Seeing as “today is the 1st of September!” (Foetus ‘day’ if ever there was one) here’s a vintage interview with JG Thirlwell himself, not far off 30 years ago, from Sounds. (right click on the image and download in to read a larger version)
As with last year’s Free Comic Book Day I’ve put together another collection of record sleeves that use artists from or reference comics in some way. Above is a Boo-Yaa Tribe 12″ which I THINK is drawn by Bob Camp who also did the Bambaataa ‘Renegades of Funk’ and Newcleus sleeves from the previous post. The only credit is ‘designed by Island Art’ on the back and the German 12″ says ‘illustration: Marvel Comics’ (!) This version features two remixes by Coldcut incidentally.
A classic back and front sleeve by (*update!) Dave Little for Bomb The Bass‘ first LP – the connection started when BTB adapted Dave Gibbons‘ Watchman smiley face with blood splat on their first 12″ cover for ‘Beat Dis’ – thus helping bring the smiley into the then current Acid House craze as its motif. Dave Little – as Steve Cook helpfully pointed out below in the comments – was Rhythm King‘s in-house designer, responsible for S’Express, Renegade Soundwave and more.
Next up – the master – Moebius, drawing Hendrix, as he would do several times in his career but this is the only album cover I know of. This is a ‘twofer’, two albums in one package for the French market on the Barclay label with a gorgeous gatefold. I love the way Hendrix is on the back instead of the front.
Staying with the French artists here’s Philippe Druillet with another Hendrix gatefold and another similar record that I can’t identify the artist on – both released on Barclay. Anyone know the second artist? Update: several people have pointed the finger at Richard Corben on this one and I can see the similarity for sure plus it would fit in with the series of artists featured in Metal Hurlant at the time.
This is the back cover of an Impulse Jazz compilation with a weird contraption by lesser-known Underground Comix artist Dave Sheridan (RIP) – odd to see this on a jazz record but then again Robert Crumb was no stranger to the genre.
Last but not least we have Jim Fitzpatrick who did many sleeves for Thin Lizzy in the 70’s through to the early 80’s. Not really a comic artist as such, more in the Celtic Fantasy range as an illustrator but you can see the comic book influence in his style with the psychedelic lettering on the early releases looking like Robert Williams‘ work or even Hawkwind-era Barney Bubbles.
Love this die-cut cover showing through the inside sleeve.
This Greatest Hits release was advertised with a comic strip-like page in an issue of Sounds, riffing off a cowboy theme. Not quite sure if this is Jim Fitzpatrick as the line work is a bit spikier and Steve Cook again pointed out that it could be Martin Asbury – probably best known for drawing Garth and the style certainly looks similar.
This week’s Solid Steel has a particular Acid taste with two distinct flavours. In the first hour Posthuman give us a very special look through 30 years of music made with the Roland TB303 from 1984-2014 assigning one track a year to give just one particular history of the machine. The choices had to be harsh and lots of obvious tracks were missed but you get a year by year progression ending with Posthuman themselves.
Talking of endings, their seven year-old night, ‘I Love Acid’, will breath its last on April 12th, the day after this mix debuts and this is a fitting way to celebrate the end of an era.
Amongst the line up is a certain Luke Vibert whose track of the same name titled the night in the first place. In a beautiful piece of synchronicity we have Lexis from Music Is My Sanctuary with an hour-long retrospective look at Luke’s career in many of his different guises after 20 years of official releases.
and in another little bit of Acid-related news I found this first review for the Roland TB 303 in a 1982 issue of Sounds this week, even back then with only two years left until production would cease, it received a glowing review.
“Well this is Phil talking…” first Human League cover after the split with Ware and Craig-Marsh and the recruitment of the girls, March ’81. (Below) Good Vibrations: JG Thirlwell aka Foetus getting creative with his press releases again from Sounds Dec ’81.
Another week of clippings from Sounds magazine 1981, I’m getting through them slowly but keep getting sidetracked and have to go off to listen to or find some obscure record I’ve never heard of. A very young Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode gets his first (?) magazine cover above and two of Landscape advertise Roland products in their best Futurist garb below.
(above and below) Bow Wow Wow ad for the ‘See Jungle…’ LP with free ‘Mile High Club’ magazine at Virgin stores (strangely the same name as an Adam & The Ants song of around the same time). Anyone ever get this? Was it the dodgy one McLaren tried to push as ‘Chicken’ with the band members in various states of undress?
‘Lieutenant Lush’ was actually an early incarnation of Boy George who was briefly in the running as co-vocalist with Annabella in the group but didn’t make the grade. Probably had a lucky escape.
I’d been a bit slack with posting Sounds stuff the previous week due to spending half of it either on a plane or asleep from jetlag it seems. Above is Mick Geggus (I think) from the Cockney Rejects, a classic Punk (or should that be Oi?) image.
In last weeks ‘Found in Sounds’ the PIL riot in New York is covered first hand with a great cover quote and photo of Lydon. Irmin Schmidt is quizzed about working with Bruno Spoerri and witnessing Cage’s ‘4’33″‘ for the first time. There are vintage film listings from London’s Leicester Square cinemas, Garry Bushell declares his love of Adam Ant‘s music (finally) and The Sweet talk about touring with ‘monster dicks’.
Fantastic Mod cover design from a 1979 issue of Sounds. Below, Soft Cell reveal that they’re doing ‘a Northern Soul number’ in their live set, Savage Pencil then and now (check out the Battle of the Eyes exhibition at Orbital Comics at the moment), Tommy Vance on John Lydon, an advert for the Boy store, a Blondie gig has some very cool guests and reviews of Prince live in NYC and at his first gig in the UK at the Lyceum in 1981.
