2 comments Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Easily one of my top ten favorite bands of all time, The Flesh Eaters remain somewhat of an enigma. Existing on and off for over 30 years, you’d think that this notorious LA band would be a household name by now, but that’s sadly not the case. I remember being shocked when AFI frontman Davey Havok told me that he’d never heard them (check the interview with him in Gearhead #12, it’s in there) but then again, that’s why I’m doing this ongoing series: to hip you to the good stuff.

Forever fronted by Chris Desjardins (that’s Chris D. to you punk!) their early and most famous line-up included John Doe and D.J. Bonebrake of X, Dave Alvin and Bill Bateman of The Blasters, and Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. I really can’t imagine living in a world where this bands first four LP’s –No Questions Asked (1980) A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die (1981) Forever Came Today (1982) and A Hard Road To Follow (1983)– didn’t exist, because like a handful of other bands that sprang up out of the same well (The Gun Club, the aforementioned X, and early Wall of Voodoo) they never get stale.

This video is for the song “The Wedding Dice” from the Forever Came Today LP, which features the later (and less punk rock star studded) line-up of Don Kirk on guitar, Robyn Jameson on bass and drummer Chris Wahl. Less star power yes, but no less great. When I think about this so-called kustom kulture world that we live in, it’s hard to deny the role that Chris D. and The Flesh Eaters played in getting us to here. From hot rods and Harley’s, to hair grease and flaming dice tattoos, these guys were living it before a lot of you were even a gleam in your daddy’s eye. Respect.

0 comments Friday, December 26, 2008

OK, I’ll be the first to admit that me and Greta tend to overdo it a bit in the gift-giving department each Yuletide season, but what better way to show someone that you love them then by paying close attention to every hint (some subtle, some not so much) that they drop throughout the year, then getting them everything they want… and more!

I seriously didn’t think that 2007 could be topped, but the proof was right there in this Christmas morning pudding: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. box set (41 discs!) and the Honey West Complete Series DVD’s, a pristine 1963 Mr. Gasser model kit, an original Nauga monster (in my favorite color no less), a limited edition Tim Biskup Yeti vinyl figure, the “Green Siamese” Circus Punk by KOA, a set of mint-in-box Nancy and Sluggo dolls (and a musical Sluggo mug from 1968), a great old hillbilly bobblehead, a whole set of the rare Spanish Munsters “squeaky dolls”, vintage Dr. Doolittle and Korg 70,000 B.C. metal lunchboxes, copies of the hard to find Chrysler dealer in-house publication Bin & Bench, a copy of the October 1964 edition of Life magazine with the huge “Big Daddy” Roth feature, Best in Show: The Films of Christopher Guest book, a Charlie The Tuna shaped transistor radio, some crazy circa-1960’s crying Indian and Eskimo dolls (that I collect on the rare occasion that I can find them) and (not pictured) a print of Emory Douglas’ iconic “All Power to the People” Black Panther Party print (and hand carved wooden fist thrown in for good measure) and… some pajamas! Do I have the world’s greatest girlfriend or what?

0 comments Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Punk rock? The letter “E”? Gotta be Eddie and the Hot Rods kiddies. Formed in 1973, they, along with UK contemporaries like Dr. Feelgood and The Hammersmith Gorillas, were so-called “Pub Rock” bands whose working class image and “rough around the edges” sound served them well during the punk explosion of 1976, where they were propelled into the media spotlight. Their first two LP’s, Teenage Depression (1976) and Life on the Line (1977) are must-owns in my book, especially if you like your punk rock on the rock and roll side.

Arguably their most famous song, "Do Anything You Wanna Do" hit the UK Top 10 in August of 1977, a month where the US charts were dominated by the likes of Barry Manilow, Shawn Cassidy and Andy Gibb. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, in many ways they are way ahead of us over there, and here’s some more proof of that from 31 years ago. What a hook!

0 comments Friday, December 19, 2008

Several people have emailed in asking if the copies of the Cole Foster book that are sold at the Gearhead Magazine website really are signed by Cole. Yes, yes they are. Whenever I get a new batch in, I make the 90 minute drive down to Salinas with Sharpie in hand, say “Hiya doll” to Susan, pet their pug Sophie, have Cole sign the books, then head back to Oakland. Why? Because I have to do something to give my poor ol’ website an edge over Amazon.com who sell the book a little cheaper. Cheaper yeah, but signed by me and Cole, no way. So there you go non-believers, and if you don’t have a copy yet, for the love o’ everything sacred, click here and get one… damn!

0 comments Wednesday, December 17, 2008

OK, enough with the preachin’ and back to the teachin’. Dow Jones and the Industrials were a relatively short lived punk band from West Lafayette, Indiana, which is about an hour outside Indianapolis, best known for being the home of Purdue University. They existed in that brilliant post punk, pre-hardcore era of the late 70’s and (very) early 80’s that produced some of the greatest “no rules/anything goes” music ever created. With a very limited discography that consists of only one EP, and split LP with The Gizmos and one compilation track, not too much has been written about these guys, but I bet it’s pretty easy to fill in the blanks… they met at college, saw Devo, and, well… here are the brilliant results. “Can’t Stand the Midwest” is one of the greatest punk songs you’ve probably never heard, until now that is…

0 comments Monday, December 15, 2008

Back in the mid-80s, when my life consisted mainly of passing time between Half Life gigs, I remember an ongoing argument that my tight knit gang of Pittsburgh punkers and I often had. One day our friend (and loyal roadie) Brian Corley brought up the short-lived 1970’s TV show Dusty’s Trail by way of asking us if we remembered it. I did, somewhat vaguely I’ll admit, but once he went on to (accurately) describe it as “Gilligan’s Island set in the old west” our little group was instantly split between the two of us and those who thought that he was totally making it up, and for whatever reason, I was in on the joke. Looking back on those pre-internet, “all the information in the known universe is just one click away “days of yore, it does sound like the set up for an elaborate gag. I mean, why would you try to recreate the wackiness of the world's most famous "crew of castaways" 100 years earlier, substituting a lost wagon train for a remote South Pacific island? But unfortunately for us, back in 1973 that’s exactly what Gilligan’s Island creator Sherwood Schwartz did. Jump to the present, where I recently had the misfortune of having one of the Dusty’s Trail discs somehow work it’s way to the top of my Netflix cue, and I’m here to tell ya, he and his son Elroy really should have left well enough alone.

It’s bad enough that the cast is a carbon copy of the Gilligan’s crew, from the bumbling Dusty (played by an obviously stoned Bob Denver, Mr. Gilligan himself) to Forrest Tucker as the “wagon master” who essentially takes on the Skipper’s role. But it doesn’t stop there, you have the rich couple, the smart guy, and of course the two girls, one glamorous and one a plain but loveable brunette no less. But where it really stinks up the joint is within it’s so-mundane-they-actually-insult-you “plots” – if you dare to call them that. During the course of the 4 episodes I somehow forced myself to sit through, they pull out every tired television gag humanly conceivable, from the old “hypnosis gone wrong” to a (Gasp!) escaped gorilla, which, remember that this is set on an abandoned trail in the unsettled west of the mid-19th century now, they don’t even attempt to explain how it got there, much less the fresh bananas that they have at their disposal to feed it. You know me friends, I generally like the TV shows of my youth, and I do have a pretty high threshold for sit-com silliness, from Petticoat Junction right up through the last season of the Partridge Family, but this flat out sucks, there’s really no other way to put it. I’ve read reviews online where retailers try and put a positive spin on this turkey, using phrases like “mirth and merriment ensue” but trust me, Dusty’s Trail is to be avoided at all costs.

