Archive for Dennis Hopper

Riding the Easy Rider Route and Reflecting on the film that changed America and Why

Posted in 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 66, american, americana, Art, Bikers, culture, Freedom, Great Roads, Harley Davidson, highway, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 5, 2012 by The MeanStreet Riders

As our ride across the west approaches 2800 miles and we ride past the second aniversary of Dennis Hopper’s death we wandered into north Arizona to pick up Route 66 and visit the areas along this highway where Dennis and Peter Fonda and crew filmed Easy Rider. Route 66 west out of Flagstaff is spotty in many areas and hard to find. We wandered into Bellemont Arizona Harley Davidson and Mary our publicist quickly met fans that were from California and Denmark and gave out signed cds of our album “High on the Hog” and posed for a few photos. We then went next door to the Route 66 Roadhouse bar and grill which has the original “No Vacancy” sign hanging above the pool tables that appears in the film’s opening credits. The place also had great food and allows you to cook you own steak. The waitress recognized the Riders and said she enjoyed our music and asked for a signed photo of the band that she was going to hang on their ” Wall of Fame” next to some of the coolest people in the history of the motorcycle world. We appreciated that great service and food and exposure on their wall of fame.
While eating lunch we thought about the film “Easy Rider” there are many reasons that the film was a classic. Some wern’t obvious, the film basically featured 2 anti-hero’s riding across the United States in a world that wasn’t very traveled those days so it gave audiences a chance to see different parts of the US and cultures. Wyatt and Billy were basically smuggling cocaine across the country in Wyatt’s battery which is why I use the term anti-hero but the film is much more than just a movie about that. The film features music from a time when artists were real and their songs were written about a 1960s society that was changing daily. The vietnam war, drugs and art and self expression was all exploding across the country. These music artists wern’t manufactured by music labels or American Idol exposure on televison. They didnt pay professional song writers to write their music buy their clothes and work with their image, they did it themselves and wrote music based on their experiences in life. Groups The Band, Steppenwolf and The Byrds and Jimi Hendrix were some of the best music ever lived and created. The way Lazlo Kovacs photographed the bikes in Easy Rider and the terrain was nothing less than genius. His photography of the film put you on that highway with them. The movie also looked at how people were living in the country that year, from hippies in communes to hitch hikers to Jack Nicholson’s character of George who had the rich father in town so he was given a break by the local law enforcement. Many things in life are different these days although many are the same. Dennis Hopper who directed the film wanted as many local real people in the film that he could get. In the scene in Louisiana where Wyatt, George and Billy wander into the diner and are the object of local distain are actual locals that were told the actors coming in to film the scene had just raped a girl. In those days not many people knew who Peter or Jack were so the anger you see on film is real.
We then wandered down Route66 to find the abadoned Pine Bluff in where Billy and Wyatt were flashed the No Vacancy sign in the movie. The building was still very much intact with an Easy Rider poster in the front window. You could still feel the spirit of Dennis and Peter much as they filmed 40 years ago. The cabines were all right next door too. Nothing has changed in 40 years.
We were headed out of Flagstaff along Route 89 when we decided because it was too getting dark to come back into FlagStaff and sleep somewhere in Flagstaff. We cruised along Route 66 and accidentally came across the Americana Inn the place where Peter and Dennis and the crew stayed while filming in the FlagStaff area. The attendant at the front office got us some rooms and knew the story from years ago about the crew. We asked if we could stay in the room where Peter took a bath with his leather pants on in order to make them shrink tighter for the fiim and he quickly told us which room it was. You couldn’t help but feel the history of this place where the entire Easy Rider crew stayed, drank and collaborated about a piece of history.Sure there are newer hotels up by the interstate with fresher paint but they dont have the story and the history that this place had, because the history is what makes it cool….very cool.
The next morning we hit the road out of Flagstaff across what Dennis Hopper called John Ford country. This is where the sunset scenes from Easy Rider were filmed. It was incredible feeling coming across that painted dessert. Were headed to Kupatki National forrest and the painted dessert where they filmed the scenes of them around the campfire walking on the monument so stay tuned for more Easy Riding.

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The MeanStreet Riders Riding Across the West

Posted in 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 66, american, americana, Art, Bikers, classic, cool, culture, Freedom, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2012 by The MeanStreet Riders

