art’s career, including his work as a photo-journalist, fashion photographer and chronicler of the great changes the world was going through beginning in the early 1960s. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3066690/Photographer-lens-captured-iconic-rock-rollers-1960s-1970s-heydays-collects-greatest-shots-new-book-celebrates-eccentric-era-music-fashion.html
Visit the Reel Art Press site to read more about this important new book – http://www.reelartpress.com/catalog/edition/71/art-kane
2) Originally a Kickstarter-backed film project but now backed by executive producer Eddie Vedder, film-maker Karen Whitehead’s new documentary Her Aim Is True screened May 7th in San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts. The documentary’s subject is pioneering female rock photographer Jini Dellaccio who, before going on to fame for her photographs of “rock royalty” including the Rolling Stones, The Who and Neil Young, produced three album covers for the upstart mid-60s garage-rockers The Sonics (who, in spite of several break-ups along the way, are still touring today).
Writing for the SoundDiego site (a late-night weekend show on the NBC affiliate there), Hannah Lott-Schwartz has published an interview with the former BBC news producer in which she acquaints us with a shooter who used her unique window on the world – that of a middle-aged woman as editorial photographer working long before this was the norm – to introduce us to all the exciting talent young people were clamoring about at the time.
May 8th – 1) As a follow-up to an earlier posting about an upcoming show in Austin, TX of the Nirvana-related works by photographer Kirk Weddle, writer Anneta Konstantinides has put together a nice photo article for the UK’s DailyMail.com site featuring a number of the alt-takes from the sessions that created the memorable cover. Baby in the pool, Nirvana members in the pool – even some shots of the band in the pool WITH THEIR INSTRUMENTS (personally, I liked my drum set too much to torture it in this way but, hey, it’s all done for the art)! Truly a glimpse back to happier times for all participants and fans – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3067679/Rare-photos-Nirvana-recreating-iconic-Nevermind-cover-sale.html
2) I was very pleased to read that George Kalinsky – the official photographer for Madison Square Garden (since 1966!) and the man responsible for countless instantly-recognizable photos of performers and performances at the famed NYC arena – is being inducted to the Madison Square Garden “Walk of Fame”. At the same ceremony, the Grateful Dead will also be inducted, in recognition for the 50+ concerts the band has given there since 1979. In addition to Garden-related imagery, Kalinsky has also produced a large collection of photos of celebrities from the entertainment and sports worlds and is the recipient of many photo/editorial industry awards. You can find a number of examples of George’s work, along with a bio and other information, on his web site at http://www.georgekalinsky.com/index.html
3) The folks at St. Paul’s Gallery in Birmingham, U.K. have announced the availability of a few remaining copies of a very rare album art print – that of the cover for Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson’s 2004 solo record titled Gettin’ In Over My Head, done by Sir Peter Blake (of Sgt. Pepper’s fame). The Beach Boys were always one of Sir Peter’s favorite bands, so he approached the production of this collage with great determination and joy. The final image is based on his interpretations of each of the songs featured on the album, with the title of each hand-written next to each unique image found in the collage. To see this and several other of Blake’s music-inspired images, click on over to the gallery’s site at http://www.stpaulsgallery.com/fine-art/sir-peter-blake-signed-limited-edition-album-cover-print-gettin-in-over-my-head.asp
May 11th – 1) There was a new auction May 15th that contained a number of interesting album cover-related items – from art proofs to alt takes to clothing and props found on well-known images – and so I thought that some of you might want to bop on over to the Julien’s Auction site to view these and other fascinating bits of music memorabilia that were sold to a host of lucky collectors. In their “Music Icons 2015” auctions, you were able to bid on the following:
a) A limited-edition print (one of 100) of a Michael Cooper photo taken of an alternate version of the Sgt. Pepper’s set – this one with Paul kneeling, Ringo holding a tuba and several historical icons whose images were axed from the final version. Starting bid on this item was $400, with the winning bid at $1250.
b) Several “working proofs” of production artwork for Beatles-related covers including “Meet The Beatles” (sold for $250), “A Hard Day’s Night” (sold for $375), McCartney & Wings’ “Band On The Run” (sold for $125) and Yoko Ono’s “Plastic Ono Band” (sold for $256). All had opening bids in the $100 – $200 range.
c) Album cover-worn items included gold lame costumes worn by members of Sha-Na-Na (these went unsold), a green hat worn by Alicia Keys on the cover for “Songs In A Minor” (sold for $3750) and a bright red suit worn by the late great John Entwhistle on the cover of his “Too Late The Hero” record (sold for $4688).
