Probably most of you reading this have never heard of him, but in 1971 singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson released an album called The Point, about a round-headed boy named Oblio and his dog Arrow ( remember the song Me and My Arrow? That's where this comes from) who lived in a land where by law everything has to have a point. It was turned into a animated film that aired on TV, and I remember watching it at the age of 7, entranced and mystified by the story and the music. As I get Gearhead back up and running, I was looking back over the last four years of consciously closing down a successful business, including my very successful retail boutique and trying to get clear about what the point of it all was.
It seemed everything had lost the point four years ago. What was the point of putting out records, finding bands and helping them out, writing about and sharing things I'm passionate about, like cool clothes and hot rods and neat art and tattoos and my gardens and everything that just feeds my soul....what was the point? So I very consciously chose to close my store, even though I absolutely loved it and it was doing very well, and I started selling off Gearhead inventory, and what I couldn't sell and didn't feel like moving, I smashed. I destroyed stuff with a sledge hammer, which was incredibly satisfying in a very weird twisted way. I created it and brought it into the world and I was choosing to liberate it and remove it from the world. After all, there seemed to be no point to it's existence at all!
All passion was gone. I didn't want to ever hear music again, I didn't ever want to go vend at an event again, I just wanted it all to be over. I listened to talk radio, or nothing at all. So I tried to get rid of Gearhead. I thought I could just sell everything off and quietly close it down, let it slip into oblivion and move on.
During these last four years, I pursued a very different path. I became a minister and a spiritual counselor and healer, doing deep soul healing on myself as I helped others work through their own tough times. I also became a master gardener and put my life-long love of plants to work, teaching people how to create water-wise gardens, work with the earth harmoniously, grow their own vegetables and become aware of their impact on the earth and people around them.
Slowly slowly, I started to enjoy life again, and I started to listen to music again. Very gentle music, like folk singer Kate Wolf, Elliott Smith, Mark Erellli, The Nields, piano concertos and music that made me feel good. Every once in a while I would dig out my favorite female rocker, Joan Jett, and crank up one of her records and dance around the house or clean and sing at the top of my lungs. And that felt great.
So I started digging out more of my rock 'n' roll records that I used to love: Groovie Ghoulies, and The Go-Gos, and The Yum Yums and New York Dolls and Patti Smith and The Cars and Cheap Trick and AC/DC, and little by little, I started to feel better because all those records made me feel good too! It was just different, but the point to all the music was IT MADE ME FEEL. Music is a way to get past all the crap and go right to the point of us being human: we are here to feel, to experience.
I finally started listening to the records I put of for Gearhead and realized I loved those records. That the time and the place each one of those records came into my life reflected where I was at emotionally, mentally and spiritually and they all had a point, a reason to exist. Fourteen years of living this life, and it was all reflected in the records and products I put out through Gearhead.
Now, fours years down the line and in a much more balanced place, I'm taking Gearhead out of the garage and onto the road again. Everyone has their own opinions about this company, who I should sign and what records I should put out, what shirt I should make, where I should vend and how I should move forward. And that's O.K. To each their own. But as find my passion again for this company and the people I work with, I understand that that is exactly the point of these last fourteen years of running this company. Giving people the courage, the inspiration, the passion and the guts to do their own thing whether they're inspired by what I do, or if they don't like what I'm doing. DIY baby!
I'm very excited about this new year, about getting the Gearhead motor cranked back up again, about putting out records for bands I love, about going out to car shows again and selling my stuff, about talking to people again, about working with artists to come up with cool new clothing. It always used to be fun, and I'm happy that it is fun again. That there's still a reason for Gearhead to be around in 2014, 'cause there's still people that dig what I do and want to be part of it and support it. Everything and every experience has a point, even if it's not always readily apparent. And that my friends, is exactly the point.
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Gearhead Owner Michelle Haunold
I've been writing about music, pop culture, independent lifestyles and attitudes for over twenty-five years.