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Inside a auberge allowance at the abominable Riot House, West Hollywood, aboriginal 1975: Accompanist Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry are affair with Ernie Cefalu about awning art for Aerosmith’s abutting album. Cefalu, artistic administrator of Los Angeles architecture collapsed Pacific Eye and Ear, leaves with the anthology appellation and a sampling of songs. Pacific Eye and Ear comes up with a concept.

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That appellation won’t end up actuality the name of that Aerosmith album, though. The anthology will eventually be alleged “Toys in the Attic,” which Pacific Eye and Ear devise a awning for too, based on Cefalu’s administration and a 14 by 15 watercolor by Ingrid Haenke, one of the studio’s illustrators. “It looks like a kid’s book,” Cefalu says now. “She was added of a children’s book illustrator, like an Arthur Rackham affectionate of thing. And Ingrid was a admirable adult herself, a model, and a abundant artist.”

Haenke’s watercolor depicts a assembly of children’s playthings, agitation horse, teddy bear, toy soldier, alternation set, etc., spilling from a toy chest. The toys arise to be advancing to life. It’s a absolute fit for the music independent inside.

Released that April, “Toys” is best accepted for absolute two signature songs not aloof for Aerosmith but all hard-rock: the blue “Walk This Way” and blacklight jam “Sweet Emotion.” Absolute admirers additionally apperceive “Toys in the Attic” is one of Aerosmith’ arch album’s advanced to back, forth with diamond-hard 1976 LP “Rocks,” which Pacific Eye and Ear additionally created awning art for. “Toys” and “Rocks” set the gypsy-junky arrangement Guns N’ Roses would accumulate a decade afterwards on GN’R admission disc “Appetite for Destruction.”

There’s lots to pore over on “Toys in the Attic,” lyrically and musically. And visually, as there’s a adumbration of atramentous in the toys’ facial expressions on the cover. If you’re a academy football fan, decidedly of the University of Alabama’s team, there’s one toy that stands out on the Aerosmith cover: a little albatross clad in a blood-soaked sweater emblazoned with the letter “A.” The toy looks a lot like Alabama’s mascot, the animation pachyderm now accepted as Big Al. But is the affinity actually aloof a coincidence? On a contempo afternoon, I alleged Cefalu to acquisition out. [The official Big Al amulet debuted in 1980, but elephants had been allotment of Alabama football attitude for decades.]

Now residing in Palm Arid in California’s Coachella Valley about two hours east of L.A., Cefalu has formed on 246 anthology covers during his career. He says he can bethink the belief abaft them all. I accept him. Whether its “Toys in the Attic,” Atramentous Sabbath’s “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out,” Cheech & Chong’s “Big Bambu” or others, he recalls not aloof a book or branch abridgment for each, but an absolute podcast arc – complete with active details, arresting subplots and prequel-level backstories.

These belief could bathe an absolute book. And Cefalu aloof so happens to be alive on an as-yet untitled, augmented-reality-enhanced anthology he describes as “mind-blowing.” He’s still in ascendancy of abounding pieces of aboriginal anthology awning art we discuss, as able-bodied as his own hand-drawn Rolling Stones prototype. These originals are cataloged and stored in crates central a 20-foot-by-30 architecture abaft Cefalu and his wife’s home. On a contempo afternoon, that backyard architecture is breadth Cefalu happens to be, abstraction at his desk, aback accomplished for the afterward buzz interview. Edited excerpts are below.

Ernie how did you end up alive on Aerosmith’s “Toys in the Attic”?

What happened was Leber-Krebs, the band’s managers, were big admirers of Pacific Eye and Ear. And they accomplished out to us and asked if we’d be accommodating to assignment with Aerosmith and do the abutting album. At that point it was alleged “Teddy Bear’s Funeral,” that was the alive appellation of the album.

And so, I met with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry and we talked about it and how they saw it and “Teddy Bear’s Funeral.” I went aback and we did a agglomeration of sketches and again a brace canicule later, they were at the Continental Hyatt over on Sunset, I came aback with the sketches. By the time I had got aback there with the sketches they had afflicted the appellation of the anthology to “Toys in The Attic.”

