Friday, December 31, 2010
Beer, from the Rogues MC in The Netherlands, sent me the photo below. He's not sure if either he or his Brother Schweik shot it, but it's a photo of Phil Ross and Lou Falcigno (C&L Hog Shop), taken in Sturgis by one of them, during the 1990 50th Anniversary. Lou was another faithful user of Phil's belt drives.
Beer didn't give a location, but it looks like it's at the Rat's Hole Show, in City Park. Beer thinks it might have been the same day that the photo of Phil and Rip I posted below may have been taken. Good possibility. Thanks Beer! Check out the Rogues' blog, too:
Again, it never ceases to amaze me on who reads this blog. Anybody else who would like to share other photos, background info, or remembrances on things I've posted here are more than welcome to contact me, I love this stuff, and thank you all!
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Nick Gravanites is a living legend in the blues. A pivotal member of the Chicago blues scene, as well as a shaper of a lot of the "San Francisco Sound" of the '60's, Gravanites has written songs for everybody from Paul Butterfield to Janis Joplin. Nick has produced, written for, and played on over 50 albums in his career. A co-founding member, along with Mike Bloomfield and Buddy Miles, of the Electric Flag, writer of the soundtracks for The Trip, and Steelyard Blues, and a band member of Big Brother & The Holding Co. after Janis Joplin left.
This is a clip of Nick Gravanites that I found by accident on YouTube, from Nov. 1980. Gravanites is paired up here with the "guitarist's guitarist", John Cipollina, a founding member of the seminal Frisco band Quicksilver Messenger Service. A big fan of Cipollina's body of work, I had never seen him playing slide guitar in the manner he is here. Unfortunately, John Cipollina died of emphysema (a condition he battled from his youth) on May 29, 1989. Turn up the volume, and listen and watch two musicians play their hearts out.....
Gravanites finished writing Buried Alive In The Blues in the studio while the band recorded the other tracks. The Full Tilt Boogie Band had laid down the musical tracks for Gravanites' Buried Alive, and Janis was to lay down the vocals for it, as well as Me And Bobbie Magee on Sat. Oct. 3rd. Janis did finish Me And Bobbie Magee's vocals, but she was tired from a full day in the studio, and she'd been drinking on top of a little "taste" of heroin she'd done in the afternoon. After listening to the music tracks for Buried Alive late in the evening, she decided to head back to the Landmark Hotel, where she and some of the band were staying, and do her vocals on the next day. Lots of artists if they were recording at Sunset Sound Studio (which Joplin was) would stay at the Landmark, because it was close, and relatively quiet.
Janis went up to her room (#105), and shot up more of the heroin she had, went back down to the lobby, asked for change for the cigarette machine, got a pack of smokes, and went back up to her room after talking to the desk clerk for a while. She sat on the edge of her bed, slumped forward towards the floor, hit her mouth on the nightstand on the way down, and died of an overdose around 2:00 am on Oct. 4th. Her body wasn't discovered until 18 hrs. later, when band member John Cook was leaving at 7:30 pm with a couple roadies to head down to Sunset Sound. Cook noticed Janis' car still parked in the lot, got a pass key from the desk, and went into her room. The connection for her heroin it's said, was responsible for 6-8 other OD deaths that same weekend, because he didn't bother to "step on" his new shipment - it was 50-80% pure. Janis was one of the unlucky ones. Fuck.
Buried Alive In The Blues appears on Pearl, but only the musical track is heard, Janis never getting to record any vocals at all. The Landmark Hotel has since changed its name to the Highland Gardens, but it's still at 7047 Franklin in Hollywood, and yes, you can stay in her room, #105, if you wish.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
A little while ago, I approached Street Chopper Editor Jeff Holt about the possibility of myself doing an article on Phil Ross, and Super Max Belt Drives. Jeff said "ABSOLUTELY!". With that go-ahead, I contacted Vyvyan Ross again, and asked her if it was something that she'd like to do, and Vyvyan said "Oh, that sounds like a lot of fun! I'd love to do it!".
So, on our way back from The Mooneyes Christmas Party and David Mann Chopfest, Part-timer Steve and I took the long way home, and made a couple stops. Heading out Monday on I-10, we first stopped in Phoenix, to see an old friend of Steve's, and a guy Steve introduced me to in Sturgis, Dougie. From there we headed up I-17 to Cottonwood, to spend the night.
