“but it must be pretty cool to be you, with your brothers at your back, protecting you”
-Milo Aukerman, Descendents
I’ve loved punk rock ever since the Offspring released their Smash album in 1994, back when I wasn’t old enough to hear language like that. “Bad Habit”, a deadly road rage tune with an offensive a cappella piece in the middle of it. “Come Out and Play”, a song highlighting youth gang and gun violence. My personal favourite? “Self Esteem”, a catchy song about a lack thereof. What do the Descendents have to do with this? Nothing. I’ve been a fan almost as long as I have the Offspring, and the lyric is relevant to what this whole thing is about.
“Things were better back in the day”, said every irrelevant old person ever, but they’re not far off. A while ago, I read something about how much better hot rodding was in the early-to-mid-nineties. The cars were built more affordably, with more used parts, and more soul. Not only did the cars have soul, but so did the people. There weren’t posers, as the scene was just coming back, so there wasn’t an established identity to assume. There also weren’t critics, as there was nothing to criticize. Street Rods were popular, while hot rodding had died long ago. Brushed aluminum sixteen-inch wheels, pastel paint jobs, and miles of tweed were in all of the magazines. What young person would criticize a budget build of one of their peers when THAT was the alternative, at ten times the price, no less?
Nowadays, I hear and see it all. It’s become all about the “right” wheels and tires, “correct” gauges, and “period correct” engine and transmission. Barf… No offense, period correct is cool, but people are so scared to try something new, that everything is starting to look the same. Are the days of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth gone? Can meth and marijuana not do what LSD used to? Has the internet replaced newspaper to the point that “spit wadding” is no longer an acceptable way to fabricate a car body? Are my ripped-up jeans a joke because they aren’t cuffed? Is a tall Mohawk really less traditional than a tall pompadour? Was I dreaming, or did I do a disc brake swap this past summer and then bolt a radial tire right back on top of it?
Luckily, I’m not alone in thinking this way. When hot rodding made a comeback in the early nineties, like-minded people managed to find each other. Over the years, the scene became attractive, and the wrong people jumped on the bandwagon as a fashion statement. It’s not like the movie They Live, you don’t need special sunglasses to see them, they stand out pretty clearly. They’re the ones who make a point of being outcasts with their fashion and their attitudes, yet make a scene when they succeed, and are turned away at certain venues. They’re the ones who criticize based on envy, or knock someone who does it on their own, when they’ve never dared try themselves.
I’ve had six empty cabinet doors in my shop for years, and now I’ve decided to use them to support those that support the scene. Small businesses, like-minded clubs, or just friends. I’ve started three doors, and finished one. Is one of your stickers on there? Cool! Glad to hear it. Do you want to be on there? Maybe you want a “Secondaries Wide Open” or “Northside Street Rods” sticker for your own support cabinet? Hit me up, I can make it all happen. Nothing brings me more joy than walking down the street, or into a public washroom, and seeing a support sticker from someone I know. “Cool, they’re into vandalism, and they piss here too.”