1 comments Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The gods of punk (Joey Ramone? Joe Strummer? Jeff Lamm?) have spoken, and so it shall be done: Punk Rock History Lesson is now weekly (and alphabetical) so let us proceed then to the letter C. While visions of posting videos by Chelsea, The Count Bishops or The Cortinas danced in my head, I’ve spend too much time with Roger Miret this year not to have found a renewed appreciation for The Clash. Sure, they achieved a level of success that most punk bands (actually most bands in general) can only dream of, but we can’t let that blind us to the fact that were great. Undeniably great.

As a young punk rocker in 1980, I was blown away the first time I saw the movie Rude Boy. Not by the flimsy plot of course, which follows sex shop worker Roy Gange as he ascends to the lofty rank of Clash roadie, but for the performances of The Clash themselves. Almost 30 years later, all I can say is, “Thank God someone was filming that!” No performance was more memorable of course than the one of the band performing “White Riot” at the now legendary Rock Against Racism concert in Victoria Park in 1978, where they are joined onstage by Sham 69 front man Jimmy Pursey. This is still awe-inspiring, and way too great to be ignored. My apologies to The Cortinas… maybe next time boys.

0 comments Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Part of the reason why it took me awhile to get this new “weekly educational series” going was that I wasn’t sure how to approach it. SO MUCH material to cover, but also so little time, but I think doing it alphabetically is the answer, at least for the time being. Which brings up the letter B, and since we started off in the UK in 1977, that leads us directly to The Buzzcocks of course. I’m sure that by now many of you have seen the promo clip for “What Do I Get?” so I’m avoiding that (although it’s sparse set design and deadpan delivery was often copied by other bands, as you’ll see in upcoming weeks) and going for the less often seen but equally great “Why She's a Girl from the Chainstore” video. If I had to pick between this ageless bands two principle songwriters, I tend to go with Steve Diggle over Pete Shelly most of the time. As a younger man, Steve certainly came across as the more “punk” of the two, I mean, just look at how angry he is delivering these lyrics whilst walking through a department store! It’s like he only had one speed: ON, which endeared him to me quite a bit. I only caught them live once, at the now extinct I-Beam in SF back in 1989, when they first reformed and played only the classic material. They totally lived up to any hype that surrounded them, and were as good as The Clash, Devo, Gang of Four, or any other band I had caught earlier that decade. Enjoy!

1 comments Friday, November 28, 2008

0 comments Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sure, I know what you’re thinking, “MLV, this is a brand spankin’ new weekly feature, replacing the much cherished ‘New Wave Wednesday,’ so why is it part two?” Good question. It’s #2 in a series because awhile back, on July 9th to be exact, I did a post about my mucho beloved band The Professionals that was technically Part 1. So in the interest of accuracy and consistency, this is actually “Part 2”… glad we got that cleared up.

So, where to start? How about the UK in 1977 (seems logical) and alphabetically? Formed in 1973, Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias were actually a “spoof rock” band in the tradition of the Bonzo Dog Band, but when their classic EP Snuff Rock was released in 1977 (on Stiff Records no less) you have to wonder how many people actually knew that. I got a copy in 1986 when then Circle of Shit front man and legendary Philly punk rock character John Brubaker demanded that I buy it when we saw it in a store while record shopping. He was as shocked that I didn’t already have it as if we were talking about the first Ramones record or something, but that’s how highly he regarded it, and after one spin, so did I. I mean sure, these guys couldn’t have been that serious with songs like “Gobbing on Life” but then again who knew? It’s not like we could hop online and look for videos back then, and there was precious little information out there on these guys. Fast-forward to 2006 or so, when my daily You Tube mining regimen basically consisted of looking up bands I liked for years but never actually saw, and these 5 minutes and 36 seconds of pure genius popped up. As the saying goes, you could have knocked me over with a feather, and my interest was peaked once again. Supposedly there is a book about these guys, brilliantly titled When We Were Thin, but I’ve never been able to track down a copy. If anyone knows where I can get it please let me know, but for now, be my guest and enjoy the “comedy rock” stylings of Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias.

0 comments Sunday, November 23, 2008

I’ll tell you one thing, my gal Greta really knows how to throw a party. Ricky’s Sports Theatre & Grill (voted 2nd best sports bar in America by Sports Illustrated) in San Leandro was the spot, and the Warriors / Bulls game was the original premise to meet up last Friday night, but in the end, it was all about the people. We were amazed that damn near everyone we invited actually showed up, but then again, that’s why we chose Ricky’s in the first place, because nothing repels hipsters like a sports bar! Seriously though, Juan and Jesus from Deadend Magazine came the whole way from Salinas, Scott and Michelle Mugford from Sacramento, Flip and Trish from Santa Cruz, I mean, it’s hard not to feel humbled when you have friends that loyal. It’s a cliché, but a good time truly was had by all.

0 comments Friday, November 21, 2008

Operating under the principle that all work and no play truly does make MLV one dull boy, I’m actually having a birthday party tonight, the first one since I turned forty a few years back. It seemed like the right time, but one thing was definitely wrong, and that was that I was starting to resemble Sgt. Pepper-era George Harrison in the hair department. Luckily, I now know Philadelphia transplant Nicky the Barber.

Professional and charmingly loquacious, Nicky is a one-man whirlwind dead set on bringing the old school barbershop vibe back to the Bay Area. Here, an expert cut won’t set you back too much, and you can even get a straight razor shave, Clubman optional. The whole experience is unique actually, as he works in a traditional shop that is actually located inside of a high-end salon, but in San Francisco, one expects no less. If you gotta get your look together, then look no farther than Nicky. He can be found at The Barber Lounge, 854 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA. Getting an appointment is probably a good idea, 415-934-0411.

0 comments Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Whenever you don’t see a lot of activity on this here blog, you can bet that I’ve been up to something. Well, good news for you long suffering Gearhead subscribers, we’ve been working pretty much around the clock trying to wrap up the soon-to-be-legendary issue #18. Why did it take so long you might ask? Well, besides all the usual shenanigans, headaches and heartbreaks, Gearhead #18 is extra unique in that it features not one, but two incredibly in-depth and revealing cover story/interviews. First up was Agnostic Front front man/ Rumblers Car Club founder Roger Miret, but this week it’s been all about Alex Gambino. To say that I’ve been practically living at Gambino Customs in San Jose this week would not be an exaggeration; in fact I even have the daily dog walking routine down to a science. Resourceful beyond belief, as witnessed here as our boy Alex shows off his skills with a George Forman grill, it’s been interesting to say the least. Candid, honest and at times fascinating, the Gambino story reads like a book, or at least it will when I get everything transcribed and laid out, so I better get back to work. All I’m saying is that for a measly $4.95, you are really going to get your money’s worth with the next issue. I’ll post the cover next week to further wet your appetites…

0 comments Monday, November 17, 2008

I woke up this morning hearing Ron Palillo's (as Arnold Horshack) voice saying the phrase "Little Juan" over and over in my head. Damn you popular culture for making shows so memorable that even after 30 years they lurk in your subconscious, ready to strike when you least expect it!