You’ll also find a number of signed album covers and photographs that were sold, so click on over to the auction’s summary site at http://www.julienslive.com/view-auctions/catalog/id/153/?page=1&key=album+cover&cat=&xclosed=no to see everything that was available.
2) As those of you who might follow my writing on the topic of album covers as fine art may know, I’ve always worked hard to promote the notion that album cover artists (designers, photographers, etc.) have often been overlooked by the fine art establishment, primarily due to the perceived “commercial nature” of the works they create (not that fine artists ever work hard to sell their works as well, sometimes even to commercial clients – sheesh!). There are other times, though, when I’m somewhat glad that art critics and educators don’t spend too much time on this topic because, when they do, they tend to write in a prose that confuses me, using references that I’m not familiar with and heady metaphors that leave me with the same feeling I get after finishing a Slurpee (TM) too quickly….
Sometimes, though, art writers meet me half way and, as an example of this, I’d like to point you to a recent article in Juxtapoz Magazine by writer Carlo McCormick about the always-evolving work of a commercial artist (with several album cover credits) who has, over the past 15-20 years, made serious in-roads into the fine art world – the talented Ryan McGinness. While I admit that my eyes did glaze over once or twice during my reading of this article, both the author and the impressive photos of the artist’s work did leave me with a better understanding of how this artist has succeeded when so many others come up short – http://beyondthecover.juxtapoz.com/june-2015-ryan-mcginness
May 12th – 1) In support of the opening of a new John Lennon-centric exhibit at the Krab Jab Studios in Seattle, WA, two of the artists whose work is on display were on hand to meet fans – Tim Bruckner, the album cover artist/sculptor who has created imagery for Ringo, Parliament, the Average White Band and others, and photographer/former Lennon companion May Pang who, in addition to lots of shots of the late Beatle (as featured in her book on the subject titled Instamatic Karma) brought along a pair of Lennon-owned prescription sunglasses. There were several other intriguing Lennon-related sculptures on display, and the opening was attended by a host of celebs with ties to John and his family, including drummer Alan White (of YES and a former member of the Plastic Ono Band) and authors Charles Cross and Gillian G. Gaar. Shelley Germeaux, writing for The Examiner, was in attendance and has posted an article and photo gallery from last weekend’s event, viewable via the link – http://www.examiner.com/article/may-pang-and-tim-bruckner-at-private-event-for-lennon-exhibit-seattle
2) Sometimes, the best way to provide others with a reference to your feelings about a subject is to reference a well-known album cover image (at least this works for me…). In this article and image gallery recently posted by writer Andy Morris on the Gigwise site, the author has selected 15 album covers that he feels best-represent the surprise and bewilderment he and his chums felt as the result of the recent elections in the U.K.. While some are often-referenced, others are a bit more unusual and, in all cases, a much-better option that a simple “WTF?” graphic – http://www.gigwise.com/photos/100348/election-result-2015-reaction-in-album-covers
3) You’ve got to give a lot of credit to a young person who is so dedicated to sharing his love of music and art that he’s willing to “bet the farm” on the opening of a new vinyl record store/art gallery. In this recent profile by Michelle Goodman in the Ironton (OH) Tribune, you’ll meet the owner of Portsmouth, Ohio’s Haskins House – Charlie Haskins – who opened the shop late last year as a tribute to the artistic roots of his family. In addition to the vast inventory of vinyl records, shoppers will find books on a wide range of music and art topics, posters, memorabilia and a selection of fine art created by various members of the Haskins family, including paintings done by his late father of his interpretations of the covers of records including Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones (complete with working zipper) and Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother. You can learn more about this shop and the people behind it via either via the story link at http://www.irontontribune.com/2015/05/07/no-place-like-haskins-house/ or via their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Haskins-House/184541774921400?fref=ts
May 13th – 1) Fans of surrealism and fantasy art have long-admired the works of the late, great H.R. Giger and will want to join the lines at the ticket windows for the upcoming screenings for a new documentary on the artist’s life and work that’s premiering this week. Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World is a film by Belinda Sallin that, according to the film’s distributor, Icarus Films, “shares the intimate last years of the artist’s life and reveals how deeply he resided within his own artistic visions. Behind the shuttered windows and ivy-covered walls of his residence in Zurich, Switzerland, DARK STAR brings viewers into Giger’s mysterious realm…While more-widely known for his amazing designs for the ALIEN films, album art fans will certainly remember his designs for ELP (Brain Salad Surgery), Debbie Harry (Koo Koo) and Danzig (How The Gods Kill), among several others.
