As we head towards the end of 2018, I have been going back through old blog posts and articles, and this one caught my eye. I felt this article still has a lot of relevance today because I'm still finding my way with this company and with being CEO/President and Creative Director all at the same time. I feel inclined to post it because I hope this will help some of you out there who are going through similar creative challenges. Enjoy, and thanks for being part of my journey. Much love, Michelle Haunold Lorenz
Probably most of you reading this have never heard of him, but in 1971 singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson released an album called The Point, about a round-headed boy named Oblio and his dog Arrow (remember the song Me and My Arrow? That's where this comes from) who lived in a land where, by law, everything had to have a point. It was turned into an animated film that aired on TV. I remember watching it at the age of 7, entranced and mystified by the story and the music. As I get Gearhead back up and running, I was looking back over the last four years of consciously closing down a successful business, including my very successful retail boutique and trying to get clear about what the point of it all was.
It seemed everything had lost the point. What was the point of putting out records, finding bands and helping them out, writing about and sharing things I'm passionate about, like cool threads and hot rods and neat art and tattoos and my gardens and everything that just feeds my soul.... what was the point?! So I very consciously chose to close my store, even though I absolutely loved it and it was doing very well, and I started selling off Gearhead inventory, and what I couldn't sell and didn't feel like moving, I smashed. Literally. I destroyed stuff with a sledgehammer, which was incredibly satisfying in a very weird twisted way. I created it and brought it into the world and I was choosing to liberate it and remove it from the world. After all, there seemed to be no point to its existence at all!
All passion was gone. I didn't want to ever hear music again, I didn't ever want to go vend ever again, I never wanted to see or smell another hot rod; I just wanted it all to be over. I listened to talk radio, or nothing at all. I tried to get rid of Gearhead. I thought I could just sell everything off and quietly close it down, let it slip into oblivion and move on.
During these last four years, I pursued a very different path. I became a minister and a spiritual counselor and healer, doing deep soul healing on myself as I helped others work through their own tough times. I also became a master gardener and put my life-long love of plants to work, teaching people how to create water-wise gardens, work with the earth harmoniously, grow their own vegetables and become aware of their impact on the earth and people around them.
Slowly, I started to enjoy life again, and I started to listen to music again. Very gentle music, like folk singer Kate Wolf, Elliott Smith, Mark Erelli, The Nields, piano concertos and music that made me feel good. Every once in a while I would dig out my favorite female rocker, Joan Jett, and crank up one of her records and dance around the house and sing at the top of my lungs. And that felt great.
So I started digging out more of my rock 'n' roll records that I used to love: Groovie Ghoulies, The Go-Gos, The Yum Yums, New York Dolls, Patti Smith, The Cars, Cheap Trick and AC/DC, and little by little, I started to feel better because all those records made me feel good too! The point to all the music was IT MADE ME FEEL. Music is a way to get past all the crap and go right to the point of being human: we are here to feel, to experience, to share, to learn, to change, and grow, but most of all to feel.
I finally started listening to the records I put out for Gearhead and realized I loved those records. The time and the place each one of those records came into my life reflected where I was at emotionally, mentally and spiritually and they all had a point, a reason to exist. Fourteen years of living this life, and it was all reflected in the records and products I put out through Gearhead.
Now, fours years down the line and in a much more balanced place, I'm taking Gearhead out of the garage and onto the road again. Everyone has their own opinions about this company; who I should sign and what records I should put out, what shirt I should make, where I should vend and how I should move forward. And that's O.K. To each their own. But as I find my passion again for this company and the people I work with, I understand that that is exactly the point of running this company. I am giving people the courage, the inspiration, the passion and the guts to do their own thing whether they're inspired by what I do, or if they don't like what I'm doing. DIY baby!
I'm very excited about this new year, about getting the Gearhead motor cranked back up again, about putting out records for bands I love, about going out to car shows again and selling my stuff, about talking to people again, about working with artists to come up with cool new clothing. It always used to be fun, and I'm happy that it is fun again. There is still a reason for Gearhead to be around, 'cause there are still people that dig what I do and what Gearhead represents, and want to be part of it and support it. Every experience has a point, even if it's not always readily apparent, and that my friends, is exactly the point.
Yes, it's true! Simply buy one magazine and automatically get a 2nd copy of that same magazine for free. No gimmicks, no coupons! But hurry, offer ends midnight Dec. 20, 2018!
HO HO HO ho ho ho, Santa's Got a GTO! If you missed out on picking up this limited edition record, you still have a chance before it goes out of print. Available as an LP with full color artwork and liner notes, a digital download or a digital download card, shake up the holiday season with these raucous irreverent Christmas tunes, curated exclusively for Gearhead Records by DJ Rodney Bingenheimer (Rodney on the Rock), the Mayor of Sunset Strip, and the man responsible for introducing the world to The Ramones, The Runaways, Blondie and so many more bands.
Featuring the retro art of Doug Mansfield, the bright red cover and vinyl will surely put you in the Christmas mood! And while you're at it, stuff the stockings of the rock fan in your life with exclusive accessories including keychains, magnets, pocket mirrors and die-cut stickers.
