in the early 1980's (about '84) at the rocket we ran his stuff as a 'gag panel' back in the classified section (alongside lynda barry and matt groening, who were locals). nobody liked pettibon's stuff, thought it was weird and stupid. we stopped running it after about 4 months.
we replaced him with a great gag panel by charles burns (another local) called 'mutantis.' he only did it for about a year, but for my money it was the best stuff he ever did.
Its funny though, they still show a lot of the drawings he did back in the 70s and 80s .There was a show at the University of Chicago gallery (called the Renaissance Society- strange name for a venue that generally shows off-beat stuff) a couple of years ago and it was really cool. They had all the covers of the BF records and all the old zines under glass in tables and then had boatloads of the drawings covering the walls. Must have been 400 drawings of various size, quality and age. Even if he disavows all the stuff he did in the past, his shit is still amazing. It seemed to me this show was 3 summers ago, so the punk stuff didnt bother em then. Doesnt he still live at his folks house? Seems I heard that.
i too originally thought the four bars were for each of the four members....any thoughts on godspeed just totally swiping the logo and just adding more bars? i'm a little torn on whether i think that was a cool move or not.
Heres how the logo and name came about, and what it meant to band itself:
"Turning to his older brother Raymond - who had played bass in an early incarnation of the group - for suggestions, Raymond suggested Black Flag. Yeah, it was a bug spray at the time, but the name also had multiple implications: A black flag is the symbol for anarchy. It's also the opposite of the white flag, which if a white flag means one surrenders, a black flag means one does not. It also meant that the band's records could end up in the same record bin with Black Sabbath. Raymond, redubbing himself Raymond Pettibon, designed the familiar Black Flag "bars" logo that would end up spray painted on many a wall and tattooed on many a bicep (including those of various band members) for years to come."
The best part is wanting to be in the same rack as Black Sabbath; now THATS marketing genius.
I always prefered Hank Garfield. 'enree is pretty damn funny though. Everybody in my house loves Hank. I have convinced all of my kids that he's like Jesus. That they should totaly follow in the footsteps of Hank.
The premise of (punk) bands logos used to be (and still should be) to create a unifying symbol that identifies like minded individuals easily. In my opinion logos like this are really no different than gang signs etc. Basic urban street level communication.
"rock logos suck when they are designed for the wrong purpose - that being, a trademark to move merch. bands with good logos have logos that reflect their philosophy on some level"
But isn't that what "design" is all about? To visually represent and communicate the client's message (what ever it may be) as effeciently and accurately as possible AND to sell the client (cds, merch, whatever)? If the band has no artistic "message" other than tits, ass, and beer then the imagery of the band needs to reflect that and help to sell the band's stuff to people interested in that message. Having no underlying philosophy behind what they do doesn't exclude them from quality design, does it?
"Pretty basic stuff" indeed and there are many people that need to be reminded of the basic stuff. Myself included.
i do this kind of "re-use" of band flyers ALL THE TIME. i only post my screenprinted posters on this site. what most of you don't know (or care about), however, is that i've been designing over 300 xerox flyers a year (for the past 4 years). i don't have time to make all of those flyers (sometimes three or four shows are on the same night at different venues) look extra-crafty. i save that energy for my posters. i have absolutely no problem with scanning whatever they sent the club in their press kit (sometimes a photo, sometimes a logo, sometimes whatever portion of a promo poster i can fit on my scanner) and using it in a xerox flyer. the bands or their management have certainly never complained. the bottom line, to this day, is to GET THE WORD OUT.
on the other side of this: i've designed records for folks, and then seen flyers for their band in other towns using my design. i'm flattered they used it.
the only time this kind of thing is out of line (in my mind) is when your image is ganked for another band entirely, especially if you hate that band...
i always just assumed (and you know what they say about "assume") it was some sort of variation of the black flag bug spray logo. all these years and i never bothered to look at a can. and, yup, it looks like a highly abstracted flag flowing in the wind to me, too. i always thought that was pretty clever. that's also why i assumed some la punk dudes wouldn't have come up with it andthat it was a variation of a corporate logo for black flag insecticide. i dunno, really, do any of you?
"back then the word of the hour was 'desperate'. the idea that somebody could actually rip somebody off never occured - it was all about getting the word out."
I would argue that it's stil that way for a lot of people.
That's why I make 10 different posters for every show and put them everywhere I can.
I see your point though. For bigger names that actually make money doing this, it would matter if you were seeing people using your imagery like that.
But I think I would get a kick out of seeing something I did stolen and used for something else.
