Monday, October 22, 2007

ROCKIN' through the desert with Bob Dylan at the wheel (of a '08 Cadillac Escalade)

This just in from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
"Bob Dylan has added Cadillac to his short list of product endorsements.
"The Minnesota-bred folk/rock icon is featured in a television ad for the 2008 Escalade. The ad starts airing today.
"The ad features Dylan behind the wheel of a Cadillac driving across a remote desert listening to the XM satellite radio network.
"Dylan has one line in the commercial: 'What's life without taking a few detours?'
"Print and online versions of the ad begin running in November. Dylan has previously done ads for Victoria's Secret and iPod. He hosts a show on XM, "Theme Time Radio Hour." The show Wednesday will have a Cadillac theme.
"In addition to "Cadillac," future episodes this season will be dedicated to themes such as "California," "Dreams," "Fruit," "Something," "Nothing," "Streets," "Parties," "Mail," and "the 2nd Annual Countdown Show." New episodes premiere Wednesdays at 10:00 Central Time on XM's "Deep Tracks" channel."
Thanks to Dennis Pernu, my editor at Motorbooks, for forwarding me story, which likely goes out on the wire today. He added, "strange times we live in." Indeed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

a ROCKIN' homage to the greatly missed Shawn Kerri, automotive and punk rock cartoonist

(above) cover by Shawn Kerri, May-June, 1981
(above) auto cartoon by Shawn Kerri, 1987
(above) cover art by Shawn Kerri, 1982

(above) Flipside zine, #33, July, 1981,
a special issue featuring all punk rock art and comics.
Included are works from Raymond Pettibon, Pushead, Marc Rude, and others.
note: Shawn is pictured bottom row, far right
(above) iconic Germs flyer by Shawn Kerri, 1980

