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Posts Tagged ‘Sons of Anarchy’

Multiple Years of Hells Canyon Rally T-shirts

Multiple Years of Hells Canyon Rally T-shirts

A motorcycle t-shirt addiction!

If you are reading this post based on the title then you know I’ve completed the first step, acceptance!

It started out as a day of cleaning the closet and the dresser.  The t-shirts were categorized by:
  • Stack #1 — The newest Harley t-shirts (location based) that I frequently wear during the week
  • Stack #2 — T-shirts with some wear from various HOG events and motorcycle rallies
  • Stack #3 — T-shirts that have significant wear that I save up and pack for those long trips and then I’ll throw them out as I travel to lighten the load
  • Stack #4 — Long sleeve t-shirts only
  • Stack #5 — In the garage for oil clean up.  Typically they were gifted Sons of Anarchy (SOA) tee’s!
Various H.O.G. Rally T-shirts

Various H.O.G. Rally T-shirts

I’m no longer in denial, and have finally accepted that I have a propensity to purchase too many motorcycle t-shirts.  I’ve got several shelves and drawers in a dresser dedicated to everything from tank tops to long sleeve t-shirts.  I’m definitely flirting with excessive and now realize after my day of cleaning that I should just say no!  I could hit the road and wear each shirt and never do laundry for well over a month.

Do you have this problem?

I have t-shirts from so many H-D dealers around the world, then add in those from the various pubs, band/concerts, place-name t-shirts, and an original Big Lewbowski t-shirt that I can’t bring myself to ditch “The Dude.”

I can promise you that nearly any time I go somewhere on the motorcycle, I’m buying a t-shirt there. Why? Because it’s what I like to wear.  But, it also starts out as some regret because when I’m at a motorcycle event and I see a t-shirt that is out of the ordinary I’ll think about purchasing it.  It’s unique.  It’s a color of black that I don’t own!  The graphic design is interesting.  The compulsion is to buy the t-shirt, hope for a good fit after being washed and then add the particular t-shirt to my ever growing collection.

You just don’t understand the extra ordinary strength it takes for me to not buy a t-shirt these days.  In many instances t-shirts have been the only documentation of my rides, a recap of the journey or a memory on one of those bucket list highways.

You may think that it gets better with time, and that as I get older I wouldn’t feel the compulsion to have so many H-D t-shirts, but I am here to tell you that in fact it does not.

I’ve decided I have give up fighting it, and will now spend more time parting with the worn t-shirts by dropping them off at Goodwill or using some for doing a wax and shine on the bike.   Hopefully I’m making a fellow t-shirt “addict” a happier person.

Photos taken by author.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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Sutter-5It happened again…

I’m talking about Kurt Sutter’s rant (again) about another Emmy snub for his critically acclaimed, astounding work of genius that is currently running fifteen or twenty times a week on FX Cable Network—Sons of Anarchy.

There were 13 episodes in Season 6 if you were keeping score.

We all know this is just a TV show, just like we all understand politicians who get in front of the camera and talk about jobs, the economic recovery, healthcare, the illegals crossing the border, etc., are just a TV show too.

For me, “Sons” lost its way a long time ago.  As the show gained notoriety, Sutter’s dark writing and extreme dramatic license became more about shock and awe moments than genuine storyline.  Even with a blog Sutter shout-out, I changed the channel, quit watching, stopped criticizing and moved on.

It’s now in its final season.  As a working blogger hack, it hardly matters what I think.  Of course, Sons of Anarchy is not made for me.  It’s made for an audience that spends its (jobless?) days on Facebook, or tweeting and surfing the web buying things on credit.

Frankly I could care less about the Emmys.  If we’re being intellectually honest, the Emmys are not and have never been a valid qualifier of talent.  Mr. Sutter clearly has talent and his share of loyal fans who believe he’s a genius, but why claim to be suffering from a syndrome named after a mediocre daytime soap actress (Lucci Effect)?

For my valuable entertainment time, Breaking Bad was just a vastly superior show.  Sons always had the potential and talent (in front of and behind the cameras), but seemed willing to settle for less (gratuitous and gruesome violence for ratings) rather than strive for the best.

Photo courtesy of Kurt Sutter and Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Sons of Anarchy co-star Mark Boone Junior, (Bobby)

Sons of Anarchy co-star Mark Boone Junior (Bobby)

It would seem that AOL CEO, Tim Armstrong, isn’t the only person making inexcusable blunders that goes far beyond foolish.

Huh?

Let me provide some context.  

You might recall how the AOL CEO whined last week  that two “distressed babies” had cost his company a million dollars each. That pronouncement was widely criticized, especially because it seemed Armstrong (who was paid over $12M last year) was trying to shift the baby care costs onto the Internet company’s employees. Armstrong cited it as a reason AOL had decided to change, but later reinstated, its 401(k) match.  One of the “distressed babies” mothers spoke out (HERE). 

