Posts Tagged ‘80s’

19. THE COMPETITION WINNERS

February 5, 2010

So … we gathered on Wednesday to find the three ‘FAN’TASTICO’S who win the competition. The screaming crowds were kept at bay outside the pub and those inside cheered constantly as the four of us read the 24 final round winners. The judges ….


… scored each story with a maximum of 10 points each – and after a couple of hours we handed our score sheets to our Independant Adjudicator and our Competition Director who added up the scores to find the overall winners. The atmosphere was electric as the Adjudicator handed us the envelope containing the 3 winners. The crowds outside were suddenly silent, faces pressed against the windows in anticipation. In the pub people strained forward, holding their breath …

I stood up. ‘And the winner is …’

(I kept them hanging on for nearly an hour)

The winner is …. KIM!’  

Thunderous applause and the crowd outside went wild.
KIM KIM KIM’ they chanted.

So here’s Kim’s story. Her unswerving dedication, loyalty over such a long time and her love of music impressed us all. So did her writing. Congratulations!

Please note – One or two typos have been corrected but all entries are published exactly as they were written.
 

KIM – FIRST PRIZE (36 points)

My hobby started almost 30 years ago. I say hobby because that’s what it has been for me. I have been very lucky to have seen every tour that Def Leppard has done in the U.S., most I have seen numerous times. As a short story I have to tell you about the Hysteria tour. What a show—I had read that when the stadium almost cleared at the end of the show, the guys would come out from under the stage. As the stadium started to clear, the ushers were trying to get me to leave and I just kept pleading that as soon as they came out I would leave. At the time, Joe was the favorite and as soon as I saw him I just yelled his name and he looked up with that gorgeous grin of his and waved. I will never forget that moment and how I felt, I sit down in the seat and cryed with joy.

