Archive for the ‘LITA-LTD’ Category

FRIENDS OF LITA Q&A WITH TIM KERR

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

406341_468714336481775_2145545092_n

Earlier this year we reissued two albums from pioneering Austin, Texas hardcore band, The Big Boys. We were lucky enough to get to ask guitarist Tim Kerr some questions recently. Below we talk about jazz, traditional Irish music and Dadaism with the guy whose smile is too big for emojis. Instead, he actually writes out the word “smile.” How’s that for DIY? (Smile.)

Big Boys albums, shirts, and skateboard decks are available on our site.

 

Is it true that you started out playing traditional/acoustic music mostly? If so, how did you transition to punk?

Up until late junior high (‘68/’69) it was pretty much AM radio and the soul station my oldest brother listened to. I started to listen to FM radio back when it was pretty much free form and gravitated to British/Scottish/Irish folk with a good dose of Country blues. Nick Drake, John Martyn, Bert Jansch but also things like early James Taylor (on Apple), David Crosby, etc. But seeing Richie Havens on the WoodStock film led me to alternative tunings and I was hooked. I was the weird kid in high school because while all my so-called peers were listening to Deep Purple, James Gang, etc. I was listening to Pentangle and Bruce Cockburn. The only Led Zeppelin record I owned was the 3rd one because of all the acoustic stuff on it.

I have said before many times that it was not the music that initially pulled me in to the DIY/punk scene, it was the community of it. The idea that ANYONE could participate in some way (fanzines, photos, posters, bands). The crowd was just as important as the band. I thought that was the greatest thing ever, and hook line and sinker, I was in.

sayIT

You have a mind-bogglingly eclectic range of musical interests and you’re a multi-media visual artist as well. What, if anything, would you say is the through line that connects all of your various creative pursuits?

Self-expression and the idea to keep seeking. Period. We all have it inside and it’s a shame when folks don’t participate in their own definition of it. I, for one, do it because I have to. Like breathing, I need it to feel/be alive.

GilScott

Your music seems to always have been closely tied to ideals of social justice and activism. What are your thoughts on the relationship between music (and art) and political/social issues? Can the two influence one another? Should they? And could you explain the idea behind the Young Lions Conspiracy?

I believe that actions cause reactions. To each his own, but I just feel that if I am sending things out into the world, I want it to be something that might cause some sort of a positive reaction. I am living proof of the idea that you really have no idea when and what musical or visual thought might stick with someone else and in turn cause them to act. The Rodriguez story is a great example. What is going on around you is going to influence your thoughts even if you will not admit it. As for the Young Lion Conspiracy, thats a couple of volumes, sonic and written, to put into words (smile).

Malcom

Was there ever a time in your creative career when you doubted the worth of artistic endeavor, say in the face of disheartening social issues or other real-world challenges?

As I said before, what I do is what I do to live/breathe/feel alive. What I do is always some sort of reaction to things going on around me or something that I feel is maybe being missed by others. I don’t really have doubt concerning the question of doing something, only doubt in the processes and how to maybe go about them when I have that doubt. I think for me, there are more times that I am surprised that something I did resonated with someone else (big smile).

Who (or what movements) are your biggest artistic influences in terms of your visual art?

The 60s, which I grew up through. All the crazy visuals of that time along with the different groups of people making their stands. As far as actual painters, I was always more into someone like Van Gogh where you could actually see the paint sticking up… You could see “his hand” in it. I always knew that art was everywhere we looked if we would just “see,” but being in Garry Winogrand’s classes brought that idea to a truth. I love art that is made because it has to be made, has to come out of that person and consumes them until it does. Visionary, graffiti, etc. Like music, I am not interested in self-expression that is solely made in the hopes of fame, recognition, or money. For me, that output never has “soul,” but whatever… To each his own.

In a previous interview, Chris Gates stated that punk started out being something you couldn’t do wrong because there were no rules, but that by the early 1980s that began to change and a more regimented and narrow view took hold. Are there contemporary bands now that you would describe as being “punk”?

One of my favorite lines that Chris said! (big smile) I have always told people we were playing DIY (smile). As soon as you give something a “name,” here come the rules, regulations, and uniform. DaDa, Beatnik, Hippie, Punk, Mod, etc. ALL came from the seeds of DIY in the beginning. A group of people not liking the choices given to them, so they made their own choices. Me and my friends will always be whatever they call it next. Self-expression is not supposed to have boundaries, so why confine it? Call it Self-Expression, and lets leave it at that (big smile).

coltrane

monk

Jazz music and figures seem to be a motif in much of your visual art. What does jazz mean to you? Has it influenced your music as well as your art?

