As you may well imagine this blog will eventually be riddled with my ludicrous fanboy tales (wait until I get to my Mick Harris t-shirt swap story) but hey it's my blog, my rules and what's the point in awesome, mind-blowing things happening to you if you ain't gonna brag??
Let's go back a bit - a few decades really.
Back in the 80s there was a time when metal started moving away from the NWOBHM of Maidens and Priests and towards some very interesting extremes. The proto-versions of what would become black, death, thrash (and so on) metal were starting to pop up here and there, and it was an incredibly exciting time for young impressionable would-be metalheads like me.
Now, if you were there you'll remember that 99.9% of the new bands were into imagery that was dark, macabre, violent, with the occasional hint of satanism and all of that, and that reflected in their lyrics too. And the proverbial 0.1% was Voi Vod, with their sci-fi obsession and absolutely incredible visuals. We all loved them.
But - what people don't know is that, in the same way punk and the DIY movement empowered kids to make music without being musicians, Voi Vod's artwork made us all feel like we could draw our own artwork, handpaint our own t-shirts and express ourselves in a way we had so far lacked the confidence to.
And the man we owe it to is a Lifer amongst Lifers, Mr. Michel Langevin aka Away, Voi Vod's drummer and resident artiste.
I copied his drippy black paint style in pretty much everything I did, from cassette covers to band logos to my own handwriting at the time which was incredibly laborious and unsurprisingly didn't survive the rigours of real life. I still have handwritten notes from the time that looks suspiciously away-esque.
My finest moment was when I painstakingly handpainted a Capitalist Alienation t-shirt which was this super intricate design by Away, and I totally fucking nailed it. Wish I still had it, or at least a picture wearing it.
(The observing ones amongst you will notice I've 'borrowed' some of his dripping style on my 'tentacles' design. Damn, son, I've acknowledge it in the product description...)
Present day, London.
My good buddy Alex from Seventh Circles Artworks comes to me and says - hey, I'm doing a ring in collaboration with Away from Voi Vod. I peed myself a little.
Long story short, there's a promo shoot and I get to meet the guy. I say meet, I mumbled a few incoherences to him.
A few months later they play London again, and this time we get to hang out in their green room and steal their beer and get shit signed and make jokes about how dumb americans are.
And Away and I wore the same flannel shirt, so fuck you all.
PS - his new band with the dude from Amebix, Tau Cross, is awesome. Go buy their music.