Dave McMacken – again…

…on Over-Nite Sensation, again (remember this interview?). Found at Zappateers. And if it’s not enough, you can get an in-depth look at the cover on this Flickr gallery! Woww…

43 Responses to “Dave McMacken – again…”

  1. jonnybutter2 says:

    what’s the deal with that interviewer?! Let McMaken talk, buddy.

  2. urbangraffito says:

    That’s the trouble with this interviewer, jb2: so enamoured with the subject matter (Zappa) that he ignores the subject sitting right before him (McMacken). Such a fantastic wealth of information lost because one interviewer so in love with his own media image couldn’t look beyond the obvious. This is really an example of what happens when people attempt to be journalists without any training whatsoever. Sure, the technology is available to let one do it, but the real question should be, should one do it? Are they really adding anything to the general discussion?

    While McMacken’s iconic cover is an absolute favourite among Zappa fans, myself, that designation will always go to the cover of One Size Fits All by Cal Schenkel. To me, that cover will always be quintessential Zappa imagery.

  3. Balint says:

    Hey, guys, are you kidding?… – is that interview that disturbing? Heyyyy…. (“Ignores the subject”, and “a fantastic wealth of information lost“, he ‘should not have done it’?… Is that so for real?….)

    I see two guys talking, both interested in the subject – me, too; and it might not be the best interview ever (it is not, not a good one as an interview) – but if we remember the interview linked above, we get the same infos here – moreover: a bit more, in more details. And I repeat that it is not a real good interview at all, but not that bad. Would it really be better if he did not do it, as you suggest?…

    My personal answer is “no” – on the contrary: I really loved to see Mr. McMacken and his work in details, it was fun, I’m really grateful for the guys at zappateers for sharing it. Why be so negative with it – why aren’t we just a bit more relaxed with a not-so-very-good-but-still-interesting chat? ;-)

    (ps: I love the One Size Fits All cover, too.)

  4. jonnybutter2 says:

    I am grateful to have seen it too, and hereby thank Zappateers, you Balint, and Barry for posting it. But this is not about training or any of that stuff, in my opinion. If you are interviewing someone, the idea is that the person is probably more interesting on the topic than you are – that’s why *you’re* interviewing *them*! Let them talk!

    At one point the interviewer says something like ‘I guess Zappa didn’t care [about having an album cover that was so crazy] since he hadn’t had a hit album yet’. I’m paraphrasing, but it was something like that (I stopped listening after that). Dat’s ignant!

    It is an awesome cover, and I did enjoy hearing David Mc.

  5. urbangraffito says:

    Balint, my friend, I’m not being “negative” for the sake of being “negative”; rather, I’m being critical of an interviewer who has poor interview skills and who, to quote our friend jb2, is “ignant!”

    I can both enjoy your post, Balint, and be critical of it at the same time. Indeed, for me, that makes the post even more entertaining for me: something to appreciate and something dig my critical teeth into all at once. Spicy!

  6. Dark Clothes says:

    It’s an interesting conversation, and interesting to see the close-ups of the original painting, which has details that couldn’t be captured from a printed copy. I call it raw material and like it as such.

  7. BlackZone says:

    huaaaah – just great! with all the tiny (never before seen) details! so shamefully small on the cd-cover…

    as a suggestion for a next project for the family: large-scale prints of the albumcovers and all other promotion materials! (as I remember there were large posters of albumcovers in London on the Roundhouse event – right?).

  8. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Balint:

    Hey, guys, are you kidding?… – is that interview that disturbing? Heyyyy…. (“Ignores the subject”, and “a fantastic wealth of information lost“, he ‘should not have done it’?… Is that so for real?….)

    Addendum: No, my friends, I am not kidding. As these artists (McMacken, Schenkel) become less and less available for interviews, the quality of those interviews take on much more importance. It’s not as though this interviewer can go back and ask another question. Given that those artists and musicians that surrounded Zappa during his career are nearing the end of their lives, these interviews are a resource not to be squandered. Understandably, as interviewers we are all still fans after all…

  9. jonnybutter2 says:

    A quote from jonnybutter2:

    As these artists (McMacken, Schenkel) become less and less available for interviews, the quality of those interviews take on much more importance.

    Exactly, UG. How many times was McM about to say something when mister interviewer cut him off to say something inane? Several.

