Some People Like to Rock! Some People Like to Roll! But movin’ and a groovin’ Gonna satisfy my soul, Let’s have a party Ooooh, Let’s have a party!
The legendary California heat of this summer is nothing compared to the heat being generated here at Gearhead. The magazine is in full production now, more on that shortly, but first let’s talk about parties.
There’s lots of reason to celebrate these days. The dark painful past is behind me now and all sorts of fantastic milestones are on the horizon. 2015 is a time to commemorate it all. As you know, Gearhead® was started back in 1993 and I came on board in 2000 to launch the record label. That was fifteen years ago, yet it seems like it was only yesterday.
It’s been a long time since I threw a party and it’s about damn time to do one, so drum roll please, SAVE THE DATE!! Saturday Sept 26, 2015, I’m throwing a party to celebrate my fifteen years with Gearhead!
It will be hosted at The Blue Lamp, 1400 Alhambra Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95816. Starting at 6 pm with a Blessing of The Cars (I am a minister after all), bring anything with wheels to the front of the Blue Lamp for an informal, non-denominational blessing. Afterwards, the first band, Sacramento’s The Moans, featuring The Secretions own Danny Secretion will kick things off, followed by the rockin’ sounds of The White Barons (have you bought their new album yet?)
The legendary Pat Todd of The Lazy Cowgirls will crank things up further with an appearance from his Rankoutsiders and topping the evening off Gearhead is pleased to announce psychobilly hell-cats Thee Merry Widows!!
They have officially joined the Gearhead roster and you can buy their first two records now on Itunes. I’ll have more great news to announce about them later this year, but I’ll let you in on a little secret, there’s a new record in the works.
During intermission, there will be a Ms. Gearhead contest, with all the proceeds going to the local SPCA. Girls come dressed up with your best Gearhead gear and compete for a chance to be featured in an upcoming issue of Gearhead.
No party is complete without good food, right? There will be food trucks, plus goody bags for the first fifty customers through the door. I’m so excited to see all my friends in one place having a good time, so you do not want to miss out on this! Tickets are $10 at the door, but you can save a couple bucks by buying them in advance now. This is also the official relaunch of Gearfest too, the last one being almost thirteen years ago so yet one more reason to make sure you don’t miss this party!
If an anniversary and a new band weren’t reason enough to celebrate, how about the release of the long awaited issue number 19 of Gearhead Magazine? After months of writing and collecting stories, the release is scheduled for late summer but you can still be part of this legendary relaunch by advertising with Gearhead If you have a cool product or shop you want to advertise, contact me ASAP to nail down an ad for this sure to be sold out edition.
If it sounds like I’m bouncing all over the road with enthusiasm it’s because I am. It feels great to be back again, and Gearhead is back with a vengeance. Lots of the classic Gearhead shirts are back in stock now, thanks to those of you who supported the What The Fuck is Gearhead? fundraiser campaign. We made our goal and the shirts should have already arrived in your mailbox. They look great; it brings a chuckle to my lips every time I look at it. I’ve also put a bunch of specially priced collections of cds, posters and stickers together on EBay for those of you not familiar with the Gearhead Brand. And for those of you who are, its a great way to fill in some holes in your Gearhead collection at a low price.
On a more sober note, my heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Steve Rodriguez, bass player for the legendary Dragons who passed away suddenly July 21, 2015. He was a bright spark of love, warmth and humor in this tumultuous business that sometimes causes people to forget we’re all just human. Steve was always the guy who could rock with the best of them, and then just as suddenly, turn around and give you a hug, just because he was happy and loving life. The years I worked with Steve and The Dragons were some of the best of my life and I will cherish my memories of this fabulous man and the great music he helped create. My heart broke when they called it quits and now it’s broken once again. RIP Steve, you will be deeply missed. RLF. I’ve written some further thoughts and shared some pictures in the News Section on the Gearhead website.
There will be a memorial concert Sunday Aug. 2, 2015 at The Casbah in San Diego. Check out the facebook event page for more information. There is also a Go Fund Me account set up in Steve’s memory. Please donate! The proceeds will be put towards expenses as well as a college fund for his son.
People have asked about their records, so I’ve put together several special packages of Dragons Merch for sale. All proceeds from the sales will go to the Go Fund Me account. If you love the Dragons, turn your friends and family onto this exceptional band; you’re doing a good thing while you’re at it.
Until the next newsletter, you can stay on top of all goings-on by following Gearhead on Facebook, Instagram, You Tube, Twitter, and now Pinterest and Soundcloud.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Rev. Michelle
When they announced they were breaking up back in 2006, I cried then too. I loved this band so much and they brought such pleasure to my life and the lives of others; how could they call it quits? The music industry is a tough place to work. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to get out there and tour, playing sometimes for pennies and almost no one listening. The lifestyle can take it's toll on relationships and on one's health. I understood that probably better than most, having worked with many bands over the course of their careers.
