Friday, August 28, 2009

We're Off...

Like a turd a hurtles, see you in a few!

photo from

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lost Wages, Nevada

My first trip to Sin City, I was helping my nephew move from Michigan to Los Angeles in a bid to bolster his writing career. We chose of course the decrepit but historic Route 66. Instead of barreling in to Barstow and just shy of Kingman, Arizona, the signs haling Las Vegas this-a-way
beckoned. With a glance and a smirk dang it we were off. I've been there some 24 times since. Sure, I was probably wide eyed at first but as they say, the glitter has since worn off, and if it hadn't, I would have scrubbed it off my self. The town doesn't hold much for me but in all fairness, when I'm there I'm there to work and don't venture much beyond a 3 mile radius of the strip. Usually after day one of about 6, I'm ready for the cab ride back to the airport. You might too if you've ever spent any time in the lobby of the Imperial Palace. It's like hanging out at my neighborhood Wal Mart only this location has carpeting, craps and a vague impersonation of Dolly Parton shuckin' cards while belting out a kinda believable take on 9 to 5. Now it looks like Cher steppin' up...oh look, my cabs here. I shouldn't dog Vegas so much, there's actually a few chestnuts strewn around that make it semi tolerable. Like the Pepper Mill for instance is definitly a must see. It has a 1969-ish, grotto like interior, with indoor sunken firepits and alcove style seating. You know its got widespread appeal when you pass a couple members of the Hell's Angels headin' out while you're headin' in. When I have more time and more money, I'm gonna get me a rental cah and make for the hills just outside a town. Sometimes the strip can make a man yearn for the likes of the Nevada Test Site or heck, Death Valley.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

So Long Ted

Done/Ain't Done in L.A.

Wacko Bookstore, Chateau Marmot, City Hall, Glory Sales, PCH, The Standard, Hermosa Beach,
Griffith Observatory, Beverly Hills Hotel, Burbank, Redondo Beach, The Father's Office,
Mullholland between 101 and the 405, Roosevelt Hotel, Taschen Bookstore, Olvera St., The Troubadour, City of Industry, Vernon, Bell, Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, Fred Segal, Venice Beach, Malibu, Echo Park, Hollywood, Disney Land, Brentwood Sushi, Beverly Center, Topanga Canyon, The Whiskey A Go-Go, Los Feliz, Rainbow Bar and Grill, Topanga Canyon, Sunset Blvd, Long Beach, Mann's, Frederick's, Pasadena, San Vicente and the Buffalo Club

Top Photo: Frank Zappa at the Whiskey A G0-Go 1966 from Flickr
Bottom Photo: Doug Weston's Troubadour undated from

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Jeremiah is a rootsy based line of American Sportswear. A little more tailored than your neighborhood surplus store, but you'll still get that snotty, self righteous nod from the heritage-brand-hipsters. Sure, they'll still be sportin' their Woolrich Italian Label flannel shirt, Timex watch and Redwings... but
so will everybody else.

For Jeremiah, This has been a Shameless Self Promotion.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rock Pyle

