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1990.05.DD - Rage Magazine - Robert Williams: Fouling The Art World's Nest Since 1957

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1990.05.DD - Rage Magazine - Robert Williams: Fouling The Art World's Nest Since 1957 Empty 1990.05.DD - Rage Magazine - Robert Williams: Fouling The Art World's Nest Since 1957

Post by Blackstar on Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:49 pm

1990.05.DD - Rage Magazine - Robert Williams: Fouling The Art World's Nest Since 1957 1990_049
1990.05.DD - Rage Magazine - Robert Williams: Fouling The Art World's Nest Since 1957 1990_047
1990.05.DD - Rage Magazine - Robert Williams: Fouling The Art World's Nest Since 1957 1990_048
1990.05.DD - Rage Magazine - Robert Williams: Fouling The Art World's Nest Since 1957 1990_050
1990.05.DD - Rage Magazine - Robert Williams: Fouling The Art World's Nest Since 1957 1990_052
1990.05.DD - Rage Magazine - Robert Williams: Fouling The Art World's Nest Since 1957 1990_051
1990.05.DD - Rage Magazine - Robert Williams: Fouling The Art World's Nest Since 1957 1990_053

Transcript:
------------------

EXCLUSIVE:

ROBERT WILLIAMS:
FOULING THE ART WORLD'S NEST SINCE 1957


While brainstorming over what to include in this premier issue, my editor and I were discussing things that just sort of seem to jump up, slap you in the face, grab you by the neck and rattle your head until you see stars or some type of a neo-psychedeli-nucleo-revelation. You know the kind of sh*t that I mean, something outside the music parameters yet somehow still relevant to a music audience. The perfect solution to this seemingly complex subject matter problem appeared before our faces in the form of the Guns 'N Roses album Appetite for Destruction. Yep, what a better topic than graphic painter extraordinaire Robert Williams, who has been alternately called "the most culturally adept and meta-morphically hep artist of the last quarter century" by Forced Exposure magazine and "a guru of the counter-cultural underground... a maverick disregarded by the prevailing power elite" by Art Forum International magazine, while still managing to keep it all from going to his head.

[...]

Williams' penchant for the beauty of a woman and his often shocking interpretation of the world around him has been the cause of much controversy, not only among the feminists, but with the general public and even the PMRC, since Mr. Axl Rose, an underground comics fan, chose "Appetite for Destruction" from the "Zombie Mystery Paintings" series of 1979 to grace his debut album cover.

"This kid Axl Rose had seen that piece on the cover of my book Zombie Mystery Paintings. And they were just a little nothin' band that nobody had ever even heard of in their own town. And they had contacted someone up in San Francisco to get in touch with me. Somehow their manager, Al Niven, had gotten my number and called me up. I knew from the beginning what was gonna happen with this whole thing because I had been through it all before with the record companies. So, I told them to come over here to the house and look through all of my stuff to see if there was something that they maybe would like better. So they all came over here and looked through everything, and after all that looking, he said he still wanted "Appetite For Destruction." So, I said alright, but I warned them what was gonna happen with a cover like that. All of a sudden the band started catching flack. Well, actually they [the authorities] didn't want much to do with me. They weren't too concerned with me. It wasn't like the artists that had a lot to do with the underground bands, like the Grateful Dead. They were always real appreciative of their artists, but Guns N' Roses didn't have any f*cking interest in me one f*cking way or the other. You know, so I was just like out of the picture, except there started to be a lot write-ups about the album and about the cover. And I had someone over at Geffen call me and say, 'Well, these guys, they are not too f*cking ar-ticulate, would there be a chance of verbally defending the piece?' And I said, 'Damn, right. I f*cking painted it, I'll f*cking defend it.'

"So, this got me on MTV a bunch of times and one thing or another, and then the PMRC, I guess is, well, I mean, that is bordering on witchcraft persecution or something, you know, but the PMRC got on this thing, and then I heard a couple of religious groups got on this goddamn album cover, and then finally, it took some while, but the feminists finally hit this thing. And there are about 6 or 7 groups in Northern California that hit this thing with both claws, both talons and they started in Santa Cruz and they picketed all the record stores that carried it and forced them all to not carry it except Tower Records. Tower Records refused to pull it, and then, they moved to Berkeley. They did the same thing to Berkeley. They took their thing to Berkeley and all the rest of the record stores just jerked it right off the shelf except for Tower Records. Then Tower Records called me and got a statement from me and it got really ugly. These f*cking women's things got this thing looking really ugly and they got real petty about it and they started using pressure at the Berkeley school and the school at Santa Cruz and the paper and got a real movement going, and then the women—it was the women who would come to my f*cking defense, and these women that would come to my defense, these gals would just tear them apart verbally in the papers. I really felt for these gals that had come to my defense. They were intelligent, articulate women and realized that these were just a bunch of f*cking broads that had complexes or something that f*cking needed a hobby or something.

"So then they dropped the Guns 'N Roses thing and started attacking this pornographic video game thing. That got them off the hook. But they had caused a number of papers to call me up to get my explanation on this thing. You know, I defended it. I think as good as probably could be defense on the obvious. The goddamn picture—I don't know. My defense was that I can't be responsible for it being a f*cking monkey-see-monkey-do world, you know. That was my defense. My only other defense is that I tend to do pictures like this and if I'm a bad person, well, I just happen to be a bad f*cking person. Now, I've just copped to the fact that I'm a bad person in this respect. And it might now have been the discretest thing in the f*cking world for Guns 'N Roses to use as a f*cking album cover, but you know, I don't think it is a crime that they did this. The picture does create anxieties and it was designed to create anxieties and that's my defense.

"But the people that didn't like it still didn't like it and the people that were supportive of it—it still didn't change anybody's mind. You know, everyone had already had their own conclusions drawn. Now, in my town, in L.A., there is a large faction that I didn't rub elbows with that are feminists. A lot of them I get along with and a lot of them hate my f*cking guts. And, uh, you know, I don't know what to tell you, you know? Of course it's a sensitive situation to me that I make certain women unhappy, but on the other hand, goddamn, you know, if you have to cowtoe to everyone who has some f*cking little anxiety over something, then, you know, its —they refuse to let my book down in Laith, the most liberal f*cking place in the world, Laith's Art Gallery and Bookstore, they refuse to, it's run by a feminist, she refused to have my books in there. And she didn't have a legal grounds to not have my books in there. She kept coming up with reasons, you know, and just puttin' it off week by week not letting my books get in the f*cking bookstore. It was a situation I face a lot. I don't know what to tell ya."

[...]

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