Sunday, November 15, 2009


The photo above is of the audience at a concert by The Rods back in 1982. I think it captures being a Metal fan at that time perfectly. Everything is in attendance: the Wrangler (never Levi as I recall) denim jackets (sleeves optional), the dank brown hair a bit longer than the fashion at the time but not too long to get into trouble at school/work, the biker jacket and the wispy moustaches. It's a more innocent time, a time when Then Rods could leave people open-mouthed (or at least slack-jawed). And, naturally, there's the patches.

If I had an ounce of creativity or entrepreneurship, I would call up on of those Art Book publishers like Taschen with a proposal for a coffee table book called The Art of the Heavy Metal Back Patch. All of the classics of the genre would be there of course: the Judas Priest Razor Blade, the Motorhead Snaggletooth (or whatever it's called), the AC/DC cannon, the Number of the Beast album cover (surely an album cover that was designed to look good on a Backpatch on a denim jacket). I'm sure the book would sell more than you might think.

The one limitation about the different patches was that your selection was relatively limited, and you needed to rely on what was popular and being produced at the time. If you wanted to express your loyalty to someone who was a bit more obscure you needed to resort to your own art skills. Which is why my follow-up book would be Heavy Metal Art on School Jotters 1979 - 1985. I'm sure the lofts of Britain contain some excellent examples of school jotters containing fascinating interpretations of the Kiss Destroyer album cover done with felt pens or the words Black and Sabbath arranged in an upside-down cross that made the English teacher go ballistic. Apart from anything else, the actual act of trying to cover your school books with art gave you an idea on the exact level of your artistic abilities; I'm sure quite a few people realised that a career in illustration would be beyond them as they struggled with the horse while trying to do the Stormbringer cover.