Monday, April 14, 2008
Logo #224: Skinny Puppy
Jim Cummins designed the logo for the cover of the the band's "Too Dark Park" LP in 1990. It's another simple, stylish icon that looks great airbrushed on the back of a leather jacket. Combining the best of performance art - shock, and possibly some spinach mixed with some mysterious dark viscous material - Skinny Puppy probably got more people aware of animal rights and veganism than most any other alternative band through the '80s and '90s. Well, short of Morrissey, maybe. Then member Dwayne Goettel (February 1, 1964 - August 23, 1995) died and things got kind of blah from there on out. This was the scene as recorded by this reporter at the Skinny Puppy live action in Los Angeles on July 3, 2004: "Oilfield fires and airplane graveyards from the film "Baraka" appear alongside fog and lasers as war-torn bodies of children inspire a battle between heart and mind where ultimately neither wins. Skinny Puppy's ohGr emerges, beaked beast costumed in tatters, his voice sliced and excoriated on delivery - but after all these years offstage, it's a bit like what Keith Richards remarked to John Fogerty: He'd better start playing Creedence songs lest everyone think Ike Turner wrote "Proud Mary." The vitriol of "VX Gas Attack" and "Pro-Test" filtered out with the gasps of the effects machines misting the audience with vapor and sonic assaults; cEvin Key on keys as the synth tones rebounded off the resounding pounding Justin Bennett gave the drums. Klieg lights flood the audience as ohGr's image is incorporated in CGI visuals (courtesy of Travis Baumann and William Morrison) of rebirth and fire simulcast behind him. Drenched and drenching the front rows with some kind of reddish bodily fluid (possibly hematospermia), oGhr holds a gas mask like a stereoscope, cocooning the stage in police "Do Not Cross" tape, his paroxysmal moves shimmering in the black light. Yet repetition of images without context is such that, were you a neocon who liked industrial music and the war in Iraq…two tickets, please! In much the same way that news of "mad cow" disease increased hamburger consumption, the brain-melting cavalcade of crucifixes / W. / flags / Osama / swastikas / Hitler / war-wounded unveils a double standard: Though the artist alleges that certain symbols no longer hold relevance in modern society, he fetishizes those symbols as intensely as a cargo cult operating a ham radio unit made entirely of bamboo."