Thursday, October 30, 2008

Train Kept a Rollin'

Even a year ago, there were more places to play...
the South Loft.. The Icon was still open.
hat sucked- The Icon closing sucked.
Justin Chapman, guitarist and vocalist for milf
who never predicted his bands name would become a pornographic phenomenon 15 year later

The best thing about reading the Slash book was it got me listening to some old Aerosmith and I have been thoroughly enjoying Rocks and Get Your Wings which I duped off scratchy vinyl. Those Boston boys were good back in the heyday of substance abuse and 1973! Hootchy Koo! Last Child, man what a song... and Lord of The Thighs, Women of the World, Train Kept a Rollin'..... man, oh man, it just keep going. I have to keep getting up to turn the music louder and then turn it down a few minutes later 'cause it is too loud.

Oh that rock and roll sure is a tortuous mistress.

Speaking of rock music... here's one for ya:
Slack issue #15- The Local Music Issue Jan. 1995
(published 01.12.95)

This issue of Slack, is by far, my favorite with the perspective of time. Published in Jan 1995, the Slack Local Music issue features details on over 75 Buffalo bands and is labeled a "Collector's Edition." That was a good prediction, I was right! The Slack team gathered info on bands by leaving piles of questionnaire postcards around town, record stores, bars, music venues, etc. and did a lot of research. Over the next few months the postcards started to roll in and I personally interviewed a few dozen bands as did our writers. I think it was (and is) a really good snapshot of the music scene in Buffalo circa January 1995. And the Dan (Young Jeezy) Cappellazzo cover shot of the Steam Donkeys in front of the Mohawk place is priceless! Great cover.

Highlights (too many to mention) include:

  • 1994's Slacker of the Year- Buffalo News music writer Tony Violanti by Tony Billoni
  • Being in a Buffalo Band by Steam Donkey Charlie Quill
  • Great Records Form Local Music History by Elmer Ploetz which includes: Headhunters "1st Things 1st", Splat Cats "5 Big Ones," and Goo Goo Dolls "Jed"... oh the Goo old days....
  • Strick's Advice on Audio Purchases From a Guy From The Inside
Of all the bands profiled, I think I counted 8 still in service? I may be wrong and I am sure someone else will review this and correct me. Kevin?
  • Fibs
  • Goo Goo Dolls
  • Ani SunnyD Franco
  • Lance Diamond (the Energizer Bunny of Buffalo)
  • Steam Donkeys
  • Wolf Tickets
  • Glenn Colton
Man, what ever happened to Economy Sexless Torso, Maunder Butterfly, The Razzels, Spawn, Splaterpunkx and Snufflufugus? Other cool band asides include "Several Seconds With Spawn" where they members act confused when asked about Eddie Vedder, a few questions with Justin Chapman of milf and Mark Norris on Girlpope and locally owned (and new at the time) P22 Records.

Another interesting note is the inclusion of Big Happy Family who didn't have a record listed yet. That soon to be CD by BHF was recorded in the barn that I sit in as I type this post. Our design studio (252 Lex) used to be the band practice/recording studio of Bob James and BHF was his band. Time zones are a colliding as I write this.

Print this out for yourself and read it thoroughly. Sit back, crack a Blue and throw in that old cassette by Dick's Hatband or Crawlspace or even Kama Sutra (I am just name dropping now).

Download PDF here:
Slack Magazine n. 15, the Local Music Issue (4.8 mg)

Don't forget these issues already up (5 more to go)!:
Slack Magazine n. 18, The Two-Year Anniversary! issue
Slack Magazine n. 14, The Cartoon Issue
Slack Magazine n. 13, The Food & Beverage Issue
Slack Magazine n. 12, The One-Year Anniversary Issue
Slack Magazine n. 11, The True Crime Issue
Slack Magazine n. 10, Summer Fun Issue
Slack Magazine n. 9, The Dead Rock Stars Issue
Slack Magazine n. 8, The Beer Issue
Slack Magazine n. 7, Slack Goes to The Movies Issue
Slack Magazine n. 6, The Buffalo Issue
Slack Magazine n.5, The Slack TV Issue
Slack Magazine n. 4, SEX in the '90s Issue
Slack Magazine n. 3, The Politico Issue
Slack Magazine n. 2, The Travel Issue
Slack Magazine n. 1, The Debut Issue