I first got into Jazz because of my, now, wife’s mom when I had first started high school. I heard her Dave Brubeck records and it grew from there. Up until the early 90′s I was really into soul jazz and cool jazz. John Coltrane was a big inspiration, but anything from Love Supreme on was a bit much and too out there (sad smile). Through friends, thankfully, I became “enlightened” by Pharaoh Sanders, SunRa, the Art Ensemble, etc. And all the doors and windows inside of me blew wide open to all the endless possibilities. I am SO thankful to my friends.

You’ve mentioned Dadaism in passing in previous interviews. As a rejection of reason and logic, in favor of nonsense and intuition, dadaism seems like a pretty punk movement. What is your experience with dadaism? Do you believe that meaninglessness/randomness is essential to tapping into self-expression and creative flow?

Nobody ever seems to catch that. Yes, Biscuit was gay, BUT even more so, he completely embraced the idea of Dadaism. The idea of being so absurd that people have to stop and reevaluate their thoughts on what is being presented to them. The idea that art is everywhere if you just open up to the thought of that idea. The more you broaden your “vocabulary,”  the more you will hear, see, feel, taste, etc.

You’ve also said in interviews that nowadays you’re primarily playing traditional Irish music. Do you see connections between traditional folk and punk?

There is a purpose to that music, and it’s also the whole idea of community and anyone can come participate in his/her own way.

What projects are you working on at the moment that you’re are excited about? Any upcoming shows?

I tell people all the time that I am extremely honored and humbled and proud of all that I have gotten to be a part of, but I am not dead yet, and I hope I haven’t seen the best thing to come! (smile) There is a mini art tour coming up that is based on the idea of doing with art what we were all doing with music in the late 70s early 80s–booking shows and going on tour and sharing information. If we could get some sort of circuit going where artists could come into your town and put up art for a night or two just like bands and their music, we could turn the art world upside-down in the same way the music world was turned back in the 80s. There are more murals in the future, music with my friend Rich Jacobs and maybe some recordings. Up Around The Sun too. Art shows in San Jose and Tokyo and next summer a solo show at the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery. Really honored by that one!

Jamie&tim

                                                                                              (Tim and a friend performing. Tim is on the right.)

Up Around the Sun is a new release of old time music by Tim and Jerry Hagins.

FRIENDS OF LITA | Q&A WITH ISAC WALTER AKA MINOR THREAD

Friday, September 26th, 2014
Isac_Walter-10-copy

Image by Stephen Zeigler for Alternative Apparel

Isac Walter is the patron saint of band shirts, a merch evangelist, a cotton crusader. It all began back in July of 2011, when the LA-based music lover started a Tumblr to document his attempt at wearing a different band shirt every day for 1,000 days. He thought maybe he’d make it to day 500, but today marks his 1171st post. Three years and counting. More than just a hobby, Isac’s collection is the fruit of an evangelical attitude toward music–an attitude that is helping to keep music alive and well.

LITA enlisted Isac’s help in remaking some Big Boys tees to go along with the reissues of Lullabies Help the Brain Grow and No Matter How Long The Line At The Cafeteria, There’s Always A Seat. We had the opportunity to talk to Isac… you know, just shootin’ the shirt. (Don’t miss the moment where the man of a thousand and one shirts says he hates clutter…)

By the way, the shirts, vinyl and other Big Boys stuff are available on our site.

What shirt best describes your adolescence? What’s the oldest shirt you have?

I’m not entirely sure. It’s really hard to say, cause I have so many. Some shirts I have replaced that were lost so technically I haven’t had them that long. But if you put a gun to my head I might think it was a Big Drill Car shirt.

tumblr_m3kell80Kp1qz9uino1_500

As someone who recently lost her favorite shirt of all time (a custom black Os Mutantes shirt given to me by my boyfriend), what is the most significant shirt that you have lost and why? Any tips for those of us suffering a loss?

I used to have this Fifteen / Green Day shirt that I bought on Valentine’s Day once. It was a show at Gilman St. in Berkeley. I remember really having a great time at that show. The girl I went with took the shirt and 20 years later she facebooked me to say Hi and one of my first questions was, ‘Do you still have that shirt????’ Many years later I recovered it on ebay from a seller who was also at that show. I emailed her and let her know I was at that show too and she felt my pain and sold it to me cheap.

tumblr_n4rark0YMI1qz9uino1_500

What shirt (real or not) do you most want to add to your collection?

I don’t know. I mean, I love shirts, but I would think it’s probably a shirt that I don’t even know exists, you know? Like some one-off shirt the Smiths made for a Meat Is Murder one-off show, you know?

What is the most embarrassing shirt you own? Do you get rid of or trade shirts for bands you don’t like any more, or do you keep them as reminders of that confused time in your life, like regrettable tattoos?

Hands down it is a Lily Allen shirt. But in my defense, it was for a show that I put on while working at Myspace. And I only made like 20. So maybe somewhere out there, there is a Lily Allen fan who is jealous of that one. Doubtful, though.

Not only are you a wealth of knowledge regarding vintage band shirts, but you have the artistic ability to recreate such designs for shirt reissues. What’s you favorite shirt that you yourself made? How did you make it? And generally, how do you make custom shirts? You mentioned in a previous interview that redrawing original artwork can take as many as 20-30 hours– what are you doing during that time?

I don’t have a lot of favorites, I mean I do but I’ve only kept like my 500 favorite shirts out of the 3K+ I have made, ya know? I think the ones that are my favorites are the ones I make that friends and people get super excited about, that they always think should have been made but never were. Or the re-makes of shirts that are super rare and cost $500 on ebay and there is no way anyone would ever be able to afford them unless they owned a time machine. Ironically, sometimes I will make a shirt and it will cost me more to make the shirt than it would to buy the original, but at least I can wear it guilt-free and spill pasta sauce on it and not wanna kill myself.

For the most part I will find an original of a shirt, take a picture of it on a copy stand (a camera mounted on a post with lights), then literally blow the image up in PS and redraw the entire image from scratch using a Wacom tablet (here is where I get real nerdy). You can open a picture or a drawing in PS and zoom in to about 700% right before you start to see actual pixels that are square shaped. Then you re-draw that. That is the time consuming part, but it is as accurate as you can possibly be, I think, without having the original artwork file.

When you are redrawing someone’s art, you can start to recreate brush strokes and see how it is that they painted or drew the originals. You figure out if it was pencil, brush, or marker, and try to mimic that look. Then you have to compensate for printing, because when the shirt is printed the lines bleed. You have bad print jobs, offset printing fuck-ups. You also have to make adjustments for the yahoo who printed a shirt in 1980 in their garage and didn’t know what mesh to use. So you have to have some printing knowledge to adjust all this. THEN there are the font issues. In 1985 there was no computer or PS to type out fonts. So you have to try to match fonts that don’t really exist. Back in that era they used a lot of hand drawn fonts or rub-on lettering. I would say the font is by far the most challenging aspect to get accurate. Most people probably don’t even notice it, but it stares back into my face every time I see it. The files are the easy part.

Then I make films and burn screens and try to match inks. I want every shirt to be printed like it might have been in that era–same inks, same thickness. And I will purposefully print on shirts that have the look and feel of an older shirt so they wash and wear out the same way. I like to match the original era as much as possible.

How did you come to be involved in the Big Boys project and what was your process for making the shirts?

Well Pat at LITA asked me, I think he’d read my blog and thought that I would be into the idea. I am a fan of the band and I really love the idea of re-issuing a record with a piece of merch that might have been out at that time. I tried to make something that I thought the band would have made themselves, given the opportunity, to accompany that piece of music.

Looking through your archives, one of the shirts I was most jealous of was your Magnolia Electric Co. shirt. And I loved the entry you wrote to accompany it. I have been a Songs: Ohia/Jason Molina fan for years. I also love that you were not just a fan and a listener, but that you tried to make sure that others knew Songs: Ohia and Molina as well. It seems like you stand up for what you believe to be right within music, fighting for the music you love to get recognition. Did you consciously take on this mission with your Tumblr or did it just happen as your interests deepened?

No, I don’t think I took it on consciously, but I do feel like if you love something, you should tell people about it. They will want to know. That’s how great bands get passed around. If you can tell someone is passionate about something, you will listen. I have discovered many great bands myself that way. Sometimes when I am writing posts I think, why do I do this? No one gives a shit or reads this?!?! But then I think, who cares, and if only one person discovers one great record or band from me doing this then I have done my small part in helping the music that I love. That person will tell people and those people will tell people. I guess it’s the exact definition of organic discovery.

tumblr_n2jk5xG4gM1qz9uino1_500

Since the decline of record sales in recent years, bands are relying more and more on the sale of tickets and merch as a source of income. Do you think the current state of the music industry has affected ancillary markets such as merch? Do you see things changing any time soon? Would you want them to?

