David Biene Page 3
Guy getting his hair cut in the stall of Robâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Chop Shop, TX, at the Rockabilly Rave, UK, 2007 Page 30
Sarina, Hot Rod Hayride, UK, 2007 Page 31
This Page: Screamin Festival, Spain, 2008 Opposit Pager: A Bombers Oldstyle Weekend, Sweden, 2008 Page 32
A Bombers Oldstyle Weekend, Sweden, 2008 Page 33
Ray Collinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hot Club, A Bombers Oldstyle Weekend, 2008 Page 34
A Bombers Oldstyle Weekend, 2008 Page 35
Kitty, Daisy & Lewis (UK) playing a spontanous gig in Berlinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s White Trash Fast Food after having played in front of 2000 people in the sold out Admiralspalast two nights before, Germany, 2008 Page 36
Top: Head Banging, Germany, 2007 Buttom: Sarina and Richard, Rhythm Riot, UK, 2008 Page 37
Anna & Terry, Hotrod Hayride, UK, 2008
Terry and Anna
ugust 2008, I’m at the Hot rod Hayride for the second time. The first year I did the interview with Jerry Chatabox, this year I’m talking to the two founders of the Executioners car club – the other half of the team organizing the event. Terry and Anna, aged 42, moved out of London to the middleEnglish countryside of Norfolk. Anna works as a fashion photographer, while Terry does a variety of jobs for the councils. The married couple have three little daughters. We meet in the lounge of the site’s main building – around which the Hot rod Hayride has been going on for the last few days.
What was the first thing that got you into ’40s and ‘50s American culture? And when was that? T: I was about 14 years old. My parents had motorcycles and used to go to motorcycle events at that time. They played a lot of rock ’n’ roll in the evening entertainment. As a small boy I liked the rock ‘n’ roll tunes and the rest they played. A: I was about fifteen when I met a girl at a gig who was into rockabilly. She took me to my first rockabilly club in Scotland. From there on that’s it - no other music for me. I loved the movies and Elvis when I was young anyway. So, basically, for both of you it was the music that dragged you in. Is it still about the music or has that changed? A: Oh, it’s definitely still about the music. T: It’s still about the music and the whole style, the cars and the people. We’re into the rockabilly now as much as we were in the early days, you know. It’s both the music and the cars at the same time. And the people around us are pretty much the same people still too. A: The hot rods are really important to us though. The club, the hot-rodding scene, the nostalgia scene, for us, it’s really a big part of our lives. T: Yes and we’ve really tried to push that side and bring it up. It’s always been a smaller part of the hot rod world in England. For years we’ve been to that sort of street rod events. And people started to ask for rock ‘n’ roll or rockabilly bands. So, years ago, we hooked up with the ACE Cafe in North London to do a monthly club night there. We push the rockabilly nights there
and the traditional hot rod style. A: The hot rod scene is split now, between the people who do
modern style hot rods and us who do nostalgia style. There’s lots of smaller events all over England. For example reliability runs with 20-30 cars where people camp for the weekend and do a 100-mile drive-out on Saturday. Going through fjords and rivers, going up mountains and down stony roads. It’s much more fun having a moving event rather than people park their cars in a field and walk around. That’s boring. What hot rods or bikes do you have at the moment?
A: I’ve got a ‘34 Sedan in ‘40s nostalgia style. T: We’ve just sold a 1941 Ford, a ‘60s-style gasser called ‘Gold-
rush’. And I just bought a ‘49 Sport Coupe Chevy. It’s coming in from New York and it should be here within 20 days.
have gone off doin’ something a lil’ different.
What was the first old-style car that you had?
A: I had a 1961 Ford Consul, which is a British car. I had it for
15 years. At the end it was matt black, lowered, flames all down the side. It was crazy. T: Mine, too. Just before I left school. Again, one of the older guys that I knocked around with was into the rockabilly. I don’t know what drew me into a Consul – but it was the same car as Anna had, funnily enough… And I kept on saying, “I got to get a Consul. I got to get a Consul.” And the guy we knocked about with said, “Well, I’ve got one“. He took me to his garage and showed me this Consul and he said “Are you working?” and I said, “No, I’m just about to leave school.“ And he said „When you start working you can pay me.“ “Can I have it now…?“ I’d very rarely driven a car before then. It had column shift – which was not good. But I got the car home safe and it sat in the garage for a while. And it’s gone on from there, you know. I was fifteen.