Big hair Guns n' Roses- Welcome to the Jungle early MTV video, weird. Why such a big hat? Why such big hair?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Paradise City

Event posters and rock posters are some of my favorite things to design. Now I don't get to create and print cool silk screen posters (which is awfully popular these days), but I have spend over 20 years designing posters for various fund raising events, to raise awareness for causes and to advertise rock shows, CD release events and DJ nights. These of course are for little, and often no money at all, which lends a sort of creative freedom to the designer.

When you are not getting paid, this means you can often do what ever the heck you want. Dealing with bands is often the 'battle of the egos' though, musicians and graphic folks are both artists- often head strong, knowing what they want. Many bands will give some direction and let you go nuts, some will pick and pick and make you redesign and redesign which can suck. I try to put forth the proposition (little Doors for ya there) that, "Hey, if I am not getting paid, you are going to get something cool that I like." Works every time. Well, mostly.....

When dealing with a not-for-profit, like Literacy Volunteers, they just love whatever we do for them unconditionally. We have created the poster and accompanying graphics for the last seven Coffee and Chocolate fund raising events for LV and they let us do what we want and they like it... they truly like it! Now if only I could get paid for working like this, eh?

There are a few design companies (i.e. Modern Dog in Seattle) who do just that- they do whatever they want, sometimes crazy ass projects and the client knows what they are getting, they take the chance and they love it. Mostly. That would be Paradise City, baby! It seems they can actually make money doing this? Have I not been taking enough chances in my designs? I don't know.... maybe I have to work harder...

I took some photos of our new hallway poster gallery that includes the first 7 Coffee and Chocolate posters, some Variety Rocks event posters from the nineties and 3 Americanarama posters which have been great to do for local alt-country rockers the Steam Donkeys.

It is cool to see all these posters on permanent display.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Monkey Man

Submitted for your review, the lyrics to the Rolling Stones Monkey Man.

"I'm a cold Italian pizza..."

I was just listening to the lyrics and I was rendered baffled, to say the least. I guess drugs (this is about drug, right?) make you say silly thing... Awesome Nicky Hopkins piano playing though.

Monkey Man
( jagger/richards)

Im a flea bit peanut monkey
All my friends are junkies
That's not really true

I'm a cold italian pizza
I could use a lemon squeezer
What you do?

But Ive been bit and Ive been tossed around
By every she-rat in this town
Have you, babe?

Well, I am just a monkey man
I'm glad you are a monkey woman too

I was bitten by a boar
I was gouged and I was gored
But I pulled on through

Yes, I'm a sack of broken eggs
I always have an unmade bed
Don't you?

Well, I hope were not too messianic
Or a trifle too satanic
We love to play the blues

Well I am just a monkey man
I'm glad you are a monkey, monkey woman too, babe

I'm a monkey
I'm a monkey
I'm a monkey man
I'm a monkey man
I'm a monkey...

Love In Vain

I just got turned onto this company in Estonia called Hand Made Fonts. They have a unique font collection like no other. Fonts made from things- dirt, rocks, paint, foam, etc. I think you are talking about a very specialized use for these collections, but they are pretty cool.

I remember when Sagmeister was in town and he was showing images from his book where he spelled words out of objects. So I gotta wonder what are the practical applications for these, beyond art projects?

Check them out online: I like the hairy ones and ones made of food, like chili peppers.

Right now we are listening to some live Dead (is there any other kind?!?!) and it is making me dizzy... maybe I better eat some lunch.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My, My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)

You pay for this, but they give you that
Once you're gone, you can't come back
-- Mr. Young

My friends are nice. They happen to also be music-o-philes, like myself... most of them anyway. So when I go to their homes, I am always drawn to the the LPs or the CD collections, scanning what they got. They usually put up with my rude behavior, as well as the fact that I always assume they are going to let me borrow whatever I want from their collections. It's like being at the record store and not having to pay. Or the library, but less alphabetized. You can't go to the shelf of a digital music collection and scan the shelves, flip through the 45s or LPs, or pull them out and look at the artwork. It is a lot harder to scan for borrowing on the computer.

Anyway, here is what I borrowed from my neighbor Nate (see list below) and I will have to return them soon since a lot of them belong to his wife. It's a mixed bag of CDs-- since I am getting ready for upcoming holidays, I would say it's a cornucopia of tunes!

This is our NEW office listening list for Thursday and Friday (click on graphic to see our 'CD borrowing-promise to return contract'). I can put all the over-listened CDs away for now, we got fresh (old) CDs to listen to today. I have many of these titles on either cassette or vinyl record. Some are new to me (at least the Ritchie Havens). We got old rock (Neil), Prince, more rock, and more rock, Let it Bleed Stones! and Sugarhill Gang... Yeah!

If you call us, listen closely, you will definitely hear one of the above CDs in the background.
I'll turn it down.

BONUS BEATS: r.i.p. to the late, great Rudy Ray Moore, Mr. Dolomite who passed away a few days ago. Goodbye Petey Wheatstraw, keep rhyming!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fill Your Heart

..and the walls come tumblin' down...

I just took a tour of the once great Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. It is under deconstruction for tear-down. It was quite an experience- this is how it looks right now on a cold, October 21, 2008 morning.

Click here to see thirteen of my snapshots- Bleed For The Blue and Gold.

The last days of the AUD, October 22, 2008.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Reckless Life

Keep in touch with mama kin
Tell her where you gone and been

12:20 AM- This is Post #200.
I just finished the last of the cleaning- the top off, the floor mopping. Now we are spic-n-span in the downstairs part of the office space, tomorrow the upstairs. Hang some art! Yeah! So I am reviewing some paperwork while the floor dries. Such is the life- pretty glamorous, this graphic design world- we all least tonight, it ain't!....

I have been listening to a lot of G-n-R lately, as I am on the tail end of the Slash bio and kinda wish I was done with it already. The story goes: everyone hates you when you're a junkie but loves you when you are a hard partying drunk except Axl's an asshole most of the time to most people, often his audiences. Booooo. I passed up the Ron Wood bio for this? What was I thinking. Wrong turn in the bio section of the 'ol Crane Library. Shoot.

Time to crash. Rock on. Live?!*@ Like a Suicide.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Little Bones

4 and 0, baby!

I enjoyed the Sabres 5-2 victory from a front row seat-- I was very fortunate to watch the action rinkside. A unique spot to watch from, you can't see down the ice to the other net, but then you are eye level for the action where the Sabres shoot 2X. You are IN the action, you can see shots from a players view, you can yell so loud you're sure they can hear you, you can feel the hits....

While I was there I got to see a 'hockey moment' only viewable from the front few rows. A Canuck gets slammed face 1st into the boards, the plexiglass shakes violently and he groggily skates back up the ice. There is a whistle in the action and the same Vancouver player comes skating over with a linesman and start looking down at the ice in the spot he got slammed. I look down and see a little tooth on the ice, no blood, just a tooth. He bends down, picks it up with un-gloved hand and skates to the bench. Only in hockey! Ouch.

BONUS BEATS: today I am taking the kids to a Sports Cards & Collectibles Show at the Hamburg Fairgrounds. My buddy, the Buffalo Hockey Experience & Museum guy is going to have a display, so we are going to check it out. I haven't been to a card show ever, though I have been to both beer can collector and comic book conventions when I was a kid.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Life On Mars

It's on Amerikas tortured brow
That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow

unintelligable, yet somehow deep, Bowie lyric

I have been trying to walk a few footsteps in the evening over the past couple weeks. The weather is just right for walking, the fresh air, the exercise, the view of the Elmwood Strip (lots of action for a Thursday night in November, I thought...), and my i-Probe giving me a good soundtrack to move to. The past couple days, I have been waging this David Bowie battle, a sort of Hunky Dory vs. Ziggy Stardust thing. Both great LPs, mind you- the Ziggy is more rocking, but the HD has a lot of super great pop-songs.

