Jeff Rogers, widely known as “Metal Jeff,” is the illustrator who drew all those alien pictures for the Best of Northern Nevada in this week’s RN&R. He’s also done album cover art and posters for several bands, and he makes his own buttons, painting and prints. Learn more at http://metaljeff.net.
How’d the alien theme come about?
I pull a lot of influence, first and foremost, from comic books, because I grew up reading comic books. My childhood obsessions were dinosaurs, Ninja Turtles, comic books. That’s how I learned how to draw, just looking at them and drawing them and doing that over and over again. And then, in my adult years, when I hit college I started really falling in love with vintage sci-fi and horror poster art, like for movies and books and stuff like that. I found Basil Gogos. He’s really popular for doing Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine covers. So these really colorful, beautiful images of these horror icons, like I have a Vincent Price tattoo that’s done of his painting. … And then in the last couple years I’ve started doing these space pieces.
What happens to these images after they’re printed in Best Of?
I’m going to try and find somewhere to put ’em up, try to sell ’em. I’ll get some simple frames, I always go simple when I frame stuff.
Tell me about your art background.
I majored in art at [the University of Nevada, Reno] with an emphasis in oil painting. The last three oil paintings I’ve done have been album covers.
For which band?
Black Sheep Wall. They’re from the L.A. area, Moorpark, and they’re actually recording their fourth album right now. So far the plan is for me to do art for that too. … I want to try and put myself out there to do more albums and layouts and stuff like that. Hopefully bands will be like, “Hey, we want you to do this.”
Yeah, at some point you get enough work out there that they call you.
It’s cool ’cause I’ve gotten to do more graphic stuff and layout stuff for other bands, like this band Cult Leader from Salt Lake City. I go on tour with them and I do merch for them, but I also help, like, getting their t-shirt designs lined up. … I got to help with the layout on a 7-inch, which is really cool because their name is getting out there. It’s cool to be able to be attached to that and have my name with that and be a part of it.
What other types of art do you make?
I print my own T-shirts. We’ve got a screen press in our living room. My roommate has helped me learn how to do that. So like when I do a T-shirt design, I’m the one pulling it and putting it out there, which is kind of cool. … Recently, when Fall Silent played with Elephant Rifle at the Holland Project, I did a screen-printed poster.
Is it important to do things by hand instead of mechanically?
It gives it a quality and a life, and I feel like for somebody else looking at it going, “Oh wow, he’s that involved in it. It’s got a life, and he’s truly involved in it.”
How’d you become Metal Jeff?
Early 2000s, I went to a lot of hardcore shows in town with all my friends. That’s the music scene they were involved in. But I was the one that listened to metal. And everybody seemed to have a nickname, and people just started calling me Metal Jeff. … I’ll be on tour, and I’ll be across the country, and people are like, “Are you Metal Jeff?”