Do you do the work on the cars and the customizing yourself?
A: Most of it. T: What we can’t do we get people from the club to do. We’re
quite fortunate now that we got some garage space. We can get quite a bit done ourselves. What would you say is the thrill of hot-rodding for you? Is it racing or designing and building a car? A: It used to be racing. But we moved away from that. T: Yeah, obviously because we had that gasser we used to race. I find myself massively drawn to customs now. I’ve gone through certain stages doing this over the years. A: It’s the whole thing from designing in your head how you want the car to look to going through the whole process and then finally driving it. That’s really cool. The looks that people give you. It’s the whole thing really. You can’t say one thing. T: And it’s the passion, the people as well. Because if you look around we’re probably all people that stepped out of sort of mainstream life and have gone off doin’ something a lil’ different. Lots of the people we talk to got their own businesses. There’s lots of people around the rock ‘n’ roll scene that stepped out. They didn’t just follow that normal path, you know. And that’s nice because they follow it through with their clothes, their look, their music taste, their cars… What style of music do you like the most?
A & T: Rockabilly.
What’s the difference between that and contemporary stuff like pop music? A: We don’t like pop music. T: Just doesn’t do it. I don’t get that feeling. I just don’t get it. Has rockabilly got more power? Or passion?
T: If you break it down lots of it is fairly good music, fairly basic
vocals and absolutely the rawness. I don’t know. It’s just people havin’ a good time.
A: It’s kickin’ isn’t it? It’s hard to describe.
Do you have any other hobbies apart from this ‘50s culture?
T: Not really. We’re pretty much absorbed by this. Over the years the
children came and they take up a lot. So our lives have pretty much changed by bringing them up and looking after them. I guess they find the whole rockabilly thing a little bit funny at the moment. A: They love it! I’ll bet! You said that around here you’re careful that everything fits the ‘50s look as far as possible. Do they also wear little ‘50s outfits? T: No, not really. They have little Executioner T-Shirts, which they like to wear sometimes pretending that they’re us. They are kids, so we let them do what they want in their own little world. A: I wouldn’t want to force them into it. Children should wear what they want to wear. What do you think makes this culture so interesting for people joining the scene? T: I think the style. It was a massive sort of era for the style and design coming out after the war. The colors and forms had been tied down during wartime and then they sort of exaggerated it and went berserk with design. A: Everyone looks so cool. How could you not want to look like this?! You two are the founders of the Executioners, aren’t you? Where did the idea to form a club come from? Were there other clubs at that time? A: There were only very few clubs when we founded it. And there weren’t many in this style. In ‘97 we went to the states to a show where there were a few car clubs pottering around. We met the Choppers guys from Burbank and they kind of inspired us. T: Then we came back and most of the clubs in this country buy the standard jackets you can buy in your local town. The embroideries and design were pretty much what was in a computer package at that time. Nobody was designing anything. We went to an artist called Simon ‘Weirdo’ Watts, the pinstriper. We hooked up with him in London. We told him that we were thinking about put-
tin’ up this American-style club. He liked the idea and came back to us with some prices for a design. And we realized that it would be too expensive and we understood why everybody went with the standard stuff. But then Simon rung us a few weeks later and said, “Let’s get it on!” He liked it and wanted to do something like that. So he threw some designs up for the name ‘Executioners’ that we’d made up. We already had a little group of friends around us that obviously came from the rockabilly and ‘50s scene with cars and hot rods. Initially we grabbed this group and they came on board. Some of them dropped away quite quickly saying that it wasn’t for them. Some went off and started other clubs. It grew slowly and now we are where we are now. Lots of these other clubs have grown around us and it all comes down to a sort of networking.
