Best-known for his striking visual work for Black Flag (not to mention that he’s a brother of the band’s founder Greg Ginn), Raymond Pettibon eventually distanced himself from the band out of the feeling that his work was constantly misrepresented and misused. He was frustrated with being tagged as “that Black Flag guy” and eventually went on to create an artwork for other bands and becoming a visual artist in his own right.
His work – violent, striking and done primarily in black and white color – was the reason enough for people to worry/go to concerts or even prepare for a riot (the most infamous of his works includes a painting of a policeman with a gun stuck in his mouth).
Born in 1957 in Tucson, Arizona, Pettibon (born Raymond Ginn) earned a degree in economics from UCLA, but eventually started his career in art in the 70s. 70s also saw the formation of his brothers band and Pettibon was offered a bass player slot in the early version of the band (then called Panic). When the band discovered that the name was already taken, Pettibon came up with the name Black Flag and designed the band’s logo. At the same time, he also adopted the new surname which was based on the French phrase “petit bon” (good little one) given to him by his father.
He became well-known in Los Angeles punk rock community and eventually went on to work with many of SST bands, including Minutemen. In 1990, he came up with a drawing for the cover of Sonic Youth LP Goo – which ensued a bit of controversy, since it was based on a paparazzi photo of witnesses in the case of British serial killers Ian Brady and Mira Hindley.
Throughout the 90s, he participated in exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia and the new millenium saw some of his work appearing in the 10th anniversary edition of Henry Rollins book “Get In The Van”.
In addition to his early work with Black Flag, he also recorded an EP under the name Super Sessions, contributed lyrics to albums “Mr. Machinery” and “Flyin’ The Flannel” by Mike Watt’s post-Minutemen band Firehose and was featured as a vocalist on Unknown Instructors album “The Master’s Voice” in 2006.
He currently resides in Hermosa Beach, California and plays with a band called Niche Makers, who released their debut album “Soul Sealed The Deal” in 2009.
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