Replica of Offbeats Old School FUNKY Website
This is a history of the band via poster art and, correspondingly, some personal computer history. Click on the thumbnails to show the poster.
When we first started playing gigs all this desktop publishing software did not exist. For that matter
PCs as we know them did not exist. “In my day I used to walk uphill to school….both ways.”
I really wanted the posters to look tech, even if we didn’t have it avaiable. The very first
poster I created was done with colored pencils. No one in the band was particularly excited about
that poster so I immediately leaned the fine art of ‘Paste-up.’ Ahhh — I can smell the rubber
cement even now… at least xerox machines were common. If I took a lot of time with it and
stuck to limited, favorite images I guess I
could draw a little bit but it did take a LOT of time. I sure
wished we had a color xerox … an idea about as far fetched as a wireless telephone. So here’s my first
mockup in pencil and the resulting poster for our first gig in 1987. We snuck in to “The Hill” on a Sunday night so we did not have to PAY to play music. (Glad that concept is dead. Or is it?)
We also started playing the Chi Chi in San Francisco … our “Home away from home” and the Starry Plough. Here are both paste up originals and the resulting b&w xeroxed posters.
So I started really getting into this paste-up stuff. My drawing wasn’t particularly improving but
trying to create lettering was even worse. Thank God I had a mainframe to work with for that! Though it only had very limited
fonts (using the SGML — the precursor to HTML) it was better then my own skills or using stencils. That worked for a while
but eventually got boring….. so I started also including ‘found’ lettering and logos. Of course we
immediately got prestigous gigs like the infamous Club Afrique in East Palo Alto
with the bullet proof Kentucky Fried across the street. We played with “UHF”, friends of mine from
work who among other tunes played “The Theme from Batman.” At least 8 people must have been at that gig. Followed
shortly by our gig at the Goldstar Cafe (formerly ‘Giggles’) — an ex-disco club in a shopping mall.
No monitors, a disco sound system (believe me..there is a difference) and
an audience who wanted us to play Disco Inferno and Stayin’ Alive… AHGGHHH…….They loved us.
Nearly a year of gigs later and I finally built an IBM PC clone. A killer Intel 8088 running at 4.7Mhz with an amazing 640k of memory (not just 512k) and a used 10M hard disk (not just two 5 1/4 floppies like my friends had.) Still no software. I had a “pirate” copy of something called ‘Arts and Letters’ so I had to try it for our return to The Hill. Check out the amazing “tall buildings over the earth” effects and fonts!!!!!! I’m still impressed. I was still wishing for a color printer (never satisfied) but they were still a decade or two in the future. We conned the club into another ‘audition’ as they were a ‘Pay To Play’ club and we
didn’t want to ‘pre-sell’ tickets. I think that was also the gig where we ran into a little MIDI problem where Andy’s drums started to trigger strange sounds from Doug’s keyboards by mistake. Ahh technology…….our friend…..
For the next flyer I still had my dot matrix ‘near letter quality’ printer. I tried to get ‘Arty’ with the software – a little free hand mouse work — summer shows in SF (with the guy wearing a trench coat in the fog.) The current gigs were Hotel Utah and Morty’s.
All of a sudden, Jay got access to REAL desktop publishing software on his Mac at work and a real SCANNER ! WHOOOOOO. Posters got a little repetitive but it sure was easier… At this point we had a new drummer — Judith Mazanetz (from Germany) who ordered her Marguritas with “smashed ice.”
I had this fractal generated on our mainframe by a systems programmer at work so I used it for our show with Strictly Roots. I even colored one up (dude…I’m flashing….Where’s my color printer??) We also feature a poster from the same show created by ‘Strictly Roots’ the headliner for several shared gigs. We love them. I hope they don’t mind us using their poster.
And our scariest gig ever … The 6th Street Rendevous … formerly a homeless squat … where they wouldn’t let the man who got his throat cut in the doorway come inside or call 911 with the reasoning of “I have a family, man…’ (Like this guy could hurt you in his condition.) I even created a special poster with shadows. I still think we are lucky to be alive….
And then the “Sangre World Fusion Theater Ensemble” Benefit. I wish we would have been able to bring a better PA. I remember more of the painful load-in and setup than the gig itself. Was it just a dream?????
We had a good picture session at Stanford and Jay began taking over Poster production. We got busy and every gig got a poster. We loved Bad Dog Sit and the Skankin’ Pickle show…and …of course…Jay’s Home away from home…..Tresidder…..and some of my favorite band names…choose your favorite for your cubicle wall….
I got a postcard together for the Thunder Bay show — a cool Gay club in Berkeley near the estuary. Unfortunately since the gig was the same day as the Gay Pride Parade in SF we only got about 25 people or so .. most of whom we knew. Hey….it was free food… and we saw a bunch of our friends. A nice show.
After that we played the Catalyst in Santa Cruz a couple of time….honest. We were more worried about the show than graphics so we didn’t make posters but we did get some video….
We rented a club with Doug’s other Band ‘Strange Attractors’ for Judith’s final gig with us last in the previous century.
DP — still “the new guy” replaced Judith and we have our first CD is out!!!! so how about a quickkkkk tour of the city….
Waves seemed to require the postcard aproach…cool..but ..wish we could just send electronic stuff….like the E(electronic)mail we had on the mainframes at work… later dude…. dream on…never happen…
And then we have it all…a web site, a color printer, video and a gig at Darrell’s other part time gig…Synopsys. Summer Home to Offbeats for several years.
We even have posters for gigs that didn’t happen. The Whole Shebang went out of business a few days before our gig. (Did they call us to let us know….of course not.) Thank God I went to the club to put up posters a few days before and found them closed or we would have been out there in the rain with our gear, surrounded by a bunch of pissed off fans…
Followed by a creative period that had us in the TV GUISE, National Enquisitor, a Marx
Brothers movie and a Petting Zoo…not to mention special guest Godzilla.
Watch this space for the next gig — Poster!!!!!