High on Fire + Sleep’s Matt Pike Readies ‘Head on a Pike’ Illustrated Lyric Book
To be published by Rare Bird Lit, the tome takes Pike's many commanding and evocative lines, running the length of his entire career thus far (and beyond), and brings them to life in new pictorial creations by artists such as Arik Roper, David V. D'Andrea, Brian Mercer, Tim Lehi and others. Each illustration specifically pairs with one of Pike's albums, telling the story of his discography in a manner much like a graphic novel.
The visual lyrics book treatment is often given to classic rock acts such as Queen or The Beatles. With Head on a Pike, one of modern metal's most prolific messengers will now have his vivid rock poetry collected in a volume of artworks.
"I was writing a whole script with the visuals I wanted to have as I wrote [the songs]," Pike once told the Chicago Tribune of his lyrical process. "Lots of them will be metaphoric. I get really complicated when I start writing — my brain goes two different ways."
The musician added, "When I started singing, it changed the way I had to write music. I started realizing I was a natural at it. I was always a good creative writer, but words started coming to me immediately — when I get one line, fast, I start getting [full songs] down."
In a press release from Friday (June 25), Rare Bird publisher Tyson Cornell said Pike's lyrics "are just as important and powerful as his riffs, and his words deserve to be celebrated alongside the fantastic imagery that the artists have put together in this book. Head on a Pike is a natural for any Sleep, High on Fire or Matt Pike fan, but the work is also relevant to greater conversations around lyrical poetry, formal and free verse and tattoo inspirations for years to come."
Head on a Pike, in a first-edition hardcover printing signed by Pike, is available for preorder now at rarebirdlit.com. E-book and trade editions will also emerge on the book's release date of Nov. 9.
Head on a Pike is a retrospective of musical poetry that spans twenty years of Pike's career, beginning in 1998 with the album The Art of Self Defense up to the latest 2019 release, the Grammy Award–winning record Electric Messiah. Every chapter features brand-new artistic interpretations from the minds and hearts of an incredible cast of illustrators, tattooers, printmakers and painters. Artists Arik Roper, David V. D'Andrea, Santos, Brian Mercer, Skinner, Jondix, Stash, Tim Lehi, Jordan Barlow and Derrick Snodgrass created brand new, never-before-seen works specifically inspired by each album, including one large illustration to define the chapter ahead and two additional vignettes that are directly inspired by the songs.