I guess Yo! MTV Raps is a weird way to get into hard rock and heavy metal, but that’s how it worked for me. In junior high I dutifully recorded every episode of Yo! MTV Raps to learn to dance and be cool. Guess what? It didn’t work! But the first time I heard Faith No More was on that program with their metal / rap blended song “Epic”. I bought the CD and was hooked. When Angel Dust came out, it was the soundtrack for my freshman year of high school as I grew my hair out while the other brats listened to shit like Pearl Jam and Spin Doctors. Imagine my pleasure when Secret Serpents threw me a bone and accepted my begging to be part of the current Faith No More tour poster series.
The poster series for Faith No More‘s current tour is entirely published by Secret Serpents. That meant, for once, I was on the clock while printing my own artwork. It also means the posters all belong to Secret Serpents and they just went on sale this week exclusively through their website, www.secretserpents.com. I hope it sells well for them, of course, as I busted my ass to get this thing done on time!
[Originally published in the August 2014 issue of Bulldozer Magazine]
Back in the ‘90s, I went to a Good Guy’s Electronics store. I was looking for a new record player as my old one had broken. I couldn’t find any, so I asked the salesman for help. “You want a what?” We found a floor model and it was literally the last record player they had. I tried to explain that some people still listened to records. If I didn’t have a record player, how could I listen to “Welcome to my Bone Yard” by Impetigo over and over? The salesman didn’t care. He thought I was an idiot for wanting to hold onto my vinyl. I thought he was an idiot for never having known the majesty of Ultimo Mondo Cannibale.
Believe it or not, there was a time when you had to explain what a vinyl record was at a show. “Are you guys selling calendars or something?” No, little one, this gigantic thing plays music. But now records are back. I watched as they climbed back into the awareness of folks’ minds as a collectible item while the ubiquity of iPods and digital files collapsed the music industry into a whimpering baby without its binky.
I think Digestor from the band Ghoul is a fabulous artist. That’s why I decided to print, outside of my time working for Monolith Press, their upcoming tour poster. In no way did Digestor and the crew from Ghoul hold an axe to my throat and threaten to eat my family if I didn’t agree to do it. Nope, it was all because I believe in Digestor’s art. And that’s how they got this:
Digestor supplied me with the drawing and I was violently forced to happily did all the coloring and separations. Now, just because this was a poster for a maniacal lunatic guy whose art I really like didn’t mean I couldn’t make things a little easier on myself for the actual printing. Being a printer by day meant I had a few tricks up my sleeve to ease this poster along with minimal headache.
Justin from Secret Serpents was kind enough to ask me again to be in on a gig poster tour series for a favorite band of mine, High on Fire. I had a wedding coming up followed by a honeymoon, but Justin said I’d get some date late in December. I thought, hey, no problem. Then he gave me my date… it was before my honeymoon ended. The only way I’d get this poster done was to cram it in-between my blessed matrimony and my drunken adventures in Central America.
I’m happy with the result. I had maybe my goofiest idea yet for a poster and managed to finish it early and get it shipped off to Matt Pike and the boys to sell at their show. My copies are up for sale here on the site: https://www.doktorsewage.com/product/high-on-fire-2013-11-23/ Time constraints, however, meant that pen never met paper when I drew this poster. I had to get all Tron up in this bitch.
A couple months back shortly after returning from tour with Ludicra, I was watching the Melvins sound check after I’d delivered the posters I’d done for their show that night hastily over the past week. I mentioned to Justin from Secret Serpents standing next to me, “When I hear Jared sing and play bass, I really crave me some Big Business.” Justin replied, “They’re touring in August, you want in on the poster series?” Right… after… the Impaled tour. So, from one job that followed a Euro tour for me uncomfortably close, to another one that would follow the next Euro tour uncomfortably close. I couldn’t refuse the challenge!
Couple that challenge with the plane booking… Raul asked if I wanted to stay a few extra days in Europe, I said yes. That translated to him as nine extra days. That’s three times a few, by my reckoning. So, after the Impaled tour, being broke and strapped for time, I opted to stay with my friend Conny at her flat and get in some days drawing my poster. She set me up with some paper and an old German doctor’s desk (very fitting, I might say) and I got to work.
Secret Serpents is a collective of a few people running an indie label, and more importantly for this journal entry, they make gig poster series for bands. They are regular clients at my day job, Monolith Press. They organize the artists (never an easy task) and pair them to a musical live performance to create beautiful screen-prints that make a unique piece of memorabilia for a fan of any musical group. It’s oh so vogue these days, and thank God for that or I wouldn’t have a paycheck.
Well… I’ve done posters for my own bands in the off hours at work, but not much for anyone else. I was stoked last February when Justin from Secret Serpents not only gave that schlub printing his posters a break, but asked me to do a poster for one of my all time faves, the Swans! That went well enough. The band’s copies of the poster sold out, though I still have my copies for sale. Now I might occasionaly get asked to do more, and when Justin sent out an email asking who was interested in doing a poster for an upcoming Melvins series, I jumped at it. Are you kidding? A poster for ANOTHER one of my favorite bands ever? So what if I was about to go on tour and would come back with only 2 weeks to draw and print this!
Okay, that was probably dumb, but after some long, cursed nights, I did finish it in the nick o’ time.
Who wants to buy CDs anymore? Playing live doesn’t really pay the bills of touring like it used to. You fucking nitwits who download everything are too blame. Of course, I’m a fucking nitwit, too, and Aesop has a blog that’s nothing BUT musical downloads. We are the problem and the victims.
Now that I’m working at Monolith Press, the fucking BEST rock poster shop (fuck, if I’m printing, it must be) and there’s more and more business as musical acts look to other avenues to generate the all essential dough to pay the bills. Of course, in 2012, when the world ends and there’s no more oil, forget about touring and learn how to fight zombies. For now, though, novel items like a concert poster are in vogue. Try and download a screen print, turkey.