And speaking about gaffes and foolishness… we now have the Sons of Anarchy co-star Mark Boone Junior, (Bobby) taking credit for and stating that the TV show “basically saved Harley” to Susan Carpenter of The Hollywood Reporter.

"Sons" co-star Mark Boone Junior, (Bobby) Rides?

“Sons” co-star Mark Boone Junior (Bobby) Rides?

By any measure, “Sons” is a disturbingly violent TV show  that includes a theme of rape, torture, brutal assaults, and bath tubs full of human excrement.  It’s about a 1% motorcycle club — which creator Kurt Sutter readily admits has always traded in “blood and guts” – with “actors,” many of which don’t know how to ride a motorcycle – now proclaiming that he (Boone Junior) and his fellow cast members are the reason that Harley-Davidson recovered from the financial collapse and economic meltdown.

Only in the make believe world of Charming, California.

Let’s get real here. Saved Harley-Davidson?  That is ridiculous!  It’s more than just a bit of a stretch and goes far beyond foolish.  It’s almost as out of touch with reality as the “distressed babies” claim.

Hey Bobby, I’ve got news for you.  Get ready, because it’s an emotional gut punch. The faux outlaw motorcycle gang drama that you co-star and “ACT” in didn’t save Harley!

However, I do wonder how Harley-Davidson management reconciles profiting off violence  as they cozy up and work to be affiliated with an uber-violent TV show.  Basically a TV gang, most of whom are governed by violent criminals.  Sure it’s an imaginary world, but seems out of step.  And, Jennifer Hoyer, (Harley-Davidson Media Relations Manager) explains it well:  “Our relationship with SOA has been mostly beneficial from our side, as we have enjoyed getting many of the cast members all to be real riders — showing them the freedom that Harley-Davidson motorcycles bring to their lives.”

Real riders!  We got the point already. 

Note: To be fair, the Harley-Davidson Foundation does a significant amount of community outreach.  For example, working with the Sojourner Family Peace Center to break the cycle of family violence in Milwaukee, Disabled Vets, Big Brothers Big Sisters, MDA and YMCA to name just a few.

In the spirit of the SOA outlaw I copied the photos from FX Networks without permission.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Harley's line Lake front road

Harley’s line Veterans Park

Many of you know riding is all about the camaraderie of the group.  For many it’s the main draw of having a motorcycle.  Fortunately we’ve got a great group of riders with years of experience and haven’t had the kind of chaos that can be associated with large group-riding.

That’s important because navigating around Milwaukee is like being a pro-snowboarder on Black Diamond bumps that go up, and those concrete cracks that go down and then being shot out of a half-pipe to change directions in mid-air.  I’ve never, ever seen Interstate, streets or roads so bad.  They are horrible!

The 110th post card photo

The 110th post card photo op

I ask folks about the roads and they would claim “allocations for street repair have gone up every year.”  My question is where did all those funds go?  Harley-Davidson doesn’t need a test track.  They can just drive across town and based on the conditions of the road check to see what fell off, was worn out or destroyed!

But, I’ve digressed…

The only thing that could have drowned out the V-twin roar in Milwaukee was the music.  Wow, five years ago, 45 bands played the Summerfest grounds across two days.

Summerfest

At Summerfest for Kid Rock Concert

This year for the 110th, Harley-Davidson added an additional day plus 21 more bands.  The motor company also expanded the number of headliners. Instead of building a separate venue in Veterans Park, as it did in 2008 for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Foo Fighters, Harley opted for more headliner options, with Toby Keith on Thursday, Aerosmith on Friday and Kid Rock on Saturday.  Then H-D leveraged the Marcus Amphitheater for even more musical acts to play on five stages.

Pano of Milwaukee Skyline

Pano of Milwaukee Skyline

And they say classic rock is dead?!  Sure, not only are the children of the baby boomers pushing thirty, but there’s a whole new generation of kids who have never experienced free-form radio or sitting in front of the stereo listening to full length albums, and if you’re even in the slightest into music then Milwaukee was nirvana.

Near the Art Museum at Lake Front

Near the Art Museum at Lake Front

I captured a video of ‘Wille’ G., Bill Davidson and Karen Davidson, thanking all 110th Anniversary attendees for coming and they provided an introduction to the exceptional Kid Rock concert which also featured John Fogerty, but there was so much more.

There was the Doobie BrothersZZ TopDierks Bentley and Brantley Gilbert.  There was Chance the Rapper and Springsteen-inspired punk group The Gaslight Anthem.  The “Sons of Anarchy” star Katey Sagal, performed with her band The Forest Rangers.