    I guess it doesn’t matter that much – the work speaks for itself and is much more interesting than anything anybody could say. But still…

  10. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from jonnybutter2:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    As these artists (McMacken, Schenkel) become less and less available for interviews, the quality of those interviews take on much more importance.

    Exactly, UG. How many times was McM about to say something when mister interviewer cut him off to say something inane? Several.

    I guess it doesn’t matter that much – the work speaks for itself and is much more interesting than anything anybody could say. But still…

    Playing the devil’s advocate for a moment, here, I can understand that the interviewer was not journalistically trained. Frankly, none of us involved in blogging, writing for the web, were ever “trained” for this, and have played it by ear and took a certain “learn as we go by the seat of our pants” approach.

  11. jonnybutter2 says:

    A quote from jonnybutter2:

    I can understand that the interviewer was not journalistically trained.

    This is true enough. But how much training does it take to get the idea that the point of an interview is the interviewee, not oneself?

    There’s an American journalist named Charlie Rose, who is VERY well trained. He’s had an interview show on our public tv network for many years. He’s almost unwatchable, IMO. He talks more than his (often very interesting) guests. Bla bla bla. Charlie doesn’t know shit, but never shuts up. I think it’s a personality thing rather than a training issue, myself.

  12. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    Jesus, guys, I for one did not mind the interviewer. The clip is just two people having a conversation. Love the close-ups of the painting!
    Also: does McMacken have awesome eyebrows or what?

  13. urbangraffito says:

    I found there was so much more, Barry, I wanted to know about McMacken in addition to the work he did for Zappa. My criticism of this interviewer is his shortsightedness. If his goal was simply to talk about the cover of Overnite Sensation and tell the artist how cool he is – well, he succeeded wonderfully. Yet if one wanted to know anything about McMacken’s background, or why Zappa chose particular artists over others, you’re damn shit out of luck. It all comes down to preparation and foresight. If one views Zappa and those connected to him as part and parcel of the Zappa Brand or Commodity, then such laxidasical interviews are fine – but if you have a more academic interest in Zappa, then such interviews are shortsighted.

  14. Balint says:

    A quote from Barry’s Imaginary Publisher:

    Also: does McMacken have awesome eyebrows or what?

    Hehe, absolutely – also when he smiles (laughs), looks like a cartoon-caracter. :-) Full of life – niccccce guy!

  15. urbangraffito says:

    Here’s a couple of links that might also interest someone with further interest in the works of Dave McMacken.

    First, McMacken’s own site:

    http://www.mcmackengraphics.com/cgi-local/content.cgi

    And then X-FACTOR-E Blog’s “Influenza! David McMacken”:

    http://x-factor-e.blogspot.com/2009/01/influenza-david-mcmacken.html

  16. Balint says:

    I just remembered a small something.

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    As these artists (McMacken, Schenkel) become less and less available for interviews

    Well, I don’t know how easy to get Mr McMacken for an interview, but he himself (probably being as nice and cool person as he looks like) even commented a post on this very homepage. Now he might or might not be here – but he’s always welcome! :-)

  17. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Balint:

    I just remembered a small something.

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    As these artists (McMacken, Schenkel) become less and less available for interviews

    Well, I don’t know how easy to get Mr McMacken for an interview, but he himself (probably being as nice and cool person as he looks like) even commented a post on this very homepage. Now he might or might not be here – but he’s always welcome! :-)

    Here! Here!

  18. Dark Clothes says:

    As I understand it, this Len cat bought the Overnite Sensation painting (list price $75.000).

    McMacken seems pretty approachable to me, UG, and my experience with Schenkel is that he is very open for communication. I have a heap of his stuff from the early eighties, including his personal junk mail, which he used to send out to the people on his mailing list :-)

    It’s been a while since I’ve been in touch, but I imagine that he would still be willing to go along with an interview or a video documentary if approached.

    I think Cal could be recognized as a major artist if someone started working seriously with promoting his stuff, like they did with Don Van Vliet. Imagine beautiful coffee-table books with Schenkel art, major exhibitions and insightful, sparky documentaries.

    Hope I live to see that day!

