Rodney Bingenheimer, or Rodney on the Rock as he is better known, has introduced the world to some of rock's most beloved bands. This December, Gearhead® Records is proud to release Rodney On The Rock Presents: Santa's Got a GTO Vol. 2. Join Rodney as he shares some of his favorite Christmas songs by some of his most beloved bands including CJ Ramone (bass player of The Ramones), The Glitter Critters a.k.a The Woolly Bandits (with Clem Burke of Blondie on drums and Kevin Preston of The Prima Donnas on guitar), actress (Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Mindy Project) Tipper Newton’s pop girl band Color TV, The Tearaways who wrote Rodney’s Sirius Radio theme song, David Bowie collaborator KristeenYoung, The Ramonas, Kat Meoz, Frankie and the Studs (featuring the daughter of Gilby Clark from Guns and Roses), The Dollyrots, Karen Basset of The Pandoras, and more! Released on limited edition red vinyl, this album includes a free digital download coupon with bonus tracks, and is also available as a limited edition plastic digital download card. The album sports eye-catching original album art by Doug Mansfield, guitarist for The Mansfields who also have a track on this album.
Speaking of The Mansfields, their sophomore release with Gearhead, Hollywood Babylon, is also just hitting the streets. Featuring eye-popping original cover art by Doug Mansfield, the neon-orange vinyl is stuffed full of spooky psychobilly rants such as Robot With a Human Brain, The Evil Ones, Bats over Berlin and more. This limited edition pressing of 500 copies includes a free digital download coupon with extra tracks.
And finally, the yearly print edition of Gearhead® Magazine Issue #20 is now available! Known for its coverage of rockers, custom cars, rebels, and lowbrow artists since 1993, the new issue features an interview with, Dean Moon, Creator of Mooneyes, an interview with world renowned tattooist "Cuz'n" Bill Lorenz (his eye-popping painting graces the cover of the magazine), World Famous DJ Rodney Bingenheimer and his rock n’ roll GTO, The Race of Gentlemen, Hollywood legend Fantastic Fig and His Curious Cars, Eva Von Slut and the San Francisco Music Scene and fabulous Indie Record, Book and Music Reviews.
Fifteen years ago this month Bay Area power poppers Red Planet released their masterpiece Let’s Degenerate on Gearhead Records. Following a national tour the band that was hailed as the next Green Day by fans called it quits as the original members splintered into separate factions due to life circumstances.
Coming together for the first time since then, the original band will play Gearhead’s Gearfest 2016. The garage-punk hot rod exravaganza will take place at the Blue Lamp, 1400 Alhambra Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95816 Sept. 24, 2016. Doors open at 6:30 with Red Planet scheduled to take the stage at 10 pm. Space is limited and guests are encouraged to buy their tickets in advance from the Blue Lamp website. The cost is $8 in advance or $10 at the door.
Hailed as “Darn Infectious” by the SF Bay Guardian and raved about by the underground press far and wide, Red Planet played hooky power-pop new wave melodies inspired by The Cars, The Knack, and later-period Redd Kross. “This young, Ritalin-deprived quartet let loose with big barbed hooks, Diamond Dave-era Van Halen influenced guitar leads, and vocal harmonies inspired by a rich collection of British Invasion vinyl.” (Listen.com)
After releasing their debut full-length Revolution 33 in 2000 on Gearhead Records, the band was poised to explode to a wider audience with the release of their 2001 sophomore release Let’s Degenerate. Produced by award-winning indie producer Kurt Bloch (Fastbacks, Mudhoney, Nashville Pussy) and photographed by Grammy-nominated photographer David Perry, the album was rapidly climbing the indie charts with enthusiastic reviews and an ever growing rabid fan base. Fans were calling them “the next Green Day” because of their catchy-punk-laden hooks, Bay Area roots, cheeky attitude and incendiary live performances.
To promote the new record, the band went on a national tour September 2001 opening for the New York Dolls’ Syl Slyvain. Looking forward to playing to larger audiences and traveling the country for the first time, the band was fueled by high hopes and a brash certainty only a young band on the rise can harness. All done before the era of social media, the word of mouth buzz was excited and expectant. Then came the tragedy of 9/11 and every thing fell apart.
