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A gearhead is a person who likes to tinker with things. To take them apart, check them out, see how they work, put them back together. Maybe figure out some ways to improve them in the process. The term gearhead is most often applied to people who tinker with cars, the stereotypical image being of some Stray Cats greaser with oil stains on his white T-shirt and an old rag hanging out of his back pocket. However, most serious computer geeks are gearheads by nature, and I've known mountain bikers who use the term to describe themselves as well.

Gearhead is also the name of a garage/punk record label and magazine. The first issue of Gearhead Magazine was printed in May of 1993, and featured what would be the mag's calling card: a split 7" featuring two top-notch punk bands (in this case, Gas Huffer and Supercharger). This wasn't one of those lame, floppy square plastic discs or anything, it was an honest-to-goodness, no shit 7". Nine more issues of Gearhead came out at irregular intervals over the next few years, with the last one coming out in September of 1999. Only a few thousand of each issue were released, and you wouldn't find them in any Waldenbooks, but you could generally talk your local independent punk record store into ordering a couple of copies.

A copy of Gearhead retailed for $5.95, making it a pretty sweet deal for a magazine and seven-inch in one. Each issue covered, as you might expect, cars and punk rock. Music and movie reviews, interviews, articles on drag racing, real and model cars, these are all things one would find in any given issue of Gearhead. Unfortunately, after issue #10, Gearhead announced that they wouldn't be able to keep things going as they had been - they just weren't making enough money to stay afloat. The split 7" in every issue had to be dropped. The punk rock world wept.

The next issue of Gearhead is expected to be out at the beginning of April, 2001, sans seven-inch. In the meantime, Gearhead has established themselves as a record label, pressing a CD compilation that includes all twenty-three singles released with the original magazines, most of which cannot be found anywhere else. They've also been releasing CDs, LPs and the like from bands such as The Hypnomen, Red Planet, The Hives, NRA and Sewer Grooves. If you live somewhere in Scandinavia, you can also look into attending Gearfest, an annual tour-de-force all-day/all-night concert featuring bands like The Hellacopters, Immortal Lee County Killers, The Nomads, The Dontcares and more.

For those of you who have one of the first ten issues of Gearhead in your grubby little paws, you're holding onto a collector's item. Gearhead sells back issues on their website, http://www.gearheadrecords.com/. The last couple issues still sell for the cover price, but if you want one of the older ones, you can look forward to shelling out $25 and up for each one. For reference, here's the lowdown on the first ten issues:

Issue #1 (May, 1993): Didjits Interview, Rat Fink Reunion. Single features Gas Huffer's "Bad Guy Reaction" and Supercharger's "Mystery Action".

Issue #2 (May, 1994): Interviews with Dick Dale and Sam Butera, Biker Flicks, Drag Racing: Then and Now. Single features Claw Hammer's "Car Down Again" and The Red Aunts' "My Impala '65".

Issue #3 (May, 1995): Stanley Mouse Interview, Fastbacks, Hot Wheels! Single features The Fastbacks doing "Rat Race", "I Live In A Car" and "Telephone Numbers", as well as The Meices doing "He's Waiting".

Issue #4 (August, 1996): Interviews with The Nomads and George Barris. Single features Girl Trouble's "Baby (You've Got What It Takes)" and The Mono Men doing "Kick Out The Jams".

Issue #5 (April, 1997): The Del-Fi Records Story, Helios Creed Interview, The Death of AMC. Single features Chrome's "Torque Pound" and Man Or Astro-Man? doing "4000,000.37 Mile (Breaking The Sanity Barrier)".

Issue #6 (September, 1997): Elvisweek '97, Dukes of Hazzard Mania, Figure Eight Racing Action. Single features Southern Culture On The Skids doing "Tidewater Jack" and The Untamed Youth's "My General Lee".

Issue #7 (April, 1998): Billet Proof, Motown Records Mayhem, Inside Dionysus Records, Linda Vaughn: Queen Of Speed. Single features Groovie Ghoulies' "Funny Funny" and The Donnas doing "Wig-Wam Bam".

Issue #8 (September, 1998): Interviews with The Melvins, J.M. McCarthy and Long Gone John, articles on Go-Karts and The Juggers. Single features The Cosmic Psychos doing "Some Girls" and The Melvins' "I Can't Shake It".

Issue #9 (April, 1999): Biker Issue with Tattoos, Motorcycles, Billet Proof, Andre Williams, and Gearfest '98 Stockholm. Single features Mudhoney doing "Fuzz Gun" and "Blues For Stoner" and Davie Allan and the Arrows doing "Encounter".

Issue #10 (September, 1999): Kraftwerk, plus interviews with Robert Williams and Ed Iskenderian. Single features Rocket From the Crypt doing "Delorean" and The Hellacopters' "Crimson Ballroom".

Information on the first five issues of Gearhead magazine (which I don't have, and if you do, you're a bastard) was taken from their website. Everything else comes from my own personal storehouse of worthless knowledge.

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