Group at the H-D Museum

The group at the H-D Museum

And many local area acts ranging from Celtic punk group Whiskey of the Damned to Gabriel Sanchez and the Prince Experience. There was even a Mexican pop rock band Moderatto, which played at the Miller Lite stage.  There were acts including Shooter Jennings and North Mississippi Allstars who were booked for performances at the Harley-Davidson Museum and the bands such as Sick Puppies and Puddle of Mudd who played at the free street parties.

Bridge near H-D Museum

Bridge near H-D Museum

I’ve listed just a few and if that wasn’t enough competing with itself, the local Harley-Davidson dealers had bands playing all 3-days, including Aaron Lewis of Staind at the House of Harley-Davidson and Grand Funk Railroad at Hal’s Harley-Davidson.

Our group went on the factory tours and talked with H-D reps about Project Rushmore, the 2014 model year touring bikes that received significant refinements to shortcomings that us owners have lamented for years. H-D has encapsulating over 2,400 new part numbers, and customers were sourced for input on updates that included liquid-cooling, touchscreen GPS, infotainment, improved venting, aerodynamics and ergonomics.  The new touring motorcycles have a lot to offer and props to H-D for rolling out enhancements beyond the typical new paint schemes!

Pano of the H-D Museum

Pano of the H-D Museum

We also pre-purchased tickets to experience the museum which featured the first known Harley model in existence from 1903.  The museum has a truly fascinating collection of bikes, displays and some curious homage to Harley’s influence on pop culture and racing.

Inside the archive area of the H-D Museum

Inside the archive area of the H-D Museum

The history tour doesn’t gloss over the AMC troubled times as they were as much a part of the motor company’s legacy as were the high points.

Prior to departing the city we stopped at the Miller Brewery and enjoyed the tour, refreshments and talking to one of the workers who was working the weekend doing a network upgrade.  We got the inside scoop on the number of cases each employee has for a monthly allocation as well as where the employee pub is located for afterwork libations.  Sounded like a fun job!

The brewery tour.

The brewery tour

If you were unable to make the ride home to Milwaukee it’s difficult to realize the full scope of the celebration from a couple of blog posts or photos.  Our group was fortunate to have participated in the event and being there provides a unique perspective on how welcome and appreciative the residents of Milwaukee made us feel.  Sure I ranted a bit about the roads, but the highways were absolutely jam packed with Harley’s of all shapes and sizes pointed towards “home” in honor of a company for the most part that has excelled for 110 years.  Not many can say that about their history!  Regardless of where we live or where we ride, there were a few days in 2013 that bonded us all together with the heritage of a HOG.

Since 1988, Harley-Davidson started throwing these hometown birthday celebrations every 5-years.  The 110th has to be one for the record books in terms of attendees,  fewest accidents, number of musical acts and from my vantage the number of smiles on attendee faces.

Thank you H-D for a great 110th celebration!

Thank you H-D for a great 110th celebration!

Thank you Harley-Davidson for a great celebration and here’s to another 100+ years!

The 110th Anniversary Homecoming – Part 1 (HERE) and Part 2 (HERE).

110th Anniversary Accident Stats:  The final numbers are not published yet, but I found these initial statistics encouraging.  Approximately 100,000 riders arrived in the Milwaukee metro area over a 6-day (Aug 29 – Sept 1) celebration timeframe.  There was an average of 4.9 motorcycle accidents per day.  There were 28 motorcyclists transported to the trauma center during that timeframe.  There were no reported deaths.  Wisconsin is a helmet-optional state.

Photos by author.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Maisto “Sons of Anarchy” 1:18 Scale Bikes

Maisto “Sons of Anarchy” 1:18 Scale Bikes

There is now the Sons Of Anarchy collection of die-cast motorcycles.

Back in December, Maisto announced they worked closely with 20th Century Fox and Harley-Davidson to bring fans of the show 1:18 scale die-cast versions of the SOA motorcycles in association with the TV show characters: Jax, Clay, Opie and JT – the SOA Motorcycle Collection.

Not only can you now dress and ride like SOA outlaws, thanks to a flurry of licensing deals that includes everything from actual motorcycles at Bartel’s H-D to hats, games, stationary, jewelry, calendars, stickers, wall graphics and more.   Now while sitting in your work cube thinking about the winter cold you can have your very own die-cast outlaw motorcycle to stare at and think about how you can’t wait to ride in warmer weather!

The Maisto brand name was registered in 1990 by May Cheong, a vertically integrated manufacturer based in Hong Kong. The company has been manufacturing die cast replicas for over 40 years.  They have over 11,000 employees worldwide, and manufacturing facilities covering more than 2 Million square feet.

Sons Of Anarchy merchandise sales have grown 70% year-to-year since 2010.  This is not a U.S. only concept as the TV show is a hit in U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the Netherlands.  And with the TV show committed through a seventh season merchandise sales will only increase.