A visit to the site brings you to several video clips, including the film’s trailer and segments in which you can see the artist at work and in one of his amazing creations – his “Secret Garden” (enter, if you dare!)
2) In a follow-up to last month’s article on illustrator Uwe De Witt’s comic hero-based remakes of album covers, I wanted to let you know that there was a show running at London’s Orbital Comics store (thru May 14th) called “Cover Versions” in which you found the works of 14 different comic book artist as they have re-imagined classic album covers. You’ll see superhero-influenced covers for records by The Beatles, Michael Jackson, The Who and others and, in a fine example of album art-based philanthropy, if you like the art you see, you can buy prints of the images on the gallery’s site, with all proceeds going to the Brain Tumour Research charity. Alex Spencer gives us more of the details, along with all relevant links, in this article on the Comics Alliance web site – http://comicsalliance.com/comic-artists-remix-classic-album-covers/
3) The influence of great album cover art runs deep, as is evidenced by the artwork featured in this article on the Catholic Herald web site. In coming up with “something fresh” in a design for a new recruitment poster for the Dominicans in Ireland, the design team uses both references to their own unique clothing and to the cover image for Bruce Springsteen’s 1975 smash album Born To Run. I suppose that a reference to this image makes more sense than if they’d chosen, say, one of the aforementioned Mr. Giger’s designs but, hey, “whatever floats your boat”. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/05/08/vocations-poster-inspired-by-bruce-springsteens-born-to-run/
May 14th – 1) A career-spanning exhibition of the works of long-time NME photographer Chalkie Davies is now on display at the National Museum Cardiff. Running through the 6th of September and featuring over 60 B&W images that were taken during the mid-late 1970s, the subjects of Chalkie’s photos include famous faces from The Clash, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Sex Pistols, The Specials, Thin Lizzy and The Who. After leaving NME to start a new publication called The Face, he spent the next several years adding photos of David Gilmour, The Pretenders and Pete Townshend to his portrait/album cover portfolio. The museum has several related events that will take place during the show’s run, and you can read more about this presentation on the ArtDaily.org site via the link – http://artdaily.com/news/78441/Rock-and-Punk-era-brought-to-life-in-a-new-photography-exhibition-at-National-Museum-Cardiff
2) Now available for viewing on the 98 Bowery gallery site is a virtual exhibition curated by Marc H. Miller about what many consider to be the first full-fledged gallery show focused on punk art – that being a 1978 spectacle Miller put together (with Alice Denney) at the Washington Project for the Arts in Washington DC. Reaching deep into his personal archives, Marc has put together a really nice multi-part online catalog, re-introducing fans of the scene to many of the players that made this era so interesting and influential. I was particularly-impressed with the nicely-illustrated section he put up about Punk Magazine and what was going on at the time at NYC’s School of Visual Arts (Legs McNeil, John Holmstrom, photographer Roberta Bayley, etc.). There’s a lot of territory to cover, so why not get started on the site’s catalog page – enjoy the ride – http://98bowery.com/punk-years/punk-art-catalogue.php
3) To update you on an item I reported on several weeks ago about the vandalism of the Darwin, CA-area Joshua Tree plant featured on the cover of U2’s album by the same name – here’s some feel good news! In a sign of true fandom, a guy that goes by the name of George G. moved himself out to the site of the tragedy and “performed surgery” on the damaged arm, bringing back to what seems to be “like new” condition. George shot video of the entire operation, a link to which you can find in Michelle Geslani’s article on the subject on the Consequence of Sound site – http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/05/a-good-samaritan-repaired-u2s-joshua-tree/
I think that he was going to do it With Or Without You…