This could very well be another laboring read on the influence of my older brother's college record collection. One would bring home the folksy, troubadour style, Kingston Trio then The Byrds then Judy Collins. The other would bring home the Stones, Cream Disraeli Gears and Blue Cheer. Meantime, the folks taste ran along the lines of the Mills Brothers, Sing Along with Mitch and the theme for Dr. Zhivago. The house seemed to swoon to music while my brothers took turns beating me to a bloody pulp. But as I rose from the liquid, it was the Stones and Byrds and maybe a touch of Dinah Shore that stuck with me, or because of my gelatenous state, stuck to me.
Rick Pyle never allowed me to fall on the Beatles side of the Stones/Beatles fence. And from there, I became a devout Keef, hit-the riff-hard disciple. It was Rick Pyle again who shed light on this other much more gifted Keith devotee, and soon to be sideman down the road, Waddy Wachtel. Waddy, he must be a Brit with a name like Waddy. Then I heard Linda Ronstadt's rowdy, Cali-style version of Tumblin' Dice.
Bud Cowsill urged Waddy and his band, Twice Nicely to head west to L.A. from their base in Connecticut. After 2 years of not much/not enough, Waddy began recording and producing the Cowsills, which lead to the swingin' door for artist's and musical directors, The Everly Brothers where he met Warren Zevon, which, lead to an ever growing laundry list of stints with Carole King, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt. Buckingham/Nicks and my personal favorite, the X-pensive Winos. How do you like that, Keith playing with Keith. Waddy Wachtel, besides Ron Wood is the only guitar player I've heard that can hand Keith back to himself. They
both perfectly exemplify rhythm-as-lead. Keith being a bit more artisan rootsey vs. Waddy's studied, no-nonsense chops.
If you've ever seen Martin Scorsese's Shout at the no, Shine a Light, you'd be witness, I think, to the finest recorded performances on film especially on IMax. It's so freakin' loud, in a good way. I could feel myself wanting to stand up and cheer after my favorite songs. The mix and seperation is so clear you can pick out the nuance between Ronnie and Keith.
Those out-of-left-field rhythmic flourishes pop in and out. I'd like to think I can easily tell the difference between the two but I don't think I'd ever put money on it.
Waddy also had and has his hand in scoring films. He played on and in The Poseidon Adventure, FM (in Linda Ronstadts band), Up In Smoke, The Longest Yard, Joe Dirt, The Bench Warmers, House Bunny and Paul Blart Mall Cop to name a few. During a break while working with Adam Sandler, Waddy made a call to Keith to say;"Guess what, I'm playing with a comedian" to which Keith replied;" Yeah, aren't we all?"

A little Wikipeepee
Photo of Waddy from
Photo of Keith and Ronnie backstage 78' from

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Scottsville Squirrel Barkers

Da-hang, did I bite off more than I could chew on this post er what. Talk about storied history, It just didn't stop. But it was worth it. I think he deserves it and I'll bet he's tired, hell, I'm tired and all I did was tap a few keys.
Chris Hillman, a third generation Californian, spent his younger days on his family's ranch in Northern San Diego County. Inspired by the folksy records his older sister brought home from college. Whining gets you things, it got Chris a ten dollar Tijuana guitar and from those fiddelings came a fondness for Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe and mandolins.
Impressing the owners of a blue grass guitar shop, Hillman accepted their invitation to join their band, The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers, which happened to include a young Bernie Leadon. After a 2 year stint and a newfound reputation as a guitar/mandolin picker, Chris joined the Vern Gosdin led, Golden State Boys. A premier, Southern California bluegrass band. Eight months later the band folded but band manager and producer Jim Dickson remained in contact with Hillman, inviting him down to World Pacific Studios to hear 3 guitar players in Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark and David Crosby. Chris liked what heard but when Dickson invited him to join, it was to play bass. Not one to shy away from opportunity and the fact that he had a rep as a quick study, it's not difficult to pick up on McCartney's influence in Tambourine Man's call and answer bass slide or the rumbling counterpoint bottom riff that opens Eight Miles High. After all, this was America's answer to the Beatles.
When Gene Clark left after the recording of 5-D, Hillman stepped up his duties as singer/songwriter on their next album Younger Than Yesterday with writing contributions on So You Want To Be A Rock and Roll Star and lead vocals on Have You Seen Her Face.
Time Between brought Clarence White in the fold, regarded by many as the first Country Rock song. The Byrds were now down to two original members; McGuinn and Hillman. Michael Clarke's void was filled with Hillman's cousin, Kevin Kelley and Crosby's with bratty new kid, Graham Parsons, introducing what is often called the birth of Country Rock. With the release of Sweetheart Of The Rodeo and with wild hair firmly planted, Parsons left the Byrds shortly there after with Hillman soon in tow joining Sneaky Pete Kleinow and Chris Ethridge as The Flying Burrito Brothers. After the release of their first LP, The Guilded Palace of Sin, Graham Parsons began his residency with Keith Richards in France during the Stones recording of Exile On Main Street.
Parsons, steeped in rich country music heritage, which Keef welcomed with warm embrace, didn't always rub off on people in a positive fashion. But he must have managed to wrangle enough influence for the Stones to turn out a nod to the Burritos with Wild Horses.
While Parson's unraveled, Hillman brought in Bernie Leadon, Rick Roberts and Al Perkins for a final attempt on the album, Last Of The Red Hot Burritos, garnering credit as the best and the last of The Flying Burrito Brothers.
After the FBB suffered a quiet death, Hillman received a phone call from Stephen Stills requesting his presence as second in command in his newest incarnation, Manassas. Creating another opportunity to stretch his songwriting and vocal abilities, he co-authored, among others, the melodic, latin tinged single, It Doesn't Matter. Stills broke up the band after label pressures to re-unite Crosby, Still, Nash and Young and after a short-lived Byrds reunion, David Geffen contacted Chris with the idea of forming another "supergroup" but with songwriter John David Souther and Poco's Richey Furay. While the first record brought critical acclaim, the second was deemed inconsistant and the band, failing to gel musically and personally, went there seperate ways. Hillman hit the studio this time as a solo performer on Asylum Records, releasing 2 albums
Slipping Away and Clear Sailing. While on tour in the UK with his own band Chris happens to run into Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark and before you know it, accepts Roger's invitation to join
McGuinn, Clark and now Hillman, releasing 3 albums on Capital and 2 Top Ten singles. During the 80's Chris Hillman, got together with childhood bud and comrad in bluegrass, Herb Pedersen to pave the way for seven albums and 16 Top Country Hits as The Desert Rose Band.

