Tag Archives: Storm Studios

Album Cover News Recap – April 2014

Album Cover News Recap – April, 2014

April was a particularly busy month with regards to album cover related news. Highlights of this past month’s coverage include information and interviews with award-winning designers, several new books on rock and album cover photography, details on the latest gallery shows both in the U.S. and overseas, new Featured Fan Collections and Featured Artist Portfolios and, uncharacteristically, even some scandal and intrigue! There’s always something new to see in the world of album cover art, and you know that you’ll find it all here on the ACHOF site

April 30 – Nice interview (by writer Bill Jones on the Digital Trends site) with photographer Robert Knight about how he’s managed to become the “shooter of choice” for a number of musical acts (Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, to name a few) while their fame and careers grew. Robert has some good advice for photographers hoping to build their portfolios of “memorable photos” (hint – it’s not as simple as saying “I’ll just go photograph the Rolling Stones”).http://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/robert-knight-grooms-next-generation-of-concert-photographers/

April 29 – 1) Running thorugh May 4 at the Brook Gallery in Budleigh Salterton (UK) is a show featuring the works of Storm Studios – Storm Thorgerson, Peter Curzon, Dan Abbott and Rupert Truman. In a recent interview on the Western Morning News site, photographer Truman shares some of the details on how this creative team produced many of their best-known images and, if you’re a fan of Storm’s work, you can’t help but be impressed about how these scenes were created. Rather than relying on computer-generated effects, if they wanted a 12-foot diameter disc partially buried in the sand for a shot (as they did for Steve Miller’s Big Discs), they built it actual size. For more details and info about the show, please visit http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Creating-art-record/story-21017570-detail/story.html

2) Many of you will recall musician Andrew W.K.‘s rather-bloody album cover for his “I Get Wet” album…well, building on the image’s popularity, Andrew’s merch team has released a new design for a t-shirt, now featuring the always-entertaining mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford. Definitely worth a look – it’s bloody hysterical! Party hard – http://andrewwk.com/news/rob-ford-party-hard-t-shirt

April 28 – 1) I have to admit that I’ve never explored this angle – it seems that, for nearly 10 years, there’s been an ongoing discussion on the Prog Archives site about album covers featuring main characters that are bald. It turns out that there are quite a few – who knew (or, who cares)? It was fun paging thru the covers – everything from Gryphon to Kansas to Pink Floyd’s Metal Heads is included – http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=98034&PN=1

2) If you haven’t picked up the May 2014 issue of Juxtapoz Magazine – as part of their year-long 20th anniversary, they’re focusing on what they call “pivotal figures in contemporary art” and, as part of that effort, there’s a nice interview article with master collage artist/agent provocateur Winston Smith, known for his album covers for The Dead Kennedys, Green Day and many others. Always great to see folks whose works I admire included in these features – http://www.juxtapoz.com/current/on-sale-now-may-2014-with-alexis-ross-nick-cave-chris-johanson-winston-smith-and-more

April 25 – 1) To honor Rob Stringer for winning a recent Music Week award, David Bowie presented him with a custom-crafted re-creation of his classic Heroes album cover image, done “Daft Punk style”. I hope that this comes out as a print/poster – it’s quite stunning! As reported on the SPIN magazine web site –http://www.spin.com/articles/david-bowie-daft-punk-heroes-art/

2) Fans of all things vinyl-record related might want to consider a visit to the new exhibition at the Oakland Museum of Contemporary Art now through July 27th. Titled “Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records” and curated by the museum’s Senior Curator Rene de Guzman, this comprehensive display “explores the social and cultural phenomenon of listening to, collecting, and sharing records” and includes sections where visitors can see – and listen to – some of the impressive collections of a number of vinyl record aficionados. There’s also a nice album cover-related section, along with a film on the subject. I’m hoping to get some additional info/images on this show for you soon but, in the meantime, you can visit the museum’s site at http://museumca.org/exhibit/vinyl-sound-and-culture-records for more info. Let me know if you go!

