Friday, May 8, 2009

I'm writing something about band logos, specifically in punk and hardcore. (I'd appreciate any suggestions...) This is what I've been reading:

This Ain't the Summer of Love: Conflict and Crossover in Heavy Metal and Punk - Steven Waksman

Still working on this but it has great and detailed sections on the Runaways, Black Flag, the SST label vibe/the move from Damaged to My War, Iggy & the Stooges... It does get a little ridiculously analytical in places - even for me - and I have a pretty high tolerance for such.

Radio Silence: A Selected Visual History of American Hardcore Music
by Nathan Nederostek and Anthony Pappalardo

Lots of great pictures and examples of graphic design, but most of the text is about the music and music scene and not as zeroed-in on visual style as I'd hoped. But there's a great little essay
in here about the Minor Threat "Salad Days" 45 pointing out how the band photos on the back portray the members involved in the culture of being in a DIY hardcore band rather than the spectacle... ie laying out a record cover, practicing in the basement, talking to people at shows...

"Crypto Logo Jihad: Black Metal and the Aesthetics of Evil" - Daniel van der Velden
Article about the unreadability of death metal band logos.
PDF here

Also, a while ago I also read this amazing article, "Jews, punk and the Holocaust: from the Velvet Underground to the Ramones – the Jewish-American story" by Jon Stratton which ties the nihilism in early punk and proto-punk (Velvet Underground, Stooges, Ramones, etc) to this generation - Jews and non-Jews - dealing with the Holocaust. "today your love - tommorrow the world..." (Popular Music, 2005, 24)


whatwewantisfree said...

I just read this piece in some old MRR (where I work) by Martin Sprouse which was kind of about this; about Pushead's infatuation with thrash culture and suicidal tendencies merch frenzy-i willl see if I can find it again and send it to you!

whatwewantisfree said...

i mean to say and ALSO suicidal's merch frenzy-not that pushead was infatuated by their merch!

AL LARSEN said...

That would be great--- !

decomposition said...

Re: "Jews, punk and the Holocaust"...
I've been thinking a lot about this lately. The use of the swastika by punks (both Jews and non-Jews) was very controversial as a design choice or fashion statement. I think in some ways punk was a way of working through a lot of leftover anger and grief from the trauma of the Holocaust that had never been dealt with previously. I don't think people were conscious of what they were doing in terms of working through that trauma, though, except maybe Malcolm McLaren and Vivien Westwood. In some ways, they were making fun of Hitler and the Nazis like Mel Brooks did in The Producers. McLaren (who was Jewish) thought the use of the swastika was akin to cultural terrorism or political art. He wanted to shove it in peoples' faces so that they'd deal with it. But he was also attracted to Nazi artifacts, so does that make him a fascist? For most punks, the swastika as a visual element was more about shock value or irony, and for some it was even anti-semitic. I'll have to check out that article you mention, Al. Thanks for mentioning it. There's also that book by Steven Lee Beeber, The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB’s: A Secret History of Jewish Punk, that I've been meaning to read.

Richard said...

re: logos, possible resources
looking forward to reading more about the topic, maybe post a link later, thanks