Some obscure trivia about rock band logos. Features Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queen, Weezer and Nirvana. Afterwards, you can take our rock band trivia quiz to test your knowledge.
In this, the first of what we hope can be a semi-regular feature of our blog – So You Think You Know Logos – we take a look at some fairly obscure trivia about some famous rock band logos. We all have them on our albums, T-shirts and CD covers. Here’s the rest of the story (and there literally will be a test afterwards)..
Red Hot Chili Peppers
According to fan lore, the logo for the Red Hot Chili Peppers might represent a certain human orifice as it would appear after eating too many red hot chilies. It’s been referred to as the “Star of Affinity“, “Star of Infinity” and (bad word alert) the “Angel’s Asshole“. According to RHCP front man Anthony Kiedis, as outlined in his book Scar Tissue, the symbol has no particular meaning, but began as a simple icon he drew on a piece of paper when asked by record label executives to create a band logo for promotional purposes. The eight pronged asterisk is a popular tattoo, and is often worn by fans as a sign of their affinity with the band. The merchandising rights to the Red Hot Chili Peppers logo are owned by Bravado International who recently sued Back-Lite, a Florida clothing company, for $11 million dollars after the company used the logo on a single jacket, at the request of an individual customer.
Also known as the Queen Crest, the Queen logo was designed by the late Freddie Mercury shortly before the release of Queen’s debut self-titled album. The logo features the zodiac signs of all four members: two Leo lions (John Deacon and Roger Taylor), a Cancer crab (Brian May), and twin Virgo fairies (Mercury).
The logo bears more than a passing resemblance to the United Kingdom’s Royal Coat of Arms and started off as simple line drawing, with subsequent logos becoming more complex and colorful with each Queen release. In recent years, the original linear version has made a re-appearance, mostly on the various Greatest Hits and compilation CDs.
The Weezer logo was originally a lower case, text only design, developed by drummer Patrick Wilson in 1993 during the mixing of The Blue Album. This official font is very similar to both Futura Medium and Century Gothic, though with slight variations of several letters.
For years, Weezer fans had accepted Century Gothic as being the official font but touring keyboardist (and site webmaster) Karl Koch has gone on record claiming that the initial font used was Futura Medium before the modifications. The ‘Flying W‘ Weezer icon was also designed by Wilson when he and Koch were ‘drawing’ in cobwebs and fuzz that had collected on the studio walls. Karl reproduced the logo on the back of engineer Rivers Cuomo‘s jacket using labeling tape and it’s rumored that Rivers wore it around Los Angeles until the tape fell off. Weezer fans are known to flash a “W” during shows, using a hand signal that’s accomplished (according to Weezerpedia) by “touching the tips of one’s thumbs at an approximate 90 degree angle, and pointing the index fingers outward at 90 degree angles, to form a W“.
The Weezer design has often been criticized for it’s similarity to the original Van Halen logo. It’s been claimed, at different times, to be both a homage and a spoof of the classic VH icon (above).
The drunk ‘smiley face‘ version of the Nirvana logo has become a fan favorite since it first appeared on the famous Corporate Rock Whores T-shirt design. The back side of the original shirts read “Flower Sniffin, Kitty Pettin, Baby Kissin, Corporate Rock Whores“. The album cover version of the Nirvana logo is a text only design that spells out the name of the band in upper case condensed lettering. The font was selected by Lisa Orth, the graphic designer working on the cover of Nirvana’s debut album Bleach. According to some reports, Orth selected an ‘off the shelf’ font because Sub Pop, Nirvana’s indie label, already owed her for previous work and she didn’t want to put in too much time or effort. She ended up paying typesetter Grant Alden $15 to output the band name in whatever font he had installed into his Compugraphic typesetter “right now”. That font was Onyx (an old Compugraphic font that was similar to Bodoni Condensed) and the font treatment has been used ever since.