Saturday, February 27, 2010

1969 FLH

From a time when I was learning to ride a motorcycle.

From a time when I was learning to take photographs.

I'm still learning how to do both.

High On Fire

It's not very often that a NEW album comes out and I listen to it from end to end, over and over, and wear it out like a damn 14 year old kid. The riffage of "How Dark We Pray" is un-fuckin-believeable.

Brian eats a dead grass hopper

Brian eats a dead grass hopper off of Eugene's motor warning him that his karma is fucked because he wont eat his own kill. Then states that his own karma is in check.

Eugene's rear tire delaminated 30 miles up the road. We left Eugene in wait for a pick up from Bag O Donuts and then rode into the sunset.

Eat your kill......

At least his tire picked a nice place to delaminate.

Friday, February 26, 2010

We're in the spirit world now...............

Nightshift w/ youngblood

"the Genius" and his Bacon built shovel

I showed up at the shop last night for my beloved nightshift and found Youngblood still plugging away at his shovel. I Helped him square away a sissy bar and gave him some pointers on fenders in between the never ending moulding of the swap meet frame. It was actually really nice having him around last night and he made it until 4:30 this morning. Lots of real talk and an eager spirit by somebody that refuses to do shit wrong, he's definitely got the right attitude for building bikes and the bug has dug in deep.

It's funny, when the youngsters started coming around 2 years ago they would start getting antsy on any given night and make old man jokes cause we never wanted to leave the shop. They'd go out drinking and carrying on while we drank slow in the company of everything that was good to us. Now these kids are in the shop every night, drinking slow in the company of what is good to them. They've coined Sean and Deb as Mom and Dad while Mitch and Myself have become the two crazy uncles that refuse to grow up. It's definitely family and a genuine pleasure to pass on what little we know.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


There's nothing better than a fall ride around lake Michigan with your good friends.



Petey Paint

A bit loud for me but if you've ever met the man, well.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Don't Kick That Dead Horse

If I remember correctly I was in the 8th grade when my dad came home with his first Harley. It was a 1979 Superglide. I wasn’t really sure what to think about it. I really had no interest in the thing and wondered why he got it. He worked on the road my entire childhood and on the rare occasion he would be home during the summer and I’d see him blast through town on that SuperGlide….. I would think…. Damn… that’s kind of cool.

Just about the time I graduated High School I started to find some chopper mags lying around his house. There was really only one “real” Chopper magazine at the time in my opinion and that was The Horse. Growing up I always seemed to walk the off the beat’n path, whether it was music, art or just life in general. I was a weird kid and most people probably didn’t understand me… hell… I didn’t understand me. I didn’t know a damn thing about a motorcycle but the bikes in that rag just left me sitting on the shitter with my jaw on the toilet seat.

I went to the city to attend college where I would learn to take photographs. It was a very technical school and from day one we were taught the ropes of the photography business including how get work, how to charge and our rights has a photographer. As I received my education in photography my love for motorcycles grew.

Upon graduation I contacted the guys that sparked my love for custom motorcycles. I couldn’t believe it…. within two minutes of sending an email my phone was ringing and a few weeks after that I was on the set of a The Discovery Channel Biker Build Off. Things were moving fast but I quickly realized that all my hero’s and the people involved in the motorcycle industry were just as dirt poor as I was. The money was tight for everyone so I didn’t expect much just an amazing life of traveling around and shooting the motorcycles I loved.

So I worked for peanuts and tried to make do with what I had. Life was hard and the bills weren’t getting paid. The wife ran off so I hit the rode for good….. figuring it out as I moved along. I worked my ass off and loved every minute of it. There was a management change at The Horse and some things were getting switched around. There were some misunderstandings and we went our separate ways. Things were said and I tried to be the better man by walking away and burying the ashes.

I’ve heard about things being said or done but I figured what do I care I’m Living life on a motorcycle and having the time of my life. I’m not the type to start wars or drama but I feel the need to clear some things up. This is something the editor of the Horse posted on his chat site earlier this week.

I was paying him more than any other magazine was paying him, giving him $500 out of my wallet at Smoke Out West because he was low because I was feeling sorry for him. I paid his way there, put him up and paid him to work the event, a sizeable investment for a guy who was broke. Then when I published the issue, he came back and wanted extra pay per shot, on top of what I had already paid his worthless ass. Then he tells me how "legally" he could do this and do that. That's when I told him to sue me (knowing he didn't know shit about the law) and told him to take his whinning faggot ass out of here.

