Posted in metal | music on January 26, 2012

by BBG

Aaron Kenyon with a current project, Djam Karet
Aaron Kenyon

Aaron Kenyon, a founding member of Man is The Bastard, has weighed in on the controversial appropriation of the iconic skull logo by Akron/Family, and his views differ from that of his ex-bandmates. Check out Kenyon's statement below.

If you missed it, Man is the Bastard member Eric Wood initially made his thoughts known via Facebook which in turn led to ex-member Israel Lawrence weighing in and a public response from Akron/Family as well.

Joy Division

In semi-related news, Disney will no longer carry a highly-controversial t-shirt that molds the iconic Joy Division Unknown Pleasures album cover into a Mickey Mouse silhouette. Band members fell on both sides of the fence on this issue, with Peter Hook commenting to the LA Times that it was "flattering" and drummer Stephen Morris commenting that it was "horrible" and he was "quite angry".

Aaron Kenyon's statement on Man in the Bastard, below..


A NOTE FROM Aaron Kenyon:


There seems to have been some concern over the use of the M.I.T.B. logo by Akron/Family; This should have never have been a problem.

I am writing this not only to clear up the misunderstanding with Akron/Family, but also as an attempt to articulate M.I.T.B.'s philosophical stance in the light of the unnecessary conflict. Since the dissolution of M.I.T.B. as a performing group, I have stayed out of any public debate about issues concerning the group's philosophy, even when I have had to answer for the views of others; In this case I feel compelled to speak up. There have been many statements made in the "Bastard" name that I disagree with, not just because these statements don't correspond with my version of the groups ideals, but also because they are poorly articulated, philosophically baseless and smack of contradiction. This situation goes beyond one man being upset because someone used his trademark to make money, because it highlights issues of intellectual property rights, underground commerce and reciprocity in the scene. M.I.T.B. always stood for community, consciousness and the free exchange of ideas and this attack on Akron/Family does not represent that stance.

The levels of irony in this situation are numerous to the point of being comical. In my opinions, disputes over fair use and ownership seem antithetical to what the group's philosophy is all about. M.I.T.B. had many influences and appropriated and re-contextualized material at will. The "logo" itself was simply stolen from a book. (One need only look at early Swans or Crass albums to see where we borrowed some of our graphic inspiration from.) All art can be a form of theft and punk was meant to be more so. (Imagine Crass coming after ever garage screen printer who ever made a dollar off of their logo.) There have always been many parodies of the M.I.T.B. logo and they have always represented a form of artistic exchange and interplay. The fact that people have embraced the concept and made it their own is complimentary; I take this phenomenon with all of the benefits and draw backs it comes with.

It goes without saying that if one's Sigil is stolen and used to negative ends, something should be done, but this is clearly not the case with the Akron/Family shirt - or with any other group that re-contextualizes a logo (Actually, calling the skull image a "logo" emphasizes the fact that it is functioning as a "Trade Mark" used primarily for commerce, and issues of commerce are the last things M.I.T.B. should be concerned with).

I respect Akron/Family. The group's incorporation of spiritual principles and iconography in their work is commendable. I purchased the Akron/Family bmbz record and I thought the cover - with its many skull "logos"- was fun; I recognized a kinship and felt the sense of homage right off. The use of the logo on the t-shirt is no different to me. This dispute could have been handled with simple dialogue and understanding.

Synthesizing an academically valid (and hopefully exemplary), socio-political/artistic stance and using it to effect some kind of change was always one of the driving motivations for my being involved with the group; so I take any stance by it's members that in any way soils it's collective "legacy" very seriously. If there is anything that M.I.T.B. did that could influence, inspire or be used by others towards the good...more power to the people. Art consciously exchanged embodies the new civility.

Tee Hee

P.S. If I had any advice for any band or screen printer that wants to use a bands logo to make a product: Try asking the band, or try to sending the band a shirt or whatever as a thank you and sign of respect.




