Big Daddy Roth / Von Dutch Interview

Posted: March 1, 2014 in British Bikes, classic bikes, Norton Commando, Triumph Bonneville, vintage bikes, Vintage British Bikes, Vintage Cars

OK, here’s another off the wall post but I think a lot of you out there might like this

I’ve been a Roth fan since I was a kid copying his designs onto T Shirts using Magic Markers and VonDutch was shadowy figure all on his own.

Yes it was over the top Americana that wasn’t to everyone’s taste but Hot Rods, pinstriping and all that weird looking car monster art zeroed in on my frontal lobe and I was a goner.

It represented rebellion, so if you didn’t like it then you weren’t in on the joke.  We were kids who were fascinated with speed, flashy paint jobs and chrome. When it looked right you knew it and to hell with all the old farts out there in their boring Ramblers and frumpy Ford station wagons.

We knew what was hip.

I met Ed Roth at a poorly attended car show in Boston. He had set up a big booth and some of his guys were standing around airbrushing some random shirts. I spotted him drinking a cup of coffee and couldn’t believe it was him.

I ran the usual scenario of saying to myself:  “don’t bother the guy he’s probably just waiting to get out of this crappy show and head home. ”  So against my better judgement I said: “what the hell, he can only tell me to get lost” and I can cross  another fallen hero off my list.

I was shocked when I introduced myself and he lit up like he knew me forever. We chatted about lots of random stuff and to be honest I was bowled over at his good natured charm. He told me his latest fun hobby was making valve cover racers  with his grandson and pulled some pictures out of his wallet like any proud garandpa would. Imagine showing up at the races with your grandad Ed Roth!

Sort of like showing up at the fifth grade science fair with Albert Einstein

Anyway after I figure I bored the guy enough, we shook hands I walked away thinking I’ll never forget this day. And I didn’t.

Anyway to get back to the video,  my old buddy ED (kidding) interviews VonDutch who was arguably one the best sign painters and stripers out there during the heydays of the Hot Rod. He related about how his dad was  the best gold leaf expert out there and by all accounts he was right.  Dad sounded  like a real smart guy who wanted his son to follow in his footsteps but always made sure he learned for himself but gave him guidance when he needed it. You can tell he loved and admired his father and learned a lot about life from him.

Von Dutch would be rolling in his grave if he saw all the phoney crap out there with his name plastered on it.

You’ll see in the video what a lack of a college education can do for you. It teaches you how to learn, not repeat someone else’s mistakes and misconceptions.

In this the last segment of the complete interview he opines on the finer points of cranky old motorcycles, including  Scott, BMW, Velocette and others.

This is the last part of the interview and you can find the rest on you tube which gives you some classic pointers from Von Dutch on painting and striping.

It’s pretty raw, was made in the 80’s and gives you a look into the minds of two legends.



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