So who won?  That’s what you want to know right?  Well, Ed Repka looked at the 10 finalists and picked the following winner and 2 runners up!

THE WINNER

Children of a Nuclear Winter “Married To The Machine”

Design by daedae

Here’s what Ed Repka had to say about “Married To The Machine”:

For me, the visual is the most important element and this cover has the most interesting image. I like the detail, use of colors and the story book narrative quality. The image draws you in and begs the viewer to figure out what is going on. It also works perfectly with the title and overall sci-fi concept. The song titles are well thought out and clever as they follow the cycle of a relationship.  The logo and title are bold and clear with the only drawback being their conservative placement. It looks like something you would get from an independent label rather than a major. Which is a good thing.

So congratulations to daedae for winning this year’s Figment Concept Album Contest.  As you may remember he placed 2nd in last year’s contest, so clearly daedae is a concept specialist!  He’ll be receiving a ZT Lunchbox Amplifier courtesy of ZT Amplifiers, a copy of the new concept album “Warp Riders” by The Sword courtesy of Kemado Records, and a copy of Steven Adler’s new autobiography “My Appetite for Destruction” courtesy of Harper Collins.  In addition, we’ll be depositing 500 pieces of lucre into daedae’s account to help him woodshed ideas for his next conceptual opus!

2nd Place

Gravestompers “Toxic Messiah”

Design by TMTYTF

Ed had this say about “Toxic Messiah”:

This album is a very close second. It’s almost a tie with the first. Toxic messiah has good compositional use of text and image giving it a professional look.  The placement of the text and image follow the classic 1/3 to 2/3 composition which really works for me but fails a bit since the title is a little hard to read on the left side and I don’t know what the “IX” is for.  The image is interesting, even though not particularly metal looking and I could see this in record stores. As for the concept, its a classic supernatural narrative and the song titles are evocative and typically metal.

So congratulations TMTYTF on your second place finish…sounds like you were a breath away from first, but for your efforts we’ll be sending you a copy of Steven Adler’s new autobiography “My Appetite for Destruction” as well as depositing 350 pieces of lucre into your account.

3rd Place

Dollhouse in Black “I Am Zombie”

Designed by ChildofAlma

Ed had this to say about “I Am Zombie”:

This works nicely because again, the image and the title work together to make a pleasing composition. The only drawback is the logo placement at the bottom in small type.  this would never occur on a real cover, the bands ego’s are too big to allow it and the marketing people always want the logo on top. It also has good song titles with a typical metal scenario.

Congratulations ChildofAlma, you’ll also be receiving a copy of Steven Adler’s new book “My Appetite for Destruction” as well as 200 pieces of lucre.

We’d like to thank Ed Repka for being such a terrific judge.  It’s not often you get to have someone of his stature in the design community look at your work, and his insights and keen eye for what makes a good metal concept album cover really made this contest a great one!

On a personal note, we’d like to extend our condolences to Ed and his family.  On October 5th, Ed’s father Edward L. Repka died at the age of 92.  Ed’s dad was very supportive of his work and even served as a model for some of the characters in his paintings.  All of us at Figment were saddened to hear the news and were appreciative of Ed’s commitment to judging this contest  despite this devastating loss.  According to Ed, his father had always taught him that you’re only as good as your word, so we thank him for being true to his father’s memory.  We hope you’ll join us in extending your condolences to Ed and his family by leaving a comment here on this page or on his MySpace page.   R.I.P.  Edward L. Repka.

We’d also like to thank Ken Kantor and ZT Amplifiers, Kemado Records, and Harper Collins for supplying all of the great prizes for this year’s contest!  We highly recommend you check out ZT Amps, buy the new Sword album “Warp Riders” and pick up a copy of “My Appetite for Destruction”.

Thanks again to everyone who entered and to our finalists – if you haven’t check them all out do it now!

