Peter Schmidt Recalls How Three on a Hill Got Don Ivan Punchatz to Do Its First Album Cover

In this morning's item about the late, great Don Ivan Punchatz, Jeff Liles drops a comment to remind us of the TCU illustration prof's estimable contribution to the local music scene. Writes Jeff, he "also created that amazing cover illustration for Biting on Tin Foil, the first Three on a Hill vinyl EP on Deep Ellum Records," which Jeff actually released. (There are two copies for sale on the eBays.) Turns out, long-ago Three on a Hill frontman Peter Schmidt remembers how the cover came about like it was yesterday:

"I was friends with his son Greg, who used to come see Three on a Hill a lot," says Schmidt. "He's a nice guy himself. And one day, Greg said, 'Hey, my dad's an artist, why don't you get him to do the album cover?' At the very beginning, I didn't understand the scope of who he was. I just knew he was a real artist and my friend's dad, and I thought it would be neat. But as we went through the process, I very quickly got an idea about what a big deal he was."

The band went to Punchatz's home in Arlington to discuss some ideas. But since the band had "no money to spend" on a cover, Peter says, Punchatz initially offered an outtake from his portfolio, in which he kept stuff he'd done for grins.

"But then he said, 'Well, if it's going to have my artwork, I want it to look good,' and he ended up doing the whole layout for the whole cover -- including the foil around the egdes, which were his teethmarks. He was super-friendly -- he wanted to help out his son's friends. At the time, when we got reviews of the EP, I remember a few outside of Dallas mentioning Don. They were like, 'Wow, these guy got Don Punchatz to do their artwork, they must be a big deal." Peter laughs. "I have very fond memories of him."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky