Mega City Four vs The USA Episode 4

Back in 1992 Mega City Four went on their first and only tour of the USA and of course took a camera. The footage hasn’t seen the light of day until bassist Gerry found the tape whilst researching the upcoming Sebastopol Rd re-issue.

In Episode 4, now acclimatised, the band hit the road but only after some more sightseeing!

Gerry says: “The first two dates of the tour. First a quick look around the White House area then a show at the legendary 9:30 Club in Washington followed by a show at TT The Bears Place in Cambridge, Boston.”

Click here to watch Episode 1
Click here to watch Episode 2
Click here to watch Episode 3

Tune in weekly for each new episode – or even better register with the site to receive news of all of our upcoming releases and exclusive content!

Mega City Four vs The USA Episode 3

Back in 1992 Mega City Four went on their first and only tour of the USA and of course took a camera. The footage hasn’t seen the light of day until bassist Gerry found the tape whilst researching the upcoming Sebastopol Rd re-issue.

In Episode 3,we get a glimpse of what was happening at the record company offices.

Gerry says: “A Spinal Tap style visit to see our record company staff and sign a load of stuff, followed by our first trip in a NY yellow cab.”

Click here to watch Episode 1
Click here to watch Episode 2

Tune in weekly for each new episode – or even better register with the site to receive news of all of our upcoming releases and exclusive content!

Mega City Four vs The USA Episode 2

Back in 1992 Mega City Four went on their first and only tour of the USA and of course took a camera. The footage hasn’t seen the light of day until bassist Gerry found the tape whilst researching the upcoming Sebastopol Rd re-issue.

In Episode 2, the boys take us to see one of NYC’s famous landmarks.

Gerry says “We were still obviously very excited to be in the USA for the first time and we ventured onto the hotel roof on arrival, followed by a jolly up the Empire State Building.”

Click here to watch Episode 1

Tune in weekly for each new episode – or even better register with the site to receive news of all of our upcoming releases and exclusive content!

Mega City Four vs The USA

Back in 1992 Mega City Four went on their first and only tour of the USA and of course took a camera. The footage hasn’t seen the light of day until bassist Gerry found the tape whilst researching the upcoming Sebastopol Rd re-issue.

Gerry says “This first episode shows our arrival at JFK, meeting our tour manager and driver and looking around the bus that was to be our home for a couple of weeks. The bus was allegedly designed for John Denver’s use. It’s difficult to describe how excited we were. This is the first time the footage has been seen publicly. Hopefully you’ll find it a bit more interesting than your neighbour’s Costa Brava holiday video!”

Tune in weekly for each new episode – or even better register with the site to receive news of all of our upcoming releases and exclusive content!

Carl Flint Canvases

3 Loop are proud to announce the pre-order release of the first three limited edition canvas prints from the pen of renowned artist Carl Flint.

Visit our shop to order your copy today

Each print measures 12” x 16” and is hand numbered (run of 50) and signed by Carl. Read more about Carl and his career in our art gallery.

Product Details:
Canvas: 270gsm matte, bright white, fine textured 100% polyester inkjet canvas.
Ink: Genuine pigment based inks for vibrant colours and excellent longevity of colour.
Frame: Finger jointed and edge laminated Pine. FSC Certified. The slotted corner joints allow you to tap special wooden wedges (supplied with the frame) into the corner, opening it very slightly and re-tensioning the canvas if required.
Tape: 38mm Self adhesive brown paper tape to seal the underside of the canvas. This is also known as Eco tape.

Cud – ‘Asquarious’

Printed in NME cover dated 27th June 1992 – Review entitled ‘Something Elsa’ by Stuart Maconie.
Carl Flint: “These are my friends. It’s not easy trying to depict people you know, should you be nice and friendly or risk offending them by going the other way completely?”

PJ Harvey – ‘Is This Desire?’

