by Dean Case, Gearhead Motorsports Advisor
editors note: Join the California Automobile Museum for a special showing of the movie August 24, 2019 at 11 am in Sacramento. Proceeds to benefit the Museum
Disclosure: I consider Garth Stein to be a friend, having first met him a decade ago. I first read the Art of Racing in the Rain in 2008 along with my Mazda Motorsports teammates at the time. We all loved the book. We loved it enough to cold call Garth and invite him to race an MX-5 Cup car in Portland. Jim Jordan loved it enough to urge/nag/push Patrick Dempsey into reading it, telling him he should option the movie rights. He did. It then took a decade to get it approved, funded, shot, edited, and on August 9th, released.
My comments will NOT include any spoilers, but thanks to a KCET Cinema Series event, I watched the film last week with a theater full of hardcore film buffs. They loved it as did I.
I purposely did NOT reread the book before seeing the movie. My fear was that if I did, I would nitpick the movie anytime it failed to follow the exact storyline of the book. It is not the exact storyline, but it follows the spirit of the book closely, and Enzo gets the best lines in the movie.
A few thoughts to consider.
The movie stands on it’s own. Every race fan should see it. Take the dog lover in your life to see it. And if they haven’t read the book, buy them a copy of the book and take them to a real race. If you teared up while reading the book, expect the same when you see the movie. If you did not tear up reading the book, what is wrong with you?
Remember that the book and movie are FICTION. Racing is the backdrop, and racers loved the fact that Garth nailed the details in the book. I recall no less of a motorsports authority than Leo Mehl telling me that Garth captured Aryton Senna’s personality perfectly. Garth never met Aryton, but he understands racers.
Like everything in life, the movie producers had a budget to work within and a schedule to maintain. Someone had to balance the cost of real cars vs CGI, especially if a crash scene was a part of the story line. Here’s a minor spoiler – there is no big crash in the Art of Racing in the Rain. That’s a good thing to me. Racing was portrayed as a serious profession, one where it is very difficult to succeed, but dramatic crashes? None. They hired Jeff Zwart to shoot all of the racing scenes, so race fans should love the track action, but they will likely want more. Would that have been cool for race fans? Yes. Would it have made for a better movie? No.
I’m pretty certain the number of “dog people” who read the Art of Racing In The Rain vastly outnumbers the “car people”. A movie like this, with a positive depiction of racing, will hopefully bring in new fans. Race fans who loved the Steve McQueen “Le Mans” movie ignore the fact that it tanked at the box office and did not appeal to anyone who wasn’t a hardcore race fan or Steve McQueen fan. It was two hours of amazing cinematography without any real story. “Le Mans” was an argument against studios doing racing movies for many years.
For me the “best” non-documentary racing movie was “Grand Prix” as it balanced story, acting, action, casting, cinematography, soundtrack and everything else that makes a movie great. It appealed to race fans and non-race fans. I also liked “Rush” even though I thought it was s dumb title.
I would argue the most “significant” racing movie was “Winning” as that started the amazing race career of the one we knew as PL Newman in the paddock. Fingers crossed that Milo Ventimiglia or Amanda Seyfried decides to follow in the footsteps of Paul Newman or Patrick Dempsey. Not likely, but we can hope.
Final thoughts. I was really surprised at the lack of product placements. Given the nature of the sport, I expected a lot. It was almost non-existent. Denny even races at “Laguna Seca” and I am happy about that.
My only complaint on the movie was that Enzo is seen being adopted from a puppy mill (that’s not a spoiler as it’s in the trailer). I wanted him to be a shelter dog. The producer who did Q&A at the screening I attended, said the dogs used in the move were actually rescue dogs, so I’ll take that as a win.
Back in 2008 there was a rumor that NASCAR wanted the movie version to be altered to make Denny a stock car racer. It was joked that the movie would then become “The Art of Standing in the Garage, Waiting for the Rain to Stop”
GO SEE THE MOVIE. BUY A FRIEND A COPY OF THE BOOK. TAKE A FRIEND TO A RACE.
