The New York Times has run this great piece on Dan Perkins, aka Tom Tomorrow, and his work on the Backspacer album cover. Of course, most of us know how the partnership came to pass, but it was a great piece about Tom Tomorrow's turn of luck.
Tom Tomorrow concert posters? Did you hear that? Tom Tomorrow concert posters!
He called his friend Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam, whom he had met at a Ralph Nader campaign rally at Madison Square Garden in 2000. Maybe, Mr. Perkins said he hoped, he might get a gig designing a Pearl Jam concert poster.“He said, ‘Maybe we could help out a little bit,’ ” Mr. Perkins, 48, remembered Mr. Vedder telling him. “ ‘Maybe we could put something up on our Web site. Maybe you could do a couple posters for concerts coming up. And maybe you could have a shot at designing our next album cover.’ That’s about when my jaw hit the floor.”
Mr. Perkins said that despite Pearl Jam’s offer of help, he had no guaranteed assignment. “This is not a pity job,” he said. “I really had to work at this thing.”Mirroring the album’s straightforward, mainstream-rock sound, the nine-panel grid on the cover is rendered in Mr. Perkins’s characteristically clean, lucid lines. But unlike those of “This Modern World,” the images are more surrealistic than political.For example, after Mr. Vedder said that he often thought of a 1947 photograph from Life magazine of a young woman who had jumped off the Empire State Building, Mr. Perkins played with the image until it resembled a body peacefully floating at sea; Mr. Vedder decided it was “kismet” because Mr. Perkins hadn’t yet known that the band had written a song called “Amongst the Waves.”
Lately Mr. Perkins has gotten some good news: last week “This Modern World” returned to The Village Voice. Andy Van De Voorde, the executive associate editor of Village Voice Media, said it would be up to the discretion of each paper in the chain whether to reinstate the strip, and so far no others have.But Mr. Perkins’s association with Pearl Jam has expanded. He has designed some concert posters for the band, as well as the cover for a subscriber-only edition of the October issue of Spin, which features Pearl Jam and goes on sale Sept. 22.
The discussion continues here.