Denim Dudes is a cool new book by Amy Leverton that profiles many of the top designers and innovators in the denim world. The photography is stunning, shot around the globe, as it tracks down denim gurus in the US, UK, Europe, Japan, and Australia. There are definitely some friendly, familiar faces. Like Donwan Harrell of PRPS, King of Japanese denim, and the first to bring it to the US years ago. Dude is world renowned as a leading authority on denim and washes. I was blown away that Donwan chose to wear the Blackbird jean made from 14oz raw Japanese denim that we collaborated on for The Selvedge Yard a few years back. It was truly humbling to crack the cover and see Donwan Harrell proudly wearing our jean. Damn. Thank you.
In 1966, Santa Pod Raceway was humbly born on an old, unused WWII English air base, RAF Podington. It has since become the fastest all-asphalt dragstrip in the world, and home of several legendary world land speed records. The following photographs are from the very first bike meet back in 1967, a few of which were published at that time in Drag Racing & Hot Rod magazine. There are several sick bikes, like Les Field’s 4638cc Sunbeam/Chevy powered beast, and the ‘Strip-Teaser’ twin 2T Villiers sprinter below. All photos by Derek Harvey who originally shared them with VMCC Sprint. Check these out.
‘Strip-Teaser’ twin-engined 2T Villiers sprinter motorcycle (R. Perkins)
Unknown Triumph motorcycle DCS2 – (K. power)
THE ONE MOTORCYCLE SHOW
Over 100+ custom bikes from all over the world. Motorcycle inspired art, 21 Helmets exhibition, music, food and drinks. An all out good time. Come join us!
Feb. 13th-14th- 15th
831 SE Salmon St. Portland, ORE 97214 (new location!)
1976, The Runaways — Lita Ford, Joan Jett, Jackie Fox, Sandy West, Cherie Currie — photo by Tom Gold
The Runaways teenage, all-female rock band was co-founded in 1975 by guitarist Joan Jett and drummer Sandy West. The two were joined by Cherie Currie, Lita Ford, and Jackie Fox and became the main core of the group. Vicki Blue, Micki Steele (who’d later join The Bangles), Peggy Foster, and Laurie McAllister also flowed in as others dropped-out, and they eventually broke up in 1979. The Runaways actually saw greater success in Japan than here in the US, where many critics and serious rock fans alike had a hard time taking the sexy teenage girls from LA seriously. Their mania and memory largely slipped into a slumber until being sparked again by the 2010 biographical flick, The Runaways.
Being a child of the ’70s & ’80s I was aware of The Runaways, but was exposed more to TV than the live music scene. Suzi Quatro (who inspired Jett) was riding a wave of curiously sexy, somewhat androgynous, lady rocker vibe and saw decent TV airtime. I’ll admit, I was intrigued. Pinky Tuscadero definitely had my attention too. Then Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Lita Ford (now a pursed-lipped, metal guitar goddess), shot back into the rock limelight wiser, and with stronger musical chops. Looking back at The Runaways, one thing I’ll say is that they were well-merchandised, as witnessed by the great archive of images that have successfully survived the test of time.
1957 – Elvis Presley poses beside a Christmas tree in his home in Memphis, Tennesee. When Elvis recorded a cover of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas, it made him livid, and he launched a campaign to have it banned from radio airplay. Berlin despised Elvis, and felt that he was degrading the song, which held a very personal and painful meaning for him, long kept secret.
Iron & Glory stainless steel flask custom diamond-engraved for The Selvedge Yard, $40. Order HERE
Richard Brandt is one fired-up, driven dude. Talking to him about his new venture, I could hardly get a word in edgewise. The former co-founder of Izola recently teamed-up with Creative Director Marnin Schwartz to launch their Brooklyn born brand Iron & Glory. As Richie tells it, the inspiration behind Iron & Glory is deeply rooted in their love of moto-culture, craft, & tradition. Both his grandfathers rode motorcycles, and it’s been a family thing ever since. In fact, a year or two ago Richie’s dad surprised the hell outta him by pulling out a few old black & white photos of Richie’s mom that he’d never seen before. Back in 1967 the young couple were on the road, and Richie’s dad spotted this motley crew of bikers on the side of the road and immediately pulled over. Somehow he talked these guys into an impromptu photo shoot, much to his wife’s surprise. That steely look in her eyes… it’s equal parts fear and loathing.
