Wednesday, February 07, 2007

ROCKIN' with poster artist Dirk Fowler by way of the Marfa Lights

Rock concert poster artist Dirk Fowler, who's also a professor at Texas Tech in Lubbock (birthplace of Buddy Holly), just send me one of his newest pieces, done for Jeff Tweedy (Uncle Tupelo, Wilco) at Liberty Hall in Marfa, TX.

Being that I'm huge into trucks (I'm a founding member of the American Truck Historical Society) . . . and rock . . . this poster was perfect for me. I complimented Dirk on the day-glo truck headlights, not knowing the story involved.

Which is . . .

Marfa is located in the high desert of far West Texas (population 2,121 at the 2000 census). It's located between the Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park, and was a location during WW II for training army pilots (the abandoned site is still visible ten miles east of the city). However, Marfa is most famous for the Marfa Lights, visible every clear night between Marfa and the Paisano Pass when one is facing southwest towards the Chinati Mountains.

According to Wikipedia and the Handbook of Texas Online, "at times the lights move about, split apart, melt together, disappear and reappear."

Hmmmmmmmmm. UFOs!!!

According to legend, Presidio County residents have watched the lights for well over a hundred years, with an early first-hand report generated by a young cowhand in 1883. Presidio County has built a viewing station nine miles east of town, on US 67, and every year enthusiasts gather for the annual Marfa Lights Festival. You may have seen this phenomena in the television show Unsolved Mysteries. The film Giant, starring James Dean, was made in and around Marfa and the dry plains extending in every direction.

As for Mr. Tweedy, he formed cowpunk band The Primitives with his high school friend Jay Farrar, and they changed the band's name to Uncle Tupelo in 1987. In 1995, Tweedy formed Wilco with John Stirratt, Max Johnston, and Ken Coomer. Among the classic rock songs about cars there's Wilco's "Passenger Side," released on their A.M. album.


Pernu said...

Sweeeet poster!!!

HeroBeth said...

Awesome poster - and great story to go along with it.

Pernu said...


You might also mention that both Tweedy and Farrar are represented in RDH, the former with a stanza of "Passenger Side" (p. 192); the latter with a snippet of his tune, "Afterglow 61" on the Dylan spread (p. 137), which his mgmt team at Steel Toe graciously allowed us to use, and also with a mention in the Steve Earle piece (p. 121), Earle being a vocal Farrar fan himself. Just shows how deep this books goes beyond hot rods.