Jeffrey Vallance

Punk Scene and Solid Eye 

Punk Scene

From the late 1970s to the early 1980s, there was a unique relationship between the art world and the punk rock scene in Los Angeles. I hung out with musicians in the Associated Skull Bands, including Monitor, Human Hands, BPeople and NON. Sometimes when the band Monitor played and I would sing — we were called the Tikis. I frequented concerts by the Romans, Screamers, Wall of Voodoo, the Dead Kennedys, Phranc, 45 Grave, Devo, Oingo Boingo, Meat Puppets, Peter Case, Eye to Eye, Johanna Went, Bags, Nervous Gender, Christian Lunch, Billy Wisdom and the Hee-Shees, Suburban Lawns, Lawndale, and L.A.F.M.S. (Los Angeles Free Music Society) to name a few. At punk clubs I would also frequently meet my old pals Gary Panter and Matt Groening. 

Michael Uhlenkott (of Monitor) and I made a bat symbol for the Bpeople—and what’s more the Dead Kennedys liked the design so much that they included it a foldout poster in their album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables—then Alternative Tentacles records used a version of the design as their logo. 

One night after a Screamers concert, my apartment spontaneously became the site of ruckus afterparty. After a while the party became so loud that the whole apartment started to vibrate (from the dancing & blasting music) that picture frames fell off the walls. It must have been so loud in the apartments adjacent to mine—I was sure that the next day the apt manager would tell me to leave, but instead no one said a word. The next day, I found a small ceramic bird that I thought I lost a long time ago—it must have been buried deep in the dark orange shag carpet and had resurfaced during all the excited dancing.

In the early 1980’s, for a while, I was the VJ host of the MTV show The Cutting Edge. At the time, I would go see lots of bands, and they would come to my art openings. I designed buttons, flyers, and album art for all kinds of bands and came up with the name for the band and record label Solid Eye.  

A Short History of Solid Eye

As a child artist, I remember being fascinated by the sci-fi film “The Crawling Eye” (1958), about a huge alien eye that decapitated people in the Swiss Alps. In the late 60s, I frequented a head shop in the Valley called “The Third Eye” and was mesmerized by their logo: an all-seeing eye on a pyramid (similar to the Illuminati-like symbol on the US dollar). I put these two pop culture eyeball concepts together and came up with “Solid Eye” which I thought would make the greatest name for a rock band. I recall that when I created the name “Solid Eye,” I thought of it as a name for a psychedelic band. In Junior High, I would draw the name onto my tennis shoes & notebooks, like other kids were doing with “The Who” and other rock bands.

Of course solid eye didn’t mean anything—it just sounded bitchen!

Ocular Secret Society

In the late 70’s, within the music scene in Los Angeles, Solid Eye became the moniker of a secret society with members including Rick Potts, Fredrik Nilsen, Tom Recchion, Michael Uhlenkott, Juan Gomez, Keith Mitchell, myself and others. There is a secret handshake, which goes something like this: you act like you are going to shake hands by extending your right hand, but instead you make a fist and hold it firmly in front of your right eye. Each person does this gesture at the exact same time. What’s the deal with the covering of one eye? It is the ultimate state of non-duality. The symbolism derived from the Illuminati. According to the Bible, the “solitary eye” is described thusly, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single [Solid Eye], thy whole body shall be full of light.” (Matthew 6:22) Throughout history, secret societies have made use of this powerful esoteric knowledge while keeping it from Humanity. More recently, Pop Stars signed with the New World Order Music & Entertainment Industry, have incorporated the all-seeing eye (covered eye) sign into their promotional materials.

Logo, Band and Record Label

In 1980, Rick Potts and I designed the Solid Eye logo consisting of a floating eyeball with veins surrounded by a valanced banner. In 1982, Fredrik Nilsen formed the Solid Eye record label (an organ of the Los Angeles Free Music Society) and released the albums Doo-Dooettes “Look To This”, The Romans “You Only Live Once” and the cassettes “Freak Show,” “Points of Friction,” “Dinosaurs with Horns,” and “Music from Norway.” When the record label closed in 1992, the Solid Eye name was passed on to Rick Potts, Joseph Hammer and Steve Thomsen for their legendary experimental musical ensemble. The group released many recordings such as “Electromagnetic Field and Stream of Consciousness,” “When The Snowman Starts To Talk,” “Fruits Of Automation,” “Voyage To See What’s On The Bottom,” and “Rickety Skyscraper.”

The Osaka band “Goat” has a Rick Potts-Tribute song entitled “Solid Eye,” I came across a weird fucked-up seemingly unrelated chain of circular logic. An Austin band named “Solid Goat” whose symbol & logo is the All-Seeing Eye has a song is entitled, “Your Hollow Eyes Can’t Hide Your Solid Goat.” The music of Solid Goat is apocalyptic with references to conspiracy theories and extra-terrestrial phenomena. Seemingly interconnected is video game “Metal Goat Solid” which is a takeoff on the name of another game called “Metal Gear Solid” which features a virtual vision technology called “Solid Eye.”

Solid Eye Spreads Across the Earth

About Solid Eye, Rick Potts says, “It was an imaginary band name that has been borrowed by others and is now part of the culture.” In 2014, a Portuguese techno rock band, headed by Hugo Teixeira, ripped off the Solid Eye name with the album “Mixing Chemicals.” (Again, the most bitchen name for a rock band). From there the Solid Eye name was taken by a German skateboard company, a Dutch movie studio, a Japanese virtual vision technology (used in “Metal Gear Solid” video game series), an Italian blog site, a French eyeglasses shop, a motion graphics studio, a CGI digital design vcompany, a musical business firm, and the designation for a three-dimensional anatomical eyeball model. There now seems to be a generic term in the garment industry called “solid eye” which is used for certain trendy repeating eyeball patterns on clothing and sneakers. So Solid Eye went from being completely meaningless to almost a pseudoetymological term for eyeball.

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