"I have no idea when the new Gearhead with me and Roger Miret on the cover will be out!” Well you can finally relax Alex, it’s at the printers now…
Again we fall back to the glory days of UK punk for our next entry, The Ruts. Formed in Southall, West London in 1978, their career was tragically cut short when singer Malcolm Owen died of an overdose in 1980, although they did go without him foe awhile as Ruts D.C. They did manage to release one brilliant LP called The Crack, which is easily as pivotal and important as Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols, although you probably won’t be hearing Anthrax or Megadeth covering their songs anytime soon. No matter, The Ruts were hugely influential on the whole DC punk scene in the 80’s, in fact it was a young, still in Government Issue Jay Robbins that turned me on to them in the mid-80’s, sometime before Dag Nasty famously covered “Staring at the Rude Boys.” This video is for the track “Something That I Said” which is just about as perfect a song as has ever been written in any genre. It has everything, the melody, the big hook… and that’s why it still sounds great today.
And what a fine game it was! My infamous cousin Beato got into town just in time to get over to Roaracle to see The Warriors easily knock off the Philadelphia 76’ers, despite the fact that they are right in the mix for the playoffs in the East while our bloodied but unbowed b-ball boys have been mathematically elimined from the post season. You’d never know it from this game though; they played ‘em so tough. Hopefully this event will be the first step in weaning Beato away from those other “N” leagues (NFL, NHL) but somehow I doubt it… unless of course they bring back the Pittsburgh Pipers!
Every so often, my beloved NBA team the Golden State Warriors have these "Road Game Viewer Parties" at various spots around the Bay Area during the regular season. I'd never checked one out before, but I always wanted to as they feature great prizes (tickets to games, autographed basketballs, etc.) and, perhaps more importantly, The Warrior Girls! So imagine my surprise when I heard that one was being held tonight at Tiki Tom's, a bar that is ONE BLOCK FROM MY HOUSE! No way I was going to miss it, and I gotta say that even though I couldn't get anyone to go with me, it was a blast. Yes sir, that's me with none other than Team Caption Alexis, who, along with the very charming Leah, hung out with me for longer than I could have ever imagined... I guess that despite my rapidly advancing age, I can still hold my own in the talking department anyway, which is good to know. Go Dubs!
Ah, the letter “Q.” I knew that this would be a tough one, but lucky for us, for the past 27 years The Queers have roamed the earth in one form or another. I was hoping to unearth some early footage from the legendary ‘82-84 line-up featuring original singer Wimpy, but alas, all my searching turned up nothing before the band reformed with guitarist Joe King (Get it? Jok-ing?) at the helm in 1990. So what the hell, here is the video for perhaps their best-known song “Punk Rock Girls.” I picked this because I was actually there at the Trocadero in S.F. in 1996 when this was filmed, and I have nothing but good memories from that whole era, so there you go.
Interesting 90’s punk rock footnote: This was not the only punk video shoot that I just happened to be at. I was also at Gilman when NOFX made the video for “Stickin’ In My Eye” but pretty much all I remember was how pissed off Fat Mike was at Eric Sandin for pushing that piano off the stage, because it was a rental! In hindsight, I wonder what Mike thought he was going to do with it? I mean, he couldn’t play it, obviously he was thinking about smashing it… but I digress. I used to hang around with those guys a lot back then, in fact I actually sing on the White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean LP. Don’t believe me? Check the liner notes punky.
Labels: Top 5
What a simple but effective stroke of marketing genius. You can almost hear the conversation at the Serta, Inc. board meeting...
First Guy: “Well boys, we’ve got a lot of mattresses to sell.”
Second guy: “Who is the sexiest broad on earth?”
First guy: “Joey Heatherton, hands down.”
Second guy: “Let’s get her then, whatever it costs”
CEO: “Good job boys, 10% raises across the board.”
To this day, whenever I think about a mattress for any reason, I also think about Joey Heatherton. Talk about a successful advertising campaign… damn.
Perhaps the greatest marriage of pure power pop and punk rock energy ever, Vancouver B.C.’s The Pointed Sticks are definitely one of my favorite bands. Although they existed for a relatively short time (1978 to 1981) they did manage to record quite a bit, and although their vinyl releases were hunted down to near extinction, in recent years everything (and more!) is available again through Sudden Death records. You can’t go wrong with anything they’ve ever done, but if you’ve never heard them before, the compilation Waiting For the Real Thing is a great place to start... and of course who could forget their performance in Dennis Hopper's cult classic Out of the Blue? If you haven't seen that, trust me it's worth checking out as well.