Just hope he doesn't come whining and crying for compensation because it's on this site. Fucking little cry baby”

Now there is some truth to this but mostly twisted facts. First of all… how does he know what other magazines were paying me at the time. If I remember correctly he did out of the Kindness of his heart give me two hundred dollars out of his own pocket. I was running around the joint like a chicken with it’s head cut off shooting the action without rest and I had made the trip to Arizona on 10 dollars. So he kindly thanked me for my efforts and I thanked him for the kindness. The Horse did pay my transportation and hotel but that is to be expected if an editor wants you to take time out of your schedule to travel to their event. There was no pay or expected pay for working the event itself. My goal once there was to cover the event and shoot as many feature bikes as I could during the event to collect usage fees when the event feature and bike features were published in the magazine. The more I shot the more I would get paid in theory. So I gladly shot the bikes they wanted for their publication.

I was finding that the bikes they told me to shoot at smoke out east were getting shot by other photographers at west and used over my shots mostly likely because the other photographers were doing it for free or less pay than me. I understand that there are photographers out there that shoot bikes as a hobby while maintaining a solid job and I respect that but if an editor asks you (hires you) to shoot a bike it's understood that they will publish the shots you have taken of that bike.

The issue he mentioned was not actually a monthly magazine issue…. it was a calendar. I was never contacted about this or even sent a copy. I found out about it through friends that had seen it. These calendars were being sold for a decent amount of change and it was used as a tool to advertise/promote their Magazine. So I sent an invoice for the usage of my images in that Calendar. This is the series of emails between The Horse Staff and myself from almost two years ago. They weren’t very happy about the invoice so I reverted to what was pounded into my head from the time I started my education until the time I finished. I was willing to work something out but wholeheartedly knew it wasn’t going to be an option.

From: Josh Kurpius []

Sent: Friday, May 30, 2008 3:38 PM

To: The Horse


Subject: Invoice for calendar

Invoice for calendar.




Subject: RE: Invoice for calendar

Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2008 22:08:01 -0400


How did you come up with $2,000.00? Most of the shots were out takes from features I paid you for already. I think only one was not from a paid feature.

The Horse

-----Original Message-----

From: Josh Kurpius []

Sent: Monday, June 02, 2008 4:52 PM

To: The Horse

Subject: RE: Invoice for calendar


I am a freelance photographer. If you would like to use my images, you will be charged according to how they are used. This is the reason why you are invoiced as my photos were published. I am by no means selling you the "rights" to own that particular published photo or set of photographs. I fully understand that you may not be aware of copyright laws and the industry standards for usage rights. Unfortunately, we do not have a contract that allows you to have unlimited usage of my images. In short, photographers are paid per usage unless there is a "buyout" of the images or a "work for hire" contract signed. As the Freelance photographer, I retain the copyright to all my images. I have been understanding in the past about the reoccurring publication of my "George the Painter" image and flaming burnout photograph you use to advertise "The Smoke out" event. However, when my images are used in a separate published form (i.e. the calendar) for which you collect additional revenue, I must protest. At this point you have stepped out of the editorial and into a commercial venue. In the future, I would suggest that you draw up a contract for your contributors to sign in order to avoid confusion. I would also suggest that you notify photographers when you plan to reprint their work or when you wish to obtain further usage rights. I' m sure this was an honest mistake.

However, I felt that the issue needed to be addressed to clarify my rights and prevent you from running into similar issues with future contributors. Most magazines buy one-time usage rights (including web and electronic media) and have exclusive publishing rights for up to three months for a feature and one year for a cover. As for the $2000.00 for the use of my images in the calendar..... I calculated this amount from the very low end of my commercial rates, which was based on the number of images you used in the calendar. I feel this amount is very fair.

Please contact me so we can figure this out in a manner that works well for the both of us. I appreciate your time and consideration concerning this matter.






Subject: RE: Invoice for calendar

Date: Mon, 2 Jun 2008 21:44:37 -0400


First of all, I don't need you take on the law. In fact, I find that very insulting and won't comment any further but to say this: Sue me. I've had it with your whiny attitude and constant complaining. Sue me and show me how copy righted stuff works...

I'll send everything I have back to you and don't bother me again...

The Horse

So that’s how I left it. I never bothered him again and shifted my work towards other magazines in the same bloodline of motorcycling. I didn’t seek the money because I was just thankful for The Horse being the magazine that made my life what it is today. It’s been a fucking blast! I’ve learned a lot from this experience….. Communication is key…. and the rails need to be straight before you roll down the track. I wish I could still contribute to the magazine that got my wheels turning as well as to help me grow closer to my father but I figured I wouldn’t Kick The Dead Horse

And what is it any of Ralph's business if I enjoy the company of men?

Over and out. Enough of this..... let the good times roll.

4Q cam

Baker made a little discovery when he pulled the cam out of his Ironhead. Looks like Max has been squeaking his way inside some cases with a hammer and a punch.

Fuck'n Hillbilly!

Fun Times with the Garage Company Alabama Crew.

Haints 69

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Scott Pommier

Did you know that Scott Pommier has a blog? You do now, click here to have your mind fused.

Lets get lost

Me and this guy here are working on something special.

So I started another phase of a high rise job downtown which means that I've got demo crews working nights and other trades starting at 6am leaving my sleep schedule all kinds of bananas. But what I love about this is being able to pull all nighters at the shop with no distractions followed by giant cups of coffee under the tracks downtown at 4am, smoking cigarettes and listening to Chet baker set the pace. I head down early on these mornings just so I can really enjoy an hour of decompression and get some thoughts down. The city's still pretty tired at this hour but it never lets go of that magic and in the ten years that I've lived here and the 30+ that I've been coming here, downtown Chicago, no matter how many hours a day I spend in its shadows, still has that romance. I can't imagine Chet sounding any better than he does with the melting snow rolling down the windshield, the sound of the tracks waking up and the rumble of diesels making their deliveries but just as the coffee hits that perfect temperature and your halfway into that second smoke Chet lays that voice on you in a rare vocal track and that's when you really get lost. So on that note I'm off to the filling station for my coffee and some real talk with my pal Chet. Hope you all have a good day and a chance to get lost as well.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sean and his secrets

Sean rolled in on Saturday night with a "hey man, can you help me unload this bike from my truck". More times than I can count Sean has showed up with this same question and a bike that nobody has any clue about and they are all ridiculous deals. So anyway he bought this super radical '68 for him and deb to cross country on and it is totally bitchin'.

We are all convinced that Sean and Deb, who combined could take over the world with their levels of intelligence, only hang out with us to see what the stupid little monkeys will do next. It's one big science project to them but I'll gladly drink from a beaker in order to have them on my side. Love you guys and can't wait to see you two packed up for the long hauls.

2 up 1 out

Wrapped up the swap meet frame this weekend. I got everything bent up and tacked in place then Petey and I triple checked it all and he blew in the heat. sweet little frame to put on the back burner for now.

Davenport-Milwaukee-Country Mile III

My brother got me a Canon G10 for shooting his wedding. I wanted to use the video function to make little videos of my time spent on the road. I started off by shooting a lot of video but figured what's the point.... I don't even have time to wipe my own ass let alone try dick'n around with video. I'm glad i did shoot that video because the long winter has really begun to make me crazy and to look back and see video of your best friends riding along side you in a T-shirt is for some reason comforting.

I shot this footage on the trip I took to Davenport Iowa then to Milwaukee Wisconsin then around Lake Michigan. Most of the footage is in between Davenport and Milwaukee. I stopped filming as much on The Country Mile and I wish I would have had it rolling more. Now that I know how to upload video you might start seeing more action video.

I hope this doesn't give you a headache.

Friday, February 19, 2010

springer for sale

BSA Pete is looking to move this front end, go for it.
contact Pete here:

Mitch Crystals Everyone

Great times at Bravetown

Bacon's Fresh 46

Bacon with his black 46's

Riding on ice.... something this bike wont see when it finds its owner in Long Beach.

He put this together ground up in month and a half. From split cases to riding it while building a few shovelhead motors and a complete Panhead.

