The 21st Annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend is here and GEARHEAD will once again be vending at this cooler than hell event. Stop by our booth, #H10 (right next to our pals Cock Grease!) and meet legendary tattoo artist and pinstriper Mike Adair. He will be signing his limited edition numbered posters exclusively for GEARHEAD customers. Grab one of the 25 limited edition 18" x 24" prints at the show for $25 and if there are any left over, we'll put 'em up for sale in our web store when we get back!
www.gearheadhq.comThis issue of the Gearhead Newsletter is really long, but I had alot to get off my chest! Plus it's the first full newsletter of the year... they won't all be this long, promise! kiss kiss!
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight
shlemiel, schlemazel, hasenpfeffer incorporated
We're gonna do it
Give us any chance, we'll take it
Read us any rule, we'll break it
We're gonna make our dreams come true
Doin' it our way
Nothin's gonna turn us back now
Straight ahead and on the track now
We're gonna make our dreams come true
Doin' it our way
There is nothing we won't try
Never heard the word impossible
This time there's no stopping us
We're gonna do it
–Theme song to TV Sitcom Laverne and Shirley–Lyrics by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox
This spring marks my eighteenth year running Gearhead. I think to run a small business this long, you have to have tunnel vision. You have to be dedicated and driven. I would also add a little nutty, focused, obsessed and filled to the top with perseverance. You have to obliterate the word “impossible”. The lyrics to the Laverne and Shirley theme song always gets stuck in my head when I ponder on this and all the ups and downs I’ve experienced along the way. I never say quit. I always think there’s a way to make something happen and I keep banging away at it until it happens or it crumbles before my eyes.
Eighteen years later, I am still trying to make Gearhead the household brand name of cool that I know it can be. All last month, newscasts were commemorating the beginning of the financial melt down which led to the Great Recession. As a small business owner, I did some really dumb things to keep Gearhead going during the tough times, like taking out a second mortgage on my house, getting loans from the bank, maxing out credit cards…. These are the things that many small business owners do who are trying to make it on their own: I’m no exception.
But spend any time on social media and you’ll notice the talk centers around “venture capital”, “start ups” and investors as the only way to fund a small business. Honestly, while the thought crossed my mind, I never had time to pursue outside funding. I was too busy running the company to spend time chasing some fantasy angel investor who probably wouldn’t get my vision anyway. So I kept at it, bootstrapping it as it is called: Everything coming into the coffers goes right back into the business to grow it gradually.
When my world came crashing down around me as I filed for bankruptcy, I thought that was the end of all my dreams and goals. All my hard work and passion for this company was down the toilet. After coming out of the bankruptcy, and after doing some pretty intensive soul searching, I gradually put my toes back in the water and started the company back up again.
Now, ten years later, Gearhead is finally regaining a foothold in the underground market. Two new issues of the magazine have come out, a bunch of new t-shirts are now available, and five new records have hit the streets since starting the brand back up again in 2013. I’m pretty pleased with how things are starting to grow again, and by the feedback I’m hearing, you folks are too.
It has been mightly tough though. There are days when I’m so exhausted and run down, I don’t think I can do this one more minute. I wish I had someone to share the burdens with, someone to help find the dough to pay the bills. They call this the “trough of sorrow” in the business world. Apparently, this is a common place for entrepreneurs to get to, and many call it quits when they hit this emotional barrier. The feelings of isolation, worry, survival and struggle are daily reminders that running a small business by one’s self is not an easy path.
I pour everything I have into Gearhead because I love this company and believe passionately in it. I am in love with the idea of what Gearhead could become as a brand. But in reality, there are times when I stop and wonder what the heck I’m doing. Why am I continuing to grind away at this while I see other people call it quits and go get a job with steady income, health insurance and vacation benefits?
I have taken free-lance jobs (check out these three articles for Team Valvoline), worked as a day laborer (seriously, $15/hour weeding and digging), taught classes about gardening (I’m a master gardener), sold my personal treasures on eBay and done whatever I could to make ends meet because any money coming into Gearhead was being put right back into the company. It is a constant struggle to keep the doors open and new products coming out, and sometimes, it is almost more than I can bear.
Around the holidays, I was promoting and selling the two new records that had just come out, The Mansfields Hollywood Babylon LPand theV/A Santa’s Got a GTO Vol. 2 LP as well as the brand new issue of Gearhead Magazine No. 20. I was so proud of each of those projects! I had worked so hard, pouring blood, sweat and tears into each one of them. I was physically so run down however, I made myself sick, suffering from bronchitis twice in a little over three months! I’m only just now feeling like myself again.
At one event, I excitedly shared the new projects with a few peers and waited for their feedback. All I got was “I’m looking for the mistakes. I heard there were mistakes.” I was crushed. I felt like Charlie Brown when he goes trick or treating and gets a bag full of rocks. All my hard work, excitement and enthusiasm came crashing down around me and for a brief moment, I thought yet again, “Why do I bother?”
