Long before I ever took an art class I was making posters, my early ones as a young boy scout, then as a political activist and finally as punk rocker and rock’n roller, promoting shows of my bands. Just as we google today we were making xerox copies then. What I call Xerox Art here, also included collages and fanzines besides posters or flyer. Is a flyer an 8 1’2’ x 11” and a poster an 11” x 17”? What about 8 1/2” x 17” ? It doesn’t really matter, but these were the formats used; what is important was a fast, irreverent and cheap way to create and fit the activity promoted. It wasn’t serious art for sure, but part of promoting a political idea or a band. Not too much thought was spend on the aesthetic, which only fully came alive when 20, 30 or 50 posters showed up in one spot.
Once the poster was Xeroxed an equal amount of activity was spend with a brush and a bucket of wheat paste, plastering the posters all over town or at least the important spots. This activity often pushed the border of legality and delicate decisions had to be made as to whose posters we were plastering over.
The earliest pieces in this collection are from a punk performance at the closing ceremony of the 1977 Documenta and from one of the first German Punkrock bands called Rotz Kotz. There are no flyers from this group, since we actually had a two color offset printed poster that we used for or all our gigs, writing in the actual date and place with magic marker. This poster was a derive of the flyer that hung in every German post office looking for members of the leftist RAF.
We replaced the machinegun in the group’s logo with a guitar and replaced the faces with those of the band. More pictures and stories about these times at the bottom of each section: Punk Poesie, the 70’s too
Kicked out of Rotz Kotz for hitting some wrong chords I arrived in New York City on May 5th 1978, with a $ 99 one way ticket on Laker Airlines. Three weeks later I moved into the loft of the New York Niggers and shortly after joined the band. Here things were decidedly more low-budged, which you can see by the size and quality of the flyers. The New York Niggers recorded one 7” single, that sells for up to $ 500 now and lasted until the spring of 1980. New York, Rookie YearVintage 79
Xerox collage of my first gig with NYN
Several bands followed the NYN break-up, The Troubadors, Festival of Patience, Nada and a smaller side project called European Sons. By this time I had a steady job at the Trash & Vaudevile, the foremost Rock’n Roll clothing store at that time and flyer formats changed, color paper was used more often, I was able to by books again and my reading as well as listening pleasures trickled into the poster designs.
flyer for first NADA show at CBGB’s
More about this time: Eighty one, two, three
By 1984 I had written enough songs to put a new band together and by now I was able pull in some great East Village musicians. Between 1984 and 1988 East of Eden played out, record and released a single and an album and shot some super 8 b/w videos, all with changing lineups. Many EOE flyers were larger and I developed a flyer style of sorts, a mix a primitive drawing and collage, that was echoed in the single cover. My favorite flyer though is the Rock’n Roll Revelation poster that I transformed into a woodblock in 2005.
A magazine page, a pair of scissors, or ripped by hand some letters maybe, a typewriter, magic marker, glue and off to the copyshop.
With scissors, glue and Chuck Berry, NYC ca 1981-83