Josh Kurpius talks about how he got into photography, metal-smithing, and building his very first bike — a ’77 Harley-Davidson Ironhead called The Locust. For him it was all about learning hands-on, in the moment, being intentionally self-reliant, and discovering where it takes you. Sometimes it’s more about the journey than the destination.
For me, Bettie Page & Bunny Yeager epitomize iconic American pinup photography. Not just of the 1950s… Ever. In 1954, Bettie Page was working with Irving Klaw in NYC and decided a break was in order, so she headed south to Miami for relaxation and fun in the sun. That’s when fate struck. Bettie met Bunny, and the rest is pinup history. Bettie Page never looked better than in the capable hands of Bunny Yeager (herself a former model) who arguably shot the best and most famous images of the black-banged beauty– like the epic Jungle Girl shoot (shot at the Africa USA safari Park in Boca Raton), and the game-changing image of Bettie posing nude in a Santa cap for Playboy magazine in 1955.
“When I first saw Bettie in the nude, I was pleasantly surprised; she looked great. She walked into the room on tippy-toes, like she was wearing high heels, which made her look taller and more natural at the same time. The first thing I noticed was that for some reason when she was nude, she did not seem naked. I had never seen anyone with an allover tan and she looked like the perfect doll or mannequin. Bettie was a true nudist and maintained her glorious golden olive color by sunning herself everyday. She would lie on the banks of the miami River. Maybe it was her tan, or maybe it was her attitude– she seemed completely at ease.” –Bunny Yeager, excerpt from Bettie Page, Queen of Curves
Pulsating Paula tapped TSY with her eye-popping photographic archive of the New Jersey bike and tattoo crowd she shot back in the ’80s & ’90s. These images speak of authenticity, grit, and good times. Looking at these raw, honest shots what speaks to me is that life itself is f’ing good, if you have the nuts to truly go out and live it. It’s not the stuff. You need to show up, be authentic, truly appreciate family & friends, where you are and what you have. When you do that you realize you have all you need.
“Born in Jersey City. Moved to New Brunswick when I was 8. Got married to my first lay in 1973. 10 years later he bought me a camera, a Canon AE1. I still have it. Started taking photos of biker parties and tattoo events. Sent them into ‘Biker Lifestyle’ magazine who later Paisano publications took over. They came out with ‘Tattoo’ magazine first of it’s kind ever. Between the Biker and Tattoo magazines I had thousands of photos published. The 10 minute set up of my photography studio consisted of 2 flood lights that burnt the shit out of any poor person in front of them, and a 6×9 foot black cloth I got from Kmart that was tacked onto a wall. Never considered myself professional ever. I just loved doing it with every fiber in my body. I know the wonderful people I met and places I been in this journey will live on forever in my photographs. I’m so glad I was there with you.” –Paula Reardon (aka Pulsating Paula)
The new Limited Edition TSY x Jen Mussari T-shirt collaboration paying homage to Bill Ray’s iconic, unpublished 1965 LIFE photo essay. It’s meant to convey the spirit of brotherhood & unity among riders with our positive spin on FTW = “Fare Thee Well” – as it’s about how riding frees you body and soul, and wishing good tidings to all! So whether you’re a Choppahead, cafe fan, on a CB350, super-bike, Sportster, or whatever– just do your thing with a smile on your face.
Jen Mussari’s amazing original “Fare Thee Well” artwork
American Apparel | 100% cotton T-shirt | made in USA | Awesome Dudes Printing