Swissted poster book revisits classic Replacements and Hüsker Dü shows
If the drool-worthy posters shown above haven't already pulled you in, the rest of the story of Swissted: Vintage Rock Posters Remixed and Reimagined certainly will. Just released this month, the book features 200 freshly created concert posters recalling the nascent shows of some of the finest underground bands -- many of whom later blew up. Conceived by Stereotype Design's Mike Joyce, each features clean Swiss graphic design for a look far more refined than what a mimeograph machine and scraps from a magazine could ever offer, and every page is perforated for easy hanging.
Within, you get an '89 Nirvana gig that cost $5 to attend, the Velvet Underground's 1970 residency at Max's Kansas City, and Pearl Jam's 1990 in-store show at Compact Disc World at the Menlo Park Mall in New Jersey. Plus, several Twin Cities acts -- including the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, and Babes in Toyland -- get a nod. In sum, it's the best way to paper your walls with Michael Azerrad's indie rock history tome Our Band Could Be Your Life.
Gimme Noise caught up with Joyce to discuss the Minneapolis inspiration behind Swissted. Plus, with the gracious permission of his publisher, several of his designs are reprinted here.
Mike Joyce was born in Troy, New York and grew up in the '80s in Clifton Park, a suburb about 10 minutes north of Albany. The boring and homogenized existence in the suburbs wore on him, so he and his friends hit the local record stores and shows in the area to fight off the doldrums. What he couldn't get from the Capital Region's local scene, he pulled from other cities' individual flavor -- New York hardcore was a favorite among his friends, but he was more into what was coming out of Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Minneapolis at the time.
"Now unfortunately I've never been to Minneapolis," he says. "But is it the weather that creates that sarcastic, self-deprecating vibe the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, and Soul Asylum had? That's one big regret I have -- never catching a Hüsker Dü show. I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time." However, Joyce has seen Sugar a couple of times, and Rykodisc asked him to repackage the Copper Blue CD into a vinyl version a few years ago.
Of every artist he pays tribute to in his book, Joyce counts the Replacements as his favorite band. It's due to Paul Westerberg's songwriting, their refusal to get pigeonholed ("Were they a punk band, a hardcore band, or a straight up rock 'n' roll band?"), and for having the balls to record songs like "Within Your Reach," "Here Comes a Regular," and "Skyway" know full well they might piss off their hardened fan base. He saw them play twice in Albany -- once at The Palace in 1989 and at Bogies in 1991. As a result, Swissted features two Replacements posters done up in Swiss modernist style.
"I definitely wanted to highlight a Minneapolis show of theirs," Joyce says. "and when I found one at the Uptown Bar with Alex Chilton opening, I knew that had to be the one. And then the other one, at Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio was because the Goo Goo Dolls opened up for them. At the time the Goo Goo Dolls were a kind of power-pop 'Replacements light,' and who knew they would become the soft rock ballad hit-makers they are today."
In addition to the Replacements' two posters, there are two from Hüsker Dü (one with Soul Asylum opening), a 1995 Babes in Toyland show gets highlighted, and Sugar headlining New York's spacious Roseland Ballroom not long after the release of File Under: Easy Listening in '94.
One of the best parts of Swissted is that it's far cheaper than it could be. At merch tables, limited-edition show posters can run $20-30 a pop, and they certainly go up in price when they hit eBay. Based upon that price scale, Joy is practically giving them away.
"I just did the math for the first time and it's twenty cents per poster," he says of the $40 (cover price) book. One of the reasons he paired up with his publisher, Quirk Books, in the first place is that they had already published two huge Gig Posters (Volume 1, Volume 2) books. "I instantly thought of Quirk's oversized art books with micro-perforated pages -- it was just a perfect fit. How do they sell it for the price that they do? I have no idea. But I really love that people can own 200 posters for just $40 -- I think that's super cool."
Get your hands on one at Amazon here, or ask for it by name at your favorite local retailer.
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