Playing to half-empty halls and struggling to get paid because promoters were losing their shirts due to low turn out, the band arrived home from the month long tour exhausted, hungry and demoralized. Drummer John Messier was the first to call it quits. Family demands, trying to make rent and frustration proved to be too much and the rest of band went on hiatus for several months to recover.
In 2004, with a replacement drummer, the band released their final record We Know How It Goes to critical acclaim but mediocre sales. Displaying a more introspective dreamy quality, the songs on this record reflected a more grown-up view of the world, where love doesn’t win out in the end, and dark things sometimes overpower even the most positive mindset. Produced entirely in-house by Red Planet guitarist Chris Dunn, the record resonated with a late-period Brian Wilson feel, more echoey layered production and less in-your-face punk rock enthusiasm. After several months, despite repeated requests for the band to perform these songs live, they officially called it quits and went their separate ways.
Gearhead owner Michelle was heartbroken, dashing high hopes that this band would be a commercial success. But more importantly, Red Planet was Haunold’s baby, bringing the band to Gearhead after stumbling across them opening for Kevin Second’s (7 Seconds) band Grand National at a small Sacramento club. “They played music like I grew up listening too. Power pop new wave with infectious melodies and a cheeky in your face attitude that only a great young band could pull off. I fell in love instantly.”
Now, after repeated requests for the band to play, they have agreed. All four original members, drummer John Messier, keyboards/ guitarist Chris Dunn, guitarist Jeremy Powers and bassist Gordon Evans, will once again take the stage at Gearfest 2016, scheduled for Sept. 24, 2016 at The Blue Lamp. Still based in the Bay Area, the band will play a selection of songs from their four Gearhead releases as well as some new songs. “I am over the moon with excitement,” enthused Haunold. “I can’t wait to see them and hear those songs that I still have on constant rotation in my Itunes played live once again”. Old fans are excitedly expectant and Haunold is hopeful the new generation of music fans who are pushing the sales of power pop vinyl at indie stores around the country will finally check out Red Planet.
Doors open at 6:30 and the first band goes on at 7 pm sharp. Red Planet will hit the stage about 10 pm sharing the bill with several other veteran bands from the late 90s, including Sacramento’s Troublemakers, LA’s The Rankoutsiders and Leesa G from the 80’s girl punk band The Creamers.
Need some good old fashion rock and roll to kick off your holiday season? Do not miss The Lords of Altamont on tour now with Rev. Horton Heat! Dishing up gear-grinding rock and roll since 1993, this is the first US tour for the band in several years. Make sure you pick up their legendary new record Lords Take Altamont available now on LP/CD or on Itunes
Nov 27 Austin, TX Tickets
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The San Francisco foursome known as The White Barons have made their triumphant return with the stunning rock and roll slammer Electric Revenge.
Fronted by the force of nature known affectionately as Eva Von Slut, the band once again barrels through songs about love, drugs, loss, and taking charge of one's life and the decisions one makes.
I first fell in love with this band, especially Ms. Slut when they opened for The Thunder Boys at a show in Davis, CA back in 2007. I was contemplating signing the TBs and don't really remember how the Barons got on the bill. I'm pretty sure we had been talking and she offered to drive up to play for me. Of course I signed them.
That's how this band is. They have a take-no-prisoners approach to rock and roll that I absolutely love. Their first record, Up All Night With The White Barons was a punk n' roll Misfits inspired sing along down a back alley complete with brass knuckles, and an 8 ball of blow. This new one is way more rock n' roll nodding to the classic 70s rock that I grew up with. Ms. Slut's vocals are still balls to the wall, but her voice is so much better suited to this pure style of classic rock. The brothers Nate and Johnny back her up so admirably, both instrumentally as well as vocally. They lay a great foundation for her to jump off of. They even got the The Dwarves' Blag Dahlia singing on a couple of tracks "Black Rider" and "You're Mine Tonight". Topping it all off is the eye-popping cover art by Vince Ruarus. Grab this limited edition slab o' wax fast; there are only 500 copies and each comes with a free digital download coupon. Of course you can also pick this baby up on Itunes!