Add a touch of holiday funky to your party decor with these limited edition full-color posters, measuring 11 x 17
As The Tearaways sing, "It's Gonna be a Helluva Christmas!"
I have to be honest: I absolutely despise shopping, especially the blatant commercialism that floods the holiday season. I hate the onslaught of promotional emails that scream BUY ME BUY ME! It makes me sick to my stomach.
But the truth is, as a small business, I depend on people buying my stuff, so I too have taken part in these email blasts, and yes, I will be coming up with a bunch of special offers to entice you to choose GEARHEAD products when you consider gifts this year. I love coming up with new products, but if you’re not buying them, then I can’t make new stuff, dig? I don’t have the ubiquitous “start up” venture capitalist backing me like so many new businesses these days. Gearhead is run the old-fashioned way—by bootstrapping. You know the phrase “S/he pulled him/herself up by the bootstraps”? Well, that’s what bootstrapping means. As money comes in from fine folks like yourself buying the products I’m selling, that money goes back into manufacturing and paying the bills so I can make new stuff, or restock the stuff that sold out.
But part of that money is put aside for causes I believe in. Call it charity or donations or whatever. I call it moral capitol. I believe deeply in giving back to the community I live in and organizations that support those less fortunate. Over the years, I’ve passionately supported non-profits that I myself have personally used: the food bank when I was experiencing extreme food insecurity during my bankruptcy, or the local women’s shelter who helped me when I was trying to get away from my abusive 1st husband many years ago.
Ever since I was a little kid, I have been animal crazy, and incredibly sensitive to abuse and neglect that many animals experience. Even now, I can’t watch commercials about abused animals; I burst into tears, literally. And since I’ve become a dog-mom three times over (Dooly, Twix and Luci) I’ve become committed to raising awareness and funds for animals in need. In my spare time, I also volunteer as a Master Gardener, teaching the local community about what plants to use to enhance their homes and gardens. That has led to my deep commitment to also supporting organizations that benefit our rivers and oceans, and the animals that depend on them for survival.
So what does any of this have to do with hot rods and rock & roll? Gearhead is all about passion, about being engaged, whether it is freaking out about a band or cars or publishing something.
And any time you buy something from Gearhead, whether it is a CD, a T Shirt, a magazine or even a sticker, 10 % of Gearhead profits are donated each year to a variety of non-profits I am passionate about
Today is Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday). It is a movement to celebrate an international day of charitable giving at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season, and if ever there was a day to share your good fortunes, today is the day. Many non-profits have match or double programs to help increase the amount of donations coming in. This is the day each year I choose to make my donations on behalf of Gearhead, because that money goes so much farther.
You may have heard about the horrible fires that have laid waste to Butte County and the tiny town of Paradise in Northern CA. While Gearhead HQ was not in harms way, for several weeks, smoke was so thick it was dangerous to go outside. Many of our friends lost their homes and businesses. And now that the fire is contained, animal shelters are overwhelmed trying to reunite pets with their families, as well as provide medical care for animals injured during the fire.
Dooly Twix and Luci’s vet, VCA Elk Grove, is doing a special fundraiser for the animals affected by the Camp Fires of Butte County. Please consider donating directly to them this Giving Tuesday, and make sure to designate your donation "CA WILDFIRES RELIEF" in the instructions area. I will be making a special one-time donation to this fund to help our friends and neighbors get reunited with their lost and injured pets. You can read more about the other non-profits that will be receiving donations from Gearhead right here.
Today, please consider buying something from the Gearhead Store after you read this newsletter. World Wide Free Shipping continues until Friday, Dec. 30, (Just enter code THANKS18 at check out) so not only are you getting a great deal (because trust me, shipping in NOT cheap, especially overseas), but you are helping me follow my heart and support worthy vetted non-profits as part of my mission for running GEARHEAD.
But remember, wherever your passions lie, share your resources today, Giving Tuesday, and help make this world a better place.
Sorry for getting so serious, on you. But thanks for helping Gearhead and me kick off this holiday season on a positive note.
Keeping the rubber on the road,
Michelle Haunold Lorenz
Thanks for being the best part of Gearhead! Without you, we wouldn't exist! We know you have alot of choices out there, and to share our gratitude, we are offering free shipping WORLD WIDE now until Nov. 30, 2018 on all orders. Make sure to enter code THANKS18 at check out to get free shipping on all your orders from the Gearhead Online Store
Gearfest 2018 was a blast. If you missed it, check out some of the photos below or on our facebook page. We raised $712 for the Sacramento SPCA Behavior Department. Thanks to the following businesses, people and sponsors for your generous help and support. We couldn't have done it without you! A special thanks to the women who came out for the Ms. Gearhead contest. It is tough to put yourself out there, but you all are so brave and beautiful! Strong Women Rock!
