rods art music

I make shit. I ride a bike. I tell the truth. I see the future.

I've been running this little hole-in-the-internet-wall of a hot rod site since I was in high school, back in 1998, and though it isn't as well maintained or as prolific as it could (or should?) be, it has a special place in my heart.

The Greaser Garage began when an outgoing, computer-nerd art student (yours truly) who lived in South Central Pennsylvania realized that there actually existed a niche in the world where her love of low-brow art, product design, bluegrass, hardcore music and getting her hands dirty all coincided...in the long simmering rockabilly scene.

I say simmering because in places like So Cal and Austin, where classic cars have always been a part of cultural identity and the music scene is lively and progressive, there has always been a flourishing rockabilly scene. But in the Midwest and East Coast, though the subculture has always been around on some level, it was never as popular or accessible as it was about to become in the mid-90's. For me, I had no idea any of this was going on anywhere. 'Zines in record shops in my area were never about the West Coast rockabilly scene, and relivant hot rod magazines of the sort were only just starting to filter into places stores like Borders (where I spent a lot of time at 16 years old) and punk rock coffee shops.

However, having grown up in an area with a rich classic car history - many of the first east coast drag strips and custom hot rod shops were opened in the PA-DE-MD-VA-NY-NJ area (check out the Dover Drag Strip website, for one) - I was always aware of the classic cars and hot rods, but never had anybody in my life to encourage me to pursue stoking into flames the embers of curiosity I had. On summer nights, after the annual KKOA shows in Biglerville, PA, many of the cars would roll into my hometown and park in a large parking lot at the end of town, hoods propped open, lawn chairs out, beer cans being stealthily emptied as local kids would burn by on the bordering street, laying rubber and blowing flames from their exhaust. I would roam around ogling the curves and the fins and the paint jobs and the chrome details, wondering where automotive design in the US went so horribly astray. Wishing that one day I'd have the means to have my own rip-roaring, flame spewing chunk of the past that was my own, from headliner to tranny to treads.

Eventually, I began dating an older guy who was very much into hot rods and began taking me to shows, letting me help him dismantle and clean old engines and encouraged me to not just have a passing interest in the stylish nature of the beasts, but to really get to understand how cars worked, why engines changed, and to not let being a woman keep me from the Big Boys Club. Of course, here on the East Coast, the hot rod scene was only starting to open its arms and welcome in the rockabilly revival and kids (like us) who were punk rock mish-mash throw backs to a decade the old timers knew.

With the growing scope of the internet, I was able to read more about the rockabilly scene on the West Coast and started becoming obsessed. Car clubs, swing nights, massive music fests and car shows...all of it made my mouth water, but none of it seemed to be happening anywhere near me. Many of the rockabilly bands at the basis of the scene were starting to tour out East (Reverend Horton Heat, Turbo A.C.'s, The Amazing Royal Crowns, Deadbolt)...

 

To Be Continued...

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