Speedfreaks & Joe Petagno Create an Indelible Impression on Milwaukee Music with “Survive”
image by Joe Petagno
Words by Erin Wolf
Old-school hardcore veterans the Speedfreaks have been hitting the ground running ever since their reunion in the practice space by playing out, writing and recording. As they near the two-day release of their new album Survive, one of the biggest surprises surrounds the icing on the cake: Survive‘s cover art. Joe Petagno, famous for his work with the seminal band, Motorhead, created the Speedfreaks’ intense and Milwaukee-landscaped artwork, going on the band’s songs, alone, for inspiration (Petagno currently lives in Greece). Fan-belt talks to Speedfreaks drummer, Dan DuChaine, about hardcore’s hook-up with a legend…
What is Joe Petagno to the rock world?
He’s definitely an unsung hero in the music world! Of course, he’s always gonna be ‘the Motorhead guy’ but he’s done so much more than just that iconic logo. Petagno did a bunch of crazy stuff with the Hipgnosis album cover designers as well as a ton of counter-culture and multimedia artwork. If you casually search out there you’ll find and recognize more stuff of his that you didn’t know he did!
How did you get hooked up with him?
Well, when it was time to consider the album cover artwork, we wanted to do something special, and working in a record store allows you to be exposed to a lot of different images of artwork.
After coming across a recent release with Joe’s artwork we were interested if it would be even possible to inquire about something of our own. We hit some brick walls via record labels by trying to make contact to him through them but the strangest part was that he contacted us around them! He’s really dialed-in to all kinds of underground scenes and activity!
Did you give him any ideas to lead him into creating the cover for Survive, or did you just let him go?
Other than wanting our ‘Speedy’ guy appearing somewhere within the artwork (as graffiti, or on a someone’s t-shirt … or somethin’!?!) we would’ve never thought of dictating the artwork’s direction. Actually, he requested lyrics from us after hearing some of our stuff on MySpace, and along with our original logo, he went and put together a sketch from there.
What’s been the response to the Armageddon-Milwaukee theme?
Very positive, if not a great conversation starter!
The artwork and the album title both originated from our conversations and just an overall awareness of the present state of the World. We both agreed that people are suffering everywhere and that we have to stick together in these dark times. Some people just see a monster destroying the city… and it is! But also there’s a positive energy being channeled through the picture, or system, and all is being destroyed to be rebuilt. Petagno’s totally righteous and it was way cool working together, we plan on doing it again. Soon!