I’ve always felt like instrumental rock tunes get a bum rap, like people look down on them as merely background music not worthy of their full attention simply because there isn’t some egotistical frontman babbling incessantly over the music. So podcast 8 is dedicated to the gems of the genre – the Link Wrays, the Dick Dales, the Booker T and the MGs. I’ll admit, it’s hard to write a solid instrumental tune but when it’s done well, it’s powerful. And I’m not talking about jazz because that’s a whole other thing in and of itself. So, before you turn your nose up at this one, dear listener, remember it’s still chockfull with the kind of film samples you’ve come to expect from these podcasts, and you’ll definitely recognize more of these tunes than you realize, (probably from numerous Tarantino movies). Anyway, I bookended this one with two of my favorite tunes of all time, Soul Finger and Sleepwalk. I hope you dig it. It’s good driving music. Play loud. Play often.
Sometime this past August, I was approached by the MTV World Design Studio in Buenos Aires to create a “gig-poster style” print ad for their 2011 European Music Awards, which will feature a live performance by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Now, as a late 80’s skate rat, I grew up on the Red Hot Chili Peppers, picking up the Uplift Mofo Party Plan on cassette after watching them live via VHS at the Vision Skate Escape, and even though I haven’t really followed the group over the past few years, I was still stoked to work on something for the band.
MTV provided a specific reference photo for the illustration, as well as the EMA logo, a style guide and three specific colors that needed to be used (the pink, purple and dark purple that you see in the poster, which, as you might imagine, proved a little difficult to work with.) After a few rounds of back and forth, what you see to your left is what we came up with.
Internally the folks at MTV Design dug it, but higher-ups in the company decided to go a totally different direction, preferring to use a photo of the soon-to-be-announced host instead. A bummer for sure but what can you do.
So, instead of leaving this to languish in some digital graveyard, I decided to post it here for your enjoyment. Like Kurtis Blow said, these are the breaks.
As some of you may have heard via the grapevine, last Friday night I performed two songs with schroeder at their final (maybe?) reunion show at the Logan House in Wilmington. I go way back with these guys, as my former band Nero used to play shows with them all the time in the early/mid 90s, and I’ve always been a huge fan of their music, so it was a real honor (and a lot of fun) to join them onstage once again and jam on some tunes (for those interested, we played Waste of Time and Vitamin Purple, both off of the Moonboy album). Unfortunately, I don’t have any video to share yet (although I know some was taken) but will post it the moment I see it so stay tuned. In the meantime, you’ll have to live with the video below, shot at the Baccuss Theater at the University of Delaware in 1995. I believe we call those the salad days.
Special thanks to Darren O’Toole for the photos. And for those who are bummed about missing it, I apologize for not giving a heads up. The whole thing was meant to be a surprise and details were only worked out a few days before the gig.
And if you’re wondering how it felt to be back onstage playing after 5 or so years…..well, it felt great. Thanks to the guys in schroeder for making it happen. Much respect.
Kids Runway for Research
I recently donated a signed art print for this weekend’s silent auction at the Kids Runway for Research event in Wilmington, DE. The event will help raises awareness and support for the Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research and features a fashion show with children who are cancer survivors, as well as live music and other performers. The event runs from 11a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Chase Center at the Wilmington Riverfront, this Sunday, September 18. Make it out if you can – this is a great event for a truly worthy cause. Tickets available online or at the door. And click here for the facebook event page.
For those interested in the print, it is a special, one-of-a-kind, signed archival giclee print of the painting Friday Morning. Special thanks to Finley’s Art Shoppe in Newark, who were kind enough to donate the cost of framing the print.
I’ll be honest, I never really got into Steely Dan – I’d heard stuff over the years of course, but they never really moved me and it just wasn’t my thing, no big deal – so when I was asked to create a poster for their sold-out performance at the Tower Theater this weekend, I was a bit at a loss on how to approach it. Doing some research though, I found out they took their name from a line in William Burroughs‘ infamous novel, Naked Lunch. Being a fan of Burroughs, I decide to take the whole thing full circle and do an illustration of the famous author. I hope the band dig it.
These were printed by the guys at ABNRML and were presented to the band as a gift from Live Nation. It’s a two color screen print on 130lb Black French Construction paper, size 12.5″ x 19″. I do have a few extra prints that will be available for purchase in the new online store, once I finally get around to working out the kinks. Stay tuned folks.
Delawarefirst.org recently put together a nice little article on the Wilmington Skate Project and skateboarding in Delaware in general – check it out here. Between the creation of the 7th street skate spot this past spring, construction on the Glasgow, DE park moving along (and hopefully opening in Sept.) and the news that the City of WIlmington is finally going to release the long promised $250,000 for the skate plaza in Wilmington – it’s been an amazing year for skateboarders in the first state. It’s been a long time coming and much deserved. Special thanks and much respect to Kinetic, Switch, Mark Calder and the rest of the WSP for making things happen. Plus there’s also talk about finally getting a skate park in Newark as well, which is also long overdue.