Rake and Trail

She handled a lot better than I thought she would. Moving this bike around the shop has been a chore. It is so awkward and long I figured she would ride like shit. Before changing anything around it had two feet of trail. After switching the wheels out and flipping the spacer from the bottom of the stem to the top.... the trail improved dramatically. It still has plenty of flop but seems to ride just fine. I set the trail for the Locust right where it needs to be and it's still scary as hell to ride.... not that it bothers me any. I have very little flop but I think because every is so skinny any little movement I make from my head to my toes will dramatically affect the direction the bike wants to travel. I plan on making a new springer this year with Sugar Bears philosophy in mind. Hopefully then I can stand up on it and have both hands on my camera.

Born Free II

It'll be here before you know it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The History of The Shaker

This is how Dale Baker's Shaker sits right now.

In the last remaining days of 2009 Bacon and I drove to Michigan to pick up this survivor 1964 xlch. We bought it from a guy named Al Larson and he did a lot of research on this bike. He found that it was on the Cover of Street Chopper with a Ron Finch bike in April 1979. Al said he found the Shaker's skeleton laying in a pile of hay inside of a barn but it lacked its motor and wheels. He decided to buy it.... then spotted another sportster on the other side of the barn and was informed that the motor in that stockish sporty actually came out of the Shaker frame. He decided to buy both and put the Shaker back together.

In 1978 a man named Dale Baker decided to change his daily rider into something a little more radical. He goosenecked the frame and put the sporty tank back on it. It just didn't look right so he had Al Osting fab the tank, rear seat and fender area's. It was then taken to Jerry Anderson for a coat of gold paint. As they sat around the bike smoke'n joints they decided that the gold was just too much. So Jerry suggested a few Orange highlights here and there to break it up. Before it was all said and done just about every color in the rainbow found its way on. Now all it needed was a mural painting. Hanging on the shop wall was a Frazetta Print.... it was decided that it was perfect for the bike. Czerwinski stepped in and recreated the painting on the top of the tank. Jerry happened to be doing a firebird hood with gold and silver leaf and had plenty left over so that found its way on as well. Jerry is still alive and said there is just no way in hell he could paint something that elaborate today but the Shaker was his proudest piece. He mentioned that he had over 200 hours into this paint job. Jerry's Upholstery did the original seat and he is also still alive. He was asked to make another one for the bike but he declined stating that it was his first and only motorcycle seat he has ever done. He said that it was such a pain in his ass that he would never do another motorcycle seat.

I was told that Dale Baker wasn't into show bikes... he was into bikes that were ridden. He took many trips to Colorado with his buddies on his Shaker. He was the odd ball in the group because he rode a Harley Davidson. All of his buddies rode Hondas and constantly gave him shit for riding a Harley. Supposedly their are a handful of these bikes still floating around. Michigan Motorcycle Company had a hand in all of these bikes.

Dale Baker was a Long Haul Truck Driver. In 1985 Dale died on the dance floor at a wedding of a Heart Attack. After his death the bike went to an MC club... I'm not positive but I believe the club was called the Road Knights. It's new owner and President of the Club pasted away shortly after and the bike lead the Funeral Presentation. I believe the bike then went to his son who gave the bike to his wife but she didn't like the way it handled. So here's where the shaker gets ripped apart. The motor was taken out and put into an stock sporty set up and the chasis was thrown into a pile of hay. The son then went to jail and I think he is still sitting there today. His family starting selling off his stuff and in walked Al Larson.

Al bought both sportsters and did what he could to get the Shaker back to its original state. He got it running but has a really fucked up back and fell on hard times so it was put up for sale. With the purchase he gave us the original copy of the 1979 Street Chopper. So it is our goal to put it back to its original set up. When we got it, it had some funky bars, a 15 inch invader with a car tire on the rear, a 21" star hub up front and the wrong seat. It originally had pull back bars, a 16 inch spoked rear and a 19 inch mini drum on the front. About a month before..... Warren and some friends drove up to Ron Finch's to hang up... get tweaked... and wade through his parts piles. DL grabbed a set of pull backs that seem to be an exact match. It's weird because the other bike on the 1979 cover was a Ron Finch bike and they are both in the same area. I doubt they are actually the same set of bars but I know that Dale Baker hand made the original bars and they seem to fit like a glove. I picked up a 16 inch spoked rim from Slippery Pete and used a 19 inch mini drum rim that came on the Girder I brought in Indiana on the way to pick up the Shaker. We also changed a few other little things like the carb, put on a period air cleaner and some foot pegs sent from Mike D.

I will try to get more information and as I do I will post it. Stay tuned.

