Posts Tagged ‘Hysteria’

30 Years of HYSTERIA by Def Leppard

July 25, 2017
Andie Airfix, legendary graphic designer, signing one of his Limited Edition prints, celebrating 30 years of his iconic album sleeve design for ‘HYSTERIA’.
The album has sold over 25,000,000 copies worldwide.
This print is available exclusively from St Paul’s Gallery

Advertisements

AC/DC Logo Explodes

November 15, 2013

It’s that time of year again …
(sssshhhh) – 

jesus_shepherd

and so, naturally, you’re out there looking for ideal gifts to shower on your loved ones to celebrate the occasion. And can you find anything that’s cool enough. Of course you can’t – it’s all predictably dull and boring for us music fans.

Well – look no further – problem solved …

Sticking very firmly to the belief of creating …
art that DOES NOT match the sofa …
Here’s a solution for all you Rock’n’Rollers.

Click HERE to see Limited Editions

Andie Airfix Limited Editions bring something unique to Christmas. They’re cool, very affordable and ideal for music fans. Here’s a brand NEW edition.
available from November 18th 2013 …

Editions Web 1a 1000px AC-DC

Created from original pen and ink/pencil drawing of the logo for the Ballbreaker World Tour in 1995. This is pre-computer and was completely hand-drawn (very tricky to do!)

Don’t forget the recently released  ‘Ninja Star 1′ & Ninja Star 2’:  2 METALLICA editions created for the AIRFIX LOUNGE last March, editions Lars Ulrich, METALLICA’s drummer described as ‘AWESOME!‘ …

Editions Web 1b 1000px MetallicaEditions also include:
LED ZEPPELIN  DAVID BOWIE  JIMI HENDRIX
THE ROLLING STONES  THE BEATLES  MADONNA
DEF LEPPARD and LITTLE RICHARD.

CLICK HERE to see Limited Editions

Order NOW to guarantee Christmas delivery worldwide.

All Editions are printed on the highest grade, heavyweight art paper by the latest digital technology to ensure the richest colours and to maintain the finest of detail.

Problem is – and I feel obliged to inform you – that many who purchase Andie Airfix Limited Editions, somehow forget (?!) to send them on to the people they bought them for. Shocking behaviour. The solution is obvious of course – buy one for yourself too – and everyone will be happy.

More very soon …
As ever
&ie

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.

17. DEF LEPPARD – Part Four

December 11, 2009

DEF LEPPARD – Part Five 
… posted January 14th – 

CLICK HERE 

 

Once again thanks for your comments and e-mails. Some of them about Steve were very touching, especially the one from Lorelei ...

Hi Andie, Thank you for your beautiful reflections of your time spent with Steve. I can obviously relate to your sharing of feeling the need to look after him – as I did for over six years. We were blessed to have known him and to have loved him … Steve was loved by so many people … ’

We move on now on to the ‘Hysteria’ singles, an exhibition of DEF LEPPARD art and vinyl in London, the wonderful Juan (the ultimate DEF LEPPARD fan), and a competition to win a large Edition Print of your choice …

People often ask me if I feel nervous or intimidated meeting the Famous. Rarely, and there’s a simple reason. I was in Paul McCartney’s dressing room on the opening night of his first tour in well over a decade. He was generous enough to meet a number of people who were waiting outside his door to meet him. This poor woman, when she came in, was so nervous she was visibly trembling and opened her mouth several times to speak – but the words just didn’t happen. She was mortified. She’d won a competition to meet him and had waited over twenty years to be face to face with her idol. She just didn’t know what to say. What DO you say to Paul McCartney? That’s exactly the reason why I don’t get nervous – I have something to talk about – the project we’re working on. I have to discuss something that’s important, something to focus on that’s not about me or who I’m meeting – there’s a common ground which allows relationships to develop naturally.

I met DEF LEPPARD many times – at Joe’s house in Ireland, in Ibiza at recording sessions, at rehearsals for a tour and in numerous dressing rooms when they were on tour. They were great times but we had work to do and that was a responsibility we all took seriously. As Pete Burns said – ‘It’s an album sleeve, NOT a cure for cancer,’ – but, in the context of creativity and careers, there was a lot at stake. Relationships tend to be intense and you have to get to know people pretty well to get the best results and reach the right decisions. By the time ‘Hysteria’ was completed there was a mutual respect between the band and I which allowed us to push the boundaries of vinyl even further.

The ‘Hysteria’ singles.

