Graphic design/ packaging for an archival vinyl-only LP release from Lysergic Sounds Distributors.
The Gerbils were a High School-Aged Hardcore Punk Rock band (with a Moog!) out of Farmington Hills/ Detroit, MI in the early 1980’s. Relative unknowns on the national stage during their short existence, they gigged regularly at the regional level — sharing noteworthy bills at Bookies and the Freezer Theater with the likes of Social Distortion, Whipping Boy, Vice Squad, and (DC’s) Youth Brigade.
The band recorded this collection of tunes back in the summer of 1982, but despite their impressive by-way-of-2015 pedigree (various members went on to play in the Necros, Negative Approach, Shock Therapy, Laughing Hyenas, DaDa, Glass Heroes, Busted Hearts and the Afflicted), the master tapes were lost and the songs remained unissued for over three decades until their recent discovery and rescue at the hands of Lysergic Sounds Distributors.
In doing the LP design for this project I obviously intended to pay tribute to the aggressive DIY aesthetics of the early 1980’s US hardcore/punk scene, but because the album also doubles as an archival KBD-style release I wanted to use the cover to offer up some quick visual information about the history of the Gerbils as well.
Luckily Gerbils friend and photographer Richard Pursel came to the project and provided a really great collection of images to work with. In addition to the band photos that he shot back when he was a teenager, Richard also passed along several bits of obscure Gerbils memorabilia; set-lists, newsletters, various logos — just all kinds of cool visual time-capsule elements that really helped to flesh out the Gerbils’ place in the Midwest Hardcore scene of the early 80’s.
And speaking of cultural time-capsules, how about those classic doom-and-gloom Reagan-era song titles? “What Don’t I Hate?”, “Now I Want To Die”, “Kill Everyone”, “I Don’t Like Cops”… it’s like a super-concentrated beef bouillon cube of punk rock negativity and nihilism.