May 15th – In the meantime, here is the one thing I can point you to: there’s a new book out by two experienced rock photographers – Jason Obrotka and Paul Miles – in which they document a “year in the life” of their work behind the scenes at rock music events that took place at various venues in NYC. The two photo journalists wanted to be able to give fans a slightly-different perspective on what life is like for touring musicians in different genres and stages in their respective careers, and in Before I Hit The Stage, they’ve done just that, giving us the details of their encounters with acts including The Yardbirds, Cherie Currie from The Runaways, Dinosaur Jr., the Violent Femmes and many others.
Writing for the “Extra Mustard” section on the Sports Illustrated web site, Andy Gray interviews the two shooters and, in some bonus items, also asks a number of working musicians some for their take on several interesting sports-related topics.
May 18th – 1) Here’s a chance to visit with the very talented Stanley Mouse, the designer responsible for so many beloved rock and roll-related designs over the past 40+ years. In an article posted recently in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat – written by Michael Shapiro – you can get a better look at the amazing output of the guy responsible for album covers for Journey, Steve Miller and, most-notably, the Grateful Dead. He’s lived in the San Francisco Bay area for over 50 years, beginning his career designing posters for Chet Helms before branching out (along with his late partner, Alton Kelley) to create memorable imagery that, if you’ll check your t-shirt collection, you’ll most-probably be an owner of a copy or two. Tour thru the artist’s Sebastopol “Mouse-eum” via the link – http://www.pressdemocrat.com/lifestyle/3864479-181/stanley-mouse-man-who-designed
2) To follow-up on last-week’s posting about the new film on the life and career of artist H.R. Giger, here’s a link to an interview with the film’s director, Belinda Sallin, done by Blastr.com’s Ernie Estrella. Giger allowed Sallin unprecedented access to his home and workplaces and that footage, combined with her many interviews with the artist himself, his friends, ex-wives and associated artists, serve to bring a complete and intimate view of a truly unique designer of an un-matched portfolio of influential fantasy images. The film continues its limited release in approx. 30 cities in the U.S. and Canada thru the end of June – http://www.blastr.com/2015-5-15/belinda-sallin-capturing-life-and-art-hr-giger-her-documentary-dark-star-hr-gigers-world
May 19th – 1) In the May issue of Creative Review, Adrian Schaunessy gives us a review of a new book on the album cover work of the Hipgnosis design studio. Titled Technical Ecstasy: Hipgnosis Portraits, the book gives readers a detailed (and nicely-illustrated) look at the people that contributed to the studio’s impressive output – iconic works for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Sad Cafe, Muse, The Cranberries and many, many others. Although Storm Thorgerson died back in 2013, his work and that of his cohorts continues to inspire and amaze – http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/may1/hipgnosis-portraits
2) You’ll learn a lot about designer/photographer Brian Griffin and his work on album covers for Depeche Mode, Echo & The Bunnymen, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson and others in this recent interview featured in Brett Helm’s “[Friday On The Turntable] Album Art & Design” article on the “Life On This Planet” site. As a special bonus feature, Brett has assembled a Spotify playlist that includes examples of music from all of the records mentioned in the interview feature – listen and learn, via the link – http://brethelm.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/friday-on-turntable-album-art-design-3.html
3) Are you a budding music industry graphic artist/designer looking to build a portfolio of work published in a major music magazine? If you are, the folks at Relix Magazine are looking for an intern willing to give them 2-3 days per week in their Manhattan, NY offices. While it’s an upaid position (welcome to the media business, newbies!), interns will get to attend concerts, take home valuable swag and get the chance to hob-nob with the music industry mucky-mucks they’ll be trying to impress with their work. Follow the link to the article on Relix/Jamband‘s web site to learn more about how to take this important first step in your career as a music industry producer – http://www.jambands.com/news/2015/05/18/relix-is-looking-for-graphic-design-interns Good luck!
