It was a cold wet winter day and I was feeling a little down. Not depressed, just not real motivated. Then I got the call from my boyfriend. He had just heard from a Facebook friend that Hellacopters guitarist Robert "Strings" Dahlqvist had died.
I couldn’t believe it. How could such a talented young man with so much ahead of him be dead? He was only 40, with plans for a new record and touring shaping this New Year. After confirming the truth of this rumor, I sat back and put on one of the two records I worked on with the band, High Visibility, and let my mind wander back to fifteen years ago first meeting Robert.
It’s pretty crazy when you’re working on a record. There are a lot of parts to manage, from the masters to the artwork. Usually there are one or two band members who one works with closely to get all the details sorted out and the record finished. Since I was working out most of these details while the band was in Sweden, I mostly communicated with their manager Patrick and drummer Robert via phone and email.
When the band arrived in town April 2002 to start their US tour promoting High Visibility, I was a little tongue-tied. I’d seen the band play once before, I think it was 1998, but had never officially met them or spent time with them prior to putting out the record. I was always one of those shy types, never feeling comfortable enough to talk to the bands I admired from a distance. They were cool for goodness sake, and I was just a geek who dug their music. I had to get over that for this tour though because I was handling all the distribution, sales and merch for the band and the tour, not to mention the production of their record. Talking to them and getting to know because I was the head of their record label was a must.
Much as myself, Strings was also shy, reserved and quiet. He hung in the background mostly talking in Swedish with his band mates. We chatted a little but I was never able to overcome my own shyness to really open up with him, and consequently, never really got to know him like I did Kenny, Robert or Nicke.
But that reserve disappeared when Strings got on stage. If I had super x ray vision, I would swear there were lightning bolts sparking off his fingertips when he played. He was focused and technically superior, but rocked with a passion and love that could color the notes flying out of his guitar with a fury and aggression that pushed the band to play harder and faster.
It strikes me as somewhat prescient that the band all have wings barely visible sprouting from their backs on the cover of High Visibility. I don’t know whose idea this was.
When they played they were in synch with a higher power, channeling passion and love and companionship through their music. Strings added a touch of American muscle to the band and on that recording, taking their sound into a more 70s classic rock approach, channeling the bands he loved like Kiss, The Kinks and The Rolling Stones into his playing and making their world his own.
I don’t know what happened to him. After the Hellacopters moved on to a new label, I had no further reason to be in touch constantly.
He was such a beautiful passionate young man in his prime, giving the world his love through his music.
My heart hangs heavy, my soul weeps for the loss of this brilliant child of the universe. I know his former band mates and the people who loved him are struggling to put their pain into context. For me, I celebrate the brief time we connected by listening to the records, sifting through the posters and sharing the few pictures I still have. I wish him Godspeed on this journey to the afterlife. Those airbrushed wings from the record cover are now real. I’m certain he is connecting with the rock and roll greats who left this earth before him, rocking the heavens with his glorious sounds.
Robert "Strings" Dahlqvist 4/16/76 – 2/3/17
By Guest Writer Jason Mueller from A-1 Auto Transportation Service
Every year, there are hundreds, if not thousands of car shows around the nation that bring car enthusiasts and owners together along with food and beverage vendors and lots of great entertainment. One thing is certain however and that is the fact that not all car shows are going to be the same and it takes a little planning to schedule the best ones to attend. Whether you enjoy swap meets, cruises, private auto showings, parties, car hops or just the entertainment and excitement that comes along with being able to see some of the best classics, hot rods, muscle cars or other unique cars in existence, here are the top five car shows that you should make plans to attend.
Miami International Auto Show
The Miami International Auto Show has been around since 1971, the year that Plymouth introduced the Barracuda 426 Hemi and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon was born. When it came to car shows, the year was perfect for Miami as the show had such a great response that it has now been in operation for nearly 45 years and is one of the biggest shows on the east coast. The show consists of many popular exhibits that include convertibles, cruise-ins, cars from the 1950’s, muscle cars and many others. With cars ranging from Chevy and Ford to Ferrari and Lamborghini, this show is unparalleled with others and has plenty of live entertainment, great food and drinks and even boats, motorcycles and other vehicles. This show, held in September, is for the best of the best and is open to all ages. Ticket information can be found here.
Memphis International Auto Show
Held in October each year, the Memphis International Auto Show has events planned for all ages including a family day that includes a fun schedule of activities for kids. This show includes some of the most amazing muscle cars, hot rods, woodies, classic and vintage cars and uniquely designed and restored cars in the nation and tickets are priced affordably for all that want to attend.