We’d like to start by saying…WOW…great work everybody!  When we decided to limit our 2nd annual Concept Album Contest to just metal concept albums we knew that it would be popular, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that we were expecting our fair share of schlock.  Well, we were not only pleasantly surprised, but downright thrilled by the quality of all of the submissions.  Clearly you all embraced this challenge and your hard work shows.  So thank you for making our job of narrowing it down to these 10 finalists that much harder!  We mean it!

Here are the 10 finalists we sent to Ed Repka to judge (in no particular order):

Serpentinuum

“Philm”

Dollhouse in Black

“I Am Zombie”

Gravestompers

“Toxic Messiah”

Crimson Eye

“Five”

Xoana

“And So It Begins…”

Children of a Nuclear Winter

“Married To The Machine”

Vorpal Queen

“In The Chamber of the Vorpal Queen”

Zeroth

“Babel”

Vengeance Burns Eternal

“Wergeld: {At What Price, The Souls of Kinsmen Slain?}”

Jesus Wrench

“The American Way of War”

Good luck to everyone!

The Deadline Approaches!

October 20th, 2010

The deadline for our Figment Metal Concept Album contest is fast approaching!  On Friday, October 22nd at midnight ET we will close the contest to new entries, so make sure you post your entries before then!

When the deadline for entries passes, our crack Figment editorial staff will narrow the submissions to ten (10) finalists.  These ten (10) finalists will be sent to renowned metal album cover artist Ed Repka who will select a winner and two (2) runners up.

The winner will receive:

ZT Lunchbox guitar amplifier courtesy of ZT Amplifiers.  Since it’s introduction in early 2009, the ZT Lunchbox guitar amplifier has changed the way many musicians think about amps.  Never before has an ultra-compact amplifier reached gig-level output, let alone sounded good enough to be used not only live but in the recording studio as well (three Lunchboxes were in studio for MGMTs latest album “Congratulations”, and they are beginning to appear on several other recordings.)  Lunchboxes have found homes with pros such as Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Nels Cline and Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), and Hunter Perrin (John Fogerty Band) among many, many others.  This goes to show that the Lunchbox is useful even for players who can have any gear they wish.

A copy of the new metal concept album “Warp Riders” from Austin, TX based metal band The Sword courtesy of Brooklyn’s own Kemado Records.  We’re all HUGE fans of the band here at Figment and think “Warp Riders” will rightfully grace many a year-end Top 10 list this year.  This album should serve as suitable inspiration for the winner!

A copy of ex-Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler’s new book “My Appetite for Destruction” courtesy of Harper Collins.  After 40 years, twenty-eight ODs, three botched suicides, two heart attacks, a couple of jail stints, and a debilitating stroke, Steven Adler, the most self-destructive rock star ever, sets the record straight on his year’s in Guns N’ Roses, his subsequent descent into addiction, and his ultimate recovery.  It’s a harrowing, but honest look at the highs and lows of being a rock star and a must-read for metal fans.

So what are you waiting for?  Check out the rules and get your entries in now!

Plug In, Smile!

October 12th, 2010

Figment may be all about fake bands, but many of our players love to play “real” music as well.  So when we were planning our Figment Metal Concept Album Contest, we made sure to seek out a prize that any musician would salivate over, and the ZT Lunchbox Amplifier certainly fits the bill!  It’s an ultra-compact amplifier that packs 200 watts of power!  Good things really do come in small packages.  We were so fascinated by this amp that we sought out Ken Kantor the founder of ZT and designer of the Lunchbox to find out why it’s the perfect amp for both pros and consumers.

Figment News:  You’ve been a technologist, product designer and entrepreneur in the consumer electronics industry for over 30 years.  In particular, you have designed a number of innovative loudspeakers and audio technologies over that time.  How did you get into the audio engineering field and what products have you designed that you are the most proud of?