(above) Germs flyer by Shawn Kerri, 1980

(above) "skank kid" series by Shawn Kerri, 1981
note: this art first appeared on a flyer for a punk
show at the Fleetwood in Los Angeles. Then,
it was used as "slam dance instructions" doodled
on the lyrics sheet of the Circle Jerks' album Group Sex
(above) a fancy, full-color rendition of Kerri's 'skank kid,'
polished up by the record company for use
on the Circle Jerks' fifth album, VI,
and, sadly, used without her signature
(above) Shawn Kerri's much beloved "skull hall of fame," ca. 1980
(above) a Shawn Kerri flyer, 1983.
T.S.O.L. stands for "True Sounds of Liberty"
(above) Slash Magazine, vol. 2 no. 7 (1979),
produced by artist Gary Panter, known for his 'screaming head' illo.
In this issue there's a 2-year index to L.A. punk bands
and personnel, drawn by Shawn Kerri
(above) a 'tour blank' flyer by Shawn Kerri, ca. 1981
note: When the band used this art for a handbill, they
included the specific billing and place of show at the bottom.
This art was later made into a well-remembered t-shirt,
and at that time the "eat at Oki Dogs" wording was
replaced by Kerri's "skank kid" because Oki's had fallen
from grace as the 'in' punk hangout.
Recently, I was doing some research into the lifespan of the Pete Millar-invented CARtoons magazine (1959-1991), when I came across their late '70s bio of Shawn Kerri. Kerri had a profound influence on me when I was producing the ART OF ROCK book. She was a fabulous cartoonist and an ardent punk rocker. In many ways she IS the nexus between cars and rock & roll.
First, the bio which I encountered:
"One day, not long ago, there came a-knockin' at the CARtoons' door. We opened it to find a nineteen-year-old, blue-eyed, red-headed girl lugging a big portfolio. She said her name was Shawn Kerri, and she was out to make her mark in cartooning.
"We quickly explained that our bag was CAR cartoons and that most girls were simply not that hip to the subject. (a girl cartoonist, that draws cars? never happen, we chought). Upon checking out her samples, we found we were a tad embarrassed but didn't let on. Even more amazing was that Shawn could write good stories. Something like this just don't happen everyday, gang.
"Acting as if we really knew what we were doing, we suggested that Shawn come back with a rough story art outline for our look-over. Hah! thought we, bet she never heard of or even knows what a 'rough' is. She was back, sooner than you could kiss a duck, with a very concise story line and a clean, snappy rough. Hoohah . . . again, we hung our collective heads in shame. of course, we wanted more art and stories and naturally a bio on her.
"She called to say that being only nineteen there wasn't much to say. She ran away from home at 12 to sail on a clipper to India where she became a lady pirate? Our readers would never go for that. So, instead of some bull story, here're the facts on the fair Ms. Kerri.
"She was born in Covina (a small suburb of Los Angeles) in 1958. Her folks then moved her to San Diego where Shawn spent the rest of her young life growing up. School was fun because she spent her time cartooning bulletin boards, posters, walls, etc. Math and English, which don't require a lot of graphics or cartooning ranked low on Shawn's idea of fun things to do.
"After graduating from Mission Bay High School (editor's note: this may be incorrect, as she told me she went to Catholic schools), she realized that San Diego, being a nice city and all, isn't really a hotbed of publishing. The only thing to do was head for the city with the rotten air, evil people, and palm trees . . . L.A. Once there, she began to knock upon the doors she found waiting. One of the first was CARtoons, which brings us to where you came in. Shawn's philosophy is very simple: "I enjoy drawing cartoons simply because it's the most fun artform I know. I figure, if other people get a kick out of the stuff I'm doing, then I've succeeded.""
Shawn was one of the few females who drew for CARtoons. She started in 1975 and stayed there until CARtoons' demise in 1991. From 1978 to 1982, she wrote some scenarios for some Donald Duck stories which appeared internationally in Disney publications. But most of all, she was a punk rocker, and she will forever be remembered for the flyers she did for bands including the Germs,
Circle Jerks, T.S.O.L., and others. She passed away in the early 1990s, after supposedly badly injuring herself in a fall down a flight of stairs, and then developed alcoholism.
Renowned tattooist Johnny "Thief" DiDonna, co-owner of Seppuku Tattoo in Savannah, GA (, and portrayed at length in ROCKIN' DOWN THE HIGHWAY in pages 194 - 195, as owner and seller of the "Bad Luck Truck," wrote a long reminiscence at, in part based on the lengthy interview yours truly did with Shawn over many late, late nights, which appeared in my ART OF ROCK (Abbeville Press, 1987).
"Shawn Kerri is exactly one of those unique individuals who can change a worldview. Perhaps the fact that she's known at all is purely circumstantial, but regardless, her pen was at the right place at the right time--namely the breaking of the L.A. punk movement in 1980. Shawn was totally immersed in the culture, not just observing and recording it in art, but because punk was transcendent into all facets of her being, she was also one of its motivators and creators.
