Modernica streetwise continued

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Another Krink-Modernica collaboration. No drips but a tame silver for this 2014 product.
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Images from krink.com


1990s hardcore’s love for Gustave Doré

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Gustave Doré is one of those 19th century artists that gained international fame while being alive. Especially British publishers loved the illustrations of this French artist and commissioned him for works like The English Bible, Milton’s Paradise Lost or Dante’s The Divine Comedy.
A century later quite a few, mainly European hardcore bands showed their love for Doré’s illustrations. He is one of the artists whose works were repeatedly appropriated for hardcore graphism and that from the 1980s on – with a peak between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s.

His work first got into the limelight of hardcore in New York on a flyer for a The Mad show in 1980. But one of the real forces behind the prominent use of Doré’s work on hardcore covers is Good Life Recordings. Five of their outputs display a Doré illustration – some of them must-haves that carried the new school hardcore wave in the 1990s – especially in Europe:

Morning Again Hand of Hope, 1996,
Length of Time Approach to the New World 1998,
Arkangel Dead Man Walking 1999,
State Craft To Celebrate The Forlorn Seasons, 2000,
Integrity Sliver in the Hands, 2005 (also released on German Dockyard1).

The artwork of these five records was done by Onno Hesselink, guitarist for Nations on Fire and nowadays art director for marketing agency Luon, together with Good Life Recordings’ founder Edward. It seems that Edward Good Life’s love for “medieval black metal” at the time carried over to the covers of the records he put out – but that’s a guess. Emperor’s Self-titled LP (1994) or Dimmu Borgir’s For all did (1995) for example feature a Doré illustration. Whatever it is, Doré’s work mirrors the huge metal influences of the bands decorating their sleeves with these works – not only those put out by Good Life. Even if Doré’s illustrations might reflect the musical influences, the extreme use of images from the The English Bible is on the other hand quite interesting considering 1990s hardcore anti-religion stance.

Here’s a total chronic of the appropriation of Doré’s works on hardcore record covers throughout the years; a chronic that largely benefited the work already done by the people over at Unityhxc.

1980 – The Mad- Flyer for show at Max’s in Kansas City — [Doré-Dante] by Screaming Mad George
1982 – Bad Religion-How Could Hell Be Any Worse?(Back)-Epitaph — [Doré-Dante]
1991 – Bloodline-The Waiting Game-Takeover Records — [Doré-misc]

flyer-the mad-max-s-kansas-city-7-30-80bad-religion-_how_could_hell_be_any_worse_back-cover-gustave-dore-dante-alighieri-divine-comedybloodline-the-waiting-game-cover-gustave-dore-newgate-prison-exercise-yard
gustave-dore-dante-alighieri-divine-comedy-the-vision-of-hell-the-inferno-canto-x-10-verses-40-42gustave-dore-dante-alighieri-divine-comedy-the-vision-of-hell-the-inferno-canto-x-10-verses-40-42gustave-dore-newgate-prison-exercise-yard-london-a-pilgrimage

1994 – Culture-Culture (Demo)-self-released (Front) — [Doré – English Bible]
1994 – Culture – Culture (Demo) – self-released (Back) — [Doré – English Bible]
1996 – Sektor/Vitality Split – Sobermind Records (Front) — [Doré – Bible]

culture-demo-front-gustave-dore-english-bibleculture-demo-back-gustav-dore-english-biblesektor-vitality-split-gustave-dore-the-bible
gustave-dore-english-bible-samson-destroys-the-philistines-with-an-ass-judg-15-jawbonegustav-dore-english-bible-moses-breaks-the-tables-of-the-law-exod-32bgustave-dore-the-bible-the-ammonite-and-moabite-armies-are-destroyed-2chron-20