Ken Kantor:  I suppose my audio career first began to take shape as a blending between my fascination with science and my deep love of music and sound.  By the time I got to college, it felt very natural to study audio engineering. I learned the theory and math behind amplifiers and speakers.  I picked up practical construction and testing skills.  Also, I developed a lifelong interest in examining the ways that audio technology is interwoven with the history of music and performance,

During my engineering career, I have been fortunate to have been involved in a diverse range of audio projects.  I’ve designed really cheap computer speakers and very expensive home theater systems; I’ve worked in recording studios and guitar factories. I’ve done designs for museum displays, punk festivals, major orchestras, laptop computers and avant garde performance artists.   I guess what satisfies me the most is when I am able to mash up human perception with hardcore engineering to squeeze more sound quality out of a system than people expect.  “Diode, meet Neuron.  Neuron, meet Diode.”  Bringing sound to new frontiers is what it’s about for me.  Then, I like to start companies to try and bring these inventions into the world at affordable prices.  That’s where ZT comes in.

FN:  Are audio engineers tortured rock stars or is the other way around?

KK:  Fortunately for Figment, I think almost everyone in the modern world wishes they could be a rock star at some point.  So, yeah, I can’t deny those fantasies.   But, realistically, engineers tend to be people who are most creative when working within very disciplined and structured frameworks.  On the other hand, most rock and roll performers seem to thrive in a more chaotic environment.  (Or, at least, they make prettier train wrecks…)

FN:  What led you to found ZT Amplifiers?

KK:  ZT was influenced and inspired by the sound the classic guitar amps, and the quest to get that gig-worthy sound from a very small box.  Ever since I first heard, “I Feel Fine,” and “Satisfaction,” on a tiny AM radio, I’ve been researching guitar tone, building stomp boxes and fixing amps.  Gradually, I started designing my own speakers and amps. Throughout the following 30+ years, every time I learned something new about audio or hearing, I thought about how I might apply it to building a better guitar amp.  ZT is my opportunity to realize a lifetime of ideas and inventions.

FN:  Were did you get the idea for the Lunchbox Amp?

KK:  I’m not sure, but it was probably as I was carrying one of my big, old tube amps up the stairs!  It occurred to me that little amps have been somewhat ignored by other companies.  Almost all amp companies put their best effort into their larger products, and treat their smallest amps almost like toys.  So, ZT has taken a very different approach; we try to pack serious sound and power into small boxes.

FN:  Beyond its size, what makes the Lunchbox stand out?

KK:  It looks cool, doesn’t it?  We sincerely think it’s a great sounding amp, regardless of its size.  The Lunchbox has grown to become one of the best selling amps around.  No way that could happen based only upon its size.   In truth, lots of guitarists are buying the Lunchbox for its tone.  And, it’s just plain fun to play.  Plug in, smile!

FN:  So how does a solid-state amp the size of a toaster with a 6.5 inch speaker create such a big sound?

KK:  It’s the same old story in audio: everyone always believes the old technology is inherently superior, until someone finally figures out how to use the new technology to its full potential.  We think we have cracked that code.  About half of the story is in ZT’s proprietary new technology.  There’s a lot going on “under the hood” in both the electronics and the speaker, as well as how they work together synergistically.   The remaining part of the equation is time honored: we use excellent parts and very solid construction.  Powerful components plus build quality plus secret sauce equals Lunchbox.

FN:  Is this the ideal product for an aspiring musician or is better suited to a professional musician?

KK:  It’s definitely a product for serious players who value the essentials.  We don’t have a lot of effects and features built in.  Instead, we focused on getting the basics right.  Pros tend to like that, but so do a lot of weekend warriors.

FN:  I understand quite a few well known musicians are now using the Lunchbox both in the studio and live.  Why would they choose to use the Lunchbox over larger, more well-known amplifiers?

This certainly isn’t because of any advertising budget on our part.   Musicians really like the sound of the amp, and find it both convenient and inspiring.  Almost everyone who gets a chance to play a Lunchbox winds up wanting one.