Generic spin nicked from Wikipeepee
Photo of the Burritos backstage 1969

Monday, August 17, 2009

Nerds of Denim

Forget for a moment that beer, bikes and brats have long defined the city of ( ok, the beer lets not forget so fast) Milwaukee and consider a few facets that are still readily visible on the radar screen.
For instance; scads of Craftman-style bungalows, a bevy of Frank Lloyd Wright representations and a bar on every corner. But what my not be so clear to the eye to even the denizens of their own city are two guys who own their own corner on denim. They call themselves Denim Nerds on the blog for their store Detour but they're just being very humble. I know this cuz they're friends of mine. I also know how meticulous they are when it comes to doing their homework for brands they may potentially carry down the road. At the risk of sounding like a used car salesman, these guys know their denim. Turn a pair inside out and they'll explain to you all about the selvedge, the weave or even a cool little story behind the pocket bags. With a slightly more worldly or let me say more studied online customer, their reach has become global in length as they are now one in a handful of a dialed-in, go-to for denim carrying such brands as: APC, Kicking Mule Workshop, Current/Elliot, Rag and Bone, Nudie and a personal favorite in GitmanVintage (not denim). A heritage shirt company dating back to 1978 with lottsa cool flannels, tattersalls, tartans and checks.

And don't forget that Milwaukee is also home to the National Bowling Headquarters, Gene Wilder as well as Howie Epstein's home town, Flipville Records, Cream City Music (think a whole lotta Gretsch) and the Mars Cheese Castle.

photo from ( please don't tell)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

For Fightin, Saturday Nights Alright

Like Top Fuel Funny Cars at green light, these are a super-stock of the agricultural kind. Ragin' Farmalls, Internationals and Allis Chalmers or what have ya, haulin a progressively heavier sled of bricks just-a-screamin' down the short dirt strip at, like, 5-10 mile an hour. You betcha, it's Saturday night at the County Fair in Fremont, the Tractor Pulls are about to commence and the boys are back in town. Not exactly the NDRA Finals but close enough for bragging rights. Lotta blood, sweat, money and Bud Light go into these puppies, hell the trailors and the pick-em-ups that haul 'em are bigger than my own dang house...with garage.
Hoist one up for me fellas, just don't start nothin you can't finish.

Photo from

Crop Dustin' Mother Truckers

Yep, thems real cowboys they is. This guy has been goin' at it all week right next door (cough).
How I love the gritty, acrid aroma of (cough) insecticide. You kinda get a taste of at least what it may have sounded like to have been a French farmer in 1918, while the RAF in their Sopwith Camels duke it out upstairs against the Imperial German Army's aristocratic Cavalry Captain and Flying Ace, Baron von Richtofen in his Fokker Triplane...No?
Well anyway, having a novice level of interest in aircraft, me and the dog took off to watch this pilot dive down below tree tops to strafe the crops only to pull up at the last half second as his wheels kiss the leaves. You could just about hear him shriek YEAH-HOO while he circles back around for another go. Those planes gotta be packin' some immense horsepower to perform the acrobatics that they do. I've been lucky enough to have experienced such a flight minus the acrobatics. Kathy bought us both tickets, as a surprise gift to me, for a ride in a later model, World War I (re-issue if you will) Biplane with the dual front-to-back open air cockpits, leather squadron helmets and all.What a gas to take off out over Lake Michigan in the open air, just loud as hell...YEAH-HOO !

