VINTAGE ELBOHEAD T-SHIRT ON A DOG!


Another quickie today. Stavroula posted this photo on facebook today so, “thanks, Sula!”.

What you are looking at is just one in what would ultimately be a long line of ugly t-shirts my friends and I have printed over time to promote one thing or another.

It’s slightly odd because, upon reflecting, all of my friends are rather creative, visually talented individuals. Yet, for some reason we often made horrible decisions on colors when it came to t-shirts. I recall a Franklin shirt printed on a gloriously royal shade of purple. Brilliant. What makes it more incredible is that these shirts were pre-ironic ugly days that would haunt us in the 2000’s.

These Elbohead shirts, styled by Leyla Hanim, were printed sometime in 1991 to help generate some revenue to release records. As I mentioned before, we didn’t generate a lot of money from our releases so for every record we hoped to put out, creative thinking was a mandatory component of fundraising.

I had made a homemade Elbohead shirt and some folks had suggested selling them to raise revenue. Thus, we had these shirts printed professionally. I can’t remember how many we printed but it wasn’t too many, that’s for sure.

But, what is certain? They sure were ugly.

Apparently, Sula held onto this shirt for sometime. It’s nice to see it again.

RALPH UP CLOSE


I stumbled across this photo of Franklin playing quite randomly. A fella by the name of Bryan Sargent (why does that name sound familiar?) has a flickr page with thousands of photos. Towards the end, there’s a whole slew of interesting shots taken in Philadelphia of several bands including The Smash Everyone Jazz Quartet, Spirit Assembly and several others…

Make sure you go take a peek!

No details available about this picture but it sure is Ralph up close and personal.

FRANKLIN “GO KID GO” ORIGINAL LP ART

Occasionally I get emails in regards to this blog. Occasionally I even respond to those emails! My delay in responding is not because I don’t want to respond, but rather, because I tend to be a bit lazy.

A couple of weeks ago, a fella named Omar wrote the following:

“I’m not only giving you praise for the album Go Kid Go by Franklin but also that awesome blog you are maintaining about Philadelphia punk bands. It’s been an awesome read so far. It reminds me a lot of that Towncraft website about Little Rock, Arkansas punk. Way to go! Also, pretty excited about all those TV Casualty shows you have been doing. Wish I could be there. I live all the way in California, unfortunately. I visit philly often though! Anyway, SWEET WORK. Also, I wanted to show you a picture of a Go Kid Go LP I found while digging through a record store in philly. I’ll show you a picture of it below. Was there ever an actual cover to go with the LP version? I have it on CD as well. Hope you read this and reply soon. Thank you for Franklin. Let’s get pizza one day.”

There’s a lot going on in this email so let’s get right to it…

Thanks Omar for the compliment on Franklin’s Go Kid Go album. I haven’t gotten around to posting that album in its entirety on this blog just yet, but I promise I will shortly.

As for your compliments on this blog, thanks again! It makes sense that you might compare it to Towncraft since we have an incredible number of transplants from Little Rock and Arkansas here in Philly. Much like there was an odd connection between Washington DC and Olympia Washington in the early to mid-90’s there was a similar connection, I feel, between Little Rock and Philadelphia. There seemed to be a shared sense of community coupled with a shared sense of being somewhat out of the spotlight of mainstream attention that made us sister cities.

As for the image you sent (posted above), here’s the rundown on that.

When we started Energy Network, a record label that would release local Philadelphia bands, we were limited in funds. Thus, with our first two releases (Franklin’s Go Kid Go LP and Fracture’s S/T LP) we were forced to be creative with how we would deal with packaging. Sure, we could get the albums recorded and printed into slabs of wax, but what exactly would be put those slabs into to sell to fans we met on the road? Especially since we were leaving on tour in a matter of days. At the time, graphic design wasn’t as easy as spending a couple of hours on your mac and whipping up some print ready artwork. Instead, the process of off-set printing was difficult and cumbersome and frankly, none of us had any idea how to even proceed.

Franklin and Fracture were getting ready to head out on our summer tour in 1995 and we had printed 1000 copies of Go Kid Go. However, as I mentioned, we had no covers. Here’s where things get a little cloudy.

We had made friends with a guy named Mike Wessel from just outside Toronto, Ontario. He booked shows in the outlying areas and was one of the nicest people we had met. He had been running a record label called Workshop Records and wanted to work with Franklin. Here’s where I wish Mike was on the phone with me right now to sort this out…

I am going to say that Mike is the guy that actually funded and released the Franklin Go Kid Go LP. However, it was split between Energy Network and Workshop. Neither label, of course, having much money. So, when it came time to make a cover, Mike had pulled a ton of thrift store LPs and dollar bin records to cut apart at the seams and then reverse out. Once the LP jacket was opened and reversed, he would hot glue them back together giving us a blank jacket that we could then silk screen our own cover onto. Brilliant!

Mike shipped down about 500 jackets I believe, maybe less so we could hit the road and have LP’s to sell. The cover was a linoleum cut that I quickly made that we would sit on my parents porch that summer, stamping onto the blank jackets.

The inserts were the only pieces professionally printing which feature some photos of Roy’s recent tattoos, lyrics and liner notes. We kinko’d Energy Network adverts that we ran in Maximum Rock N’ Roll and tossed them in the package.

In regards to the copy you have Omar…eventually, you see, we ran out of these reversed out covers. Thus, we improvised and started pressing the linoleum cut directly onto the dust jacket and across the vinyl label to make a sort of low-down album cover. We would hand-write the song names onto the dust jacket (which you can sort of see in the photo) and slide the insert and advert into the dust-jacket. We sold our LPs for $5 at shows so, hey, skimping on the packaging was necessary.

Eventually, there was an “official” album jacket printed for Go Kid Go, but it stands as one of the worst album covers in recorded history. Well, let me rephrase…the concept was pretty awesome and prior to printing, it looked pretty badass.

However, because of our limitations in graphic design, the final product was poorly replicated, looked about 1/10th of the way we had hoped it would look and we were sadly, incredibly disappointed. Not until the Go Kid Go discography was released by Workshop a few years later would we finally be happy with the packaging that accompanied that recording.

And that’s that!

P.S. – I just remembered…the night before we left on our 1995 tour with Fracture…I had spend the entire day stamping covers. The LPs had not arrived from the printing plant yet and it was looking like we would not have the LPs for tour…I was so stressed out, my parents house was covered in hand stamped album jackets drying that I could barely walk around and I still hadn’t packed to leave for one month that my stress level went so haywire, I ended up puking for several hours.

In the morning, about 2 hours before we were set to leave, UPS arrived with our LP copies of Go Kid Go. Victory.

P.S.S. – Omar, I fucking LOVE pizza.

JOSH MILLS – SOMEWHERE IN AMERICA


Kristin sent me this photo via Facebook. She stumbled across it and thought it was a pretty sweet photo. I would agree.

This picture must have been around 1997, just as Josh joined Franklin. The old Nomad is seen and we’re out in the world somewhere.

I kinda love the Lumberton, a la Blue Velvet logging truck passing us on the highway in the background.