"In 1987, there were sleepless nights where I, as a suicidal, angst-ridden, manic teenager, spent entire nights stoned, cranking music through the most sound-muffling headphones I could find, also drawing and painting, spilling ink and paint allover the carpets, incurring many beatings from my parents, and all the time unashamedly ripping off the styles found in the massive volume, ART OF ROCK: POSTERS FROM PRESLEY TO PUNK. Shawn's stuff would always jump out and smack me right between the eyes, and if I was flipping through the pages helter skelter looking for reference or some image or name or date, I always came to a dead stop and re-read every single word of her interview like she had personally written it in her own hand to me, like long-lost pen pals who'd known each other all our lives.
"Shawn, and others, like Los Brothers Hernandez, fueled my undying love for rivers of black ink on white paper, and taught me that all aesthetics and artistic posing aside, when the little snot-nosed kid inside you wants to grab a pad and pen and just draw for the decadent fun of it, there's nothing cooler than drawing leather jacket-wearing, chain-wielding, slam-dancing, boot-stomping skeletons! She's one of the reasons I fell in love with punk, and with poster art. Every time I bust into my box of big fat black pens, or am roadtripping cross-country and am singing along to the Circle Jerks, I always stop and nostalgically reminisce on that bitter old, before-his-time, strungout-mad-at-the-world bratty teenager with the heavy crush on the girl he never met . . . Shawn Kerri."
Shawn Kerri was born Shawn Maureen Fitzgerald, and in addition to her work in punk rock and for CARtoons, also illustrated gag cartoons for Chic, Gentlemen's Companion, Hustler, and Velvet,
along with alternative zines like Cocaine (shown above), and Cracked (the lite version of Mad). She, along with her contemporaries like Pushead, Mad Marc Rude, and Raymond Pettibone (the force behind the legenday Black Flag flyers) would influence the careers of modern concert poster making artists like Paul Imagine and Mike Fisher ('Maximum Fluoride' on
Here are some additional resources:
Circle Jerks discography, biography, and links at
An insightful review of the book FUCKED UP AND PHOTOCOPIED: INSTANT ART OF THE PUNK ROCK MOVEMENT, may be found at In that book, there's a cool story about Shawn and Mad Marc Rude "getting into it with some skinheads."
An extensive examination of the career of CARtoons founder Pete Millar (1929-2003) may be read at More insights can be found at ("I thought all cars should be drawn in the exaggerated George Trosley style, and that Shawn Kerri was, simply, a god."). In addition, to see all the CARtoons covers, from 1959 - 1991, go to
The Circle Jerks' 'mascot,' Shawn Kerri's 'skank kid,' is seen reworked on the band's album VI. According to notes accompanying the review at, "there were no contracts between Kerri and the band or the label or their managing agent, etc. The Circle Jerks' agent and record label decided that The Circle Jerks Inc. owned the 'skank kid' mascot, wouldn't pay Kerri, and even tried to sue her. To avoid a lawsuit ruining a friendship, Kerri signed over the rights to the 'skank kid' to Keith Morris, the band's founding vocalist, for free, just to end the dispute. Note the new commercially produced version (shown above, in this blog), which is conceptually a good distance from her hard-line, black and white inked drawing."
Shawn Kerri's art was among the subjects of a well-remembered presentation by Ken Barber at the TypeCon 2004 convention in San Francisco. There's also a historical review of punk art flyers at, and some will remember the "Outrageous!" exhibition at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum. And, if you've got $1,500 or so on hand, try bidding on the current 4,188 piece punk and hardcore flyer auction at eBay (item #120172259022) which is showing a good number of the included pieces.
A fine punk rock reminiscence may be seen at, which begins "I remember picking up the flyer for the Public Nuisance show on April 17, 1982 the month before, at Moby Disc in Sherman Oaks, CA. It was drawn by one of my favorite punk artists at the time: Shawn Kerri. I had been given old issues of CARtoons magazine sometime in the '70s, and I had always loved her artwork. I remember being told she was living with another of my favorite artists: Marc Rude. If you recall Marc's Battalion of the Saints EP cover, you'll remember it was some really hot art. Unfortunately, both Shawn and Marc are not with us today."
Check out the the 9th issue of The Rise and Fall zine for a great interview with Keith Morris, as well as material on Shawn Kerri. And if you're at all confused about the origins of slam dancing, the mosh pit, and skanking from the punk era, try Or, just find artist Paul Imagine at a current punk show in Sacramento, and he'll show you.
Finally, to learn a bit more about the inestimable Johnny Thief, go to

