Our Last Gig: Pittsburgh/Cleveland
May 7, 2010
Okay kids, listen.
I know how much y’all look forward to the Our Last Gig feature.
I mean, really—apparently some of you plan your whole weekends around it, right?
Sure, you love to read the wild exploits of your heroes, maybe under the covers late at night, flashlight gripped in your sweaty palm. Maybe you close your eyes and drift off to sleep imagining: Hey. Maybe one day I can go along, be one of the fellas! Gee, wouldn’t that be somethin!
But we’re busy men over here—- and Punk Rock Bowling is calling people!!!
Let’s see…we have guitars to restring, flasks to fill—need to get our balls drilled —and also attend to the bowling balls–Hey 0!!!
So let’s just give a capsule wrap up of the weekend:
*Yes, it was great to get to Pittsburgh as the Pens demolished Montreal.
*We dug playing in the squat that is 222 Ormby and hope they’ll have us back.
*We spent the night in Mars, just becasue we always wanted to say that.
*Primanti Bros? pfft–of course!
*Cleveland?–hate to say it, but it rocks.
*Mr. Paul has one of the greatest clubs in America at Now That’s Class
*Now That’s Class is next to the toughest gay bar in America. Trust us.
And on our flight home? Fuckin Jim Brown…! Nuff said.
Hmmm….well, that really doesn’t live up to the ol CH3 blog standards, does it?
I mean, you don’t come here for a few dry sentences and a photo album of our weekend, do ya?
Here’s a shot of Alf with the weekend kickoff:
7:10 am: Shots of double espresso vodka in the Gardener garage bar.
No, you intellectuals need some goddamn content!
So let’s go ahead and copy and paste a thrilling 1979 interview conducted by ABC Sports with daredevil Legend Evel Knievel!
You’re one of the greatest self-promoters sport has ever seen, how does it feel?
I used to race motorcycles and really didn’t win enough to eat lunch, let alone dinner. All over the United States I raced, and I felt the motorcycling public would support a daredevil show like Joey Chitwood and his Auto Daredevils, so I formed a whole show.
I always was very good at promoting things and having teams. I had my own hockey team, Senior A team. It just comes naturally to me. I don’t have any problem doing it. I started it, and when I got hurt the show stopped, but the jump got so much publicity I just kept adding cars and just kept jumping further and further. I guess you might say I was part motorcycle rider and part show.
Were you trying to appeal to patriotism by wearing the red, white and blue uniform?
No, I wasn’t trying to appeal to anybody’s patriotism by wearing the red, white and blue. I really detested the publicity motorcycling was getting at the time I started in the ’60s. I didn’t like the Hell’s Angels at all. So I just took off the black leather jacket and put on a white one — red, white and blue. I’m glad I did. I thought I made the right decision.
When did you decide you were going to risk your life?
Well, I really didn’t want to risk my life. But the further the jumps got, the more cars and trucks and buses I jumped, it became a life-risking profession, not just a show.
Talk a little bit about your injuries.
I’ve had between 35 and 40 operations. Thirty-some of them were major open-reduction operations where they cut me open, put steel into me, sewed me up, then took it back out a year or so later. I’ve had some real serious open-reduction operations and I just underwent a liver transplant a short time ago.
I know what that’s all about and believe me, I feel sorry for anybody that has to go through the operations. Liver, heart and kidney transplants, it’s a tough way to go.
Do you feel lucky to be alive?
Yes, I feel lucky to be alive. I’ve always felt there was somebody watching over me. I see these other young fellas jumping and there’s been several of them killed and very badly injured. I trained myself to relax when I knew I was going to go over these handlebars. I think that’s probably what saved my life — just knowing what to do.
Are you saying that there’s a way to crash?
When you crash, it’s like a baby falling out of a hotel window. They don’t know what’s happening, so they’re relaxed. Most of them live through a fall of any distance because they are relaxed. They don’t tighten up. I felt that was the right way for me to do things, and I practiced it and I did it.
Did you feel indestructible or bulletproof?
I did feel bulletproof. I thought I could handle a motorcycle as good as any man in the world and I was very competent and capable at what I was doing. But the bulletproof feeling, after I missed so many times, became a feeling of anxiety. I always felt I could fall many times in life but I’d never been a failure as long as I tried to get up, to continue on, in any way that I could. I think that’s what helped me through my career.
I think the crashing I did and the spills I took, of course, got a lot of publicity. I think if I hadn’t been hurt so many times and didn’t get up, didn’t continue and speak with a positive mental attitude, I don’t really believe I would have become so popular. I think Americans identified with me during the ’70s, I really do. I think I have some wonderful loyal fans around the country.