American Rocker is Joe Bouchard’s new album, and it tells a number of stories relating to Joe’s past with Blue Oyster Cult, in particular – ‘the golden age’ of the ’70s rock era (see video in links). The album’s cover features stands out with a ’70s-period portrait of Joe, created by American artist Alan Ayers, who is better known for book covers (see the link to his website below). The album’s typeface was created by artist Wallace McBride (aka Unlovely Frankenstein). who also designed those classic looking book covers that appear in the videos for American Rocker. JB: “I did the videos, but I edited a lot of his art into the videos. He also did the typeface for the album cover. He’s very creative. I love his nostalgic approach.” The latest video is for the song “Deadly Kisses”, one of my favorite tracks on the album. Check it out, and check out the links below!
Below, Alan Ayers tells us about his work on the cover for American Rocker, as well as his favorite BOC tunes, and what else he has been involved in.
How you got involved with American Rocker
I was thrilled when Joe contacted me and asked if I would do the cover art for American Rocker. I met Joe through Joan Levy Hepburn, who has been a dear friend for 30+ years.
As an experienced illustrator, and being of the same generation as Joe, he and Joan felt I would be able to recreate the wonderful energy of ‘70s art.
Your background, and artwork you’re also known for
I’ve been illustrating professionally since 1979. My early career was as an advertising illustrator, but I transitioned to publishing in 1987. My work now is primarily novel covers. Occasionally I will work on a non-fiction title. I recently completed the cover for Bill O’Reilly’s latest book, Killing the Legends. I’m still managing multiple deadlines and have no plans on retiring.
Familiar with Joe’s and BOC’s music, favorite songs
I have very fond memories of early Rock and have been a fan of BOC for many years. There are so many BOC classics, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Don’t Fear The Reaper and Burning For You are two of my absolute favorites. I am nuts for all the tracks on American Rocker, but if I had to pick a fav it would be Deadly Kisses.
How you created the American Rocker cover art
Although I was trained traditionally and created images in acrylic and oil for many years, I’ve been working digitally since 1995. I am very comfortable working with a tablet, and often forget I’m not “pushing paint around”. The American Rocker cover was “painted” digitally, combining reference photos provided by Joe. The trip back to the 1970s style was great fun! My main visual influences were the great Daniel Maffia, with a touch of Warhol’s playful style.
You were involved in a Rolling Stones’ cover
Yes, I did work on the Stones Bridges To Babylon insert — mostly on the interior desert scene with Gerard Howland. I did do the final adjustments on Kevin Murphy’s wonderful lion painting for the cover.
My more recent work is on Instagram — traditional illustrations, far different from the wonderful, crazy art of the 70s!
Wallace McBride (Unlovely Frankenstein): https://unlovelyfrankenstein.com/collections/rock-and-roll