I used to love buying albums and CDs. I love packaging. But more and more I find myself asking, why did I buy a physical version? I love artwork and packaging, but I hate clutter. I find that if a band puts up a digital version with a shirt I will always buy that. Kill two birds with one stone. Support the band, get a shirt. And then I can go around advertising that band on my body– a win for us all. Sadly no, I don’t think it will change, but who knows… Twenty years ago if you told me I wouldn’t buy CD’s anymore I would have laughed in your face.

What shirt are you wearing at this very moment? What projects are you currently working on that you wouldn’t mind letting us in on?

Today’s shirt is a King Tuff shirt ironically from the Sub Pop pre-order for Black Moon Spell. It’s an album that I have been listening to a lot and I really love this band. The nerd in me hopes they get giant and make tons more albums with many guitar jams on them… As for other projects, you’d be surprised that I plan about 1 day in advance. Most of the time I am listening to a band and I just start to goof off on the computer and next thing you know I have 5 shirt designs. It sounds cheesy but the music dictates what I’m going to do next.

What shirt design would you most like to reissue and why? What other album/shirt reissues would you love to see happen? What does the future of Minor Thread look like? When’s the coffee table book coming out and will it have ‘sleeves’? (Get it?)

I want every New Order shirt remade. That band now has the worst merch and it makes me sad. Back in the day it used to be so good. Now you see it and it’s just boring. So yeah, the first four New Order albums and shirts would be great.

As for a book, I have no idea. It would have to be so giant and so elaborate… I’d just be happy to see a book of merch that isn’t full of obvious stuff like the Rolling Stones and the Clash and what not. I enjoy the more obscure niche stuff.

Big Boys Tees!

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

bigboyshirts

All your shirts dirty? You could do laundry, or you could just get yourself a brand new shirt instead like our Big Boys tees we did in collaborating with Minor Thread. The shirts feature two different original designs, “Skate for Fun“ and “Lullabies Help the Brain Grow.” Make your mama proud with a clean shirt while also celebrating your favorite funky punks. Or make your mama concerned by wearing it with a tutu, christmas lights, and some sandwiches (like Biscuit). Order your tee today from LightInTheAttic.net.

- Silk-screened tee featuring original designs.
- Official limited edition reissue

Free Basin’ Friday | Big Boys Tees!

Friday, August 15th, 2014

LITA_Free_Basin_Friday_logo_22-675x351

It’s Friday, baby! You know what that means, right? Time for some free stuff! This week for Free Basin’ Friday, we’re giving away two kinds of limited edition Big Boys shirts designed by Minor Thread x Light In The Attic (available in sizes S-XL).

bigboyshirts

Big Boys zealously embraced the DIY punk philosophy and would famously end each show with the foursome shouting, “OK y’all, go start your own band!” So for this week’s give away, we want you to come up with 3 band names for your fictional punk band. Please provide your answers in the comment box below. Winners will be chosen next Friday and notified via email. 

Free Basin’ Friday | LITA Survival Pack

Friday, March 28th, 2014

LITA_Free_Basin_Friday_logo_22-675x351

Friday at last! Time for another installment of Free Basin’ Friday. This week we’re giving away a Light In The Attic survival pack: tote bag, patch, slipmat and the latest issue of our zine (available April 19th for Record Store Day).

litapack

To win this week’s prize, we would like you to tell us what your favorite Light In The Attic release is and why. The winner will be chosen next Friday via email.

Light In The Attic Tote Bags On Sale Now!

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Toat Bag_Product Shot

Having trouble carrying all your favorite Light In The Attic records around? Worry not, with the official Light In The Attic tote bag you can now carry a whole plethora of LPs, EPs and 7’’s! Each tote bag features the Light In The Attic logo, designed by artist Drew Christie, screen printed on 100% cotton fabric.

Toat-Bag

Supplies are limited so pick one up today from LITA-LTD!

Rodriguez Tee’s by Rotter & Friends!

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

This is not a song, it’s a T-Shirt! Another harmonious collaboration with our pal Jess Rotter at Rotter & Friends, this super soft American Apparel Tee features a rhythmic illustration of the Sugar Man himself!

Available in sizes Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, and XX-Large.