Previous SOA/H-D license deals blog post HERE.

Photo courtesy of Maisto, 20th Century Fox and Harley-Davidson.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Who does Kurt Sutter (writer/creator of Sons of Anarchy) go to for guidance?  Who understands how that game is really played?

It’s not your best friend. They’ll tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to know.  It’s likely a business colleague. One who might not even truly be a friend. Who’s a bit more than an acquaintance. Who knows the parameters. Who will help you out.  Some will want payback because that’s the game they play. They’ll help you out so you’ll help them out, when they need it.  Others do it out of the goodness of their heart.

Those with wisdom have experience and in the end you’ll need their advice, or you’re lost.

I question where Mr. Sutter looked for guidance, on the Season 5 premier because it beamed us directly into the aftermath of an over-the-top hedonistic tryst that was quickly followed-up with shock-and-awe violence that would horrify any popcorn eating audience into dazed disbelief.

Battered Barbies

Really Mr. Sutter?  REALLY.

You can’t quantify wisdom because it’s not something you put on the wall, it’s something you gain, through insight.

Yeah, I get starting a new TV season off with some controversy, but did anyone else think the shock mongering (dismemberment and immolation) went too far?  Was that necessary or needed?  Has the show truly come down to keeping the buzz fresh with “shock-till-you-drop” antics for horror M/C fans?

What’s next?  A scene where Jax’s kids are playing with abused and “Battered Barbies”… Sure it’s a kids toy, but why not freak out people in a negative way for TV ratings?!

And always on the lookout to appeal to women riders and the opportunity to associate with dirty cops, domestic violence and retaliation killings, Harley-Davidson announced a new contest for fans of the show.  SOA enthusiasts are invited to visit HERE through November 19, 2012 and leave feedback on which actor of Sons of Anarchy they would like to ride with, where they would like to ride and which activities they would do at that destination.

I wonder if the contest will include a visit to Nero Padilla’s (Jimmy Smits) modern day business?

Photo courtesy of FX and Battered Barbie courtesy of Women’s Resource Center

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Limited edition Son’s of Anarchy motorcycles

I called this back in 2009 with a post called Bottling Ideas.  UPDATE: Actually now that I’ve re-scanned the blog it was even earlier with a post in 2008 called Harley SAMCRO Limited Edition Motorcycle HERE.

I’m talking about the FX television series “Son’s of Anarchy (SOA)“, and a new deal with Harley-Davidson for custom motorcycles made by 20th Century Fox Consumer Products as part of a flurry of licensing deals for SOA that includes clothing, leather jackets, hats, t-shirts, games, calendars, stationary and much more.

Thanks to Bartels’ Harley-Davidson the bike maker will produce 100 limited edition Son’s of Anarchy motorcycles that will retail for about $25,000 each at Harley dealers this fall.   Now TV viewers can further tap into the motorcycle club fantasy… who doesn’t want to pretend to be a ‘clubber’ and ride a faux outlaw biker motorcycle, right?

I can’t think of another TV show that cuts across multiple gender identities, social boundaries, is a taboo breaker, a mainstream manufactured product for the rebellious and the dispossessed.  If ever there was a Harley-Davidson brand ambassador it would be Kurt Sutter’s (@sutterink), Son’s of Anarchy!

SOA is about to enter its fifth season, and is now the most-watched show in its history among total viewers 18-49. The most recent season the show averaged 5.5 million viewers per episode. It was also the number three DVD release among TV shows in 2011.  And after growing online merchandise sales for FX’s top-rated show about 70 percent year-to-year since 2010, Fox is shifting to brick and mortar retailers like Spencer Gifts, Transworld/FYE and Hastings.

I wouldn’t be honest if I failed to mention that this feels like a disaster for any person who rides to a rally thinking they’ll have instant club admiration.  However, it could be shrewd marketing of misbehavior and we’ll see a formal offering from the motor company every year!  Any of the “noise” generated in the press and blogosphere helps in terms of show profile, helps H-D reinforce how the middle finger of rebellion built the brand.  And isn’t that all that matters in the end?!

I don’t have a Kurt Sutter man-crush, but he does deserve a big shout-out for remaining true to the setting in the TV show without becoming stereotypical.  We know it’s hard work compared to the Laffing Devils crap the Discovery Channel is trying to pass off as good TV.

Here are some previous SOA blog posts made over the years: OMG New Media Darlings; Men of MayhemBikes, Bullets & Brawls; Mail Room of LifeBottling Ideas; Be Good & You’re Lonely; Sutter Shout Out; Season 3 IdeasWorking The SOA Trail

Photo courtesy of SOA and RatRodStudios.com.

All Right Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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