PUNKROCKPAPERSCISSORS: Xeroxed Punk Flyers = Art
An interview with the man who photocopied a shitload of flyers and made a book out of it.
In case you think that the internet has always existed, we have news for you. It didn't. In the days before the web, people found out about punk and hardcore shows through wheatpasted flyers designed by everyone from fans to promoters to acclaimed artists such as Raymond Pettibon. No one knows about this better than Lee Loughridge who came up with the idea to compile his and his buddies' collection of flyers into book form over a decade ago.
Although it took a long time (and one failed Kickstarter attempt), Loughridge—who works as a comic colorist as his day job—eventually hooked up with Image Comics who agreed to a widespread release of PUNKROCKPAPERSCISSORS this month, a tribute to 80s punk and hardcore that features over 600 flyers from the likes of Minor Threat, Dead Kennedys, Youth Of Today, and Agnostic Front, as well as special sections devoted to Black Flag and Glenn Danzig's musical projects.
We caught up with Loughridge to discuss how PUNKROCKPAPERSCISSORS came together, what it was like to scan 600 flyers, and the not-so-secret connection between the punk and comic worlds.
Noisey: What was the catalyst for this project?
Lee Loughridge: I was literally in my attic looking for something and I stumbled the flyers that I had kept in a box this whole time. I collected them like crazy in high school and then when I went to college, I put them up in my room in this apartment I had and everyone who came over tripped out on them. I always hung out with guys in the hardcore or punk scene and they’d all bring their flyers. A lot of guys gave me theirs and I kept them and started going through them thirteen years ago.
So how did PUNKROCKPAPERSCISSORS come together?
Once I took the box downstairs and started looking through the stuff I was like, “Fuck! I’ve gotta do something with these. I have a theory on art; I don’t like a description of a piece because I think it’s narcissistic and it also leads you in a direction. I didn’t want any real writing in the book, I just wanted it to be flyers. Then I called my buddy Danny Sternaimolo who was in his thirties but still lived with his parents and had this bedroom exactly how it was in high school, so I called him and said, "I know you have your flyers" and he responded, “They’re still on my wall!” Finally, I went to art school with this guy Art Ottimo who was from New Jersey as well. He was the biggest Misfits freak in college so he could cover all the Misfits and Danzig stuff and he agreed to help out with those sections.
The actual scanning of them must have been insane.
Yeah, I met some other people who started contributing and then I just started scanning, you know, putting the book together. I did it over the course of a couple of months while I was a comic artist. So we put it all together and I went to publishers I knew ten years ago that I had worked with and no one really bit so then I eventually did a Kickstarter and it failed because the cost of the books was too much to print. But then I hooked up with my friend Ron Richards at Image and he gave me a print break so it would only cost five grand to make. I only wanted to make it if people wanted it. I was like, if 40 people respond, fuck it. I guess it’s only cool to me and 40 people. But I think we got close to 300. And, you know, it went pretty well. Then I sent Ron a PDF before my hardcovers were even printed and they offered to publish it. My only stipulation was no hardcover because that’s for the Kickstarter people.
Have you had any issues with the legality of printing the flyers or is it fair use?
No, the only thing I have had is people reach out to me that have done some of the flyers. And they were stoked. I’m not buying a boat off of this thing. [Laughs.] This is not a money maker by any means. I intentionally made the cover of the book black because, you know, if I had a Black Flag flyer on the front of the book then I’d expect Henry to give me some shit because that would be some crazy bullshit. But could he? I don’t know.
Do you feel like there's a lot of crossover between the punk and comic worlds?
For me, yeah. I don’t know about anyone else but there are a lot of guys and girls like me that are into comics and flyers because I think the culture’s the same. I consider Image to be the comic punk rock company. They’re just doing it their way, it’s kind of a pseudo-DIY thing. You know, they’re putting everything in the creator’s hands and they kind of sit back and handle the nuts and bolts of it. With this book, I don’t have a contract. I hate contracts, I don’t like signing. My girlfriend always gives me shit, like, “You gotta protect yourself!” I don’t care. Let’s just put it out, we’ll figure it out later.
It's crazy that something like this didn't already exist.
Yeah, I'm sure you've seen Fucked Up + Photocopied and I'm not sure when that came out but by the time I saw the book I already had mine pretty much put together and I was a little pissed. I was like, "Damn, someone did one.” But one, I was pissed because that title was so good—and then I saw the book and I was like, “Oh this isn’t what I’m doing at all.” First of all, that is a West Coast book if I’ve ever seen one. It also is a lot more literary in the sense that, like I said earlier, I just wanted to do a book about flyers and didn't care what anyone in the bands had to say about them because they didn’t make the flyers. You know, some 16-year-old girl in her basement made it. [Laughs]
That's actually a pretty cool book idea.
Yeah, it would probably be cooler to find all the people that made all the flyers and interview them. But that’s a pretty big undertaking. It could be good for a second volume.
Jonah Bayer still has a Phil Collins poster on his bedroom wall. Follow him on Twitter - @mynameisjonah