Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tales of a Roadie: Interview with Lance Lambert, Former Band Boy for The Wailers

This interview is part of a larger article to appear in Munster Style, a magazine devoted to Kustom Kulture and vintage rock.

Paint a picture of what it was like and what that experience was like for you.

Starting in about the spring of 1966, they [Sandy Gillespie and Ron Gardner of The Wailers] asked me if I wanted to go on the road early part of the summer and I said yes.

At that time the band had three vehicles. They had a new Ford station wagon that had "Wailers" painted all over the side of it. They had an Oldsmobile — it wasn't a limousine, but it was a great big sedan, and they had an Econoline [van] that also has "Wailers" painted on it. So the Econoline had the equipment in it, the wagon sometimes had the band and more equipment in it, and the Oldsmobile had the band in it. I usually was driving the wagon or the Econoline.

Anytime I could be in their car and be seen in it, I would jump on it. One time I drove to Owens Beach, Point Defiance in Tacoma, five of my buddies crammed in back, as far back as possible, and when I pop the clutch, I could do wheel stands.

Once I pulled into burger joint before a concert. I get out and there are all these kids. I get my burger, get back in and then back into a telephone pole. It crushed the quarter panel. I wasn't nearly as cool anymore. I crunched the van twice and also got a ticket in it.

How many guys were there?
There were five guys. Plus me [Lance] and Sandy in the entourage.
Kent Morrill – Keyboard and Vocal
Neal Anderson – Lead Guitar
Buck Ormsby – Bass Guitar
Ron Gardner – Saxophone, Keyboard and Vocal
Dave Roland - Drums

How were they getting their gigs? Did they have a booking agent?
They played every little podunk town between here and wherever. They had a guy out of Tacoma that was their manager —I don't remember  his name — their office was on 6th Avenue in Tacoma, near Pearl or Proctor. It was south of Proctor neighborhood just west of 6th Avenue and S. Stevens Street.

And he was booking them in small venues?
Anybody that would pay. Back then (need to verify) their standard wage was $700/night. We'd be in Hoquiam one night and Spokane the next night and Eugene the next night. It was just grueling. Those guys were fine with it — they were raised on it — this guy was dying.

When I was in the wagon I would get to a town before the band — a half a day or whatever, and one of my jobs was to contact the promoter. And it was usually a radio station. You'd get a hold of the station and sometimes they'd have me come on and do an interview, which was really fun because I'd say, "Yeah, and my boys will be here later today," and I'd make this big deal.  

And you were 19 years old? That's insane!
Yeah, well the DJs that were interviewing me were probably 21—the ones who were interviewing me.

And the motels or hotels would be set up in advance so I or we would roll in. The band almost (and I'm showing you a small window, but in that summer) usually they got two rooms: One for for sleeping and one was for partying. And one of my jobs was — somebody went out and bought the beer, and I would fill the bathtub up with ice and beer.

What was the drinking age at that time?
Twenty-one. And most of the guys were probably 21 at that time — not all of them were, but a couple of them were. I think Kent was the oldest guy in the group. Not sure about that. So we'd hit town, set up at the hotel, Sandy and I would go to the venue and set the equipment up, and then the band was really into their "entrance," which was really cool. Very theatrical. They were really smart about that.

So they would build a lot of excitement and anticipation?
Yes. Sometimes they would intentionally, well, sometimes they would get there early, tune up all their equipment, so everything was ready to go (this is before anybody got there) —I don't remember how many times it happened, but I remember it happening — they would intentionally be a little late. You know, the thing was supposed to start at 7 or 8 or 9, and they would get there at 7:10, or 8:10 or 9:10, and the crowd would be [antsy] — yeah, they'd come through the front door. And they would even sometimes wear trench coats. So these guys would come walking in in trench coats (everyone knew who they were) and rather than come in through the back door like anyone else, they'd come through the front door and the crowd would just part as they came in. And they'd walk up onto the stage, pick up their instruments, and BANG, they'd start playing.

Whenever they played in Vancouver, Canada, the Canadians would fly even though it was just from Seattle because the newspaper in Vancouver treated them like they were the biggest name in the world, so they'd get their picture taken, coming off the airplane, like they were The Beatles or something. Yeah. And they had some of that stuff down.

Sounds like they did a lot of really intelligent things? Like things that were very sophisticated? 
They were a smart band—a very smart band. That's why their music's so good.
They would pay their own way and make sure the local media knew when they were arriving. I remember seeing a picture on the front page of the Vancouver newspaper of the band walking down the ramp off the plane while waving at the crowd. Very “Beatles-ish”.

So it seems like they had it all, but musically they were challenged to put out something that reached the same level as when they were at their pinnacle?
When rock and roll was rock and roll, they were the kings around here. Not just here, but they were the kings in Seattle, Portland, Ore, Vancouver—the northwest. When music started changing — and this is just a personal opinion — they were a little slow to change —not that they even needed to change, but once The Beatles started happening, I think the Wailers and a lot of other people thought, "yeah, that'll go away." And it didn't.

And so their music was becoming a little dated. So then they started playing "catch up," and if you listen to their "Out of Our Tree" — Correction —“Walk Through The People" album, that's when they tried to get psychedelic. And a few things before that. And some of it worked, some of it didn't. A typical Wailers album, no matter where they were in the time line, it was always the same thing: a third of it was killer—just number one stuff, a third of it was okay and a third of it was like, nyah. But I suppose you could say that about everybody back then.

I remember that last album — "Walk Through The People," I think was on Bell Records — and I remember, even though this really wasn't the case, the attitude was — boy I hope I don't get in trouble saying things I've twisted in my memory—but it was kinda like, "This one's gotta make it. This album's gotta make it or we have to really look at what we're doing."

With the album art on “Walk Through The People” I think they shot themselves in the foot on it. It looked like two things: “A Web of Sound” by The Seeds was released in 1965 and the Wailers album cover looked too much like it. And then it sort of looked like it wasn't “current.”

