September 22, 2012

45 RPMs 1: Big Black ~ Bulldozer

 
photo of poster by Styrous®
 (click on any image to see larger size)

This is an extention of my 20,000 Vinyl LPs 10 series. I have a collection of over 20,000 LP albums I am selling; each blog entry of the series is about an album from my collection. For more info, send an email to me, not a comment.

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This blog entry focues mostly about the packaging for Bulldozer. The packing is like nothing ever issued before or since.

Bulldozer is the second EP, released in 1983, by Chicago post-hardcore punk rock band, Big Black. Only the first 200 copies were issued with a galvanized sheet metal album cover and acid etched by the band in tribute to Public Image Ltd.'s Metal Box album (see link below).     

photo of galvanized album cover by Styrous®

 photo of galvanized album cover by Styrous®

The opening for the song Cables nicely reflects the audio equivalent of twanging metal. You can hear it on YouTube. A great piece of punk/new wave.

The packaging for Bulldozer was pretty elaborate; not only was the cover of galvanized sheet metal, there was a brilliant red 12" x 12" poster (shown above and below).

photo by Styrous®


photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®


 ad sheet
photo by Styrous®


 photo by Styrous®

The Pigeon Kill can be heard on YouTube 
I'm a Mess can be heard on YouTube 

photo by Styrous®

Texas can be heard on YouTube
Seth can be heard on YouTube 


There is a huge 25" x 35" poster folded up in the album

poster photo by Shawn Spencer
for the Marion, Indiana, Chronicle-Tribune
photo of poster by Styrous®

 Didn't they love doing fancy stuff with albums back then?


Bulldozer lineup:

Steve Albini - klang guitars, vocals
Pat Byrne  (from Urge Overkill) - drums
Jeff Pezzati (from Naked Raygun) - bass, stairwell snare
Santiago Durango (from the Interceptors) - smash quitar
Roland (actually a drum machine) - roland

A little history:

Steve Albini organized Big Black in 1981 while at Northwestern University. He taught himself to play bass guitar in 1979 during his senior year while recuperating from a broken leg after being struck by a car while his was on his motorcycle.

Albini named his new musical project Big Black, calling the moniker "just sort of a reduction of the concept of a large, scary, ominous figure. All the historical images of fear and all the things that kids are afraid of are all big and black, basically." He used the Lungs tape to try to enlist other musicians to the project, briefly recruiting Minor Threat guitarist Lyle Preslar who was attending Northwestern, but the two proved incompatible as musicians. Albini passed Lungs on to John Babbin of the small local label Ruthless Records, who released 1,500 copies of the EP in December 1982 with random objects such as dollar bills, used condoms, photographs of Bruce Lee, and bloody pieces of paper thrown into the insert.

In early 1983 Albini met Naked Raygun singer Jeff Pezzati through mutual friends and convinced him to play bass guitar with Big Black. Pezzati recalled that Albini "knew a heck of a lot about, right from the start, how to release a record and get the word out that you have a record", and that "He jumped at the chance to have a band play his stuff." The two practiced in Pezzati's basement, and one day Naked Raygun guitarist Santiago Durango came downstairs and asked to play along. The trio clicked as a unit, Durango's ability to rework arrangements and tweak sounds helping to refine Albini's song ideas. According to Albini, "He ended up being absolutely crucial to Big Black."

Albini got small local label Fever Records to finance the next Big Black EP, bringing in drummer Pat Byrne of Urge Overkill to play on the sessions as accompaniment to the drum machine, which they dubbed "Roland" for album credits. Albini achieved a signature "clanky" sound with his guitar (beautifully demonstrated in the song, "Cables") by using metal guitar picks notched with sheet metal clips, creating the effect of two guitar picks at once.

Many of the EP's lyrics depicted scenarios drawn from Albini's midwest upbringing, such as "Cables", which described the slaughtering of cows at a Montana abattoir, and "Pigeon Kill", about a rural Indiana town that dealt with an overpopulation of pigeons by feeding them poisoned corn.

There is a film about the early days of Chicago’s rock underground, You Weren't There (and Neither Was I)



Songs from Bulldozer that can be heard on YouTube:
Cables
Seth 



PIL (Public Image Ltd.) ~ Metal Box 


Thanks to Big Black for the unique, fun packaging.  


The entire collection is for sale. Interested? Contact Styrous®



Styrous®, September 22, 2012


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