In a Q&A appended to the tail end of Vicious Intent: The Rock ’n’ Roll Art and Exploitation of Stainboy Reinel, released last month on Dark Horse, Greg “Stainboy” Reinel states, “I’m not an artist. I’m more of an entertainer.”
Forty-six-year-old Reinel’s concert posters – high-octane, high-color, chicks-and-cars presentations of rock & roll fever dreams, the best of which are collected in the career-spanning book – would beg reconsideration of his self-assessment. “I never think, like, ‘I’m an artist,’” laughs Reinel. “I do art shows like I did shows when I was in a band. I just put the posters in the back of the truck and tour.”
Reinel’s history as one-half of Orlando punk legends Nutrajet, whose untamed power pop set the scene on fire from the mid-’90s until 2003, has deeply informed his poster art. Not coincidentally, his book release party features a triumvirate of Florida garage-punk bands and tons of local rock art. Reinel says that for him to sit around a table signing books all day would “kind of suck,” so he turned his event into a party. It’s this unpretentious attitude that directly translates into his poster art.
“He did that `2004` Nashville Pussy poster for us,” says Michael McRaney, co-owner of downtown Orlando club the Social. “That one with the `hair` pick right in the, uh … erogenous zone. Man, people were just flipping out about it.”
Sometimes, though, that provocative imagery can lead to problems.
“The `book’s original` printer was over in China, and they said that some of the images were too much and would have to come out of the book,” Reinel says. “`Dark Horse` was like, ‘If we start pulling all these `potentially offensive` images out, you’re not gonna have a book.’” After a long delay, the decision was made to find another printer and no art was left on the cutting room floor.
“It’s not like I sit down and try to be offensive,” he continues, laughing. “I just do what I do. I don’t try to dress things up one way or another. What it is is what it is.”
Looking through the pages of Vicious Intent, there’s a quiet variety of images within. True, there are copious amounts of powerful females toting guns or guitars, but Reinel’s playful manipulation of these images evokes the fun side of ’70s nostalgia. Others, like the linear angularity of a 2006 Buzzcocks poster (a Malcolm Garrett homage), find Reinel expanding his stylistic palette, also apparent in the new-wave flash of a poster Reinel did in 2005, unprompted, for a local Elvis Costello show.
“He just came in with it one day out of the blue,” says Jim Mallonee, VP of Florida/Carolinas booking for House of Blues/Live Nation. “You just see `Elvis’` glasses, and that’s all you needed to see. `Reinel is` definitely on the verge of breaking out to the big time.”
With Vicious Intent, Stainboy’s big time is here, but like a diehard punk rocker, he bristles at the notion of growth.
“Any evolution in my stuff happens naturally. I like to make the viewer feel like they’re in on the joke with me.”
Flipping through one’s life in a book would make anybody wistful, but when an artist who calls himself Stainboy gets nostalgic over a Flogging Molly poster – a topless redhead with a beer in one hand and a whip in the other – the effect is doubly ironic.
“A hundred and twelve pages may not be a big book, but it took a long time,” Reinel says. “Not to sound mushy, but I got a few pages in and I realized `this book` was my life.”
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