So that was still like around '66? So how long do you think that ride continued? You said you kind of hooked up with them just after they'd peaked and they were kind of heading down.
Of course they've had a resurgence, but probably '68 or so? [Things were really changing radically by 1968] They went through...their album, sitting in a spaghetti house in San Francisco — "Outburst"— that has some really good stuff on it—very commercial sounding— and every time I hear it, it sounds like The Monkees to me. And that album— I used to hang around their office—there might've been another writer. They hired a guy to write a bunch of stuff for them, R. Wayne Davies. It was like, OK, put an album out that's not ours—someone else is going to write it. But I remember the guy drove up. He was a rag-tag looking hippie before there were rag-tag hippies. He drove a beat up Corvette and I remember him driving to the office. And he wrote a good part of the "Outburst" album — I think. It was pretty commercial sounding, but there was some good stuff on it. Commercial stuff isn't necessarily bad.

It was sorta like, we're gonna stop being the original Wailers and sound like everybody else, and [not be true to yourself].

Those two albums were produced around the time you hung out? 
I think "Out of Our Tree," and "Walk through the People." Maybe they put out 15 albums? Something like that. Among them:
The Fabulous Wailers
The Wailers At The Castle
Tall Cool One
Out of Our Tree
Wailers Wailers Everywhere
The Wailers and Company
Walk Through The People
Cadillac to Mexico
Two Car Garage
The Boys From Tacoma

The Sonics is a huge piece of the Wailers history. The Sonics recorded a lot of the Wailers music. The Sonics were another Tacoma band. The Wailers get credit for being the first garage band. The Sonics were really different. They had this feedback system they were using that no one else was using. The Kinks, I think got their whole gig from the Sonics. There are a lot of people who think that. 

People think the Kinks were influenced by the Sonics?
Yes. Sonics were recording stuff that the Kinks got a hold of. They thought, “Hey, this stuff is really different.” But the Sonics were a local, popular band. The Wailers took them under their wing—started recording them on the "Etiquette" label. The Sonics, in some people's eyes, eclipsed the Wailers. Their song, "The Witch," was a pretty big hit. I don't know where it landed nationally, but it definitely was up there. And they had a bunch of local hits—some other stuff. They were really an acquired taste.

Did you ever like the grunge stuff? Did it resonate with you at all? Like, did it harken back to those days? 
I didn't pay attention. As time went by, I'd hear some Nirvana stuff and thought it was good—it sounded more like the Sonics. I claim no expertise. My own taste in music stopped in 1975 or so.

So during the time you were the band boy, you were traveling vast distances?
I keep getting side tracked. This is a good story. It was really a grind. We'd set up the equipment, the band would go play. Part of my job, for lack of a better word, was being a "pimp." I would make sure that I was seen on stage by the audience. Still to this day I make sure I get "seen by the audience." [Smile.] I would make sure they would make a connection. I would walk up to girls and all I would say is, "Are you 18?" Laughs. They'd say, "yeah." I'd say, [for example] "The Wailers are staying at The Tradewinds tonight. C'mon down. We're in room 502." Only the cute ones. And everything you've ever heard about groupies? They're all true.

There were no drugs. In fact, the Peanut Butter Conspiracy was playing in SF or somewhere and The Wailers might've opened for them. I was invited to go smoke dope with them, and I can't remember if it was Buck or Kent, but he gave me the finger shake. They were all for drinking themselves into oblivion, but don't touch marijuana — nothing.

Do you think that changed over time?
I would suspect so. Laughs. But I have no stories. I witnessed nothing. [Smiles.]

So on a typical summer—would you guys play...
Seven nights a week. One night off per month. They were booked night after night.

If they were making $700 per night, that was a sizable amount of money back in those days. 
Each guy, I don't remember the amount of money, but each guy would get a certain amount of money every week and all the rest of it went into Etiquette Records. So they were on a "wage." Etiquette was THEIR label and it still is.

So it was night after night after night. The thing that was hard was, some nights you'd finish playing at one or two in the morning, tear down the equipment, go back to the hotel, sleep til 8, 9, or 10. But sometimes you'd tear down the equipment, climb back into the van, then drive 300 miles. The band might stay behind and sleep, but Sandy and I would drive to the next town. And I did this for two and a half months. One day we were in a restaurant. It was really bizarre because we were eating breakfast at breakfast time. I remember thinking it was 8 o'clock and we were eating breakfast. I got up from the table and went into the bathroom and puked my guts out, came back and said, "Guys, I can't do this anymore. It's just too hard on me, physically."

It must have been the time of your life.
Cherished memories.

When you guys would do these gigs, would you say you'd have an audience of a couple hundred?
Easily. There'd be an audience of 150 to 1,000. A roller rink, dance hall. Probably the biggest gig I saw when I was with them was the Coliseum in Spokane. Huge. Big enough that I was with the Wailers band and Chuck Cantrell (the roadie for the Sonics) is in his van, and we drag-raced inside the Coliseum, aiming straight for the stage. Have you read Pat O'Day's book? There are some pictures in it of the Wailers taken on stage in the Coliseum, that night.

Was there like a pinnacle moment for you in that whole overview of the summer? Like you thought, wow, this is an unbelievable moment? That really sticks out in your mind as the most amazing thing—like, you can't believe you're doing this, or you can't believe you're here?
It won't print as well as it came across, but I remember Sandy, Ron and I —people would pair up/share sleeping quarters/hang out— we went to a department store and all the clerks there, the girls were all over Ron. Two stories: Ron points at me and says, he's in the band too, and all of a sudden they're all over me.

But a better story: Sandy and I are somewhere, we stop at a fruit stand. There was a family with two daughters there. The two daughters saw the van.

They see us and come running and they have a Wailers album. And they ask us to autograph. I said, “Hey, I'm just the roadie,” and they were like, “I don't care!” So I signed it, "Best wishes, Lance Lambert." so somewhere out there, there is an album inscribed like that.

