Monday, September 9, 2013

Flyer Crush

Love (mostly) punk flyers? Especially those from the late '70s to early '90s classic period (pre-digital, DIY period)? Then, have I got something to you:

Once, long, long ago, I drudged as a clerk in the corporate-music-industrial-complex cocoa plantation that was known as Wherehouse Records. (A few locations still survive, somewhere, but mostly what remains is here.) While I doing my time I did manage to get my hands on a hand silkscreened two-color flyer signed by Gary Panter for this Screamers show at the Whiskey (below). It now resides in my collection of graphics that includes copies of the official record company issued posters for the Sex Pistols and The Stooges Metallic KO. I'm a non-fanatical and rather lazy collector and those three pieces pretty much constitute the entirety of my collection but I do greatly appreciate the hastily assembled, low budget graphics that these images serve as glorious examples. They don't make 'em like this anymore, people.

For a far larger cornucopia of vertiginous and eye ecstasising imagery, go to

But before there was a classic period of punk graphics, there was Frank Zappa who almost singlehandedly invented punk's future visual language and aesthetic with a gluestick and a pair of scissors.

Later, Zappa would recruit artist Cal Schenkel to great effect. Schenkel, who lived and worked exclusively with Zappa for a period, would further articulate and expand on the style:

Reknowned graphic artist and amateur visual historian Art Chantry posted a nice article on Zappa's early graphics and the advent of Cal Jankel on his Facebook page. (The text below is an exerpt from the article. Note his characteristic habit of eschewing capitalization):

back in september of 1966, a freaky weirdo dude named frank zappa wanted to get some exposure for his sleazy weird band of misfits called "The Mothers". warner brothers records later arbitrarily changed their name to "The Mothers of Invention" in order not to offend any sensitive folks out there. when you look like these guys and sound like these guys and you call yourselves The Mothers (aka as in 'motherfuckers'), you can SORT of begin to understand the fear. this was (after all) 1966! what was the world like in 1966? yeah, NOT like this... 

so, frank zappa decided the best way to get some exposure for his band (so they can get some paying gigs out there in Teensville USA,) he needed to do what everybody else was doing in the marketplace - rent a hall, hire a whole bunch of bands to play there with you as the headliner. you bill it as a "teen spectacular" or perhaps a "teenfair". but, being frank zappa (who really does not think like a normal human being AT ALL) invited the weirdest bands around and the strangest artists in LA to help set it up and called it a FREAK OUT!! good luck with that, frank...

For the entire article, go here.

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