The New Year arrived in a torrent of rain and wind here in Northern California, washing away optimistic thoughts of sunny outings in the hot rod with my sweetheart happening any time soon. It sits parked in the garage, waiting for an oil change that will signal driving season again.
Until then, I hunker down at Gearhead HQ, planning the game of attack for this fresh New Year filled with possibilities and new opportunities
Everyone needs new duds for the New Year, so some new shirts and hats are the first up. Snag one of the cool new Wrench shirts, a foam Sparkplug trucker hat, or a snazzy baseball jersey featuring the ubiquitous GEARHEAD logo from our newly designed web store.
Issue #20 of GEARHEAD MAGAZINE is due out in April. Ad space is still available if you have product or business you want the GEARHEAD community to know about. Email for a rate sheet!
Car show season kicks off this year with Gearhead’s first appearance at the Sacramento Autorama in over ten years! If you’re in the area, stop by Booth B28 Feb. 17-19, 2017 and enter the free raffle to win a goody bag. This massive three-day event features all types of rides from mouth-watering high-end gems restored in bright candy colors to rusty rods lovingly restored with the DIY spirit in home garages.
That DIY spirit permeates everything here at GEARHEAD. This includes sharing articles and stories written by our customers. This month, the featured story is Five Car Shows You Should Attend written by Guest Writer Jason Muelle. If you have something cool you think Gearhead readers would dig,hit me up: maybe you will be our next guest writer!
While the world crashes and storms around us my hope is for Gearhead to continue focusing even more on our unique community. After all, that’s what brings us together right? Our mutual love of hot rods and rock and roll; this is a unifying bond like nothing else.
Speaking of community, my heart is saddened by the death of Hellacopters guitarist Robert “Strings” Dahlqvist Feb. 3, 2017. The loss to his band mates, family, loved ones and our rock and roll community is deep and painful. Sharing how he touched my life is my way of honoring his memory. If you have memories to share, please feel free to add positive comments to this space.
Thank you for your ongoing support and enthusiasm as I continue to change and grow Gearhead. I love reading the email responses to the newsletter as well as your comments onFacebook, Twitter and Instagram. Connecting directly with you all through social media reminds me every day why I’m doing this: our community! So here’s to a rockin’ 2017 everyone.
Live Fast, Be Weird! Xoxo Rev. Michelle
RIP Robert "Strings" Dahlqvist
It was a cold wet winter day and I was feeling a little down. Not depressed, just not real motivated. Then I got the call from my boyfriend. He had just heard from a Facebook friend that Hellacopters guitarist Robert "Strings" Dahlqvist had died.
I couldn’t believe it. How could such a talented young man with so much ahead of him be dead? He was only 40, with plans for a new record and touring shaping this New Year. After confirming the truth of this rumor, I sat back and put on one of the two records I worked on with the band, High Visibility, and let my mind wander back to fifteen years ago first meeting Robert.
It’s pretty crazy when you’re working on a record. There are a lot of parts to manage, from the masters to the artwork. Usually there are one or two band members who one works with closely to get all the details sorted out and the record finished. Since I was working out most of these details while the band was in Sweden, I mostly communicated with their manager Patrick and drummer Robert via phone and email.
When the band arrived in town April 2002 to start their US tour promoting High Visibility, I was a little tongue-tied. I’d seen the band play once before, I think it was 1998, but had never officially met them or spent time with them prior to putting out the record. I was always one of those shy types, never feeling comfortable enough to talk to the bands I admired from a distance. They were cool for goodness sake, and I was just a geek who dug their music. I had to get over that for this tour though because I was handling all the distribution, sales and merch for the band and the tour, not to mention the production of their record. Talking to them and getting to know because I was the head of their record label was a must.
Much as myself, Strings was also shy, reserved and quiet. He hung in the background mostly talking in Swedish with his band mates. We chatted a little but I was never able to overcome my own shyness to really open up with him, and consequently, never really got to know him like I did Kenny, Robert or Nicke.
But that reserve disappeared when Strings got on stage. If I had super x ray vision, I would swear there were lightning bolts sparking off his fingertips when he played. He was focused and technically superior, but rocked with a passion and love that could color the notes flying out of his guitar with a fury and aggression that pushed the band to play harder and faster.
It strikes me as somewhat prescient that the band all have wings barely visible sprouting from their backs on the cover of High Visibility. I don’t know whose idea this was.