Printed in NME cover dated 26th September 1998 – Review entitled ‘Glum Racket’ by James Oldham Carl Flint: “I was trying to integrate imagery that referenced the visuals on the album sleeve whilst maintaining the ‘large bulbous head’ motif of much of my work. I didn’t want to make her ugly as I think she’s very striking and attractive. I hope I didn’t uglify her too much.”

The Wedding Present – ‘The Hit Parade?’

Printed in NME cover dated 6th June 1992 – Review entitled ‘Reign On, My Parade’ by Andrew Collins
Carl Flint: “I first saw these many years ago playing upstairs at the Royal Park pub in Headlingley. David Gedge wasn’t dressed as a royal.” ”

Malarky – A William Potter Exclusive Playlist

We were chatting about our favourite music, bands and songs with the boys from CUD a few days ago. It turns out that William Potter, their bouncing bass player, has exceptional and exceptionally wide ranging musical tastes from hip hop pioneers Eric B & Rakim to the queen of folk rock Sandy Denny via the Monkees and Peanuts!

You can listen to William’s playlist on Spotify below

And here’s William to talk us through his choices…
Mick Ronson – Only After Dark
I knew this first as a Human League cover (Travelogue) but here’s the non synth only original from the Ziggy Stardust guitarist who defined the sound of glam.

The Monkees – Circle Sky
Relentless and slightly mental song from The Monkees suicidal, freakout movie Head. When Michael Nesmith took the reins he came up with some country-rock classics

Fleet Foxes – Lorelei
And relax. Been trying to get my fingers round the guitar cycle on this lovely piece from the Seattle folksters. Helplessness Blues was my favourite album of the year, whenever it came out.

Simon and Garfunkel – The Only Living Boy In New York
Nu folk led me back to Paul and Art amongst others. Now I live in an idyll of orchards and fairies sweet harmonies and strumming. Till the next tour

Milagres – Glowing Mouth
And from New York… Something more recent, grabbed from a 6Music playlist as is most everything new I get to hear. Less keen on the rest of the album this came from, but this track charms me

Vince Guaraldi – Peppermint Patty
Jaunty electric piano jazz noodles from the Charlie Brown cartoons. I love how it starts a repetitive cycle midway through. A joy. Draws a smile on Chuck’s face

LiliPUT – Split
Nonsense lyrics but tonnes of spirit from this Swiss all-female punk band. They were called Kleenex till the tissue makers called time. Nothing to sneeze at

Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel – Lust For Death
Extreme surf music from one-man band Jim Thirlwell whose crucifixion poster ‘If you want to get down, get down and pray’ used to adorn my student lodgings. Also know as You’ve Got Foetus on Your Breath. Cuddly

Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band – Dropout Boogie
It all starts here. Inventive song structure, abstract lyrics, immaculate playing, a wealth of inspiration from Mr Don Van Vliet

The Castaways – Liar, Liar
Every home should have the Nuggets compilation Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era. ‘Nuff said

Alan Vega – Every 1’s A Winner
The second-best Hot Chocolate cover, this a pounding electro version from the Suicide vocalist. Saw Vega live at Leeds Uni Riley Smith Hall yonks ago. Mumbling the words as a career choice

Caetono Veloso – Tropicalia
I love a bit of Brazilian Tropicalismo and getting my fingers round those time-signatures. This tune is from one of the founders who, like Gilberto Gil, was exiled from Brazil by the right-wing military government of the time for their views and ‘avant-garde’ music

Mr Bloe – Groovin’ With Mr Bloe
A northern soul classic put together by session musicians, apparently including the harmonica player who later recorded the theme from Last of the Summer Wine

Emerson. Lake and Palmer – Fanfare For The Common Man
I’d never heard the full-length version till I added this to the playlist. I am happy to stick with the edited single version of this pomp romp for sanity’s sake

Eric B and Rakim – Follow The Leader
I prefer my rap old-school, when trousers were worn above the knees and traffic violations were the worst crimes bragged about. Listened to a lot of Def Jam in the early CUD days

Cashier No.9 – Oh Pity
Something else more recent. Vocals remind me of Laurence from Felt/Denim but otherwise a catchy 5 minutes from this Belfast band

Sandy Denny – Who Knows Where The Time Goes
Back in the land of mandolins and cider, I feel myself withdrawing into the pub snug to weep into my pint. Lovely. No excuses

Dennis Wilson – It’s Not Too Late
I’m very fond of The Beach Boys at their most twisted. This is from the overlooked croaky Lothario Dennis, backed by angel-voiced Carl Wilson. Sublime.