Photo of the Baron's Fokker Triplane from
Photo of modern day crop duster from USA Today

Friday, August 14, 2009

I'm Busy, Hot and Cranky - You're Gettin' 60's Hair

photos from:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

City 'O Big Shoulders

I entered the city early morning Saturday, coincidentally, day 2 of Grant Park's Lolapallooza.
Humidity hanging like a thick wet towel, to set up for the Chicago Men's Collective. The Midwest's answer to the New York Men's Collective and Magic held in Las Vegas.
I set up camp at the Allegro Hotel, kind of booteeky in that the staff was kind of snotty in a it's-important-for-us-to-be-perceived-as-a-boutique-hotel kinda way. For my money, or money from someone else, I'd suggest Hotel Monaco, The James or heck, the House of Blues before pointing anyone toward the Allegro.
Business was what I would have expected-a tad slow. The state of retail in the midwest is still far from showing tell tale signs of recovery but what I did notice was what seemed like slightly lighter expressions on the face of buyers, less heavyness, perhaps due to surgical enhancement, but hey, didn't that money have to come from somewhere? I did a fair amount of business with my brands Jeremiah and Canada Goose, but nothing to shake a stick at really. I did see a line though that I thought rather fetching called Tailor Vintage, which if somebody had a wild hair, might indeed take a peek at.

Top photo from Chicago Illinois
Bottom photo from

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hola, Gringo

Have you ever taken a trip and at some point early on, find yourself muttering under your breath,
notsmart notsmart notsmart all the while keeping your perma-grin taught enough your lips bond to your gums?
After trudging through the whole airport ordeal, we've made it to the rental car agency in Cancun and are about to wedge our selves into our motor vehicle of choice, a late seventies era,
VW Beetle. With my wife as co-pilot, we make our way south of town toward our Mayan destination, the sleepy little seaside hamlet of Akumal. It doesn't take long before you're driving down a long stretch of four lane highway in nowheresville with nothing but thick and thicker jungle-like brush on both sides of the road. Not a gas station or driveway or anything for miles.
This is about the time I'm wondering why in the heck I thought an old Beetle would be such a cool mode of transportation...but after almost two hours we make it.
Scoring an off-season condo on Akumal Bay, just a slow movin' little town with lots of rikety bicycles with no crowd of tourists to plow into. It was cool/scary to snorkel around in the chest high ocean, cool to watch the Sea Turtles underwater, scary cuz of what else might appear.
We ran down to Tulum and took in the ruins amid the throng of basketball court sized, tightly packed, sight-seeing buses.
As we headed back up the highway toward Cancun, little things like my wife holding her breath and crossing her legs as we scoured the landscape for a restroom or tall weeds, repeating the mantra: Please Don't Breakdown- Please Don't Breakdown only added much zest to our adventure. In the end, and like the trooper she is bless her heart, my wife never once, through-out the entire excursion, ever attempt to harsh my mellow, nor I her's as far as I know.

Photo from Wikimedia

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Voices

Still serving, I think, his sixteen years-to-life sentence-with the possibility of parole, Jim Gordon, who upon hearing the voices, brutally murdered his mother with a hammer and butcher's knife.
James Beck "Jim" Gordon was mis-diagnosed and treated for alcohol abuse for years leading up to the event. It was during his 1984 trial that doctors finally diagnosed him with acute, paranoid
schizophrenia but it was too late for his attorneys to use the insanity defense.
He started his career in 1963 at age 17 backing the Everly Brothers. Then made a name for himself by taking L.A. studio kingpin, Hal Blaine's session overflow. Word soon spread from there to stints on the Beach Boys Pet Sounds, Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman, The Mason Williams hit; Classical Gas and The Byrds' Notorious Byrd Brothers.
In 1969, as part of the touring package supporting Delaney&Bonnie, Gordon, with band leader Eric Clapton, Carl Radle on bass and keyboard player Bobby Whitlock, went on to form the nucleus for Clapton's first solo project and were the house band on George Harrison's triple disc: All Things Must Pass, and from that, Derek and the Dominos were born.
It was a short jump to the massive 1970 double album: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs that Jim Gordon cemented his credentials not only as a drummer but as co-author and keyboard player, contributing the plaintive, extended coda to the signature song and title track; Layla.
It figures that Jim Gordon didn't become a blip on my radar until after he played on an album from one of country rock's finest from 1973, The Souther/Hillman/Furay Band. And only then did I begin the task of backtracking and fact-finding into his gargantuan career.

