Modern Art Revisited

Photo: T. Bllard Leseman, 1983

My first band was called Modern Art. As you can see in the above flyer, we were very serious about being a band. First off, we had a look – berets. Yep. We all wore berets. You know, the kind of hats that Claude Monet used to wear. I guess if we had really wanted to sell the idea we would have also worn smocks. But smocks aren’t as cool as berets. Also, if you take another look at our flyer you will see that we knew EXACTLY what to do when posing for a professional band picture (i.e. have everyone look in a different direction). I’m sad to say that this is the only flyer I have left from those halycon days when me and my band mates would stand in a group, put our hands in our pockets, and stare in different directions. Yes. Those were the days.

Conceptually I’d say Modern Art was a new wave band though at the time we thought we were punk. Somehow we’d heard the term “punk” and we knew it was cool. The bands we admired were U2 and The Police. We thought those bands were punk. A year after this picture was taken, I purchased “Never Mind the Bollocks”
and realized how un-punk they/we were.

It’s fun to think back on those early, floundering days of being a band. Not only were we all trying to figure out how to play our individual instruments but we were also trying to figure out how to play our instruments together as a group. At one rehearsal I remember us working out the particular sections to a certain song. I decided that the drummer (pictured center in the plaid jacket) and me (far right) should come up with some visual cues for playing certain parts. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: When I nod my head once, hit your ride cymbal.

Drummer: Ok.

Me: And when I nod my head twice, hit your crash cymbal.

Drummer: Ok.

Me: Ready?

Drummer: Almost. I’ve got one question.

Me: Yeah?

Drummer: What head-moves are you going to make when I need to hit the hi hats?

Good question. I am surprised that I’m still not suffering from whiplash.

What reminds me of all this is a viral piece we created recently for Brian Winkeler approached us about creating a piece of music that could be “sloppy and garage-y and fun.” He wanted something punk-ish and also something juvenile to accompany a puerile video featuring various shots of people getting “racked.” Yeah! I know. How great is that for an assignment! Obviously we were totally excited. Plus, he didn’t need a song as much as he needed riffs. Sloppy, choppy, I’m-just-learning-how-to-play-my-instrument type riffs. So we assembled the troops, mic-ed up the drums, and cranked our amps up to 11. Total fun! Basically the session became method acting with instruments. We picked a key (A) and played the most bone-headed riff in the book. It was all about channeling that “my first band” experience. For me, it was Modern Art Revisited, except that Modern Art sounded much much more accomplished than this:

Oklahoma Gazette RACK!!

3 thoughts on “Modern Art Revisited

  • Man, that guy in the back looks angry, or maybe he just has a “problem,” both very punk. The guy on the far left (facing the poster) looks like a young lenin, which is kind of punk. The blaise look mixed with copious amounts of band buttons is also quite punk, at least the attitude of the look. Learning to play instruments, future chiropractic needs, I’d say that is pretty Sid Vicious-like of Modern ART.

    Hmmm…something smells like a reunion or the guy-in-the-back’s gastro-intestinal problem.

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