FN:  How well does the Lunchbox hold up to the punishment of being on the road?

KK:  Better than I do. As I have said it’s a pretty solid piece of gear.  Several of the people at ZT are working musicians, including some who have toured on a national level.  We know what that is like.

FN:  What other products does ZT offer?

KK:  We currently offer three amps, one extension speaker cab, and some accessories such as carry bags.  Most recently, we introduced an “Acoustic” version of the original Lunchbox, designed to take a vocal microphone and instrument pickup at the same time.  It’s for folkies, singer/songwriters and a range of instruments beyond electric guitar.

The Lunchbox also has a slightly larger sibling called the Club that is a complete P4P champion. It can hold its own against almost anything.  It’s like an Lunchbox on Steroids, and with a few more controls and features.  Between the bunch, the ZT lineup has the needs of most bands covered.

FN:  We’re excited to announce that we’ll be offering ZT Amps as a virtual good in our new Figment Lucre Store very soon!  How does it feel to have ZT be the leader in virtual as well as real amplification?

KK:  Very cool!  I’m looking forward to becoming a simulated billionaire!

A Few More Rule Clarifications

October 6th, 2010

I just wanted to give you a quick update on some of the rules on Figment and clarifying some of the new rules we’ve created of late, because some of them seem to be causing some confusion.

1.  Cover Albums – As you know, we do not allow albums to be released on Figment that contain only cover songs by “real” bands.  This does not mean you cannot release albums or (in the case of “Next Rock Legend”) a video game that uses cover songs of Figment artists.  The only thing we ask is that you contact the creator of the Figment band(s) you’d like to cover to ask permission to use their song(s) and then give them proper credit by putting their name in parantheses’ next to the song title.  You can contact them to ask for the rights to cover their song by leaving a message on their band page using the shout box.

2.  Producers/Promoters/Radio Stations – As you know we allow our players a lot of latitude to exercise their imaginations and we’re pleased to see that you’re all a creative bunch.  However, we are not going to allow you to create certain music industry positions or business entities like producers, promoters, radio stations as band pages.  If you want to cast yourself in that role you can certainly do so via your profile page, but please don’t create a separate band page for these types of things.  We’re not against introducing these types of roles into Figment, and in fact, have been planning to do so for some time, but we’d rather do it in an organized fashion and at this time we’re not ready to do so.  They may very well be part of a subscription model of the game if that comes to pass, but that remains to be seen.  So in the meantime, please refrain from creating band pages for these types of things.  If you have an idea and would like to see if it will be allowed please email our customer service people by using the Feedback link at the bottom of every page on Figment.

3.  T-Shirt Listens? Another thing we are going to do away with is the ability to listen to a t-shirt or other form of merchandise.  This includes anything that you can’t legitimately “listen” to if it was real.  So concert posters, tickets, video games, and even fan club membership packages – unless they contain a CD.    Unfortunately, the only way to release this type of merchandise currently is to use an album page so people are clicking on the “listen” button and rewarding the creator with lucre.  While we’re planning to address this formally in the future, we’d rather not limit your creativity in the short term, so we’ll simply be monitoring these types of releases and removing any “listens” and corresponding lucre manually.  Any old releases of this type will start to see their listens removed over the coming months, but the players who created them will not lose the lucre they may have earned.

4. Copyright Bans – Has your band or album been banned?  Are you asking yourself why?  Do yourself a favor – PLEASE CHECK YOUR EMAIL!!!!  We always send you an email with information on why your band or album may have been banned.  In addition, our customer service people often send additional emails detailing specifically why a band/album was banned if they feel it’s not immediately apparent to the player.  Lastly, you can always drop customer service an email using the Feedback link on the bottom of every page if you’d like to get more clarification.  So from now on do yourself a favor and check your email before you start bombarding us with ban removal requests.