0 comments Friday, November 14, 2008

It’s been an amazing year for 1960’s spy shows re-released on DVD, what with the Man From U.N.C.L.E. box set and all three seasons of the brilliant I Spy finally seeing the light of day, and at budget prices no less. There is however a gem in the bunch that should not be overlooked, and that is the stylish and mod-as-hell masterpiece Honey West. The show stared Anne Francis, whose resume reads like a list of virtually every show I’ve ever been obsessed with, from Route 66 to Mission: Impossible and the aforementioned U.N.C.L.E., to 70’s faves like Cannon, Banacek and even Kung Fu (not to mention that she was Altaira in Forbidden Planet!) but I gotta say that she played Honey brilliantly, the "role of a lifetime" if you will. Campy and sophisticated at the same time, Honey karate chopped and drag raced her way into the hearts of many an American male in 1965, but sadly, for only one season. Maybe the world wasn’t ready for a totally independent, crime fighting n’ ass-kicking gal in a catsuit with a pet ocelot just yet, but thanks to the modern miracle that is the Digital Video Disc, society can now see the error of it’s ways. Definitely work a look.

0 comments Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All good things inevitably come to an end, and even though these posts will be up on the “world wide interweb” as long as Goggle is up and running, I’m still “making changes babe,” that is, I’ve decided that this is the last “New Wave Wednesday.” Why? Well, the best reason of all: I personally got bored with it. But fear not, gentle (I’m assuming a lot about you there aren’t I?) reader, it is going to be replaced with “Punk Rock History Lesson” which, for the time being (and because you’re so used to exciting new weekly content) I’ll be posting on Wednesdays. So, having said all that, New Wave Wednesday is going out with a bang, with the band that the term was practically invented for: Blondie. Of all the so called new wave records in the world, I’ve heard Blondie’s discs more than almost any other bands, for this one simple reason: I owned their classic releases Parallel Lines and Eat to the Beat on 8-track tape. I probably don’t have to remind the over-40 crowd out there what I mean by that, but for you youngsters it went like this – you would pop a tape in and kind of forget about it, which meant that it played over and over and over, until someone finally pulled it out. So inevitably, you ended up hearing anything you had on 8-track way more than your vinyl, and depending on what it was, that was either a good or (sometimes very) bad thing. In the case of Blondie (and the first three Elvis Costello releases) it was indeed good. “Union City Blue” has always been my favorite Blondie track, but I never saw this video until 2002, when the sadly now out of print Blondie - Greatest Video Hits DVD came out. I love how happy they all look, just goofin’ around on the pier towards the end. We now know they were dealing with all sorts of personal and professional problems pretty much throughout their entire career, but on this day at least, they had fun. Everyone deserves that once and awhile.

0 comments Monday, November 10, 2008

Well, last week I was in Las Vegas for SEMA, and rather than vent about the economic circumstances that have the Big 3 (and therefore everyone else in the automotive industry) totally freaked out, let’s concentrate on the positive, shall we?

First of all, I was sent there by Motorbooks to promote the Cole Foster book I wrote (and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that copies autographed by Cole and myself are available for below cover price right here) so that was great, and for once I actually made a bet and won! It was a suckers bet really, I mean, c’mon, the Denver Nuggets by 6 over my beloved Golden State Warriors two days after the big Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups trade? Anyone who follows the NBA at all would know that they wouldn’t be playing with their respective new teams yet, and add that to the fact that Steven Jackson and the boys would be playing at home and… Hell yeah I’ll take the Dubs to cover that spread every time! Luckily Mike Bumbeck was there at the MGM Grand to document the historic moment when your boy MLV actually got paid, which, trust me on this folks, doesn’t happen too often. I would have bet the farm on this one, if only I had one…

0 comments Wednesday, November 5, 2008

For only the third time since I've been old enough to vote in a Presidential election, the guy I wanted actually got in. Amazing.

Mood: cautiously optimistic. Oh yeah, the photo was taken by Jeremy Stoner, a.k.a. "Lil' Obama" in downtown San Francisco. Right on brother, fight the power, etc.

2 comments Monday, November 3, 2008

Don't forget to vote tomorrow kids!

0 comments Friday, October 31, 2008

Around here, that can only mean one thing: it's time to groove to Tibia and the Fibias doin' The Mummy, from the greatest Rankin/Bass creation of them all, 1967's Mad Monster Party.

1 comments Thursday, October 30, 2008

Corey Maggette scored 27 points with 8 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal in his debut game as a Warrior last night… Baron who? Give that man a drink!

0 comments Monday, October 27, 2008

Vinnie Stigma for President! Part 3

1 comments Friday, October 24, 2008

Living in the Bay Area for 20 years now, I've known that Burning Man is lame for quite some time, and Hitler? Well, everyone knows that guy was lame, so this is perfect. Prepare to laugh your ass off.

4 comments Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ah, Night Flight. Where would the disenfranchised youth of the mid-80’s have been without ye? As any former punk rocker my age will be all too happy to tell you, seeing bands we actually liked on TV was virtually impossible back in the day. Sure, there were some exceptions, like Fear on Saturday Night Live in 1981, but they were isolated incidents. Then USA Network came up with Night Flight, which, while still about 80% square, did turn me on to everyone from Text Department and Cabaret Voltaire to Kick Axe and Madame X. It was a free for all to be sure, but it was our free for all, and we watched it religiously. When I think back on it these days, one band always comes to mind immediately: Yello. So for this weeks edition of New Wave Wednesday, I salute these Swiss nutballs who, lead by deep voiced millionaire industrialist Dieter Meier, sure knew how to made a video. With a look and sound all their own, I must admit I was a fan of these guys, and thanks to the miracle of blogger.com, you can be too, albeit 25 years later.

2 comments Monday, October 20, 2008

Vinnie Stigma for President! Part 2

0 comments Friday, October 17, 2008

Who else would use kids with firearms to sell cars? Works for me!

0 comments Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sooner or later, I had to get around to this classic track by The Vapors. I guess for many, these guys were a “one hit wonder” if there ever was one, but considering that they only existed for less than three years, it’s kind of amazing that they are remembered at all. Co-managed by Paul Weller’s father John and Jam bassist Bruce Foxton, they certainly aligned themselves with people who could do them a lot of good, especially in the early 80’s UK, and their LP New Clear Days is a really strong debut. Unfortunately they fizzled out in 1981 after the release of their much-darker sophomore LP Magnets. Ah, fame, such a fleeting, fickle mistress, but at least we’ll always have Turning Japanese...

0 comments Monday, October 13, 2008

Vinnie Stigma for President! Part 1

5 comments Thursday, October 9, 2008

...this is what I was doing. I drew this flyer too, I think it's one of my best, or at very least, one of the most entertaining. The Huskers certainly got a kick out of it anyway.