Well now, I was really hooked. My collection of anything Def Leppard had begun. It was also at this time that one concert was just not enough, so I would see them as many times as I could in surrounding states. That still wasn’t enough at times. NO I’m not crazy or a stalker but they just have IT. IT just makes you feel great, IT is something that I have yet to understand myself. I just knew that I needed more of IT!!! So the story begins during the SLANG tour. Over the phone with friends that I had made, we made plans to see DL
Sorry, I’m tired and hit the wrong button. As I was saying, we made plans to see them as many times as we could. The first leg of my tour began in Cleveland, Ohio where I met all my friends I had made just because of DL. I had opted out of my beach vacation to travel north and follow the guys for the opportunity to meet them. SSoooooooo well worth every penny. I had most of my tickets in hand for the concerts which I payed a pretty penny for. I was in the first, second and third rows to every show–and in Cleveland is where my long wait to meet them finally came true. We were staying in the same hotel as the guys and we knew that they would go to the bar in the hotel after the show. It was so crowded and I was so nervous. Moving through the small bar I start getting extremely nervous—WHAT DO I SAY? DON’T ACT STUPID! LET THEM KNOW HOW MUCH THEY MEAN TO YOU!! All going through my head. I got very close to Joe, but I just couldn’t make myself get closer. He moves to the bar and sits down, he’s talking to someone and I see three seats open up across from him. I grabbed the two closest friends I had made and we sat for a while across the way. Yes, I was listening to him talk and NO I wasn’t easedropping. Well I guess I was, but I couldn’t tell you what it was about, I just wanted to hear his voice. Of course I had to have a drink I wasn’t going to be able to approach him if I didn’t. So I sit, had a Crown and Coke and listened to him just talk. I had my nerve and knew that when he made a move I was going to be there. And he did and I did, he hugged me and was so gracious to me and we took a picture and I didn’t make a fool of myself. There, what more could I ask for? I felt very blessed because I had seen him earlier get really hateful with someone and it scared my away. Later, I learned he had perfect right to say and do what he did.
As we were leaving the bar , Phil and his then girlfriend Anita were coming in the door. What was so ironic was that Anita had come down during the show and danced with us during the song SLANG. During the show we had no idea who she was. She acknowledged us as she approached us telling Phil she had danced with us at the show. We took pictures and talked for a while. She found out we were going to several other shows and promised to find us because she always came out in the crowd during the SLANG song. And she did! What a nice person and beautiful at that.
After that night, I knew that hands down Phil had to be the nicest guy ever. We traveled through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and back to Ohio during that trip and I had so many more wonderful memories of the guys and the shows. We were on a first name basis speaking to one another in the hotels, whether we were on the elevator coming or going from the hotel or even in the hallway. It was magical for me because I loved their music so much and had followed their career since the beginning–On Through The Night beginning. In Indianapolis, Joe turned and pointed right at me and sang to me. That was one of the shows that I had front row seats. In Cinncinatti we spent a couple days in the same hotel while they were off a day and that’s when I finally got to meet Rick Allen. What an inspiration he is and he was so nice to acknowledge that he had seen us at the last few shows and asked how we were enjoying them. Amazing!!! Right!!!
It wasn’t over! My friends and I decided after we went home that we just had to go the weekend to the Dallas, Austin and Houston shows. And yes we were there. We fly into Dallas and see Def Leppard that night. Then we rent a car and drive to Austin and stay in the same hotel as them again. I remember walking through the sitting area as we had checked into our room and came down for a walk–someone calling out my name and thinking to myself, WHO KNOWS ME HERE? I’m from Tennessee. I turn and see Phil who was sitting in a chair reading a book. It had been about a month since the trip north and HE REMEMBERED MY NAME!!!!!! We chated and he was amazed we were seeing them the three nights they were in Texas. He said, ” You guys must be superfans!” and laughed. At most of the shows we went to, we were usually in front of Phil who is great about acknowledging you in the crowd and this trip was no different. I got to talk more to Sav and Joe during this trip. Also during this trip I got a 3 ft by 3 ft poster signed by all of them. They had never seen the poster before and thought is was cool. It was the eye from the Adenalize album and it was made out of a hard plastic.
It still wasn’t over for us because they hadn’t been to my state yet and that was even more than I could hope for. A week or so later we traveled to Atlanta, GA to see them. As we were driving in the city trying to find the box office to get tickets we heard on the radio that if you had the most tickets to different shows during this tour you would win front row seats. We ( my same 2 side kicks that I had shared all this with ) looked at each other and for no reason we could think of still had all our ticket stubbs in our purses and wallets. They had been to a few that I hadn’t went to and I had went to a few that they hadn’t went to. We counted and lucky number 13 popped up. We won front row that night and couldn’t believe we had brought them with us. Like what can you do with used concert tickets??????? WIN FRONT ROW SEATS I SAY!!! We still had my town Nashville, TN. It would be the last one, we all knew it. We had a great ride, an unforgetable journey so what more could happen? Well I’ll tell you——I ONLY TOOK PHIL AND ANITA ….IN MY CAR……TO A BAGLE SHOP THE MORNING AFTER THE NASHVILLE SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!Yes I had Phil Collen in the front seat of my Trans Am. I took a picture of them at the back of my car because my license plate said Def Leppard. I’ll not give out the exact letters but Phil knew what it said. So I have to say I feel very blessed to have these and even more memories since then. Not many people get to meet who they idolize and I feel very lucky. I also have had a child since those days and she has become a fan herself. I always joked to my family that if anything ever happened to me, not to sale my Def Leppard memorbillia in a yard sale. I have some nice pieces and some that are worth a little money. I know I have invested a lot of money in it. Now, I have my daughter and I know she will take care of it and it will live on. She is a fan herself and has a few memories with Phil. He remembered me on the next tour. About 4 years later I took my daughter to see them and he was like WOW you have a child this time. She hasn’t actually met them yet but Phil signed her guitar during the Sparkle Lounge tour from the stage and Joe pointed and sang to her. I can say, “I know how she feels!” And I feel like her day will come when she does meet them. She loves the stories I tell her and loves looking at my pictures and she tells all her friends that her mom has met Def Leppard. I think it was pretty cool and I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I loved living it!!!!!!!!
The second prize goes to Vicki. Once again – sheer dedication and a mission that took years to acheive has to be applauded. Brilliant – and the tattoos are testament to your unbelievable tenacity.