Hunky Dory (HD), which is Dave's 4th LP from 1971 and it features the mega-hit Changes (which incidentally only peaked at #66 on the Billboard charts) and two songs named after pop stars, Andy Warhol and Song For Bob Dylan. But could it be better than the album he followed with, 1972's lengthy titled The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars? We must ask ourselves this. The crazy bowie-as-alien thing that born a living, breathing character come to life- it was pretty cool. Mick Ronson really plays a mean rock guitar on this LP- there are lots of great videos from this records and then there is the movie, too...

Let them battle:


  • HD- Bowie kinda looks like a long hair girl and the photo is all fey and fuzzy
  • Ziggy- Rockin' weird space boy alien outside of city buildings with rock guitar

Additional Personnel:
  • HD- Rick Wakeman from Yes
  • ZIGGY- Rick Wakeman from Yes

Plot Exert (from Wikepedia):
  • HD: Oh! You Pretty Things, whose pop tune hid lyrics, inspired by Nietzsche, predicting the imminent replacement of modern man by "the Homo Superior". Whoa.
  • Ziggy: they tear him to pieces on stage during the song Rock 'n' roll Suicide. As soon as Ziggy dies on stage, the 'infinites' take his elements and make themselves visible. Whoa 2X.

Rockinest Rocker:

Good Songs:
  • HD: Oh! You Pretty Things (a song with a "!" in the title), Life On Mars (#3 in the UK in 1972), Kooks (dedicated to his son named Zowie Bowie) and Queen Bitch (which is one on my all-time Dave favs!)
  • Ziggy: All of them...from the opening track of 5 Years all the way to Rock and Roll Suicide- it is really all good.... and in end--  Ziggy's followers kill him.
I think I might have to pick Ziggy in round one.

Oh! You Pretty Things from BBC Televison 1972- click me.
Five Years- 1972- clicker.
Life on Mars- 1973 directed by Mick Rock
Starman- Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders Form Mars- see my fuzzy orange hair
Queen Bitch- live on the Old Gray Whistle- a bizarre, self-constructed freak...

Bauhaus doing Ziggy Stardust- oh yeahhhhhhhhh......

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Everyday I Write The Book

Local designers can be famous!

Two of my fellow designers and friends are featured in a new book by graphic design guru and NY Times Book Review art director Steven Heller. The Books is called Design Entrepreneur: Turning Graphic Design Into Goods That Sell. The Buffalo guys in the book are Rich Kegler from P22 and Julian Montague, artist and created of the The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification- which he has gotten quite a lot of mileage out of.

From what I can gather, the book is about graphic folks that have married their creative 'paying the bills' talent with their entrepreneurial spirit to create something to market, often a product. We do that with our T-shirts line- It isn't a unique situation, but I think it has become more prevalent- us designers often get more pleasure out of doing design for ourselves than logos or projects for clients. Unfortunately doing things for yourself doesn't amount to much money-- unless you can sell it. But most of the time it is more fun- without a client looking over your shoulder, you have more freedom to push yourself creatively.

Anyway- congrats to Rich and Julian- both awesome dudes and smart designer. I have always been a fan of Heller's writings (I get his Daily Heller email newsletter), the guy has written over 90 books on design and popular culture and is a well-known design critic. I like to see local folk done good.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sign of the (New York) Times

Can you make my logo bigger?
This is probably the least popular question us graphic artists hear all time... it is a running joke amongst many.

Well sometimes bigger is better. How about a logo set in 10,116 point type! Is that big enough for ya, huh? Pentagram designed signage for the the New York Times office on Eighth Avenue and the logo is big, not just big, but freakin' huge! 110 foot long and yes I did say, the point size is listed as 10,116 point Fraktur type. Man, I will I could get a giant logo job!