May 20th – 1) Artist Stanley Donwood – known to many of you for his long list of impressive album covers for Radiohead and others – is subject of a large career retrospective show that opened May 21 at the “Semi-Permanent” art/design conference held in Sydney’s Eveleigh’s Carriageworks exhibition space. Running through June 6th, the show (titled “The Panic Room”) covered much of the huge, 64,000 square foot (!!) space. According to Jacqui Taffel’s article on the show recently posted on Australia’s “The Age” site, the space “will be painted and covered with his posters, screen and lino prints and large-scale prints of paintings, with more than 1000 pieces of Radiohead art work. In the middle is a towering red obelisk, a shrine to the pointy-toothed cartoon bear he first drew nearly 20 years ago for his daughter…”
Fans of “the Bear” will be in sheer bliss, I think. Get the rest of the details, along with some insights from the artist himself on the gargantuan task of setting up a show this big, via the link – http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/the-panic-room-radiohead-artist-stanley-donwood-steps-out-of-the-shadows-20150513-ggzgt7.html
2) In a follow-up to the recent posting about an upcoming album art show that will run alongside the Andy Warhol drawings exhibit that will open up at The Hyde Collection in Glen Falls, NY in late June, The Daily Gazette‘s Pop Culture writer, Jeff Wilkin, shares what I think was many a young man’s fantasy in the early 1970s – provided by the cover of Carly Simon’s No Secrets LP (with photo by Ed Caraeff – thanks again, Ed!) – and then moves on to discuss the many other covers that played some part in shaping his life during those formative years. Covers discussed include examples from acts including Black Sabbath, Blind Faith, Heart and, as I’m sure we all have at least one of these in our own collections, a cover by an fairly-unknown band – in this case, Tucky Buzzard. Share in Jeff’s recap via the link – http://www.dailygazette.com/weblogs/wilkin/2015/may/16/hyde-exhibit-puts-fun-spin-70s-album-covers/
One of my favorite covers was the one featured on Bloodrock 3, released in the early 70s by TX-based rockers Bloodrock. Anyone else willing to add to the list?
May 21st – 1) Earlier this week, an auction held at London’s Royal Albert Hall (and arranged by The Print Bank) of 30 limited-edition photo prints, donated by the nice people at the Rockarchive Collection in the U.K., raised a bunch of money for several artist-selected charities. Included in the sale were prints by photographers including Jill Furmanovsky, Sheila Rock, Michael Putland and others, with the top money-getter of the evening being a shot of the late singer Amy Winehouse, which sold for £3000. An autographed photo of Led Zeppelin – signed by guitarist Jimmy Page – sold for £2000, with other shots fetching anywhere from £600 to £1600. Very nice to see that fans are willing to support the good works of these charities while, at the same time, adding great new prints to their respective collections. More details here on the Classic Rock web site – http://classicrock.teamrock.com/news/2015-05-17/led-zepellin-photo-ps2000-charity-auction
2) Beginning on May 25th, the work of celebrated album cover designer Brian Cannon and his team at Microdot are featured in an exhibition that coincides with the group’s 25th anniversary. Taking place at the circa 1887 Old Courtroom in the Old Courts on Crawford Street in Wigan (UK), the group’s studios will be open to the public for a week, with over 150 items on display including a number of autographed items, lyric sheets from Oasis, the Verve and Richard Ashcroft and, of course, designs the group has done for records by the aforementioned artists and others. Cannon and others will be on hand to answer questions, and a good time is guaranteed for all attendees. Learn more about the show’s hours and special events/lectures on the studio’s site at http://microdotspeaks.co.uk/2015/05/08/microdot-the-exhibition/
May 23rd – 1) With the voter turn-out quite high in Ireland for their gay marriage referendum, I thought that this article would be of interest to album art fans who are also supporters of equal rights for all…This posting was put up recently on the Entertainment.ie site, with the authors using a number of classic album covers as the basis for their appeals for “yes” votes on today’s poll. It only makes sense, when you’re trying to grab peoples’ attention, that you use images that have a strong appeal, and what better to use than re-imagined covers originally created for The Velvet Underground, Joy Division, The Sex Pistols and several others. Nice work – take a look – http://entertainment.ie/life/Pics-Classic-album-covers-reimagined-in-support-of-Marriage-Equality/365195.htm