0 comments Wednesday, October 8, 2008

In honor of longtime Gearhead contributor Big Nate's 40th birthday today, this week there was only one real choice for New Wave Wednesday: The Paul Collins Beat. Nate has been a cheerleader for this band, and all Power Pop really, since the day I met him back in 1995. This song is an anthem for him, because it really does capture both the innocence and angst that this genre strives to accomplish. I never knew that these guys appeared on American Bandstand until You Tube came along, but I bet ol' Nate caught this the first time around because it made such an impression on his then teenage eardrums. Happy Birthday "El Nato" - here's to 40 more.

0 comments Monday, October 6, 2008

Check this out, we’ve wanted to do an event at the 3 Clubs for almost as long as Gearhead Magazine has existed, but you know how these things are, the stars have to line up just right. Well, after doing a piece on the movie Brittown for our upcoming issue, Gearhead contributor #1 Darv Teare decided that they should have an LA screening of the film, and it all just fell into place. Co-sponsored by our pals at DicE, and featuring an amazing raffle and more cool giveaways than you could swing a severed clutch cable at, I will personally be spinning records between the screening at 7, the rockin’ set by Smiling Face Down at 9, and on into the night for as long as I can stay conscious. Be there or be… well, you know the rest.

0 comments Friday, October 3, 2008

Damn, I wanted this to be my 100th post, but it looks like it’s coming in at 103. Oh well, I guess I have a lot to say… which is what this particular post is all about anyway. From time to time I’ve been interviewed for various people and publications, most notably I suppose for Mad Fabricators Volume 5, the trailer for which you can see above (and you can buy right here) but never by the likes of this guy: one Mr. Jason Pettigrew.

Now Jason and I go back a long way, back to the glory (gory?) days of the early 80’s, the era that I’m obviously very nostalgic about. He played a pivotal role in getting me away from Molly Hatchet and into The Damned, and I owe him for that, I really do. In later years I relocated to the West coast and he to Cleveland, where for the last Christ knows how many years, he’s been the Editor in Chief at Alternative Press, which is like The Bible for the so-called “kids.” Between their pages you will find more info than you could image about every band that’s ever graced a Warped Tour stage, but the real action happens on Jason’s blog. There, he has the freedom to vent, expel the demons, bitch about his perceived injustices… basically be himself! A few weeks back, he started a new series called Killer Born Man about people “whose work I've enjoyed to individuals whose lives may have significantly intersected with mine to people who I just think are cool as hell” and I’m proud to say that I was chosen as his very first “subject.” You can check it out right here kids, enjoy.

0 comments Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Well, you can only do a weekly post entitled “New Wave Wednesdays” for so long before this day inevitably arrives… I hinted at it last week, but now it really is time for some B-52’s. They are, with the possible exception of Devo, the band that most people think of first when the term ‘new wave’ was getting thrown around anyway, so we may as well give ‘em some love. That’s not too hard to do of course, especially when you focus on their early years, where they actually were breaking ground. Sure, they became a goofy parody of themselves, but check out Cindy Wilson just going for it in this performance from 1980, until it suddenly cuts off anyway. It doesn’t make me want to dance, but it does make me want to get a bat and hunt down the jocks that made fun of us for liking this… ahem, I digress, but anyway… enjoy.

0 comments Monday, September 29, 2008

Wow, what an amazing event we witnessed yesterday. Scarlett James, who I’m sure many of you read about in Gearhead #17, is a very special girl who has Rett Syndrome. Never ones to be discouraged, Scarlett’s parents Bob and Rosa remain determined that she has everything that a girl her age should, and their most recent unselfish act of bravery and kindness included throwing her a full blown Quinceañera for her 15th birthday. Being of Italian and Croatian decent, I’d never heard of a Quince años celebration, but I sure am glad we were invited. After a short ceremony, where Alex and Suzie Gambino were officially made Scarlett’s Godparents, the party really began. It was a great celebration in the truest sense of the word… and the tamales were the best ever! Here is a short clip of the festivities, where you can see Alex hoofin’ it with Rosa and her mom to the sounds of their favorite local Mariachi band… again, what a day.

I’d like to thank Bob and Rosa for inviting us to something so special. It’s like Rosa says “There is the family you have, and then there’s the family you make” and me and Greta are honored and privileged to be a part of theirs. If you want to find out more about Scarlett and Rett Syndrome, check out her MySpace page right here, you’ll be glad you did.

0 comments Sunday, September 28, 2008

Billetproof '08 Recap, last post. Speaking of youth, meet Zeke. He is the seven year old son of our old friends Arlene and Danny, who many of you know from The Nads. Zeke, who actually is named after the band, is sure to be the envy of every kid, Hell every person that he meets, ‘cause it’s not everyone who has a Dirty Donny Coffinlid skateboard autographed by James Hetfield, Cole Foster and Steve Caballero. Again, with kids this hip at his age on the planet, we’ve got nothing to worry about.

3 comments Saturday, September 27, 2008

Billetproof '08 Recap, Pt. 5. You know, a lot of people my age, and virtually everybody from the generation older than mine, sure do like to complain about “the kids today.” “Those Goddamned kids” you’ll frequently hear them saying, “have no damn ambition” or whatever they feel like bitching about at that particular moment. But I’m here to tell you folks that we have nothing to worry about. Just look at this crew from Sacramento, made up of the fez wearin’ Will Hall, Anna, Kurtis, and sometimes Gearhead contributor Rob aka D.A. Zomber. This fun loving (and obviously hard drinkin’) car-crazed crew obviously have things under control. So relax already Gramps! Sheesh…

1 comments Friday, September 26, 2008

Billetproof '08 Recap, Pt. 4. Speaking of artists, one of the many highlites of our trip to the Primer Nats was meeting the charismatic and extremely talented artist that goes by the boozy moniker 3 Sheets. Now I know the goods when I see ‘em, and this guy’s stuff was so good, it had me reaching for my wallet, which, trust me on this folks, doesn’t happen often. We hit it off instantly, then our boy from Bakersfield said he was making his first trip to a Nor. Cal car show (namely Billetproof) so we made plans to hang out as much as one can when you are trying to run a booth. When we did eventually bump into each other, he laid this thoroughly amazing Gearhead sign on me… what a pal! Look for a story on him in the pages of Gearhead in the not-to-distant future, and for the time being, be sure and check out his stuff right here, I’m sure you’ll dig it.

0 comments Thursday, September 25, 2008

Billetproof '08 Recap, Pt. 3. Since Steve at AB Supply painted our show table (which was cartoonishly documented for the whole world to see in Gearhead #16) I’ve had people that I admire sign it. So far we have Mercury Charlie, Keith Weesner, Gene Winfield, Dennis Roth, Cole Foster, Rod Powell, and now artist/all around great guy Bruce Gossett. Never content to simply sign anything, this smokin’ bong on wheels that he drew should have been in (or on) every locker in America in 1976, but alas it’s 2008, so we’ll just have to enjoy it here. There is plenty of Bruce to go around though, click here to get started…

0 comments Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yep, I’m taking a break from New Wave for a week because… well, just because you can’t see Roger Miret and the Disasters on a Sunday, then post like a B-52’s video 3 days later, it just can’t be done. Next week I’ll be back with more stuff that you would have been beaten up for liking back in 1982, but for this week, lets focus on those that DID the beating!