Sacramento Tattoo and Piercing, Cuz'n Bill Lorenz, CJ Ramone, School of Rock Elk Grove, 805 Beer, Valvoline, Fender, Tres Noir Optics, Kustom Koffins Apparel, Bicknee Tattoo Supply, Rich and Bobby Thomas, Kyle Martin. Starbucks Elk Grove, Green Acres Nursery, Heather Klinger, Roger Neria, Culinerdy Cruzer, The Blue Lamp, CA Automobile Museum, Jay Ward,
Pets To Go, So-Cal Speed Shop, Impact Group Natural Foods, Axe Heaven Miniature Guitars, McConnell Estates Winery, Bruce and Linda Beatty, Capitol Ace Hardware, Bruce Gossett Studios, Phono Select Records, Jim Mclain, Tower Café, Gunthers Ice Cream, and Hilton Garden Inn Elk Grove. And a special big thanks to all the bands for putting on a killer show in the middle of the day!
Public Eye, Color TV, Fur Dixon, The Control Freaks, Infamous Swanks, and The Woolly Bandits and to all those who came out and supported! You Rock!
Top vehicle builders from all over the world will help SEMA Show exhibitors showcase their products and stand out at the at the premier automotive aftermarket trade show by entering the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition. The fifth annual contest will generate worldwide attention for the exhibitors while spotlighting the amazing talents, products and craftsmanship of the builders.
"The 2018 SEMA Battle of the Builders competition will allow us to learn about the products and stories behind the cars and trucks of these top builders," said Peter MacGillivray, SEMA VP of events and business development. "Companies who exhibit one of these builds benefit from the increased brand awareness and product exposure."
All SEMA Battle of the Builders competitors are recognized in SEMA Show publications and on signage at the event, and many will be featured in a one-hour, nationwide television special that will air exclusively on the Velocity Network in January 2019.
The SEMA Battle of the Builders competition was expanded this year to recognize winners in each of the four different categories: Hot Rod, Truck/Off-Road, Sport Compact and Young Guns. Industry judges will narrow down the field of nearly 300 entries to the Top 10 in each category before selecting the Top 12 builds overall. The 12 finalists will then take over judging duties and vote to name an overall winner, which will be announced Friday, Nov. 2, at SEMA Ignited, the official SEMA Show after-party.
SEMA also expanded its Young Guns regional program to give 14 up-and-coming builders age 27 and younger the opportunity to showcase their vehicles and talents at the exclusive trade show. Winners at select car shows throughout the country were awarded a package that included an all-expenses paid trip to the SEMA Show, transportation of the winner’s vehicle, a designated feature spot, and entry into Battle of the Builders.
For more information about the 2018 Battle of the Builders competition and to see behind-the-scenes footage and interviews of some of this year's contestants, visit www.sema.org/botb or SEMA's YouTube channel. For information about attending SEMA Ignited, the official after-party of the SEMA Show, please visit: www.semaignited.com
About SEMA and the SEMA Show
The SEMA Show is a trade show produced by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), a nonprofit trade association founded in 1963. Since the first SEMA Show debuted in 1967, the annual event has served as the leading venue bringing together manufacturers and buyers within the automotive specialty equipment industry. Products featured at the SEMA Show include those that enhance the styling, functionality, comfort, convenience and safety of cars and trucks. Additional details are available at www.SEMAShow.com or www.sema.org, 909/396-0289.
Today is the day, rock and roll, hot rods, a raffle to raise funds for the Sacramento SPCA Behavior Dept. Tickets are available at the door for $15. 21+ over inside for the bands, outside is free to all! Culinerdy Cruzer will be dishing up good eats all day, the beer will be flowing courtesy of 805, cool hot rods about and Come meet CJ Ramone, the Guest of Honor! Also on hand, the California Auto Museum and the Sacramento SPCA with demos, information and more!
Doors open 12 Noon
12:30 Public Eye
1 pm Color TV
2 pm Fur Dixon
3 pm Ms. Gearhead Contest
4 pm The Control Freaks
5 pm Infamous Swanks
6 pm Wooly Bandits
For more information, visit the Gearfest Page
Pure Grain Audio has posted an article about Gearhead and Gearfest, as well as some personal reflections by Gearhead owner Rev. Michelle Haunold Lorenz.
Gearhead owner/operator, Michelle Haunold Lorenz, joins us to share her thoughts on the struggles of launching and re-launching a record label and curating the Gearfest festival, and why it’s all worth it in the end.
Gearhead Records began at the turn of the century as an offshoot to Gearhead Magazine, a lifestyle publication that highlighted subcultures such as hot rods, punk rock, and lowbrow artwork. The label paralleled the magazine’s values and tastes, resulting in them being the first US label to break Swedish rockers The Hives and opportunities to work alongside such groups as The Hellacopters, Electric Eel Shock, Lord of Altamont, The Wildhearts, Turbo A.Cs, Riverboat Gamblers, and many more. As the label grew, so did its cult following, which made its way around the world. It was an icebreaker; if you saw someone donning attire with the crossed checkered flag and red logo, read more....
Some great press is starting to run about Gearfest, the alternative punk rock hot rod festival hosted annually by Gearhead. If you're on the fence about attending or maybe just want more information, check out this killer article written by New Noise about Gearfest 2018!
Rock 'n' Roll/Automotive Journalist, Influencer, Editor and Publisher of Gearhead Magazine,