In high school, I was a “punk.” Well, as punk as you could get while living in Leicester in the ’80’s and attending a reasonably rednecky high school. I really dug a lot of heavy metal and punk rock (and, much to the chagrin of my friends, Bob Dylan.) I really gravitated towards punk style and music, as I felt that I didn’t quite fit in with the metal heads (I was a little too artsy,) and I certainly didn’t fit in with the normal crowd (a little too not normal…)
Black Flag was one of my go-to bands. Still are, really – but back then, Black Flag was gold. Rollins hollering, Ginn destroying guitar convention and the whole vibe was just perfect for my testosterony boyishness. Another thing they had going for them, which really fed in to my aforementioned artsy bent, was their record covers (yes – vinyl records.) Largely illustrated by Raymond Pettibon, Greg Ginn’s brother, his art very much matched up to the aggression and disillusionment of the music that the band produced. Angry, ugly, weird and very base-level human. You could almost smell the sweat and puke when you looked at his scrawlings. In My Head, Loose Nut, My War, etc., – all had these great covers that were simultaneously sad, angry, sick and beautiful. I loved ’em – and I’ve really enjoyed seeing more of Pettibon’s work through the years. He’s got a very wide style – lots of weird human stuff, but also a lot of great landscapes, waves, abstracts and still-life. Check out the man’s site. Great stuff. Then, learn a little more about the man in an interview by Kim Gordon by clicking here.
Admittedly, my work these days doesn’t have a tremendous amount of punk angst to it – but Pettibon’s work remains a real marvel to me. It’s not perfect (his anatomy is a bit of a train wreck,) but there’s an immediacy and motion to his style that is really, really sweet. Unpretentious, challenging and playful – but in a horrible, sweaty, pukey way.[divider]
If you’d like to get a feel for the way the music and the art work together, here’s a great video from “Off!,” which is a band formed by one of Black Flag’s earlier singers (pre-Rollins,) Keith Morris. Featuring Pettibon doing his thing, Morris doing his thing, and the music doing it’s thing. Brilliant. Turn your speakers WAY up. Happy Monday, y’all!