I had this idea, when I discovered that the record companies intended to release ‘at least four singles’ from the album, of dividing the album sleeve design into four sections to use on the covers of the four singles. Later I discovered there could be more singles and possibly different song releases in different countries. There was only one way to go – use NINE sections to create a huge 3-foot square version of the album sleeve. ‘Hysteria’ was the first time I had to create artwork for CD’s and I realised the new format could be the death-knell for vinyl. It was a defining moment for me. I hated the CD format, its size, its limited packaging possibilities and most of all I hated how it would destroy a medium I loved – vinyl. I changed direction at that point – we’ll come to that soon – but I knew for the ‘Hysteria’ singles I had to come up with something that had never been done before and would probably never be done again.  The idea was a defiant celebration of 12” vinyl before its anticipated demise. It became a serious mission and I was determined to do whatever it took to get the idea off the ground.

To design a ‘set’ of singles before the first one was released was a real challenge – especially not knowing how many there would be or what they would be – but I knew the idea was good. If there were problems we’d find a way to make it happen. I showed the band the idea and they loved it. We decided that the ‘missing’ sections not allocated to singles should become part of an Edition Box Set when the last single was released. With massive support for the idea from Peter Mensch, he persuaded the record companies to go with the idea despite the huge cost of production. It is hard now, in our digital download age, where designs only stretch to pixel widths, to imagine a market where the importance of of vinyl allowed inspirational ideas to flourish and where the production of singles could be so extravagantly experimental.

I didn’t realise it at the time but I’d taken on a logistical nightmare. Not only were songs released in different territories in a different order and with different release dates – in different territories the single’s sleeve-art was not even the same size. (You would think, wouldn’t you, that 12” and 7” singles formats would be consistent? – but they weren’t.) There wasn’t a huge difference but enough to mean each division into nine sections had to be re-figured to suit each territory – to make sure they all fitted together perfectly. Earlier I told you how I had no idea where that ‘screaming head’ came from but, believe me, there were times I thought it was some kind of weird premonition of how I would actually feel (and look!) during the project. (see NB at end of blog to get to grips with the release complications)

I was involved in an exhibition early this year in London, celebrating the history of vinyl and, for the first time, I actually put all nine sleeves between two sheets of clear perspex and displayed the giant album as the centre-piece of the show. It looked fantastic …

Ok … it’s FanTime …

During the exhibition at the A&D Gallery (more on the gallery when the Blog enters the bizarre and hilarious world of the WALT DISNEY Corporation) a new benchmark was set to define ‘Serious Fan’ – Juan is loyalty and dedication personified. I met him at the gallery and he had a wonderful story to tell …

Juan lived in Madrid. He saw the exhibition advertised but there were only a few days left to get to England before the show closed on the Saturday. He was working so couldn’t leave until Saturday morning. He phoned his English friend who lived in London to ask if he could stay with him for the weekend, bought a plane ticket and flew to London. So …. Juan arrived and said to his friend … ‘I have to go to this exhibition.’ … ‘Where is it?’ said the friend … Juan checks on the website. ‘Chiltern Street, West One,’ he says … ‘No’ says his friend, ‘you’re confused Juan – Chiltern Street is where I live. That’s where you are now. Where’s the gallery?’ … Juan double-checks. ‘Chiltern Street. West One.’ he confirms. Impossible to believe but the only friend Juan had in London lived ten doors away from the exhibition. It doesn’t get better than that does it? What are the chances of such a co-incidence? Nada. It’s people like Juan who are the key to maintaining what I believe my work is all about – being true to the loyal fans and inspirational enough to impress new ones. Here he is …

With that in mind we get to …

THE COMPETITION.

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

What are your best fan stories? I’m not only talking about Def Leppard fans – but other performers’ fans too. The best 10 – the weirdest, funniest and most impressive will be posted on a special blog in January when the winner is selected. Whoever wins can choose a 16 x 20ins edition of their choice from my website. Here are just two of them … both new – after such great reactions from the ones on last weeks blog which showcased original drawings and sketches from my archives.

THE JUDGES …

All entries will be judged by a team of eminent professionals – high-flyers in the music industry – who will decide on the winner with objectivity, clarity and with a deep sense of responsibility … Oh sorry – what I meant to say is that the winner will be chosen by me, my Blogmeister Ricky and that weird couple Max and Rewa down the pub. Think of our team as Simon Cowell but with a more generous spirit and a much better sense of humour.

Comment’ your story on the blog or e-mail me from my website.
Make sure you state which Edition you would like to win.
Competition ends 20th January 2010.

One more DEF LEPPARD to go – ‘Adrenalize’ and ‘Euphoria’ … then we will begin working on World Tours (THE ROLLING STONES, GUNS’N’ROSES, PAUL McCARTNEY and others) with the enigmatic Gerry Barad.