Charlotte Auto Show
The Charlotte Auto Show is held in November and car enthusiasts have the opportunity to view cars, trucks and other vehicles in an area that spans the length of over six football fields. This event includes a ride and drive, family friendly entertainment and free admission for children under the age of 12. The show is a four-day event and many local hotels offer great discounts for attendees.
Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance
Every August in Pebble Beach, spectators have the opportunity to see some of the most exquisite motor vehicles ever in existence all in one west coast location. Thousands attend to see prize winning automobiles from around world including manufacturers from the U.S. as well as Germany, Italy and many others. From Buick or BMW to Ferrari and others, this show has it all and even includes motorcycles and other specialty vehicles. Those that enjoy the finer things in life will be able to not only see some of the best automobiles ever manufactured but will also have opportunities to purchase art and attend auto auctions where they have the chance to own a great classic or luxury car of their own. Tickets can be purchased for general admission or for VIP status for the August show.
Detroit Auto Show
Not many car shows can compare to the Detroit Auto Show. This show, also known as the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is one of the largest in the United States and is held in January each year. The show features the latest in the auto industry including debut cars from the leading manufacturers around the world. The event hosts a black-tie charity event with a large dinner and party as well as a concert. More than $41 million has been raised at this event since it began in 1976. More than 2000 automotive companies as well as spectators, race car drivers and nearly 1000 prestigious automobiles are showcased at this show making it one of the most well-received shows in the nation. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate the day of the show.
As one that has a deep interest in automobiles, especially classics, hot rods, muscle cars or fun cars, there are many opportunities from coast to coast to see some of the best cars in the world. Whether you want to attend as a spectator or have your own special show car shipped in, these shows are well worth checking out and trying to attend if you enjoy a good show.
I grew up feeling like Jan Brady. I was the middle child with 3 beautiful sisters and 3 handsome brothers. I had long blonde hair hanging to the middle of my back. I wore gray cat-eye glasses and was always saying or doing the wrong thing. I was also painfully shy, very introverted and always had my nose buried in a book. My dad called me stubborn and my mother called me “wild flower.” I never felt like I belonged to this family; for a while I was sure I was adopted and my siblings took full advantage of that fact and teased me mercilessly. After all, I had golden blonde hair (but not like my mother!) and all my siblings had lustrous dark hair. I was the alien outsider, always out of step with the rest of the family.
When the popular TV series The Brady Bunch was on TV in the early 70s, I watched it obsessively, looking for clues about how to relate. My mom was a first-generation American Sicilian vivacious stay at home mom, once in the theater, now acting the part of a lifetime as the matriarch of this clan of 7. My dad was an Austrian-born brilliant scientist who single-handedly saved the US brewing industry by developing hop varieties that produced more and were resistant to a strain of fungus that was destroying hop plants around the world.
I aspired to have a life like the Brady’s’ where my parents would take me aside and gently ask me what was wrong. I yearned for a mom like Carol Brady, who intuitively knew how to say the right thing, and help me sort through my feelings of anger, jealousy, and weirdness. But the reality was, with 7 kids, there was never any time to do that. You just have to hope your kids figure it out and find a way to make the best of whatever situation was tormenting them at the time.
Jan’s cry of “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” in response to the attention her beautiful sister always got struck a matching chord of frustration so deep in my soul that even today, when I hear people chant that phrase, I laugh weakly and get chills all over my body. No one can understand how painful it is to feel invisible unless you’ve experienced it.
In one episode, Greg Brady became a rock star, and a light went on. Rock and roll was a way to stand out, be noticed and be cool. I started listening to my records all the time, wearing floppy hats and sunglasses and bell-bottom jeans that were flared out with shocking orange and purple paisley silky material. I felt hip, I was cool, and I looked like a rock star.
I learned to embrace my weirdness, my freakish otherness that the rest of my siblings never struggled with. I learned to make it a part of who I was, to enjoy standing out in a sea of conformity. Punk rock and the underground lowbrow world of hot rods, art and music became my family. It didn’t matter that I didn’t look like everyone else. That was the whole point. It was ok to be different. In fact the weirder you were, the cooler you were.
The passing of Florence Henderson, the actress who played Carol Brady, several weeks ago triggered a moment of mourning, as if my own parent had passed. I deeply love and respect my parents, but Carol Brady was the mom I longed for as a child. I see now that my own mother accepted me for who I was, and was happy to help me express myself. She sewed the clothes I wanted and supported my struggle to find my creative voice by signing me up for art and music lessons, no questions asked. I will always be grateful for that support.
When I was in college, a record by an all-girl band called The Lunachicks caught my attention. I played their hit Jan Brady every chance I got, an inner knowingness that I had found kindred spirits in this raggedy group of girls empowering me every time I played the song on my radio show. I longed to tell them how much that song inspired me, but was too shy to track them down and tell them. Maybe someday I’ll get that chance.