Dale Baker's Shaker in 1979

Tomahawk Tassels

Tomahawk Tassels just happened to be in town doing a show. The moons aligned.... our trails crossed...... she took this pony for a ride.


I had a good feeling when Petey picked up the hack job frame at the swap that it would end up in my possession. We worked out a deal with the rent and after he cut out all the garbage it ended up on my bench. Got everything shaved, slugged and ready for some new dimensions today. I figure since it is already a chop job then I don't mind adding an 1-1/2" to the down tubes to straight-line the backbone with the rear legs. You can see the old backbone that Petey cutout, the down tubes were even worse but the castings were good all around. Went through and welded the cracks and notorious weak spots and also made room in the seat post for easy setting motors. Should wrap it up this week and start scratching my head.

I'm also picking up my first bike this week. My '78 KZ100. I gave it to an employee 5 years ago as a basket case that I never finished in exchange for some work on my house. I ended up doing the work myself so when I ran into him this week he said "come get it, it's your bike" super stoked to build a Mad Max machine for throwing on the backpack and running errands with an electric start.

Lets hear it for the new header

Phenomenal Mitch, phenomenal.


I headed to Milwaukee on Sunday with the Baker Shaker. It's Bacon's turn to have some fun with her. He's moving to California next week with two 46 Knuckleheads and a 64 Ironhead..... oh yeah and his Lady. The Shaker will be happy to see some sunshine and warm weather. I plan to spend a good amount of time in Cali this summer so all is good.

I never planned on having a long bike but as it turns out I have three now that are over stock and this seems to be the recurring problem.

Blue.... after riding it I don't wanna let her go.

The Phantom

I stumbled on this picture on the internet somewhere. It's a shot of an F-4 Phantom in full afterburner chained down to the tarmack. When I was 18 years old and just a few months in the service, I stood in this same spot.

There are 4 little Schrader valves ( like on your valve stem of your bike tire) that are connected to each of the Fuel Boost pumps located in a little access door on the belly of the plane- so you can check the pump output pressures.

The plane we were troubleshooting was chained down by the tail hook in the Hush House on the flightline at Spangdahlem. The Hush House is a hanger that has a giant muffler on the ass end of it that we park the plane in and run it without pissing off the locals with all the noise. Armed only with a pressure gage and double hearing protection, I waited for the crew chief in the cock pit to give me the thumbs up and I approached the plane at a 90 degree angle from the side, just behind the intake. The whole world is shaking. I could see the multiple blue rings of the afterburner stages, not 20 feet away from me to the left, and the cold, high pitch screech of the air being sucked into the intake about 6 feet to my right. I have only about 15 seconds to get in there, take the pressures, remember each of them, and get the fuck out the same way I came in. If you stand under there too long you could get vertigo from the sound. No time to fuck around. No margin for error.

Fuckin intense!

Monday, February 15, 2010


Gram Parsons

Well now if I have to swim a river, you know I will
And if I have to climb a mountain you know I will
And if she's hiding up on a blueberry hill
I'm gonna find her, child, you know I will
Cause I've been searching, oh yeah, searching
My goodness, searching every which a-way, yeah-yeah
But I'm like the Northwest Mountie
You know I'll bring her in some day, gonna find her
Well Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade got nothing, child, on me
Sergeant Friday, charlie Chan, and Boston Blackie
No matter where she's hiding, she's gonna hear me
Cause I'm gonna walk right down that street
Like Bulldog Drummond because I've been searching
Oh Lord, searching, mmm child
Searching every which a-way, yeah-yeah
You know I'll bring her in some day, gonna find her

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Baker's Shakedown

The sun was shining today and that was a good enough reason for me to get the Baker's Shaker out and get her running down the road. Actually I pulled it out into the drive to take a few snaps in the sunlight. The big reason I hadn't taken it out was the fact that the drive has been iced over for the last few months. It's hard enough the walk on it let alone ride a ten foot long bike with a less than desirable trail on it. I about dropped it ten different times just trying to move it around on the ice. Finally I said fuck it and was giving the bike a few prime kicks before putting in a good leg. It started before I reached that point and rather than riding it to the shop door I busted through some snow drifts to make it to the road. She handled better than I thought she would. I got stuck in a drift on the way back through the yard and had to have my pops give me a push. It felt so good to ride...... I can't wait for warmer weather and more sunshine to melt the ice away.