CHALLENGER CREW, Start in den Tod, 1987Posted: March 5, 2009
This was the first record sleeve that I ever did when I was 21 years old. Michael “Moses” Arndt, the singer of Challenger Crew was a Hardcore-Punk activist and I had been sending him my comics and illustrations to use in Trust fanzine.
When that first issue of Trust came out in 1986, I knew I wanted to be part of that. It was printed, came out regularly (first monthly and then bi-monthly) and was all about the blooming international Hardcore scene. A German Maximum Rock`n`Roll. Great!
I sent them some illustrations and they used them. Starting with issue number two I contributed to every issue until Moses left Trust fanzine to start his own Zap fanzine in June 1988.
While a bunch of people contributed to Trust zine, Moses more or less was in charge of putting it all together in those early years (check Tomasso´s comment in the comments section for some more detailed and corrected info on that). He was the one that I was in contact with. Sadly I never got to see Challenger Crew live, but I enjoyed meeting Moses a couple of times. A real energetic type, small in stature but really aggressive and passionate. (The photos are from “Trust and Maximum Rock`n`Roll presents Welcome To Cruise Country-All European Photozine”, 1987)
So we wrote back and forth just like it was back then. I used to go to the post office regularly and send out my originals by mail. I don`t remember why, but I mostly did not sent photocopies. Probably because the quality was not as good compared to originals. In the 80`s most b/w illustrations were not scanned but shot with big repro-cameras directly at the print shop. Mostly I got my illustrations back but this one for example somehow got lost. Much different than today where I send my illustrations by e-mail and the newspaper or magazines receive them shortly after.
Of course I was happy when Moses asked me to do the sleeve for his band`s first record. I was really into Hardcore and very enthusiastic about the European Hardcore scene back then and I enjoyed doing that first jacket immensely. Although it is kind of painful to look at today, because the proportions are so wrong and the figure in the middle looks like it is crippled. But I guess it still conveyed the spirit of the music and the time.
I was really proud when that record came out (clear vinyl with only 60 copies having some red spots or shades in them) and later read this review of the record in the prolific Dutch Hardcore fanzine Nieuwe Koekrand (from issue 80/81, Winter 1987):
Later that year I did a logo for Peter Hoeren`s Anti-Schelski label and contributed to the Challenger Crew/Everything Falls Apart Split-LP with doing the label illustrations and a insert drawing.
I haven`t seen Moses in many years but I read in OX Fanzine that he is happily married, has two children and is a professional doctor. He was very focused and persistent, even back then in the 80`s when most of us seemed to be just fooling around like there was no future. Good to hear that it paid off.
This is Challenger Crew`s demo, recorded in May 1986, live to a regular tape recorder in the basement of AJZ (Autonomous Youth Center) Homburg. Great ragin` German Hardcore from a time when the European Hardcore scene was in full swing!