News from Wikipedia, Drummerworld and
Photo from Drummerworld

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Just Lovely Charles

I cheated myself, or my abilities rather, by not picking up on Charlie Watts' no nonsense, top-groove swing earlier in my days than I did. It wasn't until the early 80's when drummers began paring down their kits to 3 or 4 pieces-a reaction to seventies style monolithic trapeze sets-that I scratched my head and realized Charlie has been using that same 4 piece (most likely Gretsch) set-up for close to 2 decades. I'm sure during some Spinal Tapian moment, I looked at his style, kit and dress and thought: "By God, Where's The Thunder?" Not until Tumblin' Dice did I realize, maybe this guy, this...jazzer, doesn't rock as much as he swings. Aren't AHA moments just embarrassing sometimes?
One of my favorite stories, this recollection taken from Wikipedi, recounts an intoxicated Jagger calling Charlie Watts' hotel room late one night asking where "His Drummer" was. To which, Charlie got up from bed, shaved, donned suit/tie and shoes then descended the hotel stairs to find Jagger, punch him and shout:"Don't ever call me your drummer again. You're My Fucking Singer!"
Charlie Watts sartorial style was addressed by the British newspaper The Telegraph who named him one of the World's Best Dressed Men. In 2006, Vanity Fair elected Watts into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame, joining his style icon, Fred Astaire.

Recount of Jagger/Watts episode and Watts' Stylin' accomplishments from Wikipedia
Photo from

Monday, August 3, 2009

I'd Like To Be Friends With Dog The Bounty Hunter

You don't have to be attending the company luau at the local country club or crashing your friends, the Rockabilly couple, who just set up their new Tiki Bar in their basement, to rock a Hawaiian shirt.
I'm not talking about the over sized/black with huge gold hibiscus-you know what I'm sayin'- print.
Or the one so loud that Aero-Med has identified you as landing pad. I'm talking about a slightly more subtle, more fitted, vintage or vintage inspired print from the 40's and 50's. (And yes probably in some form of polyester).
Cool with dark or medium wash jeans or chinos with Chucks or Top Siders.
Not cool with black dress pants and black loafers.

Photo from
Shirt from Sun Surf / Sugar Cane

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I got nuthin'

Photo from

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hell On Wheels

My very early days as a motorcycle hellion weren't on a motorcycle at all but a 1968 red Schwinn Typhoon (red must have symbolized something to my bike, red house, Irish Setters?)
with playing cards clipped to a fender brace by a clothes pin to really cop that authentic
Electra-Glide flapping sound. My good buddy Jack had a Huffy his dad bought from the Western Auto where you could also buy these 45's by singers imitating the same hits of the day at a fraction of the cost. I was always envious of Jack's bike because for one; Huffy sounded like Harley, you know, Huffy Davidson. Plus his bike had a headlight and kind of a feux gas tank and a luggage rack that ran across the top of his back fender and I think even white wall tires. All very Harley like.
My ride was bare-bones but sleek I kept telling myself, after all, it was a Schwinn.
A few years later, after running out of playing cards, my neighbor got a brand new Bonanza mini bike and proceeded to tear up the back field. After weeks of watching Pete wear down his own trail and days on days of whining and begging as I stood from our patio, I finally got my dad to cave.

There it was, in my driveway. A beat-up blue, two and a half horsepower, JC Penny, with a hunk of black vinyl wrapped around a chunk of foam stapled to a small, thin piece of plywood for a seat. I didn't care, it had Born To Raise Hell written all over it. After a year or two of intense backyard mini bike motocross, my rig disintegrated and my neighbor graduated to a
Suzuki 90 road bike which I managed to" borrow" several night...when people were sleeping...including my neighbor.

Photo Of Schwinn Typhoon (not mine)

Photo of mini bike (also not mine)