Vicki Brown – SECOND PRIZE (33 points)

“FAN”alized

 1983 was the year that changed my life forever…

I heard my first Def Leppard song “Photograph”, I  was 14 and I was hooked. I had become a diehard fan virtually overnight.. As a young teen I fantasized about meeting my heros and as the years passed that turned into a lifelong dream. And just like any other fan , I wanted autograph’s!

As I got older my collection of memorabilia grew! I had to have everything!!  Oh,  did I mention that I also became a fan of tattoos? So it just seemed natural that I would get a Def Leppard tat….okay maybe two.
On my upper arm is the “Hysteria” album cover and on my upper leg is the “Adrenalize” eyeball. On completion of the Adrenalize tattoo, it hit me then…..I wanted that autographed!!!
 
Fast forwarding a few years….It wasn’t until  2001, that I won a radio contest on Q107 (Toronto Ontario Canada) I was lucky enough to enjoy an acoustic performance by Joe and Phil promoting there new album X, along with 100 other lucky winners. At the end of the night my friend Joanne pushed me to the stage, where I was able to shake Joe’s hand and asked him to sign my tattoo. Not be able to talk to Phil I started to cry. I must have been a real mess, because Malvin told me to hold on, he will come back and get me. True to his word I find myself in the basement of the club, being hugged by Phil. Awesome sums it up! I left that night th happiest girl on earth, tons of pictures of Joe, Phil and me and two signatures added to my tattoo…three more to get.
 
2003 on a trip to England for a Leppard show in Bristol. After the show I met up with Malvin and thanked him for everything he had done for me two years ago. Then I added his autograph to my  growing collection.
 
Pushing ahead two more years, 2005 in London, Ontario, Canada. Following the show my friend, daughter and I decided to hang around the buses with about 50 other fans.
Vivian came out first and he was more then happy to sign my leg. Moments later Joe was making his way through the fans signing autographs and taking pictures. It was my turn…I  asked Joe if he could help me out, I only  needed 2 more signatures. He was shocked I actually had them tattoo’d on and blown away that I got Malvin’s too. Thinking for a moment, Joe said I will see what I can do.
Waiting for what seemed like an eternity, in reality it was mere moments I find myself being wisked through the crowd headed to a tour bus. Sav signed my leg and I was able to speak with him about a book on Def Leppard I wrote, (a radio dj gave it to him for me early that day) Sav said it was pretty cool.
Off to my next bus…I got to meet up with Rick.  Tears in my eyes and thinking I wouldn’t be able to hold it together much longer, Rick joked with me because I couldn’t stop crying. But he was happy to finish up my piece of art with a one armed drummer stickman. With an overwhelming feeling of excitement and joy, Joe walked me back towards the crowd, as I thanked him for making my lifelong dream come true!!!
 
Leppardized aka Vicki Brown

And finally – Lee, whose sheer audacity (and a great story) made his entry one of the most entertaining. What was her answer Lee?

Lee Houghton – THIRD PRIZE (31 points)

Hi Andie! Great Blog! My story goes back to 2003 and the X Tour (second leg). Having been round the country with my then girlfriend, Angela, watching the guys in concert, she could not make it to the gig in Nottingham. As ever, the gig was excellent and after the show, I waited outside, along with some fellow hardcore fans. All the guys came out, chatted, signed stuff and were their usual polite, cheerful selves! As my girlfriend could not make it, and as she was back at home, I seized an opportunity and asked Viv if he wouldn’t mind speaking to Angela on my mobile.I told him she had to be in work early and was back home, in bed, but would be thrilled if he could say a quick hello. With a twinkle in his eye, he said “sure” and I dutifully passed the phone over. The following conversation then took place:

Viv – “Hello Angela, how come you are not at the gig?”. Angela replied, explained she needed to be in work early the following day.
Viv – “Oh really, that’s a pity…. Did you say you were in bed? Are you masturbating?”.
At this point, all I could hear is some giggling on the end of the phone, Viv hands the phone back after saying goodbye, with a wink. Yours truly is left blushing beetroot red. I gingerly spoke into the handset…
Hey Babe, that was nice of Viv…Err, you aren’t masturbating, are you????” 
A true story!!

Later …. MORE great stories we all loved. Every one a winner.