For three solid releases now, Roger and his band have been delivering their straight-up brand of simple & melodic rock and roll, which is of course called Street Punk these days, but whatever you want to call it, it’s just plain good. This track from 2005 is called “Riot, Riot, Riot” and comes from the Disasters second LP, 1984. As Roger himself explains it, Agnostic Front and everything they represent is his life, but this band and these specific songs deal with the time before hardcore took over, hence his homage’s to The Clash, Ramones etc. So here’s to that time in life when a whole new world is opening up all around you, and you’re just fighting to find your place in it. I can certainly relate to that, and I hope you can too.

0 comments Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Billetproof ‘08 Recap, Pt. 2. If you know me, you know I love 3 species of animals: Rats, kangaroos and bull terriers, not necessarily in that order. I’m not sure who owned Zephyr, who is actually a miniature bully, but I’m pretty sure it was one of the Koffins CC. At any rate, this is the best dog I’ve seen since… well, since the last time I saw a bull terrier at the Road Zombies picnic back in June.

My goals in life are simple: 1) Get a new (old) car, 2) Buy a house, 3) Own a bull terrier. I already have the best gal, so if I can just pull off the other three, I’ll die one happy S.O.B.

0 comments Monday, September 22, 2008

Billetproof ‘08 Recap, Pt. 1. This is what it’s really all about. Here we see the heroic Cole Foster, builder of more iconic bikes and cars than you can shake a camshaft at, just coolin’ with Skoty Chops, the best of the younger builders on the scene. No egos, no competition, just two guys taking a second to acknowledge their mutual respect. In a way, it reminds me of the old punk days when… wait, we are all still punk rockers and always will be. Sure we grow up, but the attitude and values are still there, and thank God (or Buddha or Lemmy, just insert whoever or whatever you worship here) for that.

0 comments Sunday, September 21, 2008

Damn, what a weekend! First Billetproof Saturday, then the Dirty Devil “Race to Hell” tour pulled into SF on Sunday. Dirty Devil is my old friend Roger Miret’s clothing company that he does through Lucky 13, and this tour, which also features the Lower Class Brats and Throwrag, was the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: 1) Shoot Roger for the cover of Gearhead #18, and 2) finally see Roger Miret and the Disasters. I don’t know why I’ve never seen them before (it could have something to do with the fact that I haven’t been to a show in 2 and half years) but that’s all been corrected now. It was “old home week” let me tell ya, hell, even Sammytown showed up and it was great to see him too. The stories of circa-1984 flowed like cheap wine, I really wish you all could have been there.

For more info on this tour, which is going on through October 2nd (and is vaguely co-sponsored by Gearhead Magazine) go right here. Oh, and if you want to buy one of these shirts, those you can get right here. See you in the pit!

1 comments Saturday, September 20, 2008

While it would be nothing short than an exercise in total futility to try and rank the 12 Billetproof shows from top to bottom, 2008 would absolutely have to go right near the top of the proverbial heap. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have Cole Foster signing his new book (co-written by yours truly) in your booth, which pretty much guarantees that a who’s who of car show celebs will be passing through all day. I’ll be posting more pics all throughout the week… Oh yeah, if you want a signed and numbered edition of the book for yourself, they are available right here.

0 comments Friday, September 19, 2008

Yes brothers and sisters, after what seemed like an eternity, followed by a comedy of further delays, the Cole Foster books are finally here. Which of course means that Cole will be signing copies in the Gearhead booth tomorrow at Billetproof as scheduled. He’ll be signing at noon and 2, stop by and say “hey” if you’re in Nor. Cal. OK, gotta pack… more later.

0 comments Wednesday, September 17, 2008

When I first heard Killing Joke in 1982 or so, they already had three great LP’s out (Killing Joke, What’s THIS For…!, and Revelations) so Fire Dances, the 4th LP and name of the track in the video above, was MY K-Joke record, if you know what I mean. Despite spinning this disc dozens (possibly hundreds) of times in 1983, I didn’t know that this video existed until two days ago. I wonder if I would have played it as much if I had any idea what they looked like? Seriously, the music is much tougher than the image portrayed, in fact I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that it’s wildly disproportionate. I’m not sure what they were going for, but… wow. Enjoy?

0 comments Monday, September 15, 2008

It’s hard to believe that a guy with so much energy and ambition is 50 years young, but believe it of not, our boy Alex Gambino turned the big 5-0 last weekend. An elaborate and clandestine surprise party was planed by his wife Suzie, and it actually remained a surprise for Alex right up to the last moment – a small miracle considering that everybody in the known universe seemed to know about it. A good time was truly had by all, but no one had a better time than Mr. Gambino himself, as witnessed by this photograph. Congratulations pal, here’s to the next 50… cheers!

5 comments Friday, September 12, 2008

On my recent trip to Pittsburgh, I finally drug the huge box of flyers that I left there when I moved to California in 1988 back with me. OK, so I knew that everything in there was at least 20 years old, but what surprised me was how far back before my time it went, back to the original Pittsburgh punk era, roughly 1978 through 1982. I forgot that many of the first generation “punkers” ––Bill Bored and Reid Paley come to mind instantly–– laid their collections on me at some point, so that along with me keeping nearly everything from my own era (1983-88) it's a great collection that I ended up with.

The fact that many of us, from Tom Scott to Jeff Lamm to myself, went to art school, I humbly submit that the flyers for shows in Pittsburgh are among the best ever made. Just look at this forgotten 1984 gem by Paul Bucciarelli… I mean, no big deal, just another Cynics gig right? But look at the Goddamned flyer, it’s a freakin’ masterpiece! For years I’ve been entertaining the idea of writing a book about the Pittsburgh punk scene, and this box of 8 1/2 x 11 inch Xeroxed greatness just added a whole lot of fuel to that fire… Stay tuned, I’ll be posting a lot more in weeks to come.

0 comments Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Now here is an interesting band if there ever was one, who sometimes reside in the “did they really exist?” category. Well friends, from 1978 through 1983, the Suburban Lawns did exist, and thanks to New Wave Theatre, here is the proof. Fronted by Su Tissue –who was sometimes described as “the female Ian Curtis” largely because of her stoic stage presence I’d imagine– they left behind a small but interesting discography… and if Su looks familiar to you, it’s probably because she played Peggy Dillman opposite Melanie Griffith in the cult classic Something Wild. See, you learn something new every day…

1 comments Monday, September 8, 2008

One day last year while I was shopping at the new Nob Hill Foods in Alameda, I found myself doing something that I've done from time to time since the early 80’s: checking to see if they still make one of the greatest foods of all time, Carnation Breakfast Bars. Never being one to rise early (a recently discovered report card shows that I was tardy 28 times in my senior year alone) these things were perfect for a kid trying to eat something as he was running for a school bus. I came to love these crunchy little bars, and I still miss them badly, certainly enough to search for them as I was doing on this particular day. But after my hundredth or so disappointment over several decades, this time I did something that I never did before: looked them up on the Internet. Well, it just goes to show that no matter what you’re into, there is always someone way, WAY more into it, because the first thing I found was this post on Dan Goodsell’s blog. Now Dan is the co-author of Krazy Kids Food (Taschen, 2003) so you know he knows his stuff, but could even he have been prepared for the endless barrage of comments from people all over America who also missed these things on a regular basis? Just how badly do people still crave them you ask? Believe it or not, an actual petition to Nestle USA (who own Carnation) has been created, that you can sign right here, and I hope you do. Because if you ever tasted even one of these delicious lil’ babies, you’d know why we would do just about anything to bring them back. Damn.

