Tag Archives: slayer

SKIN

Every time my commitment wavers with regards to anything, I look to the berserkers who carved Slayer onto their skin for inspiration. Unwavering in their dedication, not led by trends and keen to go one louder than a mere tee with deodorant stained pits, the lack of curves in Slayer’s logo letterforms really lend themselves to sharp objects and skin. This is what separates metal fans from the H&M bought pre-faded replica.

This blog entry has been hindered by my escalating addiction to Hypebeast’s Essentials section and the wild comments it attracts. Good to see Mr. Masta Lee from Patta in there too, repping for Lexdray, a brand that makes bags with so many pockets and secret compartments that those of us without a sense of direction are liable to get lost in their own baggage during the packing process. I want to see a book of the images by the end of the year, provided that they include the talkback remarks too. S95s, MacBooks, firearms, Goyard goods and lots of Supreme box logos have all featured, but the layout, with the rollover crosses for extra detail, is impeccable. It sates a certain hypelust for details and gives keyboard Conans something else to vent about.

I haven’t seen anybody break out an Acer netbook yet, but it’s good to see that there are still some BlackBerry users out there — can people really type as fast without keys as they could with them? The sole thing stopping me from grabbing an iPhone is the way in which it would hinder my copywriting missions on the move. Typing anything substantial on my iPad is like trying to play a concerto on the FAO Schwartz floor piano. Scale that down and I can barely tap beyond the perimeters of a text message length before tapping out entirely. RIM fell off in a major way, but the vinegar faces of concentration on my friends, once so deft on the tactile keys of their Bolds, as they try to Instagram a wacky dog they just saw with an accompanying witticism puts me off entirely.

Eureka’s Blu-ray release of Alex Cox’s ‘Repo Man’ is further proof of their commitment to cult, and their newly remastered edition of the film ports some US special edition details over, but also includes the near mythical TV version, shorn of all swearing (like the legendary ITV ‘Robocop’ edit) as well. It’s such a sweary and peculiar film, that it’s perplexing that anybody would think to clip its wings to the point where “Melon farmer” would work as a suitable insult (word to Charles Bronson in ‘Mr. Majestyk’ though, because he’s one bad melon farmer). Just as Criterion block us when it comes to regional limitations, this is a Europe-only release, but at least Eureka had the good grace to put up a nifty little screen when it comes to failed loads for global ‘Repo Man’ fans.



While we’re talking 1984 punk attitude, this old ‘South Bank Show’ on Malcolm McLaren as his ‘Duck Rock’ phase went classical/R&B with ‘Fans’ is worth an hour of your time. The irritated interviews with Steve Jones and the beautiful Annabella Lwin, juxtaposed with remorseless quotable from Malcolm makes it classic, plus it reminded me of just how odd his solo work was, as he sauntered from zeitgeist to zeitgeist, letting the last movement burn as he threw himself into the next big thing.



Trying to remind myself of the joys of vinyl during a central London record shop visit, a costly Red Ninja promo in Reckless had me wondering what became of the mysterious Red Ninja? He was an act who had brief cult fame at my school with the dancehall and hip-hop fans alike. Red Ninja and Kobalt 60 were part of the soundtrack to a Fila F-13 and faux Chipie era in my hometown. I had no idea that there was a Red Ninja video, with a £100 budget that had a brief outing on ‘Dance Energy.’ Raggamuffin British hip-hop with dance moves stays winning.

Oh, and shouts to SAS and the Eurogang movement for the shout out on their ‘Tiffy’ freestyle. It took me back to days amassing CDRs of Dipset mixtapes. Props to Mega for that one.

Before the new issue of Oi Polloi’s excellent Pica~Post arrives, this interview with Shinya Hasegawa of Brooklyn-made Batten Sportswear, a former Woolrich Woolen Mills man who assisted Daiki Suzuki and has Woolrich chambray curtains in his home is worth a read. He namechecks the pioneering GERRY brand, as founded by Gerry Cunningham, rucksack and tent pioneer (read more about him here). Their ’70’s ads were amazing in terms of imagery and copywriting. Several who worked for GERRY spawned their own brands, including co-founder Dale Johnson, who went on to found DIY goose-down brand, Frostline. Somebody needs to bring the art of the homemade goose-down jacket kit back.

Lifted from a 1950 ‘LIFE’ feature, this image of a tattooed human skin, removed from the body (purported to have belonged to a gangster) by Dr. Sei-ichi Fukushi and put on display is both grotesque and amazing. the work looks amazing though. Knuckles and neck pieces are everywhere now, but at that point in time, it was a truly outsider artform and a mark of commitment. This picture makes me a little uncomfortable, but I’d like to see an exhibition of Fukushi’s supposed acquisitions.