But now he doesn’t want to drive it home because he thinks it’s rubbish!
You started off as a group of friends, you said. How do you become a member now? T: Lots of clubs say, “Don’t ask us – we’ll ask you.” But we like people to show an interest. Just hang around with us for a certain time and we‘ll see how it goes… If we all like you and you like us, then let’s become friends first. A: Friendship is very important. Same as the car. T: This weekend we brought in two new members. They’ve been trying to get into the club now for nearly two years. A: But we don’t want to be a huge club. We think we’ll stop taking new members now. We are 28 right now and we think that’s enough. Does the club concentrate specifically on one particular style of cars and motorcycles? T: Initially we did – when we started out and it was the group of friends. But, pretty much, the people that come to us now are very likeminded to us and they already follow a very similar sort of style.
Not all in our club are rockabillies. Some follow their own thing, but again they’re also into the nostalgia style. A: We do have a couple of members who aren’t that active any more, who have cars that don’t really fit with the rest of the club. But because they are very good friends they’re still club members. Nostalgia hot rods and customs is what we really aim for. We wouldn’t bring in anyone else who doesn’t follow that too. What was it that made you start the Hot rod Hayride four years ago? T: We did those meetings at the ACE Cafe once a month. We got a lot of good press, for example in the English car magazines. Lots of people started to ask us when we were gonna do a weekender. We honestly felt, 11 years ago, that there probably wouldn’t be enough people and cars in England to do the kind of weekend we wanted to do. So five years ago we started thinking about it and we got together with Jerry Chatabox. He’s the music promoter doing the Rockabilly Rave for example, who puts together the bands and DJs for the music side of it. And we do the car side. We work very well together. A: We sorted out the racetrack, the wall of death – everything that’s got anything to do with wheels. We sourced the sites together because we feel we know what we need for the cars as well as for the music. This site has been really good for us because of the music. There is no worry about sound – which we’ve had problems with that before from people living nearby. T: We outgrew venues. We didn’t know what we were gonna need and so we outgrew the first one – a field behind a pub. That was OK because we really wanted to focus on rockabilly and those cars. There was no second parking area in the back for the – as I told you – shit cars. A: But we wanted it to be very pure. T: And there’s Anna’s photographic approach to it. You don’t want to have a nice car in front of an orange Transit van. It worked really good. But it obviously was too small, same as the second site. We came here last year and felt that we have room to grow here. This weekend there were 1200-1500 people compared to approximately 1000 last year. A: But we don’t want the event to grow too big. We want to keep it
tight. Everyone should really feel the rockabilly and the cars. We don’t want it commercialized. We’d rather keep it small. It’s not about makin’ money but havin’ a great weekend.
ally paid off. Last year we had about 15 magazines worldwide, every single article was like 6-8 pages long. That’s why we have a lot more people here this year.
How are you going to control the number of people that show up? T: We could cap the numbers that come, for example by pre-booking. And at a certain number we say, ”Sorry people, that’s enough.” A: What we already do is have special parking for the cars we don’t want to have on the show field or around us the weekend. So people who come with the wrong kind of cars have to put them in what Terry calls the Shit Car Parking. But they’re welcome to come to the weekender. Like he said earlier, or magazines and photographers and for normal visitors it’s nicer not to have a Transit van in the middle of the nostalgia hot rods.
Talking of all the countries hot-rodders come from, which one do you think has got the biggest hot rod and/or ‘50s culture? T: That probably has to be split between the A-Bombers and the Scrapers. A: Sweden and Belgium. T: Both very good quality shows. Bottrop is another show that went massive this year.
