By Bill Harlan
I went to the Buffalo Chip late Friday night, just in time for Alice in Chains. I was there to finish reporting on a story that will be in tomorrow's RCJ. Here's a preview of the pics, most of which won't make the paper, plus some other items that are exclusive to you, the Sturgis street blog-reading public.
Alice in Chains bass player Mike Inez rocks on. Mike used to play with Ozzy Osbourne.
My story in tomorrow's paper is about festival-size rock and roll at the Sturgis. This Chip crowd for Alice in Chains stretched forever, and the Kid Rock crowd Wednesday was even bigger.
They did like their "Alice."
Rickshaw driver Cassidy Jablonski at the Chip
Cassidy Jablonski, 27, of Phoenix, Ariz., used to be a bike messenger in Philadelphia. He was in Sturgis with seven colleagues . They call themselves the American Rickshaw, and they travel from festival to festival peddling their wares. (Get it? Peddling their wares! I crack myself up.)
The American Rickshaw guys have played famous rock festivals, uncluding the ultra-hip Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tenn., but Cassidy says country music festivals are the best because country fans get drunker, are more boisterous and are more determined to have fun.
I don't drink, but I was boisterous and fun-seeking enough to take a $5 ride from the parking lot to the main gate. I did it mainly so I can submit an expense item titled "Rickshaw Ride." I wish I could be there at the home office in Davenport when they try to code it.
Commerce at the Chip. It's like a small town. Or maybe not so small.
Rupert Boneham of "Survivor," backstage at the Chip, demonstrates his trademark growl.
Yes, he's THAT survivor. You know, of the "Saboga Tribe." Rupert was kicked off the island in the Pearl Island edition in 2004, and he placed fourth in an all-stars episode. However, on "Surivivor: America's Tribal Council," viewers got a chance to vote. Rupert won by a ---"landslide" is too weak, let's say he won by an 85 percent "tsumani." He got 35.5 MILLION votes -- not enough to win the presidency but he would have kicked Ralph Nader's ass. Rupert works with troubled teenagers, and the Buffalo Chip is helping him out with his charity, "Rupert's Kids." It's worth a look.
Hank Rotten Jr.
Hank Rotten Jr. also was backstage at the Chip. A nice guy. I'm just amazed I never asked him about the "Jr." in his name. Think about it. Hank is half of "Ross and Rotten," and he's played the Chip 19 years in a row. Got to be a record. His hits include "Sleeping with my butt to the wall" and "Grandpa snorts Viagra." I'd list a few more, but I need this job.
The Buffalo Chip brain trust backstage, from the left: Mike Sanborn, Daymon Woodruff, Rod Woodruff, Toni Woodruff, Brad Coombs.
Mike S. used to work with us at the RCJ. David and Toni, Rod's kids, have ear pieces and pagers and never stop moving. Brad I once interviewed in a shipping container. Rod -- better known as "Woody" -- founded the Buffalo Chip.
I've known Woody since the old days. (Deadwood in the 1970s. Neither one of us is talking.) Woody never sits down during the Sturgis motorcycle rally. He chugs Red Bull and moves constantly from conversation to conversation. Nobody, by the way, has an official title, but if you fired the entire Coalition Provisional Authority and put these four in charge of Iraq ... well, I'm not saying we'd be out of there, but the beer would be colder and music would be better.
PS: The Sturgis motorcycle rally is over, and so am I -- at least for tonight. But I'll add some wrap-ups in the next day or two.