I listen to a lot of podcasts while I’m working and one of my favorites is How I Built This by Guy Roz. He interviews entrepreneurs about the companies they built and the challenges they faced along the way. I also listen the The Venture, another podcast run by Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson, who also interviews small business owners about their journey (one episode even featured our friends over at Kill Rock Stars!). These interviews give me a lot of inspiration to keep going because not one of the companies featured on these shows has had a straight easy path to success. Who knows? Maybe one day Gearhead will be featured on one of these shows. It helps me keep going when I feel defeated. I like thinking that maybe what I am going through could be inspiring to someone else in my shoes.
Screw those people that don’t get it. There are plenty of you out there who do. The support you gave me during the recent Kickstarter campaign is proof enough. Eighty-seven of you stepped up to help fund the new issue of Gearhead! And THAT is why I continue. The Gearhead brand of products is niche at best, and that’s ok. It’s for the cool kids like you guys who are always looking for the next interesting thing and want to support those creators, inventors, artists, builders, or as they are referred to in one of my favorite books The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell “the Innovators.”
When I first started, they used to called these people the “tastemakers” but now we are referred to as “influencers.” Whatever you call it, the loyal fans of Gearhead are “it”: able to identify with the vision and carry it out to the marketplace by buying the products and spreading the word about Gearhead to your social media. This community is what keeps me going and I am deeply grateful to all of you.
Because of you wonderful loyal supportive Gearhead fans, I am able to keep building this company one step at a time and while the growth may seem slow, and some days I feel like I’m never gonna “make it”, it is steady and that is what counts. That is what keeps me showing up, day after day. Cue up the Laverne and Shirley theme song!
I’d like to give a big shout out to all those who supported Gearhead during the Kickstarter campaign. Thank you for your support and belief in the Gearhead brand! Eighty-seven of you pitched in financially, and I know countless others shared the campaign with your social media.
These kind folks pitched in something extra to bring issue #20 to life: Dean Case (formerly of Mazda Motorsports), Mel Spinella, Golly Gee Records, C. Flom / cheaprustjunkie, Gerry Cueller, Go Big! Entertainment, Chris M, Chuck Destruction, Self Destructo Records, Jason Selbert, Rene Aguirre, Rich T (Ohio Tattoo Museum), Terrence Guerin, Aaron Steinle, mike gossell, Phil Lang, Brian Miller, Royce Farrell, Nat Peplinski and Rumi.
I am getting married in a month, May 13, to be exact. The lucky guy is “Cuz’n Bill” Lorenz, tattoo artist and painter of the cover of Gearhead #20, as well as creator of a bunch of other art used for various Gearhead products. We met over ten years ago when a flaky tattoo artist messed up my half arm sleeve, and Bill offered to fix it for me. He is my rock, my support and my cheering section, all rolled into one swell guy. I couldn’t be happier!
I need to pull my attention away for Gearhead for a while so I can finish planning my wedding. But rest assured, as soon as the wedding festivities are done, my attention will turn back to Gearhead full force.
In the meantime, check out the newest release from Gearhead Records, the digital ep The Traveler from Tilli. She rocks and you should expect to hear more from her as the year unfolds. Dave Grhol (Foo Fighters, Nirvana) and Alain Johannes (Queens Of The Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, Eleven) both produced and contributed to these killer tracks, so check it out!
If you haven’t picked it up yet, the sophomore release from The Mansfieldshas taken a spooky turn and headed into psychobilly territory. It is Limited edition pressing of 500 on day-glow orange vinyl with a free digital download to boot.
There are still a few copies left of the V/A “Santa’s Got a GTO Vol. 2” LP compiled by world famous DJ Rodney Bingenheimer exclusively for Gearhead. Even through it is a Christmas album, this one rocks hard and can be played any time of the year! This is also available as a digital download cardwith cool art by Doug Mansfield! And of course, there is the newest issue of Gearhead Magazine out now too, issue No. 20.
Finally, there is thebad-ass new Gearhead t shirt-- The Chevelle Monster t-shirt--designed and printed by Mario Vigil at Vigil Designs. Featuring a two-color back print as well as a left-chest front logo, this rad art is sure to make your day a little weirder.
I’m super proud of all these projects and hope you dig ‘em too. And yes, there are mistakes, but I am human! I do my best, but shit still gets by me. It is not the end of the world, ok?
Finally, if you do buy something from the webstore, please leave a review!It helps Gearhead get bumped up in the search engines and as you all know, every little bit makes a difference when you’re the underdog.
Thank you every one of you for reading this, for your support and enthusiasm. You are the reason Gearhead is still around.
Live Fast, Be Weird!
Big slobbery wet kisses and hugs go out to the following folks for their generous support via Kickstarter to help get GEARHEAD No. 20 out! You folks rock! 87 of you came in on the Kickstarter campaign, and while we don't have room to acknowledge everyone, you each helped push Gearhead over the finish line. We couldn't have done it with out you!
