If you wanna know how all this got started, just blame it on the Gator'... and LIFE Magazine. In the early '60's things was jumpin'! Beatles, Beatniks, Bikers and Bikini's were changin' my view of the world...
LIFE and Ed Sullivan were my source of information. My family had a pop-up camper, like a covered wagon... another Pal of mine, Rich, had a Grandpa in Florida, they borrowed me and my camper and off we went. South-bound, 1966, before the Interstate was built... took 3 days.
Daytona Beach was a dream come true... we swam in the Ocean all day and hit the boardwalk every night. Genuine crazy bikers wearin' german helmets, chicks galore... Tommy James blastin' "Hanky Panky"...
I had a white t-shirt air brushed with a giant "Maltesse Cross"... Daytona Cop drove next to me one night as I was walkin' home... "If you were my kid, I'd kick your ass..." he said out the window... they didn't dig my style I guess.
This might be a good time to talk about this German stuff... medals and all. We are Patriots, of the Highest order! All that stuff is left over from WWII. I have an album cover with Bing Crosby wearin' one of those helmets, a war trophy... ya' gotta kill em' to take their lid. Get the picture?
It became a symbol of rebellion, just to freak out the citizens. Truth is Ron Asheton wore it well... he had quite a collection. I asked him once what he thought of it all... Nazi's and stuff. "Nah", he said, "those guys are assholes, it's all about style". "Seems like I'm always rootin' for the other side... Indians, Rebels, you know." "Me too", I said. Yeah, Rebels.
I rolled back into Detroit that summer, head full of wild ideas, confederate flag beach towel and that plastic German helmet that almost got me beat... pretty soon my Gator came in the mail, all alone in a little cardboard box. Back in Florida I saw the sign, $5 LIVE BABY ALLIGATORS... 15 years old and I was in... Mom says I was never the same after that. That Gator didn't make it.