I first started going to South By Southwest (SXSW) in 1999, just as a music fan. To find a collection of some of the most exciting new independent music collected all in one place, set in one of the coolest cities around was a dream come true.
Garage punk, rock n' roll, alternative country and americana, killer thrift stores, to die for bbq and all around nice folks made up those first few years of my annual excursions to Austin, TX. I was lucky enough to have friends living there so I crashed on their floor. I slept like a log despite the uncomfortable conditions because we'd been out rockin' and drinkin' till the wee hours of the morning, and that kind of activity can only lead to a slumber so deep, no amount of cat hair or hard floors could keep me from the rest I so badly needed.
Breakfast was always at the Magnolia Cafe, recharging the batteries with a steaming plate of Huevos Rancheros and a Bloody Mary chaser, then we were ready to hit the free afternoon parties and BBQs that made so much of the early days at SXSW memorable.
Fast forward a few years. Gearhead was already an established record label, hosting our own afternoon parties at cool places like South Austin Speed Shop (now owned by the infamous Jesse James), put on by our good friend and Gearhead enthusiast Mike Adair (he now lives in Washington and owns Electric Boogaloo Tattoo) and putting on night time showcases that became the talk of the town.
Gearhead found and signed a number of bands during those years, most notably Japanese bands Gitogito Hustler, Electric Eel Shock and The Spunks. It was a festival that brought bands from all over the world and was created with the intent of connecting artists and labels. The creators achieved that goal so admirably that the festival became the "go to" place for bands hoping to take that next step in their dreams of becoming rock stars.
I fondly remember when I discovered Gitogito Hustler. I was rushing from an afternoon party back to my hotel to get dolled up for the Gearhead showcase that night. It was 2004, at the height of success for the label. We had a killer showcase planned (The Turbo A.C.'s, "Demons", Dragons, The Lashes, Riverboat Gamblers and The Wildhearts, (you can read more about it here), and had been chosen by the Austin Chronicle as a "must see" event that night. People were already lining up outside of Emo's for our showcase which featured the infamous Wildhearts in their debut performance at SXSW. I had spent the afternoon ushering the band around to various interviews, the most notable of which was a chat with Spin Magazine editor Doug Brod. I was smitten. He was so charming and enthusiastic and had a genuine appreciationfor the garage rock Gearhead was championing. Needless to say, my head was all abuzz as I made a beeline through the back alley ways to the hotel. But cutting through the din and the hazy BBQ smoke filling the air was a sound so exciting, I stopped dead in my tracks and listened for a moment or two before deciding I had to see who the band was that was making that glorious noise.
There they were, four diminutive dollies, all dressed in matching plaid bondage pants, rockin' out like there was no tomorrow. I wrote about this moment in the liner notes of their debut full-length Love and Roll. I still remember how awestruck I was. Despite the fact that they spoke no English, I was able to get across how much I loved what they were doing. With the help of their then tour-manager, Hajime (who's own band The Spunks would also later be signed to Gearhead), we exchanged information with a promise of further exploring the possiblility of working together.
Fast forward a few more years to 2007. SXSW had changed so much from those early days. Gone was the preferential treatment of getting to choose what venue and day I wanted to host the Gearhead showcase. The streets were filled with movie cameras from national TV shows. Hip hop artists and limousines clogged the streets, all posing for pictures with anyone who thought they might be someone. There had been some drama earlier, with someone getting shot I think, so the streets were cordoned off with plastic yellow crime scene tape.
I knew right then, that would be my last trip to Austin for SXSW. It had reached the mainstream media, and it was now time to find a new path to tapping into the interesting, but unknown music bubbling underneath the glitz and glamour. I started hosting the Gearhead® Showcases at the annual Lady Luck Tattoo Convention in Reno, NV, but that's food for another story.
SXSW continues to thrive today, but it is such a different world. It's like watching the Grammies, where I know it's about the music industry, but such a foreign world from the one I live in that it holds little interest for me. I've never been interested in following trends. I can watch with mild amusement and detachment as things evolve, and be grateful that I got to experience it in it's infancy, when it was raw, exciting, passionate, and sometimes a little chaotic, but so real.