Comments (24)

peter hook should stop saying things

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 2:05 PM


Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 2:06 PM

Wow, that was a really intelligent, level-headed response. What was the other dudes problem?

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 2:09 PM

you don't have to read it. "I waited until my people made asses of themselves, and wrote this to cool any harsh buzz i may receive when I release my next album."

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 2:09 PM

The Mickey Mouse shirt is great.

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 2:16 PM

Good to see that response from Kenyon because everything he wrote was what I kind of figured their stance on this to be. I was more surprised by how aggressive, over the top and rooted in mainstream corporate concepts of copyright and intellectual property Wood's approach was. Especially since as Kenyon said, MITB appropriated the hell out of stuff all the time.

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 2:20 PM

Can we have "today in shirts" everyday? I need a single place to keep up with my shirt news.

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 2:23 PM

I don't care what Joy Division has to say, I care what Peter Saville thinks. Has anyone talked to him?

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 2:25 PM

I bought that Mickey t-shirt. Does that mean I can sell it for profit?

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 2:32 PM

I used to see Micky Mouse Joy Division shirts like that around 5 - 6 years ago. Maybe they were bootlegs, but those things have existed in some form or another for years.

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 2:44 PM

lol @ 232pm. last time i checked on ebay, t-shirt was selling for over $200.

you can probably buy a nice platter of hummus for your hipster party next time!

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 2:51 PM

I think Wood wouldn't have minded if Akron/Family's fans hadn't degenerated into third-rate Deadheads over the past several years. The association wouldn't have been so offensive earlier.

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 2:51 PM

@2:09 they don't hang out and I'm sure Kenyon didn't find out till after it all blew up

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 2:58 PM

Crock of shit. Lame idea. That would have been cool about 12 years ago maybe... Nah, still just unoriginal shit with a stupid explanation. NEXT.....

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 3:07 PM

@ 2:20..agreed. wood had kind of a meltdown and it degenerated into a lynch mob. especially given the fact that it was a tribute, not just a theft. it was shocking to me to see some of the responses from wood on this considering what MITB is all about. and as a sidenote, i was even more shocked that bastard noise played a scion fest given all their anti corporate shit. crazy.

Posted by Brian | January 26, 2012 3:24 PM

At least Hook isn't being self-righteous after he got caught passing other people's glossy mag DJ mixes as his own.

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 4:16 PM

What does this have to do with the hummus bandit?

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 4:21 PM

Disney Is The Bastard.

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 4:56 PM

That initial response from MITB was sad and Kenyon's response was very well articulated & thought out. Another example which was disliked by many people was when Liars used the Neubauten logo as some sort of homage on a album cover seemed misused.

The Joy Division design has been dragged through the mud not just by the corporate t shirt manufactures but also the indie metal heads who use it as a badge of coolness with silly idiotic posturing.

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2012 5:49 PM

It actually looks like Kenyon is wearing that shirt in that photo!!!

Posted by Jay | January 26, 2012 6:19 PM

You're all forgetting that Joy Div/Peter Saville have NOTHING to do with this design, They ripped it off from the Cambridge Encyclopaedia Of Astronomy book. Sorry hipsters, but they're no more original than Disney.

Posted by Bill | January 27, 2012 11:09 AM

What does KENYON have to say to destroying MITB as he stole from family & friends to feed his HEROIN habit? Wait, didn't ISRAEL Also have same problem? Not sure of other members? Look @ bands pre~MITB & who joined later? Or watch live videos, they hit both spectrums of love & hate. WOOD has never been on the spiritual trip. Its to many humans & screwdrivers into penis's of anyone who stole from them. 5 members and all into same thing? Hard enough to keep a love affair w/2 letalone 5.

Posted by Anonymous | January 29, 2012 8:56 PM

I want that shirt

Posted by Anonymous | January 29, 2012 11:12 PM

Bloodbath made a great Joy Division inspired shirt with the LA skyline. Much better than Mickey Mouse!

Posted by Anonymous | September 11, 2013 1:15 PM

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