THE LOST WALL OF VOODOO ALBUM COVER

Mount Schtick-More by Drew Friedman. 


1985: 
 Lords of the New Church front man, label mate, and friend Stiv Bators tells me the following: 

"If IRS Records ever suggests you guys do a live record, your days are numbered.  They'll say  a live album will spark some interest. Don't trust them. It's just a  way for them to squeeze a few bucks  off your name before they ax you. It's what they did to us." 

1987: 
My second album with Wall of Voodoo,  Happy Planet, was failing  to chart . Our tours were sold out and the shows were good but there was little airplay and thus low sales.  So it goes.   

A few weeks before we left for a tour of Australia, the CEO of our label called us in for a meeting. " Boys! " he crowed merrily, "We wanna do a live record! "  

We said no. We said fuck no. Stupid idea. Recording live, in the middle of the Happy Planet Tour meant that 80% of the live record would be Happy Planet songs. No one wanted Happy Planet.  Why, we reasoned, re-record a rejected record ?  

The CEO said a live record would 'spark some interest.' 

The live recording crew were booked and would be there waiting for us in Melbourne, like it or not.  ***

 

LATER: DREW VOODOO CALLS DREW FRIEDMAN  

With a heavy heart, I saw the writing on the wall: We were an LA band  now teetering on the edge of oblivion. Just as Stiv had forewarned, our rinky-dink label was grabbing a few pennies before flushing us down the shit hole.  

I knew there was only one person who could capture this pathetic state of affairs: Drew Friedman. I had spent many hours transfixed by his gritty-yet-hilarious-yet-heartbreaking drawings. If you live in Hollywood long enough, life begins to looks like Drew is the art director.  

I  contacted him and, after discussing  ideas , commissioned him  to do the  album cover: a Mount Rushmore of sleazy, schamltz-y, Los  Vegas-y  entertainers: Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis, Fat Elvis, and Bob Hope. The Ugly Americans.  

In two weeks  Drew's Mount Schtick-More arrived.  

I howled!  
I guffawed!  
I laughed my fucking head off!  

I showed it to Wall of Voodoo.  
They howled!  
Guffawed!  
They laughed their fucking heads off!  

I showed it to the execs at IRS Records.  

They paled.   
They blanched.   
They wet their slacks.  

NO.FUCKING.WAY!  

"Why!?" I asked. "Why not?"  

"We'd  get  sued!" they said.  

"By who?"  

"Jerry Lewis for one"   

 "Wall of Voodoo vs The Nutty Professor!?"  I said.  "That would be so fucking cool!  "

 " ...And sued by Sammy Davis!" they continued " And by Bob Hope! And the estate of Elvis fucking Presley!" 

I said a lawsuit like that would certainly "spark some interest."  

  

IN THE END  

The Drew Friedman's Mount Schtick-More was rejected .There wasn't even a mock-up made. Begrudgingly, it was used as a header for the WoV  press release.It was also used inside the cd booklet. They felt the images falsely inferred Elvis,Bob, Sammy, and Jerry were touring with Wall of Voodoo-( If they were, I doubt even they could have sold any more Happy Planet records than we had.)**

 IRS also made a few shoddy T-shirts,hoping to make their money back . My buddy in the IRS art department slipped me Drew's work when they were done with it. I have  kept it safe since.

TODAY: 
A few years ago, Drew invited me and my beloved Merrill to a swanky party full of swanky Hollywood writers who were celebrating the release of Drew's latest book at that time: Heroes of the Comics.  I showed up like a pathetic 60 year old fan boy, carrying my Wall of Voodoo album art under my arm. He graciously signed it.  
Framed, it now dwells on the wall of my studio.

(**Thanks to Todd Longwell for reminding me of the booklet.)

***There was a loophole in the contract that allowed IRS  to do this after record #2. 

CORRECTIONS:
Geir Age Lia  of Norway points out that Drew's work was used as the cover of a WoV giveaway  promotion.