Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Here's where we go to kick back after the races with our pals. Pour a tall one, punch a few buttons on the jukebox, and relax...
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WildcatOne
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:35 pm

Well said, Wheelz. Mike is good people. He did an outstanding job on that project, which was straight from the heart.

My pick for Racer of the Week is Dave Fisher, from Hesston, Pennsylvania. I met Dave earlier this year while I was at the DragList Nationals with the DragList Super Crew at Keystone Raceway Park in New Alexandria, just outside Greensburg, near Pittsburgh.

Dave built and races an incredible hot rod. The first thing I told him was "I've been dreaming about this car all my life!"

It's a '64 Volkswagen Beetle Gasser he calls "One Bad Bug". It's powered by a front-engine small-block Chevy with a Holley Dominator and air scoop, custom headers, full tube chassis and '59 Cadillac fins that are perfectly positioned coming out of the side of the body and molded onto the top of the widened rear fenders. The fins are sized correctly so they don't look overly-done in comparison to the dimensions of the car. Incorporated into the ultra-dynamic styling of the fins is a clear plexiglass spoiler which is virtually invisible but fully functional, and a parachute bracket. The car is flawlessly built from stem to stern, and the interior in addition to the full roll cage has custom tin work with tubs, all handcrafted by Dave at his shop. If not for the fins and the semi-ghosted flames added to the car's ivory-white paint job, you could walk past it and not know that it's a full-blooded gasser that runs like a bat out of hell.

The front fenders and panels stay put. The front hood is removable, which gives excellent access to the engine. In that small space, it fits snugly but comfortably along with a radiator, fan and fuel cell. Dave told me that the engine is pretty much stock except for the added power that the dominator supplies to it, and it does not require extensive maintenance either at home or at the track, other than an oil and filter change, spark plugs and basic stuff that anybody else would do. It's reliable, durable and competitive just like it is.

He won his class that day, running through a tough field, and I watched the little Bug run in the high 9s at right around 140 mph.

Back in the 60s, Dave played in a psychedelic rock band and he's an individual who stands out in everything he does. He thinks different than the rest of them do, his Bug is quite an amazing sight to behold, and he was a shoo-in for a Racer of the Week spot. He told me he races regionally and has had considerable success with this hot rod.

Dave and his crew couldn't have been nicer to me, a total stranger. They are a group of laid-back, easy-going guys who love to drag race and have fun with this truly magnificent example of ingenuity in motion.

Dave, we wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future!
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby Wheelzman » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:36 am

John, I remember that Bug well as we parked right next to it upon arriving at the track. When I inquired about it he told us the same as he told you and we thought it to be a very unusual unit. Good for you Mr. Fisher and enjoy that fine example of an unusual race car. :D :D :D

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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:56 pm

Wekk said, Wheelz. That was an unforgettable experience! Best, WC1
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:05 am

This is my personal tribute to the greatest electric guitarist of all time, the incomparable Jimi Hendrix. Rather than open Wikipedia or Rolling Stone or any of the websites that have exhaustively detailed Jimi's life and accomplishments and read it to you, I have decided to personalize my words and speak from the heart, because that is where Jimi Hendrix lives within me.

His story is as unique and solitary as anything that ever happened in the history of rock 'n roll. There was only one Jimi Hendrix. There will never be another. I have studied several life stories of rags-to-riches rock 'n roll stars, but this story is about an introverted, completely disadvantaged boy with virtually nothing who grew up to become a legend beyond anyone's wildest dreams, only to die in the bloom of his youth, leaving behind a window to the most extraordinary music from his soul that again and again scaled unimaginable heights of sonic ecstasy. And he did a lot of it playing with his teeth.

November 27th is Jimi Hendrix's Birthday. He would be 75 years old if his body had survived the life he occupied for the last 3 years of his physical existence on this planet with us. To say that he went out undefeated and untied in his field would be about as accurate as possible.

You could ask anyone who was around when Hendrix was playing and they'd all agree and then some. The astounding impact that he had when he exploded on the scene in 1967 was at that time indescribable, but the group of rock stars who were witnessing what he did were to a man, knocked over backwards by the sheer brilliance of his playing combined with showmanship beyond anything that anyone had ever dreamed of up to that point. I'll go back to this after I lay a little groundwork of Jimi's life, because I feel I must apply an outline here for timeline purposes.