Ingrid Henke was the aboriginal illustrator that I anytime interviewed. My accomplice at Pacific Eye and Ear, we bought a fourplex and we lived in the two apartments admiral and we busy one out and the fourth accommodation was our office. And Ingrid formed and lived with us for a brace years. It was amid Fairfax and Crescent Heights and amid Wilshire and 6th, in the Miracle Mile (area of Los Angeles).

When they afflicted it to “Toys in the Attic,” I went aback to the cartoon lath and we came up with this abstraction of assuming an arrangement of toys in the attic. And again I went aback the sketches and they admired it. I brought Ingrid with me, they met her, they admired her and that’s how that happened. It was a crazy three canicule I spent with those guys. We partied abundant and they were appealing amazing. [Laughs] But Ingrid did a abundant job on that cover. I accept that aboriginal art actuality as well.

What would article like that advertise for, the aboriginal artwork?

That’s $100,000.

That sounds like a fair price.

Well the accumulating is admired at bristles million.

When I attending at the “Toys” awning and see that elephant, it makes me anticipate of University of Alabama football. Was that intentional?

Actually, it was. [Laughs] Ingrid was a big fan of that academy and I anticipate her sister went there or article like that. But yeah, I asked her about that, and that was that. Also, if you attending (on the cover) at the lock on the chest, that face is the guy she was active with aback then, Ed Silvers, who was the arch of Warner Brothers Music. He was affectionate of an (expletive), but that’s what he looked like.

Any abstraction if there was a acceptation as to why assertive added toys were on there?

The agitation horse and things like that? Able-bodied we larboard it up to Ingrid to affectionate of do it. As the artistic director, I gave her direction, you apperceive like, “We appetite it to be an attic like your grandma’s attic with a toy chest.” I didn’t say, “Do an elephant.” But “Teddy Bear’s Funeral” was the anthology name afore they afflicted it so I did say, “Let’s put a teddy buck in there.” And we did the sketches for “Teddy Bear’s Funeral,” the were actually cool. They’re all in a graveyard with umbrellas, it looked absolute abundant like a black-and-white Beatles album. And that was aloof the account stage. We never did annihilation above that for that, because they had afflicted it, and again we went and did the “Toys in the Attic” account and again Ingrid accomplished it.

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A abutting up of the awning art for Aerosmith’s 1975 anthology “Toys in the Attic.” (Matt Wake/mwake)

Some of your bigger inspirations as a artistic director?

I’ve had a few. Saul Bass was one of my idols activity through college, him and Milton Glaser and guys like that. Push Pin Studios in New York. They were appealing hip. Saul Bass was added corporate. He was into United Airlines, a lot of above stuff.

I was added of a clear designer, not an illustrator – I got by, but I was no Drew Struzan or Bill Garland or anybody like that. Or Ingrid Haenke. My able apparel were consistently letters, concept, direction. Are you accustomed with the cine affiche for “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T.” and “Star Wars”?

Sure. Those are all iconic cine posters with an acutely affecting look.

Drew Struzan is the artisan who did all those illustrations. He is today the world’s best calm illustrator. If you’re a Atramentous Sabbath fan, he additionally did the “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” artwork and additionally the “Welcome to My Nightmare” oil painting. I accept all those pieces, all the originals. You know, there is no anthology awning art building in the apple and I’ve got over 350 pieces of aboriginal anthology art.

In the aboriginal ’70s, there was a lot of change activity on in the music business. Forth with the change in the music, breadth it was advancing from, the music business was affective from the East Coast to the West Coast, and who was breeding it there were a lot of added changes happening. For example, the groups had added control. They could ascendancy who was activity to architecture it, they didn’t accept to use the almanac company’s art administration they could go to whoever they wanted. could alike get bottomward to breadth it was printed and who was press it. They had this abundant control.

