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Monday, March 30, 2015

A brief look at MC5 singer Rob Tyner's graphic art

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 11:39 AM

The other day, I found myself seriously jonesing for an expensive underground rock poster, on this website called Classic Posters that sells them. I found myself poking around the site, and realized they also have a nifty selection of posters drawn and designed by MC5 singer Rob Tyner. I'd never seen Rob Tyner's "acid test"/ underground comics-looking early bills for the Grande Ballroom before, but was impressed by them. I didn't find too much of this work of his on the web, but maybe I wasn't looking in the right place. Here's what I found. Oh and while we're at it, here are scans of a 1967 interview with Tyner from the Ann Arbor Sun in 1967.

As David Thomas wrote for the excellent and long-running online magazine Perfect Sound Forever, back in 1998: 

Rob Tyner’s graphic art, while largely unknown outside of a small circle of family and friends, testify to his formidable abilities as a visual artist. From his days as cartoonist for Detroit’s Lincoln Park High School yearbook, Tyner drew cartoons which demonstrated his unique wit and world-view as well as his formidable drafting ability and artistic vision. Detroit’s Grande Ballroom poster artist, Gary Grimshaw, a high school classmate of Tyner’s, has said that Tyner "was a much better artist than me then - he could draw anything." The most readily viewable example of Tyner’s cartoon style can be seen in the MC5’s High Time LP jacket artwork and accompanying full-page ads which ran in Billboard and Cashbox.

He also drew MC5 handbills throughout the band’s career and contributed cartoons to Detroit’s underground paper, The Fifth Estate, particularly in 1966. His unpublished works include a wonderful series of alphabet animals for children, numerous hot-rod and fantasy character drawings (in which his love of Science-Fiction is readily apparent), and a particularly comical series of caricatures of John Sinclair and other Trans-Love personalities. Letters he wrote to his young son while the MC5 where on tour in England and Europe from 1970 to 1972 contain many cartoon strips that serve as travelogues of his experiences and a window into the soul of a warm and loving family man.

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