THE SANTANA LOGO

“The corporations lead the trends. When did street fashion become all about sneakers? What is that about? Who the fuck cares what hip hop wanker has started what baggy arsed sweatshirt and jean brand? Unfortunately it would appear that many people do care. And so the trends are set.” Russell Waterman, ‘Aspekt Ratio’ #1, 2007

I grew up in a household where much of the music was confined to a small rack of vinyl in the lounge. As a toddler it seemed like an infinite collection of music, but my dad’s record collection wasn’t particularly extensive. It was however, eclectic. I was preoccupied with the covers of the Leadbelly 4LP retrospective, the lettering on Paul Simon’s ‘One Trick Pony’, the back of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Sunlight’, Third World’s ‘Journey to Addis’ and bizarrely, both my brother and I loved the Pointer Sisters 12″ coloured vinyl that contained some label paper in the translucent red due to manufacturing error.

Best of all, there was the Santana font — fantasy realist Robert Venosa’s masterpiece that accompanies Mati Klarwein’s painting on the cover of 1970’s ‘Abraxus.’ Coincidentally my friend Jonathan would encourage me to gawp at the cover of Santana’s self-titled debut to see the faces in the lion like some kind of child hippie. Yet we never bothered playing the actual music. In fact, when I did finally listen to ‘Inner Secrets’ it bored me. My dad told me that his Santana collection arose as a result of a casual mention to my uncle that he liked a solitary Santana song. The result? Carlos for birthdays and Christmas. He wasn’t actually a fan.

But what a logo it was.

As a result I’ve been drawn to any reference to the font, and it transpired that three of my favourite brands had a go at parodying it. I just finished a project pertaining to homages and it meant I could dig out one of my favourite t-shirt designs ever — Silas’s Slayer/Silas, which I believe dates back to 2003 (though for a long time, I believed this design was a Holmes release too). Silas’s knitwear, simple sweats, Black Sabbath themed creations and ’80s disco meets punk meets hip-hop collections were great, but this one was just pitch perfect, with the noodling fusion sound of Santana at odds with the speed of Slayer’s sonics. Of course, there were parallels in fiddliness (as any ‘Guitar Hero’ veteran can tell you), but it just felt like a joke told perfectly. The ultimate deadpan delivery. Seeing as there’s no set font collection beyond S, A, N or T, there’s an appropriate amount of improvisation and riffing on behalf of the designer, resulting in that jagged, Obituary-esque thrash metal tail on the ‘R’ ro maintain symmetry.

While I believe this is the best version of the Venosa design, solely because it’s so wrong that it becomes utterly right, Holmes and Supreme deserve shouts too. Holmes was an early fascination for me, back when Slam City and Bond were must-visits on any London pilgrimage. Holmes was the proto-Silas in its early ’90s irreverence, with some sources citing the name as a John Holmes reference, long before ‘Boogie Nights’ — Russell Waterman, Sofia Prantera and several other local creatives generated some forgotten classics under this Slam City owned brand. Their Santana font ‘Satan’ (circa 1994? The picture here is borrowed from my buddies at Goodhood) was one of them. That switched the letters around smartly, and with Silas (hence the character of Silas Holmes) being a sequel of sorts to Holmes, the Slayer tee is like a sophisticated follow-up to that cult favourite from a golden age of pre-Google Image Search homage.

Between both tees, props are due to the Supreme Santana logo shirt, art directed by SSUR, designed by Kevin Lyons and released in 2000. That shirt represents the year when the internet sent hordes to the nation’s capitals in search of expensive toys, elusive Prestos and BAPE. So why dredge up these past glories? Because the current glut of 1:1 replica attempts lack the wit to ever be this memorable and it’s always worth reinforcing just how important Holmes and Silas were.

WE NEED MORE INTEGRITY

Integrity. Where do you start with that one? They’re both the band that couldn’t play the game, go major and keep on giving the fans the same. admittedly ace album, and they’re something that at this moment I most certainly am lacking in. I’m currently writing a page for a magazine filled with bad brand shoes (not quite Gola, because that would be a step too far), because a Submariner won’t buy itself. That my friends, is a lack of integrity on a grand scale. I like to think this blog, in a small way, might restore my karmic balance for the former monthly deed.

So I’m devoid of it today, but INTEGRITY still carry that heavyweight reputation as the most progressive of hardcore bands – opening minds since 1989 while much of the scene degenerated into a sound that’s not too far from Durst and company’s rap/rock dreck, the 7″ vinyl packages that carry the band’s name this last month are impressive – the UK’s own Thirty Days of Night records is taking orders for a split-band release themed after the kids’ book and record sets of old, with a new INTEGRITY and Rot In Hell track on record one, an 8-page hardback children’s book written and illustrated by the mighty Dwid Hellion and another record of the man himself narrating it. Again, like the Freeway Rhymesayers release last month, if you want to move me from MP3 right-clicking, that right there is the way to do it.

