Question: Tell me about KISS “Rock and Roll Over”
I did the art for “Rock and Roll Over” very early on in my career. Somehow it came out looking not like any record cover that had preceded it—or, I believe, has followed it. This was probably because I had had no experience doing record covers at that point, and I didn’t know what I wasn’t supposed to do. I was lucky enough that when I dealt with KISS, they were totally open to what I was proposing. I showed them one pencil sketch and with only a few minor comments they approved my design.
At the time, my art for “Rock and Roll Over” didn’t get much notice. It’s only been in the last 10 years or so that this piece has been getting this kind of attention. Perhaps it was ahead of its time? I don’t believe it’s my best work, but I do understand why it’s gotten so popular of late—and I’m especially gratified to learn that it’s inspired a whole new generation of graphic designers, many of whom have gone to the trouble of contacting me to let me know.
This piece, like so much of my other work, comes out of my childhood love affair with Coney Island—which was only a bike ride away from where I lived growing up in Brooklyn. Inherent in the design (whether by design or by accident) are the sideshow banners, colorful lettering and signage, shooting gallery graphics, and incredible energy that Coney Island was known for. These influences became very apparent in much of my later work, and continue to this day despite efforts on my part to make them go away! There are many other influences I could cite in this piece (Japanese graphics, Sci-Fi films, etc.) but Coney Island always seems to dominate my work.
Rock and Roll Over, 1976