Archive for the ‘Kid Rock’ Category

HARLEY-DAVIDSON MOTOR COMPANY REBEL SOULI was flipping channels on XM and landed on Deep Tracks listening to “See The Changes”, a song by Crosby, Stills & Nash about how surviving is difficult.

Speaking of music and with a twist of irony, just a few days after large sums of money were exchanged for the Kid Rock endorsement and music performance at the 110th  Anniversary celebration, Harley-Davidson management reversed a long standing music policy (John Dansby II, V.P. Manufacturing, memo HERE) for manufacturing workers stating they can only rock out to the sound of humming machinery on the plant floor.  Remove the headphones.  Remove the radios. That new sound you’re listening to is the sweet sound of manufacturing productivity.

Having worked several years in a manufacturing plant back in the day I could relate to both sides.  Does music on the plant floor lead to greater productivity and job satisfaction or does it cause distractions and kill creativity.  It’s the age old debate.

It would seem the grand “Music Experiment” — the role that music played in the motor companies evolution — and provided relief to Harley-Davidson workers doing monotonous tasks were now the cause of lapses in concentration and those distractions would potentially effect product quality.  Even worse, there were music hazards lurking everywhere in the workplace with the potential for injuries and as a result there was no longer a role for music in the workplace at Harley-Davidson.

Clearly I don’t work there, but on the surface this action doesn’t seem to be about building the foundation to help release the innovative juices in workers and provide the best environment to do the best possible job.  To be candid, it smells like a short-sighted decision from an outcome driven employer flexing management muscle when they have the economic upper hand and demanding that 8 to 5 workers step-it-up to get things done quicker and better.

I would anticipate that the younger H-D workers in particular would meet this decision with a wall of criticism and demand that management not lead the workforce back to the last century by banning music.  Given that technology exists today to provide multiple streams of different music channels wirelessly to large numbers of headsets it seems to be a backward decision.

We were all once young too, with an answer for everything.   But, if I knew this plant job was my one and only go-round and not wanting to make a career mistake I’d likely display some patience on any demands because we often fall into something and do our best to get ahead, and know it’s hard to rearrange when things go sideways.

And that’s when you hear “See The Changes” on the radio.

I tuned into the sound of Stephen Stills… telling me he experienced the same thing… it gets harder as you get older, and farther away as you get closer.

Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson

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Doobie Brothers performing at the 2003 Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary

Rain. Snow. Rain. Wind. Rain. Hail.

That pretty much sums up the local weather Sunday.  A blast of winter brought a mix of odd weather to the area, with temperatures in the 40s and rain turning into snow turning to hail throughout the day.

So it’s Sunday afternoon with a couple hard weeks of work under the belt and I’m thinking about better weather and motorcycle riding.  I’m running errands and pushing the XM buttons in the automobile.  I settled in on a little gem from the Doobie Brothers fourth album “What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits” and I crank the volume on the song “Another Park, Another Sunday.”

Wow, it’s a flashback.

I suddenly remember buying the album on cassette (remember those?) and was instantly transported back in time to that moment of driving the stereo speakers in a ’76 Toyota Celica to the point of distortion, listening to music that energized and soothed the soul at the same time.  Hearing Tom Johnston again reminded me that the Doobie Brothers opened at the 100th Anniversary celebration in Milwaukee in 2003. The Doobies were solid rock along with Kid Rock, but it was also the year that an intern who ran a focus group at the motor company mistook the leathers of Elton John as a motorcycle enthusiast and completely missed the mark on the Milwaukee demographic.   People left the venue in droves wondering how Harley-Davidson could have made such a mistake.  I also remember crashing an event a few years back in Las Vegas where Pat Simmons was playing in an intimate bar across the street from the LVCC for a Kingston Memory private party.  Pat along with a terrific band played some rockin’ down the highway tunes for several hours.

And speaking of Nevada, we’re about a month away from the Laughlin River Run.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Laughlin, NV rally then it’s a must add to your riding “bucket list.”  It’s four days of wall-to-wall bikes, exhibits, vendors and entertainment. The rally is distinctive with 10 major casino resorts along a two-mile stretch on Casino Drive and everything is literally at your hotel doorstep.   The desert makes a great backdrop and riding bonus for the event.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I neglected to mention that long-time Doobie Brothers drummer Michael Hossack passed away last week after a long battle with cancer.  Hossack helped give the band its distinctive sound with two drummers and was critical to a number of hit albums. Michael played on the “Another Park, Another Sunday” as well as the rest of the “Vices” album, “The Captain And Me” and “Toulouse Street.”  They all make great Sunday riding music.  Listening back on some of the tracks you can’t help but think what a great musical drummer he was especially the killer fill at the beginning of “China Grove.”  He will live on in those tunes because they have stood the test of time.