What would you say is the average age of the people who come here? A: Uh, we were already talking to someone about this last night. There are a lot of people in their 20s, not many in their 30s and a lot in their 40s. I think in their 30s people’ve gone off to get children. And so they don’t come out as much. Where do the people come from except for England of course? A & T: Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland. T: Actually, from all over Europe. A: Crazy Cruisers. Hot Heads. T: We advertised it last year at the S.I.N.S. show in Antwerp and a lot of people said they they’d come over. Before there were a few Europeans but this year there’s hundreds! A: When we started the event I, being a fashion photographer, thought it was very important to select the right kind of photographers to come to the event. So we didn’t issue any press passes at all. I phoned photographers I knew and phoned the magazines and put them together. I felt it was very important to get the right press and image for it. That re-
Do you think there’s any sort of development in hot-rodding and rockabilly? A: I think the car people are more aware of original parts. Sourcing out original parts is getting more and more popular. People are more aware of what’s ‘right’, in a way. The rockabillies stay pretty much the same tryin’ to keep it hardcore rockabilly. T: In the last four years, since we’ve been doing the Hayride, a lot of cars that were around then have disappeared and the guys are coming back with nicer cars. A: More traditional. T: Especially the young ones who were even younger four years ago – they pick up the style and having more money now they can pay more attention to the original style. I think that’s the way it develops. The scene is really improving in England. It’s stepping up really quickly. The rockin’ scene is always looking for original but unreleased tracks in some studio in the States. They find less and obviously the rockabilly musicians that came over to play are sort of dyin’ off. I think it will continue with the new bands that are around now – the people who want to push the old sound. A: When we discussed this event with Jerry we made the decision not to bring in the old guys but instead to focus on the new bands comin’ through. This year we brought in lots of bands from Europe that people from England might not have seen many times, because we want to concentrate on the scene of the future and not on what it has been.
Would you say that you see ‘50s America as a kind of an idol or more just a point of reference? T: I think we’re taking the best bits and adding what we wanna add to it. Mixing it up a bit and enjoying it. A: There was a lot of stuff in ‘50s American which isn’t cool. So it’s not about all of it, we’re just taking certain elements out of it. So you wouldn’t like to have lived in the ’50s – you know, if you’d the chance to choose? A & T: No. What was the highpoint of your lives so far? A: You got to say the children! T: Yeah. A: If it’s about the scene, it’s probably running the Hayride. It’s amazing. We’re very proud to see the event growing that quickly. T: And the way it’s growing. A: It’s really nice to say, “Bye – until next year,” when everyone comes up saying thank you for the best weekend they’ve had in years. That feels really good. T: A guy told me tonight that he’s been into hot rods for ten years. He came to this event though he knew his hot rod wouldn’t fit in. So when he turned up he parked it on the other side. He totally accepted that. But now he doesn’t want to drive it home because he thinks it’s rubbish! Next year, he said, he’ll have a car he can drive in here. He couldn’t believe his eyes when he came here. It’s his first time because he usually goes to all the street rod events in England. He said it’s unreal. How cool is that? That was quite funny… Thanks a lot!
A: No problem. You’re coming back next year, aren’t you?
Hotrod Hayride, UK, 2008 & 2007 Page 98
Pekka ‘The Wizzzard’ Mannerma painting lettering on a customer’s car, A Bombers Oldstyle Weekend, Sweden, 2008 Page 100
Xavier and his roadster right after racing up the dusty hill of the hill climb race, A Bombers Oldstyle Weekend, Sweden, 2008 In the background Ari and Jussi from Finland with Jussiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Lincoln custom. Page 102
Skratch, pinstriper from California/ USA, painting the dashboard of Jonasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; hotrod, A Bombers Oldstyle Weekend, Sweden, 2008 Page 103
Bedrock, Denmark, 2008
Hotrod Hayride, UK, 2008 Page 105
Racers at the Hotrod Hayride, UK, 2008 It had already rained for days and wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stop for the race. The oval sand track was nothing but mud and water givinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; no grip at all. The fans that came despite the steady cold rain were witness to a struggle between man, raw machine power and the vexing british wheather. Keeping the mud covered hotrods in more or less controlled drifting and sliding was the main talent needed for this race.
Hotrod Hayride, UK, 2008 Page 108
Bedrock, Denmark, 2008 Page 109
Hotrod Hayride, UK, 2007 Page 110
Up & following: Bedrock, Denmark, 2008 Page 111