Gavin Olgesby... you may know him as the guitarist for legendary Orange County California hardcore bands, No For An Answer, Carry Nation, Triggerman or The Killing Flame, but before all of that he was simply known as the artist who painted the cover for Uniform Choice’s classic album, “Screaming For Change”. We recently reached out to Gavin to see if we could conjure up some memories regarding Uniform Choice and his work on the “Screaming For Change” cover. Here’s what he had to say. -Tim DCXX
While I wasn’t best friends with him, I went to school with Pat Dyson. After being kicked out of private school for the fourth and final time (one time for being punk), I began my junior year of high school at the same public high school he went to. He was a senior and pretty hard not to notice. Aside from just being a big guy, he wore one of those rainbow afro wigs the entire first week of school. I didn’t really know what to think. It wasn’t until about a week later that I could put him into context. His band Plain Wrap played my school lunch period the second or third day of school which was kind of weird because I had seen them a couple of weeks before at the Cathay de Grande, an old underground club that would book nine or ten band bills on a regular basis. They (Plain Wrap) were sort of a fast, jokey band I didn’t love, but were punk and somewhat active at the time. I first became aware of Uniform Choice because it was the only thing written in the wall in the weight room of our high school. It was there the entire time I was at the school. Had no idea what it meant or what it was until sometime later.
While I remember the first time I saw them, I don’t remember how it came about other than even at this early stage, there was a noticeable amount of UC shirts. They were amazing and sounded nothing like any other band at the time. I remember talking to Dubar the second or third time I saw them at some drunken orgy of a party in a really bad area of Santa Ana. Soon after that, I had painted UC on my leather jacket and I became somewhat friendly with the band going to practices and probably every show they played for the next couple of years. It’s unfortunate they were either unwilling or unable to tour at that point. I think their legacy would be totally different now. I don’t think there was a band in the country that could touch them around the time that record came out. Great band, small rooms, and fanatic fans.
Gavin - Photo by: Ken Salerno
As I recall, there were a couple of things going with my doing the cover. I was approached to do the art because they had a photo they liked for the cover, but it was too dark to be reproduced. I was also fairly well known in the area for painting leather jackets. (This was an era where there were punk bands who happened to be straight edge rather than bands who were solely straight edge. You also had about one straight edge band for every fifty punk bands. Visually, there was little or no differentiation so leather jackets were very common amongst the punks who happened to be straight edge.) They asked me if I could do something with it and since I had primarily painted on leather, it seemed natural to do the painting on leather and I think they equated that look with Orange County. Unfortunately, the leather either didn’t photograph well or wasn’t photographed well, so the first pressing cover (with the yellow type outline) looks kind of odd. When the record’s second pressing came out, I was given the opportunity to redo it on illustration board and that’s the version that I believe is more widely available. Somewhere along the line we decided to shave everybody’s head in the picture. We looked at it as this almost idealized version of a show filled with just straight edge people as opposed to the smoke filled alcohol and vomit soaked rooms that were the norm at the time. None of us ever thought straight edge would become so dominant. As far as dealings with the band, It was mostly Dubar. Someone else did the type and the back cover was an homage to the Faith’s “Subject to Change” record. The back cover photo was also changed after the first pressing. I don’t remember from what to what.