2) Flipping the coin over to the side where an album image has caused nothing but (well-deserved) embarrassment for one of the people appearing on the cover photo, here’s the story of an elected official in Canada whose past work as a model for a metal band based in Calgary called Gatekrashor has been revealed and has unleashed the fury of a not-too-happy electorate. It seems that, just a week after photos surfaced of NDP MLA Deborah Drever in which she’s seen with pot and making obscene gestures, a keen-eyed person posted the photo cover of Gatekrashor’s Fear of Attack, in which Ms. Drever is in a staged scene where she’s in the midst of being assaulted by a gang armed with a beer bottle. She’s apologized for her lack of taste in selecting modeling assignments, but calls for her resignation are growing louder by the day. Read more about this on the Globalnews.ca site, via the link – http://globalnews.ca/news/2001504/new-mla-in-facebook-controversy-apologizes-for-offensive-album-cover/
3) In our last story, Tim Cain, the Entertainment Editor for the Decatur, IL Herald-Review, spins a heart-warming tale of his love for album cover art – it’s the best way he knows of to decorate his walls to his taste and mood. Tim has also shown some artistic flair in the way he’s taken and modified some of his favorite covers so that they’re unique works of art – we’ve all done this in one way or another, right? Take a look at Tim’s article via the link
I once painted a large-scale recreation of a Roger Dean image on my basement wall, using house paint. Anyone care to share their own stories of cover-inspired home decorating?
May 26th – 1) In Kyle Grantham’s article on the Delaware Online site, you’ll get to learn a bit about the career of Joe del Tufo, which started off in graphic design and moved its way into photography when Joe decided that he could both save some production money and get the exact shots he wanted if he just took the time to learn how to use a camera! In the 17+ years since taking that responsibility on, del Tufo has become a very popular photographer, with a lot of editorial, advertising and album cover credits to his name (including covers for Marillion, Steve Hackett, The Pineapple Thief and others). Whenever a major act comes to play venues in the Philadelphia area, Joe’s on hand to document their performances, so you’ll find images of a wide range of major musical acts, including U2, Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews and many more. Learn more about the multi-talented producer via the link – http://www.delawareonline.com/story/firststatefocus/2015/05/15/fsf-del-tufo/27386579/
2) It’s hard to believe that Alternative Press is 30 years old (or, is it that I’M this old), but in this interview with the publication’s fearless leader, Mike Shea, you’ll get to learn about how he worked his tushy off to get the publication launched, noticed and, ultimately, respected for their fierce attention to the careers of many talented “alternative bands”. I remember working a bit with their crew when covering the annual Warped Tour concert series a number of years ago, and they were as dedicated to promoting the talents of great new bands as we were. I’m even more impressed that Mike and his crew have remained focused on this aspect of the music business when so many others have lost their focuses (or is that focusi?) and taken a more-generic route. The publication has always featured a strong list of contributing photographers, and the quality of that work continues to impress and bolster the publication’s reputation both in print and online. Mike spoke recently with reporter Curt Miller about his life’s work and passion, and you can find that article now on the KNAC.com site via the link – http://knac.com/article.asp?ArticleID=15620
May 27th – 1) The details of the work done in 1972 by famed album cover design firm Pacific Eye & Ear for Alice Cooper’s classic School’s Out LP are highlighted in this recent article by writer Alan Siegel for The Concourse. Done during the days when outrageous (and impactful) package design was an important part of marketing a band known for its ability to drop the jaws of nearly every parent who found themselves digging through their kids’ record collections, the package featured a school desk carved with the names of band members which opened up to show the things found inside (including a switchblade knife). Band manager Shep Gordon took the design into overdrive by insisting that the record come wrapped in a pair of white (and, quite impressively, flammable) paper panties…Stroll down memory lane to get the rest of the sordid (and hilarious) details on one of the best-remembered album cover efforts, via the link – http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/schools-out-forever-the-secret-history-of-alice-coop-1705441582