The next morning, we met Vyvyan Ross for breakfast "downtown", and afterwards, followed her up to her house/shop where Phil and she had spent many years together. Inside, Vyvyan had carted out four big bins, and I don't know how many albums of Phil's photos, from his time in the Air force, all the way up until he had passed away last year. We poured over the photos, played "Do you know who this is?", and as we looked, Vyvyan recounted countless stories (some I can print, others best left for Vyvyan to share with you if she wishes sometime) about both she and Phil. It was a wonderful time that I'll never forget.
Photo courtesy of Vyvyan Ross
One of the hundreds of pictures we poured over that day. Here's Phil and Rip Rose, of Ridin' With Rip fame, around 1990. I have Rip's lathe, that's the one I've posted about on here previously. I sent this photo to Rip's daughter Kristina, and she shot back "I still have that Tshirt....and that camera!". Phil knew everybody, and everybody knew Phil.
Photo courtesy of Vyvyan Ross
My "Holy Grail". It was a 61 tooth......I need a 66 tooth. I really want to use one of Phil's rear pulleys on my Born Free III build, I may have to have Vyvyan re-tooth my solid pulley. I haven't given up hope yet, though. If you know of a Super Max pulley exactly like the one above, in 66 tooth, let me know......
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
This is Clip 1 of T-Rod and Gene (his sidecar "monkey") building the rig as they are being interviewed. I saw this rig's frame in person finished into a roller last weekend, this thing is going to kick some serious ass come March next year. You can see Clips 2-6 of the interview by going here:
This was the episode where Jesse decided to use a crew of midgets to fit a turbocharged 'busa engine in that little car. Fortunately, Jesse realized that one of these guys could kill himself in the car when it was finished, so he called off the project.
Radio, Radio was an extremely critical song about the state of the recording and radio industry, and the leverage they imposed on what artists could or couldn't release for airplay. NBC, the network for SNL and holding vast radio stations, and Columbia Records forbid Costello from playing Radio, Radio that night. Costello, feeling that this was exactly what he was trying to get across with this song, agreed. That was, he agreed until airtime......
When their segment came up on SNL, Elvis Costello and The Attractions started in with the requested Less Than Zero, but Elvis waived his hands and said "Stop, stop, there's no need to do this song here....", and launched (much like The Doors did with Light My Fire on Ed Sullivan) into Radio, Radio. Being a live program, there wasn't anything SNL could do, but let it go on.
For that disregard on Costello's part, Loren Michaels banned Elvis Costello from SNL for life, citing that the ban was because Costello had tampered with the scheduled air time SNL was allowed, and caused the program to run over its allotted time slot. Others say the ban was because Costello thumbed his nose at Columbia and NBC, who knows.
Elvis Costello's lifetime ban on SNL was eventually lifted 12 years later, in 1989, only one of three SNL performers banned to ever have that happen. Costello performed on SNL in '89, '91, and re-enacted his banned performance with the Beastie Boys on SNL's 25th Anniversary show in '99, with the blessing of Loren Michaels.
Cole and I were attending the Grand National Motorcycle show that same October, and somehow we got to talking about the article. Cole asked me if I had "gotten" the photo of him playing Hammett's guitar, and I said "Sure, you were doing your Elvis Costello...." Cole said "Wow, I wondered if it went over every body's heads".
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
If you want to catch up on the tale of the Psychedelic Love Temple (yes, the same Psychedelic Love Temple pictured in the Ed Roth/David Mann painting and poster), see my past blog posts for :
August 4, 2010
August 13, 2010
Again, many thanks to Doug B. and Steven Roby for passing this along to me. Don't stop now - if you have any info, photos, articles, personal accounts, whatever - big or small, pass them along, and I'll share them here.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
This is what was called in '73 the "new age" lineup of Canned Heat. Still The Bear, Fito de la Parra on drums, Henry "The Sunflower" Vestine on lead guitar was back in the band again, replacing Harvey "The Snake" Mandell, who replaced him (stay with me here...). Bass player Larry "The Mole" Taylor was out, do to one too many dustups (again) with Vestine. Replacing The Mole was Bob Hite's little brother Richard. Joel Scott Hill, who joined the band after Alan Wilson died, was out after flipping out on a Jesus guilt trip, and filling Hill's role in the band was Jimmy Shane (Hey Jimmy, long time no see! How are you?) Later on Ed Beyer joined up on keyboards.