1996 – Sektor/Vitality Split – Sobermind Records (Back) — [Doré – Dante]
1997 – Dawn of Orion – Eternal Twilight – Self-released — [Doré – Milton]
1998 – All Out War – Truth in the Age of Lies – Gain Ground Records — [Doré – Bible]

sektor-vitality-split-back-gustave-dore-dante-alighieri-divine-comedydawn-of-orion-twilight-eternal-gustave-dore-milton-paradise-lost-ball-out-war-truth-in-the-age-of-lies-gustave-dore-la-sainte-bible
gustave-dore-dante-alighieri-divine-comedy-the-vision-of-hell-the-inferno-canto-xiii-13gustave-dore-milton-paradise-lost-nine-days-they-fell-book-vi-line 871gustave-dore-la-sainte-bible-jugement-dernier

1998 – Length of Time – Approach to the New World – Good Life Records — [Doré – Idylls of the King]
1999 – Arkangel – Dead Man Walking (Inlet) – Good Life Records — [Doré – Milton]
1999 – Deviate – State of Grace – I Scream Records — [Doré – Bible]

length-of-time-approach_to_the_new_world-cover-gustave-dore-idylls_of_the_kinarkangel-dead-man-walking-inlet-gustave-dore-milton-paradise_lostdeviate-state-of-grace-front-cover-gustave-dore-the-dore-bible
gustave-dore-idylls_of_the_king_the-knights-progressgustave-dore-milton-paradise_lost_the-fall-of-satangustave-dore-the-dore-bible-gallery-the-vision-of-ezekiel

1999 – Drowning – Self-titled (CD interior)-Released Power Productions — [Doré-misc]
1999 – Sentence – Prefection Through Disfunction 7″ (Front/Back)- Tomcat — [Doré-Dante]

drowning-inlay-gustave-dore-enigmasentence-perfection-through-disfunction-cover-gustave-dore-dante-alighieri-divine-comedysentence-perfection-through-disfunction-cover-back-gustave-dore-dante-alighieri-divine-comedy
gustave-dore-enigmagustave-dore-dante-alighieri-divine-comedy-the-vision-of-hell-the-inferno-canto-v-5- lines-137-138-sentence-perfection-through-disfunctiongustave-dore-dante-alighieri-divine-comedy-the-vision-of-purgatory-canto-ix-9

2000 – Statecraft – To Celebrate the Forlorn Seasons (Front) — [Doré-Bible]
2001 – Morning Again – Hand of Hope – Good Life Recordings –[Doré-Dante]

gustave-dore-holy-bible-state_craft-to-celebrate-the-forlorn-seasons-covermorning-again-hand-of-hope-gustave-dore-dante-alighieri-divine-comedy-amorning-again-hand-of-hope-gustave-dore-dante-alighieri-divine-comedy-b
gustave-dore-holy-bible-began-to-build-a-vessel-of-huge-bulkgustave-dore-dante-alighieri-divine-comedy-the-vision-of-hell-the-inferno-canto-xxix-29gustave-dore-dante-alighieri-divine-comedy-the-vision-of-hell-the-inferno-canto-xxix-29

2002 – XMaroonX – Antagonist (Front/Back) – Catalyst Records — [Doré- Bible/Milton]
2004 – Denied/Beatdown Fury Split – Live in Sin…Face Death in Judgement (Back) – Filled with Hate Records — [Doré-Dante]

xmaroonx-antagonist-gustave-dore-the-biblexmaroonx-antagonist-back-cover-gustave-dore-milton-paradise-lostdenied-beatdown-fury-split-back-gustave-dore-dante-alighieri-divine-comed
gustave-dore-the-bible-the-new-jerusalemgustave-dore-milton-paradise-lost-the-fallen-angels-explore-hellgustave-dore-dante-alighieri-divine-comedy-the-vision-of-hell-the-inferno-canto-viii-8-lines-39-41

2003 – Bloodstain – The Fall And Rise Of Certainties – (Front/Back) – Stillife Records — [Doré-Milton]
2004 – Denied/Beatdown Fury Split – Live in Sin…Face Death in Judgement (CD) – Filled with Hate Records — [Doré- Dante]

bloodstain-the-fall-and-rise-of-certainties-cover-front-gustave-dore-milton-paradise-lostbloodstain-the-fall-and-rise-of-certainties-cover-back-gustave-dore-milton-paradise-lostdenied-beatdown-fury-split-cd-gustave-dore-the-dore-bible-gallery
gustave-dore-milton-paradise_lost_satan-rises-from-a-burning-lakegustave-dore-milton-paradise-lost-michael-casts-out-all-of-the-fallen-angels-book-I-lines-344-345gustave-dore-the-dore-bible-gallery-heliodorus-punished-in-the-temple