Oh, I have another story...
They're playing in Burien — a club there, like a dance hall or skating rink or something. Concert's over. Tearing down the equipment. The exits doors on the side "CRASH" and burst open and about six or eight teenage girls come flocking in and they all gather around me. And they're squealing and saying "Give us something! Give us something! Give us anything!" And I had some Wailers calling cards, so I gave them each a calling card (like, business cards?) Yeah, and I didn't bother telling them I wasn't in the band at that point. And it was like I just gave them each a $500 bill.

Do you have any mementos from those times? Back stage passes? Ticket stubs?
Nothing. And I'm a guy with lots of scrap books filled with everything. It's crazy. I have a picture of Sandy standing next to the van. I have sadly one bad picture of me climbing into the station wagon. I have Wailers posters I've picked up over the years. But yeah, I wish I had more.

Something I'd like to say about the Kingsmen—I was in Vegas about 15 years ago. There was a concert at The Aladdin. It was Jan and Dean, The Kingsmen, The Shantees (sp), and the Shantelles. Jan and Dean headlined. All four groups took a break (I do have a great, one of a kind poster for the event, made up by the hotel). The bands each were set up at tables to sign autographs and stuff. At the time I think there were two original guys in the group. I said, "I certainly don't expect you to remember me, but I will always remember when the Wailers were sitting at a patio killing time before the show and you guys pulled up in your car because you were staying there, too. As soon as the word "Wailers" came out of my mouth, the other three or four guys stopped talking to whomever they were talking to and scooted their chairs over, and sat there and talked. And this is a direct quote in my memory, "You know, all we ever were was a Wailers-wannabe band." If the Wailers version of “Louie Louie” would have come out a week or two earlier, and it would be their version you always hear."

Through all of this, from '59 until now, I've always thought the Wailers are just a really great rock and roll band. And it's always frustrated me and every one of their fans that they weren't bigger. The rest of the world deserves more Wailers music. You look at them now and they're being recognized, busy and still performing. They just released "Two Car Garage", a new CD with The Ventures.  They recorded a bunch of stuff and it's the best version I've ever heard of "Louie Louie."

February 19, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Etsyveg Team Rocks!

Finally a like minded group of people that I can be proud to hang out with!

The Etsyveg Team has welcomed me with open arms and I just wanted to say thanks! Keep on veggin'...

Vegetarians and Vegans Voice on their Venue!


Arg! Pirates


pi-rate \pī-rǝt\ n,

1 : one who commits robbery on the high seas;

2 : a bawdy, rowdy, frightening, fascinating bastard who we’ve been reading about for centuries and just can’t get enough of.

Pirates have been a best-selling literary topic since they first started sailing the waters and burying their treasure. In reality pirates were vicious criminals and murderers, but readers love to romanticize them, and why not? It’s about the most exciting life there is—sailing the seven seas on a never-ending quest for pieces of eight, doubloons, and adventure galore. Whether its reality, romance, action, or comedy you’re looking for, you can be sure to find it in the pirate way of life.

A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates by Captain Charles Johnson, 2002, Lyons Press, originally published 1724 (Nonfiction/ History/ 16th Century) 

This is the original history about pirates, written during the “Golden Age of Pyracy” when pirates were still alive and well and very much a real threat. No one really knows who Captain Charles Johnson was (Daniel DeFoe, author of Robinson Crusoe, was once considered a likely suspect), but whoever he was, he sure knew his stuff. Taking most of his information from newspaper accounts and from pirate trial transcripts, Johnson also interviewed seamen and sailors for vivid, true-to-life descriptions. Johnson’s accounts of the lives of men like Blackbeard and Captain Kidd gave them almost mythical status and they soon became the most legendary of pirates, inspiring almost everything we know and love best about the traditional, classic pirate. From peg legs to parrots on the shoulder to black eye patches, A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates had it first.

Booty: Girl Pirates on the High Seas by Sara Lorimer, illustrations by Susan Synarski, 2003, Chronicle Books (Nonfiction/ Women's History)

Pirates, we all know, are loud, dirty, bare-chested men armed to the teeth with cutlasses and knives. Not so, says history. There are many examples of women who took to the life of piracy like ducks take to water. These ladies had to keep their shirts on, but otherwise the aforementioned description more than holds up. Booty, with its tongue-in-cheek tone and its charming illustrations, is a unique look at these unusual pirates. How did Mary Read and Anne Bonny stay disguised as pirate men for so long? How did beautiful Cheng I Sao manage to keep an entire fleet of two thousand ships and eighty thousand pirates under her thumb? Did Sadie the Goat really get in a brawl with a barkeep who kept the severed ears of her victims in a pickle jar? Booty proves that the challenges of a life of crime at sea were fraught with a whole new set of dangers if you would otherwise be wearing a petticoat and bonnet. The lively, colorful images and vivid descriptions spruce up the tales of pillage, plunder, and derring-do to make this mini-history as delightful as its subjects are despicable.

Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier, 2009, Sourcebooks, originally published 1942 (Fiction/ Historical Fiction/ Romance)

Daphne Du Maurier, best known for the suspenseful romance classic Rebecca, also had a thing for pirates. This historical romance matches a lovely genteel lady from the fashionable world with a dashing pirate who terrorizes the Cornish coat. Lady Dona St. Columb is bored and jaded by the numbingly polite society of Restoration London. She flees her life of luxury and ease and rides to her husband’s remote Cornish estate, where a chance encounter with the pirate Jean-Benoit Aubéry changes her life. Aubéry may be a pirate, but he’s also an educated, cultured, thoughtful man of action. The mix of philosopher and pirate is too much for Dona to resist; she falls head over heels in love with Aubéry and runs away with him. Dona may be done with high society, but high society won’t let her go that easily. Pursued by her husband and other “gentlemen,” Dona and Aubéry have to face some intense obstacles that stand in the way of their romantic, adventurous life together. This may seem like a swashbuckling bodice-ripper, and it’s certainly an ancestor of those types of romances, but there’s more to Frenchman’s Creek than just love and adventure. The writing style is literary even when the characters are romanticized, and the real journey here is Dona’s path to self-discovery. Still, dating a pirate is the ultimate way to rebel, and Frenchman’s Creek will satisfy readers who love the romantic appeal of pirate life best.