DEF LEPPARD – Part Five 
… posted January 14th – 

CLICK HERE

See Monday’s post for details of some stuff  I’ve released from the archives to auction in London next week (including a few rare DEF LEPPARD originals and a painting I did in 1996 of MICHAEL JACKSON). In a couple of days, I will post the Indian story I promised you about Imagination. 

Stay well … keep your eyes peeled for a flurry of blogs next week … &ie

NB:
It did my head in just reading these stats (supplied by Mark from the DEF LEPPARD fan club – thanks Mark). It’s no wonder I had to ask Mark for the configurations – I just couldn’t remember. Now I know why!

1  2  3
4  5  6
7  8 9

1 = no single available
2 = Hysteria
3 = Love Bites
4 = Armageddon It
5 = Animal
6 = Women (US only)
7 = no single available
8 = Pour Some Sugar On Me
9 = Rocket (Europe only, but UK had different, non-segment sleeve)

The special limited 12″ edition of “LOVE BITES”:  the limited edition of that release had the 12″ sections of 1, 3 (Love Bites itself, obviously), 6 (since the UK did not have a release for “WOMEN”), 7, and 9 (some countries released this as “ROCKET”).

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 …

15. DEF LEPPARD – Part Two

November 26, 2009

Welcome back to more DEF LEPPARD. Before we get to ‘Hysteria’, I’ll finish off on the ‘Pyromania’ sleeve.

Having a clear image in my head of what the cover should be was one thing, creating it was another. I’d recently met a young illustrator, Bernard Gudynas, who had impressed me with his portfolio of airbrush illustrations. They had a futuristic feel which was entirely appropriate to the album concept. We sketched out ideas, including a magnified section of the exploding building which I would build the graphic ‘sight’ around. It was demanding work for both of us to get it exactly right (‘exactly right’ is always a good aim). I had already decided the illustration should be contained within a border which smoke could pour onto – creating a further dimension to the design. The ‘sight’ itself added another – the ‘viewer’ – YOU. The sight, as a piece of graphics, may seem complicated and detailed but it had to imply a weapon much bigger than a rifle sight – a rocket launcher perhaps. Bernard’s take on the perspective – looking up at the building – created scale and dynamics. Originally the border around the illustration was white, to emphasize the black smoke, but when we tried a black border we all agreed it was more powerful.

Describing visual concepts sounds pretentious sometimes but that’s the nature of using words to describe images. (Artists are often asked to explain their visual work in words but I’ve never heard anyone ask an author to describe a novel by painting a picture.) Creating a visual image is based on intuition for the most part and decisions made in that process are not limited by the need to explain them. That’s why I love creating visuals – there are mysterious forces at work which I don’t really understand – or feel the need to.

I have been fortunate enough (I’d like to think talent played some part!) to work with some great artists who understood that intuition is vital. The ‘THAT’S IT!’ moment never comes from a long intellectual conversation – it more likely comes from an instinctive immediate reaction. There are a couple I’ll get to later, with PAUL McCARTNEY and with LED ZEPPELIN, where I was so sure which design they’d choose, I wrote on the back of it before the meeting – ‘You’ll choose this one.’ (Yes – Magic Tricks ARE an intrinsic part of presentations.)

DEF LEPPARD were a band I could rely on for instant reactions to artwork ideas. There was no pissing about. ‘Hysteria’ was a case in point. After working on the cover for close on a year, something Joe said made me abandon most of what I’d done and start again on the central image. In those days, and for such a major project, I had the luxury of time to develop ideas. Now, in the ‘I want it yesterday world’, there is often no time to consider and re-think – budgets and schedules catagorically deny it. I have turned down important work on occasion, simply because the time-frame imposed would have been hugely destructive to the creative process. I simply can’t produce half-arsed work that ultimately I’m unhappy with and almost certainly will damage reputation.

For those of you unfamiliar with DEF LEPPARD’s history, after the phenomenal success of ‘Pyromania’, (in 1984 the band were voted favourite band in the US – ahead of peers like THE ROLLING STONES and AC/DC), the next few years recording ‘Hysteria’ proved to be tragic and challenging on so many different levels. On New Years Eve,1984, Rick Allen, Def Leppard’s drummer, swerved off the road on a sharp bend near Sheffield and crashed into a drystone wall. He lost his arm. I can’t begin to imagine how Rick and the band dealt with the tragedy but what I do know is that their unswerving loyalty to their drummer and friend must have positively contributed to the the quality and impact of one of the biggest albums in rock history – ‘Hysteria’. A one-armed drummer? Surely, most bands would have considered finding a new drummer, however difficult it might be emotionally. Not DEF LEPPARD – it was not an option – they never sought a replacement.