2005- Integrity – Silver in the Hands of Time (Front) – Good Life Records — [Doré-Milton]

integrity-sliver-in-the-hands-of-time-front-cover-gustave-dore-milton-paradise-lost
gustave-dore-milton-paradise-lost-michael-casts-out-all-of-the-fallen-angels-book-I-lines-344-345

Illustrations Gustave Doré from: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Gustave_Doré, gutenberg.org, victorianweb.org, catholic-resources.org
Record covers/flyers from: allmusic.com, ihatemusic.org, xonetruthx.blogspot.com, lastfm.de, amoeba.com,
spirit-of-metal.com, discogs.com, sanitizedjapan.blogspot.com, discogs.com



Graffiti Rugs continued: Earsnot

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graffiti-rug-earsnot-carini-lang-1
Another graffiti rug – a collaboration between Earsnot and Carini Lang.

Images from carinilang.com/earsnot

Carving Knives re-discovered

One of a kind. Back and front. Crimeshaw knife carved by Matt Worthey.
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crimeshaw-knife-matt-worthey-design-a
Images from instagram.com/wortheydesign





Lighting by David B Anthony

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david-b-anthony-lighting-neon-keep-pushing-skateboard-1
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Wanted or not: this is a welcomed alternative to the “keep calm” fad. A unique (art) piece/lamp by David B Anthony in exact skateboard seize.

Image from davidbanthony.com/neon-keep-pushing





Tattoo Tableware

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Bone china cups, bowls and plates with motifs drawn by tattooers slowly become a staple in tableware. Some of the recent ones can be found all under one roof: Red Temple Prayer. They collaborated with Kim Ahn Nguyen, Angelique Houtkamp and Jondix in 2014.

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mug-kim-anh-nguyen-tableware-bone-china-tattoo-prayer
plate-kim-anh-nguyen-tableware-bone-china-temple-prayer
bowl-tableware-bone-china-tattoo-angelique-tableware-angelique-houtkamp-red-temple-prayer
mug-tableware-bone-china-tattoo-angelique-houtkamp-red-temple-prayer
jondix-tattoo-plate-red-temple-prayer
jondix-tattoo-cup-bowl-red-temple-prayer

Images from redtempleprayer.com and instagram.com/redtempleprayer





Korean Cute: Tableware by Mari Kim

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The sophisticated alternative to Hello Kitty: South Korean artist Mari Kim’s “eyedolls” on tableware made in collaboration with Hankook Chinaware and their Young Artists Project (YAP) series in 2014. Another way to popculturalize your kitchen.
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[1] Mari Kim’s blog: blog.naver.com/mozart_mk, [all other images]: buyhankook.com





Book Wrapped in Berlin Underground Upholstery

Fotobuch "burning down the house"
A portrait series of Berlin’s writers, Burning Down the House by Norman Behrendt is wrapped in the original Berlin Underground upholstery below – limited edition only.

berlin-underground-upholstery
[1] copyright burningdownthehouse.de, [2] pinterest.com


Pappalardo Talks Radio Silence [3]

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Anthony Pappalardo and I talked about his book Radio Silence. This is the third and final part of our conversation. This time around we talk about archiving hardcore, production mechanicals, Anthony’s future plans and which Ten Yard Fight/In My Eyes memorabilia could have made it into Radio Silence.
—Part [1] is just here.
—Part [2] is here.



Harshforms – I’d like you to talk about another thing that you already mentioned very early on: archiving hardcore. The practical problems you had with that (you touched upon finding the objects, money, finding show dates etc. but I guess there is more to it) and also why you think it’s important to do so. I know you talked about that somewhere else already but I think it’s an interesting idea to dwell on.
Also, which media do you find apt to archive hardcore? I’m, for example, still quite ambivalent about museum shows because I rarely saw a museography that lives up to a lived “subculture.”

