Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Antiseen Invades Asheville Causing Panic, Disarray and Chaos

The Planet of the Apes, the Bad Will Ambassadors, The Boys From Brutalsville and more affectionately known far and wide as Antiseen, will be invading the metropolis of Asheville, North Carolina on March 17th. Be prepared you mountain folk as this will be a rowdy show and we have been hearing great things about the opener Zombie Queen.

Antiseen invades Asheville, NC on March 17th 2012

Why not pick up some Antiseen vinyl while you are there!

Antiseen and Flat Tires split 7" vinyl - Hail To The Chief
Antiseen 7" vinyl - Sweet Blood Call

Fast Women, Fast Cars and A Bank Heist, Need More?

Vimeo never ceases to be a great source of entertainment, especially when it comes to high end film making and more specifically music videos. In one of our many random searches we found this video by Puretone and the hottie singer, Amiel. Keystone cops chasing gorgeous females is easy on the eyes, so dive in, as Mad Max lives on in the chase seen...

Is Mad Max just a character played by Mel Gibson or his true self?

Amiel Daemion, Australian actress and singer

KNCY Country - Digs Jay Berndt And Hellbound Glory

We are damn stoked to be working with such a station as KNCY Country in Nebraska City, Nebraska and especially their morning DJ and Program Director Patrick Monaghan. In a time when its hard as hell to cut through the clutter, getting the bands we work with to be heard on the airwaves is an uphill battle. Progressive stations such as KNCY are putting artists such as Hellbound Glory and Jay Berndt in steady rotation and proving that great Country and Americana doesn't have to come from Nashville. Thanks to Patrick for believing in the music and playing great acts that are helping to shape the airwaves.

Patrick Monaghan, morning DJ and Program Director of KNCY Country, Nebraska City, NE
If you are a college station, mainstream radio, blogger or podcaster, we are glad to get our music out to ya in any format needed for promotion. The bands we work with are breaking through the clutter, but we need the fans help, to open many more doors which will fill clubs far and wide. Become active and help to promote quality music. Get in touch and we would dig talking with those interested in helping out with our upcoming street team. Whether it be bands in the punk or country genre, Rusty Knuckles is about true grit, get in touch.

ralph.knuckles at

Hellbound Glory © Juan Two Three photography 2011

Jay Berndt in his studio in Providence, Rhode Island

Journey - Circa 197? - Qball's Biker Photography from Living The Life

“Journey” circa 197? from “Living The Life”, biker photography book.

It’s been said “It aint the destination, but the journey”. When it came to my old club “Dirt That Moves MC” it got even more involved than that. We couldn’t even keep it together at a cross road. Some would go right, some left, some straight ahead, while others did a 180. A couple of hundred miles could take all day and into the night. A trip to Daytona Bike Week took nine days. We had break downs within 50 miles of home, flat tires, bar stops, stripped gears, beer runs, fried wires, piss stops, more beer runs, side trips to visit old friends, broken chains, beer runs, piss stops, well you get the picture. Damn, I nearly forgot the best part, fights. It was said the only way to get us from stop fighting each other was to have an outsider step in, and get pounded. We fought over women, beer, bikes, or just being bored. We would party all night long, fall down in the dirt, get up the next morning with wicked hangovers and attitudes to match, then ride off in the wrong direction. Damn, I love my brothers and miss those aimless times.

Long May You Ride, Q-Ball

Buy the book "Living the Life"

Qball aka Doug Barber with "Journey" circa 197? From "Living The Life" biker photography book

News And Updates From Banjo Buck Thrailkill

Our good buddy Buck Thrailkill recently posted up his newsletter and after reading it, we realized just how much cool stuff he has going on and wanted to get it out to the masses. If you haven't heard much of Buck's banjo pickin', you are in for some amazing songs this year. With feature releases coming up with us and Farmageddon this year, Buck will be hitting stages across the country and showing how a banjo should be played.

Banjo Buck Thrailkill

"Hi Everyone, I hope you all had an AWESOME February... 

The NEWS just keeps coming for you so here we go...

There will be a lot of new recordings coming out this spring and fall with all of the groups I am involved with. There is also bunches and bunches of new merch, t-shirts, mugs, and more coming in. Almost have the song list finished for the SOLO Album. I have one more piece to finish writing, which will also be on the new album with Ronnie Hymes and Frank Ehlinger this summer from Rusty Knuckles Record Label. I also had the honor be being asked to record a track for upcoming artist Larry Frick for his new album. Check his band out. They are awesome.... And a true honor is going to be to record with my dear friend Erik Smallwood this year. His latest album 'You Love' just came out in January so please go check his incredible sound out with Neil Ray and many other guest artist.

Still want to make this year big on getting my ReverbNation page and Facebook Pages out and I will need your help getting as many email addresses as I can here, as well as the Venue's and other Band's ReverbNation pages. So help get the word out for the News Letters, Seasonal Letters, Gig Updates for Special shows, and so folks have an easy way to access me to send ideas for music, merch, or whatever. You can also contact my good friend Sheila Barker at Ready to Roll Street Team on Reverb or Facebook for information as well.

