In 1970, my Florida girlfriend, told me that her ex-boyfriend in NYC, Ira Cohen, had photographed an album for the California band, Spirit. I was mightily impressed by the acid-influenced, melting images of wizards dressed in multicolored costumes.
I began experimenting with mylar (it was on the floor of the B52s' original B&W photo that became the first album cover) early in my NYC career.
When the band contacted me about doing our umpteenth cover together, I was fresh out of ideas. I showed Johnny, Markie and CJ my mylar shots of other unknown bands and they told me that they were thinking of calling the album
"Mondo Bizarro". Everyone was cool with the mylar concept...until I spoke to Joey.
Joey said he had a friend who he was thinking of having shoot the next cover. This guy took pictures that were "kind of melting".
I said, "Who? Ira Cohen?"
Joey was stunned that I knew Ira's work and was afraid that if I took a picture for the cover that looked like Ira's work, Ira would think that Joey ripped him off.
The other members of the band were not concerned, but I thought it would be best if we had a meeting with Ira and tried to work this out so nobody had hurt feelings.
I met Ira with Monte Melnick and Joey. Initially Ira was unfriendly, but as he looked at my portfolio, he became warmer and complimented me on my mylar work, stating that it was a little more commercial than his.
I came up with the solution...
"How much for your Jimi Hendrix in the mylar chamber?" I asked Ira.
"$1500", he replied."
"Well, I will buy one. And you will too, right Joey?"
Ira seemed pleased at this solution, he would make $3000, I would do the cover.
I gave Ira a huge credit on the album cover so everyone would know that I knew just who I was ripping off.
Ira and I are still friends and anyone who wants to buy one of his beautiful Hendrix or Janis Joplin shots in mylar, can contact me.