Crucify your closet! Head to LightInTheAttic.net to snag one.  Remember, Rodriguez receives royalties for each sale, so don’t be shy!

Photos by David Black

Light In The Attic at WFMU’s Record Fair in New York City! ***CANCELLED**

Monday, October 29th, 2012

***WFMU 2012 Record Fair has been cancelled, due to Hurricane Sandy***

Despite hell and high water, Light In The Attic is coming to sling wax at this year’s WFMU record fair in New York City! For those of you who don’t already know, WFMU’s record fair is like heaven for us music junkies, with over 10,000 square feet of LPs, CDs, 45s, DVDs, and much much more. The fair takes place in Manhattan’s own Metropolitan Pavilion ( 125 West 18th Street), November 2nd – 4th. Admission is 7 bucks, or you can shell out a hefty $25 to get in early and have first dibs!

Seek out the Light In The Attic booth for all kinds of exciting tunes. We’ll have lots of great LITA titles available including the first pressing of the Searching For Sugar Man soundtrack by Rodriguez on limited white vinyl, Ray Stinnett‘s previously unreleased masterpiece A Fire Somewhere, the last of our limited edition Donnie & Joe Emerson Dreamin’ Wild hand numbered cassettes, and much much more!

We’ll also have a lot of hot distro titles for sale by Death Waltz Recordings, Dark Entries, Pharaway Sounds, etc!

Not to mention all of the LITA-LTD. merch- Lee Hazlewood, Rodriguez, Louvin Brothers and Light In The Attic Tee’s and totes to name a few. Be sure to mention the code word “rattlesnakes” at check out to receive 20% off your purchase!

We hope to see y’all there. Stay safe until then, we’re thinking of you.

LITA 7″ Series – Sweet Tea (members of The Black Angels & Heartless Bastards) cover Wendy Rene’s “After Laughter (Comes Tears)”

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Sweet Tea featuring Alex Maas (The Black Angels) & Erika Wennerstrom / Jesse Ebaugh (Heartless Bastards)
“After Laughter (Comes Tears)” (2012) b/w Wendy Rene “After Laughter (Comes Tears)” (1964) | 7″ 45 RPM | LITA 45-022
Pre-order now at LightInTheAttic.net - Ships Tuesday October 23, 2012 | In stores October 30, 2012

Celebrating Light In The Attic’s 10 year anniversary in 2012, we are releasing a series of very special colored vinyl 7”s and digital downloads. The series features contemporary artists covering a track reissued by Light In The Attic on the A-side, plus the original version on the B-side. First in the series was Iggy Pop & Zig Zag’s heavy psych-punk cover of Betty Davis’ “If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up”, out now here and at record stores world wide.

Second in the series we have Alex Maas of the Black Angels and Erika Wennerstrom / Jesse Ebaugh of Heartless Bastards (under the band name Sweet Tea) covering Wendy Rene’s ‘After Laughter Comes Tears’. Preserving the original song’s creepy organ and tortured soul, Sweet Tea adds deep dub bass and raw power. Wendy Rene’s original – beloved of Wu Tang Clan, who sampled it on ‘Tearz’ – was one of a handful of timeless soul songs she recorded with The Drapels and solo for Stax before retiring prematurely to raise a family.

A side is produced by Alex Maas / Brett Orrison and recorded at Out The Woodwork Studios, Austin, TX, July 2012. B side features the original Wendy Rene version as remastered by John Baldwin for our anthology of her work, After Laughter Comes Tears: Complete Stax & Volt Singles + Rarities 1964-1965. Design by Henry Owings, Chunklet Graphic Control.

+ Limited edition 7″ series on colored vinyl with custom LITA juke-box style sleeve in a poly bag with custom die-cut sticker
+ Other artists in the series include Iggy Pop & Zig Zags covering Betty Davis, Mark Lanegan covering Karen Dalton, and Charles Bradley & The Menahan Street Band covering Rodriguez. More releases in the series to be announced.

Donnie & Joe Emerson “Dreamin’ Wild” Limited Edition Hand-Numbered CASSETTE!!!

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

For last week’s 10 Year Anniversary concert in Seattle, which featured the first Donnie & Joe Emerson concert in 32 years (!), we pressed up a limited edition hand-numbered cassette (edition of 100) of Dreamin’ Wild for our pop up shop at the show. We have less than 50 left and are now offering those on LightInTheAttic.net. Come on, Dreamin’ Wild on cassette? They’re so baby! Grab ‘em now before they’re gone!