2) Artist Victor Stabin cemented his place in album cover lore with his work on the package for Unmasked by KISS, an album that celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. One of several albums by the band that would feature comic book-style artwork, the story behind the record included enough other memorable bits (34 others, in fact) that it motivated writer McPadden to publish an article on the VH-1 Classic site titled “Unmasking Unmasked: 35 Facts About The Classic KISS Album”. One interesting tidbit was that Stabin, an artist based in Brooklyn, NY, was also responsible for a portfolio of portraits of great American scientists that were used on a series of U.S. Postage stamps…33 other fascinating facts are available via the link – http://www.vh1.com/news/19326/kiss-unmasked-35-facts/
3) Finally, in a good example of “it helps to have famous parents but, without real talent, I wouldn’t have succeeded otherwise”, meet photographer Zack Whitford, an artist whose works are featured in a new gallery show that opened Friday, May 29th at the Hilton|Asmus Contemporary Art Gallery in Chicago (with an opening reception there beginning at 5:30PM local time). Currently living in LA, young Zack spent a lot of his childhood on the road with his father and his Dad’s band – Aerosmith – and took up photography as a hobby five years ago. Since then, his hobby has evolved into a full-time freelance gig and, ultimately, taking on the role as the band’s official photographer. His work has gone on to appear in a number of notable magazines, and this show will be his first full-bore gallery display. Glad to see that talent runs in the family – more details available via the link – http://www.hilton-asmus.com/zack-whitford-contrast.html
May 28th – 1) For many music acts these days, album covers are simply something the record label provides as part of their promotional efforts, but it’s clear here in this recent interview with Ceremony’s lead singer Ross Farrar (posted by Gabe Meline on the KQED site) that album art has been an integral part of his band’s holistic approach to building a relationship with their fans. As he describes each cover for the group’s releases over the past 10 or so years, you’ll see that they’ve tried hard – with the help of the artists and art directors they’ve worked with – to put a lot of themselves (and bits of the world they live in) into each cover. Really an interesting perspective and an opportunity to learn more about the relationship between music and art (I’m really impressed with the homage to early cover designers found on their most-recent release) – http://ww2.kqed.org/arts/2015/05/22/into-the-art-of-ceremony-talking-album-cover-design-with-ross-farrar/
2) In another nicely-documented example of the close relationships that are built sometimes between a musical act and the artist(s) chosen to create their record covers, here’s a recent article featuring Texas-based musician Bill Callahan and artist Paul Ryan, a painter from Australia who, in an effort to find just the right music for the soundtrack on a documentary film being produced about his work, swapped a license for one of his paintings – to be used on a record by Callahan – for some of the singer/songwriter’s most-inspiring tracks. To add some additional value to this “money-less” exchange of intellectual property, slides of Ryan’s works will be used in the projections that will appear behind the singer when he next performs at the famed Sydney Opera House. Read the details in Elissa Blake’s article now featured on the SMH.com.au web site – http://m.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/bill-callahan-and-paul-ryans-creative-partnership-comes-to-vivid-sydney-stage-20150526-gh9kdo.html
3) Finally – it seems that fans of long-running San Francisco band The Residents have gone just a bit too far in their efforts to collect souvenirs from the band…earlier this month, someone stole (“intercepted”, in delivery-speak) a quite-valuable (and instantly-recognizable) “Eyeball in a Hat” mask, along with a rare photograph used on one of their early record covers. The items were in transit back to its owner after having been used in a museum exhibit when they were pilfered, and so anyone with info on these items – valued at over $120K together – is asked to call the San Francisco PD to aid them in their recovery efforts. To see the items and learn more about them, click on over to the KRON site – http://kron4.com/2015/05/23/100k-mask-20k-album-cover-stolen-in-intercepted-package/
