nedjelja, 28. listopada 2012.

Savage Pencil - Trip Or Squeek's Big Amplifier


Edwin Pouncey/Savage Pencil, novinar, autor ilustracija (omotnica za CD-e mnogih bendova) i stripaš ima novu knjigu u kojoj je okupio više od 100 stripova koji su izlazili u časopisu The Wire.

Žiletima uhvaćen duh punk-kulture.
(Trenutačno svira u bendu Pestrepeller)



Savage Pencil: The Bite Of The Pencil

In the same way that R. Crumb’s comix captured the hippy experience of Sixties America, Savage Pencil’s cartoon outpourings embodied the punk rock spirit of Britain in the late Seventies. Ever since, his comix and music journalism, bands and performances, record and book covers, have confirmed ‘Sav’ as a true renaissance monster.
In the early Sixties, America’s exotic pulp culture sailed over to the provinces in Britain as bales of cheap, sometimes water-sodden ships’ ballast. Haphazard bundles of comic books, men’s magazines, trashy paperbacks, flotsam tied up with string, landed each month on local newsagents’ counters. Like the corner shop in Leeds run by young Edwin Pouncey’s parents. What better place to grow up for a voracious, visually-stimulated kid? Sometimes, when Edwin was helping out, his Dad would let him cut the string and cream off the best Marvels and DCs, rarities like a copy of Harvey Kurtzman’s Help!, or paperback reprints of EC’s Tales From The Crypt and Mad. Edwin swam in this transatlantic tide of newsprint treasures. For this innocent seduced, studying under the bedclothes and scribbling away at comics of his own, the early education of a cartoonist was underway.
By 1969, he had immersed himself in Zappa, Beefheart, Mothers of Invention and whatever great music he could find and he had glimpsed a few reprints of strips in British rags like Oz and I.T., but psychedelic San Francisco was a long way from grey, gloomy Leeds. As luck would have it, he managed to hoodwink his mother into ordering him a special issue he had spotted of the highbrow journal Art And Artists. This glossy revue would be his first tantalising taste of the West Coast’s underground comix movement in full flower. Its pioneers - Robert Crumb, Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, S. Clay Wilson, and others - had grabbed the medium out of the clutches of the stultifying regulators and sheepish money-makers and reinvigorated it as the perfect accessible vehicle to disseminate a storytelling artist’s most unfettered imaginings.
Edwin’s visits to London from Essex - where he had moved in 1971 - opened up that world as never before. On his first trip to Soho’s trippy bazaar Dark They Were And Golden Eyed, he finally got his trembling hands on the real things. Those copies of early Zap Comix and other mythic titles rekindled in him the undeniable calling to become an underground cartoonist himself. Pursuing this by entering art school in London, his exploration into visionary artists from the past - William Blake, Austin Osman Spare, George Grosz to name three - deepened the inspirational mulch which would feed his own creative endeavours.
Punk was barely born by the time the mysterious ‘Savage Pencil’ first soiled the pages of the weekly music paper Sounds. While at the Royal College of Art in 1976, Edwin had been going every week to the dingy jazz joint The 100 Club on Oxford Street to see the Sex Pistols perform. They were still in their fierce embryonic state before the press got hold of them, playing to a handful of apathetic punters.
Sounds advert circa 1983
Edwin, however, responded to the energy there on stage. It was something he’d experienced before, when he was absorbed in his comix and listening to records, but this was suddenly more real. He was face-to-face with it, looking down the maw at the real thing. Stranded in Leeds, he’d missed out on London’s Sixties hippy experience. What excited him now was that he was witnessing a different animal, punk, emerging in London and this time he could take part. If he could store up some of that energy inside, take it home with him and try letting it loose on a piece of paper, what might come out? Back one night after hearing the Pistols, he began slashing out at the paper, almost wounding it with his pen, pouring out feral scrawlings that seemed to convulse with frustration and rage. Looking anew, there on the page he had unleashed the ‘Savage Pencil’, the visual incarnation of punk rock.
Early in 1977, on the suggestion of his friend Vivienne Goldman, Edwin showed some of these Savage Pencil toons to Alan Lewis at Sounds. As editor he instantly spotted their sublimely crude urgency, all the more arresting for appearing amateurish, like the rush of pumping out a fanzine. Lewis was all set to turn the paper away from rock relics like Clapton and Yes and extol the nascent punk revolution. He insisted on printing all of Edwin’s mad creatures on a big page and made up a title for them: "How about… Rock’n'Roll... Zoo!?". If they’d had a volume control, they would have been ear-splittingly loud on the page.
So it began and week after week, a pooch-like personification of Savage Pencil, often in an artist’s beret, would lurch around this Zoo, reporting from its assorted cages and the incredible variety of animal species they contained. As well as being deviously funny, his comix became the perfect weapon with which to make scathing commentary on the idiocies of the music industry. The more Sav learned about it as a journalist on Sounds, the more merciless he became, riling up everyone, the punks included when he started covering bands he loved like The Grateful Dead and Todd Rundgren. As he saw it, "Why should music be attributable to just one genre? The whole thing is fantastic and all good music should be appreciated, no matter what it is or who is making it."