Working in 'Ronnie Hymes and Carolina Freight', with Ronnie Hymes and Frank Ehlinger, we finished and released a brand new demo CD called '5 Tracks' back in January. You can go to our ReverbNation page to have a listen or on the Reverb Store and purchase the song and/or ringtone for any of the tracks you like. We just finished up recording our New Album coming our summer via The Rusty Knuckles Record Label with almost all new original tunes written by us and a few friends. We also have some great GIG dates coming in March and April around the Carolina's. 

Ronnie Hymes & Carolina Freight, Rusty Knuckles © 2012
Coming up:
Thu Mar 1 2012 - Hellbound Glory

Sat Mar 24 2012 -  D.B. Bryant Band

Fri Mar 30 2012 -  Billy Don Burns

Be sure to check the show dates on my ReverbNation page as well as RH&CF's ReverbNation Page. There is also new merch from the Freight as well so check us out...

Working in 'JB Beverley and The Wayward Drifters', with JB Beverley and Frank Ehlinger, we have a brand new CD in the recording works right now of all originals that will be available from Farmageddon Records by the spring/summer as well as some really awesome GIG dates coming up. Farmageddon Music Fest 2012 in Montana is coing up this year for the first annual. Already have an incredible line up. Also the 3rd Annual Muddy Roots Music Fest in Tennessee in September. BIG NEWS HERE. Dr. Ralph Stanley will be preforming at MRMF 2012. One of my all-time banjo hero's!!! 

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this mail and please fell free to send to your friends and ask them to check out some or all the projects for 2012.

Have a BANJOWONDERFUL Day...... Buck sends..."

Antiseen At Tremont Music Hall With Belmont Playboys and Chow Tiger

This past Saturday another legendary show went down in Charlotte with Antiseen, The Belmont Playboys and Chow Tiger. Peep some of these great photos by King Johnson. More can be found on Antiseen's Facebook page.

Jeff Clayton of Antiseen, photo taken by King Johnson 2012
Jeff Clayton of Antiseen, photo taken by King Johnson 2012
Chow Tiger, photo taken by King Johnson 2012
Mike Hendrix of Belmont Playboys, photo taken by King Johnson 2012
Antiseen at Tremont Music Hall, photo taken by King Johnson 2012
Antiseen at Tremont Music Hall, photo taken by King Johnson 2012

photo by King Johnson 2012
photo by King Johnson 2012
photo by King Johnson 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Anatomical Diagrams Of Japanese Monsters And Blue Oyster Cult

Leave it to the Japanese to make something so kitschy and cool as these posters. Do we have any translators that can equate this to English? Would really dig having these on the office and shop walls. We researched them and apparently they are quite old and rare to actually obtain a physical copy of each poster.

These images popped up over on Buzzfeed

Oil Filters As Canned Track Lighting

We saw these posted up the other day on Etsy and thought what a great idea. Not sure about the price tag though at $87 bucks. If they are trying to appeal to your DIY motor crowd I kinda think we will just make our own being that a brand new filter in a variety of sizes runs in under $10, depending on make and size. The track lighting rig and light definitely are the pricier points of this setup, but damn is it a simple and clever idea, really dig it.

"Oil filter Track light. Line voltage. Approximate measurements: 7 x 3 1/2 x 5". Filter diameter is 3 1/2". Made from UL listed electrical components. The track head is a single circuit 3-wire ("H") system. Many current projects require or specify a 3-wire system. It is easier to ground, and has more accessories than the other systems. Also, it is 100% compatible with HALO, which makes substituting really easy. Made from Fram brand automotive oil filter. Other brands/colors available. Possible slight variations from pictured item. Made-to-order in approximately 2-3 weeks. Quantities available. PAR20 50W 120V halogen flood light bulb (dimmable) included. This listing is for one unit."

Fram Oil Filter as track lighting
Fram Oil Filter as track lighting, front view
Fram Oil Filter as track lighting, side view

Google Music Not Living Up To Expectations, Is Justin Timberlake The Saviour?

All the signs are pointing to another huge cash influx about to enter the music streaming business. Rumors are that Microsoft is sniffing around to what is possible, even after their failed attempt with Zune. Spotify is making waves with their streaming service and Myspace is claiming to have their numbers rising due to "significant" improvements to their music player. Not sure if Myspace realizes it or not, but their interface still is way too busy. If Myspace were to die off or completely, revamp their approach with a whole new influx of ideas and potentially a new name, maybe they could shed their old skin and start anew. Sorry Justin Timberlake, not even your amazing SNL appearances can save your investment in Myspace, unless it has a game changing overhaul.

Is Pandora a patsy for the major labels? What about Last.FM, Rdio and the litany of others who have provided streaming services? Do any of them have a solid presence or unique aspect which we as music fans crave?

