Our next completed title will be at the printers shortly. Mindful of the issues caused by announcing some of previous books too early and then hitting snags, we have waited until this one is almost there before making a firm announcement. This book covers an eighteen month period in the history of one of Britain’s biggest rock groups, Deep Purple. Having fired two of their founder members in mid-1969, and almost broke due to the collapse of their American record label, the band set about forging a new line-up, stage set and album.
When Deep Purple In Rock appeared almost exactly a year later, it exceeded all expectations, and stayed in the British album charts for over twelve months. Alongside Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, Deep Purple are one of the founding trio of British hard rock. This book helps explain why. You can see the cover and read more at the forthcoming page.
Easy On The Eye have tried to steer clear of the normal trade hardback approach to rock histories (which invariably squeeze a few pages of badly laid out photos in the middle of the text), and instead gone for a well designed, fully illustrated book with photos and memorabilia on almost every page. Publication is timely as 2013 sees the band’s 45th anniversary, with a new studio album (their first in eight years), glowing reviews and live shows due.
There are only so many hours in a day and easy on the eye have been deeply involved in a number of music related coffee table books over the past twelve months. These are being released by RS Publishing. There have been titles on Deep Purple (documenting a famous festival appearance in America back in 1974), with books on Yes due in a few weeks and others to follow. The books are of an amazing quality, printed and hand-bound in the UK, in large format, and produced to very limited numbers. As you might expect they make huge demands on the producers, and the Deep Purple one alone took months of design work (not to mention talking to photographers, scanning and retouching work). Needless to say this has slowed production of our own projects some, although work has been going on and all being well we will be announcing our next available titles in the next two months. We will be working with RS on future projects. In the meantime, here are a few spreads from the Deep Purple book and you can find out more at the publishers own web site.These titles are not available in shops but only through them.
Just a progress update on Easy On The Eye Books. Covered is continuing to get some great feedback, and orders have come from around the globe – from South America, The USA, all over Europe and Japan. Just as we were getting into our stride and not long after Covered was delivered, our print suppliers changed company name and then disappeared altogether a few weeks later, leaving just a moribund website (which one assumes will vanish when the next bill becomes due) and a few phone numbers which are never answered. This was a blow, though it seems some unlucky customers were left high and dry having parted with money for print when the company went under. So compared to them we had a lucky escape.
Since then we’ve been working hard to source a new printer for the books and have now done so. It was not easy as we prefer to print in Europe.
With this major headache out of the way final scanning work on the first of the Japanese Singles books could be completed and this book will go into production shortly. It’s certainly proving to be a visual sensory overload in many ways, page after page of great images. Each sleeve is annotated with the artist, track and record label information. Someone was looking at the material recently and wondered what the value of all the singles in the book would be today; I might find an old cigarette packet somewhere (we have some fifties ones somewhere for just this sort of task) and try to work out a rough estimate.
We will be putting some more sample pages up here soon but in the meantime enjoy another half dozen examples from bands including The Amboy Dukes, The Foundations and Fever Tree. Check our last progress report on this title here (with more examples).
The Runaways - Little Sister
Final layout work on the Art Of Japanese Singles title is now going on. At last. The layout will feature four main sleeves per page, along with one or two smaller back-up sleeves for comparison in with the accompanying text. I must say dong the work has rekindled my own interest in the genre and I’ve not been able to resist picking up a few more covers along the way. I even found a couple on Oxfam in Huddersfield the other week at an affordable price (very unlike Oxfam! They’ve had a couple of Tracey Thorn 12″ singles in our local shop for a tenner each since last year, and they’re now getting so dog-eared even if they do drop the price to a sensible level they’ll be too scuffed to buy). There was always something very exotic about these Japanese sleeves which made them a must for collectors. I can’t be the only one who remembers trips to the legendary Flyover Records at Hammersmith to gaze at the racks full of these imports.
Pac Man Fever
The book is being put together using InDesign – as a graduate of the Pagemaker school I was pushed towards this at an early stage (Adobe make great software but treat their loyal customers really badly at times) – and never got on with Quark at all. I’ve always found InDesign very stable and flexible for handling multi-page projects like this which contain a lot of linked images – 1,000 or more of them in this case.
