May 9, 2002
It's been too long since I updated all of you on
what's been going on lately. It seems I get busy and I just can't seem to catch
up. I'm sure you all can understand what I am talking about. I keep telling,
my wife, Phyllis that I need to get a good long job on location so I can get
some rest. That seems to be the only time I have time to relax. When I'm at
home doing all of the things that have to been done around here, I never seem to
be able to get it all done. So much for my pity party. Here's a little of what
I've been doing lately.
Work picked up at the end of the year. In
December, I guest starred on "JAG". In January, I did a guest star role on
Craig T. Nelson's show, "The District". I've know Craig for a long time so that
was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I did not have any scenes with Craig but it
was still a blast. What's really cool is that my episode has already re-run
once. I like that a lot. And, in February I did a nice guest star role on
NBC's "Providence". I played a guy who hooks up with Mike Farrell after he
finds an old 1946 Indian motorcycle in a garage and we do some riding together.
I even rode my own Indian Scout with the coolest flames you have ever seen.
That bike looked great on TV. When I went into meet the producer and director,
I noticed that my character's first line of dialogue went something like this.
"Wow, that thing is a beauty. My dad had one just like it, only I think his was
a '62". When I saw this, I told Monica Wyatt, the director and a producer
that I did not want to step on anyone's toes but she might like to know that
Indian Motorcycle went out of business in 1953, so there was no '62 year model.
A lot of folks, including all of the IRG (Indian Riders Group) would know and
wonder why I did not set the record straight. Well, I did just that. Her
comment to me was, "Well, I guess we need to do our homework". She then
said, "It looks like we need you on this show". I asked if she already had the
early Indian for Mike Farrell to ride. She said, "No". I told her I could take
care of that. They hired me for the show and I went into action. I called
Randy Morton of Rock & Roll Custom Paintworks because I knew Randy had a
pristine 1946 Indian Chief. I put him in touch with the show and he not only
supplied the Indian but also a dozen or so other motorcycles including some
great choppers. I then called Jim Bentley, who does product placement for
Indian Motorcycle and had him bring some other Indians down to the show
including an Indian Police motorcycle for one scene with a female motor cop. It
was one of the West Wing police bikes. It all worked out great. I even put the
folks at Full Throttle Magazine in touch with the publicist for the show and
they just did a nice story on Mike Farrell. There's even a couple of pictures
of me in there.
It's been too long since I updated all of you on what's been going on lately. It seems I get busy and I just can't seem to catch up. I'm sure you all can understand what I am talking about. I keep telling, my wife, Phyllis that I need to get a good long job on location so I can get some rest. That seems to be the only time I have time to relax. When I'm at home doing all of the things that have to been done around here, I never seem to be able to get it all done. So much for my pity party. Here's a little of what I've been doing lately.
Work picked up at the end of the year. In December, I guest starred on "JAG". In January, I did a guest star role on Craig T. Nelson's show, "The District". I've know Craig for a long time so that was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I did not have any scenes with Craig but it was still a blast. What's really cool is that my episode has already re-run once. I like that a lot. And, in February I did a nice guest star role on NBC's "Providence". I played a guy who hooks up with Mike Farrell after he finds an old 1946 Indian motorcycle in a garage and we do some riding together. I even rode my own Indian Scout with the coolest flames you have ever seen. That bike looked great on TV. When I went into meet the producer and director, I noticed that my character's first line of dialogue went something like this. "Wow, that thing is a beauty. My dad had one just like it, only I think his was a '62". When I saw this, I told Monica Wyatt, the director and a producer that I did not want to step on anyone's toes but she might like to know that Indian Motorcycle went out of business in 1953, so there was no '62 year model. A lot of folks, including all of the IRG (Indian Riders Group) would know and wonder why I did not set the record straight. Well, I did just that. Her comment to me was, "Well, I guess we need to do our homework". She then said, "It looks like we need you on this show". I asked if she already had the early Indian for Mike Farrell to ride. She said, "No". I told her I could take care of that. They hired me for the show and I went into action. I called Randy Morton of Rock & Roll Custom Paintworks because I knew Randy had a pristine 1946 Indian Chief. I put him in touch with the show and he not only supplied the Indian but also a dozen or so other motorcycles including some great choppers. I then called Jim Bentley, who does product placement for Indian Motorcycle and had him bring some other Indians down to the show including an Indian Police motorcycle for one scene with a female motor cop. It was one of the West Wing police bikes. It all worked out great. I even put the folks at Full Throttle Magazine in touch with the publicist for the show and they just did a nice story on Mike Farrell. There's even a couple of pictures of me in there.
