Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year, 2011

Happy New Year, from Applied Machete. The shop is booked with work for almost the whole of January (we can take more!), and I couldn't be happier. Best wishes to everyone for a happy, prosperous, and healthy New Year!

More from the Mailbag.......

From time to time I get Emails pertaining to something that I've posted here on Applied Machete, and a few I like to share with everybody, and here's a couple.......

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:

Also, while I was away in L.A. a couple weeks ago, I got a nice Email from of all people, Pete Pepe ( see my post here from 10/18/10, on his CFL Wasp) . Pete says that he documented the whole Wasp build from the conception to final "put together", and says he'll be digging out those photos for me. I've asked if I can share some of them with all of you, so we'll see......I sure hope so.

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

Bending the line.........

Tommy The Greek

Von Dutch

Butch Brinza

Von Dutch

Von Dutch


Dean Jeffries

Dave Bell

Ed Roth

Craig Fraser

Jon Kosmoski

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Aw yeah....buried alive in the blues.

If you haven't been able to tell, next to motorcycles music is my second big love. Rock, real country, reggae, hip-hop, soul, R&B, some punk and a little jazz, and blues....lotta blues! So, I'm going to mix in the music a little more than I have in the past. Indulge me a little, and you may pick up on some musicians you might not have heard about, and some music you might want to explore a little more.

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.....

Buried Alive In The Blues was a song that Nick Gravanites gave to Janis Joplin, but she never got the chance to sing it. During the recording of Janis' 1970 album Pearl, they had 8 songs finished - 5 with the final vocals, and 3 with "working" vocals. There was space on the album for 2 more songs, but the band was out of material. The band struggled for 2 more days, then Janis called her old friend Nick, and asked if he had any songs for her. Gravanites said he had a couple, but they weren't finished yet. One in particular Gravanites said, would be perfect for her, and it was called Buried Alive In The Blues, but he only had 2 verses finished. Joplin pleaded with Gravanites to come to L.A. and finish writing the songs, so she could put them on Pearl, which he did.

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.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

" Buy Your Last Belt Drive First "

That was the slogan on Phil Ross' business card, for Super Max Belt Drives.

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.

Vyvyan Ross, and Part-timer Steve posing for posterity. Vyvyan is one of the nicest gals I've ever met, and a real sweetheart. We had a great time going through all of her's and Phil's photos. The time just flew by, and before you knew it, we had to say good-bye, and hit the road. Here's just a small selection of those photos to pique your interest, I'm saving the best one's for the article. You're gonna love them. I just hope I can do Phil Ross justice when I write it up. Look for the article coming up in Street Chopper in the very near future.

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
Phil Ross in '77, posing with Mighty Hog - "World's First Double Belt Drive Motorcycle", and we ain't talkin' antique leather belts, either. Phil started with a set of bare cases, and built the bike around them....

.....and here it is today, 33 years later, and ready to rumble. You can spend hours going over this bike, Phil touched every single part on this bike. Vyvyan said this is a scary-fast motorcycle, and I don't doubt it one bit.
The "business side" of Mighty Hog. Check out all the handiwork, especially the shop-brewed electric start setup, and hydraulic foot clutch.

Photo courtesy of Vyvyan Ross
One of the dozens of unidentified mystery bikes Phil had taken pictures of with his belt drives on them. I'd sure like to know who owned this bike!

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

Frame salvation......

Look at all this frame repair goodness! Made right here in the good 'ol USA. It's just a click away.
Support hometown cottage industry. Tell John that Irish Rich sent you:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Clip 1 T-Rod and Gene build a Racing Sidecar with a Harley Motor

Yeah, as if T-Rod doesn't have enough ways to fuck himself up! When he's not racing his speedway bike (watch for his new single cylinder Harley hybrid speedway bike next season!), or bouncing off cars on the 405, now he's building a destroked 998cc Harley Evo big twin-powered sidecar racing rig!

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:

Not sure where I got this........

This is a photo on the set of Monster Garage, when they were filming Season 5's episode Mini People/ Mini Car. It originally aired on 6/26/06. This photo always cracks me up!

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.
That's Jesse third from the left, and Body Drop second from the right.

33 years ago today......

On December 17, 1977 The Sex Pistols were scheduled to appear on Saturday Night Live. Because of visa problems stemming from some drug busts, they weren't able to enter the USA. Looking for a quick replacement, SNL worked out a deal to have Elvis Costello and the Attractions take the Sex Pistols place - Costello being on tour of Canada and the US, and playing NYC the following week.

Costello was touring behind his latest album This Year's Model, not yet released in the US, but available in the UK and elsewhere for several months. Columbia, Costello's label in the US, wanted him to perform Less Than Zero on SNL, from his previous album My Aim Is True. Costello, who was backed on that album by Huey Lewis and The News (?), insisted on doing Radio, Radio from This Year's Model, with his now band The Attractions instead.

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.

The above picture of Cole Foster was part of a Garage Magazine article, where Garage "road tested" the '36 Ford Coupe Cole had built for Kirk Hammett of Metalica. It was issue #16, October 2007. When Cole built the car, Hammett had asked that he incorporate a hidden guitar and amplifier in the car so "...he could back up to a Northern California cliff, pop the trunk, plug in the 'ol electric axe, and play to the ocean". I dunno, that's what it said in the article. Cole built the amp into the trunk's interior divider panel, and countersunk the guitar into the panel on the trunk side.

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".

The original video from the Dec. 17,1977 Saturday Night Live performance is viewable on YouTube, but YouTube won't allow me to share the video directly, because NBC has a copyright clause on it, but you can see it there. They want you to download it and pay for it from iTunes, how ironic!

But, here's the original video of Radio, Radio that appeared on MTV:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Put on your traveling shoes.......

Part-timer Steve and I are heading out to SoCal on Thursday, can't miss this weekend.
Weather is supposed to be clear and in the 70's, NO RAIN this year! If you spot us wandering around, c'mon over and say hello!

Lest we forget.........

December 7th, 1941

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

BOO-YAH! More Psychedelic Love Temple info....

Thank Applied Machete blog reader "Doug B." for passing this article along on the Psychedelic Love Temple. Doug had read my previous posts on The Temple here, and happen to ask Steven Roby, author of Black Gold-The Lost Archives Of Jimi Hendrix if he could verify the location and correct address of the Temple (see my Aug. 13th blog post). He not only verified the address/location, he also passed along an article about the final party at The Temple, before it was torn down - which happened within days of the celebration. The article is from the L.A. Free Press, and it's dated Feb. 13, 1970. Enjoy the read!

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.