Anyways, I think that this clip of Canned Heat was recorded right after the Montrose Music Festival, for some Dutch TV station. It sorta cuts off after Fito's drum solo, which sorta sucks. But, turn those speakers up LOUD, and boogie with Canned Heat. If you don't find yourself moving instantly when you hear these guys start rollin', check your pulse - you're probably dead!
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN....CANNED HEAT!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
........The letter inside the package read:
"Dear Gentleperson, The enclosed Hell's Angels jacket--about 1960's--is for the Smithsonian. It is an authentic jacket owned by Hairy Henry or Hank as he was more commonly called. Each patch bearing a man's name was worn in memoriam for his lost brothers. Hank has since passed away and I felt you were the appropriate entity to receive this jacket. The enclosed pictures represent the event that brought Hank & George into much public eye--Hank leading a freedom--Freedom NOW--march down Haight Street. All of this notwithstanding, the Smithsonian does seem to be the appropriate keeper of such a piece of America 1960's. I hope you share my belief and give this a place.
Sincerely, Roz Kot"
Photo by Gene Anthony
In December of '66, to ring in the New Year, the Mime Troop, and the Diggers decided to have an impromptu bit of street theatre to mark the ".......rebirth of The Haight, and the Death of Money". The Mime Troop decked themselves out in their theatre costumes, and carrying a wooden coffin containing some paper money, headed out on Haight Street from the Straight Theatre. As they picked up people along the way, the Diggers passed out penny whistles and small placards that read NOW to the gathering paraders.
Photo by Gene Anthony
As the crowd on Haight was starting to settle down, who would come along but Hairy Henry Kot, with his exhaust blasting off the buildings, backfiring, and with Phyllis Willner riding on the back of his bike shouting "FREEEEEEEEEEE......" at the top of her lungs. The cops, thinking somebody should pay for a good time after they had settled things down, pulled Hairy Henry over, and charged him with "...allowing a person to stand up while operating a motor vehicle".
Photo by Gene Anthony
Subsequent to the traffic bust, the Cops found out Hairy Henry, recently released from San Quentin, was in violation of his parole. They immediately arrested him. Chocolate George, seeing this, also immediately dove into the middle of the whole fracas to free his Brother, and was arrested as well.
As the two Angels were being hauled off to the Park Police Station, on the edge of Golden Gate Park, the Mime Troop and the Diggers passed the word to the crowd to head west and rally at the Police Station and attempt to "free" George and Henry, which everybody did.
The crowd heading West for the Park Police station. Note the Christmas decorations on the lamp poles.
Photo by Gene Anthony
When the crowd of several hundred reached the Park Police Station, the desk sergeant sent word out to the crowd that the bail for Chocolate George and Hairy Henry had been set at $2,500 , and if they could raise 10%, the Angels would be out. Immediately, the hats were passed, and everybody (including the cops at the door of the station) threw in what they could spare, and the bail was posted. George was let go right away, but Hairy Henry spent a little more time in the lockup because of the parole violation beef.
The then President of the Frisco Charter, Pete Knell, overwhelmed by the support and generosity of the hippies towards Chocolate George and Hairy Henry, told them that he would not forget what happened. And, to show their thanks, the Frisco Hells Angels threw a party on New Years Day '67 - "The New Years Day Wail" in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park for everyone in The Haight. The Frisco Charter provided a flatbed truck, the sound system, all the beer, and the Grateful Dead for everybody's enjoyment.
DID YOU KNOW......that anybody who wishes to, can donate anything they want to the Smithsonian? The Smithsonian accepts any type of "Americana" for posterity. It might not go on exhibit, but it gets cataloged and stored/preserved forever, for future generations.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
It actually was a '47 chassis, with a '54 body, and it had the original paint. I mean, you just have to love those clamshell fenders, and the bifold hood that was hinged down the middle. About 5 minutes work, and the whole hood would come off. When I got the truck, the flat 6 was seized up. A friend totaled his Pontiac, and I was able to get the 326 and Muncie M22 "Rockcrusher" 4 speed out of it. A foot long driveshaft let the transmission connect to the original transfer case, and we were in business. The Pontiac oil pan let me hook up the original 14,000 lb. Braden power takeoff winch. That thing was a killer if you weren't careful. It would spool in and out under power, so you had better have it hooked to something solid when it started pulling!
