Tales From Noise (Part 3: Watchtower)

28 Nov

Apart from the usual heavy or metal acts there were a few more intrinsic bands on the Noise Records label – the most famous of course Celtic Frost from Switzerland, who mixed opera singers, gothic concepts and glam rock with their Trash Metal sound (and who were initially signed as a laugh because the Noise boss thought their demo tape was the “the worst music I ever listened to”…).

And then there was Watchtower. In summer 1989 we were approached by label manager Birgit Nielsen to design a »metal cover that doesn’t look like a metal cover«. And no, there would be no band photo on the front – because »the boys look like Depeche Mode«.

So while the band was recording at Skytrack Studios across the street, we churned out sketches and cover dummies for an album probably to be called »Control And Resistance«.

Like these:

The final choice was a Weimar-style illustration of a tower combined with the angry dog from one of the early try-outs.

Next a big artwork was created.

1989 was the time of the multiple choice products – a new album was usually released as a vinyl pressing, a compact disc and a cassette. It was decided to show a different part of the artwork on the various formats, and the background was criticised as being »too arty«, so it was replaced by a picture of the local butcher’s cutting board. And yes, there were a couple of band photos in the end, taken in Berlin by Martin Becker.

NOISE 0140 was released in October 1989. A reissue is currently available from Cherry Red.

Observations On The Crimson King

31 Oct
King Crimson 1969
King Crimson 1971

King Crimson 1972
King Crimson 1973
King Crimson 1974
King Crimson 1980s
King Crimson 1990s
King Crimson Today…

News from DC

26 Aug
It’s real…

From the sketchbook

17 May

News from the wondering boy

30 Mar
Covers for a new 5-CD set…

Finally: The Alabama Box

5 Jan

Another BE-Sharp box of 1950s & 1960s Oddball Labels

Following The Texas Box, The Michigan Box and The Florida Box comes The Alabama Box – another fabulous collection of rare rockabilly, wild instrumentals and rockers, featuring hundreds of Alabama acts from independent labels like REED RECORDS, JUDD, LOYAL, SANDY, TUNE RECORDS and many more. The stunning hardcover book presents the original 7“ labels, information about the artists, producers and record companies, and collector’s guides (including current values) for every song.

The box includes 8 CDs in jewel-cases, jam-packed with 238 tracks, remastered from the best available sources, plus a big 12 x 12“ hardcover book with 136 pages in glorious colour.

If you’re looking for prime greasy, primitive, stompin’, rockin’ goodies – then you’ve got ten hours of the finest ahead of you!

The box is currently available from Bear Family   and JPC.







Greater American Saturday Night: Bobby Bare and Shel Silverstein Celebrated On Bear Family Box — The Second Disc

12 Aug

What do you get when you combine one of country’s most underrated outlaws and one of the 20th century’s most beloved poets? A new box set from Bear Family will answer that question across eight incredible discs. Bobby Bare Sings Shel Silverstein Plus collects more than 100 tunes the unlikely duo collaborated on during Bare’s…

via Greater American Saturday Night: Bobby Bare and Shel Silverstein Celebrated On Bear Family Box — The Second Disc


A Package From Bobby

27 Apr


My Old Desk (…today)

1 Apr

On The Dole: Destination Unknown!

22 Feb

Clientelle came from St. Albans, UK and in 1981 they released the now extremely hard to find »Destination Unknown« album. Considered a NWOBHM masterpiece the album perfectly blends heavy and loud metal with frenetic powerpop and punk. The local paper described them as »hard rockers with a pop edge«, but with the album becoming a cult item, that was it. Destination Unknown, indeed.

That is, until the good people of Sweden’s On The Dole Records got wind of it.

Last year OTD released three albums – a reissue of the legendary (some say, notorious) Hand Of Doom album and two volumes of »Jobcentre Rejects«: Nuggets-style compilations of rare and mostly obscure singles from UK bands associated with the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal scene. And each of these releases was a thing of beauty (even if we say so ourselves). Not only is the music carefully remastered to sound as powerful as originally intended, there’s informative sleeve notes with rare pictures, extras like posters, badges, T-shirts, colored vinyl editions, and OTD’s eye for detail ensures that the gatefolds come in heavy cardboard – they probably make whoosh when you open them (like we used to say in the 70s).


So it was exciting news when we were asked to design a new sleeve for a proper vinyl reissue of the Clientelle album. The first idea was to clean up and »remaster« all elements of the original cover and rebuild a new one – but this still looked like a DIY job and seemed too austere.

Next we re-arranged some of these elements and added new layers. This, unfortunately, turned out looking a bit like a car crash in Alice’s Wonderland and yer usual mid-70s prog sleeve.

Then OTD suggested trying to come up with something that »looked like it should have looked in 1981« and which would actually represent the music (who’d have thought?). And finally everything clicked and fell into place:

Like the other On The Dole releases, Clientelle’s »Destination Unknown« (OTD 006) comes in vinyl and CD configurations, and is available at your local record emporium or via Bandcamp