Kevin and DTE crew members got the trailer unloaded first thingShortly after a (wonderfully) catered breakfast, Kid Rock’s tour manager, Shakes, pulled up in this wilder-than-wild Pontiac Bonneville. I snapped a photo of Brit standing next to this crazy thingThe car, built for Hank Jr.’s 15th birthday, was crafted by renowned tailor-to-the-stars Nudie Cohn. Can you imagine a 15-year old cruising the strip in this thing?!rnThe dash, steering wheel, door panels, and child seat were adorned with dollar-coins. The saddle in the center-seat position was a child seat. This car was made pre-seatbelt/child-safety laws for sureGuns are all over this car. The door-handles, latch for the glovebox, trunk, hood, rear quarter panels, shifter, horn button… all laced with pistolsThe backstage passes were hysterical. KENNY. POWERS.rnCharlie enjoying a smoke while talking to KevinGuitars perched for actionThe band hit the stage for sound-checkSound master, Billy Kirk, surveying the acousticsAfter sound-check, Charlie and Brit had an interview with WYCDShortly thereafter, it was showtime. Big Daddy Kev hyped the crown and brought them onstageThe fellas played a great setrnMore on the way from Detroit! Don’t wander too far…
Before we made it to Flint, we stopped Cumulus Radio in Toledo, Ohio where the band had a radio interview with K100.Paul was having funEven more fun once we left, hahahaIt was back to the bus and back on the road until we arrived at the Machine Shop in Flint, MichiganSince we had time to kill, we went across the street to check out a consignment store, and stumbled upon this crazy mall that had it’s hallways adorned with an insane amount of wild stuff. Stuff like this old robot that once answered questions about Ford Motor Cars and a suit from Red PlanetThis chiseled-looking bicyclist sculpture, and a life-sized C3P0. There were also a life-sized Storm Trooper, Darth Vader, and R2D2. I could probably fill an entire post with the plethora of wild stuff thereMy favorite was a life-sized likeness of E.T… just hanging out at the mall. Probably looking for Reese’s PiecesAfter our stint in the crazy mall, we grabbed a bite and headed back to the bus where Charlie was messing around on the guitarThe band pretty much had the night off, and only came through Flint to see their friend, Randy Houser. That didn’t stop Charlie from getting on stage for a song with Whitey Morgan!rnStay tuned for more as we make our way to Detroit!
I had a chance to hit the road with the boys from Blackberry Smoke for a week while they played shows en route to two sold-out shows with Kid Rock. I went along to document video footage from the road, backstage, on-stage, etc.This is the tour bus the band calls home. This was my first time on a bus like this, which was pretty awesome! It was tough to get used to sleeping when the bus was in motion, but it was super-comfortable.The driver, Rusty, was a cool guy that took great pride in what he did. He was always washing, shining, and polishing the bus when we were stopped.First stop was Indianapolis, for a gig at a HUGE week-long fair. First thing I saw when I looked out of the bus was this equally enormous sculptured likeness of Grant Wood’s American Gothic.I wandered around the fair until they were slated to be on-stage. I went for a tractor-ride around the fairgrounds that took about 45 minutes to get me back where I started.There was a huge lot of vintage tractors. The fair had a whole commerce section of the fair revolved around farming and agricultureOld versus new. There was also an area of the fair specializing in the sale of windmillsAfter a brief sound-check, the band had a radio interview on-site with WFMS. My lens was way to long to shoot in the mobile-station, so I shot from outside where you could still hear the broadcast. Richard told me I was number one. He was right! The great thing about shooting this band, is that I’ve known some of the band members for 9 years… so everyone was themselves. No awkward vibes having some random dude wielding a camera in their facesThey hit the stage and played a great set, despite the scorching heat. I got a ton of great footage from the showA mother and son soaking in the music. I always enjoy the family vibe at fairs like thisYou can see it all around you… young and oldAfter the show, they had a police escort to sign autographs for the fansrnAfterward, we wandered around the fairgrounds in search of deep fried bacon… and we found it. The lady was kind enough to let us have it for free. She insisted we try it with gravy, but we were all kinda like… enough is enough. Regardless… Kev was pretty excited!rnI ate enough to say that I’ve tried it (read: one bite). Once our indigestion settled a bit, it was off to Flint, Michigan for a Machine Shop visit to see the band’s friend Randy Houser… then onto Detroit. More to come, so stay tuned!