That’s it for now.  I’m still working on a basic rules document that I hope to have out soon, so I’ll post something about that as soon as it is available.  In the meantime, if you have other questions about our rules we suggest you check out our “Help” category here on Figment News, use the feedback link or leave us a comment on any post that details our rules.

Ed Repka’s works not only speaks for itself, it screams for itself!  With it’s touches of comic book, monster movie poster and sci-fi/fantasy illustration, Ed’s influences are clear, but it’s his bold use of color and sense of visual narrative that makes his art rock!

With a client list that includes Megadeth, NOFX, the Misfits, 3 Inches of Blood, and Venom among others, Ed is a natural choice to judge our 2nd Annual Figment Concept Album Contest, and we’re thrilled to have him on-board.

We thought you’d want to know more about who will be judging your entries, so we sat down to talk to him about his background, influences, and artistic process.

FigmentNews:  Album cover art is an important aspect of any band’s esthetic, but it seems to be that much more important to metal bands.  Do you agree, and if so, why do you think that is the case?

Ed Repka:  Album art is very important to metal bands in particular, which is why it’s 2010 and I’m busier than I was in the 80’s. I think there are two reasons for album art’s continued association with metal. First it’s a tradition. Today’s new generation of thrashers, death metal heads etc. want to bring back the glory day of the 80’s. There is even a resurgence in vinyl. Many of my new works get that great showcase.. The second reason is because metal has deep roots in storytelling. The majority of metal songs are about ideas and the most palatable way to express your idea to others is thru the story. Naturally, a story needs great visuals to make an impact and draw you in for a closer look.

FN:  Have you always been a fan of metal music?

Ed:  Not really. As a young boy I was aware of Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, and Kiss and gravitated toward their esthetic but, I never bought many albums.  I would always spend a lot of time in the music department of the local department store studying the metal album covers buy not buying. Later on, I was really into movies so I would buy movie soundtracks to things like Star Wars and Logan’s Run. When attending parsons. I discovered Punk and was into that for a while. It was not until I started working in the field that I investigated metal and began to appreciate it.

FN:  How did you get your start in graphic design?

Ed:  I have no formal education in graphic design I have a BFA in illustration. When I applied to Parsons School of Design, I wanted to get in to the graphic design department, but they said I would fit better in illustration.  Nevertheless, I continued to absorb and learn the various design theories and techniques on my own. My first work in the record field was album cover layout and paste up so I had to learn what to do fast. Now I work in graphic design for packaging at my job at NECA.

FN:  What was the first band you designed cover art for?

Ed:  My first record cover assignment was the Venom “Here Lies Venom” boxed set for Combat records. It’s a thick slipcase which holds a tray of four records. The slipcase is made to look like a stone slab cover in the graves of the three members of Venom. I painted the cover, back cover and inner tray art and prepared the mechanical.  I see that this package is a valuable collector’s item today.

FN:  You’re probably best known for your work with thrash metal titans Megadeth.  How did that relationship begin?

Ed:  I was working freelance for Combat/Relativity records and Megadeth was on the label at the time preparing their second release “Peace Sells” I was told Dave saw my work on the Venom box and asked I be assigned to his cover. I met with the two Daves in NYC and discussed the cover idea.  He loved what I did for “Peace Sells” and even called me to express his wish that I do the next cover. However, when the time came, for some reason I wasn’t asked to do the “So far..So good” cover.  That cover was kind of a flop and I was eagerly sought after to create the “Rust in Peace” cover.  By then I was working steady for Brockum, their merchandiser and over the next seven years created about twenty Vic illustrations for use on Megadeth posters and t-shirts.

FN:  Is it true that Dave Mustaine drew the original design for the band’s mascot “Vic Rattlehead”?