It doesn’t stop there either. Organized Crime Records just celebrated the 20th anniversary of Integrity’s debut ‘In Contrast Of Sin’ with a beautifully packaged reissue – clear vinyl with the option of an additional cover reinterpretation from the mind of Stephen Kasner, a genius artist in his own right, and the supplier of the incredible sleeve art for SUNN O)))’s ultra-intense ‘ØØ Void’ and its glorious drone. It isn’t the first limited reissue of the record, and it won’t be the last, but it is the most legit to date. There was something the water around the Cleveland area. There still is. In coming months, ‘Those Who Fear Tomorrow,’ ‘Systems Overload’ and ‘Seasons in the Size of Days’ get the same packaging, with download codes for those picking ’em up for the packaging rather than play.

Music seems to have a calculated viral marketed, music blogged lack of edge at this moment in time, and Dwid’s work still doesn’t file those edges away. Pitched between recluse and an accessible figurehead of the scene, active on eBay and on related messageboards, he’s a talented artist himself, and having steered himself from quasi-jock rocker to something altogether stranger and darker, there’s no way of pre-empting where he’s taking Holy Terror Records.

In its current form INTEGRITY and affiliated acts like VVegas cause me a glorious confusion, with their Holy Terror gospel of individualism at any cost, deifying the likes of Charles Manson, Anton LaVey, Jim Jones, Shoko Asahara and Robert Degrimston, whose Process Church of The Final Judgement has provided plenty of iconography and philosophy ties with my preoccupation with these oddball outsiders. As a kid I was obsessed with an aerial photograph of the Jonestown Massacre in a Reader’s Digest book my grandpa gave me. Yeah, I was an odd kid. I think Dwid probably was too. Videos like this are just disturbing – cult propaganda doesn’t get much bouncier than this:

I never was a fan of the Psywarfare side-project, but the imagery was pretty astounding – Dwid still sells patches of his oddball Holy Terror Church MANSONFISH design and Process Church logos on his site. In many ways, I suspect I’m an enemy of progress though – as with most things, I seem to be set on returning to 1995, where, during the ‘Systems Overload’ tour, Dwid was resplendent in Jordan 1 reissues from the previous year and the tie-in t-shirt used Champion as the base. in fact, on the INTEGRITY merchandise thread (one of the most merchandised indie acts in history?) on the B9 board, forum member Mike Apocalypse recalls,

In 1995 INTEGRITY toured the U.S. for their “Systems Overload” record. When Dwid printed the shirts an error occurred. The shirts he used were Champion T-shirts and to get a fair price on them he had to got to a Champion outlet store. While picking up tons of T-shirts a XL muscle shirt, with a small tear in the back, found it’s way into one of the boxes by mistake. Dwid got back to the Den Of Iniquity and began to print shirts. When he got to the bottom of the box he spotted the muscle shirt. Not being one to waste things he printed it up, and tossed it in with the other shirts and then headed off on tour with the Melnick Bros, Frank 3Gun, and a fat dude. When GEHENNA played in Reno with them Dwid took notice of my impeccable sense of style and offered me the muscle shirt, and told me the story.

Thank fuck for INTEGRITY. Rejecting prescribed notions of sXe before it became a tiresome, regimented plague, bringing the experimentation without compromising the powerchords, and still harnessing enough energy to make you feel like running amok. Best of all, I still don’t quite understand their point-of-view. That’s part of the charm. By the time I do, I’m sure Dwid and company will have moved on. That’s why they stay vital. Love Bunni Press has got some great Clevo HC resources, including the first interview they ever did, from 1988, where they seem exasperated with the state of the scene,

Dwid –Let me say on the straight-edge tip, what I see it as, straight-edge was exploited, it was raped. It’s nothing now, it’s a joke, it’s a way to dress, it’s a haircut, and it’s a way to have generic beats.
A Double- I’ve seen bands where all they do is wear Champions and Nikes and are considered straight-edge.
Dwid – I’m ashamed to be straight-edge now.

There’s also an accompanying one from the following year where they express some Slayer and Cro-Mags admiration amongst the griping. Holy Terror’s got the albums up for download absolutely free. A lot of their contemporaries sound naive now, Judge excepted, but on a Judge-related tip, to quote Reinhold in ‘Fast Times…’ get acquainted with those MP3s – learn it, know it…live it.