There are few things I love more than feeling like I'm in the middle of a coincidental occurrence and one happened this week.
I can't remember how I first started communicating with Gar Wood, but back in 2015, when Sideburn went to America for DQUSA, we flew to Southern California for a few days before and Julian, from Deus Ex Machina, kindly booked Perris Short Track for a midweek practice and invited a bunch of our mutual friends to come along and ride. I contacted Gar and his friend Thad and invited them come along with the pull-start minibikes they'd raced at Del Mar and featured in Sideburn 21. I had learned along the way that Gar was Ron Wood's son (there's only one Ron Wood in my world and he's not a Rolling Stone).
That's Gar above - great photo by Michael Schmidt. And me below on his Alex Jorgensen Wood Norton tribute bike.
I got speaking to Gar and Thad, having not met them in person before. Gar said he was a musician. I clearly remember thinking, musician, like a violinist? Before he explained he was in a band called Hot Snakes. I knew the band, part of the same San Diego scene as my all-time favourites, Rocket From The Crypt. Hot Snakes are a Sub Pop band (if that doesn't mean anything to you, don't worry).
I'd kept in touch with Gar and when it was announced Hot Snakes were to tour the UK in January/Feburary, I planned to see them at Rescue Rooms, Nottingham. I took a few magazines for Gar and Thad, who was the band's Man Friday for the tour, and met Gar for a couple of hours before the show.
I forgot to pick up the latest issue, the one Gar most wanted to see because it had a feature on his dad's latest build, the Wood Honda Africa Twin CRF1000. Gar had put Sideburn contributor, Dave Bevan and I on the guest list, so I left a message for Dave asking if he could bring his own issue of SB31 for Gar. He was planning to come straight from work, but agreed to do the 45-minute bicycle round trip to get it.
The next day Gar sent me a photo of Sideburn 31's Trophy Queen page, with just the message, Hahahahaha!
I looked at the Mitch Friedman photo and think I knew what he meant. The photo is of Bryan Villella, a rider sponsored by Ron Wood, from Ascot in 1986. In the background is a teenager. I'd seen him in the photo before, but hadn't really taken a lot of notice. Now I did, it was a young Gar, in his dad's Dell'Orto satin jacket.
So, the guy Dave and I had been to watch at a sold out show in Nottingham, and that Dave had detoured to get him a mag THAT SHOWED HIM 32 YEARS AGO. Is that a coincidence? I think so.
(above) Dave, Gar (straight off stage), me.
(below) Hot Snakes, filmed at The Cluny, Newcastle, a few days before.