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe, 2004, Pantheon Books (Fiction/ Humor/ Satire)

Ah, pirate comedy. In Gideon Defoe’s novel, his pirate crew debates the best part of pirating (grog or cutlasses), delights in anachronisms like Post-It notes and dental floss, and accidentally attacks Charles Darwin’s ship, the Beagle. The Pirate Captain (yes, that’s his name) decides to spare Darwin’s life in exchange for a boat ride back to London. Darwin put the pirates up at the swank Royal Society and passes them off as scientists. Soon the pirates are the toast of the town and are up to their eye patches in schemes and plots involving the big mean Bishop of Oxford, Drawin’s kidnapped brother Erasmus, and a trained chimp named Bobo who is best known for acting the part of the perfect British gentleman. Silly, droll, Monty Python-esque, delightfully absurd and unabashedly juvenile, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists is the most fun you’ll ever have with a pirate crew. Until, that is, you read The Pirates! In an Adventure with Ahab (2005), The Pirates! In an Adventure with Communists (2006), and The Pirates! In an Adventure with Napoleon (2009).

Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper, 2005, Little, Brown, and Co. (Fiction/ Teen Fiction/ Adventure/ Fantasy)

What’s meaner than a pirate? A vampirate, of course. Set in the twenty-sixth century off the coast of Australia’s Crescent Moon Bay, this is the story of fourteen-year-old twins Connor and Grace Tempest. When their lighthouse keeper father dies, leaving them penniless and alone, the twins take to sea. But before they can begin a new life, a ferocious storm sinks their boat and separates them—perhaps forever. Connor is plucked from the sea by a pirate ship and the athletic youngster makes fast friends with the welcoming crew, taking to the pirate life like a natural. But Grace wakes up on a very different rescue ship. Her savior, handsome Lorcan Furey, keeps her locked in a luxurious cabin. The meals are unbelievably delicious—and sleep-inducing. And the captain is the biggest puzzle of all, with his disembodied whisper and masked face. Readers won’t be surprised to learn that Grace has been taken on board the ship of the Vampirates, a spooky group of vampires-turned-pirates that the twins’ father used to sing a lullaby-style sea shanty about. The narrative alternates between Connor and Grace, giving readers a vivid description of life on a pirate ship while building up the mystery of the Vampirates. The union of vampire and pirate is a clever one, and Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean is a fast, breezy, fun read, complete with a cliff-hanger ending that paves the way for a new thrilling series of Vampirate books.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, 2008, Puffin Classics, originally published 1883 (Fiction Classics/ Adventure)


Robert Louis Stevenson had a way with names—Jim Hawkins, Squire Trelawney, Ben Gunn, Israel Hands, and best of all, Captain Long John Silver. Throw in the good ship Hispaniola, the seaside Admiral Benbow Inn, and of course, the good old Treasure Island, and you’ve got the top pirate tale of all time. Stevenson capitalized on all the pirate legends—peg legs, the jolly roger, the parrot squawking “Pieces of eight!”—to create the story of adventurous young Jim Hawkins, a clever, kind, courageous young lad who finds a treasure map in a dead man’s sea chest at his mother’s inn. But standing in the way of Jim and his buried treasure is the deceptively charming Long John Silver, a pirate captain disguised as the ship’s merry cook. And more than treasure and treachery await the crew of the Hispaniola on the mysterious island—there’s action, adventure, twists, and turns that still delight readers over one hundred years later. Not only is Treasure Island the go-to, end-all source for all things pirate, it’s also one of the most readable classics of the Victorian age and an old-fashioned ripping good yarn.

Silver: My Own Tale as Written by Me with a Goodly Amount of Murder by Edward Chupack, 2008, Thomas Dunne Books (Fiction/ Adventure)


Treasure Island has proved so enduring that there is an entire sub-genre of sequels and spin-offs. Silver: My Own Tale as Written by Me with a Goodly Amount of Murder is the jolly good story of Captain Long John Silver, that roughish devil who comes this close to getting his hands on buried treasure only to be thwarted by a clever kid. Imprisoned on his own ship as it sails back to England, Silver pens his own version of events in a rollicking slangy voice that is entirely his own. He recounts his childhood as a street urchin, his “education” under the tutelage of the homeless blind man who takes him under his wing, and his boyhood meeting with pirate Black John who introduces young John to the joys and savages of pirate life. And then he plunges dagger and hilt into his story among the ruthless buccaneers, complete with bloody murders, treasure galore, peg-legs, and parrots--and a lively, noisy, unapologetic rabble of a story it is too. Fans of the original will relish this villainous point of view from author (and attorney-at-law, of all things) Edward Chupack. Readers and writers simply cannot get enough of Treasure Island, but Silver comes as close as any to satisfying that pirate lust.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, 2003, Henry Holt and Co., originally published 1911 (Fiction Classics, Children’s Fiction/ Adventure/ Fantasy)

You know the story—the children in the nursery, Wendy, Michael, and John; the bell-voiced fairy Tinkerbell, complete with magical fairy dust; Peter himself, the boy who wouldn’t grow up but who flew away to Neverland instead; and of course the nastiest, naughtiest pirate whose hand was ever eaten by a crocodile, the delightfully vile Captain Hook. The story has many a quirky charm that you, in the busy business of your grown-up life, may have forgotten: Nana, the all-knowing doggy-nurse; the way Mrs. Darling tidies up her children’s minds, which is of course the “nightly custom of every good mother”; and author J.M. Barrie’s sweetly skewed world in which fantasy and reality have never met more lovingly—even when Captain Hook is stealing kiddies from their beds or turning tail and fleeing from the big bad crocodile. There are dozens of editions of Peter Pan, which was originally a play in 1904. The one-hundredth anniversary edition illustrated by Michael Hague is a special treat, with lush full-page paintings and a truly inspiring rendition of crooky old Captain Hook.

Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly, 2006, Random House, originally published 1995 (Nonfiction/ 17th Century History)


Popular films like The Pirates of the Caribbean make pirates look like a loveable, jolly old bunch. But Under the Black Flag is a modern history that delves deeper into pirate lore, investigating many of the myths and legends that were first set forth in Captain Charles Johnson’s classic history. From the fictional pirates of Peter Pan and Treasure Island to real-life accounts of notorious pirates Sir Henry Morgan and Calico Jack, this book answers every question you ever had about piracy on the high seas. David Cordingly is one of the world’s foremost experts on pirates, so when he describes the cutthroat violence of a real pirate battle, explains exactly why so few pirates enjoyed long lives of luxury, or defines the differences between a corsair and a buccaneer, you can rest assured he knows exactly what he’s talking about. For the real truth about pirates, look no further than Under the Black Flag.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Digital paper is here!

Print Paper for;

Photography Backgrounds
Pendant Making
Altered Art

Use digitally for;

Clip art
Websites and Blogs
Banners, Backgrounds, Buttons, Ads, and whatever your little heart desires!

Personal and Commercial use okay. You may use these for all of your small business needs however, do not resell as is or in a kit. Please read enclosed TOU's after purchase for more information or contact me here.

To purchase paper please visit here, Graphic Design by Tara Digital Paper

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's all new to me!

Even though business has trickled down to next to nothing in my jewelry shop, I have still managed to keep myself really busy this week!

Here are some of my latest projects...

Stay tuned for new designs, freebies, and logos here. Please visit my main website for more info. and examples of my work.

Graphic Design by Tara


Saturday, February 20, 2010

I DON'T Want to Steal Your Artwork!

So help me out and put your TOU, (terms of use), on everything you put on the worldwide web. I do not buy or download ANYTHING that doesn't have information regarding resale. If I have to go through more than the actual download/add to cart page I am already over it. What I worry about most in this situation is the other people using this "Honor" system on the internet. Who can police millions of buyers? Just because I don't do it, doesn't mean someone else will care. Sometimes you feel like you have to hire a detective to find some people's TOU's! lol  Please, if you are serious about your designs don't put them out there without watermarks or very visible TOU's.

The digital pirates are lurking everywhere....(paranoia much?)


Friday, February 19, 2010

Which Witch?


Good witches, wicked witches, feared witches, real witches. Witches are both the stuff that nightmares and fairy tales are made of and historical figures from the past. From black-clad, pointy hat-wearing, wart-covered caricatures to real, often misunderstood, women who practice the art of witchcraft, witches are a part of our literary tradition and our historical record. They are also, by the way, a lot of fun, drama, and of course, enchantment and magic.

The Witches by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake, 2007, Penguin Books, originally published 1983 (Children’s Fiction/ Adventure) 

Beloved author Roald Dahl possessed the delightful ability to write children’s books that his readers never outgrow. Maybe it’s because of his dark, quirky comic timing. Maybe it’s because he treats his readers with respect, intelligence, and good humor. Maybe it’s simply because he’s a storyteller of the highest order who infuses his books with whimsical charm, irresistible heroes and villains, and loads of magic and wonder. Plus, Roald Dahl has an extraordinary imagination. The Witches is one of his best. A boy and his impressive Norwegian grandmother are vacationing at a glamorous hotel. The boy leads a wondrous life—thanks to grandma’s unconventional theories of childrearing, he can explore all he wants, rarely has to bathe, and knows everything there is to know about witches. The cigar-smoking, wise-as-an-owl grandmother is an expert on witches. She knows they find children by smell (hence the benefits of remaining unwashed). She knows they’re bald and wear itchy wigs. She knows they disguise their curvy claws and square feet in long gloves and pointy shoes. She knows they’re foul, wicked creatures whose goal is to rid the world of little children. But all this knowledge does little good when the Grand High Witch of the World and her coven take a vacation at the very same hotel. Our intrepid little boy hero overhears the witches’ diabolical plan, but he is caught, teased, tormented, and finally turned into a mouse before he has even a chance to think about doing anything to stop them. Now, how can a tiny little mouse and an ancient grandmother stop the world’s most powerful witches? The evil-in-our-midst plot makes The Witches scary, the intimate and direct voice of the little critter narrator makes it charming, and the twists and turns with witchy mythology make it fun fun fun. You simply cannot read The Witches too many times.

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, 2009, Harper Paperbacks, originally published 1995 (Fiction/ Fantasy) 


The Wizard of Oz is a modern fairy tale. Young Dorothy (and her little dog too) run away from home, get caught in a tornado, and are blown far away to a magical land of walking scarecrows, talking lions, wizards, witches, yellow brick roads, and emerald cities. Most readers will know the 1939 Hollywood musical movie starring Judy Garland best, but L. Frank Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its thirteen sequels way back when in the early 1900s. But it is author Gregory Maguire’s Wicked that really blows the lid off this classic. He focuses on the future Wicked Witch of the West, who begins life as a small green girl named Elphaba. Elphie’s Munchkinlander parents are less than thrilled with this strange offspring, and more so when another daughter (normal-colored but armless) is born a couple years later. Still, the sisters survive their difficult childhood and attend university, where Elphie’s roommate is ditzy Glinda (better known as the Good Witch of the North). Elphaba is never wicked or evil; in fact she campaigns against the politically corrupt Wizard of Oz and fights for economic re-growth instead. Elphaba is ultimately an intelligent and out-spoken young woman, but fate and luck are just not on her side. Readers will sympathize with this other side of the Wicked Witch of the West and relish the clever social satire and biting cynicism inherent in this alternate vision of fanciful Oz. Just as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz swept off the page and became the beloved Hollywood movie, Wicked has transcended its original format to become a popular Broadway musical. Maguire has proved something of a visionary with his reimaging of fairy tales and classics—he has most definitely cornered the market with other inventive perspectives like Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Mirror Mirror, and two other entries in his Wicked Years series about the land of Oz, Son of a Witch and A Lion Among Men. From the fairy godmother in Cinderella to the evil witch-queen in Snow White to the further adventures of Elphaba, Maguire’s blesses his fairy tale witches with a unique complexity that history has not previously afforded them.