The Darts - I Like You But Not Like That
Review by Matthew Hutchison
2016 was a notable year for a few different reasons, but in this context, we’re talking about the realities for AZ/CA Nicole Laurenne, Rikki Styxx, and Christina Nunez due to their shared drive and ambitions manifesting itself into The Darts. Three years together and The Darts are already one of the more formidable bands in the US underground circuit that deserve every amount of success they’ve hit and held with a vice grip. Why formidable? One look at their discography and touring history tells you all that you need: Two LP releases (including the one we’re talking about here - I Like You But Not Like That) and a slew of EPs along with treks across the United States and Europe. Ambitious for sure but when your band leader is a judge, mother, and label manager, this is what you’re signing up for, and better be in for the long haul and check yourself if not the case. While still a new band, these women aren’t new to this world and lifestyle through cutting teeth and chops prior (and in tandem) with The Love Me Nots, Motobunny, The Dollyrots, and The Two Tens. Yet, it’s clear that The Darts are their most ambitious project to date with their resource investments providing an ROI with opportunities playing high profile festivals in both the New and Old Word, touring with some of the more significant names in punk/garage (The Damned comes to mind), and releasing material on heavy hitting labels in the punk/garage world, including Alternative Tentacles for this day’s subject.
I Like You But Not Like That isn’t their first rodeo on Jello Biafra’s imprint due to their 7” debut being a split release on AT alongside Dirty Water Records. However, that was three years and two songs only; today counts with a half hour plus LP debut that grounds them as a group of substance and one of the hardest working bands in the US underground rock circuit.
Entering the fold on guitars is Meliza Jackson, another AZ native rounding out this group as now being primarily from the Valley of the Sun (aka Phoenix, AZ). The big takeaway from I Like You But Not Like That is the catchy factor within the songwriting and also proof that The Darts are consistent in writing catchy, good material consistently. No puffery here; this is fact from someone who's followed them from the start and has caught a few of their live shows in the Los Angeles area, highly recommended you see them for yourself. From the beginning, the album delivers high energy with, this album’s theme leans towards a femme fatale mystique that Laurenne embodies with her voice exuding both sultriness and confidence. The somber “Don’t Hold My Hand” is their most melodic cut which holds a garage rock meets smokey lounge vibe reinforced by the sultriness factor Laurenne’s vocals exhibit. By the Not letting up on tracks such as “My Way,” “New Boy,” and “Thin Line” are great examples of the ladies displaying instrumental prowess with Jackson’s hard riffs intersecting Laurenne’s booming Farfisa while howling lyrics in a forceful, matter-of-fact manner. Nunez's deep, overdriven bass lines bring a post-punk feel to the album, most notably on the concluding track “ Where’s The Rain” and the single “Love U 2 Death” while Styxx drumming shows versatility and why she’s an in-demand drummer in the Los Angeles rock scene.
The Darts are a contemporary take on a nostalgic sound and proves there's more life than ever in a global scene often overlooked. I Like You But Not Like That is a solid album from front to back.
Swing by the Alternative Tentacles web store to grab a copy.
The Darts Online
Alternative Tentacles Online
The Darts Facebook
Alternative Tentacles Facebook
If you haven't yet noticed, GEARHEAD has a Spotify presence. Every week we will be posting a new playlist, featuring some of our favorite punk, garage, and rock from over the years. This week, we're saluting the women of rock with our female front women playlist GIRLS ROCK. Check it out today, and make sure you follow us so you keep up with all the action.