3) I’ve just finished Graham Nash‘s book Wild Tales and while it gave me some insight into the complicated relationships between Nash and his band mates (and the women he loved), I just saw this article on the Never Mind The Bus Pass site (part of their “Classic Album Covers” series) about the cover for a related band – The Byrds – and it just made me wonder even more about the whole Laurel-Canyon-very-talented-ego-driven aspects of that part of the late 60s-early 70s music business. The degrees that they seemed to be willing to go to just to give what my grandmother called a “zetz” to their friendly competition are quite impressive – read the whole story via the link and let me know what you think – http://www.nevermindthebuspass.com/happiness/classic-album-covers-the-notorious-byrd-brothers-the-byrds/

April 24 – In our ongoing effort to point fans of album cover art to places where they can find out more about it and the people that make it, I’d like to point you all to a site I found yesterday – Jive Time Records “Album Cover Galleries”http://jivetimerecords.com/blog/category/album-cover-galleries/ – This site is managed by the folks at Jive Time Records in Seattle, WA, a well-established used vinyl store located there. They’ve curated a number of themed album art galleries, including ones dedicated to psychedelic design, vintage designs, exercise records, artistically-defaced record jackets and covers featuring fruit and vegetables! I’ve added this link to the ACHOF Resources site as well. Enjoy!

April 23 – 1) Album cover art seems to inspire the most-creative people to bring things to another level…in this case, a London-based makeup artist/musician named Natalie Sharp has applied her skills to re-create 8 album covers – on her face! While she says that these records aren’t necessarily her favorites, she was inspired by them and, while I’m not sure I’d go outside looking like this, the results would certainly be head-turning. My favorite one is the Talking Heads cover – how about you? More on this in John Doran’s article on The Quietus web site – http://thequietus.com/articles/15044-lone-taxidermist-fact-paint-record-store-day

2) While I usually don’t report on anything of a sensational nature (there are plenty of outlets for that these days), I was rather taken-aback by the news about the accusations made against photographer Terry Richardson. As reported in the NY Daily News, model Emma Appleton has accused him of having offered her free photo services in exchange for sexual favors. He denies it, she stands by it, and Vogue magazine has gone on record saying that they won’t work with him in the future. Of course, this was all done over Twitter…The celebrity art and photo world is surely a world apart, except when it’s not. More on this via the link – http://www.nydailynews.com/terry-richardson-denies-propositioning-model-sex-article-1.1763389

April 22 – 1) Wax Poetics contributor Seb Carayol curated an exhibition that was on display thru April 24 at Sonos Studio in LA highlighting the accomplishments of the artists and musicians who’ve promoted “Jamaican Sound System Culture”, with a focus on the colorful album cover art by a trio of illustrators – Beth Lesser, Wilfred Limonious, and Pekka Vuorinen. If you’re not familiar with the genre, the album covers are a great introduction. In the accompanying article, musician ChrisBateman talks about his love for the covers featured on these little-seen albums and, in particular, the work of Limonious, who died 15 years ago after illustrating over 150 records (Bateman has a book out later this year on the subject) – http://www.waxpoetics.com/blog/guest-blog/illustrator-wilfred-limonious-drew-150-iconic-dancehall-lp-covers?email=limonious 

2) Fans of the Verve record label will have something to cheer about when author Richard Haver’s book on the label, titled VERVE: The Sound of America (published by Thames & Hudson) hits the shelves soon. Norman Granz’s label was one of the leaders in album cover design, and the book features a number of great examples. Steven Heller of the New York Times gives you a preview in his “Visuals” section –http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2014/03/28/books/review/28visuals-2.html

April 21 – 1) The 700+ entries for this year’s Secret 7″ event are up and available for viewing via the link. This year’s participating artists were given songs by a number of popular musical acts (including Black Sabbath and Lorde!) and came up with an amazing selection of customized covers. You can buy these works, but you won’t know who created them until you get one. Participating artists include Storm Studios (7 entries), Dan Tobin Smith, Ian Wright, Plasticgod, Richard Evans, Stanley Donwood and many others. Proceeds go to the War Child charity, so the money’s going to a great (and needed) cause –http://www.secret-7.com/gallery/

2) LA-based artist Young & Sick, who gave us the nice album cover art for Foster The People’s Torches record, shows another side of his creativity with the release of his new, self-titled debut record. AKA Nick Van Hofwegen, Y&S has also done covers for Robin Thicke and Maroon 5. To learn more about his own music and inspirations, please read this article by Brian Austin on The DePauw/WGRE site – http://www.thedepauw.com/mobile/features/foster-the-people-cover-artist-tries-out-the-music-industry-1.3162032