The logo is actually broken up into over 900 smaller pieces. Each letter in the Times logo was rasterized then cut into narrow horizontal strips that range in numbers from 26 (the i in “Times”) to 161 (the Y in “York”). The signage won a segd (Society for Environmental Graphic Design) award. Check it out here on the awards site. Read about it in great detail at the Pentagram website- here!

But... can they make it bigger....if the client asked them?

BONUS BEATS: The Make the Logo Bigger Rock Song. Thanks, Paul.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Moon Boots

This is a song about the innocent that died at the hands of a desperate man.
All Day Long- New Order

So I rediscovered the joy of the mix tape (though it is really a CD burned on my Sony CD burner).

I love to pull a bunch of records off the shelf and put them together in a haphazard mish mash- which hopefully sounds good in the end. I have been trying to stick to records only- for now- and I have come up with 2 pretty good ones. After I am done, I try not to judge the mix too much, after all, it is a live to burn mix with hiccups and all. And some of the records are scratched and some skip and, since my turntables are old, sometimes the pitch veers wildly out of control (Oscillate Wildly, as us Smiths fans might say...).

Then when it is all done and I start to make copies for my friends (For Promotional Use Only), I always make a really cool, graphic designed cover. That is a lot of fun, I try to make them amusing or visually stimulating, run them off on the laser printer, cut them, insert them and BAM! you have the new mix tape-- on CD.

The first one was a FUNK one that had some Rick James, James Brown and Sharon Jones on it (man, I luv her), The second, from the other night, was an eighties NEW WAVE and, what at the time was called, ALTERNATIVE MUSIC. This has some great Style Council, Smiths, Orange Juice, Alphaville and more. I don't care if you like all the tunes (j. sort of gave me a look when I told her 'Rio" by Duran (2x) was on it), there is something for everyone on it- I like it myself.

BONUS BEATS- Sabres home opener tonight! Hockey is back! Rivet is the captain! Goals will be scored!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

I've Been Waiting For Tomorrow (all of my life)

Postcards From Our Past

I am working on a project that entails borrowing Rich Kegler's (from P22) collection of vintage Buffalo postcards. Rich was the publisher of the original Buffalo Views- a collection of 26 historic postcards of Buffalo, New York. I say 'original' because someone put out a book recently containing a lot of the same images which was confusing to me, since Rich put out his book in 1991.

Anyway, I started looking at the postcards and I was struck by the imagery. A lot of old postcards have this hyper-real color quality to them (C.T. Art-Colortone is what it notes on the back of a few of them) -- which I just love. The illustrations are cool and some are colored or drawn-over photos. The architectural type on the first City Hall one is really great. I have a pack of stock art line drawings from the 30s and a lot of the hand drawn text looks kind of like this. It's kinda funny, when I was a kid, I used to think everything from the 40s was suppose to be in black and white-- I guess I assumed they were rationing color because of WW2! And I also had this view of the 60s and 70s as super vivid colors. All our old Polaroids were bright like these postcards. I just thought the 70s were 'vivid'- I guess for some it was. Hee, hee.

On top of that, these images of a Buffalo past are just amazing in the fact that Buffalo looks like a bustling metropolis... Viewing an era gone by, where people inhabited our downtown at night (like NYC, for goodness sake) and the football stadium was in the city.

This is my first post containing some of may favorites of a Buffalo long gone by... enjoy these Postcards From Our Past- click to enlarge!

Looking down Delaware Ave showing City Hall and Statler Hotel.
This is the cover of a souvenir folder of 18 mini photos.

Electric Building at night (look at this bustling city, traffic at night, what the...?)

Phil Amigone's Chez Ami, "The Nation's Smartest Theatre Restaurant". Never a cover charge, rotating bar and 'on a direct route to Niagara Falls and Canada."

Buffalo's Civic Stadium, which is the future Rockpile!