By the time he closed the gates on his Rock’n'Roll Zoo in 1981, Sav had twisted his knife into countless egos, from rock stars, top execs and deejays to hack journos, marketing gurus and groupies. If anything, his revival of the strip, in Tower Records’ mainstream monthly Top of all places, was even more venomous, because by then he had grown wiser and more hateful of how music was changing, with the welter of new Brit bands like Oasis and the Spice Girls just begging to be kicked, stabbed and punched. After Top folded, Sav trained his eagle eye and caustic wit on the experimental music scene, in Trip or Squeek currently running in The Wire. Here his strips have become more surreal and improvised, again as if they are the drawn equivalents of the music he is commenting on.
His surges of creating comics come in waves. Sav harbours a love-hate relationship for the medium, but somehow he always returns to it eventually. For example, in 1983, after two years without his Sounds strips, he felt compelled to scratch out the absurd, ultra-violent shenanigans of punk zombie Mr Inferno. Rather than redraw and polish them up, however, he published his raw sketches, blown up to look even more insane, in 500 copies of Corpsemeat Comix #1, ‘Nourishment for Diseased Minds’. His comeback coincided with a resurgence in British comix at the time, a real self-publishing movement nurtured by the Fast Fiction service and by Escape magazine, soon to be one of his regular outlets alongside Chris Long, Ed Pinsent, John Bagnall and others.
Freakmeat Comix from Escape #6, 1985
Out of this ferment grew Battle of the Eyes, almost a rock band of comix creators, where Sav was joined by Chris Long and Andy Johnson, brother of Matt from The The, on their brilliant one-and-only collaboration Nyak-Nyak in 1986. A stunning second Corpsemeat in 1989 saw Sav take on the difficult role of editor, gathering work by Gary Panter, Mark Beyer, Bruno Richard and more of his inky brethren in Britain, America and France and supervising two different editions, one a standard version printed in California, the other a deluxe giant gorgeously silk-screened in Paris. These things take time, but he is steadily gestating a third Corpsemeat for the coming year.
When he started at Sounds, comics were not his only contributions. As a staff member, Edwin Pouncey had to pursue the painful but rewarding challenge of writing about music. To him reviewing a record or gig means trying to share the experience and what effect it had on him personally, in the hope that some of that excitement would transfer to the reader and fire their interest. Over the past twenty five years and more of articles and interviews, he has had the chance to meet such greats as John Cale and Iggy Pop, most recently going backstage at a Stooges concert in Paris to see Ron Ashton. To this day, Edwin’s passion for seeking out the best in music to write about, wherever it comes from, and the hyperventilating thrill he feels whenever he meets one of his heroes, remain as strong as ever.
On top of his writing, his deep involvement with music takes other forms. As an artist, Savage Pencil has crafted unforgettable designs for Sonic Youth, Big Black, The Fall, Sunn O))) and many more, as well as a new series of uncanny ink collage portraits for The Wire. As a demented record collector he has gathered a number of remarkable tracks, notably on Angel Dust: Music for Movie Bikers (Blast First, 1988) and The Antiquack: A Dead Duck Selection (EMI, 1999). He sees these more as ‘compositions’ than compilations, where Duke Ellington can sit next to Quicksilver Messenger Service, or Faust flow into Sun Ra. As a deejay, he applies this same principle to his weekly Resonance FM broadcasts.
The Antiquack: A Dead Duck Selection
Edwin has also been making music of his own, in such bands as The Art Attacks, Tagmemics, Kray Cherubs, Satin Chickens and Attack Wave Pest Repeller. This summer he performed with Jay Cotton and Jonathan Rosen accompanying a new Light Show devised by Fillmore East legend Joshua White and Gary Panter at New York’s Anthology Film Archive. Their crazy freeform soundtrack was a mixture of their responses to each other and to the shifting images made by the oil wheels, light bulbs and smoke. Guitar is his favourite instrument, though he admits he doesn’t play it so much as make spontaneous noises out of it, coaxing, altering and suppressing them, as if he was drawing them in sound.
It all comes back to drawing. His latest artistic obsession is etching. "Everything is encompassed in it, the drawing aspect, slamming your pen directly into a lump of metal and working with acid and flame, so you get dirty and there’s an alchemical quality to it. Then there’s the aspect of printing your own piece of art. These etchings, or ‘itchings’ as I call mine, look and feel totally different from a comic, though they come from that tradition. Like a comic but without balloons."
What is inspiring is that the everyday Edwin Pouncey and the wildman Savage Pencil are not one and the same, nor some schizoid Jekyll-and-Hyde, but two personas living their creative double-life at full volume. - Paul Gravett