But maybe only if people recognized it for what it was, such as in this case.
when i was 16 or 17 and just getting into black flag (11 years ago now) the logo was to me just simply four black bars that looked really tough and were very easy to draw all over the place (which was good for the band - almost as easy as the DK symbol or gorilla biscuit's big GB circle), but a few years ago it occured to me that the four black bars are possibly just one actual BLACK FLAG and the four sections indicate that it's waving in the wind. am i alone on this...just an idiot?....both?
i know this is not really on subject, but i am curious what other people's mind did with that simple image.
i'm not saying you're wrong, i'm saying things change. back then the word of the hour was 'desperate'. the idea that somebody could actually rip somebody off never occured - it was all about getting the word out. building a community through this stuff was the primary focus for eveybody. possession of copyright was a huge luxury. profit was non-existant for decades to come, never for most folks.
art i totally get your point, the one thing i reread was when you said "the band would send them old posters"
so they venue has material to do a poster that the band likes..
so say like a band sends a poster done for them by an artist on this board... the venue designer uses the original image.. aint that like agains the rules...
i see what you say, but i think it doesnt apply currently anymore. infact if the artist doesnt fight back they lose rights.
did that make sense?
rock logos suck when they are designed for the wrong purpose - that being, a trademark to move merch. bands with good logos have logos that reflect their philosophy on some level and then the band continues to build meaning into them. if black frlag was just a bar band with no meaning, then their logo (the black bars) would have no symbolic power - it would be four black bars. what kind of importance wold einstruzende neubaten's logo have if their activities hadn't pounded home the ideas behind their creative actions (and consequently their logo)? my point is, that a logo does not drive home a band any more than a poster. it's only when they actually collaborate in an effort to communicate an idea or philosophy. this is pretty basic stuff. there's lotsa cool logos out there that are sorta floating around not anchored by anything. they just float by our conciousness. get me?
most rock bands don't need logos, they need ideas, just like any human creative activity.
Art wrote: "what do bands like that need LOGOS for anyway? it's not like they're IBM or something."
i agree with art, most bands don't need logos. for every black bars, dk or einsterzende neubauten (sp?)guy there are literally ten thousand logos that suck
thats true, it becomes almost an inside joke, pretty elitist in a way. symbols that only a few people will be able to interpret. i know this font has been used in other ways but still referencing black flag-- i wish i could think of them now.
I think if you set out to brand a band as most do these days its not very interesting, its kind of annoying as the purpose is clear from the beginning (sales). However I do think that symbols or logos created by bands with no access or desire for mainstream attention are kind of interesting by virtue of how they develop as a symbol of identity within a small group.
Art wrote: "what do bands like that need LOGOS for anyway? it's not like they're IBM or something."
Art are you serious? I believe its partly to do with a strong logo that bands propell their popularity. It helps create a tighter more loyal fanbase when fans have a visual or symbol they can stick on their jacket and is only recognisable to other fans. It builds a kind of elitist loyalty around the band and its fans and makes them feel part of something just like wearing a lions club pin or something.
Bands with arresting or 'cool' logos are intriguing - you dont even need to hear the music to identify with them. Its also the easiest, cheapest form of promotion for a band - create a symbol that someone will WANT to put on a t-shirt etc. Take the DK logo - probably the most graffitied symbol in the world associated with that type of music after the circle "A".
I also heard black flag were pretty much famous in LA before they even played a show due to spraying the bars logo everywhere.
i guess i just sorta equated this to a common issue addressed here frequently where someones illo that was taken then used by someone club or designer without permission of the orignal artist to make a poster.
thanks for the info art.
well, you are not wrong in your opinion. under a lot of circumstances, it would be ripping off. however, a lot of this stuff (remember this is ADVERTISING that uses art, not straight ART as in fine art prints) was done with that intention in mind when it was made. if a booker or club called the band and wanted to get them to play (remember back in those days, record campanies were considerd the enemy), the band would send them old posters, or sometimes, like in the case of that screamers image, an actually stock image - almost like a logo (what do bands like that need LOGOS for anyway? it's not like they're IBM or something.) joe blow the fanboy who wanted to book the band in his club he just opened in a old abandoned storefront or something, would simply add his own info and that would be the poster. when black flag played in seattle back then, they were relatively unknown. the punks, however, saw that image and knew exactly what was going on - sorta like a hippie in haight-ashbury seeing a psych poster and knew what to expect from the show. it's basically communication, not rip off. it was done that way intentionally.
if this was used as "promo ad mat" for the band by the record company, i can totally see your point art.
if it wasnt however. isnt this the same as like me taking art from goad or jeff wood shag ryden etc.. or whoevers illo and using it without permission?
if im wrong im sorry.
a lot of poster art was used as stock admat material in the early days (before it all became so precious and valuable as 'art'). it was even encouraged by the bands and artists, just like movie admats or advertising admats are today. it was developed as a sort of primitive 'branding' strategy. the art was often more identifiable than the band name. that would comelater on.
this is obviously the famous raymond pettibone image lifted from the la show poster and applied by some anonymous punk to advertise their show. there must be at least three similar on this site (maybe more). i think that image holds a tie with gary panter's screamers image for the most lifted image in the history of punk.