0 comments Friday, September 5, 2008

Medium Cool – ‘nuff said!
The final episode of The Prisoner
Long Gone John hitch-hiking to Altamont
The Monkees in Head
The MC5 in general

1 comments Wednesday, September 3, 2008

OK, here is a goddamned gem if there ever was one: Klark Kent playing “Don’t Care” live on a UK TV show circa 1978! I have loved this song since I got a hold of the genius A&M Records sampler No Wave in about 1980… or maybe it was 1981 but it was definitely one of the first “new wave” records I ever owned, along with the soundtracks to Urgh! A Music War and of course Times Square. And yes, that masked man is Stewart Copeland, much better known as the drummer of The Police, but for my money, Ol' Stew should have stuck with these guys. “If you don’t like my arrogance you can suck my socks!” – G-RATED GENIUS!

2 comments Monday, September 1, 2008

Monday the first saw us getting out of the Safari Inn in Burbank just before checkout, but in plenty of time to meet Sandy and Verne from the Choppers for lunch at the lovely Coral Café. After that we made a quick stop at Sandy’s to see the new hot rod he’s building… and to check out his other impressive collections of course, the highlite of which had to be this original Revell Perri the Squirrel model kit – well done pal.

After that, it was off to the place with too many names: Soaplant a.k.a. Wacko a.k.a. La Luz De Jesus Gallery for our annual ad trade/buyout blowout extravaganza. You can work up a real appetite there, but luckily it’s right near the House of Pies, which… well, I’ll let the photo speak for itself.

I wasn’t about to hit the road without a few drinks in me, and since we were right there on Los Feliz, it seemed like it was a good chance to finally check out The Bigfoot Lodge. We got there right after it opened, and what luck – it was both Metal night and craft night. I know what you’re thinking (what the…?) but somehow, Anthrax and crafts go together better than you might imagine. Of course these were no ordinary crafts, tonight was "voodoo doll night" for instance, and they provided everything you needed to make a really sweet (or evil) one. They also had these little churches you could decorate and then assemble, so I made a Gene Simmons cathedral, which seemed to go over really well with the locals. If you’ve never been to this place, all I can saw is: go! The décor is pure Yogi the Bear meets Smokey the Bear kitsch, but it totally works. Plus, c’mon, heavy metal and crafts, and that’s just what they do on Mondays.

We eventually pried ourselves off the barstools and made our way out of there, but had to make one more stop at that most iconic of places in North Hollywood, Circus Liquors. We got there right at dusk, just as the massive 3 story tall neon clown sign was lighting up, perfect. Has anyone ever had a bad time in LA? We hope to make it back soon, but for now it’s back to the Bay Area and real life…

0 comments Sunday, August 31, 2008

Day two of the Primer Nats and even more after parties, but for us there could be only one destination: The grand opening of Dan Collin’s new shop, Old Gold Garage. Conveniently located right there in Ventura, the shop is much more than just that, as it also features a store, a showroom, and on this day rockabilly bands playing on a trailer and a portable BBQ set up that easily fed every hungry SOB that showed up! Of course we are talking about Dan Collins here, who does nothing half assed. Just look at his artwork, his tattoos and of course his customs… it stands to reason that Old Gold would be a first class operation. I don’t wanna do TMZ’s job for them, but I gotta report that this lil’ shindig was truly a kustom kulture who’s who if there ever was one. Rather than run a list that would shame other events, let’s just focus on this picture, shall we? I pointed out to Dan that having tattoo legend and Beatniks Car Club founder Jack Rudy show up at your place is kinda like having ol’ Jesus himself come off the cross to give you his blessing, and he didn’t disagree… and yes that’s Verne of the Burbank Choppers iconic ’34 that Jack is sitting on. I think that perfectly sums up the quality of rides and those that built ‘em in attendance, sometimes you just gotta love living in California.

0 comments Saturday, August 30, 2008

Based entirely on the insistence of Piero (aka Evel) of Mad Fabricators Society fame, I made my (somewhat) dramatic return the So. Cal's biggest traditional Rod & Kustom show, the Primer Nationals. We got a late start and missed a lot of the first days action, but this show is all about the entire weekend, not just what happens at the Ventura Fairgrounds… case in point, the awesome BBQ at Kiwi Kev’s house/garage/museum and the DicE Magazine party that was at a bar that I couldn’t find again if I tried, which is all part of the fun of course. I do remember meeting the swell kids from Australia that do Deadbeat magazine that night, and as is the case with virtually everyone I’ve ever met from down under, we got along famously. And speaking of our host Piero, yes the picture is of his recently completed hot rod the Live Wire – a showstopper in any decade. Thank you for lighting a fire under my ass pal, it was a blast.

0 comments Friday, August 29, 2008

Pittsburgh PA, Day 7: Exhausted (read: hung over) from last nights debauchery, my last day in the ‘Burg consisted of trying to wake up, and making sure that I caught my plane back to Cali… not necessarily in that order. The other all important thing was getting in that last meal-you-can-only-get-in-Pittsburgh, and when you’re staying in Swissvale, that can only mean one place: The Triangle baby! They have two sizes there, The Destroyer (enough for a few people) and The Battleship (feeds a small army) plus all the ice-cold Iron City beer you can pound down while you eat your sandwich, one that would throw any native Californian into a state of disbelief. Here we see Beato and Spahr heroically taking one for the team shortly before my rendezvous with Southwest airlines. Rest assured, I’ll be dreaming about this place until my next trip home. See yunz later, I’ll be home in Oakland for about 12 hours before heading off to Ventura for The Primer Nationals

2 comments Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pittsburgh PA, Day 6: My last day in Da Burg started by wrapping things up in Herminie before heading back to the big city with my boy Spahr, who has been my main hometown host since the early 90’s. There was a quick trip to see Bill Boichel and a mandatory stop at Primanti Bros. for a quick bite before hitting The Tiki Lounge, where Spahr DJ’s every Wednesday night. This place has been open for a few years now, and I gotta say it is quite spectacular. If it was located in the Bay Area, or anywhere in California for that matter, there would be lines around the block to get in anytime it was open. But this is Pittsburgh, PA we are talking about here, so the only way to guarantee a good crowd anywhere at anytime is that ol’ Pixburgh stand by: metal night.

We let everyone I hadn’t seen yet know I’d be there, but the actual turn out was way beyond any expectation I had, the biggest surprise being artist and former Half Life singer Jeff Lamm driving in the whole way from Ohio, where he is now a proud member of the Akron Police Dept. Then guitarist Vince Curtis stopped in after practicing with a new band he’s doing with ‘Burg legend Sam Matthews (Whereabouts, Radio Hanoi, 96 Tears, The Bats, Bbronk, etc.) so it ended up being a mini Half Life reunion, the first time we’ve all been together since 2003. Our not-so-little drummer boy Damon was out on the road with his band Don Caballero, but the evening was beefed up by the presence of both our former roadies, Dan Allen and Brian Corley. So 5 out of the 6 of us that did the seemingly endless 1987 US tour together all in one place wasn’t too shabby if I say so myself. Of course if it wasn’t for meeting Tim Yohannan on that tour, I might never have moved to San Francisco in the first place, which brings this little tale full circle, ‘cause I’m heading back tomorrow. Bottoms up!

