Von Munz picks Von Munz's 4 best rock posters
The celebrated local artist goes digging for his favorite pieces before Friday's MAM After Dark: The Future Is Now exhibit
Since 1997 artist Eric Von Munz has been a bike messenger, a passion that led to a side-gig as co-publisher (with Peter DiAntoni) of the popular COG Magazine. He's also garnered a reputation as the city’s foremost poster artist, which he does for free, giving the posters to friends and trying to get them to the band. Before his show at the Milwaukee Art Museum Friday as part of the Luckystar Studio-produced MAM After Dark: The Future Is Now, Von Munz told The A.V. Club the stories behind his four favorite posters.
Slayer at The Rave/Eagles Ballroom, August 23, 1998
“This was one of my earliest posters. Kinko’s had this multi-color copier, so I’d go there late at night. I kept breaking those copiers to the point where they just got rid of them because they just weren’t built to print this much color. I printed these out and took them to Badger Guns and I’m like, “Hey, I’ve got my own targets, is that cool?” A friend of mine gave me a 9mm submachine gun that kept jamming after three rounds. I went back to the counter and told them I needed to rent a pistol to finish my art job. So the guy knows I know what I’m doing, and I went back to finish the job. I shot these posters in 20 groups of five. I turned my pistol back in and there was a different guy at the counter. He asked where my ID was, but they had never asked for my ID! He freaked out because anyone could have walked off with the gun. But fortunately, I’m a nice guy and turned mine back in.”
The Mistreaters and The White Stripes at The Cactus Club, November 13, 1999
“I was contacted by Christreater to make a poster for the release of The Mistreaters’ very first 7-inch. He says they’ve got this two-piece from Detroit coming out to open. “They’re called The White Stripes, have you heard of them?” And I did because I listened to a lot of bands on Sympathy For The Record Industry label. I mailed Jack and Meg these posters, because they made the mistake of putting their actual home address on the back of their first record. They came to Milwaukee in their country-squire station wagon, and when I met them, they were extremely meek and very appreciative. They told me that if it wasn’t for me mailing these record fliers, they would have canceled the show. This was their first out-of-state show, and the first White Stripes silk-screen poster, period.
The White Stripes at the Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, October 6, 2007
“When The White Stripes came out with Icky Thump, they were a household name. “Rag And Bone” is slang for a rummage sale, so I placed an ad in the Journal-Sentinel for The White Stripes show in Chicago, but put it as an ad for estate sales. I put it in there with the three stripes for Jack, blew it up, kept some other ads in there. I hand-cut it using rubylith. So I did 150 posters of this, and they canceled the tour the day after I printed the poster.”
The Black Angels and Queens Of The Stone Age at The Rave/Eagles Ballroom, October 24, 2007
“I like the old punk-rock, ’60s psych movement, and that’s the Black Angels. They’re very anti-war, and at the time of this show, America was already ensconced in war on two fronts. I thought this would be great imagery for the Black Angels, with this Vietnam-era M-16, but with three lilies in it, because lilies are the death-flower. I feel like it really hits well for that band at that show. I served in the military for a little while, so I have that M-16 image in my mind, and bike messengers often have to deliver lilies. Everything is free-hand drawn. I don’t use a computer for anything. When I have actual imagery, most of the time I’ll blow it up and re-interpret it with a pencil sketch. Even then I’ll tweak it enough, because you have to change it 20 percent. That’s what whoever is in charge of the rules of art says.” [Laughs.]