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
As we wind down to the end of 2016, and the holiday festivities rev up, looking back on this past year starts to occupy more of my thoughts. It has been an incredible year of creativity, growth, new relationships and business opportunities. But first, let me just get this out in the open: yes, I am hoping you’ll consider giving the gift of Gearhead product this holiday season. It is not too late. Read on for freebies and last minute sales!
The year began with the long-awaited issue No. 19 of Gearhead Magazine. If you missed it, you can still buy physical copies to flip through at the discounted rate of $3 now until 12/31/16. For those of you who dig the digital format, get your FREE digital copy to peruse at your leisure! Click here to download now. Ends 12/31/16.
New t-shirts and accessories have abounded this year as well, necessitating extensive appearances at various car shows including the infamous Viva Las Vegas and Mooneyes Xmas show. Check out the photos on Instagram and Facebook.
Taking a break from May through July, a litter of corgi pups made a guest appearance, produced by shop dog Twix. Gearhead went on hiatus until these little rascals were old enough to go to their new forever homes. Miss Cool Luci Fur stayed behind to become the newest Gearhead Mascot, joining Dooly and Twix in patrolling the grounds and protecting the shop. I posted a day-by-day update on my personal Facebook; Click here for pictures! It was alot of work, but one of the most rewarding productions I've been involved in.
Gearfest 2016 rocked at the end of September with knock out performances by the reformed Red Planet, Roxy Suicide (featuring Dave from The Mansfields) Pat Todd and the Rankoutsiders (former Lazy Cowgirls), Sacramento’s Troublemakers and a guest performance by Leesa G from The Creamers. Hot rods, and a Ms. Gearheadcontest rounded out the outstanding night. There will be a series of videos coming to You Tube in 2017, I promise. But till then, check out the photos here.
Renewing relationships with some of our best retail customers rounded out the rest of this year. Click here for a full list of stores carrying GEARHEAD products.
I firmly believe in celebrating the famed Twelve Days of Christmas. It’s so much more fun to get gifts through out the end of the year. According to the Music Business Association, Compact Discs are still the most popular music gift given at Christmas! Stuff your stockings with some good ol’ rock & roll; many Gearhead Compact Discs are now only $2! This sale ends Monday Dec. 26, 2016 so order today!
Back issues of Gearhead Magazine are also on sale for $1 so stock up and have some weird and wild stuff to read while you hang out for the holidays! This incredible deal lasts through the end of the year, 12/31/16.
And finally, all orders placed will receive a free digital download card stuff with great GEARHEAD music, as well as a reusable tote bag, while supplies last!
Thank you all for sharing this ride with me. I am grateful for the support you have shown through out the year. Your wonderful letters and purchases this year have fueled this journey and I can’t wait for the fun stuff coming in 2017, including some new records, a new magazine and some killer new threads.
Wishing you all a very happy prosperous holiday season filled with joy and health, and remember,
Live Fast, Be Weird!
It seems like it was just yesterday that we celebrated Gearfest back in September, and now it’s almost Thanksgiving! I guess the saying time flies when you’re having fun applies in this case; we’ve been having a blast here! Those of you who weren’t able to join us for Gearfest can check out the pictures here and the write up here. We’re already working on next year’s party, but more on that soon.
The holidays are right around the corner, which means it’s time to start thinking of those special gifts for family, friends and of course yourself! Spend your cash at the big box stores and black Friday sales, or support local, unique, and kustom? Those questions loom larger now than ever before.
It’s been crankin’ here at GEARHEAD HQ, getting kustom products ready for the winter season. How about a warm Gearhead hoodie, a handcrafted oil-tanned leather biker wallet, or a custom banner for your buddy’s shop wall? These are just a few of the new items out now for the holiday season!
And while supplies last every order gets a free digital download card full of GEARHEAD tunes to keep or use as a stocking stuffer.
On a final note, our deepest condolences go out to Miriam and the Norton Records crew with the passing of head-honcho Billy Miller. Our scene wouldn’t be the same with out the work those two have done digging up obscure wild rock and roll. You will be deeply missed Billy.
Wherever this Thanksgiving weekend takes you, be safe, listen to some great tunes, and know that GEARHEAD is here, keepin’ things cool and interesting till you get back around it. We are thankful every day we get to keep our finger on the pulse of the coolest rock, the baddest cars and the weird and wild world of kustom kulture. Happy Thanksgiving!
Live Fast, Be Weird! #livefastbeweird
These last few weeks have been anything but normal around GEARHEAD HQ. Final preparations for GEARFEST 2016 have occupied more time than I planned for, but that is normal when you’re putting on a festival that has so many moving parts.
Organizing Gearfest has been a labor of love. It feels great to have the passion flowing through my veins again. I feel like a car that just had an oil change and tune up—revved up and ready to go go go!
I am excited, really truly excited to meet, hang out, rock out and just enjoy something social again. Listening to music that fuels my soul, drinking a few brews, checking out cool cars, eating some good food…. this is what running a company like Gearhead is all about.
I’m excited for the Ms. Gearhead Contest as well. Doing something good for the community and recognizing powerful creative women in our scene at the same time is a win-win for everyone. And besides, it’s fun! To sign up, or just learn more about the contest check out the contest page.
Think back on those dark days not so long ago when I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to listen to a record again or pull myself out of my pajamas, get dressed up and go see a band or a car show. Times were pretty rough, and it looked like GEARHEAD was gonna go the way of so many other small creative businesses. But thankfully, with the help, support and enthusiasm of you, my community, things have come 180 degrees around. Its like doing donuts in the dirt; the thrill is back, enjoying doing something really fun, even if it’s kind of risky, makes life worth living.
For those of you who can’t make it, don’t despair. I plan on making Gearfest an annual event, each year a little bigger, a little better and with a lot more warning than I gave you this year. I have no excuse; I am simply learning once again to navigate the trials and tribulations of running a small business and learning to ask for help.
Please make sure to introduce yourself if you're coming. I love meeting the people who support Gearhead! For a full schedule, please check out the Gearfest page.
To commemorate the event, a limited run of Gearfest shirts is now available featuring the poster on the back and the Gearhead logo on the front of a white t shirt.
I’m getting better with the social media thing and will hopefully have photos and video up pretty quick after the event. I’m sure other folks will be sharing as well: use #gearfest2016 and #gearheadrocks as the hash tag if you do!
Finally, I want to take a moment to thank the sponsors who helped make GEARFEST 2016 possible: Asphalt Rodeo, Sacramento Tattoo and Piercing, Rolling Rock Beer, Beautiful Disaster Cosmetics, Kustom Koffins Apparel, Tres Noir Optics East SMF, and Dave’s Dawgs. You guys rock!
Now let’s go shake some action!
XoXo Rev. Michelle
Ready Set Rock! Gearfest 2016
“For one great day, June 20th, 1998 to be exact, all the stars, planets and whatever other space junk is floating around in our atmosphere all lined up perfectly….and it was called GEARFEST. The place was Tantogarden in Stockholm Sweden, and the event was a big party celebrating the ongoing transcontinental love fest between Scandanavian rock and roll and Gearhead Magazine. The American muscle cars rolled in, the cold Swedish beer flowed freely, and the bands rocked like it was the last day on Earth! ”
These words were written by Gearhead founder Mike LaVella in the liner notes to the 2001 CD compilation Gearfest (now long out of print). After several more festivals in the early 2000s in Sweden and Austin, TX, Gearfest was put on hold as we struggled with the challenges of a growing small business.
Gearfest once again saw the light of day in 2015 to an overwhelming turnout of enthusiastic fans. Much to my surprise and delight, seven of the original partygoers from that iconic day in 1998 flew over from Sweden to join in the revived celebration. Click here to see pictures!
Gearfest 2016 is right around the corner and it looks to be another day when all the space junk and stars align. Sept. 24, 2016 is the date, 6 pm is the time and The Blue Lamp is the place. If you drive a hot rod, get there early for Rock Star parking in front of the club and across the street at the host hotel The Red Lion. Fans can view the cars before doors open at 6:30 pm. Rolling Rock, our beer sponsor for the evening, will be on hand with surprises and cheap beer to keep the fans lubricated. Event sponsors Sacramento Tattoo and Piercing, one of Sacramento’s oldest tattoo shops and Asphalt Rodeo, an Elk Grove based hot rod and customs builder will be hanging out talking tattoos and hot rods.
BAND LINE UP:
7pm The Troublemakers -- Sacramento-based garage-punkers kick things off!
8 pm The Roxy Suicide -- a glam-pop punk band from Fort Collins, CO (featuring Dave Mansfield from The Mansfields)
9 pm Ms. Gearhead Contest (see below for description and entry details)
10 pm Red Planet -- the long-loved Bay Area power pop outfit performing for the first time after a fifteen year hiatus
11 pm Leesa G -- former front-woman of the 80s punk band The Creamers performing several Creamers songs with The Rankoutsiders backing her
11:30 Pat Todd and the Rankoutsiders -- bluesy balls-out country-punk from Los Angeles
For more information about the bands and schedule, click here!
So what, you ask, is a Ms. Gearhead Contest? Held as a fundraiser for the non-profit Elk Grove, CA based Chicks in Crisis, who provide support and assistance to young women facing pregnancy and child-rearing issues and sponsored by Beautiful Disaster Cosmetics, any woman can enter for $20 with all proceeds going to Chicks in Crisis.
Each woman gets 3 minutes to share why shy represents the qualities of Ms. Gearhead after which the judges will choose the next Ms. Gearhead. The winner gets a feature on the Gearhead website as well as gifts valued at over $300. In addition, raffle tickets will be sold for $1 with half the cash prize going to Chicks in Crisis and the other half to one lucky raffle winner. Click here for more information and advance entry. Contestants can also enter day of the show. To see pictures of last year’s contest and winner click here.
A limited number of rooms at The Red Lion Hotel have been reserved at the discounted rate of $79 plus taxes and fees for partygoers. It’s right across the street from the Blue Lamp which makes getting to the show really easy. Plus the rooms have microwaves, a fridge and guests get a free breakfast the next morning. There’s a pool there too, so you can enjoy some sun and playtime before the show starts! For more information and to reserve a room, call Michelle today at 916-897-2451 or send an email.
Free posters, goody bags and digital download cards plus a full Gearhead merch table will round out the evening. Food will be available for purchase from Dave’s Dawgs so no one will have to miss any of the shindig!
Please join Gearhead for a kick-ass punk rock fueled fun time. Make tracks to the Blue Lamp. It is the ONLY place to be Saturday Sept. 24, 2016.
Keepin’ the rubber on the road with Lots of love,
The Dog Days of Summer
Here it is, the dog days of summer, and this is the first GEARHEAD newsletter since April. It really has been “dog days” for me: I put Gearhead on hold to raise a litter of 7 corgi puppies these last few months. Born May 1 to my dog Twix, it has been an incredibly wonderful, exhausting process. You can see pictures on Instagram using #gearheadmascot. The pups have now all gone on to their new forever homes, so I am once again able to pick up the wrench and start work again on Gearhead.
While I’ve been raising these pups, I haven’t been idle. Several new products, including the new “Live Fast. Be Weird” shirt and a Gearhead Trucker Cap (in 3 different colors no less!) were under construction, and they’re now available in the web store.
I’ve also been hard at work on the details of GEARFEST 2016, the rock and roll/hot rod show that was revived last year to much ballyhoo and fanfare. Scheduled for Sept 24 at The Blue Lamp in Sacramento, the line up this year makes my heart sing: Sacramento’s Troublemakers, The Roxy Suicide from Colorado featuring Dave Mansfield from Gearhead recording artists The Mansfields, the long loved Bay area band Red Planet coming out of retirement especially for this show, and Pat Todd and the Rank Outsiders with special guest Leesa G from the Creamers (one of my all time favorite bands), performing a bunch of Creamers songs with the Rank Outsiders backing her!
At intermission the contest to crown Ms. Gearhead 2016 will once again take place, with the proceeds going to local women’s shelter Chicks in Crisis. Last year’s Ms. Gearhead, Jennifer Long from Thee Merry Widows, will be featured in the upcoming issue of Gearhead #20 (more info on that next newsletter). And of course there will be cars, food and other contests plus a cool poster for all participants!
If you’re interested in being a sponsor, shoot me an email for more details. Our sponsors help defray the cost of putting on such an event and we treat your right!