0 comments Wednesday, August 27, 2008

While I’m in Pittsburgh, I wanted to post something relevant, but sadly no footage of The Cardboards, Dress Up As Natives or The Five has been uncovered. So I decided to go with this old chestnut: The Dickies cover of Black Sabbath's “Paranoid.”

In 1980 on one of my very first trips to Jim’s Records in Bloomfield with Jason Pettigrew and whoever he could talk into to driving us, I picked up a used copy of The Incredible Shrinking Dickies on banana yellow vinyl for $3. Back then, Jim’s was a goddamned treasure trove of used punk records, and if you went with 15 or 20 dollars, you would leave with a whole bag of pure punk rock dynamite that would cost a fortune today... if you could even find them. I’m not sure why The Dickies LP jumped out at me, but when I got it home, I was sure glad I bought it. A few years earlier when I was in 8th grade, Black Sabbath were my favorite band, and I’ll never forget being blown away by the Dickies version of “Paranoid.” How could they play that fast? Of course soon I would be hearing bands like Adrenalin O.D. and The Neos and realizing that this isn’t really all that fast, but it is still one of the all-time greats.

0 comments Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pittsburgh PA, Day 5: I moved to the Bay Area (first San Francisco, and then Alameda before finally settling in Oakland) exactly twenty years ago this month. So when I visit Pennsylvania, my time is always split between seeing my family in rural Westmorland County, and my friends in Pittsburgh. Depending on what was going on, there could be a real “tug of war” for my time, and I generally leave the Commonwealth more exhausted than when I arrived. In short, “going home” isn’t ever really a vacation, but more of a mad scramble to try and get it all in. But I think my infamous Aunt Toots has figured out a sure-fire way to keep me at her place: have her dogs sit on me.

When her beloved dog Maggie died awhile back, she and my Uncle Sam decided to get a pair Beagle puppies named Sally and Annie to go with their birds, four cats, and I’m not sure what else… chickens I think. Upon arriving at their place, the dogs make less of a fuss than you might think, but they are clever because within a few minutes, you find yourself in the position you see me in here – trapped under a whole lotta beagle, in this case Annie. Obviously I eventually managed to free myself (or I wouldn’t be typing this now) but I think it took a few people to get me out from under there. I guess I should mention at this juncture that I’ve never owned a dog or spent any time at all around them really, which only added to my Aunts amusement I’m sure. I’ll admit that they are sweet, but for the time being, I’m sticking with my rats.

0 comments Monday, August 25, 2008

Pittsburgh PA, Day 4: At some point today when I was going through boxes of old stuff and enjoying a delicious ice cold Straub, my mom asked me if I wanted the “old bottles” that my Grandfather had put on top of his gun cabinet sometime before he died in 1970. Let me tell you friends, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw the two collectable bottles of George Dickel Tennessee Whisky that had been quietly sitting there for 38 years! Now anyone who knows me at all (or has been reading this blog for that matter) knows that Dickel is my brand, but I swear I had no idea that it was my late Grandfather Anthony LaVella’s as well! More than a mere coincidence, it was like getting a great gift from beyond the grave, and the fact that the bottles commemorated the distilleries re-opening in 1964, which just so happens to be the year of my birth, was downright eerie. I gotta remember to get back home more often…

0 comments Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pittsburgh PA, Day 3: One of the best days of any given year is the day I get to spend with my Godson Anthony. I was there on August 9th 1994 when he was born, and I got to hold him when he 20 minutes old. For a guy with no kids of his own, that was a really big deal for me, and luckily we took a shine to each other right from the get go. When he was younger, “Michael-Anthony day” often consisted of doing things like building a dam on the creek that runs near my Mom’s house in Herminie, and in later years evolved into taking him to see Lords of Dogtown and whatnot. But this year will certainly go down as the most memorable day yet, as it marked my return to riding dirt bikes after (gasp!) 28 years.

From 1978 through 1982 I pretty much lived on a dirt bike, weather permitting. It was nothing for me and my friends to ride for 12 straight hours on a summer day, but when I moved to Pittsburgh in January of 1983, we sold my 1979 Honda XR 185 and that was pretty much the end of that. Punk rock and publishing have kept me pretty busy in the almost three decades since, but I was more than ready to hit the trails once again… or so I thought. The recently purchased Hondas were up for anything, but was I? Beato warned me that it isn’t exactly like riding a bicycle, that is you can forget plenty, and considering that we were riding on the slate dumps high above Adamsburg PA, easily break your neck. I have to admit that my confidence was a bit shaken when I saw that first massive hill climb, pile of rocks and/or tree stump on the narrow paths, and the ever present cliffs that one false move would have you flying right off of.

Look carefully at the ground in the picture of Anthony above. In Pennsylvania, at least where we grew up, you don’t ride on dirt but on the massive mountains of slate that were left behind after the coalmines closed down two generations ago. So for the first half hour or so, all I did was eat Anthony’s dust as I worked to regain my self-assurance, but sure enough it all came back. I forgot that riding a motorcycle at high speeds through the woods or over piles of slate is a very Zen-like experience, you have to just trust your abilities and know that the bike can do anything, you just have to handle it right… and be in the right gear of course. Yep, I’m happy to report that within an hour your boy MLV was hitting the jumps and hill climbs like no time had past at all. I don’t know if it was muscle memory, the aforementioned Zen thing, or the very real fear of looking uncool in front of my Godson, but it all came back, and I had one of the best times I’ve had in years.

About the only other thing I forgot about was the ever-present jagger bushes (ouch!) but I never laid it down once, and I would ride everyday if I could, but unfortunately I’ve yet to see a slate dump in Oakland. I’m already looking forward to next year…

0 comments Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pittsburgh PA, Day 2:
For my cousin Beato and his family, it’s another wildly successful garlic party in the record books. This annual backyard bash of his is getting so big that we’ll soon have to think of Greensburg PA as “Lil’ Gilroy.” Besides the normal cast of characters made up of our family and his golf buddies (one of whom brought no less than 6 boxes of premium cigars – thanks pal!) my sister and her family drove up from Florida and like the saying goes, a great time was had by all. It’s hard to pick out just one memorable moment, but in the context of Gearhead, the car that Maurice Zaffina of Zaffina’s Distributing in Scottsdale PA showed up in has to be the highlite. This rollin’ can of Stroh’s was something to behold, right down to the beer tap hood ornament. Gives the term “Shotgun!” a whole new meaning! Next year I’ll drag race him in my Dickelmobile, personal fortune pending.

0 comments Friday, August 22, 2008

Pittsburgh PA, Day 1: Like the Bay Area, Pittsburgh is a place that is always full or surprises. Sure I did the first 23 years of my life there, but there’s still always something new to see, or perhaps more importantly, somewhere new to eat. Case in point, when I saw the episode of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives where Guy heads to Blawnox, PA to a place called The Starlite Lounge that I had never heard of, I immediately knew I had to check it out for myself. I wrangled Spahr and Frankie the Wop, my two pals in Da Burg who are up for absolute anything, to take me out there, and I’m really glad I did. Who knew that the owner, the charismatic man simply known as Moondog, would not only hang with us, but also personally cook us up a batch of his trademark pierogies? In a classic case of “it’s a small world” it ends up that we had people in common, had been to a bunch of the same shows an ‘nat, and generally where like twin brothers from different mothers. The huge and intimidating Breakfast Burger and aforementioned pierogies really got my system prepared for my cousin Beato’s annual garlic festival that is coming up tomorrow. More later, indigestion permitting.