Savage Pencil - Trip or Squeek's Big Amplifier (Book)

Trip or Squeek's Big Amplifier by Savage Pencil

...according to our

I’ve been a big fan of Savage Pencil (or Sav X) for years now. Ever since I clocked those early Blast First record sleeves I’ve been hooked! He’s done artwork for Sonic Youth, Big Black, The Fall, Sunn, Coil, Skullflower, Palace Brothers, Flying Saucer Attack, Rocket From The Crypt and Norman Records (check your postcards and gift vouchers, guys).
Here’s a fine collection of his comic strips which were have appeared in The Wire over the last however many years. There’s over 100 culled from The Wire in this 272 page book complete with extensive notes which will shed some light on some of those ‘toons. In the book you get musical guest stars from the likes Steve Reich, Moondog, Mark E Smith, Sonic Youth, Robert Wyatt, Suicide, Kraftwerk, Crass, Lou Reed, Jandek, Throbbing Gristle, Sleep and lots more. It’s dark, funny and wrong and a great read you can just pick up for a bit while you’re having a crap (it’s about the only place I read things on paper these days).
So my bitseize sentence would be ‘Undergound culture satirised with a dark sense of humour and some wonky drawings.’ -

 Image: savage pencil trip or squeek

Edwin Pouncey aka Savage Pencil has just compiled a book of his Trip Or Squeek comic strips, all of which originally appeared in the pages of The Wire.
According to Pouncey, the roots of the strip, which first appeared in The Wire 216 February 2002, "are deeply embedded in the late 70s, during the time that punk happened. Urged by music journalist Vivien Goldman to show my cartoons to Sounds editor Alan Lewis, I was somewhat astonished and thrilled when he started tearing out pages from my sketchbook and laying them out for the next edition." After Sounds folded in 1991, Pouncey took the strip – titled Rock N' Roll Zoo – to Tower Record's house journal Top, until that too went under.
Pouncey relates how The Wire's Tony Herrington then asked him to contribute a new cartoon strip to the magazine: "'Do whatever you want' was his only demand. How could I possibly refuse such a generous invitation. It was almost akin to to Mega Therion Aleister Crowley's command 'Do What Thou Whilt'."
Trip Or Squeek's Big Amplifier is published by Strange Attractor Press, and contains more than 100 strips from the past ten years, an ‘illuminated’ introduction by Gary Panter and a special Trip Or Squeek discography. - The Wire

For our Summer 2009 collection, we collaborated with UK artist, Savage Pencil. He’s known worldwide for his commercial work, doing album covers for legendary artists such as Sonic Youth, Sunn O))), Rocket from the Crypt, The Fall and Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Savage Pencil has exhibited drawings and etchings at galleries throughout the world. Here are a few questions with the mysterious man they call Savage Pencil…
Stussy x Savage Pencil
STUSSY: Where did you grow up?

SAVAGE PENCIL: I don’t think I ever have. But seriously, I was born and raised in the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. I stayed there for nearly 20 years before deciding to move to the South of England where I have lived ever since. I currently live in London.Stussy x Salvage Pencil
STUSSY: What kind of things influenced you to start drawing?

SAVAGE PENCIL: My main influences came as a result of living in my parent’s shop that sold (among other things) magazines and comics. I used to read all of the comics that arrived in the shop and this led to me drawing my own. The first comics I drew were based on a plastic blob called Super Blintz, an idea that came after reading a MAD Magazine spoof of Plastic Man.
Stussy x Salvage Pencil
STUSSY: Where did the name Savage Pencil come from?

SAVAGE PENCIL: Savage Pencil was originally the name I had planned to give my imaginary comics company. Later on I decided to use it as my pseudonym and it has stuck ever since. I am also known as Sav X. This I use for my fine art work.
Stussy x Salvage Pencil
STUSSY: What are some of the favorite projects you worked on?

SAVAGE PENCIL: Apart from the Stussy tee shirt job (of which I am very proud) my favorite pieces have been the posters for Sunn O))), my Dead Duck compilation CD for EMI, Corpsemeat Comix 2 (deluxe edition), Gold Sabbat (a gallery show of my monoprint work) and the poster I recently did for Sonic Youth’s Italian art exhibition of a Satanic cow. An image that was (apparently) suppressed so at not to offend the church authorities (or something). I am very proud of that one!Stussy x Salvage Pencil
STUSSY: You work a lot in music, doing covers and your own compilations, how did that come about?

SAVAGE PENCIL: Through my work at Sounds (a now defunct rock music paper) where I used to draw a weekly strip called Rock N’ Roll Zoo. Because of this I was approached by record labels and bands who wanted me to draw covers for their LPs, picture sleeve 45s (and later, CDs). This kind of work continues to come my way. Which is a good thing.
Stussy x Savage Pencil
STUSSY: Who are your favorite musicians?

SAVAGE PENCIL: There really are too many to list. My preferred listening at the moment includes extreme music such as free jazz and Black Metal. LOTS of Black Metal.
STUSSY: What projects are you currently working on?

SAVAGE PENCIL: A new poster for Sonic Youth, a book of drawings, plans for my next exhibition and two possible book illustration projects. I am also toying with the idea of drawing and publishing Corpsemeat 3. Don’t hold your breath or anything though.
Stussy x Salvage PencilStussy x Salvage PencilStussy x Salvage PencilStussy x Salvage Pencil


 Savage Pencil In Conversation At Supersonic!

With less than a week to go until Supersonic’s 10th anniversary celebrations, the festival’s running order has almost fully taken shape and is gearing up to be one of the best editions in Capsule’s illustrious history. We can now unveil the icing on the cake of this year’s delicious looking lineup; an exclusive Q&A session with artist Edwin Pouncey (AKA Savage Pencil). Pouncey’s lurid, halucinatory artwork will be familiar to any readers of the Wire, as his intensely vivid and sharply satirical Trip or Squeek strips have been gracing the publication’s pages for over 10 years. Therefore, it’s only fitting that the Wire’s deputy editor Frances Morgan will be sitting down to quiz Pouncey on his artistic process.