Jan eventually learned to love her “otherness” just as I did in real life. Embracing your uniqueness is what gives art, music and hot rods that special something no one else can; your own voice, your own perspective.
Live Fast and Be Weird! It’s the key to enjoying life.
It's the first day of the new year, 2017. I can't believe it came so fast but here it is. Thank you to all of you for your support during this last year. It has been quite a journey of renewal, rebirth, rebranding or, as some like to say, the Phoenix rising from the ashes. I truly look forward to where this journey takes us all during the upcoming year. Thank you for joining me on the ride. Now let's rock! Live Fast Be Weird!
Much love and peace,
xo Rev. Michelle
As we wind down to the end of 2016, and the holiday festivities rev up, looking back on this past year starts to occupy more of my thoughts. It has been an incredible year of creativity, growth, new relationships and business opportunities. But first, let me just get this out in the open: yes, I am hoping you’ll consider giving the gift of Gearhead product this holiday season. It is not too late. Read on for freebies and last minute sales!
The year began with the long-awaited issue No. 19 of Gearhead Magazine. If you missed it, you can still buy physical copies to flip through at the discounted rate of $3 now until 12/31/16. For those of you who dig the digital format, get your FREE digital copy to peruse at your leisure! Click here to download now. Ends 12/31/16.
New t-shirts and accessories have abounded this year as well, necessitating extensive appearances at various car shows including the infamous Viva Las Vegas and Mooneyes Xmas show. Check out the photos on Instagram and Facebook.
Taking a break from May through July, a litter of corgi pups made a guest appearance, produced by shop dog Twix. Gearhead went on hiatus until these little rascals were old enough to go to their new forever homes. Miss Cool Luci Fur stayed behind to become the newest Gearhead Mascot, joining Dooly and Twix in patrolling the grounds and protecting the shop. I posted a day-by-day update on my personal Facebook; Click here for pictures! It was alot of work, but one of the most rewarding productions I've been involved in.
Gearfest 2016 rocked at the end of September with knock out performances by the reformed Red Planet, Roxy Suicide (featuring Dave from The Mansfields) Pat Todd and the Rankoutsiders (former Lazy Cowgirls), Sacramento’s Troublemakers and a guest performance by Leesa G from The Creamers. Hot rods, and a Ms. Gearheadcontest rounded out the outstanding night. There will be a series of videos coming to You Tube in 2017, I promise. But till then, check out the photos here.
Renewing relationships with some of our best retail customers rounded out the rest of this year. Click here for a full list of stores carrying GEARHEAD products.
I firmly believe in celebrating the famed Twelve Days of Christmas. It’s so much more fun to get gifts through out the end of the year. According to the Music Business Association, Compact Discs are still the most popular music gift given at Christmas! Stuff your stockings with some good ol’ rock & roll; many Gearhead Compact Discs are now only $2! This sale ends Monday Dec. 26, 2016 so order today!
Back issues of Gearhead Magazine are also on sale for $1 so stock up and have some weird and wild stuff to read while you hang out for the holidays! This incredible deal lasts through the end of the year, 12/31/16.
And finally, all orders placed will receive a free digital download card stuff with great GEARHEAD music, as well as a reusable tote bag, while supplies last!
Thank you all for sharing this ride with me. I am grateful for the support you have shown through out the year. Your wonderful letters and purchases this year have fueled this journey and I can’t wait for the fun stuff coming in 2017, including some new records, a new magazine and some killer new threads.
Wishing you all a very happy prosperous holiday season filled with joy and health, and remember,
Live Fast, Be Weird!
Tune in tonight for an interview with Gearhead owner Rev. Michelle Haunold on the KDVS Punk Playground! M. Riot will interview Ms. Michelle on all things punk rock and Gearhead. Listen live from 10-midnight Dec. 4 or in replay right here
From the website: SPECIAL SHOW!!! Special Guest: Michelle Gearhead from Gearhead Records comes on the Punk Playground to talk about her record label, punk rock, and the important things in life like vinyl!! You'll also hear some tunes from artists on Gearhead Records as well as some other bands Michelle enjoys listening to.
Don't Miss It!
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Gearhead.
We are grateful for you, our customers, friends and fellow hot rod and punk enthusiasts.
Wishing you and yours a very special Thanksgiving holiday!
Stories about cars, pop culture, music, art, and other related topics written by GEARHEAD owner Rev. Michelle Haunold. Guest writers are also encouraged to get in touch to share content that might be of interest to GEARHEAD customers.