The music industry continues to evolve, just like the custom car industry and all the other niche areas that have started to attract national attention. It's the nature of life. I love being at the beginning of things and am excited for what might be right around the corner.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
This quote from T.S. Eliot jumped out at me as I struggled to pull this newsletter together. It states so clearly what I’ve been feeling about reviving Gearhead®, but was having trouble putting into words. After fifteen years of ups and downs, feeling as if I were sitting in the front seat of a rickety old wooden roller coaster banking sharply to one side or the other and sometimes almost going off the rails, I have arrived back at the beginning. It’s all the same, yet it feels like I’m seeing it all for the first time.
I’ve toyed with the idea of rebranding Gearhead® for the past year, and in my mind it totally made sense. My heart however had a different idea, and that disconnect kept things stalled out as I struggled to figure out what the best plan of action was.
The more I explored the idea though, the more I realized it was exactly the right next action to take. So as 2015 picks up speed, I’m going for it. Lots of companies go through this rebranding process of reinventing themselves. Look at MacDonald’s using hip hop music to reach a new generation, or Apple, going from nearly bankrupt to Visionary by connecting with peoples’ desires for simple and beautiful technology. Changes are sometimes jarring to the fans who have supported the old guard, but when you give it a chance sometimes the changes are exactly what is needed to breathe fresh air and life into a company and make it fun and exciting again.
Fifteen years ago, I joined forces with founder Mike, and together we created Gearhead Records. Mike had set the stage back in 1993, creating Gearhead Magazine and making some shirts to help spread the word about his new project. We became partners because we had a similar desire to add some cool shit to the exciting mix of music and clothing that was just starting to pick up steam in early 2000, and each of us had a valuable part to play in growing the company.
We officially added Gearhead Magazine and Gearhead Apparel making these divisions an integral part of the business plan that already included Gearhead Records. But it also ended up making things a little confusing for Gearhead customers. Many didn’t realize all these separate brands were all actually different products from the same company!
The redesign of the 22-year-old Gearhead brand has not been something I entered into lightly. The process of mulling over this decision forced me to ask deeper questions about who Gearhead is and what exactly this company, most notably the role of the magazine, should be in this age of Facebook blogs Twitter and Instagram where little is left to the imagination, and trends come and go with the blink of an eye.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce Gearhead Headquarters., or for short Gearhead HQ
Going forward, each division will no longer be referred by using records, apparel, or magazine. It will all just be Gearhead from here on out, all collected under the mother ship, Gearhead HQ.
The changes are kicking off with the re-launch of Gearhead Magazine (now to be called just Gearhead!), with the long-awaited issue #19 due out Spring 2015. Despite the fact that founder Mike will no longer be involved, the original spirit of the magazine will still be there, focusing on the culture, the stories and people that drive the many faceted world of independent music, art and cars.
Gearhead is a lifestyle brand built on images, words and sounds, of anticipating trends and pop culture years in advance of mass media. Gearhead has always been way ahead of the curve, balancing nostalgia and reverence for the past with current cultural trends.
Now when you turn on the TV, there are shows about underground movements that Gearhead touched on years earlier. Punk Rock is now mainstream with companies like cellular giant T Mobile usurping the gritty raw punk n’ roll sound that many Gearhead bands championed. Lowbrow art and Kustom Kulture are now as much a part of the American pop experience as Pepsi and Burger King.
The truth is that is exactly what Gearhead has always been good at, and why Gearhead is still relevant today: Someone has to find the cool shit first and share it with the world.
Since taking a few years off to do some soul-searching and clutter clearing, there have literally been hundreds of companies laying claim to the Gearhead name. But due to Mike’s foresight, we were there first, creating the pathway for a lifestyle combining hot rods, rock ‘n roll and pop culture that you all supported and helped grow. The name Gearhead didn’t exist in popular culture the way it does now (check out the urban dictionary for a really jaw-dropping look at today’s use) but try explaining that to these newbies is like ramming a priceless t bucket into a brick wall. Better just to let it go and focus on what started the whole trip in the first place!