April 18 – 1) New interview alert! Last month marked the release of the 40th anniversary edition of Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, so it is with great pleasure that I’m announcing the publishing of my latest interview, featuring none other than the designer for that great record package, David Larkham. David has worked as Mr. John’s designer for 40 years and has a long list of credits for other acts including Queen, Paul McCartney, Steely Dan, Van Morrison and many others. This is a must-read for fans of album cover design, so please pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested in the topic – enjoy! https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/interview-with-david-larkham-elton-johns-goodbye-yellow-brick-road-album-cover/

2) Last night, I watched another BBC documentary (!!) called “Prog Rock Britannia” that aired a couple of years back and, if you’re a fan of YES, Procol Harum, The Nice, Soft Machine, Jethro Tull, ELP, etc., AND if you’d like to watch a discussion about the importance of album cover imagery as it relates to the genre, I’d invite you to click on this link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8De_YroimA

At about 42:45 (until 46:20), you will find the likes of Carl Palmer, Rick Wakeman and Mike Rutherford discussing the topic and, as a special treat, there’s a bit with artist Roger Dean that shows early comps of the YES logo (a classic!) and a scale model of one of his homes! As they flip thru some of his designs, it becomes quite clear to the viewer that the visual style of Avatar must have been derived from that film’s creators’ exposure to Dean’s images (and I’d say that in court, too!)…

April 17Record Store Day 2014 (which took place April 19th) included a list of specially-produced records that were made available. While the special day is past,  I’d suggest a visit to your local record emporium. Many of these will be limited-edition items, such as Christian Death’s “Edward Colver Edition” that comes packaged with a selection of the famed photographer’s photos of the band; Jerry Garcia’s Garcia, with this first solo album featuring Bob Seidemann’s awesome cover image; Sub Pop/KEXP’s special edition of the “Mudhoney On Top” recording done to celebrate both the band and the label’s 25th anniversary, recorded on the roof of the Seattle Space Needle (and with a very 50’s jazz-inspired record cover) and, in case you were waiting, a picture disc version of Sky Ferreira’s album in the nude, Night Time, My Time. To read the full list, please visit – http://www.recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases

April 16 – 1) As a follow-up to the item I ran a short while back about photos of the places featured on a number of well-known album covers, here’s a piece in The Gothamist about a NYC photo, taken in the 1930s, that was used on Van Morrison’s 1993 record Too Long In Exile. The photographer was Berenice Abbot, lauded chronicler of New York City –http://gothamist.com/2014/04/10/the_1930s_nyc_photo_that_served_as.php

2) Here’s another fine example (featured in an article on the Death & Taxes site) of the “fun with Photoshop” talent on display on the Web…in this example, a fellow by the name of Lance Underwood has created a blog called QT Albums, where you’ll find Lance’s recreations of well-known album covers for artists such as Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and Dr. Dre where the main characters have been replaced with images of his very cute kids. I’m particularly fond of his reworking of What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye – what’s your favorite? http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/218835/dad-adorably-remakes-classic-album-covers-with-his-sons/

April 15 – Found an article about a show that I wish I had the chance to see in person, so I’m hoping that album cover art fans in New Zealand will let me know if/when they’ve visited this exhibition and what they thought of what they found there. The show I’m talking about is called the “Bleeding Vinyl Covers Exhibition” currently on display at Creative Tauranga (now thru May 6th, before moving over to the Lightwave Gallery in Mount Monganui for an extended run there). In this show, a number of artists have re-interpreted well-known album covers, and there’s an interesting interview with one of the artists – James Stanbridge – about his vision for a Moby Dick-based cover for Led Zeppelin. As always, it is fascinating to see just how younger artists are drawn to the notion of the record cover as an important element of Pop art – here are the details as given by writer Rosalie Crawford on the SunLive.com site –http://www.sunlive.co.nz/blogs/6301-reinterpreting-led-zeppelin.html

If you’d like to see more on the gallery site – click here – http://www.creativetauranga.org.nz/gallery/exhibition/bleeding-vinyl-cover-exhibition.html

April 14 – 1) A selection of former Life Magazine photographer Richard Busch‘s photos of music celebs including Hendrix, Clapton, Ike & Tina Turner and many others are in an exhibition titled “It’s Only Rock and Roll” currently on display at the gallery at 8 Chains North Winery in VA (now thru June 8). Busch was a busy photographer in the NYC area in the late 1960s, but he’s since moved to an old dairy farm near Washington, DC and now focuses his talents on pottery. Here’s an overview of the exhibition as it was featured on the LoudenTimes web site –http://www.loudountimes.com/news/article/wine_and_art_its_only_rock_and_roll_at_8_chains_north898

