This week the Sun-Times published an article talking about Pedro Bell, the man behind the iconic cover art, liner notes, and other print ephemera for Funkadelic from 1973 till about 1986. Pedro, a Chicago native who went by Sir Lleb, has hit hard times. Today he’s facing dire straits in Hyde Park, though his work was recently featured in a retrospective of acceptional album art at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“Thick dust covers the gold lame shirt and silver leather coat in Pedro Bell’s closet.
The clothes are remnants from a brighter time when Bell, a rainbow Afro wig on his head and platform shoes on his feet, strutted through Chicago as a charter member of the ’70s funk revolution whose sound is heavily sampled in rap songs today.
“It was psychedelic from a black perspective,” Bell said.
And despite the commercial success of Clinton’s music, Bell said he didn’t profit from it.
He’s broke.” for more from Kara Spak’s article, click here
Last year, not only was his work featured in a retrospective entitled “Sympathy for the Devil”, but he embarked on a collaborative T-Shirt design project with Supreme, a skateboarding lifestyle store based in New York. They captured a video interview with the man that you can catch here. Despite this, he’s barely skirted eviction. Every reissue that features his cover art is only a reminder of a former life, not a means of survival (which he needs). Tragic, yet it’s one of the oldest story in the Music Industry.
Mr. Bell’s story is well worth digging into… For his 1994 interview with Jake Austen’s Roctober Magazine, click here