Friday, October 12, 2007

more ROCKIN' concert posters with automotive themes

(above) artist Wytse Sterk, for Club Vera, Groningen, Netherlands

(above) artists Print Mafia, for Exit In, Nashville TN
(above) artist Lindsey Kuhn, for Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO
(above) artist Leviathan (Spain) for
Centro Penitenciario de Huelva
(above) artist Jay Ryan from The Bird Machine Studio
for The Hideout, Chicago
(above) Greg Harrison, for Bowery Ballroom, NYC
(above) artist Scrojo, for the Belly Up, Solana Beach, CA
(above) artist Tom Pappalardo (Standard Design),
for the Eagles Club, Northhampton, MA

(above) artist Jeral Tidwell, for Rock City, Nottingham UK
More wonderful rock concert posters, from some of the best artists working here in the U.S. and overseas. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

"Shut Up and Drive," a ROCKIN' hit for Rihanna, in the best pop/R&B (and car song) tradition

(above and two below) from the video single, "Shut Up and Drive"

Ever since I was a teenager in the mid '60s in Bergen County, NJ, I've followed the course of pop and R&B singles with great interest. Dance-pop sensation Rihanna is one of the best of the newest crop, and has a nice automotive-based single workin' for her, "Shut Up and Drive." You might have seen her perform it at the most recent VMA's. In the tradition, it's got some very nice double-entendre content and a hella engaging beat.
"I've been looking for a driver who's qualified
So if you think that you're the one, step into my ride
I'm a fine-tuned supersonic speed machine
With a sunroof top and a gangsta lean
"So if you feel me let me know, know, know
Come on now what you waiting for, for for
My engine's ready to explode, explode, explode
So start me up and watch me go, go, go
"Goes from 0 to 60 in three point five
Baby, you got the keys
Now shut up and drive
(drive, drive, drive)
"Got you where you wanna go if you know what I mean
Got a ride that's smoother than a limousine
Can you handle the curves? Can you run all the lights?
If you can, baby boy, then we can go all night
"I got class like a '57 Cadillac
Got all the drive but a whole lot of boom in the back
You look like you can handle what's under the hood
You keep saying that, you will boy, I wish you would"
The video single itself has gotten quite a bit of attention thanks to YouTube and other viral marketing sensations. It premiered in June of this year, directed by Anthony Mandler, from the album Good Girl Gone Bad. It was shot on location in Prague, Czech Republic.
Rihanna most recently was the opening act on Akon's tour. A rather revealing review of their show (a bit snarky about her, but admiring of Akon, and then putting the two in context, at this point in their careers) at GM Place in Vancouver, on September 15 appears at
Rihanna was born in Saint Michael, Barbados. Jay-Z signed her to Def Jam Records. She cites Alicia Keys, Beyonce Knowles, and her Caribbean background as major musical influences. Good Girl Gone Bad (released in June) is her third album, and its title, according to the singer, reflects her growth beyond synthesized Caribbean rhythms combined with basic urban-pop beats. "Bad means cool, bad means funky, bad means having an attitude, bad means being edgy. This is who I am now and where I am in my career."
Most reviewers have given the album high marks, one calling it "first-rate dance-pop, stacked with potential singles and enjoyable from beginning to end." Thus, as I say, solidly in the tradition going back decades, yielding yet another automotive-based hit--yes, as catchy as "Rocket 88" in 1951 or "I Get Around" in 1964. You go, girl. So let's step inside and ride, ride, ride.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pink Floyd's Nick Mason takes Rolls Royce on a ROCKIN' musical quest at Nurburgring

(photo above, and three below) courtesy The Times of London

This just in from Yahoo (edited, as seen at, and before that, originally from The Times of London):
LONDON---"It was a strange idea but a fun one. Drummer Nick Mason, known for many years as an avid collector of cars and aficionado of racing, set out to complete one lap of the storied Nurburgring racetrack in Germany in the time it takes to play half of the song "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by his band, Pink Floyd.
"Here's the equation: The track is about 14 miles long, the song--broken into two parts on the album--is 13 minutes, 33 seconds. Mason was driving a V12-engined Rolls-Royce Phantom, with the song from the Wish You Were Here CD cued up on the car stereo.
"The Times of London put a reporter into the passenger's seat, who said the Rolls had "a surprising amount of verve" that was noticeable well before the song began to be audible, despite the car's high-end 420-watt sound system. The reporter notes that despite the challenge of the circuit, Mason was able to beat out the rhythm in time with the music while driving part of the lap.
"Did he make it? Nope. "Within sight of the finish," writes the Times reporter, "all 15 speakers go silent." Mason mused that the live concert version, some four minutes longer, might have been a better choice.
"What this means: Here's somebody who is putting wealth and an enviable car collection to good use."
Amen to that.
You can read the full Times story (dated September 2, 2007) at:
Note that it gives other suggestions for serious music-meets-the-track challenges, suggesting a run at LeMans might include Dylan's 1966 11 min. 23 sec. "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" or Miles Davis' 1969 27 min. "Bitches Brew." I myself might suggest the Grateful Dead's 1969 Live Dead album, yielding "St. Stephen," "Dark Star," "and "Turn on Your Lovelight." Or, perhaps more obvious, Dire Straits' "Telegraph Road."
Another marvelous Nick Mason piece "Me and My Motors," from September 5, 2004, can be found at the Times: