Saturday, January 25, 2014

Redline Fever and how to swing a wonderful life

I collect red line hot wheels. They were made from 1967 to 1973 (and some more until about 1975) They are called red lines because they have a red line around the tire. Some can be real valuable. I started collecting them when I guy I worked with brought some in to show me and said, "Ever think about collecting these?" I said yes and he started to bring 6 or 7 a week on payday. I was hooked. At my next job I talked to another guy who collected viking coins and he said, "I got a whole bag of them at home and I want enough for a viking coin I am looking to buy" I did not think he would have the right year, but he did, and it was a whole shopping bag full. He told me he had already recycled the track. Other folks from work brought old Matchbox cars and I bought some of them too. Most collectors want them mint condish... but I like them to have a bit of played with look to them, and really I have a good memory of almost every time I found or bought them. Today (1-25-14 Saturday) at work (Aicher's Pop Kustom Shoppe at Crafted, 110 22nd Street, Warehouse 10, San Pedro, CA 90731) A fellow shop girl and friend Tony came by and shared his amazing survival story with me. He saw some cars I had in my booth and told me he would bring hers in. He told me he might be ready to sell them and we made a deal. I don't really collect lots of things now, but I am really grateful to have these cars of Tonys. He has taught me so much to be myself and brought me so much inspiration and helped boost my self esteem. I painted a bottle to mark this day that had 2 of the cars on it. It says "Tony is Gold." I am glad she is in this world and I got to know Tony. I am pretty lucky lately. I have been getting positive love from all over lately which I will not Bogart! Share the love. Good deeds get rewarded. These cars found me. This day I will remember. Sharon, me and our family are really sad about losing our dog Coco. Today helped ease the pain a bit. People have been very kind when hearing the news. She was a really neat girl and I miss her morning kisses. I have been visiting my aunt Doris Nelson too (she is in her mid 90's now) I will blog more on her very soon. She was a professor at Long Beach State who loved teaching English and writing poetry and is a big political activist. She has just found out about Mandela's passing and she told me he was the most important man of this time we are now in. A girl from work today gave me a sticker of Mandela by activist artist Robbie Conal today which was another sign someone is looking out for me. She is friends with Robbie and is going to get a Mandela poster for me which I will put up at Doris's place. I love you Doris! I have been keeping busy working (Illustrating) on a new book with Jack Grisham from True Sounds of Liberty (TSOL) an infamous OC punk band and it is going to be really cool when it gets done (almost there) Small steps before you can run, right? Like Iggy said, "Here comes success... Hooray success!" and like James Brown I am on the goodfoot! My beautiful wife has a special birthday on the way too. I do it all for her...she is amazing. She has given me so much (like today she gave me a Kureg coffee machine for my shop... it's HER birthday and I get the present... that's what I mean... she's awesome!) and I owe her the moon. One day I will lasso it for her. I will add photos of the Tony cars here tomorrow... sweet dreams!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Computers are now obsolete....

Are we run by computers now or are we being run by them? Are we not pins? Maybe we are all pinheads now. Is DEVO the new religion? How have we lost human contact so much via computer communication. Do you still read real life books? Will this page be saved one day for someone to discover? I think not. A real book has more chance of longer life. One day this interspace world will all be corrupted... I will be in my studio that day painting (or drawing) with real paints on real things. I used to talk to my co-workers at my job in an "in-house" (that means you drive to work at an office) art department about how many of them wanted to work from home. I told them they would miss joking and talking with people (really I was the one who would miss working with people). When the economy plunged so did the in-house art departments and like it or not it was sink or swim. I sat at home working towards what still knew (Graphic Design). I made my own clothing line and company (which thankfully never surfaced) on my computer at home called "Planet Sixty Seven". I got small jobs where I could (I have been making flyers for bands since the mid 80's) so I did some of that. I tried for many years to get comfortable with new technology. I tried to enjoy painting with Macs, but as fun as my job was I knew it was not my art to own. I wanted to get back to the fun part of art. Like when I drew army men and choppers in my room. I daydreamed (like I did as a kid in school) of what my shop of art would be like. What it would be like to let go again and just make art for fun with real life art tools. At my job they told me it would not work to make a grass roots D.I.Y. company (or in my dreams a shop). Sure I can still make logos and graphics, but while I was working I wanted to paint for real. I knew about Rick Griffin from record covers and guys like Ed Roth, Gary Panter, The Pizz, all from underground culture found at book shops and record stores I shopped at. Some people call it Kustom Culture...Whatever... I went to Rat Fink Reunion shows and these dudes were like rock stars! Whoa! What a concept! Well I kept painting and told my pals at work "We gotta paint for real!" (cue the cricket noise here...) My boss told me to think "surfwear" not hot rods, but I was hooked long ago. Time went on and a guy I worked with was showing at a Kustom Culture Gallery (it had kind of exploded into modern life by this time). Low and behold a real old pal I went to high school with owned it. He told me "get to work, why are you not in this show tonight?" So began my run at Gasoline Gallery and fine art. I grabbed at fame and fortune with both hands. My friend put me at the highest spot he could in his gallery and for a while I did really well in the scene, but it grew stale or is we called it when it was called Punk.... "Trendy". I changed things up, but as soon as I did someone else would trace what I did for a better spot on the bill. What can you do? I stopped showing at galleries (except for Gasoline) and wondered how I would get by and what to do next. I tried to get my interspace sites going (like this blog) but I still missed people. This interspace world creates isolation in body and mind. It is hollow and empty. I opened my own shop called "Aicher's Pop Kustom Shoppe" at Crafted (a craft market in town) not to be a billboard for them, but picture how many empty shops are in the future with no power to make things by hand! Right? I don't know if you read this thing unless you talk to me at my shop or meet me at the store or if it will be here years from now. I can say I found my mission for now, but change happens everyday. We have not been blown up yet and for the time being and interspace still works, so I will use it. Last week I faced the fact that I never was much good at Graphic Design and I may need to not worry about Graphics so much anymore anyhow. Someone asked me at my booth last week while I was working there "looks like a lot of work..." as she looked around my shop, and I said, "Nope, a lot of fun!" and it was that day. Someday someone with deep pockets may put me back in the real job world again, but that will be someday down the road when it comes. I am proud to paint what I feel. I have learned to take on jobs I believe in and say no (still working on that one a bit) when I need to) Some folks have taken notice too. I have built new friends and I am almost certain many of them will remain close for many years to come. I took up music to get over my shyness and help my mind expand and grow. I went on a mission to live longer and get healthier (which I can say now is going well... read about it in my past blogs) I learned to let go of the chase and (for now) I am in the groove. This bog may sound a bit egocentric, but it's not. I blog as an affermation. (like Stuart Smalley...good movie and guy, google it) because YOU matter (me too!) What happens when they bomb the art stores? I will make pigments from bodily fluid if I must, but for now.... let's not go there just yet. Dream it, then live it. I love you Scott... you are a good guy. Thanks Scott! Now get some sleep you handsome guy it's 11:30! The fun starts early in the A.M. tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Streching my legs in Long Beach

