Irish Rich is the owner of Shamrock Fabrication, a "no frills" custom motorcycle and fabrication shop. Rich has been involved with custom motorcycles and hot rods for over 40 years, and is a member of the Sinners, out of Southern California. Rich and his motorcycles have appeared in Street Chopper, DicE Magazine, The Horse, Easyriders, and the Jesse James documentary "The History Of The Chopper". He also currently writes, and has written tech articles and feature stories for many of the custom motorcycle publications, and writes an ongoing column for Greasy Kulture Magazine.
Grumpy ol' Butch pic I took at the Rat Fink Reunion @ Mooneyes, Santa Fe Spgs, CA.
I've ridden quite a few miles with Butch, although I don't see him as much as I used to. I love the man dearly. You might not know his name, but you've seen his work. Butch started out painting and pinstriping in '58, and was a lifelong friend of Von Dutch, and also Willie G. Butch has painted and pinstriped more bikes and cars on magazine covers, and in feature articles than you can shake a stick at - Gary Gabelich's LSR Blue Flame car, Ron Covell's AMBR winning California Star, Wink Eller's Red October and Blue Monday El Mirage record bikes, and the '03 "#1" Harley-Davidson in H-D's museum in Milwaukee, to name just a few. Junior Conway told me he thought Butchie was one of the best custom painters and stripers he ever saw.
The brush box in the top picture is one of Butch's most cherished keepsakes. I'll let Butch tell the story... "I used to hang around Von Dutch a lot when I was younger. I was going around striping, and I used to carry my brushes around all bundled up together with a rubber band. Dutch would always chew my ass because I 'didn't know how to take care of my goddamned brushes.....", so he reached over one day, and threw that box at me, and said 'HERE! Put your brushes in this!' If you look at the picture above, you can see thru all the paint splatters a white inscription in Dutch's unmistakable style of lettering Von Dutch's Goodie Box. Butch told me the "goodies" Dutch kept in there, and if you know anything about Von Dutch, I'm sure you know what they were, too.
Here's one of my favorite pictures of CJ, taken from an Easyriders article from 1990. I've seen a lot of engraving on motorcycles, but nothing matches CJ's "steel tattoos", you can spot his work a mile away. CJ's done a lot of work for people, but it's my opinion that his greatest work can be seen on Indian Larry's Chain Of Mystery bike.
I remember sitting on the sofa at CJ's place, talking to his Hessian Brother Moose. We were about 10 feet in front of CJ's work station. As we were talking, this derby cover comes flying thru the air between us, and crashes into the fireplace - followed by an explosion of profanities, and then silence.....then the steady hum of CJ's Gravermiester again. Moose and I looked at each other, and then at CJ. Without looking up, CJ grumbled: "Ah, a minor fuckup on that piece, I was just giving it the 'dart test', don't be a'skeered...". Page down and take the blog link in my list to Cj's place.
When I was a kid, we all got up on Sat. morning at 7:30am, grabbed our Wheaties, parked our PJ'd butts in front of the TV , and didn't move untill 11:00am. We watched all our heros in shows like Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, and Sky King, to name a few. One of those shows I loved was Sgt. Preston of The Yukon. Sgt. Preston was a Mountie in the Royal Northwest Canadian Mounted Police. Along with his faithfull dog Yukon King, they made the Yukon Territory safe for all.
While other officers were diddling around on a case, Sgt. Preston was out on his trusty horse Rex, or his six dog sled, scouring the Territory tracking the bad guys, with King right by his side. After tracking down the bad guys (who always outnumbered him), Preston would burst into their hideout, and utter his famous line "I ARREST YOU IN THE NAME OF THE CROWN!". A big fight would insue, with Preston and King kicking major ass, always the victors. Look him up on YouTube, they don't make heros like Sgt. Preston and Yukon King anymore. Man, I sure do miss those Saturday mornings.
I knew his flying eyeball image long before I knew who the man was. Volumes have been written on Dutch, and yet they only begin to scratch the surface of the man's life and works. His skill and craftsmanship have been an inspiration to me since I was a little kid. Here's my favorite quote from Von Dutch: "It's easy for you to see that everybody else around you is full of bullshit. The hard part of life is realizing that you may be full of bullshit, too."
1962. I was approaching my 10th birthday (my birthday is March 17th), and my dad asked me what I wanted to do to celebrate it. The Clutch Artists CC of Buffalo, NY always had their annual show on St. Patrick's Day weekend at the Masten Ave. Armory, and I had seen their show posters announcing Big Daddy Roth would be there in person, along with his Outlaw, and Beatnik Bandit. Well, what would you have wanted to do if your hero was in town on your birthday?
Here's my Favorite story involving Ed Roth, as told by Doug Feazell (Dougie-Poo, from San Berdoo): "Roth brought the movie star Sal Mineo to our bar in Fontana called The Blue Blaze because they wanted to do a movie there. We were all in the back, passing a joint around. We used to ask 'You want a hit?' and if the person said yes, we'd hit him! Sal was with Roth, and his manager, and I asked him if he wanted a hit. When he said 'Yeah...', I knocked him on the ground. Everyone was shitting; they thought I had killed him. But, he got back up and then he partied with us. It's a funny story, but it scared everybody."
I wrote a letter to Easyriders Magazine, and voiced my opinion on some of the ads they were accepting in their Choppershopper section back then. I hadn't thought about this letter in a long time, but I was reading something the other day that reminded me of it. It's the letter entitled Down On Ads below.
What really struck me as funny, was that the people who placed the ads were clever enough to come up with a scam like that, pay a $.30 per word investment on the idea, and then wait 60 days for the ad to print and start paying off. In that time, they could have used the cost of the ad to buy a paper, go thru the want ads, put gas in their car, and find a place where they could use their smarts and clever wits to make a living at a real job, and pay their own way on a bike to ride - like everybody else did, and still does.
You'll notice that Easyriders responded in part that they didn't think anybody would actually send money to the people who were placing the ads, so they ran them. I bet those ads collected a good return on the initial investment. You know who's born every minute, right?
A couple things here.....2 of the 3 HAMC bikes in the picture are Evolution engines. The other thing of note is that of the 3 bikes, the one on the left is a Evo FXR, and the one on the right is a Softail. Again, this is 1986.
This bike was pretty interesting. It was an '86 FXSTC. The fatbobs are gone, and in their place is a king sporty tank. Also, the factory 21" spoked wheel is replaced with a 19" cast factory mag. My only guess was so the owner would have two tubeless rims on his road bike (the rear was still the original factory spun aluminum disc wheel). Check out the radar detector mounted above the speedo.
I really wish I knew who did the paint and lettering on this bike, as the owner wasn't around, and Guinea wasn't positive on who it was. Check out the shading and fine outline on the lettering.
Look behind the letters, and you'll see a Death Head, hand-striped behind them in dark grey.
A more perfect example of a Frisco gas filler relocation is hard to find. Whoever did this got it, right down to the "flat" area where the old filler was located, a style detail that makes or breaks this modification.
It's hard to see the intricate hand-painted details in the gold leaf feathers, and the subtle shading and color highlighting that the skull has from this now 23 year old photograph. You'd have to see it in person to appreciate it fully. Lots of pride and craftsmanship in this tank.