Published Jan 24, 2012Appropriated T-shirt designs have been a hot topic lately, with No Age calling Kings of Leon copycats, Crass's style getting ripped off by UK fashion house Hardware and even Disney paying homage an old Joy Division album cover. And it doesn't look as if this trend is going away anytime soon. This time the no-goodniks are apparently freak folks Akron/Family, who allegedly pinched longtime noise outfit Bastard Noise's familiar skull logo.
Brooklyn Vegan points to Bastard Noise bassist/vocalist Eric Wood starting an online campaign to shame Akron/Family for allegedly lifting the simple skull design for a recent T-shirt design, which you can see above.
Wood and his bandmates have been using their skull logo on releases for over 20 years, since their days as power-violence outfit Man Is the Bastard. Most recently, it was used on the cover to Bastard Noise's 2011 outing, Skulldozer. Wood has thus gone on the offensive, attacking Akron/Family's Facebook page with a series of choicely worded critiques (most of which have since been taken down).
"O.K. TO ALL OF YOU AMAZING REAL 'SKULL SERVANTS': SOMETHING JUST HAPPENED TO THE AKRON FAMILY group page -- COMMENTING HAS BEEN DISABLED SO SOMEONE SAW IT ALL !!! I LOVE YOU ALL ! THANK YOU so very much !!!!" one comment reads.
Other comments, tacked on to just about any post Akron/Family has made, include "YOU GUYS ARE GODDAMNED THIEVES AND YOU SUCK. FUCKING LOGO STEALING LOSERS. FUCK YOU!!!!!"
Bastard Noise fans have also got into the act and started harassing Akron/Family over the issue, but one poster linked to an interview with Wood from 2010 where he admits to lifting the image from a medical journal before tweaking it into the skull we know today.
"I went to a library, found the skull in some medical journal, flipped it, made all the fonts super bold and brutal, and that was it," he told Vice.
Despite the heat Akron/Family are facing, though, the band seemingly had their hearts in the right place. The group haven't made an official statement on the matter, but bassist Miles Seaton has apparently been in touch with ex-Man is the Bastard member Israel Lawrence, who sent the correspondence to Brooklyn Vegan. In it, Seaton explains that it was a tribute to MITB, a band that changed his life when he saw them at age 16.
"I'm the member of Akron/Family who decided to lift the MITB skull and I take responsibility for it. I saw MITB at 16 years old and it changed how I heard and played music and made me want to play bass (which I have ever since) it was an honest tribute," Seaton wrote, adding, "It was an innocent gesture and honestly meant as a tribute and I stand by it artistically."
Lawrence countered that he understands Akron/Family's position, but hopes that they step up to the plate and admit they're alleged wrong-doing.
"I think a public statement on the outlets available to you would go a long way in calming the situation," he theorized. "Keeping mum on the subject, disabling comments on your Facebook or whatever just makes it look like you are ducking the issue. As far as I'm concerned this isn't about ownership or something stupid like legal action... it was simply a matter of respect."