Anthony – For so many years, hardcore really seemed to resist any documentation that extended past the immediate scene. Maybe people were afraid of profiteering or giving their secret away to the mainstream, but the reality is that there isn’t that much money to be made anyway off a book, gallery show, or documentary. That mentality certainly has softened and that’s partially because people are getting older and want their due, as well as feeling more comfortable with the way things have been documented over the last decade. I don’t mean that as a blanket statement, but there’s a lot of relevant bands, artists, and individuals out there whose stories should be told. Because hardcore’s so much older now, the people that can tell those stories are in senior positions, where they can be documented the right way.
Think of it this way, when Darby Crash died, there weren’t any punks powerful enough in media to even write a proper obituary for him. Now several of the staff writers at the New York Times have punk backgrounds—one even played in a grindcore band in the mid-’90s—and you have members of Bad Trip writing for Dexter: there’s more opportunity to do things the right way.

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Nicole Richie leaving the gym looking punk rock
[1] Lady Gaga & GISM, screenshot from youtube.com, [2] Nicole Richie sporting CRASS from x17online.com

What’s funny about all the resistance to it, is that all art is essentially an outsider culture, so why the fuck shouldn’t our art be in a museum? The images and noise hardcore made could be the most important subculture of the 1980s, yet there’s always a reluctance to document it properly. Conversely, punk rockers are the first people to piss and moan when Lady Gaga or Nicole Richie’s stylists outfit them in a “punk” jacket or some norm appropriates something from punk. If you want credit, you have to document it, otherwise you’re just another person with an idea. If they are going to have graffiti in museums why not punk. Raymond Pettibon or Winston Smith’s work should be highly valued and coveted in museums as contemporary art, and not pigeonholed as “punk art,” so seeing Pettibon join the “million dollar club,” and sell a painting for $1,325,000 is amazing. If art is just confined to one audience, is it really effective? I don’t even think hardcore was ever really meant to be insular, it just didn’t appeal to mainstream people at first. What’s wrong with the ethos of punk seeping into mainstream/high culture? I strive to elevate the profile of what I think is important, whether it’s hardcore, skateboarding, or just an idea that comes from counterculture.

If we don’t contextualize the importance of hardcore–visually and musically–you’re going to have people far removed from it doing so or it’s just going to live on a Tumblr account, all fucking jumbled up. That’s gross to me. We’re going continue to lose more and more punk icons, because we’re all getting older and that’s life. It’s better to have people that care about punk or hardcore document it for people going forward.

pettibon-raymond-moca-la-art-in-the-streets-2011
raymond-pettibon-exhibition-kaboom-weserburg-bremen-germany-b
[1] Pettibon at Moca LA’s exhibition Art in the Streets, [2] Pettibon in exhibition Kaboom!, Weserburg Bremen, Germany doublecrossxx.com

Here’s a scary thought that Matt Pincus from Judge / Songs Publishing mentioned to me: What happens to a catalog of music like SST if Greg Ginn dies? Does he have a will? Is it going to be tied up in legal forever? Who really owns that material? So many precious recordings and pieces of art exist in someone’s closet, without a contract or any context. Think of how many obscure, yet influential singles would be gone if the person in their possession disappears. Fuck, we’re all getting older, it’s a real thing man.

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Dischord Archives shot by Glen E. Friedman from doublecrossxx.com

I don’t think anyone who started a band in 1979 thought they’d even make it to 1980, so of course things were done haphazard. I always had an appreciation for how well the Washington, D.C. scene documented things, but then again that’s very telling of the culture they grew up in, with many of their parents being involved in government or media—maybe it was engrained in them. Luckily, there were always packrats or people there with a camera to capture bits and pieces, no matter how rich or poor or what part of the world they were in. I think it’s sad now, that we’re so reliant on self documentation that we’ll never see someone publish a book or have a show of portraits and candids of the seminal bands of today, as Glen E. Friedman has done with the first wave of American hardcore. Sure some things exist, but it’s tough for them to have the weight they once had, because everyone sees everything and has a camera in their pocket.

