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.
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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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…
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.
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!
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…