Though his acerbic work can be seen as part of the rich lineage of satirical illustration, Edwin’s distinctive style is informed by a myriad of fascinating influences, assimiliating the ’60s freak scene, Japanese monster movies and the weird fiction of HP Lovecraft into own his eye scorching vision. Casting a wry and intoxicated eye at pop culture (and contemporary avant-garde music in particular), Pouncey makes use of a recurring cast of characters including such luminaries as Steve Reich, Stockhausen, Moondog, Mark E Smith, Sonic Youth, Robert Wyatt, Suicide, Kraftwerk, Crass, Lou Reed, Jandek, Throbbing Gristle and Sleep, weaving them into his obtuse visual tapestry with aplomb. In the process, Pouncey’s art itself has become as much a part of the current experimental art landscape as the artists he has paid tribute to, with the works of Savage Pencil adorning album covers and shirts from the likes of Sonic Youth, The Fall, Sunn O))) and numerous others.

With a career spanning almost four decades, Edwin is celebrating by compiling all of his Trip Or Squeek cartoons in one weighty tome for the first time. Containing over 100 comic strips, the book features extensive notes, a discography and never-before-seen preparatory sketches by Savage Pencil, in addition to an illustrated foreword by artist Gary Panter. The book is indenspensible for anyone with a passion for experimental art and psychedelic illustration, and it’s an honour to welcome him along to our tenth anniversary. We urge you to grab this opportunity to gain an insight into the mind that guides the Savage Pencil…-

Savage Pencil

edwin Pouncey writes for British music magazine Wire and occasionally contributes comic strip, “Trip or Squeek” to its back pages. In February 2005, Pouncey spilled some ink on one of his “guilty pleasures,” Black Metal and its ilk. Under the guise of Savage Pencil, Pouncey has produced some intriguing artwork for the Wire’s “Primer” feature, and has exhibited numerous times, notably the “Artfang” exhibit, a series of prints and drawings inspired by and speaking to the music of Black Metal. Here, Stylus writer Stewart Voegtlin and Pouncey discuss the aforementioned, Pouncey’s artistic influences, his love of Mad Magazine, the old masters and Abruptum. And while the man has no plans on creating a coffee table book of his work, he is currently working on a website.

The majority of your artwork appears to come out of a strong comic tradition, sort of like a malignant marriage of Peter Bagge and Pushead. Are you self-taught? And what type of evolution did you style go through before it settled? Where did the moniker Savage Pencil come from?

My interest in drawing began when I was very young and it continued to develop as I became older. Nobody showed me how to draw; it just came to me naturally. Early drawings were simple doodles—usually drawn under the various pieces of furniture that I crawled under as a toddler. But these gradually took the form of various strange animals and imaginary creatures, which I would pencil out on to scraps of paper that I found lying around. I was never really encouraged or discouraged by my parents during this time—they just let me get on with it. After a while I became interested in drawing and making comics, based on the early Marvel comics that I had come into contact with. As I wasn't particularly interested in simply drawing super heroes I mixed this style with what I had also seen in Mad magazine. The old EC artists such as Jack Davis and especially Bill Elder had captured my imagination so I was interested in adopting their styles into my own creations. As I did not have the ability or skill yet to fully master the kind of drawing skills they were capable of my interpretation was much cruder and punkier [sic]. I remember being very attracted to an Elder story in one of my Mad paperbacks (The Bedside Mad?) called "Outer Sanctum" which was a story about a mad scientist who had accidentally created a monster called the Heep out of a pile of rotting garbage. Out of that I birthed a super hero character called Super Blintz who was part Heep and part Plastic Sam (another spoof character out of the Mad books), an amorphous blob that had the power to change itself into any shape it wished. These early comics were a way of keeping me involved in a secret world of my own making, but they were very important in my development as an artist. I unfortunately do not have any of these.
Savage Pencil was originally the name of my imaginary comics company. I decided to use it as a pseudonym when I was asked by the editor of Sounds magazine to submit a weekly comic strip for the magazine during the late ‘70s when punk was happening. Savage Pencil sounded perfect for the time and it has just stuck.

What are some of your artistic influences? How have they shaped your understanding and creation of art?

My artistic influences are wide and varied. My favourite comics artists range from such stylists as Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko to outsider/underground comix creators such as Rory Hayes and S Clay Wilson. The two major influences on my work, however, are Cal Schenkel (who was responsible for the early Mothers of Invention album covers) and artist/magician Austin Osman Spare whose working methods I have tried to apply to my own art. I am drawn to the way that Spare uses his subconscious to produce his images, as if another force was in control of his line and he is simply the means by which the image is finally transferred on to the sheet of paper. This trance-like state when drawing is something that deeply interests me.
I am always going to art galleries to study the work of old masters and modern painters, designers and draftsmen. I like abstract and minimalist art. Although I do not paint (as such) I am still interested in the way colour is applied to a canvas or how a pen or pencil line is dragged along a surface to create a specific effect.
After visiting an extensive exhibition in London about William Blake I decided to take up etching and it was the combination of ink, acid and flame to create images that made me feel that this was the perfect medium for my images to emerge. Although I haven't done any etching for some months I intend to return to it at some point later this year.