As Thee Gearhead® brand emerges I am pleased to carry forward the tradition of shining the light in dingy clubs, dusty garages and pulling open closet doors to uncover the interesting and unique stories, music and pop culture from the past that hold relevance in today’s disconnected world. I feel incredibly lucky to still be here, guiding this company into the future. Who knows where it will go, but the one thing I DO know is it will be fun, interesting, challenging and exciting to navigate this new leg of the journey.
Advertisers, you can grab some ad space at the original super-low rates from 2008, just for this issue. There is limited space available as the magazine undergoes this metamorphosis, so get in touch right away to reserve your spot. It’s a chance to be part of something big once again, right from the beginning.
Its’ a super exciting time to be part of Gearhead, and I’m thrilled that you are all still along for the ride. There’s bound to be bumps along the way, but that’s part of what makes a road trip or a rollercoaster ride fun right? More than anything else, 22 years is a long time to be in business. I missed celebrating that, so with the my official 15 year anniversary upon us now, it’s time to rock and roll, and get things moving so we can continue to celebrate the rebirth of all parts of the Gearhead brand.
Thanks for joining me on this new leg of our journey! Keepin’ the rubber on the road,
To say Kim Fowley changed the course of my life would be a gross understatement. I never met the man, but his influence and talent helped make me who I am today.
Outrageous, demented, and with an ear for pop music that I would die for, this man shaped the course of rock 'n' roll in so many ways, it's difficult to pick which one was more influential.
Discovering the talent that formed the Runaways, one of my all-time favorite bands and inspirations was just the beginning of how my life would be changed by a man I never knew. Kiss, Alice Cooper, Blue Cheer, The Seeds...the list is long and impressive, and all of these bands were part of my musical education and growth.
RIP Kim, may you shake things up in heaven and send us some more incredible talent here on earth. The music industry is a bit stale right now and could use some excitement.
--Rev. Michelle Haunold, C.E.O/President, Gearhead®
I am slowly but surely getting through emails. It's something I struggle with on a daily basis. Do I stop and answer all the wonderful emails that come through from my customers and community? Or do I focus on trying to get Gearhead moving again? Usually the emails get pushed to the back seat; any of you that have written, just accept my apology, and know I save ALL emails and answer them at some point!
Back in April I got such a nice email from a long time Gearhead supporter in response to my newsletter. He took my newsletter and added pictures, which is something I had wanted to do, but never got around to! I have been meaning to share his blog with this for months now, and on the eve of sending out my next newsletter, I figured it's now or never. So Frank, thank you for your support! Thank you for making this newsletter extra special by adding the pictures. It was exactly what I would have done, had I done it!
Please read this blog, and support this guy, he truly rocks!! xo Michelle
"All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” Ernest Hemingway said this, and I have to admit, I have been struggling to do exactly that for a very long time, ever since I published my first article back in 1987, a record review for Oregon State Unitersity's paper The Barometer.
It's hard to write what's in your head sometimes, but I keep trying. I like it when people are real, authentic, and totally themselves and that's what I'd like to convey when I write about something I'm passionate about.
Which leads me to this project I'm currently working on....a little thing called the next, long awaited issue of Gearhead Magazine, #19. I've been involved in putting the magazine together in the past, but it's been a long long time, so I'm starting at ground zero here, trying to figure out what I want to write about, what content should go into a beloved magazine that certainly has a history and a following, and knowing I won't be able to make it what the former editor, Mike, did. Instead, I have to make it my own. I know it's gonna get a few people bent out of shape, but I can't worry about that.
I'll never be able to make it exactly like what Mike did, but I can make it something new, something that reflects my outlook on life, cars, pop culture, rock 'n' roll and this crazy little upside down world we all inhabit. All I can do is write the truest sentence I can.
I'm looking for contributors by the way. Are you interested? If you have always had a burning desire to write an article, story or review for Gearhead, now's your chance! Drop me a line! Maybe your time has come!
Automotive Journalist, Editor and Publisher of Gearhead Magazine, Gearhead Records, Gearhead Apparel, DJ, Punk Rocker, Master Gardener, Minister, Environmental Activist and Animal Lover... who IS this person?!