This little video from Imogene + Willie features Mike Wolfe of American Pickers and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys on some fine old American Iron. Lucky indeed. Looks like a helluva good time. Enjoy, it ends way too soon.
The One Motorcycle Show thrown by Thor Drake, Tori George and the rest of the gang at See See Motor Coffee, has become my favorite annual getaway. It’s the good-time, anti-corporate bike show– no crusty convention center, sterile brochures, cheesy models, cookie-cutter exhibits, or plastic smiles. Everyone is having a fucking blast, seeing old friends, meeting new, grabbing a coffee or a beer, and checking out the sea of cool bikes, photography, art, and of course the 21 Helmets exhibit.Ornamental Conifer’s handiwork x New Church Moto, Ginger McCabe’s bike Continue reading
It was such a pleasure finally meeting Buz Ras of Seattle Speedometer at The One Motorcycle Show in Portland, Oregon a couple weeks ago. Buz is the go-to guy when it comes to custom gauges, with many of the best builders out there tapping his shop, because the design, quality, and finish are top notch. For me, seeing the 12 custom speedos that he did for The One Show blew my mind. Lined up on his tidy table like little soldiers, each one was a beautiful work of art. I wanted to buy one on the spot, but they were all CB (Honda) speedos, great for display because of their big faces that really show-off his incredible work. After a couple drinks, a few hugs, and many laughs later we headed over to Sassy’s across from The One Show and kept the good times lubricated while we shot the shit about what he does.
TSY: So Buz, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer– but I couldn’t help noticing at The One Motorcycle Show that you are one tall drink of water, brother. I mean, how the fuck are you 6″10″ and allowed to profess that you hate sports? Ain’t nobody got time for that! Did they just tear your poor Dad up?
SS: My dad was an amazing basketball player in school, won awards. I played basketball for one season in high school. Fouled out of every game, and got ejected from 8 games. After that I decided I was not a sports guy. I kinda regret not pursuing it more because I could have made a ton of money with very little effort, but there’s no going back now…
TSY: (That’s what she said, Buz.) So have you always been a motorhead, Buz? Was this a natural career path for you, or did you just kinda fall into it?
SS: I’ve always loved motorized things. Taking stuff apart, seeing how it worked. I was going to go to college to be an engineer but I quickly learned its 95% paperwork, 5% actual building. So, I ended up with a degree in anthropology.
TSY: This is so interesting for me, because I’ve always been drawn to speedometers since I was a little kid. I remember walking up to cars and bikes and going straight to the speedo to get the critical 411. And I’d be so matter-of-fact in stating, “Yes, this Mercury Bobcat will do 150 mph. I know because it says so on the speedometer right there!” Funny, doesn’t quite work like that, but as a kid…. Anyway, how do you go from anthropology to speedometers?
Kind and patient persistence does pay off. Ann Simmons-Myers, the photographer behind these amazing images that follow, finally after 3 months agreed to allow TSY to publish her Biker series dating back from 1983-1985. It’s very close to her heart, understandably, and I’m so grateful to be able to share these with you now. Ann, thank you very much. And Corrina from LA, thank you as well. These images are just incredible glimpes of authentic “livin’ the life”, taken I believe in Tucson, Arizona– my hometown back in the ol’ school days.
Dr. D Madd’s .357, 1985 — Photograph © Ann Simmons-Myers
“Our ’65 Chevy low rider convertible, flying the colors of ZZ Top’s El Dorado Bar is solidly a Texas car yet, equally at home on the streets of LA, Fresno, or Bakersfield.” –Billy Gibbons. This pic of ZZ Top has it all, in my opinion. Just checkout that custom-built Texas state Gibson guitar! The band has acquired an enviable car collection over the years, and is out and about in the custom scene. “We attend the Mooneyes Festivals in California and Japan and always make the SoCal Speed Shop summer ‘Open House’ gathering. Always a terrific time. As far as clubs are concerned, we think of ZZ Top as one. We hang out, we shoot the breeze, we get down, we move on to the next town and, of course, it’s all about the arrival. Loud, low, while you Rock and Roll…!” –Billy Gibbons
“Dusty Hill, Frank Beard, and Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) playing the Senior Prom in May, 1970 at Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School in Orange, Texas. Apparently sometime between signing the contract and the actual prom itself, the band broke-out big. They tried to get out of the contract, but the school couldn’t find a replacement on such short notice so ZZ Top still performed…people were climbing through the windows, crashing the prom, just to hear the band play. This was all at a really small school with a graduating class of around 100, maybe less.” via
Milwaukee is the heart & soul of American Iron, and the builders there are often overshadowed by the big dogs on the East and West coasts. There’s a different edge to the Midwest scene. These guys don’t have the advantage of being in the lap of the media, and don’t seem to be the type to give a shit, actually. These guys are shop rats, toiling away in the dark, cold, solitude of winter with the will to out-design, out-build, and out-perform all comers. Now there’s a show to highlight the hardcore & headstrong talent of the Midwest–
“The Midwest guys, all winter they’ve been coming up with their own deal– and they’re kinda outside the loop a little bit. So that downtime that you have– it’s a chance that you can get pretty creative…You created something, and you’re riding it, and it might not be perfect– but it just really doesn’t get much better than that.” ~Noot (Charles City, IA)
Friend, Todd Blubaugh, is behind the camera chasing Steve Huff (former top fuel Harley-Davidson racer, land speed record holder, and custom bike builder) from the garage to the world’s fastest race tracks on his quest to claim more land speed records. Speed Freak highlights Huff’s massive racing brains and balls. His technical prowess and unnerving passion are equally matched– the perfect chemistry for creating timeless stories that speak to the indomitable human spirit and our hunger for adventure. I’d definitely be stoked to see this on-air as a television series as I just don’t see anything of this caliber out there.
