Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Monsters of Folk

Something unique to rock and roll bands is the very special and nearly impossible dynamic of several powerful creative artists collaborating and making it work as a group on all of the levels that the situation demands. It is fascinating in the extreme.

Well, I never did get to make a cover for the Beatles though I did collaborate with Paul and Linda McCartney on a songbook. We used lots of Linda’s photos and it was cool working with the two of them. It was lots of fun and laughs in clouds of smoke. More on that sometime soon.

I was blessed to be able to work with Crosby, Stills and Nash and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young starting when they were a bunch of young guys. That experience set me on the path I am still trodding today. Thanks pals.

The Eagles were a band I worked with on their first several albums. We made some damn amazing covers if I do say so myself. These guys mean a lot to me. Talk about story telling with images in concert with the music, how about Desperado?

Anyway, I digress in order to progress.

Monsters of Folk back coverThis year, 2009, has been a very good and creatively rewarding year. We finished Neil Young’ Archival box set Volume l which I worked on for twenty years and we had the great good fortune to be asked to collaborate with Conor Oberst, Jim James, Matt Ward and Mike Mogis on the artwork for their musical collaboration, Monsters of Folk.

All in a matter of two years since we met these fine young artists who are keeping alive the best things that happened back in the day, and we had the opportunity to work with them making art. I’ve already lived a couple of second childhoods so these opportunities with My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberst solo record and now MOF is like yet another flood of Love, trust, innocence, brotherhood and the spirit of fun and play common to being a child. As Neil says; I am a Child.

For the MOF package we wanted something classic and craftsman like so I looked for inspiration from the likes of Aubrey Beardsley and William Morris. Conor had suggested the idea of drawn portraits of the four band members and we were lucky enough to find a wonderful illustrator in Matthew Hollings a young artist from London, England. We had many trans Atlantic calls and emails back and forth with him coming up with a drawing style and composition that suited our needs. Beardsley and Morris made beautiful natural looking twisty vines and purely organic designs and that was the direction we settled on. For inspiration on the portrait drawings we used photos taken by Autumn DeWilde. Matthew did a terrific job of creating the drawn portraits. He managed to capture the spirit of each of these unique artists. The packages themselves utilize a template we originally created for Neil Young. I have always disliked a vinyl package that when you put it down the “mouths” gape open and look like a mistake. The MOF board packages for the vinyl and CD are smooth, classy construction that looks like someone cared and the board is this beautiful material that has a really fine look and touch that says “quality”. The paper board is produced by a paper company that I love because of their environmental stand. Mohawk paper first got my attention when I learned that their papers are produced utilizing wind generated power. We have had some very successful collaborations with them on paper stock including Neil Young’s archival box set.

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