Harshforms – Also, when talking about archiving and thus fixing part of hardcore’s history in time, I’m always curious about who takes part in it, who is interviewed etc. As you already know, I’m quite interested in unearthing but also understanding women’s participation in earlier hardcore. So when looking through Radio Silence, there seems to be a clear division of labor: women took the photos, men did the layout. What I also noticed: there are loads of women in your thanks list in comparison to the few that are in the book itself. How come?

Anthony – This is a very, very tough one and something we really labored over. The story of American hardcore is a very male-driven story, simply because that was the cultural norm then. Of course there were women involved in every aspect, at every stage, but when you have to create a book and deal with a “general” storyline (meaning that we weren’t going to drill down into all the minutia) you have to deal with the reality that it was very much a boys club. If we started with the CA scene, before hardcore, with the Bags or The Avengers, this would be a different story, but the fact is that of the major bands, they were mostly male. That’s the truth.
If we had some six page spread on Kira in Black Flag or Fire Party or Desiderata it would have looked so arbitrary and almost condescending. Also, because it’s a mostly visual history, we weren’t able to talk about people who booked shows or worked behind the scenes, not necessarily in bands. There was also a big debate about how to include Riot Grrrl, but what we ultimately decided was that Riot Grrrl stemmed more from punk rock and was a larger, feminist reaction to male politics and dominance in punk in general. This was not really part of the narrative of the book, even though there was crossover. It’s also such a huge culture, that it needed its own attention, because it eclipses so many things. The best way I can describe it, is that you could write an entire book on Bikini Kill that would be relevant to many people, even outside punk, but there are several hardcore bands, even ones that play for thousands of people that could warrant a book written about them, as Bikini Kill’s were the flagship band for an entire movement. They’re the Black Flag, Germs, Minor Threat, or even Earth Crisis of what they do.

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ACT UP protests in LA in late 1980s. Photo by Karen Ocamb from lgbtpov.frontiersla.com

There are tons of people–male and female–who were omitted, because their quotes and insights didn’t fit with the visuals. This wasn’t an oral history, so we had to make sure that the quotes on the page did something to illuminate and contextualize the visuals. Unfortunately, much of the image making was very male dominated as well and most of the labels were run by men. That’s not just hardcore, that’s the state of the United States in the 1980s. Women, minorities, and homosexuals were oppressed, whether it was by wages, equal rights, or AIDS being viewed as an exclusively “gay disease.” It wasn’t that long ago, but with such a lack of information out there, it was a different time. Unfortunately, it’s still a fucked up time in the US, as we’ve seen that you can capture a cop completely disregarding the law on camera and they get a pass.

To go back to your question, we were very, very conscious of telling the story of those that were there and going with what was generally considered “fact.” What that means, is that we didn’t go dig deep on things because they interested us more, or try to highlight unsung heroes, we wanted to respect the story and tell it. It’s a tough position, but you need to have that perspective or you’re going to skew things. Of course you can’t help but steer things one way or the other based on what you think works, but we tried not to play favorites. You also have to understand that people were SO skeptical of us, especially the ones we didn’t know personally. All they knew was “Some guys with long hair are making an art book about hardcore for MTV.”

Overcoming that was pretty harsh!

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art4punks.blogspot.com

Harshforms – One last thing I’d like you to comment on concerning Radio Silence is production mechanicals. You show quite a lot of them in your book. What’s the fascination with those?

Anthony – Mechanicals were how I learned to lay things out as a teen, so that was the norm. When computers came into the mix, it was as if someone had invented the telephone or something—it was that revolutionary. Those paste-ups are indicative of a time and place and the care that you had to put in to have a record produced. As I said before, there are SO many things that could have went wrong, so when they are pulled off as beautifully as some of the Dischord releases, you have to have an appreciation for them.
It was paramount to include them, in order to show a generation who may not be aware, how the albums that are so precious to us all were actually made. Plus, they just look cool as fuck!

Start Today
Abstract No. 2 by Anthony Pappalardo from instagram.com/anthony_pappa

Harshforms – What’s next? You already told me that there won’t be a second volume of Radio Silence. Any other projects to archive and make public your ‘hardcore knowledge’?

