If you've checked out Mission Label's press release for Post, you've seen the book's cover photo. If you're curious as to who that is or where that came from, there's a story behind it.
In early 2000, I went to a show in Denton at a renovated car garage called Green Means Go! I showed up early to see the first band play and that first band was Red Animal War. I had heard a couple of their songs online beforehand and had walked in right as they were finishing a set at the Door a few weeks before. I liked what I heard but I wanted to hear and see more. I made sure that I didn't miss the show at GMG! and I was glad that I came out early. Why? Because their set changed my life.
I had always heard of people that dropped everything to help a band out but I didn't understand this until I saw Red Animal War play. Here was a band of guys that looked intense (on and off stage), played intensively and rocked hard. Their songs were jarring and angular but there was this amazing melodicism too. This wasn't wimpy emo, jazzy spazzcore or noodily math rock; this was a bridge between those extremes. Justin (singer/guitarist) was especially charged that night and I felt I should take a few pictures of what I was seeing. I had my camera on me because I planned to take some pictures of the second band, [daryl], but Red Animal War stole their thunder. I ended up taking three pictures of Red Animal War and the one that will be on my cover is the last one that I took.
There is something to be said about Justin's facial expressions and the fact that he's not singing directly into the mic. What this picture says to me is just do what you want to do, whether or not people are listening. Sounds like a simple concept, but when you see it strikes you in a violent but beautiful way, it's unique. I felt drawn to these guys and wanted to help them out in any way I could.
Following the show (which was shut down prematurely by the fire marshal), I approached Justin and Jeff about possibly being on my radio show on KTCU. Turns out, Jeff was a fan of KTCU and Justin recognized me from a show few months earlier (Burning Airlines/Faraquet at Rubber Gloves). From that night on, I had Red Animal War on my radio show twice, saw them play live countless times and have kept in close touch with Justin. Whenever I see him, he's always asking about the book and I'm always happy to tell him what's the latest word.
I know it's a little hard to translate to others how a band or a record can change your life because it's more on feelings than words, but I think we all have those moments. Since I took the picture, owned the rights to it, got Justin's OK and felt the picture said something that was all-encompassing about the book's themes, that's why it's on the cover.