Johnny Allen Hendrix was born in November of 1942 to a young, unstable girl who had no idea of how to take care of a child and a father who was away in the armed forces In World War II. He spent a lot of his childhood with his grandmother, who had been a vaudeville dancer on the Dixie circuit in her youth. His father renamed him James Marshall Hendrix after his brother died and the nickname Jimmy stayed with him. With a broken family life, living in abject poverty and being shuffled from one home setting to another, he was actually the privileged one of his six siblings, whose real parentages were in question and their frequent absences for all intents and purposes made Jimmy an only child. He grew up shy, withdrawn and prone to fantasy and daydreaming, but he did memorize all of his grandmother's records, which were blues recordings from many years past.

He was not an outstanding student in school, but he did show a natural intelligence that his teachers took notice of and they recommended music as a career path. He was 12 when he got his first guitar and he never put it down. By the time he was 15 his dad got him his first electric guitar, which to me is an amazing fact in this man's life. He had only been playing electric for less than 8 years when he hit the big-time, and the first few years of that, he was playing without an amp.

A stint in the Army paratrooper division, a broken ankle and the true fact that Jimmy Hendrix was not intended for anything in life except one thing...playing guitar....ended well with his honorable discharge from the service in 1962.

His playing evolved quickly and he rose up from the ranks of local and regional bands to join Little Richard and then the Isley Brothers before he had an awakening; an epiphany, and he decided to move to New York in 1965. He had become fascinated with the lyrical poetry of Bob Dylan, and he was also hugely impressed by the power and energy of the white rock 'n roll bands, as well as thoroughly schooled in the realm of soul and blues music. The cornerstone of his future had been laid by this time.

He had developed and refined a completely realized alter-ego from his previous gigs and the two Jimmy Hendrixes that existed by this time had completely separated from each other. The onstage showman who frightened his audiences with roaring power, amazed them with musical mastery, plus the visual image of the mix of the wild mixed Afro and Cherokee guy wearing a psychedelic bandleader suit, dancing on his effect pedals. setting his guitar on fire and conjuring unheard-of sounds out of his row of amps, and the offstage, private, sensitive, soft-spoken and articulate poet whose troubled mind was tormented by his life as a star. His struggle to find emotional and psychological freedom in life, combined with his supremely gifted musical talent as a tool to release this inner storm created a once-in-a-lifetime...Experience.

By the time Chas Chandler, retiring bass player from the Animals and looking to start a new career as a producer and manager, dropped in to the Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village to see this kid play on the recommendation of a friend, Jimmy James and the Blue Flames were established locally as a pretty hot act but they were living hand-to-mouth, playing dives for chump change and just hanging by a thread in New York's lower East side. Chas saw potential in this kid. Chandler had a vision in his mind from seeing what Jimmy could do and he made him an offer he couldn't refuse...move to England and put the pieces together of a band like no other. Dare to be great. Take it beyond the next level. Create a new dimension. All these seemingly pie-in-the-sky ideals made sense to Jimmy Hendrix. He went to England in 1966 and did what Chandler said to do. Chandler changed the spelling of Jimmy's name to Jimi. He held auditions for his band and settled on John "Mitch" Mitchell, and guitarist Noel Redding as his band, which he aptly named "The Jimi Hendrix Experience".

The next three years have been thoroughly documented day-by-day and detailed from every perspective possible, but in summary I can say that he didn't have much down time until the end. Drugs, endless touring, managerial and band personnel changes, intense recording, jamming with many of his contemporaries and a fringe lifestyle took their toll, and he often found himself inexplicably homeless and penniless at the height of his fame, just as he'd been when he started out. This kind of predicament was almost expected to happen back then. This was before rock 'n roll started getting up at 5 AM and went jogging, had accounting firms, and teams of lawyers directing their finances and had nutritionists and fitness gurus controlling their diets and exercize regimens. In the late 60s, rock stars like Hendrix were living on the razor's edge between life and death. It would be a long time before that situation would change, and it never really completely did change.

There were notable peaks. The Monterrey Pop Festival gig. Woodstock. The Fillmore East New Year's Eve gig (which Bill Graham said was the best show he ever saw). His 5 albums: Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love, Electric Ladyland (on which he played almost all of the bass parts since Noel had left the band by then), Band of Gypsys (from the Fillmore East gig), The Cry Of Love, and Rainbow Bridge are the real and lasting documents of his career.

