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.
The Poor Boys CC of Sacramento, CA certainly know how to throw a party. Since 2004, the Midnight Mass has become one of thee “can’t miss” shows in Northern California, and they wear the fact that it’s been “5 years, 5 locations” as a badge of pride, as well they should. Who knows if this most punk rock of car shows was tossed out of it’s former locations or simply outgrew them? The truth is, probably both. But then who ever said that hot rodding was supposed to be safe? The “anything can happen” element of this show is exactly what makes it unique, and year after year more young greasers (like the heroic gentleman pictured above) show up than before, insuring that our little hobby/obsession is going to be around for a long, long time.
Look, I’m well aware of the fact that I might be the only person on earth that’s actually excited about this, but I can’t help it. I LOVE 70’s cop shows with a passion, and growing up, this was always one of my favorites. Cannon - Season One, Volume One (4 disc set released by Paramount on 7/8/08) recalls an era when you didn’t have to be good looking (or even able to walk, as was the case with Ironside) to star on a cop show. Brilliantly played by veteran actor William Conrad, Frank Cannon was a balding, pug-faced detective with a booming baritone voice and ample girth; in other words, he wasn’t hired to make the ladies swoon. Seeing this again after so many years, I found it interesting that they make no attempt to hide the aforementioned girth, in fact if anything they play it up. Case in point, in the pilot episode, a kid stops Cannon on the street and says “Hey mister, how did you get so fat?” Now I don’t know about you, but in 1971 I would have been beaten to within an inch of my life for saying that to a stranger, but in the world of Frank Cannon, he just pats his gut and says, “It wasn’t easy kid.” It's scenes like that and the fact that pretty much every time he walks they cue up a comical tuba riff (which is awesome of course) that make this show damn near a celebration of middle-aged male obesity.
So if you’re looking for lots of action, The Streets of San Francisco or Starsky & Hutch are probably a better bet, if only because the stars of those shows could actually run. And if it’s plot twists you crave, Mannix, Hawaii 5-0 and definitely Mission: Impossible had more creative writing, but there is something about seeing a fat guy armed only with a .38 snub nose and his trusty (and regularly totaled) Lincoln Mark IV take on… well, ANYBODY. Seriously, he thinks nothing of taking on the mob, crooked teamsters, and even evil rodeo clowns (seriously!) in his one-man quest for justice... and a big paycheck of course. Amazing.
When I “went punk” in 1981, it was like a whole new world opened up to me. Before there were clear lines drawn in the musical sands, I absorbed everything I could get my eyes (well, mostly ears back then) on, and XTC were definitely a favorite. 27 years later, I think they sound better than ever, and I’m still a fan of almost everything that front man Andy Partridge does. Here they are way back in September of 1978 with “Are You Receiving Me?” They don’t make ‘em like this anymore and that’s a shame, but they did have the presence of mind to do a video for this great non-LP track, which we can all sit back and enjoy right here.
One of the fringe benefits of being well known as a “Mopar guy” is that every once in awhile, someone will lay a genuine gem on you. Case in point, at this years Asphalt Invitational, I wasn’t there five minutes before respected builder/fabricator/goddamned mechanical genius Gordon of The Vultures CC handed me this vintage early 70’s Chrysler dealership coffee maker! This West Bend-built beauty bears the Mopar logo and the words Engine, Maintenance and Parts on the top half, over a cool stylized engine block… finally I have something to go with the Dodge Rebellion girl ashtray Darv gave me over a decade ago. The simple act of having coffee and cigarettes at Gearhead HQ has been raised to a whole new Penastar-approved level!
Seeing Flip last weekend reminded me that I haven’t shown off the Freddy Flameout tattoo that he did for me a few months ago yet. This is the best damn Weird-Oh I’ve ever seen rendered on anyone’s flesh! Look at the visor for instance, you get the impression that you can actually see through it. The guy is amazing, and his new shop is now open for business, so do yourself a favor and go see him at Eight's And Aces, 343 1/2 Soquel Avenue in Santa Cruz (95063.) Call them at 831-421-9394 – you’ll be glad you did.
