Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Monday, 14 January 2008

Blue Kazoo AAA Festival 2006

Dave Murnen

Davey Murnen. "This is the Blue Kazoo performing at the AAA(Auto Club) festival in the fall/summer of 2005..Mark Mikel seated with beard and guitar was sitting in for Callie...who was on maternity leave at this point. The infamous John Pickle pictured standing with guitar...the cat singing with us in black cut off is Don Hiner(DJ) a former member of the original Kazoo line up when i was fourteen...we were known as Shenaniganz then( I nixed the name and changed it when we re-formed..always hated Shenaniganz). DJ can be credited with teachng me how to pick out harmonies. an incredable musicia and well known for his barbershop vocal abilities world wide...seriously.

Mark Mikel

I called Mark a couple weeks prior to this and asked him to sit in. Mark is always great at being told what key a song is in and by the second bar you'd have thought he wrote the freaking thing...always good to jam with me Milk Droog...its like putting on an old jean jacket...just seems to fit."

John Pickle

Photos by Jammi and Jeff Pickle

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Toledo City Paper July 2003.

Click on pages to enlarge and read.

Thanks to Steve Mumford for the scans.
Turn Me Upside Down... Baby! Toledo City Paper CD 2003
Purpose For Useless Cause - Headed The Wrong Way-Johnny Reed and the Houserockers - That's the Blues-The Knobs - What Do You Want Me To Say?-Junkanoo Brother s- One More Day-MC Habitat - Festival-Glinda's Bubble - Kryptonite-Gregg Aranda - 2 Dollar Bottle of Wine-Dr. Kilpatient - 9 o'Clock-The Pillbugs - If You Can't Remain-Driftwood Whale - Dumptruck Love-Jami Lynn Michelle -Quillen - Cry Like Memphis-Luckey Nite (feat. B TIzzle) - It's Alright-Clint Fox - Life Goes On-E.J. Wells - HearsedriverFive -Horse Johnson - Cherry Red-Nick Motil - Wishes (For Emily)-Three Trio Three - Better Days-Brian Bocian - Sunny-The Griswolds - Boogie In the Dark-Jim Gibson - Up My Sleeve

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Happy Birthday with The Pillbugs.

This is the title song from The Pillbugs third album.

Monday, 7 January 2008

The Buzz For Aldrin Codex

This amazing piece of art by Mark Roland from the booklet back sleeve deseves a post all of its own. Click on the picture to see it in all its glorious details.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

The Monclovia Variations

First idea by Mark Mikel...note original title

Second idea, art by Mark called Monclovia

new lettering by Mick Dillingham

Second Version by MM and MD

Enter graphic artist Bob Tibbitts who did the sleeve design work on Happy Birthday and Buzz For Aldrin

Bob Tibbitts "The Monclovia art was based on a photo I had taken of an underpass near to where I live. I then added effects and rustled up a few ideas based on it for the inside of the booklet. The photos of the band were taken by Matthew Mickel for the Happy Birthday sessions. I used those in a circular formation and added effects and the like (also the Pillbugs embroidered logo to Scott's arm). The pebbles were supplied by Mick Dillingham and the Lava Lamp pics by Jammi.

Box Art Original
Originally Mark Mikel and I collaborated on a quite elaborate presentation for cover art. Mark arranged 'bug artefacts set in a stage with background art by Mark Roland. We spent many hours working on that one, only to have it rejected by the label. They then asked for some other examples to be quickly assembled. I supplied five other examples and they chose the one that is in use today.

Boxart colour variant

Inside cover..unused

back cover pebbles

Unused inside cover

The finished front cover by Bob Tibbitts

single cover idea

another idea

Back in the mid to late sixties Bob Tibbitts was in a band called The Fanatics who gigged quite a bit in Coventry (England) and surrounding areas. They later changed their name to Purple Haze and later still The Drops Of Brandy before calling it a day.

