Pushead (Kaaos #9)

Matti Saarinen (from Toijala, north Of Helsinki) did this zine in the period 1980-1986. Apparently he also wrote for other zines (e.g. Barabbas) and contributed to MRR. In the 90s he ran a label/mailorder named Kaaos Korporaatio.

A few issues are available on the internet. The zine’s in Finnish. #6 (’82) starts of with an interview with ‘Motörhead’ (!?), there’s presentations of Finnish bands (‘Laahaus’, ‘Kaaos’, ‘Riistetyt’, ‘Idiootti’, ‘Kohu-63’), a piece on American punk bands, a lengthy talk with ‘Chron Gen’, a briefer chat with ‘The Defects’ (Belfast), features on ‘Blitz’/’Vice Squad’/’The Business’, etc. The cover of #8 announces ‘Necros’, ‘Varaus’ (Fin), Jello Biafra, ‘Riistetyt’, plus scenereports from Brasil & New Zealand.  #9 (’84) has features on (a.o.) ‘Conflict’, ‘Anti-System’, ‘Crude SS’, ‘Mellakka’, interviews with ‘Fuck-Ups’ (San Francisco), ‘Tuomittujen Juhla’, ‘Pushead’, scenereports from Yugoslavia & Italia, and much more. #10 (’85) contains an extensive interview with ‘D.O.A.’ & one with ‘Kaaos’, a talk with the Finnish ‘Massacre’, a scenereports from Northern Ireland, The Netherlands & Italy, a report on the anarchist meeting in Venice, features on Finnish bands (a.o.) ‘Kuolema’, ‘Poliisivaltio’, Lapsilta Kielletty’, ‘Pravda’, reviews, plus loads more. A pity I can ‘t read it…

This interview with ‘Pushead’ (Brian Schroeder) – visual artist, vocalist of ‘Septic Death’, owner of the record-labels Pusmort and Bacteria Sour – dates from the first half of the 80s…

[Translation (by Arto Hietikko) below]

Pushead, who’s real name is Brian Schroder, is a punk from Boise [Idaho], United States. He has become best known for the record-covers he has drawn: the ’Rattus’ LP [WC Räjähtää; 1983] and Uskonto On Vaara EP [1984], and records by ’Necros’, ’S.S. Decontrol’, ’Meatmen’ and many others. Even though 24-year-old Pushead lives 650 kilometers from the nearest [big] city, he has been able to achieve a lot by correspondence. He’s a contributor to many American magazines, for example Maximum RocknRoll and Forced Exposure, he draws zine-covers (also  the cover of this issue of Kaaos) and various leaflets with his original, wild style. In addition to this, Pushead has a band of his own, ’Septic Death’, which has been together less than two years and played about ten gigs.

An interview of this multifunctional hardcore man:

YOUR DRAWINGS ARE NOW KNOWN ALL OVER THE WORLD. HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOU, OR WHERE DO YOU FIND THE MOTIVATION?

Pushead: I get a wonderful feeling when I know people use what I’ve done and enjoy seeing them. I like to draw. There’s a difference between drawing a record-cover or for some magazine, logo or advertisement. Drawing a record-cover is more stressful. Often bands don’t even know what kind of cover they want, they just tell me to draw. Then it’s have quite a challenge to think and plan something neat. As long as I got enthusiasm, I have a reason to continue. Every time I see a finished work it brings me new passion.

YOUR DRAWINGS ARE GRAPHIC AND DISTINCTIVE. WHAT IS THEIR MEANING?

Pushead: Most of my works carry a certain meaning. Everybody is free to interpret them with their own way. Many people understand them in a totally different way from the original meaning. That’s great, it gives totally new meanings to my works. The message behind every work is different. Even some rudimentary penises mean something. If I tell everybody that this means this and this means that, it would be like watching a movie or reading a book. It’s better to make people think for themselves and let them make their own interpretations. The best way to make people remember something is to use horror. I’m in no way fascinated with violence or blood, and I don’t glorify these. They’re just targets to deliver ideas and people enjoy them. Horror mesmerizes your thoughts.

WHAT KIND OF FEEDBACK HAVE YOU RECEIVED FOR YOUR WORKS, FOR EXAMPLE FOR BLOOD SAUSAGE, THE MEATMEN RECORD?

Pushead: It’s probably one of my most popular works. I don’t know why people like it, I think they don’t understand its meaning. They just like it. Many have asked me “How can you draw something like this?”, “What made you draw this?” or “Watching this hurts me.”. This is exactly what makes the meaning of the works complete. People react to them.

HOW DID YOU LEARN TO DRAW AND WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR INFLUENCES?

Pushead: I’m self-taught. No schools or any other institutions. In the beginning it took a lot of time to find my style, to sketch and to practise. I used comics and later artists such as Nino, [cartoonist Will ?] Eisner, [?] Kirby and many others whose work interested me. I also got a lot of help from Annie (girlfriend) who’s also interested in drawing.

MANY OF YOUR WORKS REPRESENT MEN, WHY DON’T YOU DRAW WOMEN?

Pushead: Ummm, I don’t know. I’m trying to get rid of male characters. When I started to draw I had girls as models but they’re much more critical about the work. Everybody was bothering me and giving advice about how the work should look like. So I quit and for some time I drew caricatures which didn’t need to be men nor women. I think it’s difficult to draw a woman, it has to be done in the right way. Not naked or as sex-object but as a feminine character.

BUT THAT’S HOW YOU DRAW MEN!

Pushead: No. I mean that I don’t want to draw naked girls because that’s how girls are always portayed. Of course I can drive to Mexico and get girls there to model for me if I wanted to…

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR BAND.

Pushead: Yeah, I have a band ’Septic Death’ that I sing or roar in. I write the lyrics and make some of the songs. The music is fast but quite complicated, noisy sounds and frenzied fear. The idea behind the band is that religions have been established for god and god has been established in purpose of you not being afraid of death. ’Septic Death’ is a band about the reality of death. When you die you’re dead. You won’t see any guiding-lights or smiling angels, no god or devil. You will rot. Millions of churches all over the world pledge loyalty to a god so that he would protect people and take them to heaven when they die. They live for a god without doing anything by themselves because that god might not like it. They believe that kind of life will give them a new eternal life, and the only purpose is to fulfill god’s wishes. ’Septic Death’s songs are mainly about fears and paranoias. Some of them comment on current events. It’s so depressing to read about them in the newspapers, songs are able to draw more attention.

Pushead is unemployed at the moment but there are still a lot of things to do. He spends his days drawing, and writing articles and reviews. Pushead has been skating for eight years and contributes to the American skateboard magazine Thrasher. Pushead has designed various skateboards, their wheels, new brands and skating-ramps. Usually it’s all non-profit, unless works are ordered to get money. If the drawings are made for someone to make profit, Pushead takes royalties. Pushead lives together with his girlfriend Annie, who’s studying in England at the moment.

Pushead: To live separately is difficult for both of us as we are very close. We plan to get married. Many friends of mine have laughed at the idea but what’s wrong with it?

You can write to Pushead & Annie, 2713 Kerr, Boise, ID 83705, USA.

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