While I’m a guest at Baby Tattooville (see previous Journal entry) I thought you might like to see a cover rough I just drew for my ol’ pals the Firesign Theatre.
For those of you who are too young or just not in the know, the Firesign Theatre is a group of four very funny guys: Peter Bergman, Philip Proctor, Phil Austin and David Ossman. They produced comedy LPs that were enormously popular in the late 1960s/early 1970s (The Guys are still recording and touring; go to: http://www.firesigntheatre.com/). Their LPs were unique among other comedy LPs in that you could listen to them over and over again and discover new stuff each time. Their counter culture and above ground cultural spoofs were the audio equivalent of a Harvey Kurtzman/Will Elder MAD comic book story — but with an often Kafka-esque nod to the drug and hippy realms. Incredible stuff!
With my background and shared cultural references, I always felt my graphic work and talents fit the Firesign like a glove.
I created some LP covers for them as well as a bunch of advertising and T-shirt designs. I designed and built props for their movie Everything You Know Is Wrong and appeared in that film as an extra.
This cover is for a book and disc set that contains a gigantic selection of their radio shows from back in the day. The cover I designed is extremely text heavy because that was what was called for in the original specs I was given. I think I found a good solution to all that text on the cover by turning it into very readable comic book word balloons.
This cover came back to me with so many fundamental changes to my concept (although, happily, most of the text was eliminated) that I no longer understood it (and I’m a pretty smart guy). The fun gig I was so looking forward to had become work. I bailed on it and won’t be doing it but I thought you might like to see what the rough looked like (one of the perks of visiting my site).
The illustration part of the cover is a nod to one of Jack Davis’ It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World movie posters. My intent was to fill the crowd with the Firesign’s most popular and enduring characters. That’s The Guys themselves hanging from the bottom of the earth.
I’m sorry this particular one isn’t going to happen but, nevertheless, I look forward to future collaborations with the Firesign Theatre. I highly recommend that you seek out their first four LPs (out on CD): Waiting for the Electrician Or Someone Like Him, How Can You Be Two Places At Once When You’re Not Anywhere At All, Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers and I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus. Fire up a fatty, put one of these babies on and you’ll never be the same.