Your comic strips and assorted artwork that has appeared in the Wire is apparently driven by musical influences. The Artfang exhibit in particular looks like a series of meditations on Black Metal iconography. How did the exhibit come about, and were you consciously trying to present an aesthetically unified exhibition based on Black Metal iconography? What is it that draws you to this imagery?

Artfang was exactly that, a series of meditations on the Black Metal music movement. The exhibition was planned in advance, proposed, accepted and displayed. I chose the Black Metal theme because that was the music I was listening to at the time. The music consumed my thoughts and the images just started to appear. Eventually I had enough images prepared to put on an exhibition and, somewhat gratifyingly, the event was a huge success with most of the work being sold.
Because I work and write about various forms of music, what I am listening to at the time becomes engrained in my work. Black Metal is an extreme music and I like that kind of musical form. After building collections of experimental, free jazz and noise music I decided that Black Metal—Satanic music made by Satanists—was an obvious extension to the forms of music I already used to create my art.
I was also interested in finding the more obscure sounding artists, rather than go for the more established figures of the Black Metal scene. The artists I admire the most are the solo artists who make their own music and persona. Of these I think artists such as Xasthur, Leviathan, Furze, Emit, Draugar, Benighted Leams, and various others are more interesting that the usual blood gargling Black Metal bands. My favourite Black Metal band of all time (and the one that started me out on this quest) is Abruptum, whose work I still think is astonishing and beyond the parameters of the somewhat closeted Black Metal scene.

One of the pieces in the Artfang exhibit is the extraordinarily detailed "Thee Golden Chalice." Isn't this one of the pieces that was used for SunnO)))'s Candlewolf of the Golden Chalice? How did you get involved with SunnO)))?

Yes it is. I was introduced to Sunn O)))'s music by sound artist Russell Haswell who suggested that I listen to their first album. I found a copy and really loved what I heard. They were everything that I loved about extreme music and the drone was instantly appealing to me. Haswell had been responsible for bringing Earth to London and their appearance at Paul Smith's Disobey club is on my top gigs of all time list. Sunn O))) had taken that same primal drone experience and extended it to almost La Monte Young levels. I found this very exciting and new. An almost anti-rock music that blew away most of the competition. Eventually I met up with Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson and they suggested I should do some poster and T-shirt work for them. For me this is an honour, in the same way that drawing stuff for Sonic Youth was an honour when they first started to be noticed in the UK. I hope that the working relationship I have built up with Sunn O))) can continue to evolve.

Let's talk a bit about the "Subterranean Metal" feature you did for the Wire. Your introduction was remarkable in that it comfortably encapsulated the origins of the tradition and followed its flow into the myriad tributaries that have now splintered into different genres: Noise artists such as Kevin Drumm, Avant composers like John Zorn, unclassifiable ensembles like Angelblood.

The article had to connect with the readership of the magazine whose initial idea of Metal was probably going to be negative until its hidden joys were explained to them. A Stoner Rock element was also suggested with bands like Sleep and Earth rubbing shoulders with Corrupted and Abruptum. The article was my attempt to attract a new audience to the music by insisting that the music was not a dead or stereotyped genre. Metal is a live music that is constantly changing shape and throwing up new ways of expressing itself. Even though it has become somewhat fashionable to admit to liking Metal now I still am intrigued by what it can offer. I am still excited by its possibilities.
For me the thrill I get from listening to Metal is the same one I got when I first plugged into free jazz. It has that same extremity and sense of urgency. As I said earlier, at the moment I really like the artists who just do it on their own and make records in their bedrooms. I really admire this kind of insular creativity that somehow produces something more focused than a production by a band.—Exceptions to this rule being Manes, Arcturus and Ulver.

How did the "Subterranean Metal" feature come about? Was this something that was a hard sale to your editor? Are you planning on contributing any more metal writing to the Wire?

I simply put forward a good case for running a Metal Primer in the Wire and the editor accepted it. The magazine obviously thought it was a good idea or they would not have entertained the suggestion. At the moment I am not planning on doing any more serious writing about the subject for the Wire, but that's not to say I won't be doing so in the future. At this time I prefer Black Metal to be my secret pleasure. Writing about it too much would perhaps tarnish my passion for it in a way.

Deathspell Omega, Velvet Cacoon, Haemoth, Benighted Leams, Abruptum: All are ensembles that have continued to push the boundaries of the metal genre, adding elements of Drone, Folk, Classical and "Post-Rock" to their approaches. Why do you think metal is subjected to a double-standard: It's either chalked up as some sort of knuckle-dragging enterprise, or ridiculed when written about in a cogent or intellectual fashion, forever fetishized by metalheads as a sort of "thing-in-itself?"