The Jackets - Queen of the Pill
(Voodoo Rhythm Records)
Guest Post by The Heathen
The Jackets sound like they weren’t born for these times, but from the social media metrics they carry, their online followers likely weren’t either. That’s fine, from select albums released by The Hives, TV Killers, or even Immortal Lee County Killers, those groups weren’t either, and The Jackets fall somewhere between those with a bit of The Love Me Nots in there. These groups started around the turn of or post millennium as part of a new wave of garage rock/punk with a late 60s go-go, proto-punk edge to them, seems like we’re amid a balls-out garage punk revolution yet again. Originating from Switzerland, this lady led, fuzz guitar riddled trio has a reputation for their high energy live shows that have demanded them to cross oceans to tour The New World a few times along with routes all over Europe on multiple occasions. The reason we’re talking about them is due to their new album Queen of the Pill slated for a Summer release and the power it packs within the ten tracks.
Having already released snippets from the record via a 7” release ("Queen of the Pill/Be Myself" - Voodoo Rhythm Records) in 2017, the original album’s production quality makes those sound like refined demos to what the record holds. Enlisting the assistance of engineer Jim Diamond (Bantam Rooster, The Sonics, The Gore Gore Girls, and tons more to his name) helps deliver the gut punch you receive on this. The songwriting has both a refined and raw garage feel in all tempos with the straight bangers being “Deeper Way,” “Losers Lullaby,” and the title track. Hell, judging from the spitfire lyrics their leader Jack Torrea (guitar/vocals) expels in the track “Losers Lullaby,” it’s hard to tell if she’s genuinely angry or being mellow about it. The standout track and highlight is the ethereal “Floating Alice” with its garage rock meets eastern music arrangement and Chris Rosales (drums) layered percussion scattered throughout.
Queen of the Pill is genuinely a solid release and should push The Jackets from the pantheons of obscurity into the jangled mind of rockers all over the world, the album itself justifies that statement.
Swing by Cobraside Record's US web store to grab a copy.
The Jackets Online
Voodoo Rhythm Records Online
The Jackets Facebook
Voodoo Rhythm Records Facebook
Gearhead grew out of the punk rock scene of the late 80s early 90s so it is only fitting that we finally create a Gearhead Spotify account! Check out the first Spotify playlist, and follow us please!
The Jackets are a group any Gearhead reader should be familiar with, if not, then here's your chance. Voodoo Rhythm Records asked us if we'd like to premiere the new track "Dreamer" off their upcoming Queen of the Pill album and we couldn't say no. They're one of the most exciting bands going today holding one of the most exciting front woman of this generation. If there's anyone that consistently channels the high energy of Wayne Kramer in mix with the attitude of The Blackhearts, it's Jackie Brutsche.
"Dreamer" gives off an old school garage rock feel with a sliding fuzz riff opening the track then quickly picks up speed with the rhythm section while Brutsche howls and harmonizes throughout. Some heavy hitters were involved with Queen of the Pill including King Khan (King Khan & The Shrines, King Khan & The BBQ Show) producing, Nene Barrato (Movie Star Junkies) recording, and Jim Diamond (The White Stripes, The Dirtbombs, Andre Williams) mixing and mastering.
Get down with The Jackets. Queen of the Pill will be available on vinyl, CD, and online throughVoodoo Rhythm Records on June 14th.
Photo copyright - Inaki Esnaola
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The legendary Lady Luck Tattoo and Art Expo once again hits the biggest little city in the world, Reno, NV. The Circus Circus Hotel and Casino is the spot and tattooing is the name of the game. April 5-7, 2019 will see the little casino town inundated with body art, bright colors, and wild, out-of-this-world self-expression.
The17th Annual Lady Luck Tattoo Convention, put on by Pittsburgh, PA based Meeting of the Marked and Pinnacle Tattoo will be located again this year at Circus Circus Hotel and Casino in Reno, NV. It features 3 days of world-renowned tattoo artists, tattoo and flash contests, informative talks, plus many vendors, among them the Elk Grove, CA based record label, magazine and clothing company GEARHEAD. The convention has been selected as one of the top ten best conventions worldwide by Rank My Tattoos website in previous years.
