worst album covers ever: Primus -vs- Phish

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they have the worst album covers.

Poll Results

Primus 18
Phish 7

scott seward, Thursday, 8 March 2018 20:32 (one year ago) Permalink

i admire primus more for having consistently terrible cover art, phish has some bad ones but also some innocuous or even good ones

marcos, Thursday, 8 March 2018 20:36 (one year ago) Permalink

I like Primus's album covers

Lance Montoya seems to be another person who can be added to the "wrote his own wikipedia entry" list

Influenced by his older brother's collection of Creepy and Eerie magazines, Lance's oddball art style almost landed him in the psychiatry couch in middle school. School officials concerned about an early cartoon character, a chain saw wielding maniac called "Gut Man", contacted his mother to schedule a session. His older brother was able to convince their mother that he wasn't mentally twisted, just creative.


soref, Thursday, 8 March 2018 20:38 (one year ago) Permalink

Here is a collage of all of Phish's album covers:


There are some rough ones in there for sure, but none as bad as Antipop on its own.


how's life, Thursday, 8 March 2018 20:46 (one year ago) Permalink

Oh, that's not all of Phish's albums either. They're missing quite a few. Oh well.


how's life, Thursday, 8 March 2018 20:49 (one year ago) Permalink

If you're asking me who does the worst covers of albums, ever, it will always be Phish.

Scam jam, thank you ma’am (Sparkle Motion), Thursday, 8 March 2018 20:50 (one year ago) Permalink

Answer is Primus though

Hoist and A Live One are good 90s covers

Whiney G. Weingarten, Thursday, 8 March 2018 20:57 (one year ago) Permalink


I was a Phish fan for about 7 years and what really broke them for me was when I went to check out some of the songs they had been covering. Especially Purple Rain. Can you imagine never having heard Purple Rain, only the jokey Phish cover, and then finding the Prince album on discount cassette one day and buying it just because what the hell? I had my fucking head blown off. It was like I had been lied to about the nature of music. Same for Sneaking Sally Through the Alley, Boogie On Reggae Woman, dozens more.

how's life, Thursday, 8 March 2018 21:00 (one year ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Sunday, 18 March 2018 00:01 (one year ago) Permalink

And here's most of the Primus ones together in one place, to compare against the Phish pic above.


how's life, Sunday, 18 March 2018 00:22 (one year ago) Permalink

Definitely phish. Primus' album covers are ugly as hell but at least they're interesting and consistent. Phish's are just kinda meh

josh az (2011nostalgia), Sunday, 18 March 2018 00:47 (one year ago) Permalink

i have a hard time seeing "consistently hideous" as mitigating factor myself

ziggy the ginhead (rushomancy), Sunday, 18 March 2018 03:42 (one year ago) Permalink

someone greenlighted 24 Primus albums?

campreverb, Sunday, 18 March 2018 04:27 (one year ago) Permalink

I think the big face on the Billy Breathes album art might be a King Crimson reference. There’s a schizoid-man moon in the booklet for the cd version if I remember correctly.

Woon... Doopee Time (FlopsyDuck), Sunday, 18 March 2018 11:17 (one year ago) Permalink

The Story of the Ghost cover is a painting by George Condo, a decade before he did Kanye's MBDTF cover.

Round Room (bottom row, 2nd from right) is an image of the "Barn Ball" by New York sculptor and conceptual artist Lars Fisk (who is pictured inside it), BA UVM, MFA Columbia, and represented by Marlborough, who from the mid-'90s acted as creative director for the band's music festivals and some other special arena performances before becoming studio and facilities manager at Socrates Sculpture Park for the better part of the last decade (he's no longer involved).

Rift (top line, right) is the creation of New York artist David Welker, an early fan who worked with the band to create a piece for the conceptual album that embeds references to all of the its songs save one, "The Horse"...

...Hence the cover art for the follow-up, "Hoist" (second row, left), which the band passed on titling "Hung like a" etc. The horse in question belonged to the band's "first fan," who several years earlier had hosted their eighth anniversary and arguable first big end-of-summer gig, a forerunner to their much bigger festivals, at her farm near Portland, ME.

Junta (top line, left) is the creation of the keyboard player's college roommate Jim Pollock, who now mostly engages in printmaking in his noted-children's-book-author wife's native Chicagoland, and whose work, like that of many artists associated with the band, is much sought after by crazy Phish fans who will line up out the door for occasional gallery exhibitions of his poster art etc.