0 comments Thursday, August 21, 2008

Well folks, I’m off to that mythical, magical land of my birth (Pittsburgh, PA) for the next week, and since these trips always stir up a lot of nostalgia in me, here is a commercial from my youth that I’m sure many of you will remember, or at least wish that you did! I never did get these dolls, because whenever I could string a few bucks together I would always buy a Kiss LP instead, 'cause it was always all about the music for me. Of course now based on 2008 EBay prices, I definitely made the wrong choice, but then why have these “twelve and a half inch figures” if they didn’t have a soundtrack to rock out to? I'm always a dollar short, in that way some things never change…

1 comments Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pretty much all through the 70’s, the first thing I did when I got home from school was turn on The Mike Douglas show. Sometimes the rewards for such loyalty were huge: John Lennon, Edgar Winter, Ted Nugent, Kiss, etc., while other times you got Starbuck or Nick Gilder. But what a treat the folks who tuned in on this day got! Not only did you see The Raspberries performing their smash hit “Go All The Way,” you got to see them interact with none other than Billie Jean King and Joe Namath, and lucky for us someone had the presence of mind to tape it.

This song was really a hot topic of debate back in the day, in fact I remember that my neighbor Ken Soles insisted that the lyrics were “Oh my God Susie’s screwing me, with a hole in her stocking and a hole in her knee” while the actual words are “Before her love I was cruel and mean, I had a hole in the place where my heart should have been.” Oh well, chalk that up to a horny pre-teen imagination – at least he got the word “hole” right. Enjoy.

0 comments Monday, August 18, 2008

I’ve been listening to The Raspberries quite a bit lately, especially the genius Fresh Raspberries LP from 1972, so I was stoked when I found this sticker of their Barris-built “Raspberries Rolls” when I was cleaning up the office this weekend. According to the back, an "A & E Rolls Royce kit was used for a grille, front and rear fenders, and all lights.” It goes on to say that “the interior is covered with berry-red acrilan fur and has a quadrasonic music system.” Most intriguing though, it that it says that it is now available as a Revell model (!?) Does anyone have one of those? Also, I can’t help but wonder where the car is today… I mean, I’d like to think that it’s still Eric Carmen’s daily driver, but that’s probably not the case. That’s a bummer, but at least the music they made never was.

1 comments Friday, August 15, 2008

Fruit of the Tomb
Chock Full o’ Nuts and Bolts
Hawaiian Punks

0 comments Wednesday, August 13, 2008

OK, I guess technically these London lads were Power Pop, but with those haircuts, skinny ties and tight trousers, we’re going to take some liberties here and lump ‘em under the “New Wave” banner – Hey, if Seymour Stein can do that, so can I. Catchy as hell and memorable as well, it’s the jam of the week… the week it was released in 1979 or any.

0 comments Monday, August 11, 2008

Another fantastic Pride of the Champ show is in the record books, and if you live in Northern California and missed it – shame on you! Of course if you were at The Saints 10 Year Anniversary picnic in Marin you have a good excuse… fact is, we all would have loved to make both events, and next year we’ll all do our best to make sure these shows don’t happen on top of each other. That aside, we still had a great time and the winner of the first ever Gearhead “Punk Rod” award was none other than Nick of The Koffins CC. At only 26, Pocket Nick totally embodies the spirit of what this whole thing is a about – a young guy taking 5 years to build his ride from scratch, and what a ride his ’31 Model A pick up is! I didn’t know it at the time, but it was also Rolfe’s choice for Best of Show in the “lowbrow” section at the Cow Palace show back in January, so I guess we're in good company. See you all next year…

1 comments Friday, August 8, 2008

For the first time ever, Gearhead Magazine will be giving out a prestigious “Punk Rod” award to some lucky builder at this years Pride of the Champ show tomorrow (August 9th) in Antioch California. Designed by long time friend o’ Gearhead Bill Silveira, this trophy perfectly captures the spirit of the award, which is that something beautiful and functional can be made of rust! For more details about the show, which promises to be even greater than last years, visit Blazen 7’s My Space page, and we'll see you all there… who knows, you just might be driving home with this lil’ gem, you lucky bastard.

2 comments Wednesday, August 6, 2008

1) Times Square (1980)
What’s not to love? Two young runaway girls form a band and take on the establishment, all with the help of mister Rocky Horror himself, Tim Curry! Back in the day, this soundtrack was considered a MUST OWN, with songs by The Ramones, Pretenders, Talking Heads, XTC, The Ruts, The Cure, Gary Numan, Patti Smith and Roxy Music…plus a few that Robert Stigwood, still hot from producing Saturday Night Fever, snuck onto the double LP. I had the 8 track and let it play for days on end...

2) Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains (1981)
I actually feel bad for those who have never seen this cult classic, that stars Diane Lane and Laura Dern as vaguely punk chicks who form a group and steal songs from a band that just happens to be made up of Cook and Jones from the Sex Pistols and Paul Simonon from the Clash! The Tubes and Black Randy also appear in this nearly forgotten masterpiece… so start counting down the days until September 16th when Rhino Home Video is finally releasing this gem. Whew!

3) Breaking Glass (1980)
Hazel O’Conner plays Kate, a gal that won’t let anything stop her from achieving pop stardom, not even a full-blown (and extremely real looking) skinhead riot! Blink and you’ll miss a genius cameo by The Damned’s Rat Scabies.

4) Out of the Blue (1980)
Dennis Hopper of all people directed this film about a young Elvis and punk rock obsessed girl who is messed up by her truck-driving father (also played by Hopper) who years earlier wiped out a busload of kids (in Halloween costumes no less) and is now getting out of prison. Worth seeing just for the fact that genius Canadian pop-punk band The Pointed Sticks do several songs (sorta) live.

5) Fear No Evil (1981)
If you’re wondering what this typical “introverted high school student finds out he’s the Antichrist” B-grade horror flick has to do with punk rock, just check out the soundtrack. It’s probably the best one ever assembled for any movie.

0 comments Monday, August 4, 2008

One can only wonder what beer-drenched, punk rock, lucha libre, hot rod mayhem will occur at this years Pride of the Champ car show... I guess you'll all just have to come on out to the Antioch Fairgrounds this Saturday (August 9th) and see for yourselves.

1 comments Friday, August 1, 2008

35 Years later, she's still my Daytona Demon!

0 comments Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Long before he was knighted for his charity work or staring in Pink Floyd movies, Bob Geldof was apparently one wacky guy. Seen here with his band The Boomtown Rats in the very over-the-top video for “Elephant’s Graveyard” – the standout track on 1981’s Mondo Bongo LP – it’s nice to know that he didn’t always take things so seriously. We can all take a lesson from that, and I gotta say that for a bunch of guys from Dún Laoghaire Ireland, they pull off a pretty good California Beach Party / Monster B movie parody. Enjoy.