Special thanks to the following supporters:
The Pit Pass Level:
In The Driver's Seat:
Top Fuel Level:
Chuck Destruction, Self Destructo Records
Rich T., Ohio Tattoo Museum
300 MPH Club Level:
C. Flom / cheaprustjunkie
Gerry Cueller, Go Big! Entertainment
Checkered Flag is Waving Level:
Mel Spinella, Golly Gee Records
Funny Car Level:
Dean Case (formerly of Mazda Motorsports)
If you have tried to contact GEARHEAD via email in the last few days, we've been experiencing some techincal difficulties with our email server. In theory it should be fixed by Thursday April 12, 2018. If you are still getting bounce-backs, please call us at 916-897-2451 or resend your email on Thursday. Thank you!
GEARHEAD MAGAZINE only comes out once a year, but that doesn't mean we stop writing. Check out these three articles written by Gearhead CEO Michelle Haunold for Team Valvoline!
Hey Music Freaks! I"m working on something exciting with special sauce and sassiness. It's cool, it's hot, and I need your help.! Be a part of this highly secret project--if you have photos from 1982-2000 with me in them as well as any of the surrounding people, clubs, events, music scene, bands, equipment, records, merch or other please send them over! Thanks everyone, this is an exciting project I've wanted to do for a while.... so show me whatcha got! My email is michelleDOThaunoldATgmailDOTcom. Thank you! xo Michelle
Hope you enjoyed the article with Ms. Gearhead in the new issue of Gearhead! Now check out the video!
He's a punk rocker from way back (his leather jacket is older than you!), tall, imposing, tattooed, creative and just a down right nice guy. Tattoo Artist Cuz'n Bill Lorenz painted the cover of the new issue of Geahead, and has created some of Gearhead's most popular t shirts, record covers and posters. Check out this video where he talks about his inspirations for life and art and make sure you pick up a copy of GEARHEAD No. 20, out now!
Christmas movies have a special place in my heart, but not just any Christmas movie. Sure, I enjoy the sappy, heart-warming endings that most Christmas movies wrap up with (yes, pun intended), but I hate being talked down too, like a Hallmark greeting card. I want a bit of bite to my movies, a bit of angst, humor, and as in the case of my favorite Christmas movie, Surviving Christmas, some connection to the underground pop culture as well as loveable but totally wacked out characters.
Surviving Christmas came out in 2004 to horrible reviews and a 7% rating on the movie review website Rotten Tomatoes. It was considered a box-office bomb and was released two months later on DVD. Honestly, I wonder if critics even bothered to watch the movie. The reviews all echo each other claiming the film was a horrific waste of time, a movie with little humor and grace and to be avoided at all costs.
Featuring Ben Affleck as the eccentric millionaire Drew Latham who doesn’t want to spend Christmas alone and Christina Applegate as the snarky sarcastic daughter Alicia with James Gandolfini as the cantankerous father Tom Valco and Catherine O’Hara as his “so over it” wife Christine, the movie is hilarious from start to finish, with a stellar cast to boot.
Drew has avoided Christmas because of painful childhood memories and after his vapid girlfriend Missy breaks up with him when he presents her with first-class tickets to Fiji instead of bringing her home for Christmas to meet his family, he follows the counsel of her therapist and journeys to his childhood Chicago suburbs home to clear his heart and start afresh by writing his grievances on a piece of paper and setting them on fire in front of his childhood home, now occupied by the Valcos.
After Tom whacks Drew over the head with a snow shovel for displaying pyro tendencies, Drew bribes the family with $350,000 to be his family for the holidays, to which they readily agree considering the parents are getting ready to split up and have zero holiday cheer anyway. Drew sets about writing a script for the family to follow so it perfectly recreates his memories of his childhood Christmases past and pushes the family into re-enacting his demands with the threat of “breach of contract” hanging over their heads if they don’t.
Meanwhile, younger brother Brian stays sequestered in his room, watching porn on his computer. Look at the posters in the background of Brian’s bedroom and you will see Gearhead posters V/A Runnin’ On Fumes (the original art for this was featured also on the cover of Gearhead Magazine No. 19) and The Hellacopters Cream of the Crap (originally only available as an insert with the record but now for sale as a stand alone poster) as set dressing!
Coupled with a killer soundtrack featuring everything from Cherry Pie by Warrant and Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano Jingle Bell Rock by Chet Atkins, an off-key rendition of Oh Christmas Tree sung by Affleck and Gandolfini, and the classic Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses as well as a vintage cherry red Chevelle SS (guessing but not sure, 1970) the movie is not only smart and funny, but it has great pop culture references through out.
The script is well written, fast paced and just twisted enough to keep you laughing but not cringing. I honestly don’t know how this movie was trashed so badly unless the cretins writing about it were stuck in their own version of holiday hell. Maybe they hated it because Affleck is playing a pretty unlikable character. Or maybe because the movie doesn’t sugar coat the dysfunctional family dynamics brought out by the holidays. I have no idea, and I can’t really guess why they hated it so much.Everyone I have turned on to this movie loves it and thinks it's hilarious.
All I know is ignore the critics, track down this movie and enjoy some really funny clever moments with Surviving Christmas. And don’t forget to look for the Gearhead posters in the background!!
Cool new Gearhead style Christmas art by Doug Mansfield! Check out the artwork he did for the new Mansfields record and the V/A "Rodney On The Rock Presents: Santa's Got a GTO Vol. 2"
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.