Pagan Babies Knuckle Ring | Art: Bruce Boyd
For me hardcore has always been a multi-sensory experience. While the music and the message are ultimately paramount, nothing can touch that intangible initial reaction, that immediate, know-it-when-you-see-it connection born out of certain bands record and shirt artwork. From Pushead's infamous rendition of destruction on SSD's “Get It Away” to the cryptic (now iconic) flaming head on Dag Nasty's “Can I Say”, select imagery left in me a deep-rooted impression I would forever associate with the music's identity and zeitgeist.
Bruce Boyd shredding the kit for The Pagan Babies | Photo: Ken Salerno
One band whose record covers and shirts made just as much of an impression on me as their music is Philadelphia's most underrated band: The Pagan Babies. From their first rehearsals in the Fall of 1986 to their last shows in the Winter of 89, the Pagan Babies left their mark on the East Coast Hardcore Scene leaving just two records in their midst: The "Immaculate Conception" 7” and their one and only full-length, “Next".
While I got into "Immaculate Conception" enough to keep it in steady rotation, I'll never forget the intense, visceral connection I felt when their graffiti-covered follow-up LP, “Next” dropped like a spray-painted subway bomb at my local record shop.
Combining the best elements of urban danger and hardcore hardness-with-class, “Next” just looked cool as fuck. I remember thinking it was so sick that the artist who created this chromatic, instantly-classic piece of art was also the band's drummer. And the best part was… the record was every bit as great as the cover.
Pagan Babies, "Next" LP, Hawker Records | Art: Bruce Boyd
Fast forward roughly 20 years and The Pagan Babies decide to get together for a one-off reunion show. All that was on my mind that night, other than checking out their set, was to finally meet Bruce Boyd face-to-face… and bug him to do a piece for my band, Triple Threat. As it turns out, Bruce was incredibly cool and surprisingly into the idea of laying it down Pagan Babies style for TT.
Early sketch of Triple Threat's NJSE Shirt | Art: Bruce Boyd
Tim (TT singer/DCXX co-editor) and I explained to Bruce what we were after which was essentially a straight edge hybrid of the Pagan Babies graffiti crossed with some pissed looking Release style hooded soldiers in Champion sweatshirts. The final product is the culmination of 20 years of influence and appreciation executed flawlessly by Bruce B., the same guy who had created the (in my mind) masterpiece that is the cover of "Next".
While we don't generally try to sell stuff here, we thought in this case you might want to grab one of these suckers while they're still around.
CHECK OUT THE SHIRTS HERE
Triple Threat, "NJSE" Shirt | Art: Bruce Boyd
Ed McKirdy | Livewire Records
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Ed McKirdy gives the scoop on Triple Threat's "NJSE Edge Shirt" as created by artist and Pagan Babies drummer Bruce Boyd
Posted by DOUBLE CROSS at 11:02 PM