Ed:  As I understand it, Dave Mustaine had Sean Smithson, a fan artist, design (unpaid and uncredited) a version of the character based upon the lyrics to “Skull Beneath the Skin”. When I came into the picture they showed me a t-shirt with the Vic head on it.  It was a crude drawing, not very skull like but, with the basic elements. I assume this was Sean’s work. With that as my model, I redesigned the character and gave it my trademark bulbous head, mouth hooks, ear caps and visor. I even tried to infuse some of the cockiness of Dave Mustaine into Vic’s body language.  Dave liked my illustration and wanted me to do all his covers from then on.  Dave has even stated that it was in the ‘Peace Sells” illustration that, for the first time, Vic became a real character with a personality.

FN:  How hard is it to work with a band like Megadeth that has such an established icon as Vic?

Ed:  Since I established the character of Vic, it wasn’t that difficult. I made it up as I went along. After “Peace Sells”, I painted a series of posters and then t-shirts for Megadeth’s merchandiser Brockum. I had total freedom on those, being given only a direction in which to move. It was through these images that I kept developing the character of Vic. I decided he could change size, would wear different clothing, but retain the black business suit as the main costume. I also cast him not as a villain but as the anti- hero.

As far as working with the band, it really came down to working with Dave.  We actually got along well and would converse by phone about various ideas.  For covers he would tell me the kind of vibe he was looking for and let me come up with ideas.  For the merchandise art, he pretty much kept out of it.  Towards the end he began to take a more active hand and became more difficult, requesting changes more often.

FN:  A lot of metal bands seem to develop mascots – Iron Maiden’s Eddie being the most famous.  Why do you think that’s the case?

Ed:  I don’t know where the original idea came form but it likely stems from a need to embody an idea central to the band in some very aggressive tangable form.  This way the idea represents the band rather than any one person in the band. This appeals more to metal bands because they are more visually and narratively focused than say, pop bands.

FN:  Your covers are clearly inspired by comics and horror movies.  What artists and directors would you cite as influences?

Ed:  When I was young, comics and movies saturated my brain.  I gravitated toward comic artist like Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, Jack Kirby. Illustrators like Frazetta, Basil Gogos, H.R. GigerJames Bama, movie posters by Reynold Brown and Robert McGinnis, really anyone who was painting the type of subjects I enjoyed.  I would analyze what they were doing and see if I could apply some of it to what I wanted to do. When it comes to film I don’t know if I have any favorite directors but, certainly the films of James Whale, Val Lewton, and Kubrick had a big impact on me. I draw inspiration form the whole gambit of genre movies – from kung-fu epics to film noir and euro-trash horror.

FN:  Your covers seem to tell a story.  Is that a conscious effort to capture the direct themes of the music or do you simply create an image that captures the general esthetic of the band/album?

Ed:  Because of my comic and film influences, I’m basically a story teller so this comes out in the work. However, within the narrative context I create, I use symbolism to create levels of meaning beyond the obvious.  Color, perspective, distortion and dark humor are all used to express the emotional content of the album or the idea they want to express.  Not all of this occurs on a cognitive level. I’ve learned to listen to my intuition and recognize when all the elements work. I’m generally working with a band because our esthetics are compatible or identical.

FN:  Your covers use a lot of extreme colors, why?

Ed:  Color contrast appeals to me. It probably comes form my comic amd movie poster influences. It’s something I began in parsons and brought in to my cover work. My theory is that the closer an object is to the viewer, the more important it is and the more pure its color should be. I start out with a bright background color then progressively get more contrast and color involved in the successive spacial planes. It’s great for Thrash metal where you want the cover to scream at the viewer and grab him in.

FN:  What do you look for in a successful album cover design?

Ed:  First the composition needs to appeal to me on an emotional level. It should be powerful and draw you into the action or message. You need to pull the viewer in, get their interest so they will want to stay a while and uncover the story. The typographic elements also need to work with the art or become the art.

FN:  You are currently the Art Director for the National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA).  Can you tell us a little about that job and what it entails?