Also worth checking out is this nice little piece on skaters in Lewes, DE who are creating their own scene and making it happen. I mean, this is what it’s about. So stoked…
And on a side note – don’t sleep on the Deathwish/Baker demo later today at 7th Street – should be insane.
This Friday night, be sure to catch two of the better up and coming bands from Delaware, Atlas and My Friends, as they celebrate the release of their brand new, split EP (on glorious 12″ vinyl) at the Queen in Wilmington.
I was honored to be asked to design the record sleeve, which features the collage, In Adhesion on the cover. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s much more satisfying working on a 12 inch record, rather than a rinky-dinky CD jacket so I personally can’t wait to see the finished product. I’ve heard both sides, and they’re really good – you can check them out for yourself down below – but be sure to pick up a copy of the record as well, since these guys put a lot of blood, sweat, tears and money into this thing. Honestly, I was first approached about doing the artwork around this time last year, so these guys have been working on this for a few years now. As always, support good music.
Also playing that night are Troubled Hips (who I keep hearing nothing but great things about) and Easy Pyramids, so it should be a good night. The show started at 8:30 pm and is $7 at the door. Friday, August 19th at the World Cafe Live at the Queen, 500 N. Market Street, Wilmington, DE.
Copies of the EP will be avialable on this site shortly as well, once we get the new store up and running. Stay tuned true believers.
And on a side note, some of you might remember the Atlas track, Blue Lakes, from mighty joe castro podcast #2, Something to be proud of.
Super honored and stoked to announce that Science Skateboards in the UK just released my first ever skateboard graphic as part of their latest series. The idea for the deck came together after talking with Chris Morgan about some of his favorite graphics, including this 1992 James Kelch board on Real – he also mentioned that he dug my painting Mt Cook Avenue Reflections, so we decided to try a cross between the two. I think it came out pretty cool. The original painting, entitled Mount Cook Avenue Reflection #2, is oil on canvas, 24″ x 48″.
Definitely a dream come true, I’ve wanted to design a board graphic ever since I was a young teen, eagerly flipping through the pages of Thrasher and soaking in artwork from Gonz, Neil Blender, Andy Howell, Ed Templeton and Chris Miller (and years later, guys like Evan Hecox, Don Pendleton and Andy Jenkins, among others). Plus, as a music fan who has a heavy love and obsession for the Manchester scene and British music in general (The Smiths, Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, The Clash, Stones, Kinks, Sabbath, Suede – the list goes on and on), it just seems fitting that my first board should come out of the UK. Like I said, a dream come true and a real honor. Thanks to Chris at Science for making this happen. Nice one!
Unfortunately for those of us states side, these decks will only be available in shops overseas – but I will have a very limited number for sale on this site – in our brand new webstore – which should be live in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.
I was recently asked to design a limited edition poster for tonight’s Death Cab for Cutie’s show at the Mann in Philadelphia. The chosen design (pictured left) is a 2 color screen print on 100# Construction Steel Blue French paper, and was printed by ABNRML. These were limited to a run of 40 and were a gift to the band from AEG. I have a few copies of these that will be available for purchase in the next few weeks, so stay tuned if you’re interest.
Now, originally, I had the idea of doing a Death Cab poster that was a direct parody of ACDC’s infamous Highway to Hell album cover, because when I realized the band’s initials were DC4C, it seemed like too good of an idea to pass up, and one that I thought for sure that someone else must have used (after a couple hours of solid research though, I never found anything). And, honestly, you couldn’t get a greater contrast in sound or attitude than between these two bands, which is why I thought it was funny. Plus, I figured that, given the age of the Death Cab guys, they were probably into metal at some point of their pre-treen lives, so they would get the joke. Unfortunately, AEG passed on the design, wanting to go with something much less cartoony, which is totally their perogative, no hard feelings, we’re all professionals here, etc.etc – but I was happy enough with the general idea and execution that I figured it was worth sharing here. Consider it an unreleased B-side. Enjoy.
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In honor of my much missed friend and bandmate, Christopher Tucker (who, it’s hard to believe, passed away three years ago today) I’m posting this previously unreleased recording of one of my favorite songs by The Situation, Turntable. The band recorded this at Manic Music in 2001 during the same session as The Best Presciption Pill, but we were never completely satisfied with it for one reason or another so the recording fell to the wayside in favor of newer material (although we did continue to play the song live). But as the years pass on, the lyrics seem to really hit home – yes, the turntable is still singing about you, my friend. Rest in peace.