16. DEF LEPPARD – Part Three

December 3, 2009

Blog responses were brilliant and very interesting. So many of you enjoyed seeing the original print-ready artwork – so there’ll be more of that later – and also requests from fans for an exhibition of that stuff has made me take the idea more seriously. What a discerning bunch DEF LEPPARD fans are. I also realised, out of all the comments and e-mails I’ve received over the last couple of weeks, more than half of them were from female fans. DEF LEPPARD have a huge fan base of women – Rock was no longer a boy’s-only territory. Sure, there were female followers of other bands in the 80’s and earlier but DEF LEPPARD’s appeal was broader and intelligent enough to include many more.

So … where were we? Oh yes – no album sleeve. ‘Animal Instinct’ had become ‘Hysteria.’ It only took a few days to convince Adrian to climb down from the parapet on the studio roof (the studio is on the top floor of a five-storey building) and to tell him we were all getting pissed off with our endless trips to the supermarket to buy him more Kleenex. He was fine in the end. The band did pay him for all his work so that was some compensation.

A few weeks before I’d met the band in Amsterdam I’d taken a photograph of a friend of mine and, as I clicked the shutter, he was distracted by a noise and turned his head very quickly to the right. The resulting portrait was one of those brilliant ‘accidents’ that often take you by surprise. If I sit down to invent an image, whatever I do is limited by – well – me. Experimenting with different techniques has always been inspirational and many of my ideas are the result of something unexpected appearing – not knowing what the outcome of an experiment will be. Engage in the ‘unknown’ and you’ll be constantly surprised.

(In-between this Def Leppard blog and the next, I’ll tell you about something that happened to me in India that totally blew me away – when I saw a natural phenomena my imagination couldn’t have invented in a million years.)

The headshot of Robert contained a double-image. Because he’d moved his head very quickly the camera, on a low shutter-speed, had recorded a full-on image of his face – but also his profile. I noticed that his left eye had moved to become his right eye in profile. There was something very disturbing about the overall feel of the photograph. It doesn’t sound like a huge step in designing the final sleeve, but it was. I had a direction to explore which I was very confident about. I still had no idea where the illustration would lead but I was very excited about the possibilities.

I also wanted something as a background which placed the head in a strange environment. I knew, by the time I got what I wanted, the head would show a primitive fear so I decided on total contrast – something futuristic. What I decided to do led me innocently into the bizarre (and hilarious) world of ‘computer graphics’.

We started here …

We have to remember it was the mid-80’s and using computers to create images was primitive to say the least. Each time-consuming (and expensive) process was so basic it was about as exciting as eating a warm lettuce sandwich. However, the end result was the thing and I was determined to learn something about the emerging digital world for the ‘Hysteria’ sleeve. I spent days drawing the design for the ‘circuit’, stretching my draughtsman’s skills to the limit with pens, ink and a drawing board. There was a company in London which professed to be on the ‘cutting edge’ of a new creative phenomena and I went to see them to explain what I wanted – to convert my drawing into something more futuristic. ‘No problem‘, they said.  I had an image in my head of the computer operator – a rather geeky character obsessed with perfection. Wrong. I returned with my artwork and met my ‘mentor’ who had just returned from an extended pub lunch (VERY extended by the look of him). He stumbled into the room, introduced himself and I followed him as he lurched off drunkenly towards the room that contained the state-of-the-art computer. The set-up was professional but resembled something put together by a lunatic inventor attempting to build a time-machine. There was a camera the size of wardrobe, TV monitors were scattered all over the room and a congestion of unrecognisable electronic instruments were connected together by miles of different coloured cables and wires. My drawing was photographed and somehow magically appeared on one of the monitors. The amazingly innovative procedure followed – we painstakingly coloured in the white areas of the circuit like children with a handful of electronic coloured pencils – ‘No that one should be blue, change that one to green, get rid of the red completely,  more yellow ...’ Eventually after several hours we had the image I wanted. The wardrobe was wheeled in front of the screen and the image was photographed. There was no way then to transfer the final image to another computer – what I was given when I left was an 8x10ins transparency of the screen we had created the image on. The pixelated texture within the circuit wasn’t designed – it was the result of photographing the TV monitor – but it was exactly what I’d hoped for.