Rick realized, after practising drumming on pillows, that he could use his legs to do some drumming previously done with his arms. He then worked with a pioneering British electronic company, Simmons, to design a customised electronic drum kit. Rick’s triumphant comeback was sealed at the 1986 Donnington ‘Monsters of Rock’ festival with a huge and  emotionally charged ovation when he was introduced by Joe Elliott.

Earlier that year the band had moved to Dublin. Robert John “Mutt” Lange, who produced ‘Pyromania’ began to work with the band on ‘Hysteria’. He retired from the project suffering from exhaustion. Pressure from their record company, clearly aware the band were on the cusp of megastardom, was intense – afraid the momentum built up by ‘Pyromania’ would be lost. Q Prime, the band’s management, in typically anarchistic but humourous style, got so pissed off by relentless requests from the record company demanding a release date, they asked me to design t-shirts for meetings which pre-empted executive questions. Working my way through my DEF LEPPARD archives of artwork (they’re huge), I came across the artwork for two of them …

I wish Lep fans could see the DL archives. All the artwork is on boards – singles, posters, tour programmes, calendars and promotional material. There is something about artwork with printer’s instruction overlays. They have an artistic value of their own, and obviously each is an original piece.

I’ve always envisaged an exhibition of the original artwork for DEF LEPPARD (the ones above are 2 of hundreds of pieces). I’m sure hardcore fans would be interested in the process that’s involved – how the work they know so well was physically created. Any ideas?

Before I began the DEF LEPPARD series of blogs I re-discovered the original sketch for the ‘Hysteria’ sleeve – created using colour pencils. So was the final artwork, but there is something about the preparatory sketch – an isolated image, not the final combination of all the elements, which is very powerful. I’ve said before that some of my favourite work is unpublished and this image is right up there with the best of them. I began a few weeks ago to publish some work on my website and I’ve recently created a Limited (there’ll only be 200) Edition of the illustration. Visit andieairfix.com to check it out.


which neatly brings us to …


Eight months into the artwork for an eagerly awaited album, I flew to Holland to meet the band where they were recording. The trip was one of the most challenging, upsetting and productive I’d ever had with the band. The working title of the album for a long time was ‘Animal Instinct’ and for months Adrian Baumgartner, an incredibly talented artist and perfectionist, had worked on the cover illustration. I showed it to Joe and he said, ‘It’s brilliant Andie, but don’t you think it looks a bit ‘laboured?’. Laboured? My heart sank. Adrian had worked with such intensity and concentration on the illustration for 5 or 6 hours a day producing about 4 square inches a month. Although the final work was astonishingly accomplished containing unbelievable detail, Joe was absolutely right – it lacked a vital spontaneity. ‘And,’ said Joe, ‘we’ve changed the title to ‘Hysteria.’ I had to start again.

On the plane back to London I gradually accepted that after months of work I had to find something more intuitive, dynamic and more fearsome. I was also dreading telling Adrian. My introspective musings, however, were constantly interrupted by Marc Lebon. At the cutting edge of photography (and outrageous behaviour) he had been shooting pictures of the band at the same time I was there. We discovered we were both coincidentally on the same plane back to London. We decided to  meet up in Amsterdam and had a crazy, extremely enjoyable night roaming around the infamous red light district – the emphasis being on the word ‘extreme’. Without going into too many details, let’s say the early morning plane had to accommodate two individuals who were smashed to high heaven. Marc, as part of our previous night’s entertainment had bought a couple of explicit porn novels and he decided halfway through the journey that he wanted to read extracts from them to me. It wouldn’t necessarily have been much of a problem except for one thing – he was sitting six rows behind me! An innocent adopted entourage of passengers were unwillingly (for the most part) subjected to an unrelenting bombardment of sexual scenarios they really didn’t want to hear over breakfast. Fortunately the flight was very short and by the time embarrassed passengers became a potential lynch mob, we landed at Heathrow and beat a hasty retreat before the police and airport authorities could act on the demands of our shocked and outraged fellow fliers.

Next time … more on ‘Hysteria’ – there’s so much …

Def Leppard

November 16, 2009

NEXT … 14. DEF LEPPARD – Part One

I hope you all watched ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me‘ at the end of  Blog 12. The Blog now hits the Rock’n’Roll Rollercoaster big time with DEF LEPPARD. Designing, amongst others, the ‘Pyromania‘ and ‘Hysteria‘ albums, I spent a lot of time with the band over several years in many different countries – experiencing first-hand the incredible highs and tragic events which shaped one of the most successful bands in the world. There are stories which reflect on both, some hilarious rock’n’roll moments and insights into designing the artwork for the ‘Hysteria’ sleeve. (an album which sold over 20,000,000 copies worldwide)

– it took over a year!