What makes Black Metal interesting to me is that it has endless possibilities to reinvent itself: in the same way that “gangsta rap” had before it became soft and commercial in the middle and just became a parody of itself. Black Metal is an underground music where the only limitations are self-inflicted. I feel that there is enough up and coming talent inside the scene to keep it constantly changing. Only people who walk around with a fixed, distorted idea about what Black Metal sounds like—or should sound like—belong to that group who, for whatever reason, want to control or deny the music. The more diverse Black Metal becomes can only be a good thing, so that its biased critics and those who want to use it as a fashion device will be ultimately confused and confounded.-

Origins and influence in the art of Savage Pencil

by Glenn Bray

photos: Peter Anderson & Glenn Bray

This article was originally published in Comic Art #3. Thanks to Todd Hignite and Glenn Bray for their permission to reprint it here.
If this article seems blatantly biased in favor of its subject - it's true, because not only have I been a great admirer of the unique art of SAVAGE PENCIL since the early 1980s, but we've also been close friends since about that time. Neither Sav (a.k.a. Edwin Pouncey) nor I can exactly remember how we met, but I already knew his work through Gary Panter (the L.A. punk artist who did collaborative projects with him in London and with Bruno Richard in Paris) when we did.
We do remember that he came knocking at our door for the first time when he was in Los Angeles to draw record covers for Long Gone John's Sympathy For The Record Industry label. This three or four day stay became the first of many meetings, both in our homes and all over the world. Our tastes are, of course, not identical, but we both have a penchant for the original, exotic and esoteric in books, music and art and constantly keep feeding off each other's new ideas and finds.
Both Edwin and his wife, Jill Tipping, are always in for new adventures, so over the years we've met up in Amsterdam, Vienna
(where we visited the magical surrealist Ernst Fuchs), Paris, Las Vegas, Mexico City (where we met the son of the late celebrated film poster artist Ernesto Cabral) and Santiago to fly to Easter Island with other friends and celebrate New Year's Eve 2000 with the islanders on top of a hill facing those haunting giant carved faces from the 12th century.
Q: You are mostly known, art-wise, as an underground artist. Could you relate your connection with underground comix?
My first contact with underground comix was while I was still living in Leeds with my parents and younger brother. They owned a newsagents, a shop which sold newspapers and magazines - together with a range of confectionery, cigarettes and alcohol. Every so often a small string-tied parcel would be delivered to the shop, which was an order of American magazines and paperbacks from a UK distribution company called TP.
The arrival of the TP parcel was a real highlight in my life and my father knew it. On very rare occasions I would be allowed to cut the string on this small bale of treasure and inspect the contents. The bulk of it was men's magazines with lurid covers showing Nazis torturing women, together with a batch of Marvel and DC titles, but there was other stuff too. The TP bundles introduced me to EC comics through the pulp pages of the Ballantine Mad and Tales From The Crypt anthologies that they had published in paperback.
What I saw just blew my mind and convinced me that my chosen career would be to become a cartoonist. As it was pointless to discuss my career plans with my mystified parents I pleaded with them to let me buy the Mad and Tales From The Crypt titles from them so that I could take them to my bedroom for further study. This involved much hand-wringing and meditative sulking until my father, still reluctantly, handed them over, on the condition that I worked down in the cellar shifting crates and restocking the shop with bottles for a week. This sounded like a good deal.
After poring for hours over the Mad paperbacks haul I had become obsessed with certain stories. These included "Plastic Sam", Harvey Kurtzman's brilliant spoof of Jack Cole's Plastic Man creation (a character I was woefully ignorant of at that time) and Bill Elder's "Outer Sanctum!" which sent me into a paroxysm of creative
By utilizing Kurtzman and Elder's warped visions I came up with a character called Super Blintz (I had subliminally sucked the word blintz into my subconscious from the pages of Mad, not even knowing it was some kind of food) which was a yellow blob of plastic with facial features and a spiky mustache who (like Plastic Sam) had the ability to change himself into any shape he desired. He also had a horde of enemies who for various nefarious reasons wanted him dead. These included a bristly half-man/half-crab creation, a fanged snowman, and a muscle bound warthog (swiped from Gilbert Shelton's Wonder Warthog creation which I had probably seen in a copy of Help! while sorting through the TP pile) and an egg-headed mad scientist character called Doctor Krazy who was Super Blintz's deadliest foe. The idea for Doctor Krazy had been borrowed from Elder's "Outer Sanctum!" strip, but also from some insane plastic model kit I had been building which was of a crazed cartoon surgeon operating on a terrified patient using a variety of household tools instead of surgical instruments.
After buying a cheap sketch pad from my parents' shop I would retire to my bedroom and laboriously draw the latest adventure of Super Blintz - using an enormous multi-colored ball point pen which I had received as a gift from one of my relatives. Completing an issue of Super Blintz would usually take me a week and only my younger brother seemed to take any interest in the finished product. I eventually found a friend of the family who agreed to subsidize my artistic yearnings by buying the only existing original copy of Super Blintz I had produced for its cover price of ten pence (the price of a UK Marvel comic) which would supply me with sufficient funds to buy another sketch book and continue cranking out further issues. I have often regretfully wondered what became of those early comics of mine.