Sublime indeed. Thanks William

Iain Stronach Interview

Iain Stronach is the artist behind the logo featuring on oh so many Family Cat t-shirts in the 90’s.

Geoff Loop asked some probing questions about life, art and green sheds.

Geoff: Where did you originate from Iain?
Iain: I was born in 1959 and raised in North East Scotland in 1959, a small village called of Dyce that’s now part of Aberdeen City. I went to Dyce Primary school and then onto Bankhead Academy.

Geoff: And when did you discover art?
Iain: At the age of 14. I was given my first oil painting set and started painting portraits of family members, before moving onto landscapes and collage after being banished from the house for leaving oily fingerprints everywhere.

Geoff: Did you have any particular mentors from your school, or college perhaps?
Iain: A friend of the family, who was a graphic designer, initially encouraged me to stick with it and I won a place at Grays School of Art where I studied from 1977 to ’82.

Geoff: Who were your artistic inspirations at the time?
Iain: The same ones as now really; Picasso, Kippenberger, Duchamp, Cobra Group, Arbus, Keifer.

Geoff: What contemporaries do you admire?
Iain: Richter, Hirst (for his bravura not his painting), Chris Offili, Mark Dion.

Geoff: Do you theorise about your work or just ‘draw’ from feeling?
Iain: There is a fine line between theorising and overcomplicating the message, when artspeak becomes artwank!

Geoff: Where do you think most of your inspiration comes from in respect of starting a new piece or project?
Iain: From found photographs and postcards reinterpreted, titles come from snapshots of songs and novels.

Geoff: How important would you say your art is in your life?
Iain: Well it’s certainly an escape from the daily grind of being a desk jockey; I’ d be much more of a grumpier cynic than I already am without it.

Every Thursday and at the weekends I lock myself away in the Green Shed at the end of the garden, near the edge of the wood, and concentrate. My work doesn’t support me financially but I couldn’t do without it.

Geoff: What are you working on at the moment?
Iain: A series entitled ‘Matinee Idols, heartthrobs and monsters’, small paintings of heads from film stills and found photos.

Geoff: Do you have a style?
Iain: Realistic abstractionist! I like to think of myself as a representational abstractionist looking the wrong way down a one-way street!

Geoff: And how do you get there?
Iain: I tend to fill up sketchbooks with drawings from reference material, old photographs, postcards etc. and then start painting through a number of stages and changes. The end result can be radically different from the original idea/drawings mind! I work mainly in oils.

Geoff: Do you have a favourite piece of art?
Iain: Picasso’s Guernica, Velazquez’s Las Meninas

Geoff: Do you have a favourite gallery or museum?
Iain: The Prado in Madrid.

Geoff: Moving on to music, how important do you think art is to the music industry?
Iain: It’s important to create a visual representation of the product and use original work, but some things that look good on an LP sleeve can look diminished on a CD. Bon Ivor’s most recent album uses an artist’s work well but with mainstream artists it (artwork) seems to be sidelined. I guess this is the result of marketing trends and cultural obsession with celebrity.

As music becomes more focussed on spotify/downloads etc any stress on the artwork is taken away from the sleeve and more emphasis is placed upon the musician/artist’s physical appearance.

Geoff: Who are your favourite bands/musicians?
Iain: Bonnie Prince Billie, Avett Brothers, Spiritualised, XX

Music is important to me, many of my ideas come from music with lyrics sometimes becoming titles of my work.