|By the way, there is a great interview with me in the April issue of BIKENIGHTS.COM magazine. My name is on the cover and a promo of my event in Tunica, Mississippi is at the bottom of the cover. Check it out!|
In February I hosted my annual Mickey Jones Ride
for ARC - Brevard. It is a ride we do the the Association of Retarded Citizens
in Brevard County, Florida. My good friend Lisa Mazzarell does all of the hard
work along with Linda and Ed Atcher. We all had a great time. We started at
Captain Garo's Red Fish Inn rode up to Daytona and back again with a lot of
stops along the way. I think my favorite was Will's Honky Tonk Inn. It was
great. Will's is a real old fashioned HONKY TONK. Great food, great music and
great people. After meeting up at Indian Motorcycle of Daytona we headed back
to Captain Garo's Red Fish Inn. That's when we stopped at the famous Last
Resort. What a place. I loved the Japanese motorcycle HANGING TREE. The
branches are cover with Jap motorcycles hanging from everywhere. As a note of
interest, the Last Resort is where the world's first convicted female serial killer,
Aileen Wornous was arrested. They love to tell the whole story of that
incident. It was pretty cool. Another thing that was very cool was that my old
friend Bubba Baker was there for the ride. Bubba, you know, wants to grow up to
be just like me. That will take a lot of work bro. It was hard on Bubba this
year but he made it anyway, troubles and all. And that was not the least of his
troubles. He also had bike problems. Seems like he spent more time working on
his bike than riding the bike. But through it all, Bubba prevailed and he event
donated some of his tattoo artwork to the highest bidder in an auction. Thanks
Bubba for all you do and I look forward to seeing you and your bride next
year. Hey brother, if you want to be like me please get a bike that runs next
year. Another great guy is Fuzzy "Red" Duck. Fuzz is a minister and he
conducted a memorial service for one of our fallen. Thanks Fuzz!
Lisa and Linda arranged for me to go to Jungle Adventures. Very cool. Saw some real alligators. Not the rubber ones for the tourists. We then went for a ride with Captain Dennis at Twister Air Boat Rides. That was a blast! The wind in you face and once again, ALLIGATORS.
Then Linda and her friend, Marlene, along with Jimmy Polk arranged for a VIP tour of the Kennedy Space Center. I was staying over the next day for the launh of Shuttle Columbia - STS-109. I couldn't wait. I got some video standing 100 yards from the shuttle the day befor launch. Toward the end of the tour we were informed that the launch had been SCRUBBED! I was bummed. It was too cold. The launch went the next day but as I had to get back to L.A., I missed the launch. Had to watch it on TV the next day. Oh well, we tried.
I can't thank all of the folks in Florida enough for their support of our event for ARC - Brevard. It will continue to grow and believe me, we are all there for the right reasons.
Now, I have to tell you this. Earlier this year I got the thrill of a lifetime. Phyllis and I went up to Ventura, California to see the old possum in concert, George Jones. I remember Waylon Jennings once saying, "George Jones is the way we'd all sound, if we could". When we walked in the door, a couple of George's road crew recognized me and we started talking. I told them how much I would love to meet George. In 5 minutes, they had arranged everything. One of the crew took us back stage and there I stood, face to face with the legend, No Show Jones. Back a few years ago George got the nickname No Show Jones because you never knew if George would show up or not. If he got drunk and fell down, he would not show up. Today, everything has changed for George. After his car wreck a couple of years back, he got the message. He is clean and sober and singing better than ever. Thanks George for a wonderful evening. I will never forget it.