  19. Len says:

    Hi guys,

    Len here. Glad to see some lively discussion goin’ on over here (as opposed to the Zappa.com boards). I agree w/ quite a bit of your comments even the negative ones. As is obvious I’m NOT a trained interviewer. In fact I’ve never really interviewed anyone before. I was just an exited fan that wanted to hear about details of the painting. When I got home and watched it back I DID roll my eyes at my own ineptitude and ask myself “oh why didn’t I just shut up right there”. (I’m surprised no one is bashing me on the poor vid quality. I have no idea what I’m doing in that area either :) )

    A quote from Len:

    If his goal was simply to talk about the cover of Overnite Sensation and tell the artist how cool he is – well, he succeeded wonderfully.

    Well, in a way yeah that’s what I wanted to do. Again, I was just an exited fan going to meet the artist of the cover to my first FZ album and bringing home (for me) the mother of all holy grails. I really just wanted to hear details about the painting and the interaction of Mac and FZ on the project.

    A quote from Len:

    As these artists (McMacken, Schenkel) become less and less available for interviews, the quality of those interviews take on much more importance. It’s not as though this interviewer can go back and ask another question.

    Actually I can and so can you. Instead of dwelling on what the video missed we can add what else we’d like to know.
    Dave is a real sweetheart of a guy. I don’t know if he has a ton of time but I’m sure he would be glad to respond to questions. If you have a question about the painting or Mac ask it here or even in the comments section on Youtube and I’ll see if I can get him to respond.

  20. Len says:

    ^
    obviously the quotes above are from you guys not me.

  21. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    A quote from Len:

    Dave is a real sweetheart of a guy. I don’t know if he has a ton of time but I’m sure he would be glad to respond to questions. If you have a question about the painting or Mac ask it here or even in the comments section on Youtube and I’ll see if I can get him to respond.

    Len, thanks for your comment here. With regard to Mr McMacken answering questions: why not let him know of this thread and invite him over? As Balint pointed out above (because Balint has a long term memory that is downright scary), Mac has commented on KUR before. He might want to join in on the fun! :)

  22. Len says:

    That’s cool too I’ll let him know. I just dunno if he’d be able to sift through a bunch of stuff to find something to respond to. If we ask a SPECIFIC question about the painting or his career I think we could get an answer. Then I (or anyone) could add it to the comments on the vid and make it more relevant.

  23. Balint says:

    A quote from Len:

    I just dunno if he’d be able to sift through a bunch of stuff to find something to respond to. If we ask a SPECIFIC question about the painting or his career I think we could get an answer. Then I (or anyone) could add it to the comments on the vid and make it more relevant.

    True, that’s a good point – I start to think about it! Otherwise: welcome here!

  24. urbangraffito says:

    Len, I believe our critiques are intended to make you a better interviewer (not just to be a couple of negative assholes).

    Regarding choosing a SPECIFIC question from the myriad of questions I have would be downright impossible. McMacken has designed the covers of so many of my favourite albums, and his artwork covers much of my youth. Like a child in a candy store, where would I start, and how could I ever limit myself to just one?

    Since you have access to the man, I make a counter proposal: why don’t we here at KUR supply you with a list of questions and you ask McMacken yourself?

    I’m pretty sure our webmaster at Barry Towers would be open to publishing such an interview here at KUR.

    Whaddaya think?

  25. Len says:

    That’s cool w/ me. Ask away and I’ll forward them to him and post the responses here and the ONS Q’s and Answers on the Youtube vid.

  26. Balint says:

    here is my first run – someone should collect and select them:

    - being an architect, I’m really interested in the collaborative way of creating things. Your works have a strong identity that is a true original look, but now we saw that FZ really took part in the theme of the cover, was almost a part of it. Do you encourage (do you like?) your clients to take part in the process or do you enjoy working on your own, following your original ideas?
    - The albumcovers are usually smaller than the original painting, the CDs are even smaller. How do you relate to this fact – does it affect your realtionship with the details, the size?
    - It seems to me that all your works are hand-made. Is there still a market for this? Do you work with computer as well?

  27. Dark Clothes says:

    Did Frank make any reference to other artists to suggest a style? I’m thinking that he might have mentioned Salvador Dali and possibly Hieronimys Bosch, since he was aware of them, and there are some similarities. Did he, others?

  28. Dark Clothes says:

    Oh, and I’ve always wondered if Frank was reading Mad Magazine and especially if he’d read Kurtzman’s comic book Mad in the Fifties. All the absurd detail points in that direction. Did he ever talk about Mad and EC Comics? Is there a connection with the Kurtzman/Bill Elder “Chicken Fat School” of art?