It’s also been quite a logistical challenge just naming the files. Macs give you a lot of freedom to name image files how you like but in this case all the source archive material was carefully filed in music genres. Each genre section was given a number, and each page a number within that section, then every sleeve a number on that page. So I decided with the scanning work to reference each image using those original numbers rather than try to use artist and title. I also had to organise the scanning work precisely.
Beatles Can't Buy Me Love
To this end I generated a sample page layout with blank boxes, printed a couple of hundred out and worked through these writing in image reference numbers, rearranging and shuffling them about, swopping images etc., until the final book worked. This then provided an exact guide for scanning. It’s almost the reverse of how Covered book was done, where we had several thousand scans to juggle. As most of this initial layout stage was done some time back it’s been a case of spending a few days refamiliarising myself with the material. I must admit there was a couple of hours of growing panic when two whole sections seemed to be missing but happily it turned out they were in with the others, and had just lost their sticky notes, so frantic scouring of the office shelves could cease!
For now, I’ll add another trio of groovy examples and then get back down to work.
A nice review of Covered in the April 2012 issue of Record Collector magazine, which also happens to be their 400th edition. I remember buying it when it was a small pocket size A5 magazine stuffed full of classified adverts from buyers and sellers, poring through on the lookout for stuff I wanted. Those days are largely gone, and the magazine is a different beast now, but still good for a browse. Anyhow, their reviewer really understood what the book was all about:
Wearing their art on their sleeves
There we were thinking that record sleeve books had been exhausted. Well, we’ve been proved wrong with this: a bizarre and well-researched project, compiling record sleeves that copy classic record sleeves. What’s great about Covered is that it’s been staring us all in the face for ages, but only now, and across 160 pages, do you realise just how much has been used and abused by so many.
Highlights and lowlights decorate every page, while the book is presented with the same graphic enthusiasm and anarchy that has created the homages in the first place. The depth and multi-genre studies that must have gone on over the years to put this together must be admired; the results are fascinating. We had no idea there were so many classic sleeve rip-offs, nor so many totally obscure ones. There are, alone, 20 sleeves mimicking Abbey Road, nine for Warhol’s VU banana and at least 19 for Never Mind The Bollocks. Mast fascinating are the unexpected oddities: hilarious homages to Saturday Night Fever, insane King Crimson send-ups. A classic folk album becomes Japanese metal deconstuctivism in a blink of an eye.
Reviewed by Jonny Trunk
More nice reviews for Covered recently. Ubupopland is a site I visit from time to time to check his great French album covers, and they have clearly enjoyed the book – plus I like the way they’ve snapped the page spreads. The Beat is a niche magazine mostly devoted to aspects of Rock’n'Roll, R&B, Blues and other music from the 50′s, 60′s & 70′s. You can check them out at www.beat-magazine.co.uk/
Its been hard work trying to get Waterstones to stock the title, but happily the local branch has noticed the interest in the title and decided to stock it and see how it goes. At least we can now direct people locally to Sheffield’s only nationwide book store.
At the other end three indie shops are also helping out. The LP RECORD STORE on Arundel Street and VINYL DEMAND on Rockingham Street are two new specialist record shops in Sheffield, and have taken the title for us. Lastly a new second-hand book shop BOOKS ON THE PARK is stocking the book. Sited on Ecclesall Road (near Endcliffe Park – hence the name) this is a well stocked and smartly laid out shop worth a visit. They’ve even added a small vinyl rack which is fairly fatal as far as I’m concerned! They’ve only been open a few weeks, having moved across the road from their former shop as they needed more space.
On the continent, author Jan Bellekens has been having fun doing local record fairs and selling the book direct.
* that’s the Sheffield Telegraph! But they have done the Covered book proud with a full page in the issue cover dated last Thursday. The Telegraph used to be Sheffield’s daily ‘broadsheet’, with an evening paper called The Star. The Telegraph foundered many years ago but came back as a weekly title, and has plenty of listings and local arts coverage. Anyhow their arts writer Ian Soutar has done a detailed article, which you can find here on the Telegraph website as well. It did mean I got recognised in an antiques centre the other day by someone else trawling for vinyl oddities…