Archive for January, 2010

Coming Next – MACCA & MICKEY

January 26, 2010

As we finish DEF LEPPARD this week (Fans’ Competition Results to be published as a separate blog next week) we move swiftly on to two very different projects – my first meeting with PAUL McCARTNEY in 1989 who confirmed my belief in total honesty in tricky situations …

… and an invitation to meet MICKEY MOUSE in LA which confirmed my belief that Planet Disney was as bizarre and surreal as I imagined (and hoped) it would be – stories to make your toes curl, your jaw drop and to ignite your warped sense of humour … here’s a taster – arriving in LA! 

It started, I guess, how we meant to carry on. I needed help for a sojourn in LA – working with one of the biggest corporations in the world. Facing a galaxy of top executives in the Disney boardroom on the Top Floor of the ‘Team Disney’ Tower was somewhat daunting and potentially intimidating – so I took a great friend and colleague to help and advise throughout the challenging project. Danie Brant was someone with a wicked sense of humour and a fierce intelligence. We arrived at LAX airport in the early hours of the morning, somewhat the worse for wear it has to be said. A particularly huge customs officer spotted our erratic behaviour and honed in on us immediately. ‘Got any drugs with you?‘ he sneered, taking off his Ray Ban’s and searching deep into our eyes. ‘Oh, I’m sorry,‘ said Danie. ‘If I’d known you were short – I’d have brought some with me.

Here we go,’ I thought …

… ‘Bring on THE MOUSE.’

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18. DEF LEPPARD – Part Five

January 11, 2010

UPDATE

Blogs have been somewhat erratic over the past couple of weeks due to various mishaps – see later!!

For those of you who haven’t visited the blog since DEF LEPPARD – Part Four, just start here. For those who have seen various intermediate blogs just scroll down to where you were in previous short posting on DEF LEPPARD – Part Five. 

THE COMPETITION

The response to the fans competition has been brilliant. (For details go to DEF LEPPARD – Part Four.) Our illustrious experts on the judging panel have been pretty tied up (’smashed’ is another word I’d possibly use!) over the festive season, so we have decided to extend FAN STORIES competition until sobriety returns and critical faculties are back to normal.

NEW CLOSING date for Competion is JANUARY 20th … 

FIRST PRIZE:
A poster edition of  your choice (16 x 20ins) and 5 cards
SECOND PRIZE:
A mounted edition of your choice (image: 11 x 15.5ins) and 5 cards
THIRD PRIZE:
A mounted edition of your choice (image: 8 x 11ins) and 5 cards

so get writing NOW if you want to win an edition from andieairfix.com and don’t forget to tell me which Edition you’d like if you win one of the three prizes.
&ie

DEF LEPPARD – Part Five

I’m certainly not a paranoid person, but sometimes I wonder what on Earth is going on in my life. It’s not just me is it? There are times when everything seems to happen at once and at the moment everything that happens conspires to send me off on unexpected tangents – ones that deflect me from what I should be doing. Ok, so before Christmas this alien attached itself to my neck – appearing like a tennis ball just under my skin. Got rid of it but the antibiotics attacking the beast created a nuclear war in my body that left me exhausted. Thank God that’s gone I said, as the volcano subsided and life returned to comparative normality. Back to the other stuff now. Get back on track, I said to myself.

Unfortunately, there was another alien waiting in the wings to knock me off balance – literally. This particular idiotic life-form was attached to a mobile phone and it was oblivious to the world around it. I reacted quickly –  when it stepped into the road directly in front of my bike –swerved towards the kerb hoping to ride up onto the pavement to avoid the inevitable collision but the kerb was the height of a small mountain. Hit the kerb. Bike stops but I continue on my travels through the air – over the handlebars, smashed onto pavement – broken arm. I lay there stunned for a while but, when I realised what had happened, my immediate reaction was to confront the fuck-wit alien. The bastard was nowhere to be seen – probably totally unaware that it had caused another species considerable pain and damage. Anyway – it’s a clean break, no surgery, no plastercast, so, as they say, things could have been worse. If I see the alien again I fear I will be extremely alienist and run the bastard over. !**@*!

