Long-lost L.A. punk/rock band The Alley Cats designed this stick figure around 1978, when it first appeared on flyers for live actions and in Dangerhouse promotional material. Slightly more polished than the average shambolic / young / annihilated (circle one or more) punk band, if the comments on those YouTube videos are any indication, they are sorely missed. Here's a guide to slightly less polished alley cats.
Speaking of cats, here is a story about Monsieur Hat, the Mystery-Solving Cat!
Once upon a time Monsieur Hat was out finding a mystery and he hear someone crying. He see nothing! "A mystery!" he say to himself, and look for the source of the crying. He use his super-sensitive ears to find a large boulder making this sound! There were little rivulets of dust falling from the boulder and so it was his rocky tears! "Why do you cry?" Monsieur Hat ask. "Because I am lonely and feel unloved and my only friend is three feet away and it will take him a million years to come visit! I am a sulky rock." "A silky rock?!" Monsieur Hat ask. "That make no sense! You are too rough and stony to be silky!" "No!" the boulder grumbled, "A sulky rock, a sulky rock!" Monsieur Hat had an idea! "Wait here!" he say. "I will help!" So Monsieur Hat wrote some scribbles on some paper with his clever claws and some juice for ink and take it to the sporting goods store! He come back and saw the boulder being climbed on by rock climbers, who loved the boulders craggy crags and many handholds! The giant boulder was loved! The end.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Los Angeles (well, Van Nuys) hard rock band Rhino Bucket had their skeletal juggernaut designed by manager Deme Bermudez and Georg Dolivo in 2007. Bermudez: "Well, like many ideas (we've had), Georg and I were hanging out at my house drinking beers and needed to come up with a logo for the band. Rhino Bucket has never had a logo in the past 15 years, so it was time to make one. Rhino and Bucket aren't two words that really go together. Georg, the lead singer/guitarist, and I were looking on the net for ideas. I found a picture of a rhino skeleton and e-mailed it over to him (I was on the couch with my laptop, and he was on the other side of the room with his laptop). He did some work on it and added and changed some graphics around and we ended up with the logo. The original was altered by Georg; it might have been some zoo or history page...can't recall off-hand."
Stukas Over Bedrock had their caveman designed by Art Morales. Pete from the band: "That was drawn by Art sometime between 1982-1984. He also did the first Social Distortion album cover (the skeleton reclining in a chair). It first appeared in an ad we bought to promote one of our records about that time in magazines like Flipside and Maximum Rock'n'Roll and in flyers we made to advertise shows." There's an endless charm that comes with these old punk rock mascots and logos - they are entirely individual and unique to the artist, drawn without artifice or calculation. Punk's "no future" here could either mean the coming apocalypse caused by the smoking volcano or the increasing pressure to get a "real job."
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Marco Neves, singer of Treponem Pal, reports, "It was designed by David Lebrun, the first drummer of the band in 1988. We always enjoyed this type of ethnic or tribal kind of image...it fits really well to us! It's on the cover of the first album and comes back since on all the records we did..." Named for Treponema pallidum, the bacterium that causes syphilis (not to be confused with sibilance, even if both are things with which most roadies are intimately familiar), it's a beautifully simple logo because there's the T, there's the P, and there's the primitive pelvic bones that tie the whole concept together nicely.
"Keith Brown here, I manage Sticky, Fredro and Onyx as a group. The Madface was originally sketched out by Fredro Starr as a caricature of Sticky's face and came to use around 1991/1992." Underrated these past twenty years, Onyx promises a new album in 2009; original member Big DS (born Marlon G. Fletcher; July 29, 1971 - May 22, 2003) died of cancer in Queens and there must be something about July 29 that augurs truth-tellers because his is the same birthday as Jenny Holzer and Ken Burns. Certainly Onyx are one of those few hip-hop groups that still live up to Chuck D's assertion that rap is the "CNN of black America" - an observation from many moons ago that stands in stark contrast to our sparkling age of bling and diamond rings and other temporary things. But not Linen-n-Things. They've gone bankrupt. Where-ever shall we buy our things now?! SLAM!
Another damned cow! John Yates created the cow icon in 1989 for the band's "Wrong" LP. Yates' logo design work includes icons for Anti-Flag, and, as we shall soon see, Jello Biafra. Sharp, immediate and direct, he keeps a rather low profile - well, by that I mean he hasn't answered my e-mail yet - and of course, as with all good designers, the work speaks for itself. If you look to the left of the cow's head, you'll see the Elsie doppelganger has human ears sprouting from its neck. NoMeansNo have been around for twenty years and show no signs of stopping - which is encouraging, because most mortals stop being righteously indignant and angry after about seven months.