That’s what I alarm the Golden Age of Custom Anthology Packaging from 1970 to 1984. By 1984 it was over, because what happened was the almanac companies took aback from the groups a lot of that ability they’d accustomed them. Labels were actually not absolute good. All they were acceptable at was breaking bands and already the internet came forth you didn’t alike allegation them for that and best labels busted the (expletive) out of their artists.

Here we are 50 years afterwards and I went from doing, 30, 40 albums a year to accomplishing three or four a year. Because the almanac industry’s changed, time moves on. But I was consistently alive on accumulated assignment at aforementioned time I was accomplishing bedrock & roll. So one minute you appear into the art administration at Pacific Eye and Ear and we’re alive on Alice Cooper’s album, you appear in a day or two afterwards and we’re alive on buses for the LA accelerated alteration authority. We were Sizzler, Coca Cola, Nestle. I consistently admired assorted because array is acceptable for creativity.

It’s additionally acceptable financially to diversity, right?

That’s right. And array kept anybody on their toes. There’s an old aphorism that goes, if the alone apparatus you accept is a hammer, aggregate looks like a nail. Well, if everything’s an anthology awning you can’t anticipate alfresco a square.

How do you abundance aboriginal awning art for article like “Toys in Attic”?

OK, aboriginal it’s captivated in artificial and it’s amid into its own agenda box that’s custom fabricated for it and that box goes into a aircraft crate which was congenital by Cooke’s (Crating), which is one of the bigger shippers of building art. My crates accept been all over the United States, from Minneapolis to Memphis, from Glendale to out in the arid in Palm Springs. And they’re all sitting actuality appropriate in a row like little soldiers.

That’s how you accumulate the artwork stored aback it’s at home too? In crates?

Oh yeah. They’re all in their own custom fabricated boxes. It bulk $9,000 aloof to body the crates and boxes.

For “Toys in the Attic,” did Steven Tyler and Joe Perry aloof accord you the anthology appellation or did they comedy you some of the music too? And how did that action assignment with some added artists, like Atramentous Sabbath?

A lot of them would accept some asperous advance on a cassette and they would accord it to me and we would allocution about their music. With Steven and Joe, Joe had his guitar there, Steven would do some lyrics. Appropriate there live, I had a little examination of what it was. They gave me a cassette. We talked about “Teddy Bear’s Funeral” and how it was like affective on.

In the case of Atramentous Sabbath, we were accomplished out to by their manager. They had busy a big acreage in Beverly Hills. It was one of those estates you get through the advanced aboideau and accept to drive bristles account to get to the house. And so I went there to accommodated with them and the butler who answered the aperture looked like he was appropriate out of “The Rocky Horror Show,” and led me to this big amphitheater in this abode They were call “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” there, so I got to sit bottomward and watch them accomplish the absolute anthology at a rehearsal. By myself. I was the alone added guy there.

An again afterwards that I got a adventitious to accommodated with Ozzy (Osbourne, Atramentous Sabbath singer) and Geezer (Butler, the band’s bassist), and we talked about actually aloof what they meant by “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.” It aloof so happened that aback I was in the sixth brand and did my acceptance my aunt gave me these two prints. They were English prints. They looked they were done at the about-face of the century, and it was acceptable man and an angry man both at the breach additional of their death. I kept those for the longest time. As they were talking about how they saw by “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” and stuff, I kept aflame on those two prints. I didn’t acquaint them that, but activity through the files in your head, it aloof actually synched up about what they were adage about the anthology and the messaging they capital to get across.

I went home that night and begin those prints and brought them in the abutting day. Usually anniversary day or every brace of canicule at Pacific Eye and Ear in the art administration we’d accept a accumulation meeting, abnormally if we had a new activity appear in. We’d sit about and allocution about it eye to eye, what the accumulation was cerebration and how I would admit that. And I put out these two prints and I assigned Drew Struzan. That’s how I concluded up with all this artwork, because it was all assignment for hire.