Ed:  I develop licensed products like bobble head dolls, action figures, snow globes, games, and basically anything with a sculptural component to it. I have hands-on control from the concept sketches to the art directing of the sculpture, to making the paint masters and to approval on the final production samples made in China. At NECA we develop a lot of different products for any one given license and we do it very quickly.

FN:  I’ve read a lot of articles lately, including a recent one in the NY Times, which point to band merchandise and promotional collectibles becoming the primary way for bands to monetize as well as promote their music.  Do you agree?  And if so, have you worked on any projects of this type?

Ed:  It may very well come to that. The record industry is in bad shape and looking for any possible way to maximize profits.  Band merch as advertising that generates income is nothing new. Megadeth produced a lot of merchandise, and look at the Misfits, I think they now make more money from their merch than record sales. But having the music as a secondary component is a disturbing idea.

I’ve done a lot of work that is only available on t-shirts and posters for Megadeth, the Misfits and other bands but, the music always came first. Recently, I did an illustration for the band Mercenary. The art was only physically used on a t-shirt and became a virtual cover for their downloadable album. There may come a day when the focus will shift from the physical CDs and cover art to t-shirt art and 3-D collectibles. In either case I have a great deal of experience in both areas. One day I may be designing and sculpting a bobble-head or stature instead of a CD cover.

FN:  How involved are the bands you work with in the final design?  Do you typically work with them or their label?

Ed:  Most of the time I have direct contact with the band and am being hired because they wants my point of view fits with theirs.

When I get an assignment, most of the time I get a title or some vague concept from the band or label and I try to come up with something visually interesting that makes sense with the title. Some times the band or label gives me an idea of what they want and I try to make something interesting out of it. I really need to know what idea they are trying to express, then I can come up with an exciting visual solution.

FN:  Any covers you’ve designed that are personal favorites?  Why?

Ed:  One of my favorite covers is Uncle Slam’s “When God Dies”. It was the last cover I did in the old days and really represents the type of work I like to do. Technically it all works, the color scheme, the large iconic image, the concept, the balance of hand painting and airbrushing.  It represents for me a fitting end to an era.

From my recent work I really like “The Pre-Fix for Death” art I did for horror-rapper, Necro.  This image needed to be created in a short time frame. Necro had only a title for me, no concept.  I came up with this concept, designing something I could accomplish in the allowed time. The picture is kind of a summation of my other work and has a lot of impact. It’s rapidly becoming an iconic image like the “Peace Sells” image. I have seen many people with tattoos of this on all parts of their bodies.

FN:  I noticed that you’ve exhibited your work here in the US and overseas.  Are these album covers or other artworks?

Ed:  For several years now, I’ve been selling and exhibiting artwork at MF Gallery’s Annual Halloween show, Zombies Attack and toy shows in NY, and now in Genoa, Italy. I’ve also had original work sold in Gallery de Muerte, Japan.  Right now I’m selling original pieces that I create just for the various gallery shows. They are pieces that work out my obsession with monster culture and range from small paintings and pen and ink pieces to one-of-a-kind figures.

Some of my Heavy Metal work has been included in the ENTARTETE KUNTS show at Optic Nerve in Oregon and A Heavy Metal Survey exhibit in Nottingham, U.K., but right now I’m not making any of my album cover work available for purchase.

FN:  Where can people find out more about your work?

Ed:  There are plenty of articles and interviews in magazines like, Terrorizer, Metal Hammer, Staf, you can go to my Myspace page to see more work and then one of these days there will be the big art book of my work. That will have more information than you want to know about me.

FN:  What “real” bands do you listen to?

Ed:  Now, I listen to classical music mostly. It keeps me calm.

FN:  Have you ever created a fake band?  If you did, any idea what you would name it?

Ed:  Not really I work for so many [bands] with crazy names that I don’t have to. When I was in grammar school, I used to make up books of fake monster themed products like cereal, and beverages, and I used to toy with the idea of creating a phony band just to make all kinds of merch art for it, as a way to do the kind of work I like to do. That might make a cool art book one day.