At Home with Chris Norris (Steak Mtn.)
Chatting with the elusive artist, misanthrope, and author of HUNCHBACK '88.
Hello and welcome to REPLY ALT, the best/only newsletter about music. I’ve been doing a lot of supplementary interviews around here lately about my book SELLOUT since it has consumed my damn life over the last two months. As such, I’ve run interviews about the major-label experiences of The Bronx, Less Than Jake, Anti-Flag, Texas Is the Reason, Thrice, and Murder by Death. But today I figured I’d get back to some good old fashioned non-SELLOUT content by interviewing my elusive friend Chris Norris who, now that I’m thinking about it, designed one of the SELLOUT shirts I have for sale. Dammit. OK so I guess it’s not completely unrelated to SELLOUT. (You may also recognize Chris’ work from the book I released with Laura Jane Grace in 2016. He designed that book and some of you have its artwork tattooed on you forever.)
Chris has a book of his own out now called HUNCHBACK ‘88. Actually, the book came out a few years ago (and I interviewed him about it then), but he’s just released a brand spankin’ new expanded edition. It’s a horror story which doesn’t really have a resolution. Bodies come apart and teens get disemboweled in poetic fashion. Call it a mystery, or a puzzle that doesn’t need to be solved.
The expanded HUNCHBACK has a ton of original grotesque artwork from Chris as well as guest contributions from artists like Mark McCoy, Chris Farren, John Jr., and others. It’s like a tiny brick of compressed macabre art that I cannot recommend enough. The original HUNCHBACK was sort of a daunting undertaking that read like one unbroken train of deranged thought, but this new version is a bit more manageable. I personally keep my copy next to my nightstand and flip it open to a random page before bed. Then I have nightmares about being sliced in half on the beach all night.
Anyway, please enjoy this interview with Chris where we discuss among other things: Being introduced to art through Marvel comics, doing the bare minimum, being notoriously and deliberately difficult to work with, and growing up in America’s two most undesirable locations: Florida and Salem, Massachusetts. Enjoy! Listen above or anywhere you listen to podcasts: Spotify, Apple, blah blah blah.
And pick up the new HUNCHBACK ‘88! Give it to your goth crush this holiday season. (Note: If your goth crush is me, I already have a copy, sorryyyyy!)
And to see who’s really paying attention, I am gonna mark down the Steak Mtn. SELLOUT shirt in black by 20% in my store in honor of this interview. Just enter the discount code HUNCHBACK88 at checkout.