This is yet another uncommissioned portrait of Australian rock'n'roll outfit "The Drones". I promise it'll be my last.
I saw them play for the third time recently and their stage precence, especially singer Gareth Lilliard, is the very distillation of everything that makes rock music important and interesting to me. Here danger, melancholy, outrage and humor are all wound tightly, set ablaze and relentlessly catapulted into the audience. It's an exhilarating and unpredictable experience. Lilliard's eyes flash and roll as he devours the mic. He's a serpentine and lanky string of knotted sinew who seems to know exactly where the edge is and charges toward it; without question one of the most exciting and genuine performers I've ever seen.
This chilling flush of transcendent beauty and grave danger is one that, as I've gotten older, is harder and harder to conjure. I recall a band from the nineties- nevermind who- printing on the back of their tour shirts the slogan "Keep Music Evil". I can relate to that; there has to be a bit of shadow and uncertainty to make a good rock band. The best bands, it's been said, are like gangs.
Here are some shots I cribbed offa the WWW for reference. Certain things appear to never change- bassist Fiona's penchant for long dresses and motorcycle boots, Lilliard's candy apple red Fender Jaguar.
A quick pencil sketch, cobbled together in Photoshop. I started this with no intention of finishing it.
Here's a look at the piece as it was taking shape. In looking over my current works I noticed an unusually heavy reliance on a greenish blue hue. In an effort to break free of any conventions, I've been resolutely trying to avoid it but find that sometimes it's rather insistent on making an appearance.
Ignoring the old adage "If you don't know what the knob does, don't turn it" I started fearlessly clicking buttons and sliding sliders and allowing Photoshop to reveal some color combinations my mind's eye could not. By clicking off the 'cyan' color channel, I came upon the acidic yellow color combination that I let guide my choices in the final piece.