Published In The July 2014 Issue Of Cycle Source
Article By: Chris Callen Photos By: Darren McKeag, Augie Lascola, Rob Keller & Chris Callen, Mad Stork
My good buddy Jay Allen always used to say that each and every Bike Rally had its own unique personality. Even after as many as he had worked, each one was so unique and different from the rest that it would truly be a shame to miss any one of them. Well, as I get more years under my belt, 18, since my first Daytona now, I can see exactly what Jay was talking about. I can’t imagine missing one, especially as this pertains to Daytona for the unique perspective it gives me for the general tone of the year. With that said, Daytona 2014 was bat shit crazy and everything I have come to love and hate about it.
Starting off the week this year I had the very distinct and great pleasure to take the mic and be the Emcee for the main stage at the World Famous Iron Horse Saloon. After all these years of going to Bike Week in Daytona I was part of the show and working the same stage as some of the greatest musicians that have ever came to play music for drunken rowdy bikers. The stage where David Allan Coe makes his annual offering to the masses and in the spot where a group of friends made what was in their minds the perfect place to have a fullscale biker blowout. Yeah boy, the Iron Horse is all that and a bag of chips, and for me, well let’s just say that I’ve been a fan since the first year when I found myself waking up face down somewhere on the grounds having just realized I missed the weeks racing events that I had planned to experience. That would end up being as much a tradition for me as spending time at The Iron Horse, but I would start finding the strength to start exploring the incredible list of moto-attractions Daytona has to offer. From motorcycle racing to celebrity appearances, it’s all there.
This week would be a hectic one to say the least, as not only did I have my emcee responsibilities at the Horse but Big House Pete was playing five shows, the magazine had an industry party and a bike show. I managed to get a couple of heat cycles on the pan before I left home, but the top end was still too fresh for a re-torque on the head and cylinder bolts and the oil would need changed. All in all it would be non-stop with not much time for sleep, but that’s what we do right. Luckily, Willie at Tropical Tattoo is kind enough to play host when we come to town and gave me a place to park the trailer that was loaded to the bejesus with magazines and band gear and a place to work on the pan. Hell, we even set up in his back lot to practice with the band one afternoon, this cat is aces. We would also be breaking in a bike week rookie in Augie. He is new to the motorcycle scene but as a videographer he kills it. After working for Fox Sports and following the US Ski tour around with a camera he has signed on to help shoot and produce Grease & Gears. Like I said though, this was his first rally and first road trip with us so it would be interesting to see if we could break him. All said, I think he knocked it out of the park but you be the judge, log on to the cyclesource.com thing and check out his videos from Daytona.
About every two hours I got to take the mic and go on stage to give information to the hoards of bike weekers that piled into The Horse. There were cats who rode there from Canada and places up north that I talked to who actually had chains on the tires of their bikes when they left home, amazing. One after another amazing bands took the stage and in between the Wall Of Death would fire up and for the first time I was behind the scenes at the biggest biker bar in the world. Cool shit to say the least and I can’t thank the folks at Iron Horse enough. By the end of the week they were even nice enough to have Big House Pete play for the Friday morning crew. Nothing says lovin’ like people who have been goin at it hard all week and are still out early with a hangover to support the band, we thank you all.
So the weeks leading into bike week brought us a new friend in Lou DeRosa. Lou had opened a new joint on Main Street named Bad Boys. Lou had such a great back story that I wrote about him for our blog and for BikerNet.com since he, like I, came up from the work he did with his own two hands. Bad Boys was in the same location as what used to be the Dog House and sat right in the middle of Main Street. It had the best stage of any spot at the rally under the arrangement and guidance of Vince Rayburn. The music acts like Crisp & Davis, Preacher Stone and JT Curtis were honestly the best entertainers I’ve seen at a bike rally. Lou had a top-notch staff and all the ingredients to announce his place as the new spot on Main Street, and he did just that. By the end of the week the place was packed and the people were entertained and served by some of the very same faces they had been used to seeing at the Broken Spoke. Their old pal Jack Shit was on the mic between bands keeping the motor running and even our own Rob Keller got in on the action, making the time at Bad Boys one of the best we’ve ever had.
Our industry party on Tuesday night was set to happen on their second floor. With a balcony over looking Main Street and its very own stage where Rob Keller, Robbie Keller, his son, and myself set up a little acoustic jam session. Little did we know how much fun this would end up being as several other musicians stopped by to play and even Shawn Beamer of Molly Hatchet sat in with us for a while. The staff laid out a nice spread of munchies and really took care of our visiting dignitaries as we all sat around and took in the real reward of doing this: seeing our friends and family that made it back for another year. By the end of the party the stage was a completely different collection of musicians and I was so glad to see Dakota with my bass in his hands filling up the low end with Panhead Frank of BMR on the drums. I hope these little open jams we do continue to pick up speed, cause man they are a blast and I’d like to thank everyone that played that night. As the party died down we had to run to the main stage for the first Big House Pete show of the week. We had some technical troubles with some equipment but other than that we got up and running and played for an anxious crowd. I would eventually find myself sitting around with all the duties and fun out of the way, a ringing in my head and nothing left to do but take a sweet ass ride in the cold Florida night air on my pan. I was still trying to break it in slow, so nighttime was the only way to stay out of traffic and keep it cool. The next day would surely find me with a severe case of rock & roll hangover but for that moment in time I was on top of the world.
By Friday Augie and the boys from Big House packed it in and headed north leaving me and the rest of the Cycle Source crew to run the bike show at Bad Boys. Thanks to Roadside, Brad and Jason from Northeast Chop Shop who I couldn’t have pulled it off without. Now I have run a show or two in my day but doing it on Main Street is a whole other animal. The fact that we got some 60 bikes to roll into the Bad Boys complex for that afternoon was amazing and not a dog in the bunch. Old friends and new faces filled the spot and as far as the eye could see were pans, shovels, little bitchin sporties and even some killer antiques that made this a fantastic show, especially for our first year there. In the end we gave out prizes for 15 categories with tons of goodies from Spectro, Sick Boy, Metal Rescue, S&S, Bad Boys, Cycle Source and James Gaskets. If you have ever won at any of our shows then you know the kinda box you walk away with is pretty heavy liftin. In the end it was Ray Llane with a Warren Lane built shovel that took best of show and there was no doubt that he deserved it. What was better, is that the story he and the bike had is a long and sorted tale that we are going to be bringing to you in a future issue. Jack Shit and Roadside Marty took the stage and handed out the prizes with the help of Crystal who acted as the official trophy girl. I’m not sure if this was her first time or if she just really dug being pawed at by dirty bikers but she was great and the guys dug the hell outta her. We must have thrown out two complete cases of shirts from the magazine to thank everyone for coming out and as the day wound down it did my heart good to look out over the street and see so many of our t-shirts walking around.
For the next few days it was a full schedule of running around to shoot bikes and quick trips back and forth to hang at the Horse and just loaf around Willies Tropical Tattoo. I did get to ride the panhead a bunch more but it never did seem to settle in and I wasn’t confident enough in the break in to really take any long rides. I was beat from the week anyway, the band played five times all in all, the magazine had two killer events and I guess they liked what I did at the Iron Horse so we put this one in the books as a huge success. As for how I spent the rest of my time at bike week this year, well let’s just say that I’m getting pretty good and taking time for myself and the last weekend I really didn’t do anything other than be a rally attendant and visit with friends. It’s a good life, five minutes at a time!