Last year I purchased a huge pile of Sounds newspapers from a seller on eBay covering the years 1980-1983. I’m slowly going through them day by day and either scanning or snapping things that I find interesting. This can be news items, adverts, interview snippets, comics, covers or other trivia that has become more interesting with the passing of time. Sounds was a weekly music paper along the lines of the NME and Melody Maker in the UK, all three published on a Wednesday and all now defunct except for the NME, which is recognisable in name only from its 80’s heyday.
Sounds was always known for favouring Rock, Heavy Metal and Punk, with a straighter, less arty bias to groups. They didn’t have the Paul Morleys, Ian Penmans, Nick Kents or Simon Reynolds‘ writing for them, instead they had Garry Bushell who championed the Oi movement with its dodgy skinhead bootboy overtones. During the period that these issues cover, the ‘Futurist’ movement is emerging, what’s now known as ‘Post Punk’ or ‘Synth Pop’ but back then was a product of digital technology becoming more affordable mixed with the Blitz-era nightlife and the ‘New Romantic’ scenes.
I’ve been posting images daily on my Facebook account but will do weekly round ups here if I can as the material can be illuminating with the benefit of 30+ years of hindsight. What smacks most is that nothing really changes much, bands are still built up and lauded only to be ridiculed and knocked down once they’re successful. You can spot the hype from the hope and certain names crop up again and again, week on week, clearly getting the preferential treatment afforded by friendships with certain journalists regardless of their merits. The industry is always on a downturn with profits threatened by some new format, this time it’s the cassette that’s killing music with just the first hints of the CD revolution to come. Albums and singles, now considered bonafide classics, are savaged in the review columns and information on forgotten or lost bands is ripe for rediscovery via the all-knowing web.
All in all I find it a fascinating weekly soap opera and I’ll be sharing the highlights here.
First up, a ‘Futurist’ chart followed by photos from a Futurist ‘summit’ interview where members of The Human League, Throbbing Gristle, Non, Nurse With Wound and Lemon Kittens largely argued against being labeled with the term.
Next, ‘Cassettes: Is this the Future of Rock’n’Roll?’ with Island Records‘ 1+1 tapes causing a stir because they feature an album on one side and a blank side for recording your own sounds on the other. Then, as the ‘tape war’ hots up, labels are too busy scrambling to notice a certain ‘laser disc’ quietly arriving on the scene.
The cassette hoo-ha was one that was largely antagonised by Malcolm McLaren, who was an open advocate of home taping and used it as a gimmick to sell the band he was managing, Bow Wow Wow. It was a lucky coincidence that the fashion of the day was a swashbuckling pirate look and the combination of that and the term ‘pirate’ being someone who made bootleg items was too good to resist.
Record prices rise shock! Vinyl goes up from 99p to £1.20 and labels want the shops to bear the brunt. In other news, heavy band get banned from working mens clubs for being too loud and not packing away fast enough. Rock n Roll. Lastly, as he’s been in the news this week for playing live in London, Prince’s first gig in the UK, advertised at the back of the paper amongst all the other concerts that week, only £3.00 on the door.
The now defunct weekly UK music paper, Sounds, had a reputation for championing Rock and Heavy Metal above everything else. Writers Garry Bushell and Jon Savage raved and wrote about Oi and Punk respectively but there was more to the paper. 1977: The Queen’s Jubilee and the height of Punk in the media, right? Not by late November in Sounds it wasn’t, this was also the year ‘Trans Europe Express’ was released.
A stark cover featured Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider photographed on the banks of the Rhine in their hometown of Dusseldorf by Caroline Coon, a two page interview leading the first part of a look at ‘New Musick: The Cold Wave’. Interviews or pieces on Eno, Throbbing Gristle, The Residents and Devo all appear by Savage, Jane Suck and Hal Synthetic (love these writing pseudonyms). Not very Rock or Punk.
The Kraftwerk interview is fascinating, with Florian almost adding as much as Hutter and the two finishing each other’s sentences. Hutter mentions the term ‘Electronic Body Music’ and they talk about putting together comics detailing the themes of their music, I wonder what happened to them? Karl Bartos and Wolfgang Flur aren’t even mentioned although they do appear in at least one of the photos in the piece. It’s interesting to note that Ralf and Florian picked the journalist up from the airport and showed him about the city before the interview was conducted inside their Kling Klang studios. That certainly wouldn’t happen today. See more photos from the shoot, including a smiling Ralf & Florian that were not featured in the article, here.
The Eno piece is typical, well… Eno, he talks and talks about his ideas, just as he always does, with his sideways looks at subjects ranging from dub reggae to Eskimos engineering US Air Force jets in Alaska. There’s no attempt at cross examination and the ‘interview’ is distilled from five hours of chat into two Eno’s: the non-musician and the theorist. Along with Throbbing Gristle refusing to issue forth any kind of manifesto but the paper giving their ‘2nd Annual Report’ a 5 star review and a fairly scathing feature on the Residents, it’s an odd collection. The rest of the paper features things like ads for The Damned’s second album, Kiss’ ‘Kiss Alive II’ and the new Rick Wakeman LP, live reviews of The Jam, Richard Hell and Blondie sit with articles on Pub Rock and The Eaters (no, me neither) and a very early Savage Pencil episode of ‘Rock & Roll Zoo’.