It seems an age since Def Leppard – Part Four but we begin, after mishaps, with The Boyz again and one of the first computer-generated videos – remember this is 1992? 

The success of ‘Hysteria’ was phenomenal. The album, for those not aware of the scale of their success, charted seven singles in the US Hot 100. ‘Hysteria’ remained in the charts for three years and sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. The band sold more records than any rock band in the US during the 1980s. It was a hard album to follow. The pressure on the band was huge – pressure from record companies was one thing but the self-imposed pressure to produce a follow-up album was a terrifying mountain to climb that took its toll. Cracks began to appear which threatened the solidity of the band. Steve Clark had problems with alcohol and the person I met during the ‘leave of absence’ the band rightly and loyally insisted on, was increasingly plagued by self-doubt and was visibly even more fragile than usual. In early January 1991, the band lost him to an accidental mix of prescription drugs and alcohol. It’s 19 years this week since Steve’s tragic death. Although he died before the release of ‘Adrenalize’, his contribution to the album is awesome. Here’s the original Steve Clark version of  ‘Tear It Down.’ Genius.

ADRENALIZE

The band decided to continue recording the album and ‘Adrenalize’ was finally released in the Spring of 1992. It was a difficult sleeve to create, despite it’s deceptive simplicity. The concept was unanimously approved at ‘first roughs’ stage. 

 

Developing the idea into the final image for the cover required inventing innovative techniques to match the clear picture I had in my head of what I wanted. Developing the idea into the final image for the cover required considerable experimentation. The ‘Exploding Eye’ image, clearly defined in my Mind’s Eye, proved extremely difficult to create with convincing authenticity. I called in the cavalry – a friend and colleague at the cutting-edge of image manipulation – a photographer and photo-retoucher called Rob Farrar. I’d worked with him on several occasions previously (he created the final composite for the ‘Hysteria ‘ sleeve) and many times since*. He was someone who instantly and intuitively ‘got it’ when I tried to explain what I was trying to illustrate – not just technically but emotionally. Not only was Rob a brilliant retoucher but he was also keen to develop photographic techniques which would add further dimensions to his image manipulation.

 The problem with ‘Adrenalize’ was a question of scale – to create the effect of a mind-blowing explosion in what was essentially a very small object – an eye. To get from …
to …
 … required some serious thinking. Photographing an eye was difficult in itself. Highly specialised cameras were needed and they were impossible to get hold of – most resided in medical research centres. We did try but the results weren’t good enough. The original rough sketches were created as artwork – allowing the detail of the eye to clearly defined …

… so Rob and I decided on a different tack. The orignal Eye used on the ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ sleeve was created as a combination of illustration and photography. How to make it explode convincingly? ‘Let’s do it, and photograph it,’ said Rob. ‘What?’ I said. ‘Explode the image and photograph it,’ he said. ‘And how do you suggest we do that Rob?’ … The image was photographed on a 10×16 transparency – I literally cut the Eye up into sections – we placed them on a light-box exactly how we thought the sections would be displaced by an explosion – and after a series (dozens) of experiments blasting different levels of light through the transparency glued to the lightbox, we finally had a brillant result where the lightbursts were convincingly real.

However, as much computers have advanced since then – they can’t provide me with the use of two hands when I’ve a broken arm. Try it – it’s a nightmare … progress is slow but I’ll be back with more in a couple of days …

Before our next episode, I’ll leave you, in this special anniversary week, with a poignant tribute video showcasing a rare and amazing talent … sadly missed.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

January 3, 2010

A wonderful and adventurous 2010 to you all.

Returned from our country New Year in Wales …

… now back in London to continue blogging.

DEF LEPPARD – Part Five …
to be posted Thursday January 7th 2010

See you then – also with an update of what’s coming up next … PAUL McCARTNEY, THE ROLLING STONES, GUNS’N’ROSES and much more

&ie