Iain Stronach’s credits include:

Summer Exhibition Royal Academy, London 2012
Eighth Open Exhibition New Maynard Gallery 2011
Seventh Open Exhibition New Maynard Gallery 2010
Sixth Open Exhibition New Maynard Gallery 2009
Public House The Establishment Exhibition Space 2002
Raspberry Ripple The Establishment Exhibition Space 2001
Coach and Horses The Establishment Exhibition Space 2001
Galeria Sen Madrid 1987

You can see examples of Iain’s work in our Art Gallery here.

Carl Flint Interview

Our very own Geoff Loop caught up with Carl Flint, artist and illustrator for such august publications as the NME, the Guardian and Select to talk about Carl’s career, and the Sugababes (visit our Art Gallery here for examples of Carl’s work).

Geoff: So Carl, when did you get into art?

Carl: Well I got into art fairly early on, I wanted to grow up to be either a comic artist, an astronaut or a newsagent. I have been involved with one of these careers!

My start was a Foundation Course at Chesterfield College of Art followed by a graphic design degree at Leeds Poly in the ’80s.  Whilst still in Chesterfield I worked on a few music fanzines that not many people will have heard of, the likes of Junction 101, Crazed Culture, Toy Town Times and Hope!.

At Leeds Mike ‘Demolition’ Dunphy from CUD was on my course and Will Potter, CUD’s bass player, was one of my housemates. Early CUD rehearsals took place in the damp basement of our student house on Haddon Road in Burley! Peter Cattaneo, director of The Full Monty, was also on our course.

Geoff: Did you have any particular mentors?

Carl: Mr.Scothern, head of art at my old school Deincourt was very encouraging but he hated anything that looked vaguely comic-style – ‘boy’s own comics’ he called them! He didn’t like them. At all!

At Leeds Dennis Leigh (aka John Foxx from Ultravox – one of my musical idols since 1980) was a visiting tutor on the illustration course; he was really supportive and also a complete gentleman, a quiet man too. John Hyatt, vocalist in the Three Johns, was also a tutor of a crossover course focusing on the links between music and art; he was very good too: he had two pet axolotls!

Geoff: When do you show your work publically for the first time?

Carl: I exhibited some drawings and paintings, dinosaurs, sea birds etc., in the Arts and Crafts sections of local horticultural shows in the mid ’70s – won a few prizes! My mum won a number of trophies in the home-craft sections – that was for Victoria sponge, shortbread fingers, assorted fancies, scones, jam… possibly fruit cake.

Geoff: In your professional life, who are your artistic influences?

Carl: We always had the Daily Mirror at home and I remember liking Griffin’s caricatures. ‘Shiver and Shake’ was one of my favourite kids’ comics and my favourite artist in there was Ken Reid; he drew a series of back page monster pin-ups called ‘Creepy Creations’ – great work! American comics made a huge impression on me, especially Marvel comics, Jack Kirby, Steranko, Steve Ditko, John Buscema, Marie Severin- all fantastic artists. I still really love their work today. Basil Wolverton is great too – I saw his work on the bizarre covers of DC’s Plop comic in the ’70s. As a teenager I was an avid NME reader and cut out and kept the drawings of Serge Clerk, Ian Wright, Shaky Kane, Chris Long. Sadly I don’t have those scrapbooks any more.

From the non-comics and music world of art I like John Heartfield, George Grosz, Max Ernst – lots of striking, collagey stuff and lots of ugly stuff. I like Tracey Emin too although her work doesn’t have anything much in common with the others. I think they’re all about the ideas though!

Geoff: Do you admire any contemporaries?

Carl: In the ’90s I met and made friends with a number of other NME illustrators, including Simon Cooper, David Lyttleton, and JAKe. I liked their work and they always got their rounds in. From the comics world I like Michael Allred, Brendan McCarthy, Bruce Timm and more…

Geoff: What are you working on at the moment?