“Racing is beautiful but it destroys men. Trying to capture the passion of land speed racing is like trying to catch a tornado. The men and women who make the year round sacrifice to race on the salt yield at NOTHING to beat their last record. But even under the pressure of the setting sun, I watched these people remain encouraging and thoughtful to one another no matter their status or reputation. There is a spirit of communion at this church of salt because everyone knows that the gods of speed lift some men up, but destroy others.
There is nothing like this on the planet and I consider myself blessed to have witnessed these people giving themselves to the pursuit of something that they find meaningful. The passion and tenacity of these men and women have forever changed my understanding of hard work and excellence and we hope this show will do the same for others.”
Holy fucking hell. If you’re not here at The One Motorcycle Show and you love bikes, then you are one sorry bastard. Here’s an amazing video that perfectly captures the spirit of the show and the salt of the earth Thor and Tori at See See Motorcycles (and the legion of thankless, dedicated folks) that make The One Motorcycle Show happen, rain or shine, every goddam year. Tonight we’ll be giving away awards hand painted by the amazing Ornamental Conifer! Check this awesomeness out.
TSY recenty received a scan of this great old Wall of death rider, along with the below note from the sender, Brian in Kansas City, MO. Anyone with knowledge of the rider, and/or this particular Wall of Death motordrome is kindly asked to chime in:
“…I am a collector of postcards and a while back I purchased a postcard of a man on a motorcycle riding in some kind of spectator show. Your article helped clarify a lot about the photo. I have attached the photo and thought maybe you have seen it before or could provide some more info. The back of the card is particularly interesting. It reads: ‘About 1912– Later he was killed– Someone threw a peanut at him– caused him to dodge and lose balance, falling with cycle to bottom of pit killing him.’ Sounds likes sport spectators were not much different then as they are today. I thought maybe the motorcycle may have been a Cyclone, however I don’t think it is. The lettering on his shirt may bring some clue as well…”
Back In Dec. ’09 TSY posted what remains today one of our more popular stories– Wall of Death riders with a lion, no less. I mean, really…old photos of a lion riding the Wall of Death is damn hard to beat…unless you have a video of said lion riding the Wall of Death! At that time there wasn’t a moving image to be found, but British Pathe, an amazing archive of historic film clips, uncovered a little gem of ‘Fearless Egbert’ giving his lion named Monarch a spin back in 1934. They also uncovered incredible film footage of ‘Tornado Smith’ with his Lion, ‘Briton’. It’s definitely worth a look…
Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones enjoying the pool at the Manger Motor Lodge in Savannah, GA
Just imagine your luck stumbling across this little gem… 23 original, never-before-seen photos of the Rolling Stones resting unmolested in an unmarked box? Yes, please. That’s exactly what Lauren White found herself staring at when a friendly, unassuming flea market dealer put them before her kindly with a wink and a nudge. Turns out they were taken (photographer unknown…) during the Rolling Stones American tour through Savannah, Georgia and Clearwater, Florida in 1965.
“He obviously didn’t know what he had. To tell the truth, I didn’t either. I obviously knew it was the Stones, but it took about a week of looking them over to realize that this was really a very unique circumstance. After extensive research, I came to find that these are unpublished, never-before-seen photos of one of the most legendary bands in rock ‘n’ roll history. Not only that, they are beautifully composed, candid, raw and perfect in every way. They really convey a band innocent to their destiny.
In a lot of the images, the guys are looking directly into the lens. It’s hard to get boys to be that vulnerable, especially in front of a camera. They are also sort of showing off. I think a girl is the only thing that could convince them to allow those kinds of shots. It’s hard to imagine a dude is evoking these intimate moments, but you never know.” –Lauren White
1965– Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones poolside in shades, Clearwater, Florida