My other obsession was collecting Weirdo and Roth monster model kits. Painting and putting together these kits also took up a lot of time and as my collection grew I began to withdraw further into the imaginary world of Rat Finks and comic books that I had pulled around me. My parents were naturally concerned, although at the time I considered their concern an intrusion into my world of monsters, hot rods and comics. Parental searches of my room were sporadically made and I would often return to find my secretly hoarded stash of monster magazines and other restricted material ripped up and dumped in an attempt to bring me to my senses. Unfortunately, even this early in my development, I was already too far-gone.
One morning I was helping my mother sort out the various newspapers and magazines for delivery. One customer had ordered an expensive contemporary art magazine called Art And Artists that I felt obliged to flick through just to see what it was all about. Art And Artists published on a wide range of subjects, but what had attracted me to this particular issue was the full color cartoon cover showing a gang of pirates blowing each others' brains out by famed "underground" cartoonist S. Clay Wilson. Inside there was an article about the emerging underground comix scene and the artists who were making it happen. These included names like Robert Crumb, Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso and, of course, S. Clay Wilson. I asked my mother if she would order me a copy which (wishing to encourage me into studying real art rather than drawing ugly cartoons) she duly did.
That magazine became my textbook on how to become an underground cartoonist. The article itself was a scholarly rant that I really didn't understand, but the accompanying illustrations were a revelation to me. Underground comix were difficult to track down in the North of England during the late 60s. The UK underground press such as Oz and International Times reprinted comix in their pages, but finding a copy of Zap Comix for example was virtually impossible.
I would have to wait until 1970 when I left home and moved to Essex in the South of England before I could buy my first undergrounds. I had read about a store that carried American imports called Dark They Were And Golden Eyed in Berwick Street in the West End of London and since Essex was relatively close by it wasn't long before I had made my way there. At last I was able to procure a fistful of Zaps and other comix, which I carried back to my lowly flat and studied intently. Now more than ever I was convinced that my goal in life was to become an underground cartoonist.
Q: Who were your favorite artists from this period?
At the time I was completely unaware of which artists were responsible for the images I was attracted to. Only later would I learn who had drawn what.
In my childhood years I liked a British comic called The Beezer, an otherwise unremarkable tabloid that contained one particular strip, which became a personal favorite. This was "The Gobbles", the weekly adventures of a family of vultures called Ma Gobble, Pa Gobble and Junior Gobble. Ma Gobble was the dominant character in this group with a giant hob-nailed boot attached to one claw which she used to kick her long-suffering husband out of the nest with, uttering the demand "GIT SOME GRUB!"
The Gobbles' creator was Leo Baxendale who had also worked for other UK comic titles such as The Beano (where his more famous strip "The Three Bears", a prototype for "The Goobles", appeared), Wham and Smash. His style was instantly recognizable and he had a flair for drawing monsters and strange creatures that few other UK artists at the time could match.
By endlessly borrowing US comic titles from the racks in my parents' shop, I was slowly educating myself as to how the form worked and communicated with its readership. I preferred Marvel to DC, and the cosmic adventures of the Fantastic Four to the more earthbound exploits of Superman, although Bob Kane's Batman and several Harvey Comics titles continued to hold my attention. Marvel's "Bullpen" totally captured my imagination, however, especially the art of Jack Kirby whose rubble-hewn characters had a profound effect on me that, to this day, I have never managed to shake off.
Equally impressive was Kirby protege Jim Steranko's treatment of Nick Fury Agent Of Shield where psychedelic and pop art merged together to produce a truly unique comic book.London, he started drawing the "Rock 'N Roll Zoo" strip for Sounds Magazine (a selection of which were later published under the title "Rock 'N' Roll Necronomicon"). His artwork and writings have also been seen in the likes of NME, Loaded, Frieze, Juxtapoz, Mojo, Bizarre and Comic Art. He now writes (as Edwin Pouncey) and draws illustrations - together with a regular cartoon strip called "Trip Or Squeek" - for experimental music magazine The Wire. He continues to live in South London with Jill, surrounded by an astounding collection of vinyl LPs, books, comix and amazing eclectic artworks.
In the back pages of hot rod magazines I discovered Robert Williams' mind tilting T-shirt and decal ads for Ed Roth. Once again it wasn't until I found my first Zap Comix that I realized who was really responsible for these astonishing images. Robert Williams and Ed "Newt" Newton were to Roth what Ub Iwerks was to Disney.
As well as comics I was also becoming influenced by album cover art. A favorite band during my teenage years was The Mothers Of Invention whose records became an intrinsic part of my maturing process. In particular I really liked the work of the band's in house artist and designer Cal Schenkel. His inspired lampooning of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's sleeve where he dressed the Mothers up in drag and seeded the Beatles' hippie flower garden with rotting vegetables was, in my warped opinion, a masterpiece.
I also loved his collage and ink work where he used a ratty line style that would later be taken up by punk rock cartoonist/artist Gary Panter and myself.
When I finally got to see some underground comix, the artists whose work hit home the hardest were S. Clay Wilson, Robert Williams and Rick Griffin. As said earlier, I also continued to admire Gilbert Shelton's Wonder Warthog and much of Robert Crumb's early work, but one of my favorites of the entire underground oeuvre remains the late Greg Irons whose Legion Of Charlies, Light and Deviant Slice comix I still find absorbing. It was something about the teaming of Irons' almost corrupt looking artwork with writer Tom Veitch's scripts that powered me on to try and do my own Corpsemeat and Dead Duck comix.