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel: A Novel of War and Survival by Louise Murphy, 2003, Penguin Books (Fiction/ Historical Fiction)


The tale of two little children, lost in the woods, who stumble on a candy-coated cottage that actually houses a hungry, wicked witch is familiar to all of us—but boy, is it ever a dark, creepy story when you really think about it. Author Louise Murphy takes it one step further with her True Story of Hansel and Gretel by setting the story during the last months of World War II in Nazi-occupied Poland. “Hansel” is a seven-year-old boy and “Gretel” is his eleven-year-old sister; their father and stepmother were forced to abandon them in the Polish forests but begged them never to repeat their Jewish names. Adopting the monikers from the famous fairy tale, the children do indeed find a “witch” in the form of Magda, a village woman with a reputation. Instead of being devoured, the children are taken in and hidden—as harrowing situation as being locked in a cage by a cackling storybook witch would have been. In crisp prose and cut-to-the-quick dialogue, Murphy weaves a life in hiding with all the hunger, desperation, frustration and fear that entails. Other villagers enter the story, as do the distant journeys of the children’s father and stepmother. Whether or not the separated family and their saviors escape from real wicked witch—a cruel Nazi officer—is something a reader of a Holocaust novel can never be too sure off. Lyrical, haunting, and liberally sprinkled with superstition, folklore, and shades from the dark side of fairy tales, The True Story of Hansel and Gretel is one that won’t easily be forgotten.

A Great and Terrible Beauty: The Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Book 1 by Libba Bray, 2004, Delacorte Books (Teen Fiction/ Historical Fiction/ Fantasy)


When A Great and Terrible Beauty opens in Victorian-era India, Gemma Doyle is an unruly, bratty teenager throwing a bit of a tantrum—not quite the proper young lady we’d expect. Gemma has grown up in India and even though the country is firmly under the Empire’s thumb, she longs to experience England. Her mother forbids this, but Gemma is about to get her wish. Walking in the marketplace, Gemma is overcome by a vision that foretells her mother’s death—a vision that comes suddenly and violently true. Guilt-ridden and bereft, Gemma is sent to Spence Academy, a boarding school in fashionable London. And not only is she snubbed by the beautiful, popular girls and her dumpy roommate alike, but mystery has followed her as well. An unknown young man from India spies on her and even more bewildering, the visions haven’t stopped. Despite her grief, Gemma is not one to shirk adventure. She knows she’s on the verge of a great discovery, especially after she finds an old diary that hints at a mystical society called The Order. Gemma makes an uneasy alliance with the most influential Spence girls and together these young ladies begin to explore the sort of power and mystery that is normally forbidden to the standard meek Victorian woman, a something that is more akin to the magic of witchcraft than to anything else. And once Gemma and her fellows have tasted that power, they’re determined never to go back to the life of mild gentility they’ve being trained to accept. Fans of supernatural romance like the ever-popular Twilight Saga will be drawn to Gemma and to the otherworldy flavor of her adventure. Equal parts mystery, horror, fantasy, and historical fiction, with a dash of forbidden romance thrown in, this trilogy from author Libba Bray is a decidedly original take on the old fashioned notions of witchcraft, mystery, and the proper Victorian era.

In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 by Mary Beth Norton, 2002, Alfred A. Knopf Books (Nonfiction/ American History/ 17th Century) 

In a tiny town in Massachusetts, in the middle of the winter of 1691, two young girls began to suffer from strange fits. Their elders diagnosed the cause as witchcraft, and soon accusations of devil-worship were flying from neighbor to neighbor. All in all, 144 men and women were jailed. Of the fifty-four who confessed to practicing witchcraft, fourteen women and six men were put to death. Modern interpretations of the events include angst-y teenagers who got carried away, the accidental ingestion of hallucinogenic fungus in rye bread, and the actual practice of witchcraft. Noted historian Mary Beth Norton (whose 1997 book Founding Mothers and Fathers was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize) examines the events at Salem from the perspective of the people who were there at the time, without the benefit of modern hindsight. In the Devil’s Snare reveals new, relevant pieces of information. The residents of Essex County, Massachusetts, were engaged in a war that effected their actions every day. They called it the Second Indian War; today we call it (when we remember it) King William’s War. Either way, it engaged colonial settlers in a constant battle with the French, and with the Native Americans the French had recruited, for control of the frontier. Norton bases the hysteria of the witchcraft accusations firmly in the continuous stresses and losses caused by this war in the settlers’ backyards. She also notes that the Salem witch trials marked one of the very few and far between occasions where women were taken seriously. Seventeenth century women did not have the same rights that men had; women were the property of their fathers or husbands and were believed to be weaker, less intelligent, and more unstable than men. The trail judges (all men), then, had specific motives of their own for going against tradition and taking these feminine claims to heart. Norton’s exploration of these previously less-studied aspects sheds new light on the causes and outcomes of the Salem witch hunts. The result is a finely written, extensively researched, fresh, new version of this infamous chapter in American history.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe, 2009, Hyperion Books (Fiction/ Historical Fiction)


The Salem witch trials hold great appeal for fiction writers. Author Katherine Howe is a historian whose family has direct ties to Salem in 1692, and Howe uses that real history to cement her story in fascinating fact. But she begins in 1991 with Connie Godwin, a young historian working on her doctorate at Harvard. Connie is remarkably bright and determined to be a success in her chosen field—but first she has to fulfill certain family obligations, like getting her grandmother’s messy house ready for sale. Sifting through the rubble of a well-lived life in the attic, Connie finds a key and a scrap of paper with the words “Deliverance Dane” written on it. Connie doesn’t know what this means—yet—but the reader does, because Connie’s story has been alternating with chapters set in Salem, Massachusetts, during the notorious witchcraft trials. Deliverance Dane is one of the townswomen accused of witchcraft as well as the author of a “physick book” that contains both home remedies and magic spells. Ever the good historian, Connie senses an ancient mystery and becomes an academic detective, though her research is both helped and hindered by her New Age-y mother, handsome new boyfriend with a romantic job (he builds church steeples), and a professor who piles on the pressure and may or may not have some sinister motives for doing so. Meanwhile, back in 1692, Deliverance Dane is getting an all-too-intimate view of the witch hunt hysteria. A breezy page turner packed with the author’s historical know-how, a suspenseful literary mystery, and a richly detailed historical portrait all rolled into one, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane has a sense of history, mystery, and humor that readers will find hard to resist.