Anthony- I’m constantly writing for print and online media and am in the process of working on a book about Gorilla Biscuits’ Start Today. I never understood why the 33 1/3 series rarely covers hardcore, until I did a little digging and found out that there is a three year waiting list to get one even considered. I approached them about doing one on Out of Step and they poo-pooed it, saying “A lot of people want to author one of these, and a book on hardcore is pretty low on our list.” I’m paraphrasing, but it was that dismissive.
I know publishing and know the audience for a hardcore book, so I realized that if I wanted to do one, I could figure it out on my own. I called Jordan at Revelation and asked him what he thought and he gave me a huge sign off. The band was on board and now we’re on our way.
It’s not going to be what anyone expects and it’s going to appeal to a broader audience than just fans of the band—that’s all I’ll say.

hanging-out
instagram.com/anthony_pappa

Harshforms – For this last question, I wanted to turn tables and ask you, a Ten Yard Fight co-founder and In My Eyes guitarist, about your hardcore memorabilia. Do you have any objects collected from that time (or other times) that tell (special) stories like those in Radio Silence?

Anthony – That’s tough. Ten Yard Fight started in 1994 and In My Eyes broke up in 2000, so that’s six full years of amassing shit. With TYF, I have some of the original stickers we made before even had a practice. The raddest relic I still have are these ridiculous sketches we made late one night, trying to come up with a mascot. There’s one of a straight edge football dude, plowing towards the end zone, pushing a bunch of punks with needles sticking out of their arms out of the way—didn’t make the cut obviously ha!.
I was much more archival with IME and still have a thick binder filled with ephemera from our tours and shows. When we went on our first US tour I kept a journal, detailing everything that happened. When we went on our first US tour I kept a journal, detailing everything that happened. Unfortunately, said journal was ripped to pieces by someone who didn’t appreciate it as much as I did. Bum out. I have all these different color variants Pushead did for The Difference Between, but the coolest stuff are just the hang out photos from the tours—they really tell the story. I honestly have at least 500 live shots of IME and they’re nice and all, but having those little behind the scenes shots—hanging with the Cro-Mags in Italy or posing with Budweiser models in Puerto Rico—are just so much cooler.



This post is part of a series on hardcore(-punk) layout. The complete series so far can be found here.



Pappalardo Talks Radio Silence [2]

radio-silence-cover-c
Anthony Pappalardo talked about his book Radio Silence with me. This is the follow-up part of our conversation
—Part [1] is just here.
—Part [3] can be read here.

Harshforms – We only exchanged about record covers until now, but obviously a record sleeve is more than that. Does anything come to mind when hearing back cover, booklet (it depressed me when labels started to insert CD inlets into vinyl sleeves) or vinyl (colors and messages scratched into it)?

Anthony – A lot of the people I went to college with had some type of punk or hardcore background—it’s not that random, as it was art school and in the ’80s and ’90s, if you were into underground shit, you probably dabbled in punk. A few of us were sitting around one day, spinning vinyl after a day of record shopping and talking about layouts. These were some heavy designers, who were light-years past cut-and-past flyers.

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hilobrow.com

Two of them (Josh Hooten and Tony Leone) created a fantastic, but short lived fanzine called Commodity, that featured some of the best design ever to exist in punk / hardcore zines.
This was 1994 and we were talking about how package design—not just the sleeves—were being neglected with CDs. At that time, there were a lot of bands doing really ornate, handmade designed record sleeves, printing on paper towels, gluing shit everywhere, screen printing over old covers and creating new works, but CDs were so one dimensional and not interactive.

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rootsvinylguide.com

Eventually people would push that medium a lot more, but it’s just kind of a shitty format to begin with. I guess the Septic Death “Crossed Out Twice” CD / 5″ Pushead released is the best example or adding some life to CD design.
That idea of a record, tape, or CD as an object that you interact with was really important to me. It’s more than just an image to sell the music. It’s those little touches like the matrix etchings or how Dischord would write messages on the flaps of their 7″ covers before gluing them together.
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[1] seekingthesimple.wordpress.com, [2] revhq.com, [3] “The best poster-insert” from: seekingthesimple.wordpress.com

It was always such a bummer to bring a record home and find out that the band or label didn’t even care to include a lyric sheet. If you got a mail order form, poster, or a booklet, that was amazing, especially when you’re young and broke—it’s more value!