Q: What made you decide to publish Corpsemeat Comix?
Drawing and publishing Corpsemeat Comix helped haul me out of the quagmire of creative boredom which I had fallen into at that time. The idea was spawned during a tedious train journey from Paris to the holiday country cottage that my wife Jill and I were renting. So vile was this place that we had escaped to Paris for a couple of days just to get closer to some civilization.
While we were there Jill had bought me a small blue sketchbook (to gently encourage me back into drawing again) which I had begun to mindlessly doodle in. Pretty soon I was astonished to find that I had completed the panels for a comic book featuring the various ultra violent adventures of a living dead punk character called Mr. Inferno.
I fully intended to redraw the panels once I got back to London, but there was something about the crudity of the drawing, that made me think again. Instead I blew up the originals on a xerox machine, pasted them into pages and took the whole bleeding mess to a printer. A couple of weeks later 500 copies of Corpsemeat Comix rolled off the press and straight on to the top of our wardrobe where they languished for years before anybody took any interest.
Later on, when the first edition had completely gone, I teamed it up with another comic I had done called Dead Duck and offered it to a friend of mine to publish as part of his Shock imprint. This, I still feel, is one of my favorite productions.
Corpsemeat 2 came out several years later. This was a far more accomplished comic with contributions from Gary Panter, Mark Beyer, Peter Bagge, Chris Long and writer/magician Alan Moore who provided the script for the main story "Driller Penis". Sympathetic Press published the standard edition in California; and L'Atelier published a deluxe silk-screened edition - featuring some work by French artists - in Paris.
Q: Where did you get the idea for your Mr. Inferno
Mr. Inferno was born out of the punk rock revolution that spewed out of the UK when the Sex Pistols finally broke. I used to go see the Sex Pistols perform at the 100 Club (a renowned jazz venue) in Oxford Street every week. They had a kind of residency there. You would just turn up and wait for them to crawl on stage and plug in. Not many people showed up in the early days, nobody really thought they were any good, but they had an energy that was admirable, and Johnny Rotten's stage presence was extremely powerful.
Mr. Inferno probably has a Rotten streak running through his diseased bones. He's a total misanthrope who will kill anybody and anything just for kicks. He knows that he'll be executed for his crimes but he doesn't care as he's dead already.
Q: And then you hatched Dead Duck?
Dead Duck is Mr. Inferno in a duck costume. He/it is equally misanthropic and has a severe drug and alcohol problem which has permanently damaged his brain and sends him into spasms of ultra violent behavior. Cancers are eating up his ugly bloated body, which he keeps stoking with cheeseburgers, beer, bourbon, Cherry Cokes and heroin.
The idea for this character came from being obsessed with Greg Irons' Gregor The Purple-Assed Baboon who turns up sporadically in comix like Doctor Wertham's, Slow Death and Commies From Mars. Again, I liked the corrupt quality which he had infected Gregor with, and this wormed its way into the greasy entrails of my Dead Duck creation.
Dead Duck took off after I had been made redundant from this music magazine I worked for called Sounds. To keep myself from going insane I would draw a page every day and if it made me laugh I would keep it, if not it would be trashed. Eventually I had enough hits to make another comic book and so I printed off a limited edition of 50 copies, which I gave to friends, and people who I thought deserved one.
 AWPR went on to record Nugyar for Gary Ramon's Prescription label and perform alongside New York Jazz noise meisters Borbetomagus (who guested on Sonic Youth's recent Murray Street album) before breaking up after a clash of personalities. Since then my musical side has become less active and I now feel more drawn to writing and producing artwork than making abstract guitar noise.
Q: Tell me about your current interest in producing etchings.
This came about after visiting a huge show of visionary artist and poet William Blake's work which was shown at London's Tate Britain in 2000. Although I was familiar with Blake's work this was the
first time I had really seen it all together and the overall effect was both mind blowing and inspirational. Although I had no desire to imitate Blake per se, it was the simplicity, beauty and
workmanship in his etchings that I particularly admired and longed to understand. I mentioned this to Jill afterwards and she told me that an artist, Judith Downie, who used to teach her at college was now giving private etching lessons at her home in North London. An appointment was made and I began to slowly learn the process of how to make an etching plate.
The medium suited me down to the ground (no pun intended) as, unlike painting, the results are almost immediate. I also liked the fact that etching is a linear art form that is mostly black and white. Producing prints through this method is, for me, a step forward from producing comix on a xerox machine. Firstly, the techniques
involved are more physical than simply sticking your drawing
into a machine. Secondly, the result is more aesthetically pleasing to look at and hold.
Many of the etchings I do are drawn directly on to the plate which is then dipped in acid, heated up, inked and finally rolled in a huge metal press to produce a print. The paper used is of archival quality and the print run is limited to 25 copies, or sometimes even less.
Etching has released the bats in my belfry about becoming a serious artist, allowing me a new way to express myself and let the inner demons loose. The alchemical aspect of using acid, fire and pressure during the etching process is also important and very thrilling to me. These are not just drawings, they are more like incantations that have been welling up inside over the years. It is probably this fact which makes me feel that these etchings, or "itchings" as I prefer to call them" are amongst my most important and magickal works so far.

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