New Wave Wednesdays Part one: Bow Wow Wow with their greatest track ever: C30, C60, C90, Go!
For the last 5 years running, the second weekend in July means it's time for the best traditional rod & custom get together in the East Bay: The Asphalt Invitational. Put on by J. Ward and The Vultures CC (with valuable assistance from Miss Helen and The Radiator Hoes) the show has a great “family & friends” vibe that I look forward to all year long. At one point during this years event, I realized that except for any of the Last Originals CC (we missed you Velez!) pretty much everyone featured in Gearhead #17 was there, so I smelled a photo op. Rich from the already-legendary Pride of the Champ show had unfortunately already split when beloved Gearhead-alumnus Mike Bumbeck snapped this pic, but Alex Gambino, POTC reigning champion (and Gearhead #17 cover boy – that’s him in the wrestling mask) stood in admirably. Clockwise from the top right we have my main-squeeze Greta who penned the Scarlett Fever article, Suzie Gambino, cover boy Guido Brenner eating a hot dog, Road Devils CC president (and Scarlett’s pop) Bob James, Flip of Dead Fast Design, MLV, Alex Gambino, Miss Scarlett herself, and last but never least, Rosa James, Scarlett’s remarkable mom. It’s probably corny to say it, but a great time was truly had by all. Of course there were some amazing cars there, so many in fact that we’re going to do a little feature on it Gearhead #18. More on that later…
A week ago last Thursday (on the 3rd of July) our pals at Garage Magazine threw a little shindig at the 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco celebrating the “Art of Kustom Kulture” or some such thing. It was a star-studded event to be sure, with the likes of Cole Foster, Alex Gambino, Bruce Gossett, Alan Forbes and Dirty Donny in attendance, just to name a few. The thing I was most looking forward to though was the inevitable WFC style “throw down” between Garage publisher Dan Stoner and Gearhead’s own art director extraordinaire Jeremy Stoner. For years Dan Stoner was apparently bothered by “this other guy named Stoner” who “suddenly popped up on the scene” and (without meeting him I might add) challenged him to a winner-take-all arm wrestling match to determine who could use the name Stoner in the Kustom Kulture publishing world. Now anyone who knows our boy Jeremy knows that when he isn’t getting paid to design up a storm, he lives at the damned gym. So I figured this thing was in the bag… but then again you never know, Dan spent time in Pennsylvania, which will toughen up any man. When I finally introduced them, their skeptical looks quickly turned into a hearty handshake, then colorful conversation and (dare I say it?) even a HUG. I guess if I wanna see blood, I gotta hang out with a different crowd, cause these guys are clearly too classy for their own good. Monster Truck show anyone?
Sure, they might not be as historically important, but the stuff that ex-Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook did right after their more infamous band self destructed in 1978 remains some of my favorite music ever made… in ANY genre. No political agenda, no frills at all really, just catchy and balls out rock 'n' roll the way I love it. This gem is from a 1980 single – watch it, learn it, LOVE IT.
I’m not sure how it all started exactly, but for the last year or so, I’ve hung on to every bottle of George Dickel Tennessee whisky that I polish off. I really have no idea why… perhaps it’s because I didn’t go to college and therefore was never in a frat, so I never got the chance to show the world how much I could drink. But for whatever reason, I more or less subconsciously kept them and built a new shelf every time 6 new bottles were empty. Then one day out of the blue, I looked at it and decided to take it down. I put the bottles out for the homeless guys that scour my Oakland neighborhood for these recyclable treasures, and now this picture is all that remains. Now if someone from the George Dickel distillery in Tullahoma, TN sees this and sends me a case or two – or better yet, decides that I would be a perfect spokesman for the company – then it certainly would have been a worthwhile project…
The next time you find yourself in one of those late night drunken “Who was better: The Stooges or MC5?” arguments, just say Funkadelic! It's the truth, and no one ever has a good comeback for it. Your welcome.
Speedo – The Cadillacs
Hide And Go Seek (Part 1) – Bunker Hill
You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover – Bo Diddley
It Ain't Whatcha Do– Little Richard
Bad Boy – The Jive Bombers
Rest in Peace Bo, you were the greatest