GETTING MORE TALE #768: Scanning the Notebooks
Mrs. LeBrain and I have been downsizing of late, and getting rid of old stuff we don’t need anymore. In the process we have discovered lots of cool treasures we have been hanging onto. In the last few months I’ve shown you a treasure trove of cassette and VHS rediscoveries, and things keep turning up all the time. The lady that helped us downsize, Elanda, didn’t understand why I needed to hang onto old yearbooks and CDs. This kind of thing is important to me. I’ve built an entire series of stories on nostalgia! Preserving this stuff, to me, is preserving musical history. It’s a part of the extended story of these bands. It’s my autobiography.
Another great place to find old treasures is the parents’ basement. I didn’t realize they hung on to some of my old, beat up highschool notebooks. The covers are falling off, but like an archaeologist, I have to preserve this stuff for posterity. Look what I found!
I didn’t just scribble band logos on my notebooks. I painted them on. My mother had a basement full of paints for her ceramics classes. I had access to all the brushes, colours and textures you could ask for. Most of the paints I used were water soluble, so I probably sprayed this binder with a clear coat to protect the paint. 30 years later, my artwork is still about 90% intact.
The Van Halen, Def Leppard, Dio, and Van Halen logos are self explanatory. Look a little further. I took the trouble of drawing Ratt’s titular mascot using three colours, including silver for his sunglasses. The lightning bolts here are there are meant to be a reference to Frehley’s Comet. (From looking over my homework inside, it seems I also signed my name with a lightning bolt.) In the bottom front corner of the binder, “Dawn Was Here” was written on there by one of my sister’s annoying friends who took ceramics class at our house.
Digging inside, I discovered that I clearly put more effort into the front covers than my English homework.
Next to the very bored notes about American literature are more logos, more lightning bolts, a few grim reapers, and designs for multi-neck guitars. More rats! Cartoon portraits of Gene Simmons (no makeup; it was 1988) and Rob Halford.
Judging by my careless scribbles, it seems I was not a fan of Huck Finn. The notes in English class are not legible and it looks like I didn’t do much homework. That’s not to say I wasn’t working hard in class. Some of the best sketches came from English class. I obviously spent a lot of time on some of them. A page called “Scenes of Death” looks alarming at first, until you look a little closer and notice that one guy is getting jumped by a giant Schnauzer.
And, of course, a giant page of logos.
Bob Schipper had the idea of calling our “band” Paragon. “Not Paradox,” he stressed, “but Paragon. It means we’re among the best.” Our logo is the centerpiece of the page, coloured in yellow highlighter. The entire page is like a “Where’s Waldo?” of bands and references.
My science and history notebooks are much cleaner. Fewer band logos, more meticulously taken notes. Still, found of portrait of Satan in my History book. I was trying to copy the style of Derek Riggs.
I’m grateful my mom and dad hung on to these books. It makes up for my dad throwing out my Chopper Strike board game and damaging my ZZ Top Eliminator model. There is still a ton more stuff at their place for me to go through, including a mountain of cool T-shirts that I forgot I owned. My original Judas Priest shirt is there, the one that got me in trouble at Catholic school. Imagine if ol’ Mrs. Powers at the Catholic school had seen my later Satan drawing! I’m certain it would have raised concern and probably a meeting with my parents.
I’m glad I switched out from a Catholic grade school to a mainstream high school. My logo and Satan drawing skills certainly flourished there, even if my appreciation for Huck Finn did not.