Finally, the vinyl frenzy seems to be picking up more speed every day. I can’t believe some of the old records being reissued now on vinyl. Lest you forget that Gearhead was WAY ahead of the curve on the vinyl thing, we’re running a Summer Sale on Vinyl. $5 LPs and $2s are yours to be had at the web store, but you only have until Monday August 15 to cash in on this crazy deal. Other out of print titles are also on sale, greatly reduced from their collector pricing, so hop on that as well.
The spring is finally here and with it an abundance of car shows and music festivals. Things get crankin’ over the next few months and GEARHEAD will be right in the thick of it. This newsletter is a quick run down on some of this, so make sure to read to the bottom for all the fun stuff going on.
First off, you’ve probably heard of the explosively fun Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend. If not, you’ve been in the garage too long! Now in it’s 19th year, Gearhead will FINALLY have a booth there! Head off to Sin City for a weekend of rock and roll, rockabilly and on Saturday April 16, 2016, one of the best kustom car shows around. Come find the GEARHEAD booth, right next to COCK GREASE, smack in the middle of all those cool cars!
Save the date! Gearfest 2016 is scheduled for Saturday Sept. 24, 2016 at The Blue Lamp in Sacramento, CA. Great bands, a blessing of the cars, a Ms. Gearhead contest, good friends, and a great party atmosphere, this show is not to be missed! More details coming soon but mark this on the calendar now so you don’t miss out. Last year, we had folks from Sweden and Spain fly over for it, so you know it’s gotta be a good time.
Spring inspires that infamous urge to clean for some of us, so it seems like it’s a good time to offer a sale to make room for all the great new stuff coming! Now until April 30, 2016 at 5 pm PST get [50% off any CD](http://gearheadrecords.bigcartel.com/category/cds) you buy from our [webstore](http://www.gearheadhq.com/shop.html)! Just enter code **SPRING2016** at check to get your discount! You can use this code repeatedly, so try some of those [GEARHEAD CDs](http://gearheadrecords.bigcartel.com/category/cds) you’ve always wanted to check out, and come back for another round using the same code! But remember, the discount disappears 5 pm April 30, 2016!
And finally, GEARHEAD #19 is now available for digital download. For those of you who dig technology, you can finally use your tablet or phone to read the new issue. This is also a great option for those of you who live outside of the US and hate to spend the crazy postage rates it costs now to mail a mag out! Of course you can still buy #19 in it's original print form direct from GEARHEAD. Dig into some really cool stories and get ready for issue #20, now in the works. Wanna advertise? Shoot an email over for ad rates today!
Ok, that’s it for now. Gotta jam and get ready to head to Vegas. Till next time, keep the rubber on the road!
Xo Rev. Michelle
Gearhead Says Goodbye and Hello
Baby if you just say you care
Follow you most anywhere
Roll away the stone
Roll away the stone
-Mott The Hoople
2016 has only just begun, but it has been filled with endings. The passing of classic rockers David Bowie, Lemmy (Motorhead), Dan Hicks, Alan Rickman (who played CBGB founder Hilly Krystal in the film of the same name), Glenn Frey from The Eagles, Dale Griffin from Mott The Hoople, Maurice White (Earth Wind and Fire), Gary Loizzo (American Breed), Jimmy Bain from Dio, and Paul Kantner from Jefferson Airplane, each in quick succession of one another has left music fans devastated. How can this not affect us? I’ve mourned each death by pulling out the records from these folks, playing them, enjoying them, and remembering how each was a moment in time for me, how much my life was shaped by that music and by extension, how GEARHEAD was shaped as well.
It leaves me saddened yet inspired to keep following the beat of my own drummer as I explore my own creative gifts. The new issue of GEARHEAD is flying out the door, with almost 400 (out of a limited edition pressing of 2500) copies shipped so far. If you haven’t picked a copy up yet, you should do it soon. At this rate, it should sell out by the end of spring! It’s exciting and humbling that people are interested in the project that I labored over for almost a year, fighting fear and personal demons along the way of creating it. I imagine all those musicians mentioned above experienced similar things as they took leap after leap in the dark, expressing what mattered to them with songs that have left lasting impressions on generations of aspiring rock stars, artists and music fans.
Honestly, I like to write these newsletters thinking I’m talking to you, having a conversation, and sharing what matters to me. Of course I’d like to sell stuff (hint hint) but I also love connecting with my community. If there was nothing else learned from the deaths of those rockers we all so passionately care about, it is this: what we do affects those around us, even is we don’t personally know those people. The outpouring of grief and love for the music that shaped many of our lives shows just how much influence a single act of artistic creation can have. So pull out those records, sing at the top of your lungs, and be inspired!
Speaking of being inspired, I’ve started a new project: sharing the stories sent in by you the readers, and how Gearhead inspired you or shaped your life. You can read the first one here sent in by long-time Gearhead fan Matt Hutchinson. Do you have your own story you’d like to share? Please email me and let’s put it out there! I know some people want “just the facts” but I like the stories and the behind the scenes details, so I’ve also started sharing personal anecdotes and memories in to the NEWS section of the website. If you want to read more about my personal reflections, as well as your fellow GEARHEADS, please head over there!
Another long-time Gearhead supporter Steve “Pheck” Ritsuo created a fantastic new t-shirt for Gearhead. Originally only available to Kickstarter supporters, the Count Gearhead t shirt is now available for the first time to the general public as a men’s or women’s shirt so pick one up today. Are you an artist that would love to design for Gearhead? Again, drop me an email and let’s see about bringing your art to life!
2016 is gonna be a great year, I can feel it in my bones. I’m excited about starting to work on another new issue of Gearhead, about releasing some fantastic new records and about the cool new shirts in the pipeline. But most of all I’m excited and inspired by you guys, the Gearhead community, and getting to know you either in person, by email, or through your orders.
Like Mott The Hoople sing “Just Say You Care”!
Keep on rockin’!
I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, s/he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
–Henry David Thoreau
It has been one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. Those of you who regularly read these newsletters know the blood, sweat and tears I’ve shed to get to this point. But finally, it is done. GEARHEAD No. 19, the long-awaited new issue of the beloved magazine is finished. And you can buy it now!
Those of you who supported the Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of this magazine will be getting your copies shortly. Eighty-eight of you helped push this project over the finish line and to you, I am forever grateful and humbled at your belief that this time would come. Thank you!
To these retailers who stepped up and said yes, I want to stock GEARHEAD in my store, another heart-felt thank you: Axis Records and Comics in Las Vegas, NV, Newsbeat in Davis, CA and Phono Select Records in Sacramento, CA, you are the true spirit of independent business. Stocking a product that hasn’t had a chance to build up some hype takes guts. If you live near one of these stores, please support them, and if you don’t live near them, visit their website. In this age of big box retail, finding unique stores like these is a challenge; they need our support!
As 2015 draws to a close, I look back at this year with pride, gratitude, and a humble heart. Reviving a company and product line that has been in hibernation for so long proved to be a bigger challenge than I anticipated but with the support and enthusiasm of the GEARHEAD community, I did it. I hit every single goal I made for this company at the beginning of the year, and then some! Thank you for sharing this ride with me.
Happy New Year!
Love, Rev. Michelle Haunold
Hey Team Gearhead! The Holiday Season is upon us now, and things are really revving up! Many thanks to those of you who stepped up and supported GEARHEAD during our Kickstarter Campaign. With your help, the goal was reached and passed! Interested in this story? Read More Here!
Curious about what this new issue of GEARHEAD will look like? It will have a similar look to the previous issues, with black and white insides and a full color cover. It should be back from the printers by the end of the year! This was a learn as I go project, but I think it turned out pretty great. You can read further about this here!
To say thank you for hanging in there with me, head over to the GEARHEAD webstore and enter code GEARHEADXMAS2015 for your 50 % discount on everything in the store! All T shirts, vinyl, magazines and everything else in the store is on sale until Dec.26, 2015. Use the code GEARHEADXMAS2015 at check out to get your 50% discount! SHOP NOW!
In honor of the holidays, I’d like to leave you with this cool hot-rod themed classic, written by Ronald L. Cherry & Kelly Cherry ©2005Sidepipes roar, are you listnin’?
In the lane, slicks are spinnin’,
Ya better hang tight,
The rear end is light,
Cruisin’ in a Winter Wonderland
From my fuzzy family to yours, may your holiday season be filled with good cheer and lots of rad stuff to celebrate,
Xo Rev. Michelle
Rock 'n' Roll/Automotive Journalist, Influencer, Editor and Publisher of Gearhead Magazine,