In early April, I went to the NAB show in Las Vegas. NAB is the National Association of Broadcasters. I went to do an appearance for a company out of Colorado called MacroSystems. They handle the best video editing system I have ever seen. They started with their system called Casablanca. They now produce the Avio and the KRON. They are non-linear video editing systems. That means they are all digital and use a computer hard drive for storage of scenes and editing them all together. All of the effects and transitions are built right into the system. It produces a digital - broadcast quality finished master. The great thing about the KRON is it's built-in DVD recorder. I can now save all of my masters on a DVD. That means digital and it will never degrade. Now when I edit for other actors, I save their master on a re-writeable DVD. When they need to update their video resume, I simply reload the DVD, re-edit and then re-write on the same DVD with their new master. It is really cool. I love my KRON. I can't thank David Slone, Rick Baron and all of the folks at MacroSystems for turning me on to the KRON. Thanks Guys!
On April 19th, Phyllis and I went over to Van Nuys airport and boarded a private corporate jet for a ride to Phoenix and the Alice Cooper Celebrity Golf Tournament to benefit the Solid Rock Foundation, a Christian organization helping kids on the fence. I will always be there for them and Alice. It was a 737. How cool is that? We parked in the hanger and walked 50 feet to the plane. We felt pretty special. Some of the other celebrity golfers on the plane were Richard Roundtree, Lyle Waggoner and his wife Sharon, James Hampton, and Ed Marinaro just to name a few. We arrived in Phoenix and boarded a bus for The Camelback Inn. That evening we were treated to a great dinner and auction and the night ended with a jam of Alice Cooper and FRIENDS. Sunday morning we got to the serious business of GOLF! My left wrist started giving me some serious pain so the guys in the group rotated in hitting my drive for me. I only did the short game. My team-mates understood and we still had a blast. That night we all went to Alice Cooper's Town. That is Alice's restaurant right next to the Arizona Diamondbacks stadium. We had a great meal and some of the comics that came to the tournament got up and did a show. Great entertainment. Monday we completed the second round of golf, did the awards, went back to the hotel, packed and headed back to the airport for the trip home. This time we boarded a private 727. Again, very cool! When we landed at Van Nuys, our car was parked right underneath the wing of the plane. WAY COOL! I think we should be able to do that at LAX. Ha, that will never happen.
|On Tuesday morning, April 23rd, I loaded my Indian Scout and headed for the 20th Annual Laughlin River Run. I checked in that night at Harrah's in Laughlin. Wednesday was a pretty uneventful day as I did a number of radio and TV interviews. I was the official celebrity host of the event for the second year in a row. Joe O'day brings me down to help with the media and to host the Ladies of Laughlin, "Ride for the Cure" to fight breast cancer. I love doing that event. Randy Twells started the event last year with a brunch, a fashion show and then a parade down Casino Center Drive. It is too cool.|
Thursday was more media. Paul Revere and The
Raiders made a ride from Las Vegas to Laughlin on Thursday. He and I were old
friends so I was there to greet him with a press conference at Harrah's upon his
arrival. He is in the middle of doing his "Ride To The Wall". He came to
Laughlin to do a concert at Harrah's with all of the proceeds going to the Viet
Nam veterans. I fully support what he is doing for our vets. Included in the
price of admission was his new CD, "Ride To The Wall" so it was a real sweet
Photo credit Pete Alva
All of my work at Laughlin starts on Friday.
Friday morning we do the Ladies of Laughlin event with the brunch, fashion show
and ride. This year the ride took us up to Davis Dam for a photo session. A
giant poster will be made from the ride to Davis Dam and should be available
soon. After the ride I had to scoot over to the Edgewater Hotel and Casino. I
was there to be one of the judges in their annual tattoo contest. That is
always fun. Everybody has a great time at the tattoo contest. The Edgewater
always rolls out the red carpet for me. Susan Gauge and Karen Williams can't
seem to do enough for the folks coming to the River Run. My good friend, Lyle
Sharman, the director of security, always has great parking for me as well.
You don't know what a premium that is to know that you have a parking place
waiting for you. I don't know how I will ever repay that luxury to Lyle except
to say THANKS!