The MeanStreet Riders are currently on a 2300 mile ride across many of the western states exploring Route 66, Sedona, The Grand Canyon Utah , Easy Rider filming locations and Americana.
The Riders get inspiration for their music by getting off the beaten path and exploring highways that most of America doesn’t drive anymore because so many are in a rush these days.Many of these highways have been bypassed by the quickest way to get from point A to point B. Their offramps are littered by hotels from corporations that offer cookie cutter accomodations with little or no history about the building or people that were here before them and thus no stories from interesting people that have been passed down through generations. By exploring the places and people that still live and work along these roads the Riders are able to meet and be inspired by some of the world’s most interesting places and people and travel back to a time when being on the road was a great adventure waiting to be had by anyone ready for it.
Once the Riders made it to LasVegas and explored the north part of RedRocks just north ofLasVegas they came across an intersting Ghost Town called Boiling Springs. Mary and the Riders met Stephan the bartender who was from SanFrancisco and had many great stories to tell about how the place was founded in the 1940s and how the original owner was still there.The Riders then rode south to Kingman Az and caught one of the longest stretches of Route 66 that still exhists to the world today to the famous Hackberry Store. They had a chance to say hello to Thurmon the owner and met fans all the way from Canada that were riding Route 66 themselves. They then rode south to Prescott Arizona where the movie Billy Jack was filmed and then took highway 89a a great twisty road with plenty of challenging riding to an awesome town of Jerome Az that sits on one of the largest copper mines in Az. Getting into Jerome late Saturday night allowed them to meet a few local bikers and visit but there wasnt a room to be had and most of the hotel rooms in Jerome are said to be haunted so we then rode down to Cottonwood Az.We ended up staying at a great place for bikers with a view of the entire area called The View. The View has plenty of Hollywood history as it was once owned by Lucille Balls brother and is still owned by her family and is very Biker friendly.It sit atop one of the highest points of Cottonwood and has an incredible view of the surrounding hills and area.
Next morning we then packed our bags and rode into Sedona Az and turned right on Airport Road which gives you some of the most incredible view of the areas rock foundations. Airport Road is worth the few minutes off of main street.
We then took 89a to Flagstaff and connected to Interstate 40 to Winslow Az where Jackson Browne wrote the song “Take it Easy” while standing on a corner. While in Winslow at Standing on a Corner we ran into more fans from California that said they enjoy our music on a Rock station out there. Its really cool to run into fans anywhere but especially in Winslow AZ. MeanStreet Mary and members of the band signed a few autographs and we had a chance to talk with everyone and make sure they all had personalized signed cds and some extra bandanas we allways carry. We also ran into the brother in law of the Sheriff that arrested Jackson Browne in Winslow on that corner 30 years ago. He said the real story is Jackson was arrested for public drunk on that corner and when released hung out around town for a few more weeks then wrote “Take it easy” The rest is history.
Were now headed back info FlagStaff to explore more of Route 66 and the route that the fim crew and Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper took while filming the movie Easy Rider took over 40 years ago. 2300 miles so far we will keep you updated as our adventure continues into May and early June.

Rock n Roll on the Open Road!
MSR

The Real Story Behind our song “Rollin’ On”

Posted in Great Roads, Music, Our Riding Culture, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 14, 2010 by The MeanStreet Riders

In memory of Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda’s ride long ago while filming“Easy Rider” the film that introduced the world to the riding culture we introduce the ballad “Rolling On”.
The song which is also available from our new ITunes Store owes it’s haunting string sound to legendary performer Sam Bush and captures the… souls of the American Indians that existed long ago along the Route 66 route and in the Taos, NM area where Dennis once lived. Many of the lost Americana towns they went through while filming the movie are now gone but not forgotten. The song also captures the realization of how complicated life has become in this confusing world and how riding can clear the mind and cleanse the soul even today.

Route 66

Dennis, Peter and Jack having fun in Easy Rider

Remembering Dennis

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 9, 2010 by The MeanStreet Riders

Peter Fonda filming Dennis on Easy Rider

The MeanStreet Riders wanted to pay tribute to riding and movie icon Dennis Hopper who past away this past Sat, May 29th.Dennis not only acted in Easy Rider the celluloid anthem to freedom and anti-establishment rebellion but also co wrote directed it. Dennis’s “not so easy ride” to the top was a long time in the making after he was unable to build on his success for almost 10 years after Easy Rider until a featured role in “Apocalypse Now” in 79.The diversity of his roles is vast, from his early start starring with a young James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause to a drug-addled photojournalist in Apocalypse Now to the demented Frank Booth in” Blue Velvet”. It’s hard to find someone that better signifies the lost idealism of the 1960s than Dennis captured and we wanted to thank him for a look into a culture and lifestyle that many may never have known without him. Ride In Peace Billy.

Dennis shooting Easy Rider with Lazlo Kovacs

The Lost route the Easy Rider film crew took back in 1968

Posted in Our Riding Culture with tags , , on April 7, 2010 by The MeanStreet Riders

Billy and Captain America Taming the West

The MeanStreet Riders wanted to share the route that Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda rode in the 1969 movie “Easy Rider”.  Fellow rider Alan Dunn aka as Mr. Zip 66 has taken years of research with details and even found the original “ No Vacancy” sign from the movie. Alan’s Route 66 blog on the mother road is an incredible journey back to a time when Captain America and Billy were hitting the culturally diverse highway and headlining. The more things change the more they remain the same.You will not be forgotten Dennis.
http://www.mrzip66.com/2009/04/20/route-from-the-movie-easy-rider-map/