Drew came aback with sketches that were beautiful. In fact, I accept the sketches and advertise prints of them and accept the absolute accomplished artwork too. Alive with Drew was like alive with Michelangelo or something. The guy could aloof draw anything. In the bulk of time we’ve been talking he could draw a account of you that would attending added like you than a photograph. His pieces had a way of capturing the body of the accountable and breath activity into a collapsed drawing. If you attending at “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” that one in accurate with the big account of Harrison Ford. Amazing. He’s done added than a brace hundred cine posters. And not alone did he change the way they were done; it will never be done the aforementioned because now it’s all done on computer. Absolute attenuate do you see an aboriginal analogy anymore. And if you do, it’s usually Drew Struzan wannabe.

When you saw Sabbath call in that abode how loud was it in there?

Loud. But I was a big Atramentous Sabbath fan so it wasn’t loud abundant for me. [Laughs] But it was abundant and that anthology was a really, actually acceptable album.

An aboriginal Drew Struzan account for Atramentous Sabbath’s “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” anthology awning artwork. (Courtesy Ernie Cefalu)

I apprehend on your website Ingrid is retired and active off the grid, so to speak. Aback was the aftermost time you talked with her and what was she up to at the time?

Well my wife talked to her I don’t apperceive maybe two and a half, three years ago. She has arthritis actually bad in her easily and her back. And she affiliated this guy who had a agglomeration of money and they aloof affectionate of achromatic off into the sunset.

Do you anamnesis what allotment of the apple Ingrid was active in aback you aftermost apprehend from her?

I don’t know, I don’t know.

How abundant would Pacific Eye and Ear get paid to actualize awning artwork for an anthology like “Toys in the Attic”?

For that I anticipate we got $3,000.

When is your book, with all this artwork, advancing out?

I’m acquisitive this year. It’s activity to be about 300 pages. It started out to be a 90 folio book on Drew Struzan because he’s so accepted and I accept so abounding of his pieces and it’s assignment cipher has anytime seen. If you knew him from “E.T.” and “Star Wars” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” you didn’t apperceive that aforementioned artisan did (commercial) assignment for Flying Tiger air freight, Sizzler Steakhouse, Rockwell International. I was very, absolute advantageous in surrounding myself with bodies that were abundant bigger than I was. That’s actually the ambush to all of it. I was advantageous abundant to acquisition a Drew Struzan, to acquisition a Bill Garland, to acquisition a Joe Garnet, to acquisition an Ingrid Haenke.

When Drew came to me it was a fluke. Joe Garnet who was the illustrator who formed with me, had medical issues, he had to leave, and I had aloof gotten a actually big activity from Jefferson Airplane and I bare an illustrator. And a ages beforehand I had fabricated an arrangement with Drew, he was appropriate out of college. I had abandoned I had that interview. So, I’m there on a Saturday at the Pacific Eye and Ear arrangement there in Hollywood and he comes to the aperture with his portfolio. And his portfolio was amazing, like attractive at a Rembrandt or something. I assassin him that day and he came aback on Monday with a account that (Jefferson Airplane singer) Grace Slick loved.

As a constant Stones obsessive, accept to ask about your role in The Rolling Stones argot logo.

Well what actually happened was 50 years ago I was accomplishing a activity for the All-embracing Cardboard aggregation in New York. They were accepting an all-embracing sales meeting. The capital to accept some affectionate of Rockettes-inspired design, and as allotment of that project, alleged “Dolls Alive!”, I did for them posters, teasers, mailers …

And they capital to accept a commemorative allowance for about 500 attendees, 10 songs about 10 altered cardboard stocks, apprenticed as an album. And I advised an octagon anthology cover, and on the characterization of the almanac was a brace of lips. This is the end of 1969, alpha of 1970 and year later, I took those aperture and created The Rolling Stones argot out of it.

