Monday, August 15, 2011

Rats part 1

Well, back again. I’m a little late this time, as it’s been a busy few weeks. I’m looking at a new job which is awesome. I got rid of the XS I talked about last time, but picked up a near mint, 6k mile 1975 Yamaha RD200 in trade for it. The RD is BADASS. I get a lot of flak for my love of the “baby” bikes, but I couldn’t care less. This thing is a blast and a half. I’ve put about two-hundred miles on her in a hair under three days and every second has been great. She runs like a top, and sounds like an angry hornet in a tin can.

Getting this bike has really messed with my head though. I’m a “buy junk, cut it up, ride it till it breaks” kind of guy. This bike is so clean and pretty, in all its 70s goodness… I can’t do it. I can’t cut it up. So, she’s staying as is for now. I have some winter plans to dress the little smoker up, but nothing that can’t be pulled off so it can go back to stock.

Anyhow, you folks don’t give a shit about my obsession with bikes built for kids, haha.

So, we’ll move onto the stuff I really wanted to blather about:

First up in the bullpen, we have some awesome fuckin’ music. I have been trying to immerse myself in some great stuff lately like I used to when I wasn’t worried about rent and bills, keeping the wife as happy as my degenerate ass can, jobs, and family B.S. You know, "the usual". One artist that has really gotten into my head is Izzy Cox. I don’t really know how to explain her style. Its folksy, voodooish, sultry, bluesy, kinda deal. As if that makes sense…

Check out the track “Bad, Bad Woman” and I think you’ll get it. 

It was the first song of hers that I heard, and I was sold by the end of the first verse.

Another thing that’s been weighing heavy on my mind is this goddamn obsession with “rat bikes” and “rat rods”. It’s all bullshit and definitely not a real style. When I see a real steel 32 Ford roadster that could be a monster hot rod, reduced to a haphazard, unsafe, and half-assed attempt at this disgusting excuse for a trend it makes me want to take a 20lb sledgehammer to it. Yeah, yeah “it’s my car I’ll do what I want” and all that. Well you know what, that’s fine, but do it to something nobody gives a fuck about. There’s a million Toyota Corollas out there you can hack up with a sawz-all and paint flat black. Leave the real classic pieces to people who actually respect the history and gravity of these machines.

The same goes for bikes. I have stated before that IN NO WAY am I a professional anything, and especially not a pro builder. But you know what? I still know that cutting half of the sub-frame off of an 80s CBR600 Hurricane, bolting some horrid hockey mask headlight on it, and rattle canning it flat black doesn’t make it a street-fighter. It makes it a waste of a perfectly good, near perfect handling, high powered (and now vintage) machine that someone with some actual common sense would make faster and lighter. Not ugly and ill performing.

The same goes for the chopper and café guys. Please stop ruining bikes, in an attempt to build something beyond your capabilities. I’ve been there. I’ve made some really stupid fucking mistakes, and poor judgment calls in my history with bikes; and every time I regretted it. And if I didn’t regret it right away, a guy much smarter than I’ll ever be made me realize how dumb it was.

I guess that’s it. People nowadays don’t give a fuck about what anyone else thinks. And sure sometimes you have to think that way to keep your head above water. But other times you need to swallow your bullshit pride, shut up, admit you did something fucking dumb. You learn from it and move on. You keep growing your knowledge and your skills. Then someday, when that sixteen year old kid next door is about to do something dumb, and ruin a classic, you can be that rad old head who shows him a better way.

Eh, what do I know? Not much, trust me on that. But I can tell you that its crime that talented folks like Izzy Cox are still playing coffee houses in their hometowns, while every day another retard with an auto-tune machine and a flat brimmed hat gets a five million dollar contract. It’s also a shame that there are twenty magazines sitting on the news-stand with bullshit wanna-bes on the covers showing off their death-trap customs, while the kats out there who are real artists are barely making enough coin to keep the shop doors open.

It’s a mad, mad, mad world my friends. Crack a beer, fire up a Red, and watch it burn.

Or get off your ass and make it better. You’re call, but whatever you choose, don’t half-ass it. Even scum-bags can be respected, but only if they're dedicated to what they do.

-Mike D

A note from the Mgmt:

I like Mike, he tells it like he sees it; no candy coating, no fluff and no bullshit. Today's installment brings up an interesting question, one I'd like to hear the opinions of others on: 

What do you consider a 'Rat Bike'?  

Is it a lack of paint? Is it a mass of dead animal furs and body parts hung on with bailing wire? Rust, oil leaks, mismatched parts? I'd really like to hear your thoughts!

This is what I think of when I think 'Rat'...
Dead animals? Check!

Fur and antlers? Check!

Bailing wire and Elton John's training glasses? CHECK!

Looks pretty ratty to me...


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