At the same time, I worked on the the main image. When I began to sketch it out, using the eye as a focal point, the illustration began to take on a life of it’s own. I swear what appeared surprised and shocked me but wherever it came from I knew it was undeniably powerful and perfect for the sleeve. Although I still had to find a way to combine the illustration with the dazzling computer graphics (!) I showed the band the first draughts of the head and a resounding ‘THAT’S IT!’ was music to my ears. The level had been set and the required intensity of the rest of the design fell into place comparatively easily. There are so many disparate elements in the final sleeve – the head, the circuit, the demented title lettering, the band logo and the triangle – it shouldn’t really work, but it remains one of my favourites and most memorable I worked on. I completed the illustration, in coloured pencils, within two weeks and the final result was definitely not ‘laboured’. It’s worth mentioning here that historically,’Hysteria’ was the first album sleeve  to contain computer graphics.

STEPHEN MAYNARD CLARK (1960 – 1991)

It’s difficult to say much more about Def Leppard without writing about Steve Clark. The second major tragedy to befall the band was the death of their amazing lead guitarist. During the recording of ‘Hysteria’ Steve often showed up to rehearsals or recording sessions drunk. Alcoholism became a serious problem. In 1991, on a six-month leave of absence from the band, Steve was found dead at his home in London. An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be accidental – a lethal mixture of anti-depressants, painkillers and alcohol. Steve lived in London, only a few streets away from where I live in Chelsea, and we often met in a small old-fashioned but wonderful pub called ‘The Cross Keys’ – so I knew him better than the other guys in the band. I really liked him and we became close in a haphazard, occasional kind of way. Steve had a generosity of spirit and a vulnerability which was very attractive, but something deeply troubling was never far from the surface. Whenever I travelled to meet the band Steve always took the time and made the effort to look after me – the perfect gentleman, always aware of nervous or uncomfortable situations. Whenever I met him in ‘The Cross Keys’ I always felt the need to look after him. It’s hard to explain why I felt that way and, despite his reputation for heavy drinking, he was rarely out of control when I saw him. I guess I just felt the need to protect him from a world he often found terrifyingly complicated and difficult to deal with. Away from adoring fans and where he did what he loved most – play guitar – he was usually quiet, sensitive and introspective, He obviously found it difficult to reconcile the two extremes. Don’t get me wrong, he was rarely miserable or depressed – we often had evening of non-stop laughter – but there was always a nervous undercurrent of someone who could easily be thrown off-balance. What I felt with him was a responsibility to help maintain the balance. There are people in all our lives we feel privileged to meet and Steve was right up there with the best of them in mine.

Here’s a video from 1988 which shows his distinctive style and incredible talent – just brilliant.

On a lighter note, for those of you who enjoyed the ‘sketches’ and original art, and loved the new edition, I’ve created another new one using various ‘working drawings’ created on the journey to the final sleeve. Check it out at my website for more detail.

Next we move onto the joy of the single releases from ‘Hysteria’. Can’t wait.

and finally for Part Three …

7. TOM ROBINSON and SECTOR 27

October 14, 2009

Before we get to SECTOR 27, I must start by thanking those who ‘commented’ on the last Blog – especially ‘the man himself’, Tony Tobias …

‘This is getting to be a vital link to the past of ‘The Worlds End’ I was privileged to play a small part, having owned two Noseagents. Customers, friends really, were from all walks of life, Barry Sheen, The Rolling Stones, dear wonderful Freddie Mercury, who used to stand in the shop in full drag, Adam Ant, Marianne Faithful, The Sex Pistols, Georgie Fame, David Bowie, and many other wonderful people, and the great woman newspaper scribe, Sue ‘the floating tenner’ Carrol, were frequent visitors. How I loved all you guys, and everyone else, I am what I am because of all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to rediscover the past.” Love, Tony.

(The Cat, by the way, was The Professor, so-called because distinctive marks around his eyes looked like a pair of glasses. His name perfectly encaptures the Beast’s deranged and fierce(!) intelligence.)