So (later on) I go to this interview, it was on 53rd Street amid Madison and Park. On the arena attic was a gyro, souvlaki abode and the bureau on the additional and third attic and it was so cool, it was all these adolescent people. And all they did was anthology covers. They did the Velvet Underground album, they did the Led Zeppelin with the caster in it, “Led Zeppelin III,” they did a brace added albums. No apparel and ties, it was great. I go see the buyer and he’s sitting abaft his lath and he’s attractive at the “Jesus Christ Superstar” (soundtrack awning art, which Cefalu designed), and he’s like, “This being is actually cool, what abroad accept you got?” “Well I accept this added album, but it was a commemorative gift, it wasn’t actually appear to the accessible but actuality it is,” and appropriate abroad he was absolute abroad because it was a hexagon anthology cover, which had never been done.

He angry it over, it had flaps, it opened up, and on the almanac characterization was a brace of lips. And the arbor of the aperture was in the average of the mouth. There were aloof a brace of lips, there were no teeth or anything. And he’s attractive at it. And he tells me this story, he had a artistic administrator there that got a assumption ataxia and was paralyzed. He bare a artistic administrator because his acquaintance who he grew up with in Chicago was a kid alleged Marshall Chess, and Marshall Chess’s dad endemic Chess Records, and he awash it to Atlantic (Records). Atlantic fabricated his dad admiral and he put his son Marshall in allegation of managing The Rolling Stones, and he capital to do a logo for The Rolling Stones. So, Marshal Chess went to his acquaintance he grew up with who had the architecture studio.

He tells me this adventure and says, “If you go admiral to my art administration and you put a argot on the alfresco of these lips, I anticipate I can advertise that to The Rolling Stones.” I went upstairs, everybody was gone, spent about 20 account cartoon it, put some teeth in it, did a account and took it bench to his office. He said, “This is great, delay here.” He went bench got in a cab and went to Andy Warhol’s Factory in lower Manhattan breadth Marshall was. Showed it to Marshall, Marshall admired it. He came aback and said “OK, you’re designing the logo for The Rolling Stones.” I was still alive at the added aggregation so I did it as a freelance activity for him and I got 200 bucks and a job and that was it. And I accept the aboriginal art.

Holy smokes, how abundant is your Rolling Stones argot artwork worth?


Wonder how abundant the buying of that logo …?

Well The Stones own it, but I own mine. That’s why I can advertise shirts and hats and stuff, as continued as I accept my acknowledged band on there which I do, I aloof can’t say “Rolling Stones.” But on article like that you don’t allegation to say Rolling Stones. It’s like the Nike swoosh.

You had Jagger in apperception aback you advised that?

Oh, absolutely.

Did you anytime apprehend aback what Mick or Keith anticipation of the logo? Because acutely it ashore and the band’s acclimated it a ton over the years.

No, what I did apprehend was … I was assured my logo to be on the (1971 Rolling Stones) album, “Sticky Fingers,” and it angry out that it wasn’t. It’s a continued story. They took what Marshall Chess gave them, which was my sketch, and gave it to an artisan in England alleged John Pasche and Pasche did his adaptation of it. His adaptation was on the aback of the almanac absolute baby and on the sleeve breadth they printed the lyrics over it. That was his logo. My logo was acclimated on the shirts, the hats, the roach clips, the merchandise, the patches, the antithesis posters that were red and atramentous foil. All this being that would go in almanac stores. Because the guy we formed for gave that logo to The Rolling Stones for free, and in about-face Marshall Chess gave him the absolute business for one year of that logo and that’s how that happened. It’s like the “Mona Lisa,” actually small, apparently 12 by 14.

Well, it’s the Mona Lisa of bedrock logos.

Yeah, it actually angry out to be. And there’s been a lot of variations and a lot of, “Which came aboriginal John Pasche or Ernie Cefalu? Ernie Cefalu or John Pasche?” It’s like the craven and the egg. I apperceive what I did, and absolutely honestly, and I’ve said it afore in interviews, I actually adopt Pasche’s adaptation because it’s added activated than mine. And The Stones are absolute animated. Mick Jagger’s all over that stage. So, I like his bigger but abundance was the aboriginal one.



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Before Led Zeppelin took flight Jimmy Folio rocked Alabama

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