poof and gone

by Art Chantry:

this is a random selection (grabbed off the top of a pile of hundreds) of estrus records 45 covers i did for dave crider at estrus records.

right now dave is reissuing some of his catalog through a new distributor (and it’s also being reissued on vinyl!). but, estrus also did hundreds and hundreds of little vinyl 7″ 45rpm records. dave loved 45′s and continued to produce them loooooong past the time they were economically viable in the marketplace. he finally quit when he just couldn’t sell any. people had just plains stopped dubbing them – even the rabid ‘collectors’.


but, dave really enjoy using these as little tributes or test items to see what would happen. sometimes he’d even put one just because he loved ONE song by some band he knew. estrus used to receive hundreds of demo tapes, and dave made a habit of listening to every single one. oftentimes he found some of the most wonderful songs by totally known bands that he would release just because he liked them. he was simply a fan of DIY homespun rock to the bitter end.

--AC:i drew the lines around the naughty figure with a vintage 'el marko' black felt pen.

all of these covers i show you here are a very small sample of what the things looked like. we experimented with all sorts of crazy stuff – all on the cheap. none of these records were any other than low-budget (rock-bottom budget) affairs with a lot of sourcing and trading and handwork tossed in for shits and giggles. the whole idea was to make a special cover for a special record. i personally designed several hundred of them. but dave probably put out twice as many more.

often, dave liked tunes by bands that he knew were gong to break up before the 45 even came out. basically, he would release 45′s that HE’D want to listen to. he didn’t sell reissues of old records, but new stuff that virtually had no other market. this is why a lot of bands began to use estrus as a “farm team”. dave loved the music (and had great trashy taste). so the logo became a ‘good housekeeping seal of approval’. a band would release on estrus and use that as a ticket int he door of a ‘big’ label. poof! gone.

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this band (the ray-ons), though, was breaking up as dave released he record. but, he thought it was such a great song, that he put it out without blinking.

this one sold enough copies that we were actually able to do three slightly different design with each edition:


sometimes we even had to INVENT new ways of getting old ways done. like this classic brown paper generic-looking 45 bag i show you here was not manufactured any more. we found a printer (thing makers) who made these for us by buy stock manila envelopes, cutting them off at 7″. the, printing the design onto the already folded envelope. then (finally) punched the hole through the middle. basically we had to go to great lengths to makes things look like crap.


this one was all printed with metallic “pms” inks.


this one even has embossing not he metal molded lunch box cover.


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