Like Tony, I believe The World’s End Community was (and still is) something very special. As our Course moves into the 80’s, the 90’s and beyond, it always plays a pivotal role in my life and work. We will return to it many times I’m sure, (including how LARS ULRICH of METALLICA managed to devastate the Australian staff who worked at THE CHELSEA RAM), but now we are heading into Graphic Design for the music industry …

Back in the early 80’s it was a fascinating and exciting world to be involved in – not just with the artists and musicians but with record companies, promoters and merchandisers willing to take creative (and financial) risks to promote original and eccentric design ideas. One in particular, Pete Winkelman – then art director and promotional genius at Arista Records, now chairman of MK DONS – was wonderfully supportive of some pretty crazy ideas. More of him later when we reach THOMPSON TWINS and the fabulous FUZZBOX.

SECTOR 27
NEW Sector-27

As I said it was Tim who introduced me to Tom Robinson. Although I’d had a little experience in sleeve design, Tom was the first commercially successful artist to hire SATORI to create an album sleeve for his new band – SECTOR 27. It’s quite odd looking back at the sleeve now but it’s one I’m still proud of and, in many ways, the brief for it is still relevant today. It was 1980 and the terrifying world of BIG BROTHER in George Orwell’s ‘1984’ loomed large. Tom was a politically-motivated musician – ‘Glad To Be Gay’ was hugely influential when it was released.

He was a committed anti-racist and gay activist with a fierce intelligence. Meeting him for the first time I remember his earnest charm was totally sincere. There was also an endearing contradiction in his character which was very appealing. The rage of his concerns was balanced with a genuine need to please. I believe his success as a communicator and commentator was partly because of that apparent dichotomy. His fragility combined with his serious commitment to revealing injustice in the world made him convincing and believable. As a musician the same applied. Beneath his clean, sharp image and brilliant songs was a ‘disorientating tension’ which took you by surprise. I liked Tom very much and he taught me a great deal about social awareness and politics in general. What I learnt from him was how to present well-informed arguments which were never patronising or self-righteous.

Tom was acutely aware of the growing surveillance culture in Britain and he wanted the album sleeve to be a defiant, positive statement – one which celebrated the triumph of Innocence and Exhileration over the Grey and Faceless which threatened to undermine and sabotage it. In words it sounds somewhat heavy-handed but the final sleeve portrayed something more intuitive.

The sleeve design can be split into three distinct areas; the graphics, implying harsh corporate control; the photograph portraying an anonymous bleak cityscape and the happy innocent child who defies the impersonal environment she inhabits.

For those of you not interested in the graphic process you can skip the next paragraph …

1980 was Pre-Computer obviously so each of the three elements had to be created separately. The starting point was the SECTOR 27 logo and it’s dynamic shape and positioning. After that the other elements were roughly sketched into position. On our way to BLITZ one morning I photographed the buildings as we emerged from the underpass in Holborn, deliberately shaking the camera. The chosen image was blown up to a 20×16 print and the graphic version of the underpass exit was drawn with Rotring pens (remember those anyone?). We hired a photographer and studio to photograph the Chinese girl and proceeded to ‘treat’ the image to give it movement and vibrancy. Colour Xerox was something I was experimenting with at the time and I’d found a wonderful shop where the owners encouraged artists and designers to experiment with their colour Xerox machines by allowing them on a Saturday morning to hire a machine by the hour rather than paying for each print. This meant that experimenting was not prohibitively expensive. It was amazing how many prints you could do in an hour if you were organised! Fooling the Xerox machine was the challenge – to get it to produce effects it was not designed for. Manipulating images then was the remit of photographic re-touchers. It tended to be a time-consuming and expensive process. To print an image on acetate and tracing paper, to run an image through the Xerox machine several times, to change images as the machine scanned the four process colours produced some astonishing ‘accidental’ results. I exhibited a series of ‘paintings’ constructed using the results of those revelatory Saturday mornings.
timewallTimewall‘ by Andie Airfix, 1980

DESIGN OBSERVATION 1: Get Your Hands Dirty.
Don’t rely only on computer programs alone to create interesting imagery. However ‘clever’ Photoshop and however expertly it’s used it will always be 2-dimensional – however seductively it attempts to convince you otherwise.

Finally ….. more Tom Robinson …

NEXT  … THOMPSON TWINS and THE ENTHUSIASTIC GURU