My heart broke when I got the news via Facebook that Steve Rodriguez, bass player for The Dragons, had passed away suddenly July 21, 2015. Disbelief, shock, questions...all flashed through my mind in an instant. And then the tears came. Only a few weeks prior I had cherished hopes that The Dragons might reform and play the Gearhead Anniversary party I was putting together for the fall. Now, I will never see them play again.
It takes a specific type of personality to be able to weather the stresses of band life, and Steve seemed to be that person. He was married to a lovely lady, Jamie, and had a cute kid, Jesse. He was so proud of his wife and son, and while I never got to meet his son, and only met his wife a couple of times, I knew that was one relationship that could withstand the rigors of the road. I was happy for them, and happy to see love thrive in the otherwise desolate landscape of constant touring. Being a woman in the music industry is rough. Many people think all you have to do is sleep with the band, and you're in the inner sanctum. I had the privilege of being one of the lucky few who got to work closely with the bands but never had to resort to sex to spend time with them. I had a strict rule: no sleeping with the bands! It allowed me to do my work, be the boss, but also be a friend and confident.
I went on tour with The Dragons and The Riverboat Gamblers in 2003. It was a blast, and really eye-opening. Much of touring is simply moving from one city to another, spending countless hours on the road discovering new ways to pass the time as you travel in cramped uncomfortable vehicles to the next show. It's the type of situation that can cause crankiness and frayed nerves to escalate into fights and disagreements but that never happened, at least while I was with them. In every picture of Steve, he is laughing, enjoying life, celebrating his friends and music and how much pleasure it gave him. And that is always how he was with me.
There was always time for a smile and a hug. He was especially good at the hugs. They were warm and deep and came from his very soul. He never held back, and there was never anything superficial in those hugs. I am a pretty shy person, although you might never guess that. During one stop on the tour, we were at a house party in Boston, and I felt very out of place. I didn't know anyone except the bands I was traveling with. I'm not really a drinker or a partier, and all I wanted was to go to sleep. Steve seemed to sense how uncomfortable I was and stuck close by my side talking and laughing, making sure I was ok. It meant so much to me, tears come to my eyes now as I remember how relieved I was to have him there with me, making me feel safe.
He became my guardian angel that night, and for the rest of the tour, he always made sure I was ok, feeling safe and comfortable, had food to eat or a beer if I wanted. He was thoughtful and kind, and there was no rock-star bullshit. He could have very easily pulled attitude with me, but he never did, and I never saw him pull it with anyone. H just seemed to thrive on being a nice, sweet kind guy, the kind of guy his wife and son would be proud of. Steve was a rock star in the truest sense of the word. He shone so bright when he was rocking!
His signature song was Joan Jett's Bad Reputation. As soon as Steve stepped up to that mike, you knew what was coming next. He rocked and sang with passion and enthusiasm and fun every single time I saw him perform it. And no one could have done it like Steve. It was just his song!
It's hard to put into words how much someone can touch your life without you really even knowing it. As I sift through the pictures and the memories, I wonder if he ever knew how deeply his kindness and love touched me. I don't think I ever told him. It makes me want to be a better person, more loving and more open and vulnerable, telling those I love how much they mean to me. Telling the bands that have touched my life how grateful I am to have worked with them, learned from them, shared with them.
To those of us left to honor his memory, I think that is one of the best ways we can do it. Be grateful for the close bonds of friendship and love that surround you. We all have them, even if you're not in a romantic relationship with someone. As we walk through our lives, we touch those around us, even if we're not aware of it. Little acts of kindness and generosity are what it's all about after all. Leaving the world a little bit better than how you found it. Many blessings and prayers to those touched by Steve's life, especially his brothers Mario, Kenny and Jarrod from The Dragons, and his wife Jamie and son Jesse. He has passed out of our lives physically, but emotionally, he is there, always reminding us to smile, to love, to be genuine and authentic, and most of all to make those around you feel loved and special. Rock with the angels my friend. I know they will enjoy you as much as we did.
A Go Fund Me account has been set up to help with expenses and to create a college fund for his son. Please donate what you can! A lovely video has been put together honoring Steve. You can watch it here. Also, a memorial show has been set up for Sunday Aug. 2, 2015 at The Casbah in San Diego. For more information go here.
As Dione Warwick sings, "Do you know the way to San Jose....oooo oooo oooo oooo....." You better figure it out quick so you can Join the Gearhead Crew when we head to San Jose, CA Sunday July 12, 2015 to join the Strangers Car Club as they celebrate their sixteenth year hosting a car show and BBQ! The event runs 10 am t0 4 pm and is located at History Park, 1650 Senter Road, San Jose, CA 95112. For more information, check out their website. Music, food, vendors, and of course, the cars! I'm pretty sure they won't be playing that song, so you'll have to provide it yourself as you head out!
Rock 'n' Roll/Automotive Journalist, Influencer, Editor and Publisher of Gearhead Magazine,