Interested visitors can get a 3-Day VIP pass for $35. Admission at the door is $15 per day. Children 14 and under are free. Anyone wanting to get tattooed must be 18 years of age or older, and must have a valid ID. Book an appointment ahead with your favorite tattoo artist (click here for the full list of artists) or enjoy browsing the booths of over fifty artists from around the USA to discover your new favorite artist. The hours for the convention are Friday April 5 2 pm -10 pm, Saturday April 6 12 pm – 10 pm and Sunday April 7 12 pm – 7 pm.
Make this a weekend get-away by booking your stay at host hotel Circus Circus Reno and enjoy convention rooms specials. Call Hotel Registration at 1-800-648-5010 or register online.
GEARHEAD owner Michelle Haunold spoke enthusiastically about the the convention and founder Tim Azinger. “We have vended at this event for several years, and then took a 10 year break,” explains Haunold. “I was focused on getting Gearhead Magazine back up and running and Tim and the Lady Luck Tattoo Convention were one of my first stories. You can read all about the event and how it was created in Gearhead Magazine No. 19. Tim is so enthusiastic and down to earth, and clearly loves what he does. The atmosphere of the event is really supportive and fun, no rockstar bullshit like at so many other tattoo conventions. I’m really excited about vending again this year!”
Show off your fresh ink in Tattoo of the day contest or enter one of your favorite healed tattoos in other contests, including Black and Grey, Large or Small Tattoo, Traditional, Portrait among others. For a full list of events visit the Schedule of Events
For more information, contact M.O.M. Productions at 412-531-5319
AS the winter season rolls to a close, thoughts of drag races, road races and car shows start to dance in motorsports fans' heads like pictures of shiny packages do in kids' head on Christmas morning. Hopefully I'll be present at more motorsports events this year, but until then, check out this article about the 41st Mitty Presented by Hagerty and Nissan to get your fueled up for the spring season.
Patrick Cox is a punk. No, really. He wanted to wear a Gism t-shirt for his big scene in the new Aquaman movie. His character, Cue Ball, strolls into a bar about twenty minutes into the movie and confronts Arthur Curry aka Aquaman “You that fish boy they talked about on TV?” he challenges Aquaman while his posse of biker thugs lurk menacingly in the background.
Arthur, who is just trying to get sloshed with his pops and have a heart to heart, turns around slowly. “Fish man,” he replies. We all hold our breath, waiting for the beating we’re sure is gonna ensue, and instead, Cue Ball says cool, and whips out a bright pink phone and asks Aquaman if he would mind if he took some pictures. The next thirty seconds are a quick series of hilarious selfie portraits between the two.
Now, back to the Gism shirt. Gism, for those of you who don’t know, is a killer Japanese hardcore band from the ‘80s. Since the folks handling wardrobe weren’t sure they would be able to track down the band in time to get clearance to use the shirt in the movie, they gave him several other options for what to wear during his scene, and the shirt he chose happened to be a GEARHEAD t shirt. Featuring an eagle on the front with a banner clutched in its talons that says, “Gearhead, est. 1993”, the shirt was prominently portrayed during the big bar room scene. “They laid out a bunch of shirts and said I needed to choose one, and that GEARHEAD shirt looked pretty cool,” he said during our interview.
Cox’s barrel-sized chest perfectly filled out the XXL t-shirt with the sleeves cut off to stay in character with his biker persona. “It fit like a glove,” he said.
Tracking down Patrick to “talk shirts” was also an excuse to get into his past as a Memphis punk rocker. As the singer for Bury the Living, a Memphis based hardcore punk band, they recorded for Prank Records, a San Francisco based hardcore label that I used to work with when I was a sales person at Mordam Records (an independent record distribution company). Imagine my surprise and delight at this crazy turn of events! The label specialized in recording southern-based hardcore bands, and included such acts as Damad, His Hero is Gone, Dead and Gone, and of course, Bury The Living who released their LP All The News That’s Fit To Scream in 2005.