BONUS BEATS- further sign that the end of the world is near. I just heard a commercial for the Siberian Orchestra playing hyper-crappy, super charged x-mas carols. Attention marketing genius- it is October 6, Christmas is over 11 weeks ago. For the love of pete- you have gone too far!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Flying High in The Brooklyn Sky

I work in the electronics department of a fine local department store. My days are filled with "May I help you sir?" and the ever-popular "Thank you and have a nice day." I love my job. The hours fit my rock-n-roll lifestyle, the money is decent and I can share my vast knowledge of music with the general public, whether they deserve it or not.
excerpt from "MUZAK: Delightful Sounds or a New Voice of a Generation?" Strick's Corner

Slack issue #14- The Cartoon Issue" Dec. 1994
(published 11.23.94)

Today I'm standing on my corner listening to the Mission of Burma instrumental track "All World Cowboy Romance." It's a warm Fall day, the leaves are turning colors, the sun is shining and the breeze is light. I have on my I-probe music player and I am waiting for my daughter's bus. The drums rush over and under like water and I can really concentrate on the ebbs and flow of the the song since I am just standing there... Man, it doesn't get any better that this for a Wednesday afternoon. How often do you just get to stand there? The bus can be a little late and I won't mind today.

When the bus arrives and the kids get home the 1st thing they want to do is watch TV.... man, did I watch a lot of TV when I was a kid....

Slack numero 14, the issue devoted to comics and cartoons is a sensational mag with a crappy cover. Though one of the bullet points on the cover promotes:

  • Typos (sorry...)
That text right over the Duck Dogers cover photo is painfully wrong. Though maybe I did that on purpose-- bad design for good reasons was creeping into my mind at the time. The thing is, the rest of the issues has some great, tight layout and the 'cartoons' theme was much appreciated by the staff. Articles include Cartoon Characters Posing As Real People (Michael Jackson, Ollie North, Rush Limbaugh, the Royal Family and Jesse Helms- hello, again 1994), Raisin Blowme's Welcome To My My Cartoon Life, Homer Simpson, My Hero by Dave Koch and this list of Cartoon and Comics Top Slackers:
  • Bugs Bunny
  • Road Runner
  • Fred Flinstone and Barney Rubble
  • George Jetson
  • Pink Panther
  • Snoopy
  • Dagwood
  • Beetle Baily
  • Shaggy
  • Jughead
  • Daffy Duck
  • Zonker
  • Andy Capp
  • Calvin (of "& Hobbs")
  • Wimpy
  • Ren and Stimpy
  • Beavis and Butthead
  • Homer J. Simpson
True slackers, all of them... it makes you start to realize all the Warner Brothers stars were some serious slackers! Some advertisements of note in this issues #14 include ads for Yeast West Bakery, a coming soon Concrete Cafe (it opened in Dec. 94), and the only Slack ad I have ever censored: the Das Boot condom man ad. I covered the lube tip of condom man's condom head and Bob at Das Boot was mad at me. Andre and I discussed it ... and well, we were all worried that it would get us in some sort of trouble or the scant few other advertisers wouldn't like it.. or the shops and bars would pull them from the shleves (and from the top of cigarette machines)... Oh, I don't know!?!?! What the hell? it all seems so stupid now, but this act enabled Das Boot to run that OJ ad without us even saying 'boo' later on down the road....

Download PDF here:
Slack Magazine n. 14, the Cartoon Issue (6.2 mg)

Don't forget these issues already up (6 more to go)!:
Slack Magazine n. 18, The Two-Year Anniversary! issue
Slack Magazine n. 13, The Food & Beverage Issue
Slack Magazine n. 12, The One-Year Anniversary Issue
Slack Magazine n. 11, The True Crime Issue
Slack Magazine n. 10, Summer Fun Issue
Slack Magazine n. 9, The Dead Rock Stars Issue
Slack Magazine n. 8, The Beer Issue
Slack Magazine n. 7, Slack Goes to The Movies Issue
Slack Magazine n. 6, The Buffalo Issue
Slack Magazine n.5, The Slack TV Issue
Slack Magazine n. 4, SEX in the '90s Issue
Slack Magazine n. 3, The Politico Issue
Slack Magazine n. 2, The Travel Issue
Slack Magazine n. 1, The Debut Issue