These guys have actually been playing again on and off since 2006, and are reportedly releasing an LP of new material in June. I normally run away from reunions of anyone from the “wheelchair and iron lung” set, but since it’s these guys, I’m actually keeping an ear out for it.
Did you really think that if I posted a picture of two busty beauties one day, that a picture of a shirtless fat guy wasn’t right behind it? Seriously now, another successful benefit for Scarlett has come and gone, and once again I can’t think of a better way to spend my time and money… even if it meant flying halfway across the country just to be there. This year was especially rowdy and rightly so, especially with situations like Rich of Blazen 7 saying things like “I’ll strip right now for 40 bucks!” Now normally you might not expect that to get a stampede of people with fistfuls of twenty dollar bills running to the stage, but remember, all the proceeds go to Scarlett and to raise money for Rett Syndrome in general, so in this club packed full of big hearted people, anything can happen… and often does. It's always great to see plenty of old friends, and new ones like Nicky the Barber making the scene as well.
I gotta say that the bands were all really good this year, especially the unfortunately named Mofo Party Band from Fresno, CA. These guys are easily one of the most powerful and energetic blues bands I’ve ever seen, so maybe we should hold a contest to get them a better name or something! If you ever see that they are playing anywhere near you, don’t miss them, bad name notwithstanding. You’ll be glad you went, take that from me, a guy recently diagnosed as “near agoraphobic” (by my friend Lee anyway.) I’m already looking forward to next years event, and I plan on getting even more involved in the future. It’s a great feeling to know that your efforts are actually making a difference, and that’s a feeling that’s too good to keep to oneself.
Today could honestly be classified as a “whirlwind” as I woke up in Ann Arbor, hopped a plane in Detroit to San Francisco, attended the 3rd annual Scarlett Fever, then finally hit the sack in Oakland. I’ll be back tomorrow with a little wrap up of this most excellent event, but for now, I’ll just give you people what you want… boobs! Yes friends (or should I say fiends?) whenever Asia and Greta get together, it is nothing short of a pure celebration of chesticles… aren’t you glad I always have a camera on me?
My old pal Jon Clark, who is officially known around these parts as “the guy who saved Gearhead” (although that is a story for a different time) proved to be one hell of a host! In less than two hours, he took me through the entire show (stopping just long enough to take this photo of me with the legendary Norm Grabowski) then proceeded to drive me on tour of Detroit that included the original home of Motown Records, the Highland Park Ford plant where the first Model T rolled off the line in 1913, and the giant tigers of Comerica Park, all before treating me to a “Coney Island” at The Lafayette….whew! By the way, that’s Jon’s A-100 Dodge van in the post from 3/5, and I should mention that it won First Place in the “Conservative Van” category. Not bad for it’s first show!
Although I spent most of my time in the ol Acme/Gearhead/No Fun booth, (where I did end up signing lots of autographs – thanks for the luv Detroit!) I also managed to meet artists like Tuck, the boys behind Lowbrow Customs, and to behold the genius that is Speedcult! These guys can make ANYTHING out of scrap metal, and if you don’t believe me, just witness the sheer brilliance of the Crapmaster 3000! A combination magazine/toilet paper holder that no respectable bathroom should be without! I was so impressed by it that I had to donate a set of Gearhead mags to their display one, although I still wonder if any tome is worthy of this magnificent invention! I’d like to thank my new friends Matt and Brenda Pomroy for making my visit to this huge and visually overwhelming booth a very memorable experience. Damn, I wish I had more time here in the Motor City, but Scarlett Fever is tomorrow and in just a few short years it has become the ultimate “be there or be sorry” event in the Bay Area. I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll be back in Detroit much sooner than later though… I mean, now that I’ve witnessed just some of what this town has to offer, how could I ever stay away?
I also want to mention that this post marks the one-year anniversary of LaVella-blog! and I gotta say that doing it has been a fairly fascinating experience. I’m still figuring out what type of content most people are interested in seeing, but based on the feedback (actual comments on this blog and the ones I’ve gotten in real life) it really is a mixed bag, so I suppose I’ll just keep posting a combination of what I’ve been doing mixed with things that I find entertaining. 165 posts in my first year ain’t bad, that averages out to a little more than three a week...and to think that ol’ Jer was worried that I wouldn’t keep up with it after he helped me set it up. Yes, I had help! I’m 44 years old people, I still think that color television is an amazing new invention. Anyway, thanks for reading.