2) What do rock stars do during their free time while out on the road? Well, if you’re The Kills’ Alison Mossheart, you paint and, over time, put together an impressive portfolio of work. As she explains in a recent article in the NY Times T Magazine, her work went on public display for the first time (thru April 26th) as part of a group show at Art NowNY. The art on display reflects her feelings at the time they’re done, so there’s quite the array of emotions depicted in her work. If you’d like to see more of her work, follow the link – http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/07/on-view-the-kills-alison-mosshart-reveals-her-artistic-side/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

April 11 – 1) In the first of two articles published this week highlighting efforts to recreate the past, writer Laura Mitchell (of The Express) interviews photographer Mick Rock about his recent efforts to update some of his classic compositions using images of today’s top talent. You’ll see his re-do of classic shots of Queen and Debbie Harry featuring Danielle Parente and her band and there’s a video interview with Mr. Rock as well –http://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/music/468470/Debbie-Harris-Queen-David-Bowie-Photographer-Mick-Rock-recreates-icon-Seventies-images

2) The UK’s Chronicle dug deep into their photo galleries to grab a selection of their iconic black and white images of rock/pop stars – Mick Jagger, Bill Haley, Lindisfarne, Eric Burden, AC/DC and others – and had an expert colorize them. The accompanying photo gallery allows you to toggle back and forth between color/non-color images and, in a nod to one of the many ways traditional publications are now “monetizing” their IP assets, fine art prints of these new images are also for sale – http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/lifestyle/nostalgia/iconic-images-rock-stars-north-6935880

3) Finally, in the “please be sure to let your staff know to be careful about NOT throwing anything nice out when cleaning up after an auction” category, this story (on the ArtDaily site) about the Hong Kong police’s efforts to find a painting that was auctioned off for $3.7 million but, somehow, ended up (they hope) in a local landfill after being added to a pile of trash gathered by the cleaning staff of the Grand Hyatt Hotel there. While not really having anything to do with album cover art, I just thought that it should serve as a reminder to art collectors to be sure and pick up their winnings BEFORE leaving the auction (sheesh!) – http://artdaily.com/news/69334/Hong-Kong-police-search-landfill-for–3-7-million-painting-dumped-by-cleaners-at-Grand-Hyatt-hotel#.U0g6RvldUrU

April 10 – Well, I finally took the time to watch the BBC’s 2013 special called “When Albums Ruled The World” in its entirety and, naturally, I was pleased to see the inclusion of a number of interviews with album cover artists (Roger Dean, Aubrey Powell) and musicians (Grace Slick, Noel Gallagher, Rick Wakeman) with a keen appreciation for the importance of album art. At the 49:00 mark, there’s a nice overview of Pedro Bell’s covers for Parliament/Funkadelic, and that flows right into a segment where Aubrey Powell talks about Hipgnosis and their work on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon. Record producer Tony Parsons said it best – “The record collection WAS the art collection of the ordinary man” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em4kpy1YuNQ

April 9 – Here’s another article by Fuse’s Joe Lynch that introduces a video by LA hair band Steel Panther in which they discuss all of the rejected album cover image ideas of the ones they considered while developing their latest album, titled All You Can Eat. All of the concepts were based on classic works of art by DaVinci, Vermeer, Botticelli, etc., with DaVinci winning out at the end, with the cover a parody of his “Last Supper”. Keen-eyed viewers will also note another parody design – based on a well-known Van Halen cover – featured on band member Michael Starr’s t-shirt. I have to admit – I thought that band’s like this had disappeared (I mean, there’s a guy in the band named Lexxi Foxx – “Lexxi rhymes with Sexy!”) but, nonetheless, I do like a good parody album cover – http://www.fuse.tv/videos/2014/04/steel-panther-album-covers

April 8 – Here are a couple of interesting articles giving you some alternative ways to enjoy your favorite album covers –

1) My old chums at Fuse have posted an article by Joe Lynch that highlights a Flickr site run by someone named Harvezt who has created a number of images that give us his/her take on how famous albums covers might look if you were able to see them from another angle. You’ll get to see the Nirvana baby in the pool – from behind – along with alt shots of covers by Public Enemy, The Beatles, Metallica and others. Truly fascinating, and I hope to track down the mysterious Harvezt to find out more – http://www.fuse.tv/2014/04/beatles-nirvana-reverse-album-covers