Thornyhold by Mary Stewart, 2008, Chicago Review Press, originally published 1988 (Historical Fiction/ Romance)


When Gilly Ramsey was a lonesome little girl, her one true friend was her mother’s eccentric and enchanting cousin Geilles. Geilles had a near-magical way of teaching little Gilly about flowers and animals and then—poof—she’d disappear on one of her world travels, leaving Gilly alone again but a little less lonely. When Gilly grows into a resourceful, modest, lovely young woman in the late 1940s, cousin Geilles wills her a charming old cottage in the countryside. As Gilly makes her new house into a home and gets to know the neighbors, she discovers that Geilles had something of a reputation as a “white witch” with the ability to cure minor aches of the mind, body, and spirit. And, to Gilly’s surprise, the locals expect more of the same from her; to her even greater surprise, the know-how to do so comes very easily. But there’s a mystery here as well. One neighbor, cheery Agnes Trapp, is a bit too friendly, and a bit too eager to get her hands on something hidden inside Geilles’ house. Another neighbor is a strikingly handsome writer, with a precocious animal-loving son who offers the true olive branch of friendship. A few animals play a significant role—carrier pigeons, a black cat, a wounded dog. And Geilles’ cottage has a few surprises as well, including a room full of herbs and a missing recipe book. There’s even the occasional flash of “Sight” that gives Gilly and extra, special power. Author Mary Stewart is best known for her gothic romances and her trilogy about the Arthurian legend; Thornyhold is gentle little gem that’s filled to the brim with an old-fashioned, cozy charm.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman, 1999, Spike/ Avon Books (Fiction/ Fantasy) 

The town of Wall is named for just that, a rock wall that separates its homes and buildings from a wide field that is forbidden to the townspeople—except for one night every nine years, when a fair is hosted by the residents of Faerie—fairies, witches, wizards, practitioners of magic of all kinds. Young Tristran Thorn (the son of a union between mortal and magic, though he doesn’t know it) is drawn across that wall one night—not a fair night—when his beloved sees a falling star land on the other side and demands that he fetch it to prove his love. Tristran sneaks across the wall into Faerie and sets out on a series of adventures, aided by a mysterious and instinctive understanding of magic. The fallen star is easy to find, but difficult to hold on to. For starters, the star is actually a living, breathing young woman named Yvaine. Then Tristran has to get back to Wall with Yvaine, a task made all the more difficult by the others who pursue the star for their own means. These are the sons of Lord Stormhold, who seek the star to claim the throne, and three sister-witches, who need the heart of a star to restore their lustrous youth and beauty. The witches are wicked (and bicker nonstop about whose turn it is to fetch what foul ingredient for the potions), the lords are cruel (and accompanied by the ghosts of their dead brothers), the hero is brave (and has no idea what he really wants), the lady is beautiful (and stubborn as a mule). In short, author Neil Gaiman has (once again) spun a quirky, creative, colorful fairy tale that’s warm and witty and full of life.

The Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft edited by Scott Allie, 2003, Dark Horse Comics (Comics/ Graphic Novels/ Fantasy) 


From Frank Miller’s Sin City to graphic adaptations of StarWars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, and Predator, Dark Horse Comics has made a name for itself creating some of the most popular, innovative, and creative publishing houses working today. Noted artists Mike Mignola, Gary Gianni, Tony Millionaire, and Jill Thompson and more have contributed short stories, comics, fables, and interviews to this anthology of wicked, wonderful witchcraft. The witches from Shakespeare’s Macbeth make a cartoonish appearance; underground superhero Hellboy has his own adventure with witches. There’s an animal fable/ morality tale, and, of course, the Salem witch trials make an appearance. Each episode is ingeniously illustrated in a different style by a different artist who collaborates with a different writer. To provide a real-life point of view, there’s even an interview with a practicing Wiccan priestess. The result is not a random hodge-podge, but a clever, atmospheric blending of genres, styles, and stories that present almost every conceivable perspective on our cultural understanding of witches, Wicca, and witchcraft. Ranging from smart and clever to disturbing and creepy, The Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft offers a truly remarkable portrait of all things witchy. For more spooky, artistic fun, there’s also The Dark Horse Book of Haunting and The Dark Horse Book of Monsters.

We're having another growth spurt!

Can I ever sit still? The answer is no! So I've started another site for my Graphic Design Company. I hope to develop it into a larger outlet for support to the handmade community and my fellow designers.

Graphic Design by Tara Official Site

When/if I decide to open up this site to advertising, I will make an official announcement here and on the Etsy forums.

Thanks for reading my blogs, supporting my websites, and all of your friendship!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Class Tomorrow: Greenberg and Rockwell, Together Again!

I’ve been flummoxed by a failure to find my copy of Thomas Buechner’s Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator, an elephantine coffee table book I’d meant to put on reserve for my Postwar American Visual Culture course. In the meantime, I’m going to use this space as a means to get a few images in front of the class in advance of Thursday’s session, which will explore terms of argument and judgment between Clement Greenberg’s classic essays, “Toward a Newer Laocoon” and “Avant-Garde and Kitsch” (both 1940, so neither postwar, but together they set the terms of thinking about artistic mediums for a generation, not to mention the structure of the postwar American art school) and the artistic bugaboo himself, Norman Rockwell–who, without fail, merits exasperated mention in seemingly every significant piece of writing about art and culture in the mid 20th century. In a few weeks, we’ll read Dwight MacDonald’s “Masscult and Midcult” (1961) which provides, among other things, an updating of Greenberg’s assessments of 1940.

Last week, many of the students (a mix of illustrator-designers and a painter or two) objected strenuously to what they saw as Greenberg’s prescriptions. Others weren't so sure. So we’re teeing the ball up for tomorrow.