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of awesome. Here is a brief run-down of the action. This is going to be a long post… so buckle up!Things started off with Lieze’s graduation from SCAD Atlanta. She has been working her tail off for the past 4 years. While I have my own personal reservations with her school for buying my alma mater, I will say that their curriculum is pretty intense. They know how to put you to work, which I think is good. One thing I noticed when I graduated was that working a real job felt like ‘finals week’ all the time. I think SCAD might better prepare their students for this… because her first week of class always started out like finals week. Either way… I’m super-proud of her for sticking with it and graduating. Her ideas about art are constantly evolving and growing, which is exciting to see!We literally left her graduation and hit the road to head north. It was a super-last-minute decision to make the trip… but a pilgrimage to Englishtown had to be made for East Coast Bash. The last time I was there was 4 years ago to shoot Slide America, and I didn’t have time to pull my car off the trailer to drive. With Will and Josh in attendance to shoot for Keep Drifting Fun… it seemed all-the-more fitting to get back there for some driving. I’ve been telling Petty I was coming back for 4 years… so it was time to make due on that.We showed up around noon on Sunday. This track is so amazingly awesome that I was instantly bummed I wasn’t able to get there on Saturday. So many configurations… none-of-which are bad. I instantly felt at home on this track. The more I drove it, the better things felt. I had such a blast… and cannot thank Petty enough for having us up! Towards the end of the day I felt a weird vibration in the car, and decided to call it a day before I blew something up.The next day we took the car to Roots Factory in Coatesville, PA to give it a once-over. I didn’t feel like cracking open the diff-carrier… but it seemed like something wasn’t quite working with the diff. It had more play than usual, and you could turn the wheels against themselves if you pulled hard enough. Byron noted that my car looked right at home at this shop.My buddy Brad Hettinger had already basically stripped his down to a shell in less than a day’s time. We decided to take a funny picture for his build-thread.The next day we saddled up, and drove about an hour and a half from Hater Dan’s house in Pennsylvania to a top-secret locale for an OG underground hoodrat sesh. What went down inside this warehouse was UN. REAL. Rob Fleming met us, as well as a few local rippers, for a crazy closed-door session that lasted several hours. UN. REAL. Will and Josh piloted the KDF van to the location to document things. They wound up with some of the craziest shots I have ever seen in drifting. MASSIVE thanks to Dan for hooking this insanity up. Keep an eye out for the Keep Drifting Fun DVD to peep what went down!After that madness settled down, we headed back to Pennsylvania, only to re-pack and head back to Jersey for Gardella Racing’s ‘Throttle Thursday’… which brought out a bunch of FD pro-drivers… many of which (including myself for a li’l while) kicked around skateboards and braved the park on BMX bikes. This was my first time inside a skatepark since 1998… and I was REALLY scared! (more on that in a minute…) We all had a good time, including our jump-session in the foam pit (01:35 in).The advent of the foam pit was definitely after ‘my time’ in skating. I had never been in one, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I will say this much – they aren’t exactly as soft as you think. Whatever you do… DO NOT open your mouth, or else you get tiny bits of gross sweaty foam in it. UGH. Once I got up on that railing to jump… it was a good bit higher than I originally thought. Either way, I had to get in on a front-flip to complete the night.Next up was Formula Drift New Jersey. The folks at NOS Energy were awesome enough to let us spring an impromptu booth-space in front of their bunker so we could help sell Will and Josh’s tees. Josh looks asleep in this picture.Tony brought by some of the new DA American Steel Tees that I designed. They turned out SICKKKKK. These are available in the Slide Style™ store now!Alex caught me red-handed in this photo. After my shattered collar-bone in September of 2007… I swore I would never step foot on a skateboard ever again. I was actually banned by friends and family. After nearly three years, I finally caved. I totally understand how people who try to quit smoking feel. For three years I’ve been getting the ‘urge’ to skate like a smoker’s spiral into a nicotine-fit. I have to say… it feels good to ride again – even if I am riding like an old man scared for his life.A couple funny jump-shots that my buddy Larry Chen snapped while I was wearing Lihnberg’s wig. If you haven’t been to Larry’s site, DriftFotos – CHECK. IT. OUT. Dude is a madman behind the lens – an amazing photographer for SURE. Plus he likes jump shots, which is totally RAD.After FD, we headed south to Baltimore to meet up with the Drift Alliance crew to go see Hall and Oates in concert. I never thought I would go see Hall and Oates… but we had a blast. It’s so smooth! SO SMOOTH.After Baltimore, we made a quick stop in Philadelphia to get some proper cheesesteaks & pretzels with Will, Josh, and Andy Laputka. On the way back to Atlanta we made a minor detour to Manhattan so I could take Lieze to the MoMa. It was my graduation present to her… and let me tell you – it was a GOOD one. We saw so many amazing works.After an all-night drive back down the East Coast, we made it back home. What an astounding trip, and an incredible few weeks up North. SUPER HUGE THANKS to my buddy Dan Bailey for letting us crash at his place for so long, and for the amazing hospitality.