UPDATE – after what seemed to be days of searching, I’ve given up trying to find out who Harvezt is – he/she has cleverly hidden him/her self. If anyone has been able to locate this person, please let me know! MG

2) Halley Docherty from the U.K.’s The Guardian has used Google Street to bring us to the locations where a number of well-known record covers were photographed. Via this article, you’ll be taken on a trip around the world to see the locations where covers for Oasis, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and others were shot. Now, if someone wants to make it their life’s work to actually go to these places to confirm this work, I’d be happy to provide them a forum for regular updates on their travels –http://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2014/apr/07/classic-album-covers-in-google-street-view-in-pictures

April 4 – 1) Nice overview on the Tonedeaf site of artist Andy Warhol’s album cover artwork in an article called “Before He Was Famous, Andy Warhol Designed Album Covers”. In fact, Warhol got his start as a commercial artist working for RCA Records and, later, Blue Note Records, designing dozens of album, sometimes working with ACHOF “early influencer” inductee Reid Miles. Enjoy the slide show of 15 of his earliest covers –http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/slideshows/394373/before-he-was-famous-andy-warhol-designed-album-covers.htm#1

2) The Library of Congress is adding some 25 new recordings to its list of albums to be preserved in the National Recording Registry. U2’s The Joshua Tree (with cover photo by Anton Corbijn) and Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like A Wheel (cover photo by Eve Babitz) will be included, along with the single “Fortunate Son” by Credence Clearwater Revival, featured on their LP Willy & The Poor Boys, with cover art by Basul Parik. The AP’s Brett Zongker gives us all the details in his recent story on the Dayton Daily News site – http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/ap/entertainment/u2-linda-ronstadt-among-25-albums-to-be-preserved/nfQTR/

3) Finally, while I was doing some research the other day, I found another site that offers a selection of the stories behind some of your favorite album covers. The UK-based site is called Never Mind The Bus Pass and is geared toward the Boomer crowd, but the record sleeves chronicled include selections from the 60s thru today. Hope to get hold of these folks soon to find out more about their work. In the meantime, here’s a link to their “Classic Album Cover” story archives – http://www.nevermindthebuspass.com/category/happiness-archive/classic-album-covers/

April 3 – Some of you may recall an article I’d written a couple of months back about Pozzie Mazerati’s “Red Arrow” campaign, which came about as a result of a posting I had done on the Musicpage.com web site looking to feature the personal album cover art collections of folks in the music business. In the same category, I recently received a note from another musician about the sources for the artwork he used on the covers of his own recordings and so I thought that I’d once again expand the definition of what I was looking to include in this site’s “Featured Fan Collections” section to show you the works used by this artist to create the eye-catching covers for his albums. Ladies and Gentlemen – meet “The Insanitizers” – https://albumcoverhalloffame.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/featured-album-cover-fan-collection-conrad-swartz-the-insanitizers/

April 2 – It’s exhibition-mania! 1) At the Brook Gallery in Devon, UK – Opening on April 4th and running for the next month is a Storm Studios show, featuring the works of the late Storm Thorgerson and his cohorts. Photographer Rupert Truman will be on hand to kick off the exhibition of works for Pink Floyd, 10cc, Muse, Steve Miller and many others – http://www.brookgallery.co.uk/category.php?catid=126

2) April 4th was also the launch day for a screening of a new film about artist Robert Williams, creator of one of my favorite album covers (Appetite for Destruction for Guns n Roses) and the subject of “Mr. Bitchin”, which is being shown as part of the Society of Illustrators Film Series at the Beatrice Theater in NYC. The artist will be at the event and will take part in a panel interview with director/producer Nancye Ferguson and art writer/editor of Paper Magazine Carlo McCormick – http://www.societyillustrators.org/Film.aspx?id=11297

3) If you’re anywhere in the NYC area, I’d suggest renting a car and driving up to the museum at the Bethel Woods Center for The Arts for their re-opening and their new exhibit titled “America Meets The Beatles”. In addition to a impressive display of Beatles-related art and memorabilia from the Rod Mandeville Collection, there will be an appearance by famed TIME Magazine photographer Bill Eppridge, who will be on hand to show and talk about his photos of the Fab Four’s first visit to the U.S. and their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show (“Close your eyes, and I’ll kiss you…”).  http://www.bethelwoodscenter.org/bwevents/eventdetail.aspx?id=460