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dsa.ebay.co.uk

I think Ebullition went a little over board with the inserts, not so much as the Downcast LP coming with a mini-book for an insert, but with all the little mini-zines and literature. I know the bands didn’t care, but I got turned off by how much Kent McClard was using someone else’s music as a vehicle for his musings.
I learned a lot talking with those guys about design and it really made me have a larger appreciation for the albums that used the cover as more than just something that the vinyl is housed in. That doesn’t mean that you have to pack some unnecessary shit in there, it’s more about the little touches.
fugazi-first-demo-postcards
turntablelab.com

Fugazi’s Demo which was just pressed on vinyl came with postcards—I thought that was dope—or it’s as simple as being creative with the direction of the images or type, so you have to pick the record up to really see the entire image and digest it. And who can get mad at a big fold out poster? That’s always a win.

Harshforms – Leaving the records aside, you choose not to concentrate on record sleeves (as loads of other authors do) but rather to include them among other material objects—the cover of Radio Silence is quite telling in this respect. Letters, jackets, t-shirts, Krishna beads and skateboards—why this broader approach?

Anthony – Hardcore is a very unique genre in that the music isn’t the most important component. It doesn’t live on classic rock radio, isolated from its original context. Sure, if someone asks you what hardcore is and you play them The Fix, they’ll get it, but they wont GET it. It’s an entire language that’s so visual, to tell the story we needed to show more than flyers or covers.
There were so many things we wanted to include that we either couldn’t find, weren’t ever documented, or didn’t reproduce correctly, but they all told the story to us.
memory-pocket-tone-dialer-radio-shack-43-141
pinterest.com

In the mid-’90s modified phone dialers were a big deal. You’d get these things from an electronics store for $15, mod them out so that they could reproduce the sound of a coin going into a payphone, and be able to make calls for free. That meant that phone bill you’d normally rack up booking a tour or just gossiping or whatever was now free—that was huge. Now a photograph of one isn’t too exciting, but that was such a part of hardcore and part of the story.
Skateboards were a no brainer of course, but we never got good pictures of “hardcore cars,” which were big with the suburban set. It might have been as simple as putting stickers all over your bumper and rear window, but you wanted to let other kids know what you were into. I remember seeing a Uniform Choice sticker on a car in my town’s mall parking lot and tripping out, because no one in my town was really into hardcore. Whoever was driving that car knew something and I wanted to know who the hell they were.
So it’s the music, the zines, the inserts, the graffiti, venues, even the instruments. It was all so different than what was happening in arenas or in some rock n’ roll venue and was so much cooler to me. It felt authentic. For real, what kid actually wants to buy all that shit that a Mötley Crüe fan would have to own back in the ’80s? It was such a pain in the ass and I never thought it looked cool at all. Hardcore was easy, I had a pair of Vans, I wore blue jeans, and I’d buy a band’s shirt if I dug them. Done and done.

suicidal-tendencies-maker-t-shirt
noisey.vice.com

Harshforms – Getting back to what you mentioned before, that hardcore is not an aesthetic but more than that: I just talked with someone about nostalgia & objects (she is a DJ and into jazz/rap). When I read your last answers in which you mentioned the “hardcore cars,” the phone dialers, etc., I immediately became nostalgic and started to think about other objects: wallet chains, patches and pins, but also mix tapes gifted by friends who spend hours on making them and creating the inlet.
So, of course, I’m curious which other objects you didn’t include in Radio Silence? Which were the ones you couldn’t find?