  29. Alex says:

    Dave, Did you ever see Frank naked?

  30. urbangraffito says:

    Of all the questions running around my head, Len, one stands out. I’ve noticed among the album covers of Frank Zappa, Flo & Eddie, and Little Feat a certain similarity in the use of certain images that are particular to Southern California – the hot rod, the beach, the freak, women, as well as the use of bright pastel colors to bring these images alive – among the artwork of Neon Park, Cal Schenkel, and David McMacken. Could you ask Dave if he and these other artist were part of particular “school” of art, or if educationally, and professionally, they ever crossed paths?

  31. Len says:

    OK. Just sent yer Q’s over to McMac. I was wondering if anyone had a specific Q on ONS? I may have covered it as far as the details. There was a lot of “I don’t remember” and “I was just filling space” that I edited out.

    I do know he is doing some work on computer now so maybe he’ll elaborate on that.

  32. Balint says:

    A quote from Len:

    I was wondering if anyone had a specific Q on ONS?

    To me the interview was fantastically detailed, with all the close-ups stills – but still I would be curious about the preliminary sketches: what was the first direction (motif), what changed and how, which element were left, etc?

    thanks!

  33. Dark Clothes says:

    How does David feel about Frank’s music? Is he a fan?

    Frank was an able designer himself – did he make sketches for some of the details?

    Any thoughts about the obscenity, just fun or a deeper idea?

  34. Len says:

    Answers from McMac:

    Balint says:
    - being an architect, I’m really interested in the collaborative way of creating things. Your works have a strong identity that is a true original look, but now we saw that FZ really took part in the theme of the cover, was almost a part of it. Do you encourage (do you like?) your clients to take part in the process or do you enjoy working on your own, following your original ideas?

    JUST THE FACT THAT YOU ARE MENTIONING THE CONCEPT OF A CLIENT, IT IS AXIOMATIC THAT THE PROCESS OF GIVE AND TAKE WITH THEM WILL TAKE PLACE AND WHEN THIS CLIENT IS FZ, A MAN WITH HIS OWN MAN IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO LISTEN AND LET HIM GUIDE YOU INTO MADDNESS. YOU HAD TO GET UP PRETTY EARLY TO GET A JUMP ON FZ, FOR SURE. NOTHING LIKE A GREAT CLIENT! WANT TO EVPRESS YOUR OWN IDEAS, DO YOUR OWN WORK.

    - The albumcovers are usually smaller than the original painting, the CDs are even smaller. How do you relate to this fact – does it affect your realtionship with the details, the size

    I ALWAYS PAINT COMMERCIALLY TO A SIZE THAT IS LARGE ENOUGH FOR THE SMALLEST DETAILS. THE SIZE OF REPRODUCTION IS NOT NECCESSARY, ONLY THE PROPORTIONS.

    - It seems to me that all your works are hand-made. Is there still a market for this? Do you work with computer as well?

    YES, I PAINT BY HAND, BUT NOW-A-DAYS I MIGHT EVEN BREAK APART A PAINTING FOR SCANNING AND RESIZING. THEIR IS NOTHING LIKE HAND PAINTING AND THE PROCESS OF SELF EMULSION WITH THE ART. I DO ,THOUGH, WORK ON MY MAC AND LOVE THE RETOUCHING/COLOR CORRECTION, ALL THE GOODIES PHOTOSHOP CAN BRING TO THE PAINTING.

    Dark Clothes says:
    Did Frank make any reference to other artists to suggest a style? I’m thinking that he might have mentioned Salvador Dali and possibly Hieronimys Bosch, since he was aware of them, and there are some similarities. Did he, others?

    FZ REFERENCED ME TO THE DUTCH MASTERS AND THEIR LOVE OF DETAIL AND USE OF SYMBOLS IN THE ART. NO DALI, BUT I’AM SURE FZ LOVED HIM, AFTER THE INTIAL INTRO HE JUSY LET ME GO.

    I’ve always wondered if Frank was reading Mad Magazine and especially if he’d read Kurtzman’s comic book Mad in the Fifties. All the absurd detail points in that direction. Did he ever talk about Mad and EC Comics? Is there a connection with the Kurtzman/Bill Elder “Chicken Fat School” of art?