As a given, say we’re to consider the periodical illustrators as a group, and Rockwell as a representative (though in many ways he shouldn’t be seen as such–his career was dominated by cover work, unlike his contemporaries, most of whom toiled on fiction spreads inside the mags, without the opportunity–or pressure–to sell the printed product). How to select a set of Rockwellian hallmark postwar works? I’d be curious to hear from Joyce Schiller, Stephanie Plunkett and Laurie Norton Moffat on this question. In the meantime, I brought the question up with Jeff Pike the other day, and our lists were very similiar. The group I’m presenting here reflects that discussion.

They are all Saturday Evening Post cover paintings: New Television Antenna (November 5, 1949), Shuffleton’s Barbershop (April 29, 1950), Saying Grace (November 24, 1951), The Connoisseur (January 13, 1962). Pike also suggested the cover of two women having cleaned a theater, reading Playbill, brooms in hand–an indicator of Rockwell’s class consciousness–but I had neither a scan, nor time to make one.

Discussion questions:

Do you think these pictures are examples of kitsch? Why?

Greenberg argues that images like these are examples of “ersatz culture, pictures offered up to those who [are] insensible to the values of genuine culture.” True? False? What’s the difference between genuine culture and other culture? If you have answer to that question, how would you apply it to the stuff referred to as “underground” music versus what you hear on mainstream radio?

How does the the discussion of media use in the “Laocoon” essay apply here?

Can you conceive of a contemporary Norman Rockwell in any medium? Can you identify one?

What values do you see represented in these images–both in terms of what they show, and how they are made?

What do you want to know about these images and the SEP issues in which they appeared that you do not? Why would it help, if you did?

Class, see you tomorrow.

Comments welcome. Both home and abroad....

Animation Domination!

So what to do when my own biz gets slow? Why I just learn something new! I have always loved playing around w/animation so no time like the present, right?




Sunday, February 14, 2010

In response to the forum font thread controversy of 2010....

I have just made a PIF banner for all my fellow Etsians to enjoy.

Feel the love people, forget the font!

Happy VDAY!

Valentine's Day PIF

Here is a VDay PIF that I just designed to kick off this new blog. The images already come Etsy sized so all you have to do is right click on the images to save. Please enjoy!

Thank you for viewing my new blog, please add yourself to my list of followers and I promise to do the same for you.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Per request...

More patterns and some new owls!

Thank you to for the owl suggestion. For more owl designs please visit my shop.

*Feel free to use any of these patterns (except my own logo above), for your personal projects. For commercial use patterns please contact me here: Graphic Design by Tara

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cars and Trucks

The semester is under way, with force. I'm enjoying the material I'm teaching a great deal. Much to report on each front, though I always think I'll post more than I actually do. We're having a big time in Postwar American Visual Culture, which I hope to discuss in the next several days for the benefit of next week's session, on Thursday.

But in the meantime, I'm enjoying the (quite deceptively) straightforward problem of illustrated nonfiction. I said I'd put up a few examples from the bibilography, and tonight I'm adding another from the Informational category. Above and below, Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks, a Golden Book from 1951 that I picked up at a used book store. Not in great condition.

Here's what I love about this book (one of 300 or so that Scarry illustrated, most of which he also wrote): the directness with which he engages his problem, and the secondary stories he fits in around the vehicles themselves.

Specifically, this representation of a bus with workers and embarking passengers. How simple is that, right? A picture of a bus–big deal. But the picture has eighteen distinct characters in it, including a family outside the bus: befeathered mom in sporty yellow coat, green-fedoraed dad, and two boys with mid-century goofy getups, including woolen beanie hats and green cardigans.

There's a time capsule quality to these illustrations. Despite the fact that the flattening of form, simplification of the figure and general graphic selectivity point to a modern sensibility, the content feels ancient in spots. Costume, for sure. Gender stuff, of course, and the invisibility of non-whites. The material culture captured by the pictures is really striking, at least to me, in part because I recall some of it. The knobby–crenellated?–tires you see on trucks from that era. (Which I remember from the Oberlin Dairy milk truck that showed up in the still-dark morning, bearing glass bottles in wire baskets, as late as the 1960s.) Not to mention the coal truck! When I painted houses between college terms, circa 1981 and 82, I worked in and on houses with coal chutes. These chutes had been obsolete for decades by then. At the time they felt like something out of the 19th century. Although I remember fresh milk on the porch, I never lived in a house heated by coal.

Richard Scarry, who died in the mid-1990s, sold something like 300 million books, many of them Golden Books like this one. Who could begrude him his success? He makes pictures like this! How about that kid up in the left hand corner, playing fireman (accompanied–arf!–by his dog) just across the fold from the fire chief, whose "car speeds along."

Bibliographical data: Cars and Trucks. A Little Golden Book, Illustrated by Richard Scarry. Golden Press, New York. 1951. Golden Books were jointly produced by Simon & Shuster, New York, and Western Publishing Company, Inc., Racine, Wisconsin.

Going pattern crazy? Don't mind if I do!

Mad For The Plaid, Polka Dotty, Silly Stripes! Yep, here at GBT I am going pattern crazy! I have been spending a lot of my down time today, (now that both my kids are home and drive each other crazy!! lol), creating patterns in Photoshop.

Here is the Alice In Wonderland inspired banner I just created.
As soon as I can I am going to either resurrect my Deviant Art Site, or add some of these and more to my FREE section on this blog. Here are some examples of what I've been working on...

Patterns can be so much fun and don't have to be as basic as some of the ones I have here. There are so many endless color/shape combos and it's super entertaining to mix them up!

Okay, I definitely need to go outside and get some sunshine now. These patterns are starting to make my eyes go funny!

TOU - Feel free to copy everything here except the watermarked Banner. These swatches are for personal use only which includes; adding to your own blogs, websites, avatars, and banners. If you'd like a background for a commercial project, please contact me. Graphic Design by Tara If you do decide to use anything here or on my FREE page I would love to see it and add it to this blog.