I’m not sure what I expected to see in Detroit, but any notion I had that California car builders are somehow “ahead” of what’s going on in the kustom kulture world quickly disappeared after one quick look around. I could (easily) write a hundred different posts about a hundred different cars because the amount of creativity and skill that I saw laid out before me at Cobo Hall was truly inspiring. My erstwhile “tour guide” around the layout of this brave new land was Jason Poirier from the Detroit chapter of the Road Devils. Yes, this is a peak under of the hood of his immaculate 1955 Pontiac Chieftain, and like the title of this post promised, they really are doing amazing stuff with louvers here! I was thankful (to say the least) that Jason took the time to introduce me not only to his club, but to the members of the local chapters of The Poor Boys, The Rumblers and the Deadbeats, to name but a few. He did such a damn fine job (and kept the Black Label flowin’ all day) that I felt compelled to make a name tag proclaiming him “The coolest fuckin’ guy in Detroit.” Much to my surprise, he actually wore it. Stay in touch pal!
Well, here I am at the birthplace of the two things I love the most: 1) Rock and Roll (as we know it, MC5, Stooges, etc.) and 2) The Automobile. I haven’t been here since 1987 when Half Life played at the Graystone, and now all I can do is wonder why I haven’t been back sooner. Why? Because this place rules! Detroit is obviously ground zero of all things cool, from Motown to Dodge Main, from Funkadelic to The Pistons. One quick look around is all it took for me to realize that this is the only other place outside of California that I could do Gearhead from. In other words, this town lacks nothing. It has the cars, the builders, the clubs, the artists, the tattoo parlors, the garage bands, the venues… if it wasn’t for this crazy thing called “snow” that people kept warning me about, I’d have thought I landed in paradise. Like my beloved Oakland, this town gets a bad rap, but hey, it’s all about attitude, and this place has plenty of that.
I’m here because of my friend Nina who owns Acme Mercantile in nearby Ann Arbor. Long story short, she went to the Autorama last year and noticed that no one was selling Gearhead. Seeing an opportunity to right a great, great wrong, she took it upon herself to make sure that Gearhead was in fact a presence at Autorama in the most obvious way possible, by flying me in! To complete the picture, she also invited Claudia from No Fun Records to share the booth with us – and what a booth it is! Between Nina’s Rat Fink-heavy store stock, all the Gearhead Magazines and Apparel, and the No Fun discography, we got a winner here folks. Thanks Nina, I owe you one. I’ll keep you updated daily from here until I once again go West…
I’m gonna keep this short because I’m on my way to Detroit, and besides I’m sure that most anyone reading this is already familiar with The Only Ones, and their best known jam “Another Girl, Another Planet.” This video however is a different story, I didn’t even know that it existed until very recently, so I thought I’d post it for all of “yunz “ (as they say in Pittsburgh) to enjoy.
Well folks, I'm off to Detroit for the Autorama. I'll be in the Acme Mercantile booth, where you'll be able to buy Gearhead Magazines and related apparel, right alongside all of the great stuff they always have in stock. We'll have copies of the Cole Foster and Robert Williams books I co-authored there as well, so if you're planning on attending the mother of all car shows, plan on swinging by the Acme booth and saying "Hey, when is the new Gearhead out?" I'll actually have a good answer for you!
It is once again time for the benefit show that is actually the best party of the year! Many of you read about Scarlett Fever in issue #17 of Gearhead, but for those of you that didn’t, it is a annual event held at the DNA Lounge (375 Eleventh St. in San Francisco) that benefits Miss Scarlett, the 15 year old daughter of Road Lords CC president Bob James who has Rett Syndrome. This year’s event will be hosted by Asia Devinyl, and feature performances by The Del Bombers, Three Bad Jacks, Mofo Party Band, Stigma 13, Not For Not and the Faraway Boys. There will be a raffle with lots of great stuff donated by everyone from Mike Ness to Cole Foster, and plenty of rods & customs parked right out on 11th street. Co-sponsored by our pals at Gambino Customs and Gearhead Magazine ('natch) a good time is guaranteed to be had by all, and of course it’s for a great, great cause. Plenty more info on Scarlett and the event can be found right here. And yes, I will make it back from the Detroit Autorama in time to attend, so see you there!