    I DON’T KNOW ABOUT FZ READING HABITS … BUT MAD COULD SURE BE ON HIS LIST, I AGREE HE LOVED THE BIZARRE AND THE DISCREET, YOU’RE WAY UP ON THIS THAN I AM.

    (note from Len: We all know FZ loved comics and Jack Kirby (http://cafurl.com?i=13522). I think it’s safe to assume, especially from his youth being in the 50′s, that he was a big Kurtsman/EC fan as well)

    Alex says:
    Dave, Did you ever see Frank naked?

    WOW, NAKED! WHAT A CONCEPT. I CAN ONLY IMAGINE THIS FURRY WELL HUNG HUNK

    urbangraffito says:
    I’ve noticed among the album covers of Frank Zappa, Flo & Eddie, and Little Feat a certain similarity in the use of certain images that are particular to Southern California – the hot rod, the beach, the freak, women, as well as the use of bright pastel colors to bring these images alive – among the artwork of Neon Park, Cal Schenkel, and David McMacken. Could you ask Dave if he and these other artist were part of particular “school” of art, or if educationally, and professionally, they ever crossed paths?

    THE IMAGES OF S.CA, DOMINATED OUR ART, THE URBAN ZOO BRIGHT COLORS AND MASS HUMANITY, IT’S DARK SLUMS AND VIOLENT NATURE, ALL SIDE BY SIDE SANK INTO EVERYTHING WE PRODUCED, WE ABSORBED IT, SMOKED AND DRANK IT, ( ROCK & ROLL ) CAL WAS A BIGGY IN MY START AND WE REMAINED FRIENDS, WE WORKED IN THE ANIMATION BIZ AND CONSIDERING THE DURATION OF EACH PROJECT .. WHY NOT! ALL THE OTHERS WHERE NOT CLOSE, BUT I FELT I KINDRED AND GROUP BOUND WITH PAINTERS JUST LIKE ANYBODY DOES WITH FELLOW WORKERS

    THANX ALL … LET THE SLIM RULE. DAVE

    So there ya go. I’ll pass Dave along thanks from all of us. Balint, I have answers about the preliminary art to ONS in the unused footage I shot. I quizzed him quite a bit on this. I remember it being a little too confusing for the already long video but I’ll dig that up and post it here.

    Thx. Len

  35. Dark Clothes says:

    Excellent, Len – good job, and thanks to David!

  36. urbangraffito says:

    Thanks, Len! David’s answers are fantastic insights into an exceptionally talented artist now, and at the zenith of album art. Feel free to use my question (with David’s answer) on your own interview video comments section.

  37. BlackZone says:

    A quote from Len:

    Answers from McMac

    Thank you Len!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. Alex says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    Feel free to use my question (with David’s answer) on your own interview video comments section.

    Cool. Include me in that offer!

  39. Alex says:

    …and then there’s this:

    http://www.arkivmusic.com/albumpage/701-E796-5

  40. Bálint says:

    Hi Len – interesting additions, thanks for forwarding our questions!

    I’m about to post is on my own tiny homepage (translated) – will there be an updated video maybe, because if so, then I’ll wait for it.

  41. Len says:

    A quote from Len:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    Feel free to use my question (with David’s answer) on your own interview video comments section.

    Cool. Include me in that offer!

    I posted the one thing that was very ONS specific. Will add more in the future.

    A quote from Len:

    will there be an updated video maybe, because if so, then I’ll wait for it.

    I doubt there will be another vid BUT…

    A quote from Len:

    I would be curious about the preliminary sketches: what was the first direction (motif), what changed and how, which element were left, etc?

    I was quite interested in this myself and have some footage where he goes into it in some detail. It’s kind of confusing so I left it out of the vid. It would be cool to try to make a 2 min “bonus feature” but I doubt that’ll happen.

    I’ll try to transcribe it and post a “readers digest” version here and on the vid comments section. I’m kinda tied up right now but will get to it in a few weeks.

  42. Len says:

    ^
    I dunno why it does that but, again, those are your quotes not mine.

  43. jonnybutter2 says:

    FWIW, I think I owe Len an apology for my being a little dickish at the beginning of this thread. I’ve been away from the site for a while – big project – and am amazed at what has transpired!

    thanks to Len and all.

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