Anthony – It was tough to find those banners that bands would hang up as few really survived. The Token Entry necklace or Dag Nasty “Dag Tags,” would have been killer too, but we couldn’t unearth any. Then again we got the Teen Idles jacket, so fuck it! We actually photographed some silk screened arm-bands that Jeff Nelson made way back of some Dischord bands, but they didn’t make the cut.
We started off with a pretty ridiculous list of ephemera—anything we could think of. So you could imagine what was on it: A hat from HR, Mike Judge’s construction gloves, the skateboard and Drug Free Youth jacket from the Abused 7″, Springa’s homemade Meatmen shirt, etc.
We got pretty close on a lot of it and really should have been able to get the Judge gloves and Abused jacket, as they’re pretty accessible, but travel was a huge issue and we couldn’t settle for having someone take a crappy cell phone pic—it all had to be done in one consistent manner.
There were also a lot of things that are cool in theory, but don’t really tell a story when you reproduce them. For example, we came upon several recording reels for seminal albums, but they aren’t that exciting to look at. Some tape with some writing doesn’t really do much and when you have to cut images, you need to go for what’s more exciting.
One last thing I thought of that we never found was an original, hand drawn Suicidal Tendencies marker T-Shirt, which surfaced a few years back on eBay. Dan from Excel was selling his and I did a little write up on it for VICE.

pus-zone-pushead-trasher-may-1985
thrashermagazine.com—screenshot

Harshforms – Radio Silence is a project focused on North America —as its subtitle (A Selected Visual History of American Hardcore Music) already indicates—; kind of as if hardcore only existed there. Now I was astonished when you told me somewhen else that you also have Japanese stuff in your collection and touring with Ten Yard Fight and In My Eyes should have acquainted you also to some “overseas” stuff. How come you decided to limit your book to North America?

Anthony – By reading Pushead’s Pus-Zone column in Thrasher I’d learn more than just US releases and everyone was always interested in UK punk of course, but then you get little bits that trickle down, Sore Throat, Concrete Sox, Discharge, Larm, Gism, bands you’d hear through other people or just by recognizing their names from a review. Also, when Todd Burdette from Tragedy lived in Boston in the early ’90s and was playing in Arise. He was such a collector and student and turned a lot of people onto international bands and obscure stuff.
Ultimately, what I was the most passionate about was US hardcore. I was so obsessed with finding all those LPs and singles, that caring about Lip Cream records or whatever KBD thing was hot at the moment wasn’t what excited me, plus that shit was so hard to find. At that time in Boston, there were so many stores and it was common for college kids to sell off their collections, because college kids are broke, so you could find tons of records. I was lucky enough to have a lot of people turn me onto different things, so you’d just venture out and see what you came back with. When I moved into my second dorm room for the last half of my Freshman year, it felt like everyone was so diverse. There was the jazz guy, post punk dude, psych rocker, indie rock guru, riot grrrls, and just all types of sounds happening, so you could pop into someone’s room, hear something new and then make a mental note when you went shopping. Sometimes you’d return with an Unrest 7″, Ornette Coleman LP, some random promo cassette for Archwelder or whatever indie band had a record coming out, a beat up copy of a Dickies LP, and a Side by Side 7″ that the store owner didn’t know was rare and priced at $3.00. Nostalgic tangent, right? It was just a different trip, because you had to go buy music and there were so many stores, some were good for just one thing or whatever, so we’d make these day-long missions just to learn about music in general, not just punk.
For Radio Silence, we had to set up some guidelines or we’d still be working on the book and no one would have published it. Print is hard to sell. Even those who are passionate—the people who will spent $1,000 on a Misfits record—will say, “Oh man, $50 for that book…. that’s steep” and never buy it. Sure it would have been cool to do an 800 page encyclopedia, but it’s not really feasible and certainly wasn’t then.
The narrative I came up with was that this was a book about the evolution of American Hardcore, pre-digital. That’s it. It gave us a storyline and framework to follow, in order to make it purposeful and not just a bunch of images thrown on some pages without context. If you read the opening essay, I think it’s pretty obvious why we kept those parameters. When you’re talking hardcore, everyone scene and time frame can and has filled its own book, so if we added in Europe and Asia one of us would have had a nervous breakdown—it’s just too much. Plus, can you imagine the scrutiny we’d be under to document overseas bands, where most of the stuff never made it to the US? It would have been amateur and difficult to really capture it. Instead, we wanted to document something we felt and saw, even if we weren’t going to the Gallery East in 1980.

This post is part of a series on hardcore(-punk) layout. The complete series so far can be found here.



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