The Punk Rods were conceived in 1998 by me and Punk Rod Paul, while hanging out where I worked- Lawrence's long-defunct 'Hi-Jinx Lounge' swing and rockabilly bar. By 2000 we had made up club shirts and jackets. In 2001 the opportunity to use K.C. Punk rock club El Torreon for music fest- with daytime car show- presented itself. It was an idea I'd wanted to implement since the Hi-Jinx days; to do a 'Greaser's Ball' type show sponsored by my pomade company:American Greaser Supply. It did not take much thinkin' to come up with the moniker “K”owtown “C”ustom Greaserama for the 2001 show. It was around 20 bands with a small art display.
About 5 dozen rods, kustoms, and vintage beaters showed up through some last-minute word-of-mouth & the fliering of a few parts stores, cruise nights, and swap meets- who we were (for the most part) strangers to. Well, not the parts stores and swaps, but the shows and cruise nights. We had long been bored by the red Camaros, yellow 57's, and black hi-tech Deuces prevalent at most shows of the day; the crybaby dolls, the craft areas, the coca-cola gift shop cutie-pie Happy Days homogenization of what we grew up seeing as the realm of cool black leather jacket clad hoodlums is not a scene we frequented. We were pretty much outsiders in the car scene. But, as we have learned, there were many, many people- of all ages- thinking the exact same thing- being disappointed by only 5-10 cars we dug at even the Biggest Car Show.
We found that folks of all stripes share our automotive values, and they slowly came out from under their rocks and out of the woodwork: old farmers who haven’t raced or shown since the 70's, old school low riders, bikers of all sorts, vintage drag nuts, kloset kempers, dropout to academic, teenager to WWII vet, 'lone nut' inventors, absent-minded professors, Car club greasers, Pin-up Girls, black, white, brown, dirt poor or middle class, Punkers, Metalheads, Rockabillys, & white belt hipsters, artists & junkyard operators; you see 'em all in joyful, spirited discussion of their own and others expression of their taste and exchange ideas and opening up their hearts and minds at Greaserama. It always warms my heart to see some 18 year old mohawk punker just striking up a friendly conversation with an 80 year old farmer. At this show we all got an appreciation for the tin in common, no need for posturing or any of that one-upmanship B.S. here.
Thanks for coming!
Punk Rod Todd, Art Director