Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stussy x NEIGHBORHOOD - Boneyards II: Conspiracy with Trevelen

I met Trevelen back in '04, when he had his shop on 5th St. in Downtown L.A., near the toy and garment districts, and right on the edge of Little Tokyo. Shortly after that, that whole area was going through a "gentrification", with art galleries, coffee houses, and clubs moving into the area. Subsequently, Trev's rent on the shop went from $.75/sq.ft. to some astronomical amount, like $5.00/sq.ft. in the space of about a year. I remember walking with Trev from that shop over to this killer deli for lunch one visit, and he was giving us (Part-timer Steve and Frank Kaisler were with me) the "guided tour" of the neighborhood - "Yeah, man, this used to be a whore house....this was a crack house.....this was a shooting gallery....".

Shortly thereafter, Trevelen relocated his shop to another Downtown location, right near the corner of 15th and Santa Fe. If you've ever seen the movie To Live And Die In L.A., the big car chase scene goes over the Santa Fe overpass, and right down 15th, past Trev's alley, the steel scrap yard, and the Blue Star Cafe, where we'd go for breakfast every morning when I was visiting. Trev even had an omelet on the Blue Star's menu named after him - The Superco Omelet. While he was at this shop location, Scott Craig and Michael Berrigan were also subletting some shop space, too, that's how big of a shop Trevelen had. It was during that time that Trevelen's dad Benji came from Hawaii to help out at the shop. I could sit for hours listening to Benji's stories, and I did a piece on him several years ago for my blog, you can read it here:

Also, right down Santa Fe from the shop was the boxing club Trev supported - the L.A. Boxing Club, to give the young kids in the neighborhood something positive in their lives. Trev was always big on programs like this, and did public appearances at the schools and youth centers stressing the "no drugs/no gangs" philosophy. Trevelen was the perfect positive example for these kids, himself having gone through the very same things that these kids faced every day, taken a couple heavy falls in the process, and having turned his life around for the better.

Trevelen was a pretty successful guy in the bike biz, and had a lot of feature bikes in the magazines, and I'm sure you remember those - El Guapo, El Jefe to name a few, and his Discovery Channel Biker Buildoff winners Pelegroso (vs. Scott Long) and Crazy Horse (vs. Paul Cox). Trev also had his hands in a bunch of interesting projects at that time - films, clothing, and books to name a few.

Well, Trevelen reached a saturation point (read philosophical disenchantment, and burnout) in the biz about 4 years or so ago, and decided to take a break form it all. He closed up the Downtown shop, married his longtime companion Liz (who's a total sweetheart), and bought a house in So. Pasadena, right near Occidental College. The house had a pretty big garage, and Trev didn't totally stop building bikes, only now he was building for a select few, at a much more sedate and creative pace, which fit him just fine.

The above clip is part of an ongoing project Trevelen has been working on for years. It involves a film and a book on the history of the Chicano bikers in East L.A., and their place in the whole biker history of So. California. I'm really ashamed to say, I haven't talked to Trev in over a year, and I have no idea if he ever finished the project or not. Matter of fact, I'm going to call him right after I post this, to just say hello and find out how he is. It's a terrible thing when you let work and life get in the way of friendships.


Chopperzac said...

Trevelen was at Born Free yesterday. I saw him walking around. I wanted to meet him, as he is such an awesome bike builder, but he was just enjoying the show. Hope he starts building again.

WhitelinePsycho said...

Ripper read once again, cheers.

Irish Rich said...

I did just what I said I was going to do, and called him as soon as I hit the publish button.

He told me he was at BF yesterday,and had a good time. Trev had some interesting observations about the event - on the bikes, and about the crowd in general. We also caught up on everything, and we're gonna make a point of getting together when I hit L.A. at the end of this month.

He's still building bikes and works on the occasional lowrider (he's also a member of Lifestyles CC), just not at the pace he was before, and for just a select few clients. He's pretty happy, and he's doing great.

House Of Loads said...

What a great post, Rich. Treve is one of the greats: good style and respects the history.

Had the pleasure of spending a day with him and his dad at his sister's place in San Diego years ago and published a feature on Benji in '07, I think. If you want a copy of that issue, lemme know and I'll put a package in the mail to you.

Again--great stuff.

Irish Rich said...

Dan, that was a great article on Benji in Garage #16, I have that issue, but I appreciate the offer, thank you very much. That article has the little Trev in the diaper photo, haha!

You need to mention the "Fists Of Fury - 20 Questions With Superco's Trevelen" that Estevan Oriol did for you in Garage #11, too. Trevelen gave me a nice plug in that interview. One of my favorite issues, Trev and Dick Allen in one magazine.

WhitelinePsycho said...

Good to hear he is still in the game and on his own terms, did a post a ways back wondering what had become of one of the man, it's somehow comforting and uplifting. Cheers for the update.