The Sunday Times Review 2008

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Mark Roland and the Buzz For Aldrin cover

Buzz For Aldrin front sleeve different lettering
Bob Tibbitts" Mark Roland painted the original art for Buzz ; I designed the cd as a whole and added the other bits like the main background (pale blue areas). I took photos of my hi-fi speakers, guitar and headphones lead, some outside photos to get the bi-plane, twigs and sea, added song titles. Mark also painted other specific Buzz characters to my brief (like the surfing Buzz on his guitar). I added the 'facerock' pics of the crew and placed them inside the open Buzz helmet that MR created and also combined other wonderful psych art pieces painted by Mark Roland into the cd jewelcase design. It was the first time I had worked with a professional artist but between us came up with what is now the Buzz For Aldrin artwork"

Mark Roland
Since the mid-seventies Mark Roland has been sharing his imaginative works in exhibits throughout the United States including several museum shows, and in published works, including books, portfolios, magazines and the gaming industry. He was one of the original staff artists and art director of "Magical Blend Magazine" in the 1980s and continued that decade with numerous shows at California's Illuminarium/Isis gallery, the preeminent Visionary Art gallery. In addition to his paintings, he has mastered the medium of etching; one example from his "EnchantedForest" series is visable in the right side of the photo. He currently lives in Eugene, Oregon

The White Ship by Mark Roland

Arborial Palladium by Mark Roland

The Moon Pool by Mark Roland

Tranquility by Mark Roland

Another lettering variation for the front cover

Mark Roland"I first heard about the Pillbugs in 2004 on the XTC Forum, in an enthusiastic post that described them as"Very melodic cartoonish nu-psychedelia . . . with references to Beatles, Zappa, Association, StrawberryAlarm Clock, ELO, Queen etc." I ordered "The Pillbugs"and "3-D" cds and was soon convinced that they were the the best contemporary psych-pop band around, known or obscure. I immediately wanted to do some artwork for them.

Unused disc design

The previous albums had already used some of the classic visual approaches, with the surreal group portraits ofthe first two cds and the Hipgnosis-like concept photo of "Happy Birthday." I thought the artwork, while good, was just not as exciting as the music was, as the great musical-visual synthesis of the 60s suggested it could be. Growing up in San Francisco and being 13 in 1967, my own influences were the psychedelic poster artists and the designer/illustrators of album covers and books. Staring at trippy images on the walls or in your hands was the perfect accompaniment to the music melting in your mind. So why not now? Sure we have videos and the rest, but why not give the fan a beautiful object to enjoy, instead of clip art or something that bears no relationship to the music inside?

above-unused cover variation below-early idea sketches

I got involved with the Pillbugs Messageboard and another fan, Barb Petersen, forwarded some of my work to Mark Mikel. He responded by writing a flattering post about it and a dialogue was begun. Bob Tibbitts,who did design work for "Happy Birthday" joined in and together we decided to make the next cd package a major statement, sparing no effort, and perhaps it would almost be as good as the music this time.

Mark sent me a rough version of "Buzz" on CDR and I was floored. This was even better than the previous stuff,the music, the themes all interconnected in the tradition of albums like Smile, Sgt Pepper, Forever Changes and Dark Side of the Moon. I did a number of rough sketches and sent them to Bob, who selected two. I made colour roughs of those; one became the front cover and the other was the origin of the larger complex piece the "Buzz Codex."

The cover went very quickly, except for my habit of adding details to discover over time. This time it was the faces in the rocks that formed the planetary ring. First it was the band members and then I kept going, they are not specific people just beings that inhabit the Monclovian universe

Aldrin is either in space dreaming he is on Earth, or is on Earth dreaming he is in space; he is a confused dude, like many of my generation.The larger piece was conceived as a fold-out poster that would have all the lyrics on the back. I had to pull out all the stops for this and it took many hours and revisions to get it down. The conception I had was all the characters and scenarios were in Aldrin's head. His friends and girlfriend became unreal and distant and Mark had commented about the space between us being greater than outer space, so while I used the space(cadet) suited character to represent him, it was more about his mental space, memories, dreams and hallucinations than a literal Science Fiction world.

Codex in a very preliminary stage

All along Bob and I wondered if there would be some kind of production issue with the poster, and tried to make sure it would be do-able. In the end, with the music finished, it was determined that it had to be reformatted as a booklet. Bob still had more spaces to fill and he kept requesting more bits of art, figures of Aldrin, backgrounds etc. We did collaborations for the cd well art and back cover, with elements of my art, even older images montaged together by Bob to make something new. I don't think the artwork rises to the level of the music, but we did our best and I am proud to be part of the major musical event that is "Buzz For Aldrin." "

Poster Back

Original rough for the front cover

all original art work copyright controlled and posted with the kind permission of Mark Roland