Carl: I’m about to start work on a book of science fiction-themed poems for kids, ‘It Came From Outer Space!’; it’s a sequel to the book ‘It’s Behind You!’ which I illustrated last year, a collection of monster poems by Paul Cookson and David Harmer.

I’d like to become more involved in animation and film though; we did a trailer for the ‘It’s Behind You!’ book and I think it came out pretty well (click here to see the trailer or here to see more of Carl’s work.. G Loop).

Geoff: Do you have a favourite piece of art?

Carl: The cover to Avengers 63 by Gene Colan, published in 1969 by Marvel Comics

Geoff: Did you enjoy working for the NME?

Carl: Sure, but it wasn’t how I thought it would be. It was a dream come true when I landed my first commission from Justin Langlands, who was NME art director at the time. I thought I’d made it and I was going to be a millionaire – and so soon after leaving college! I came to earth with a bump when I found out they paid £44.99 for an illustration so I had to hold off buying my Thame-side loft conversion apartment for a while. To make it worse I had to draw the Cult and I didn’t have anything in my head about the Cult, I didn’t even know if I liked them or not. I think ‘Spirit Walker’ was the only track I knew. Was that them?

Plus there was a ton of pressure that I put upon myself – it’s actually quite hard finally having to work for the magazine you’ve always wanted to work for. Subsequently I was disappointed with what I produced and never expected to hear from them again. I did though, the next one was the Cure and that was a lot more fun.

I’d also assumed that once you’re working for the NME you could get into virtually any gig for free. That wasn’t the case for freelance illustrators who rarely went into the office at Kings Reach Tower. I got invited to a couple of staff parties and quizzes but not much else. I don’t think I was pushy enough.

Throughout 1992 I illustrated the confusingly silly but strangely compelling ‘Thrills Believe It or Not’ feature in the NME’s intro section. The feature had already been running from time to time in the paper but I suggested illustrating it and they went along with it. I used to go in every month or so to go through ideas with writers Andrew Collins and Stuart Maconie – all good fun! There was talk of collecting the columns in a paperback book and there was publisher interest. Unfortunately it all coincided with a great upheaval at NME towers when editor Danny Kelly left and was replaced by Steve Sutherland from the dreaded Melody Maker. Andrew, Stuart and a bunch of other staff left the NME in protest and all went to work for EMAP’s Select magazine which was shaping up to be NME’s main competitor. I was sort of swept along with that exodus and I finished up illustrating Ian Harrison’s strip ‘Disco Inferno’ for Select.

Geoff: As you’ve mentioned a few bands, what other artists have you worked with?

Carl: Not many unfortunately. I did the sleeve for CUD’s HeyWire! single and bits of that were used on T-shirts and stuff. I also drew a Sugababes sleeve and poster! That was for the single ‘Angels With Dirty Faces’ – a slightly different style to my usual work. Although I’ve done lots of work about music and musicians it’s very rare that the record companies or the bands themselves approach me. I suppose it’s because I make everyone ugly (except for the Sugababes!).

Geoff: How important do you think art is to music; do you think it is given its due regard?

Carl: I think that music-related art is struggling at the minute. The visual element isn’t as important as it used to be now that downloading is so common. When LP sleeves were twelve inch squares they were a fantastic platform for visuals, CD covers are okay but obviously they’re much smaller.

My favourite sleeve design is Man Machine by Kraftwerk. I’d never seen a sleeve like that before or heard music like that before. Kraftwerk made a huge impression on me. I still like them. I even like them live, even though they don’t do a lot. It’s great just to see them but it’s a shame the classic Man Machine line-up is no longer active.

Geoff: That’s Kraftwerk then (good choice by the way) but who else do you listen to?

Carl: Joy Division, Kraftwerk, Goldfrapp, Human League, Cud, John Foxx, Beatles, PJ Harvey, Orbital, Pulp, David Bowie, Blondie, Pixies. Grimes sounds good but I haven’t heard much of her work. I always play music when I’m working, and since moving back to the UK I’ve discovered 6 Music – God bless the BBC!