Photo credit Pete Alva
After the tattoo contest was over for the day, I rode back to Harrah's. I had to go on stage and introduce Paul Revere and The Raiders at 8 o'clock. Then I had to get back down the strip to the Camel Roadhouse and do a guest segment on the concert with Branscombe Richmond. I was on stage there until around 11 PM. We all visited for a while and then I slowly made my way back to Harrah's. I got back to Harrah's around midnight. I visited with a couple of guys that were very interested in my Indian motorcycle. So, I walked them out the front door to show them my bike. I then walked them around the corner of the building to show them my Baxley trailer, which I love and think might just be the best motorcycle trailer around.
At around 2 AM I noticed roughly 30 Hells Angels riding up to Harrah's. As they were entering the hotel, I went to the gift shop for a candy bar. I was very tired after a long day of work in Laughlin so I went up to my room to go to bed, as I had another long day ahead of me tomorrow. I was to do an Indian only ride at 10 AM with Branscombe and the big guns from Indian. The tattoo contest at 2 PM and another concert with Branscombe at 8 PM. I needed some rest.
I had the TV on, in my room, my window open because I was on the river side of the hotel and I can't tell you exactly what time but I heard pop - pop --- pop - pop. I thought it was someone down by the river with some fireworks. I didn't think anything more about it. I went to sleep. Around 3 AM, I was awakened by an announcement on the hotel Public Address System saying, "There has been an incident on the casino floor, the police are investigating, do not leave your room, do not open your door, the hotel is under lock down. We will advise you as we have new information". I went back to sleep. We got the same announcement around 4:30 AM. I went back to sleep. It happened again around 7:30 AM. By this time, I was awake. I tuned into CNN and saw an early report regarding a shooting at Harrah's Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nevada. I was shocked. I went to the window and saw several helicopters circling the hotel. After another announcement around 9 AM, I knew that I was not going to make the Indian only ride. I called Branscombe from my cell phone and explained that we were under a lock down and I could not leave my room. He understood and explained to everyone why I was not at the ride. Now I was getting worried about my appearance at the tattoo contest. After all, that was one of the reasons that I was getting paid to be in Laughlin. I finally got through to Susan and she was well aware of the situation and not to worry about a stupid tattoo contest.
Finally around 2 in the afternoon, the announcement came that we could leave our room. We had nothing to eat. Everyone was starving. The hotel was completely shut down. No restaurants, no gift shop, no gambling. The casino looked like a ghost town. The following announcement was made: "If you decide to leave the premises, you will not be able to return until later that evening. You cannot take your motorcycle, you cannot take any vehicle off the grounds. My motorcycle was parked right at the front door. I wanted to check on my motorcycle. I went to the front door and saw my motorcycle wrapped, along with every other motorcycle, with yellow police tape. We were not going anywhere.
I struck up a conversation with a Las Vegas Metro cop. He said that, when they got the call in Las Vegas, they, about 20 police cars, flew to Laughlin at 120 miles per hour with red lights and sirens blaring. As a reserve with the Los Angeles Police Department, he began to tell me what he knew about the incident. Here is what he had to say.
At approximately 12:30 AM, the California Highway Patrol spotted a motorcycle parked on the side of the road on I-40 at Ludlow. The motorcycle tank was painted with the Hells Angels death head on it. They walked 20 or 30 yards into the desert and found the body of Christian Tate. He had been shot in the back numerous times. Several witnesses stated that around 2 AM they saw roughly 30 Hells Angels leave the Flamingo Hotel, in mass. They went to Harrah's where the Mongols were staying.
Now I know the pops I heard were not fireworks but gunshots. The Metro cop told me that the scene looked like a bloodbath. It started in a bar called Rosie's, back by the buffet and escalated into the casino. He had also seen some of the casino videotape from their security cameras and it told the whole story. There was a lot of stabbing. There was even a machete involved. A lot of slashing and gashing. Numerous guns and he said there were 50 to 60 rounds fired. When it was over they found 80 weapons on the floor.
I remember seeing 10 or 12 Hells Angels every morning at the buffet for breakfast. There were Mongols there as well. There seemed to be a lot of tension. You could have cut the air with a knife but I never would have imagined it would come to this.