The suspension was all original - 14 leaf springs in the front, and 23 leaf springs in the back. The wheels were Budd Army 16", with 5 lug nuts you needed an 1 1/2" socket to loosen. The axles were 4:53's, not so good on gas mileage, but this thing would climb up and over anything you pointed it at. It would go over and through rocks, sand, snow, mud, logs, whatever was in the way. Only drawback was that it had "Armstrong" steering, but it had a steering wheel that was the size of a Peterbilt to compensate. It had a 40 gal. gas tank, and you could head out on the jeep trails and mining roads all weekend long.
The windshield had a crank on the dashboard that let you open the whole windshield out about half-way for ventilation. The bench seat would fold open, and there was a big storage compartment underneath it. The truck had two heaters inside, one for the cab, and one just for the window defrosters. It sounded like a Sherman tank inside the cab but it was glorious. People would move out of the way when you came down an onramp, and when you pulled up behind somebody on the freeway, getting them to move over was never a problem!
I sure miss this truck, and I wish it was parked in the driveway right now.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
While CJ has been as "serious" as any person could be, there's another side of CJ that some people don't see. He likes to tell you "To know me is to love me", and that's true. Because, under that gruff exterior is, well.....a gruff interior! Nah, I'm just kidding (?). CJ has a heart as big as all get out, but don't spread that around. If you're his Brother, or his friend, there isn't anything he wouldn't do for you, and I love the guy dearly.
I thought it would be fun to get in the Wayback Machine, and take a look at a small sampling of what CJ has done over the years that made it into print. I've had these photos scanned into my computer for quite a while, and I had a little time this afternoon to put it all together. I hope you enjoy it....
CJ told me that after the shoot was over with at LBS, they wanted to get some road shots, so they took off down the PCH at about 100 mph, with Chris Bunch riding backwards on Tom Burke's (B&O Cycles) Honda 4 cylinder chop, with his feet hooked around the passenger pegs, shooting film. CJ says he's never seen those shots, though. That must have been quite the spectacle....
Here's CJ on the cover of the March '78 issue of Supercycle, with his then current version of his Knucklehead. This version is typical of the style of the era, and you'll note that this bike shares a lot of the same "look" and choice of components with other South Bay bikes like Dick Allen's Locomotion, and Joe Hurst's White Bear, for example.
Very cool assortment of parts on this build. The frame is stretched 3", and raked 1". Front end is 12" over, and sports Barney's slimline sliders (CJ still has the tooling for these). The seat came from SoCal Seats, and it sits on a CJ-manufactured fiberglass fender (the Maxi-Fender) and combination license plate mount/struts he marketed out of his shop Creative Cycle Engineering. The mufflers are XLCH tapers, and the rear wheel was a magnesium American 12 spoke equipped with a Performance Machine caliper and rotor. CJ did the setup on the American 12 spoke himself.
The other unusual aspect of this motor was the fact that CJ experimented with running "dry heads" on this engine. He blocked off the oilers to the heads, pruned out the rocker covers, and experimented with different alloys for the guides and seats to be self-lubricating. CJ was able to get a couple thousand miles out of these combinations, but it was just an experiment, and eventually he went back to the old oiling system again.
Pat Leahy has been the only person to ever work on CJ's engines and transmissions, and still does. And, speaking of Weber carbs on Harleys, here's an interesting sidenote. Not many people know that Pat Leahy and Dean Moon were good friends. It was Pat and Dean that worked together on finding the right combination of venturies and complex fuel metering circuits to allow the big two throat Webers to run successfully on Harleys. And, it was their friend Jerry Magnuson who cast up the Big Twin and Sporty manifolds for them.
This photo of CJ putting the final touches on some flames in the headpiece of one of his famous engraved Mag Lites. They're aren't too many of those big bodied Mag Lites out there with CJ's work on them. If you have one, consider yourself lucky. From an article in the April '90 issue of Easyriders magazine.
Not exactly American Gothic, but close enough! CJ, Robin, and his little daughter Jzena, at his spread in Devore, CA. These photos come from an article in the May '92 issue of Supercycle. If you look in the lower left, you'll see CJ still had the Knuckle, but it was supercharged by then, and sported a rear belt drive. CJ has promised me he'll send me the full photos of that version of his Knuck. CJ is seated on his main ride at the time - his Pat Leahy-built Shovel.