Took a trip to Amazing Comics in Long Beach in the name of research and to stretch my legs and breathe some air. I am working on a new Jack Grisham project and needed some inspiration, reference, and time to think this one over a bit. Photos below tell the story.

Left this guy behind but he did want to get in my car

Clobberin' Time!

This Japanese toy was hard to pass up too

Going over the bridge on the way home...
The things below are what made it to Pedro. I am on a Neil Adams kick lately and the batman figure and Black and White number one I really had to have. The Lava Planet Predator from Necca is an awesome update to the old Kenner toys. I am sure I am going to get more of those. The Gray Morrow book had praise from Frazetta and the content was really cool so I popped on it. I also bought a real cool old tymie style "Supermen of the universe" Superman button for my backpack. I think my batteries are fully charged for a bit now. I really got my geek on for a day. I guess this was my vacation for the year.

Monday, January 6, 2014

My new baby

The Green Guild
 I had a goal that when I took care of my weight issues that I would take a trip to Claremont to buy a Baby Taylor at Ben Harper's Folk Music Shop. Kinda just a road trip excuse, but I have wanted a Baby T for sometime now. This Christmas Sharon told me I never gave her the opportunity for her to buy me something really nice as a gift. Just before Christmas eve I was up at Alva's music in Pedro getting another baby of mine fixed after being broken for about 20 years my 1979 guild electric with stickers from trade shows and I painted it with 4 cans of Ed Roth Green Flake spray model paint I bought long ago at a hobby shop. I needed new pots and a new bridge pick up. Duncan (great kid, does good work) put in a creme Joe Satriani humbucker to match my old creme seymore duncan. Anyway.... I started browsing at the Baby Taylors. I had a little saved for a rainy day and it was a bit rainy, so I made an attempt to get a good deal on one. I got the deal I wanted and on the way out I realized how grinchy this whole thing was. I had to make up a story for Sharon as to why I bought another guitar. I took the guitar to my shop. My brother in law Andy stopped in to visit and suggested I get it gift wrapped at the gift wrap station and sneak it in as a gift (so Sharon would not know what I had done then when I opened it it would be Christmas eve and she would be in a good mood). Did I need a new guitar? no. but I reward myself now and then now with non food things and I have been really good this year. This was a guitar I would mark this achievement I made this year with and I can enjoy it whenever I get bored and hungry. Was Sharon mad? Well, not really.... I don't buy motorcycles or hotrods, but I do love art books, guitars and comic books, toys and sometimes lp records. I always have. She will more than likely get new shoes. (and yes I got her some lovely things for Christmas) She is the best thing that ever happened to me in my life and a really amazing person. We are both happy that I found new health this year. Next year I am supposed to learn some Christmas songs and play them next Christmas Eve as my punishment for being naughty. I got off pretty easy, but I may get a lump of coal next year in my stocking. One day I will take the drive to Claremont, but I am glad I shopped local this year for Christmas. After New Years Coco our norfolk terrier hurt her back. We gave her time to heal, but by January 2nd the swelling was so bad we took her in to the vet. She had to spend the night but is home now resting and recovering. She will be fine. Our crop of fruit came in this year from our trees at home and they are awesome. The Cumcuats are tangy and sweet and the Tangerines are the best I have ever had in my life (no joke!) I hope the rest of this year is as good as last year. Last year was lots of change. I got healthier and opened up my shop. It was a lot of hard work, but well worth the ride. I also got my bike last year and this year I plan to really ride it a lot. I also want to get back to playing music with friends and work on new art and songs. It's going to get very busy and I am ready for it thanks to baby steps. Full steam ahead!
Fruit off our trees... so good!