Photo courtesy Doobie Brothers performing at the Harley-Davidson closing party in downtown Milwaukee August 31, 2003. REUTERS/Allen Fredrickson

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By this time you’ve likely read that this year marked the 70th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

I returned earlier in the week and am just now getting back on the keyboard to ramp up some blogging content from the 12-day vacation.   Wow, that went fast!

For about two weeks I didn’t think about blogging, media organizations or watch TV other than an occasional weather update.  Digital media influences our lives and influences society, but the disconnected wind in the face time was nice.  Besides, the lack of AT&T coverage in and around Lead, SD made it easy to stay disconnected!

The 70th Rally expected to spark a surge in both attendees and vendors.  From my vantage it delivered.  Early estimates are nearly half a million people flooded the tiny town of Sturgis and the surrounding Black Hills.  Last year attendance was in the 380,000 range.  For 2010 the intense influx of visitors brought vendors selling everything from patches, rally gear, handmade jewelry and tattoos.  Harley-Davidson had a solid showcase of the new 2011 models and was well attended being in downtown Sturgis the first time in years.

I’ve attended the rally 3 times now over the last ten years, but this trip brought a few first’s:

  1. No rain outbound to Sturgis – 1200 miles of sunny/hot weather.
  2. First time through the Southern entrance to Yellowstone National Park (via Jackson, WY) – The Grand Teton National Park is incredible and reminded me of trips to the Canadian Rockies.
  3. Mount Rushmore achieved the highest single day attendance record.  Officials stated that 17,600 people visited the national memorial on Tuesday (August 10th). The most in one day since the park started keeping track in 2000.  The Black Hills were jammed full of motorcycles!
  4. Avoided the motel rip-off and thrash – stayed in a vacation cabin south of Lead in the Deer Mountain area.
  5. Attended the first ever Bob Dylan concert – Kid Rock saved the evening with a real performance.
  6. Face-to-face with Willie G., Bill Davidson and Nancy.  – No they didn’t recognize me from the blog.
  7. Riding a motorcycle in a lightning storm… on the return trip… Not to let a little rain intimidate us in Montana, we drove on, only to find ourselves in a drenching downpour, complete with hail, thunder, and lightning.  Who knew there so many motorcyclist survival lightning strike stories!

I’ll be doing a detailed trip update shortly as I pull together my notes and VISA slips to remember where I was when.

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I’ve noticed lately that I’m getting old-r. Maybe ’cause it’s that time of year for a lot of birthdays or maybe it’s my lack of patience?  Anyway I’m standing in the Starbucks line to buy my normal Grande Coffee and it’s like freakin’ 700 people long ’cause the only thing the teenage boy at the register is thinking about is the teenage girl at the other register and some lady has her purse inside out trying to win the “exact change” trophy…Mac, take a breath…it’s only 6:30am so, just drink your coffee and chill…

Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, I’m getting old-r and as a “Generation Jones” I’m starting to question if I’m living the dream or just growing old (dis)-gracefully.

When I think about this age gig and demographics I’m sort of hip and fit into the internet generation. I do “The Google“, I blog a bit, I’m on Facebook, I Flickr and Picasa photo’s, I connect with groups on CollectiveX, I’ve planned parties on MyPunchBowl, I’m hip to Wikipedia, I manage calendars online with Eventful, I Digg lots of articles on the web, I jog with an iPod, I ride a Harley.  But, then I get reminded just how “un-cool” I am when I can’t find music on the mainstream radio that I like and I tire quickly of the “10/2-minute” (10 minutes of ads for 2 minutes of content) rule of commercialization.

Speaking of music, how about that hip-hop Jibb’s song ‘Chains‘.  I was flipping radio channels in the cage and thought…Jibbs who?! I don’t get it. I understand the lyrics and get the thump, thump, thump, but I could hardly change the channel fast enough!  If it’s hip-hop then I’m into the Kid Rock ‘Cowboy‘ style.  Nobody I know is wearing a chain with their ‘NAME’ spelled out in diamonds. They don’t have 26’s (rims) on a Range Rover.  Heck most of us are driving a Pontiac Sunfire or Toyota Corolla’s… on 12’s… and with squeaky brakes…, so why is everyone bounc’n to Chains?

What’s next?  Harley is not “cool” and I’ll need to mortgage the house for a six-figure V-Twin custom that’s overloaded with billet and explosions of flame colors?!

Yep, I’m getting old-r because I don’t care if people want to debate what is or is not cool.  I personally, couldn’t care less.  I’m going ridin’.  Ya comin’?

Bicentennial poster photo courtesy of H-D Museum.

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Miller Park

Miller Park

The Club H.O.G. 25th celebration started Thursday, August 28th at Miller Park Stadium (home of the Milwaukee Brewers).  Free for H.O.G. members the day-long celebration was prior to the start of the 105th Anniversary event.

