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.
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?
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.
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.