Eyes on Frank Kozik
Concert posters are yet another casualty of Facebook and social media, but in this town – once upon a time (and maybe still in certain corners even today) – they were held as high as statues and saints.
Forget not that, in his 2012 South by Southwest keynote address, the mighty Bruce Springsteen was moved to name-check still local poster artist Jim Franklin for the work he did on the Boss’ first trip through Austin in 1973.
In that rarefied light, it then comes as no surprise that fellow poster immortal Frank Kozik, now 20 years removed from holding down a residence in town, still vividly remembers his time scrawling promo posters for the Butthole Surfers and Sebadoh at clubs like Lounge Ax, Club Foot, and Raul’s.
This morning we were sent a January interview with Kozik in which the San Francisco resident, who, shortly after leaving Austin in 1993, opened Man’s Ruin Records for local favorites like the Fuckemos – reuniting Sunday at Hotel Vegas – recounts his establishment here. Matter of fact, his subsequent reign over the gig poster world picked up steam shortly after winning a Chronicle Best of Austin award for Best Poster in 1988.
The way he tells it onscreen, Kozik had been relieved of duties with the Air Force at Bergstrom and found himself working the door at a club while trying to find his way into the punk scene. “All my friends had bands. I tried, I sucked,” he says.
What he could do was plaster together some flyers for local bands: “Because Austin is the one place in middle America where bands could stop, everybody did a show in Austin.”
Thurston Moore and company liked Kozik’s work after he saw the band locally and offered to make a poster. They called him for more when they got back to New York. Soon, the Butthole Surfers, Pearl Jam, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers were on the line as well.
Scope the whole recount below, then head down to the Drag and stop in at Thai Spice, or what’ll soon be known as Thai, How Are You?, and try to convince shop owner David Roberts to recommission Zozik’s Jack Nicholson mural, which once stood next to Daniel Johnston’s alien frog.