May 29th – 1) If you find yourself in the LA area sometime between now and the middle of the Summer, be sure to leave yourself some time to tour through the “Rock & Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip” exhibition – featuring the billboard photos of Robert Landau – on display at the Skirball Cultural Center near the 405 on Sepulveda. One of two rock-oriented shows up now at the museum (the other is “Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution”, running now through October 11), the show coincides with Landau’s excellent book on the same subject and offers large-scale photos of a number of memorable record promo billboards that were on display on the Strip from the late 60s thru the early 80s. Although just a young man at the time, Landau was keen enough to photo-document the short-lived-but-impressive displays that lined the street, distracting drivers with their sheer scale and impressive graphics. In Sam McManis’ recent article on the Sacramento Bee‘s web site, you’ll get a mini-tour of the show and, if you go to the museum’s site, you can watch several related videos, including one with artist Enrique Vidal, the man responsible for painting many a 60-foot canvas during this period.
2) Photographer Eric Meola, the guy responsible for several memorable album cover shots for Bruce Springsteen and his band, is working to both commemorate Born To Run’s 40th anniversary and raise money for a favorite charity via the sale of a limited-edition (1,975 prints) commemorative poster featuring his fine photo work. All sales will benefit the WhyHunger organization, one launched 40 years ago by the late Harry Chapin and DJ Bill Ayers (originally known as World Hunger Year). What makes this poster (which sells for $50) even more special is that Meola turned to art director John Berg – a man responsible for hundreds of record covers during his time at Columbia Records – for his help in designing this fund-raising print. Jennifer Landes of the East Hampton (NY) Star interviews Meola in the linked article – http://easthamptonstar.com/Arts/2015521/Born-Run-Marking-40-Battling-Hunger
Here’s a link to the site where you can purchase one for yourself – http://www.backstreets.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=POSBTR40&Category_Code=001
Money well-spent, don’t you think?
3) Finally – Sometimes, timing is everything. Since artist H.R. Giger was already in the U.S. to pick up an Oscar Award for his design work on the film Alien, Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Chris Stein were able to grab him and convince him to work with them on the eerie and painfully-beautiful cover for Harry’s solo record titled Koo Koo. Also included in the article by Nick Gazin on the VICE site are several photos showing Giger’s magical make-up work on Ms. Harry in progress. I learned one thing I never knew – Giger’s idea for the uber-accupuncture design was inspired by the word “KOO”, as in “A-KOO-puncture”. One of the more-interesting story-behind-the-story articles I’ve seen in a while – enjoy! http://www.vice.com/read/blondies-chris-stein-recalls-working-with-hr-giger-309
That’s all for now – look for updates every week day on our news feed –https://www.facebook.com/AlbumCoverHallOfFame – we’ll be back next month with another summary for you. As always, I’m hoping that you were able to take a look at the new interviews/Featured Fan Collection articles, along with the many new biographies posted on the ACHOF site during the month. I’m still on a quest to update those already there with new information and to add another 50 or so new ones before taking a break to work on a book-related project (more to come on this later). In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on news you may have missed while you were forced to do what’s needed to live/work/enjoy yourselves but, as I’ve said many times (almost every month!), regardless of how hectic your lives may be, there’s no reason that you should go without getting yourselves up-to-date info on one of your favorite topics, so you can be sure that we’ll continue to work (nearly) every day (even when it’s beautiful outside and I REALLY want to play hooky) to prove to you that there’s always something new to see and learn in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site (keep your eye on our News Feed for the latest updates).