Designed in 1994 for the band by David Little. It appears on the "Howyoudoin?" release. It's deeply reminiscent of the flying head in the film "Zardoz," and mixing it with the fierce lion makes it that much heavier a logo. "Biting My Nails" is probably the band's defining moment - "Probably a Robbery" was a hit worldwide but something really falls flat in the notes somewhere.
The nameless compassionate woman was designed for the band by the mysterious Moira in 1982. Many of these artists fade into obscurity, leaving their imprint on a grateful-yet-perplexed world, and if you don't ask who did what when, chances are you'll never know. It's a bit like all those nameless French who rebuilt the Notre Dame Cathedral but whose identities remain completely unknown. Moira, what moves you today!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Sergei Tschachotin designed the Antifascist Circle in 1931. It was appropriated by Strike Anywhere member Matt Smith in 2001. Tschachotin purportedly designed it "to be able to easily cover Nazi swastikas." Further: "The meaning of the three arrows have been interpreted differently. One claim is that they stood for the opponents of the iron front, the three enemies of the democracy: communism, monarchism and national socialism. Another claim is that they stand the three columns of the German workers' movement: a party, a trade union and the reichsbanner as symbols for the political, economic and physical strength of the Iron Front."
Monday, June 16, 2008
Gentleman and scholar Chris DeLaurenti writes, "I believe the Stravinsky glyph first appeared in his 1959 book, "Conversations with Igor Stravinsky" on page 120; though to be fully understood, the glyph should be seen with the other images on the page drawn by Robert Craft to depict plain chant, polyphony, Webern, etc."
Friday, June 13, 2008
Polyrhythmic ritualists Crash Worship ADRV had their bird / knife logo designed by Markus Wolff. Wolff: "Very nice that this forgotten psymbol might be featured in your blog. I designed it in about 1987, and it was used on early shirts and stickers. The bird-headed dagger was of course used in a myriad of ways - I even sculpted and cast about six solid bronze daggers of this type. The symbols on the blade are the initials of Crash Worship's bastardized Mexican alter-ego - Adoracion De Rotura Violenta. That was our proper long name for a while, although the ADRV was dropped at some point in the early '90s for simplicity's sake. Two (of the daggers) were bought by gallery owners, one of whom is deceased and the other runs the Museum of Death. Another one got stolen, and I kept a really nice one. I just recovered two that need to be finished/welded, etc. I'll be photographing these when they're done."
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Designed by Frank Maddocks in 2000 for the "White Pony" LP. Admittedly I'm no great fan of Deftones - the instrument has yet to be invented which can measure my indifference to their work - but they do in fact have one timeless and brilliant pop song, "Change (In the House of Flies)." I shall at this point be charitable and consider that Deftones is a contraction of "deft ones" rather than "def tones" and expect them to crank out a great work of genius in the reasonably near future tense.
Created for the band by design firm Cabine in 2005 for the "Do the Bambi" record. Saintly deer are always so beautiful but this one is in blue neon and that makes it extra-lovely! In fact, if I do wind up getting married and having a little blonde hippie baby, she shall be called Estée - or "S.D.", for "Saintly Deer"! Now, I understand that some people might object to short babies being called hippies but think! A short baby is like a hippie because she has long hair, she jumps up and down, she protests, she's real loud, she's kinda smelly, she loves to sing a song, and she doesn't trust anyone over 30.
Designed by Sandy Dvore in 1970. Lest you think that made-up bands don't have their own logos, look no further than these partridges, or the fist of Faust. Fake bands are your greatest entertainment value - well, one of them, anyway. They even spawned their own feel-good love/terror cult, the Partridge Family Temple. "As for my computer skills, you know there hasn't been anybody that ineffective on a keyboard since Susan Dey was in the Partridge Family." - Dennis Miller
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Designed by Steve Craig in 1983. Slayer's pentagram and lettering is a rare case of aspects of a logo being at once so intertwined and interdependent on one another that seeing either without the other becomes a rather incomplete proposition. The swords of the pentagram depend on the lettering to complete the horizontal axis; if you took the lettering out of the circle and replaced it with another sword, something would feel lacking from the entire presentation. Conversely, if you look at the lettering of SLAYER by itself, it comes off as though scrawled by a murder victim in his final throes - scratched painfully in the dirt as a clue to whomever comes along later.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Pat Fish from The Jazz Butcher reports, "He's called The Jazz Porker and he is the invention of British comic artist Hunt Emerson, whose work you can see in Fortean Times and other fine publications. Hunt did him for the cover of our 1984 album "A Scandal in Bohemia," whereafter he briefly took on a life of his own."