We departed about 9:30am to get a jump on the day and drove the twenty minutes which came to an abrupt stop on the Interstate near the stadium exit.  Surprise, there’s a huge traffic jam! 

H.O.G. Director

H.O.G. Director

Not knowing exactly what or where we were headed…the delay due to poor traffic control wasn’t obvious until after we got parked in the stadium lot.  Once parked, we waited in a long line that took approx 35 minutes to get into the refreshments and concert area.  Within an hour it became obvious that it was going to be a “sardine packed” day and the heat/humidity was increasing.  The State Police lined I-94 and started controlling access to the exit having people go around the stadium and come in from an alternative direction.  I’ve never seen so many motorcycles let alone so many Harley’s.  Incredible!

DB Bryant Band

DB Bryant Band

While we were in line we made some new friends and shared stories of the open road.   The camaraderie of standing in line meant we all got to chat with H.O.G. members from around the world.   Many seemed surprised we rode out from the Northwest rather than trailer.

Capitol HD Plant

Capitol HD Plant

As the day progressed all you could hear was the low drone of exhaust and see a constant stream of motorcycles snaking their way into Miller Park. Wow, the place was packed! I’d be remiss not saying there was excitement building. Space presented some challenges, but people were laughing, hugging, joking, and having an overall good time. We let the DB Bryant Band rock us for a while with their cool sounds.

Milwaukee HD

Milwaukee HD

Our group wanted to experience some more of the culture that Milwaukee had to offer, so we left for awhile to enjoy some authentic Harley dealer activity in one of the historic neighborhoods and we dropped in on Hal’s (New Berlin).  We did a drive by of manufacturing plant on Capitol Drive (Wauwatosa) where the powertrain operations are located.

I was told that H.O.G. distributed 250,000 pins and ran out in under four hours.  Wow!

H.O.G. Wall of Ink

H.O.G. Wall of Ink

We headed back to the stadium as it was getting time for Kid Rock.  First off we had to sit through introductions of Jim Ziemer (CEO), H.O.G. executives, MDA spoke person (Luke Christie) and Willie G along with his family.  I’m not sure where they all were prior to the speech, but 3 of the 5 people from Harley-Davidson who spoke were nearly DRUNK…their words slurred and barely understandable.  Willie G went off on some motorcycle story about Harley HYPHEN Davidson…reminding everyone that he had the last name in the motor company’s name….odd, very odd rant.  His son (Michael) did a nice job of interrupting the word slur rant of Willie G. and tried to make some sense of the family business and his passion for making the best motorcycles in the world.

Kid Rock

Kid Rock

Back to Kid Rock and man did he rock the crowd.  People lined the entrances excited to see this dude perform. The songs from his new CD (not on iTunes!) are dam good.  “All Summer Long” is terrific, but the live version of “Half Your Age” is one of my favorites.  The crowd was the biggest sea of people I’ve ever experienced at a concert standing at stage level.  The folks at H.O.G. thought ahead to have the jumbo-tron viewing screens under the beer garden tent and in the food vendor areas. It definitely allowed more people to enjoy the headline act.  Word is that Kid Rock is getting set to roll out his own beer and cigar brand.

All told, I thought it was one great day packed with a whole lot of fun and it was a really cool place to be. Great job H.O.G.!

Interested to know more about our “Ride Home”?  Read the road blogs for: Day 1 HERE, Day 2 HERE, Day 3 HERE, Day 4 HERE and Day 5 HERE.

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I went online to check on CLUB H.O.G. 25 tickets.  They were suppose to go on sale today, however, they will now be free to H.O.G. members and one guest each. There was one part of the celebration that was previously announced was a paid concert featuring Aerosmith and Kid Rock.  Aerosmith canceled their performance at the H.O.G. concert due to medical reasons and does not have any other dates scheduled through the rest of the year. Due to this HOG will not be selling tickets for a separate concert inside Miller Park. Instead, Kid Rock will join the entertainment for CLUB H.O.G. 25 on the exterior grounds of Miller Park – a free event. Free is a very good price! 

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The H.O.G. group put up info (members only area) about the 25TH Anniversary Concert and Ceremonial Spectacular in Milwaukee, WI.   Their event is part of the 105th celebration at Harley Davidson. (Note: Photo courtesy H.O.G./Clay Patrick McBride) 

The H.O.G. event is Thursday, August 28th and includes a night of music and celebration with Aerosmith and Kid Rock. There is FREE admission to CLUB H.O.G 25 (the 25th Annual H.O.G. Rally) at the Miller Park exterior grounds (one guest per member). Just show your H.O.G. card and walk in.  But, you’ll need to purchase tickets for the music portion of the event. 

In keeping it so simple that even I can understand, the theme is the 25th anniversary so, concert tickets are just $25.  There are 40,000 seats available and will go on sale March 12th at 8AM CST.  

Set your timer if you plan to go.

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