By Zachary Swickey
California rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers are gearing up for the release of their newest rock/funk masterpiece, I’m With You, and have acquired the services of famous street artist Mr. Brainwash to help promote the album with some Pepper-themed guerilla marketing.
TMZ reports that Mr. Brainwash, real name Thierry Guetta, has been in the Los Angeles area hanging art work that bears the album’s release date (8/30/11), the Chili Peppers logo and a bit of Guetta’s signature pop flare. With his bumbling charm (and wicked facial hair), Guetta essentially starred in the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, which was directed by the notoriously stealth Banksy, who picked up an Oscar nom for Best Documentary for his efforts. RHCP have also recruited Guetta for some other upcoming projects, but the artist was hush when pressed for details.
Collaborating with an artist has become a booming trend. Old timer Roger Waters hired street artists to promote his recent tour behind Pink Floyd’s iconic double album The Wall. Even professional companies and prestigious museums have been known to commission controversial artists. Here are some of our favorite band/artist collabs that all provide some great eye candy.
Interpol and David Lynch
Interpol did something special at this year’s Coachella festival when they worked on a video collaboration with the mysterious David Lynch, director of creepy cult faves like Blue Velvet, Lost Highway and Twin Peaks. The band played along to a short film Lynch directed for the group’s song “Lights,” off their recent self-titled record. The black-and-white animated clip contains a quirky character that repeatedly pushes a red button that makes its color burst all over the screen. In typical Lynch fashion, it will leave you thinking WTF?
Tool and Alex Grey
The artwork of Alex Grey is simply astounding with a mind blowing amount of detail. Grey’s paintings deal with powerful images of the human connection to the universe and his clear fascination with existentialism. So it makes total sense that a band like Tool would take a liking to him. They commissioned Grey for their last two album covers, Lateralus and 10,000 Days, and he also worked on the group’s tour production. A few of Grey’s paintings have become backdrops behind Tool during their live performances, helping make them look like a modern day Pink Floyd with their massive visual production.
Blur and Banksy
Before Damon Albarn had Gorillaz to keep him busy, he was fronting the English rock band Blur, who enlisted Banksy to do their album cover for 2003’s Think Tank. The cover shows a man and woman embracing while wearing some old school diver helmets. The original artwork fetched $120,000 at an auction in 2008. Banksy is also famous for stealing a shipment of Paris Hilton CDs, altering the artwork and inserting an album full of remixes provided by the hottest current producer, Danger Mouse, before sealing them back and sneaking them into stores for legal purchasing. Good luck finding one of those on Ebay now.
Red Hot Chili Peppers and Damien Hirst
Not only have the Chili Peppers got Mr. Brainwash promoting their new album, but the cover was done by the controversial Damien Hirst. The minimalist cover shows a fly resting on a pink and white pill that has the album’s title on it. Hirst set a record in 2007 for most expensive work of art sold by a living artist when his piece, "Lullaby Spring" – literally just a steel cabinet displaying over 6,000 pills – sold for a staggering $19.2 million. That’s nothing compared to what he wanted for his "For the Love of God" – a real human skull emblazoned with over 1,100 carats of diamonds – which had an asking price of $100 million.