His arms are covered with tattoos from the local tattoo parlor, Underground Art, which he’s been going to since he was in the band. His shaved head, bearded face and enormous frame were the perfect focal point to the fast paced aggressive music. Cox had previously been a semi-pro-wrestler, as well as a zookeeper, so being out in front of an audience was natural.
“We toured and recorded for twelve years, and that band took me all over,” Cox recalls. “Through it, I met a local film maker who wanted me to be in his movie, and that’s how I got into acting.” The film got rave reviews and opened a door for Patrick to sign with a local agent who got him more acting gigs in local commercials. After his grandma, to whom he was caretaker, passed away, he had nothing really keeping him in Memphis besides the band, and so he jumped at an offer to move to Hollywood and audition for some parts.
Unlike most actors who dream of making a living working in film and TV but struggle to break in, Cox never had that trouble. “I showed up, got an agent and started working pretty much right away.” His unique look led him to be cast in a variety of gigs and his great attitude kept him working. “It’s a great job. I can show up, work and make a decent living and travel, and not have to stress too much” he shares. “It’s a great life.”
Shortly before his audition for Aquaman, he had been in Fiji filming. Arriving home to find an offer for an audition, he showed up a day early, tired, jet lagged and uncertain about what he was auditioning for. “I was so tired, I didn’t realize I showed up a day early for the audition, but they were cool and screen-tested me anyway, and I got the part. Three days later I was back on a plane headed to Australia to shoot the scene for the Aquaman movie.”
I asked him if he had a chance to go check out any Australian bands while he was there, and he was bummed that unfortunately he didn’t. “Jason Momoa was just the nicest coolest guy to work with,” explained Cox. “He offered me his car so I could go check out Australia, but I wasn’t able to take him up on it.”
Cox also recounted how much fun Momoa was to work with. “The first take, I did the lines straight, and then I started having fun with it, saying shit to make Jason laugh.” After a bunch of takes, the director finally asked Cox to play it straight so Cox obliged. “Part way in, Jason says cut, cut, cut! And looks at me, ‘What’s the matter dude? Why aren’t you being funny? ‘And I had to tell him James (Wan, the director) told me not to. There was a bunch of extra takes that might end up being in a gag-reel on the DVD.”
We chatted further about music and mutual favorite bands, including Circle One and the Memphis based band, The Oblivians, one of the first bands in the early nineties to dig into the garage punk style that later bands such as former Gearhead recording artists The Hives and Detroit-rockers The White Stripes made so popular in the early 2000s.
Cox is currently working on the upcoming Veronica Mars mini series as well as a shitload of other projects and is no longer actively playing music. But his appreciation of hard working punk bands and music is still a vital part of his life. Once a punk, always a punk.
The end of the year is fast approaching, and that means inventory time. Yes, those of us at GEARHEAD HQ will be counting each individual product in the GEARHEAD warehouse. Which means, last minute sale, which means less for us to count if you take advantage of this berzerko offer, so win-win for everyone! Enter XMAS2018 at checkout and get 50% off of any CD in your cart!
Artists We Love
The header for this newsletter was created by Doug Mansfield, who has done alot of cool art for GEARHEAD these last few years, including the Santa's Got a GTO Vol. 2 record, and The Mansfields Hollywood Babylon record. We are so lucky to be selling a few of his goodies, such as magnets and keychains, so please check out the webstore!
Our friendly Christmas monster Lewis was painted by Cuz'n Bill Lorenz, who did the cover for the current issue of GEARHEAD Magazine as well as several t shirts, includingMotorskull and Live Fast, Be Weird. Gearhead owes a great debt of gratitude and appreciatiation to these amazing talented artists, so thank you for your support this year fellas!
We're clearing out some of our limited edition Christmas doo-dads, so make sure you check out the CLEARANCE section for special discounts, no code necessary!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
The dedicated team at GEARHEAD HEADQUARTERS
Rock 'n' Roll/Automotive Journalist, Influencer, Editor and Publisher of Gearhead Magazine,