Around 5 PM we were allowed to leave the hotel. I watched as several flat bed car carriers were loaded with motorcycles. Several of the bikes had the Hells Angels death head painted on the tanks. I decided that since I had missed the entire day's events, I would pack up and get out of Dodge. I finally got on the road around 8:30 PM and headed for home.
It was very sad, that after 20 years of a wonderful event with folks from all walks of life, it would come to this. The city of Laughlin needs the event. It is the bulk of their economy for the year. I hope we don't let the actions of a few ruin it for the rest of us. I don't think that will happen.
On Tuesday, April 30th, I flew to Memphis, Tennessee. A big white, stretch limo picked me up and drove me to Sam's Town in Tunica, Mississippi. I was there to host the, first ever, Sam's Town River Run 2002 Motorcycle Festival. This was going to be fun. Although there was a lot of radio interviews, it was still fun. Wednesday was full of media for the event. I was very happy to do all of the promotion I could, you see, I wanted this thing to be the best thing to ever come to that part of the country.
Thursday we did a charity golf tournament for the Boys and Girls Club. You know how much I love my golf and my charities. Here's the only bad thing. IT RAINED ALL DAY! We all played in the rain.
The real motorcycle event was Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Everyone was very excited. We had some of the top names in the motorcycle industry there. One by one the giant trucks rolled in and began to set up for the weekend. It was perfect. They were all headed for the big event in Myrtle Beach so this was the perfect stop on their way across the country. We had the legendary Arlen Ness, Indian Motorcycle, Samson Exhausts, American Iron Horse Motorcycle, Thunder Mountain Custom Motorcycle and more. The Dahm Triplets from Playboy were there and Friday night would culminate with a concert by Foghat. IT POURED RAIN ALL DAY FRIDAY!!! The outdoor festivities were a wash, HA HA but the Foghat concert was great.
The rain moved out Friday night and Saturday was great. Steel Dreams TV was there shooting the entire event. I ended up hosting the episode for Steel Dreams and boy did we hit it off. It looks like I may be hosting all of their motorcycle shows from now on. Their normal host is Ralph Sheheen. He will still be doing all of the motorsports and racing shows but they seem to think I am the right guy for the biker events. That will give Ralph a little more time off.
It was great having Arlen Ness bring one of his prized motorcycles into the burn out pit and light it up. Then Harry Bostard from Samson Exhausts brought over a brand new V-Rod with the new extra LOUD Samson Exhaust installed and did the longest, smokiest burn out I have ever seen. That was something to see. Later in the day, one of the guys with a Boss Hogg motorcycle came over to the burn out pit, lit it up and blew out the rear tire. It just exploded. In the afternoon, we did a fashion show. I guess I did not know just what to expect. I was jazzed. Naturally, the kids and the dogs stole the show but it was a big hit with everyone there. It was obvious, a lot of folks put out a lot of work on this show. It will be part of the event next year. It was a great day. We ended the evening with a police escorted ride that included several hundred motorcycles. The police shut down the highway so we rode 3 abreast. You should have seen the sight that I saw in my rear view mirror. Unbelievable. That night, I went on stage and introduced my old friends, Doug Clifford, Stu Cook and Creedence Clearwater Revisited. They were absolutely GREAT. The can still ROCK & ROLL!
Sunday the vendors did a great business and I even got on stage with Big Mike Griffin from Nashville and jammed a little blues. He was great and I can't thank those guys enough. They kept the crowd jumping. At 4 PM we all gathered inside the casino where I drew the name of the winner of a $30,000 Thunder Mountain Custom Motorcycle. The casino was jammed and the winner was almost in a daze. He could not believe he won that bike. We took some photos with the winner and I then cruised up to my room. I was beat and, by this time, I had lost my voice. I CRASHED!
I and all of the folks at Sam's Town knew it would be a success and it was. It will only get bigger and better each year. I am committed and Sam's Town is committed. We will see you in Tunica, Mississippi again next year.
A special thanks to all my friends at Sam's Town, including the general manager, Monty Collins, in marketing, Rick White, Kathy Logan, Ronda Cloud and my golf partner, Jim Sigmond. And thanks to all the folks at Steel Dreams TV. You were all great and I am truly looking forward to working with you again in the future.