All of the main musicians from his bands that played on these records and toured and performed with him, and many of his mentors have died except for Billy Cox, his bass player with the Band of Gypsys. Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding, Chas Chandler, Buddy Miles, Jesse Ed Davis, Michael Jefferies, all gone. Billy Cox has continued to promote Hendrix's legacy, philosophy and style with his continued career. Larry Lee, Jimi's rhythym guitarist at Woodstock, as well as Juma Sultan and Jerry Velez from the same band, Gypsy Sun and Rainbows, are still around. Eddie Kramer, the engineer on Jimi's official Capitol Records recording projects, is still living. Alan Douglas was in possession of some of Jimi's studio noodlings, and he put 2 albums together from those tapes with posthumous backing from studio musicians. Not recommended, but in existence, nonetheless.

I believe his finest moment was at Woodstock in August of 1969. His impomptu version of the Star-Spangled Banner has stood the test of time and was a truly inspired anthem that united a nation for decades to come. In my world, that event in his life stands as a testament to Jimi Hendrix's genius and the depth, passion and conviction that he possessed. It is the song I have picked as Jimi's greatest.

His array of effects were not trickery; they were all analog devices that anybody else could buy at a music store. He had a Dallas Arbiter Fuzz-Face pedal, an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff, which is a power-booster and distortion pedal, a Uni-Vibe reverb and vibrato pedal, a Vox Cry-Baby Wah-Wah pedal, and they were all battery-powered. His amp of choice was a Marshall 100-watt stack with 4 12-inch Celestion speakers. Everything was turned up all the way. He controlled the volume with his guitar's volume knob. The studio effects that were applied to his music were phase-shifting, delay and echo, voice-doubling and octave-splitting. He didn't use any of the studio effects in live performance, though. This was before digital technology took over, and they tuned by ear back then.

Completely self-taught, he was a 100% left-handed guitarist. His setup was a perfect mirror-image of a right-handed player. Even the guitar was flipped over instead of him using a left-handed player's guitar, but it was strung properly. The upside-down Stratocaster was an iconic image that is instantly identified with the Hendrix style. Others have tried to copy him and duplicate what he did, but hey. Sorry, guys. You're good, but you, sir, are no Jimi Hendrix.

I've seen them try. Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Johnson, Robin Trower, Frank Marino, Randy Hansen, Ernie Isley, even to some extent, Randy California, who in my opinion had the right to do it since he was renamed Randy California by Hendrix when he played in Jimmy's band in Greenwich Village before the Experience and Randy's band Spirit came to be. I saw Jose Feliciano play an incredible "Purple Haze" one night. The Red Hot Chili Peppers did an excellent "Crosstown Traffic". There were many more, but for as great as these guys could play, for the sincerity and depth of their determination to keep Hendrix's music alive, and for all the respect I have for them, no matter how great of an example of your playing ability you are making, Jimi Hendrix simply cannot be redone and have it sound like the original. Eric Clapton's version of "Little Wing" and Stevie Ray's "Voodoo Chile" are indeed great, but I'd pick one original Hendrix song over everything that has been done to cover his work combined.

As a musician, I can simply say: Hendrix happens. When he shows up in you. You don't calculate and predetermine what time that will be and what Hendrix you're going to play. HE does it. It's happened to me. Here is the best way I can describe it: You're playing, you reach a certain point, and there he is. A door opens and he walks in and takes over. It's fleeting, but it's the most awesome feeling a guitarist could ever have.

I have never attempted to sound, imitate or "be" like Jimi Hendrix. The few times I was compared to him, I flatly refused to accept that compliment, despite the good intentions of the people who said that to me. It's not true.

Hendrix is a living spirit. He exists in the realm of pure inspiration. He manifests himself within the soul of the artist. That is where you'll find him. It's the only way his spirit could live all these years until his soul and his body are unified in eternity as a natural existential element of passage. That didn't happen when his body died. Since then he wandered the earth restlessly, without peace, and his journey continued until his karma evened out. I have recently felt that with Jimi's 75th year, his soul is finding peace at last. As for me, his brief presence was grace from God. I have no doubt that not all of us have had that happen, but that is my belief. It happened to me.