When they played they were in synch with a higher power, channeling passion and love and companionship through their music. Strings added a touch of American muscle to the band and on that recording, taking their sound into a more 70s classic rock approach, channeling the bands he loved like Kiss, The Kinks and The Rolling Stones into his playing and making their world his own.
I don’t know what happened to him. After the Hellacopters moved on to a new label, I had no further reason to be in touch constantly.
He was such a beautiful passionate young man in his prime, giving the world his love through his music.
My heart hangs heavy, my soul weeps for the loss of this brilliant child of the universe. I know his former band mates and the people who loved him are struggling to put their pain into context. For me, I celebrate the brief time we connected by listening to the records, sifting through the posters and sharing the few pictures I still have. I wish him Godspeed on this journey to the afterlife. Those airbrushed wings from the record cover are now real. I’m certain he is connecting with the rock and roll greats who left this earth before him, rocking the heavens with his glorious sounds.
Robert "Strings" Dahlqvist 4/16/76 – 2/3/17
Happy Valentines Day!
Five Car Shows You Should Attend
By Guest Writer Jason Mueller from A-1 Auto Transportation Service
Every year, there are hundreds, if not thousands of car shows around the nation that bring car enthusiasts and owners together along with food and beverage vendors and lots of great entertainment. One thing is certain however and that is the fact that not all car shows are going to be the same and it takes a little planning to schedule the best ones to attend. Whether you enjoy swap meets, cruises, private auto showings, parties, car hops or just the entertainment and excitement that comes along with being able to see some of the best classics, hot rods, muscle cars or other unique cars in existence, here are the top five car shows that you should make plans to attend.
Miami International Auto Show
The Miami International Auto Show has been around since 1971, the year that Plymouth introduced the Barracuda 426 Hemi and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon was born. When it came to car shows, the year was perfect for Miami as the show had such a great response that it has now been in operation for nearly 45 years and is one of the biggest shows on the east coast. The show consists of many popular exhibits that include convertibles, cruise-ins, cars from the 1950’s, muscle cars and many others. With cars ranging from Chevy and Ford to Ferrari and Lamborghini, this show is unparalleled with others and has plenty of live entertainment, great food and drinks and even boats, motorcycles and other vehicles. This show, held in September, is for the best of the best and is open to all ages. Ticket information can be found here.
Memphis International Auto Show
Held in October each year, the Memphis International Auto Show has events planned for all ages including a family day that includes a fun schedule of activities for kids. This show includes some of the most amazing muscle cars, hot rods, woodies, classic and vintage cars and uniquely designed and restored cars in the nation and tickets are priced affordably for all that want to attend.
Charlotte Auto Show
The Charlotte Auto Show is held in November and car enthusiasts have the opportunity to view cars, trucks and other vehicles in an area that spans the length of over six football fields. This event includes a ride and drive, family friendly entertainment and free admission for children under the age of 12. The show is a four-day event and many local hotels offer great discounts for attendees.
Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance
Every August in Pebble Beach, spectators have the opportunity to see some of the most exquisite motor vehicles ever in existence all in one west coast location. Thousands attend to see prize winning automobiles from around world including manufacturers from the U.S. as well as Germany, Italy and many others. From Buick or BMW to Ferrari and others, this show has it all and even includes motorcycles and other specialty vehicles. Those that enjoy the finer things in life will be able to not only see some of the best automobiles ever manufactured but will also have opportunities to purchase art and attend auto auctions where they have the chance to own a great classic or luxury car of their own. Tickets can be purchased for general admission or for VIP status for the August show.
Detroit Auto Show
Not many car shows can compare to the Detroit Auto Show. This show, also known as the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is one of the largest in the United States and is held in January each year. The show features the latest in the auto industry including debut cars from the leading manufacturers around the world. The event hosts a black-tie charity event with a large dinner and party as well as a concert. More than $41 million has been raised at this event since it began in 1976. More than 2000 automotive companies as well as spectators, race car drivers and nearly 1000 prestigious automobiles are showcased at this show making it one of the most well-received shows in the nation. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate the day of the show.
As one that has a deep interest in automobiles, especially classics, hot rods, muscle cars or fun cars, there are many opportunities from coast to coast to see some of the best cars in the world. Whether you want to attend as a spectator or have your own special show car shipped in, these shows are well worth checking out and trying to attend if you enjoy a good show.
Rock 'n' Roll/Automotive Journalist, Influencer, Editor and Publisher of Gearhead Magazine,