Coco resting on my Superman custom pillow from Kelly at Vintage Stop at Crafted.

Our boy is concerned for our little girl.

Me and Baby T.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Would'nt it be nice? One last Kiss goodnight...

April 10, 2014 May really have a Kiss reunion with my heroes Ace and Peter. Am I stoked? Does a bear poop in the woods? I am glad Ace has found a sober life and Peter beat cancer. Also great news is a new Ace album and even sooner a new single! Of course I like Gene and Paul too. The four original guys again? I will definitely enjoy this night. Way over due for the rock and roll hall of fame. New book from Paul and Ace is working on a new one. I am going to order the "nothing to lose" book soon too. I finished Peter's book not long ago and it was really good. I am really geeking out on this. Here's my Kiss joke.... Why did Ace give up "Cold Gin?" He hit "Rock Bottom" (I just made that up right now, you have to be a fan to get it... bah dum bum.... try the veal....) I deserve this happening. So do all the Kiss fans. Even heard some leaked unreleased new tunes from 1975 today. There may be some life left in the old Kiss machine after all! My perfect induction concert would be with the original guys in make up (Eddie Trunk suggests they wear suits like "Dressed to Kill" I think the first Kiss album outfits would be radical. I think they should do "Anything for my baby" (that may be my favorite Kiss song too) or "Let Me Know"  or "Getaway" would rip too....  or "Parasite?" you know they will do rnr all nite again. Just please for the love of god do not bring up Arena Football.... keep it rock and roll. I may even put on makeup when I watch it at home... that's how stoked I am. If Tommy and Eric get up there I'd better see Bruce and Vinnie too. Give yourself a round of applause.... Awwe-A!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The lesson I learned.

Rawl and Paloma visiting me at my shop and checking out the MC5 tribute guitar.
I first met Rawl Power when he was about 10. He and his mom often shopped at Peanut Records where I worked and drew flyers for bands at the sales counter. He picked up a flyer I drew and he asked me to sign it. I did not know what to do. I was the first time I ever signed an autograph. I signed it for him and he told me he had other flyers of mine saved up. Years later I was still making flyers and did not know he had taken up drumming. His first band Killer Dreamer was a great original sounding local band. Kid Kevin also played in that band whom I would meet and be friends with later too. I had gone to see Killer Dreamer and started doing flyers for them. I was kind of envious of them because I wanted to have a band too, but I was (and still am most days) really shy and pretty unsure about my guitar playing and just playing music at all. They said we should jam sometime and we finally did. I was really out of shape but I did my best to keep up and they really stood by me. I was glad I stepped out of my self doubt and tried it. It was the first steps out of a very long depression. We had coffee now and then and became friends. I got to know Kevin's girl Larry (They played at her place a few times) and Rawl's girl Paloma who played in Bombon (and still does) who also were influential for me in trying to play music. The inspiration was what got me to try again. I mean try living again. Even though it was not in our budget I started guitar lessons. The last time I took them was when was 13 years old, I felt really old to be taking lessons but I had Walter Martinez (he's much younger than me too) at Gray school of music in San Pedro who also was a great listener as well as an instructor. He also gave me self confidence and discipline. Along the way mind mind began to heal a bit. My focus slowly turned to self improvement but I was not even aware. My doctor diagnosed me with Pre-diabectic and my knees were starting to give out. I did not want to start this diet I was on again because I had done it before, but I tried it again because it worked before. Well, it was different this time. I met new friends in class. It was all about small steps. Rawl also plays with Mike Watt and the Missingmen (one of my favorite bands) Mike usually closes his show by saying "start your own band". It may have saved my life. I can get around much easier now. I breathe better. My knees are great and I even learned to love myself. My friends I made along the way gave me hope, confidence, love and encouragement. I took small steps and I am still going and still learning from people who keep my mind open and help me heal my heart. A good way to start small steps is make a bucket list and take the first steps to get there. I am glad I forgave myself for my past and I am very thankful for my friends who saved me. You never know who might help you out someday. Live and learn....and don't bogart the love!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My first wheels

I had a 1980 Pinto. It was kind of burgundy red brownish with matching vinyl interior. It was nick named "Chief" because there was a chief auto parts down the block I was always at getting parts for it. I took it to the Olympic Auditorium and Fender's Ballroom many times for punk gigs crammed full with my pals. When I started to paint again as an adult my first painting was "Shit Devils Pinto" an homage to the past. I found these images to give you an idea how stylish this ride was. I miss that rack and pinion steering. It was a pretty smooth ride when it was running. Lately I have been missing that ride now and then. It was fun to drive...