A Picture of Nectar (top line, second from right) is a picture of Nectar Rorris, owner of still-extant Nectar's bar in Burlington, VT, the band's Cavern Club cognate (the song from which the album title is derived is entitled Cavern), superimposed upon an orange for reasons I don't remember and may not exist

I have no idea who did the Lawn Boy (top line, 2nd from left) cover, and note only the turf-embedded appearance of the vacuum cleaner that the drummer had begun occasionally "playing" in the year prior.

Farmhouse (bottom row, 2nd from left) is an image of a carving on the door to an outhouse adjacent to the 200-year-old Burlington-area barn that Trey Anastasio restored and turned into the studio and living space in which the band recorded the album. "The Barn" continues in use by the band and sometimes other acts, though it has been turned over for much of the past decade to city-funded arts education and short-term visual-artist-in-residence programs. The outhouse itself is not 200 years old, but was created as a prop for a film made by the bass player and starring the late Col. Bruce Hampton of the Hampton Grease Band, et al, who had earlier appeared in Sling Blade and an episode of Space Ghost.

Crimes of the Mind (middle row, 2nd from left) is not a Phish album per se, but rather a Phish-backed effort by a slightly nutty college/prep school friend (now a public school teacher in the Bronx) that either label and/or band likely released to move contract satisfaction along, as may be true of the live double that followed (middle row, next over). I know nothing about the cover art (and am not sure I've ever heard the album).

The Billy Breathes cover is a fisheye photo of the bass player's already-enormous nose, selected on the spur of the moment late in the recording process. I have no idea if it's a King Crimson reference, but at least some of the band are big Crimson fans, and it wouldn't be the only cover to be referential in that fashion. For instance...

Undermind (bottom row, right), the band's last album before they broke up (and then un-broke up and released several more albums not picture above), is an image of the four band members arranged in what may be taken as a nod to a certain other well-known band's last album before they broke up

Moo Vaughn, Sunday, 18 March 2018 18:14 (one year ago) Permalink

Here are some of those not pictured or mentioned yet...

Slip Stitch and Pass, a live album that Christgau has deemed their best, whose cover was designed by the late Storm Thorgerson of Hipgnosis who designed dozens of album covers and more for Pink Floyd (DSOTM among many others), Led Zeppelin, Genesis, ELO, UFO, Wings, and many others


Joy, the reunion album, was designed by New York "psychedelic" artist Fred Tomaselli, represented by James Cohan in the US and White Cube in the UK, and whose work has also been included on Magnetic Fields, Eleventh Dream Day and Laura Cantrell album covers, as well as in The Wilco Book


Fuego, the follow-up, was designed by partly SVA-trained and LA-gallery-repped contemporary Spanish surrealist Paco Pomet, whose work is currently in a Murakami/Juxtapoz-curated group show in Vancouver


Big Boat, the most recent album, was designed in-house by long-term band creative director/management member Julia Mordaunt, who is I believe the stepdaughter of a member of a smalltime New England jam band and Phish influence who plays with the bass player's side project


Moo Vaughn, Sunday, 18 March 2018 18:15 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeah, I liked the Rift cover when it came out but I think that was before the popularization of I Spy/Where's Waldo type books. It was cool at the time but became trite in retrospect.

how's life, Sunday, 18 March 2018 18:24 (one year ago) Permalink

feel like this thread must be missing like one bazillion Phish live albums?

The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 18 March 2018 18:46 (one year ago) Permalink

hahahaha, that phish cover sure is late-period thorgerson. look! it's an improbably large ordinary object! (i prefer thorgerson's cover to _presence_, which instead features an improbably _small_ object...)

that film started out as a fake guitar instructional video starring col. bruce hampton that kind of got away from them... i don't think i'd ever _watch_ it but i find the concept of it kind of appealing.

how has this thread gotten this far without mentioning oysterhead?

ziggy the ginhead (rushomancy), Sunday, 18 March 2018 19:05 (one year ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Monday, 19 March 2018 00:01 (one year ago) Permalink

Justice was done here, although I feel like Primus’ bad covers are on average more tolerable (and Junta’s is so unpleasant it almost swayed my vote).

You're all losing so many points on your progress bars (Champiness), Monday, 19 March 2018 03:48 (one year ago) Permalink

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