To Jimi, to all of us, and to the Lord, I am grateful for this time to write to you today. Thank you. May God bless Jimi Hendrix and all he did for us.
Let the good times roll.

Love to All, JB
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby Wheelzman » Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:50 am

That was cool. like what toby keith said of his good friend wayman tisdale playing his bass, that he played an upside down, left handed, backwards guitar. thanks john.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHZCAcSh7ls

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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby draglist » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:29 pm

Great job, John! bp
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:13 pm

What a great way to kick off December! Life is good!

Some worldwide ink for DragList.com, Racin' & Rockin' and our excellent crew by NHRA's Phil Burgess of Dragster Insider at NHRA.com! Thanks, Phil for the outstanding article!

Best, WC1
https://www.nhra.com/news/2017/drag-rac ... fingertips
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby draglist » Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:05 pm

Thanks, John! It was very nice and of course, I'm finding typos in my own stuff that I missed! :)

But Phil included most if not all of my notes, including my shoutout to our incredible DLN super crew! bp
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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Postby WildcatOne » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:20 pm

My pick for Racer of the Week is Bobbi Hansen, from East Moline, Illinois. Bobbi was recommended to me by her daughter, Mercedes Starke. Thanks, Mercedes! Bobbi is a popular and competitive Sportsman Racer in the Quad Cities area, and her '68 Camaro, the "Green Bean" is a mean machine.

Her bio is not all being a racer. She's been going to the track since she was a little girl with her Dad. As an adult she's helped him race (when possible). In 2005 Bobbi started working at Cordova as her parents had moved to New Mexico; she needed to stay involved with racing….more than just being a spectator. So she was hired and worked as the computer operator. She's also done some work for NHRA running the computer for the US Nationals a few years and a few other National events, she has done some traveling and worked some IHRA National events traveling to Canada and the World Finals in Memphis a couple times. In 2014 Bobbi accepted the Race Director position at Cordova and held that position until the end of the season in 2016.

Bobbi's first experience actually driving a race car was the fall of 2007 when she met and started dating Terry Toppert; he taught her to drive his Camaro and she made 4 passes that day. It was quite a rush, after that all she wanted to do was drive something/anything. Bobbi's Dad had always mentioned to her “someday I’ll let you drive my car”, well during the 2008 season Terry managed to talk him into not waiting anymore and the spring of 2009 Bobbi jumped into her Dad’s 1991 Spitzer dragster and got her competition license, running an ET of low 8 seconds.

She finished 8th in the class that first year. She bought the car from her Dad, and for the 2010 season Terry changed the motor which sped the car up to high 7’s for ET @ about 164mph and for the next few years Bobbi raced in the points series races but continued working in the tower during all the other weekends. She raced the dragster through the first part of the 2012 season, but after car issues with no funds to repair them she went back to working weekends in the tower. She sold the car that winter.

Although Terry and Bobbi went their separate ways in 2015, they remained close friends then in 2016 she was still working every weekend at the track and Terry ended up with very aggressive cancer and passed away in July. It was then that Bobbi decided working 7 days a week was no longer in the cards for her, there is more to life than working. She had just been very rudely reminded how short life can be.

Terry left her his precious 1968 Camaro; he bought it in 1980 when he was 16 years old. Knowing Terry’s goal was to get it back on the track, that is what she set out to do, and that would not have been possible without the help of another amazing racer Steve Marquis. Steve put in a lot of hard work the 2016/2017 winter getting the Green Bean ready for the track again and the 1968 Camaro Z28 is now sporting a 468 big block Chevy motor, a power glide tranny with a trans brake, Dana 60 rear end with 4:30 gears running on Methanol at about 600 HP.

Bobbi's best ET with her is a 10.36 @ 127mph the first weekend out. She got her first win ever (in a race car) at Byron this summer, winning the Car Chix Breast Cancer race August 19th. (her other win on a race track was late 2016 in Steve’s 35’ Motorhome – but that’s a whole other story!!)

Bobbi sends Special thanks to….
Her Dad (Dan Gibson) for introducing her to this amazing sport.
Steve Marquis for getting her back in the seat of a race car, getting and keeping the car running and for all of the love, support and encouragement!
And to her children…Mercedes, Cameron & Cortney for all of their constant support.
Bobbi, we wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times!
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