Born in 1943, Robert Dennis Crumb is likely the most renowned underground comics artist and arguably the most adept comix practitioner of all time. As hyperbolic a figure as the Boomer generation ever produced, Crumb famously emerged out of a family full of nut cases to become a figure out of time, clinging to his beloved jazz records from the World War I era while loudly disdaining much of modern life and spontaneously projecting his wiry frame onto the lap of whatever healthy-buttocked woman is in the vicinity.
Crumb’s singular cover for Big Brother and the Holding Company represents something of an exception to Crumb’s distaste for the most beloved artifacts of his own generation. It was inarguably Crumb’s most successful foray into the rock milieu, but what is rather less known as that the Rolling Stones also wanted Crumb to do a cover for them, but he turned them down flat.
In an amusing interview conducted by Larry Jaffee sometime during the George W. Bush administration, Crumb amusingly discourses on the commission to do the artwork for Cheap Thrills. He didn’t dig the music, but he did the cover because he liked Janis Joplin as a person, and she asked him to do it. He earned a cool six hundred bucks for the art.
When Mick Jagger came a-callin’, though, Crumb said no way. In the Jaffee interview, he says that he didn’t want to “endorse” the music of the Stones, because he found all of the guys in the band “irritating.” Crumb even candidly cops to a little jealousy with respect to Jagger’s sexual appeal. “All the girls liked it, girls didn’t like cartoonists, they liked Mick Jagger.... You didn’t want to support that guy!”
And then, of course, comes Crumb’s trademark chuckle.