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.