In terms of streaming music, many huge players are entering the arena and looking to compete with Itunes after the strides created by Spotify. Some will create a decent presence, but soon every major entity within social media will have some sort of proprietary music player, especially Facebook

We honestly think this is the best thing for bands as a whole. Competition breeds a better system and forget your big box package stores for buying music anymore. Its all going to be digital or directly to fans from the bands.

Link to original article on CNET 

Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga on Saturday Night Live
"Three months after launching, Google Music hasn't lived up to expectations, CNET has learned. Google's managers have told counterparts at the labels that customer adoption and revenue are below what they expected, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the talks. 

Google Music has been live for barely a full quarter, so nobody is panicking. Google has yet to throw the full force of its marketing muscle behind the service, and managers have told the record companies that they are trying to correct certain issues. Still, the numbers are low enough for some in the music sector to be concerned, the sources said.

A Google representative declined to comment. 

Google Music was supposed to be a music powerhouse. As a companion service to Android-powered mobile devices, the service has a massive potential user base. At the time of Google Music's November launch, there were more than 200 million activated Android phones and tablets

If Google managed to convert just 10 percent of those device owners, it would mean 20 million customers. Google Music sells downloads, and also streams songs to users who store their music libraries on the company's servers. The service sells tracks from a host of indie labels as well as three of the four top major record companies. Google has yet to license tracks from Warner Music Group. 

Google campus in the bay area
Google managers have told label executives that the service will get a boost once Google implements its hardware strategy, the sources said. Google plans to start competing against Apple by building an array of consumer devices.

Two weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google is building a wireless entertainment system that will stream music throughout the home. 

The troubled start for Google Music comes as the music sector shifts attention away from downloads and onto subscription services, such as Spotify, Rhapsody, and Rdio. These companies sell consumers access to huge pools of songs for a monthly fee. 

Handset manufacturers and network providers, such as Research In Motion, T-Mobile, Cricket, and MetroPCS have bolstered their music offerings. 

Just last week, CNET reported that Microsoft has held talks with some of the record companies about creating a new digital music store that would serve owners of the Xbox gaming console as well as buyers of an upcoming Windows-based phone. The parties have discussed the possibility of streaming music as well as selling downloads. 

Phones are important to the labels. They see a future where subscription services offer unlimited access to music and the fees are wrapped into phone bills. The thinking here is that this will make the consumer's buying experience much more painless. 

So is Google Music out of step with current music tastes? 

The record companies didn't think so when Google first approached them in 2010. The recording sector couldn't be happier that a company with Google's money and marketing might would be taking on iTunes. Because of Apple's domination of music sales, Apple has been able at times to dictate terms to the labels. 

Despite all the excitement surrounding subscription services, it remains to be seen whether these services are very profitable. 

The music industry is still too much in flux to say who the winners or losers are" 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Green Lady Killers At Hollywood Alley, Phoenix Arizona - March 9th 2012

The Green Lady Killers will be invading their home turf of Phoenix, Arizona on March 9th. Get out to the show and see what the buzz is all about in Los Angeles surrounding these femme fatales.

The Green Lady Killers on Facebook

Green Lady Killers play Hollywood Alley on March 9th, Phoenix, AZ

CherryBomb behind the drums and melting hearts
Ivy Rose in the studio prepping some new bass tracks
Lady Van Buren staring down the crowd at a recent Los Angeles show

In The Studio With Rory Kelly...

Over the weekend we rolled out to Rory Kelly's studio to film some tracks being laid down and to work on ideas for the album. To say that this album is going to be smoking hot southern rock is an understatement. This is an album that you need to hear and one for which many new doors are about to be kicked open by a pair of worn in size 11 boots. The fellas are lock step in their sound and road bound for much of 2012. With dates at SXSW coming up in March and a European tour being booked as we speak, be prepared for the rock n' roll invasion.

Rory Kelly album (Don't Shake My) Family Tree out May 22nd world wide
Rory Kelly and the fellas in the studio finalizing some tracks - © Rusty Knuckles Music 2012
Rory Kelly, Mike Kelly & Billy Miller by the studio in western North Carolina - © Rusty Knuckles Music 2012
Rory Kelly, Billy Miller and Mike Kelly - © Rusty Knuckles Music 2012
Rory Kelly in the studio - © Rusty Knuckles Music 2012

Rory Kelly Bio

Blame it on the heady highs in the air that permeate the Black Mountains of North Carolina, but the state has produced an artist in Rory Kelly that will surely bring new dimension to the tour de force that is America’s beloved Southern Rock. Possessing a playing ability in league with prodigies, Kelly is a self-taught musician that picked up the guitar as a boy and cut his chops in the rural town of Marion. While his mother slung drinks behind the bar, Rory strummed alongside his father, drummer Mike Kelly, in a family dominated house band in a local music dive. Mike Kelly has quite the backstory in thrash metal as well, being part of the infamous Old Bridge Militia of thrash metal fame.

Tapped a few years later, first by heavy metal outfit Intethod and later by Asheville based sleaze masters, the Crank County Daredevils, who found success both in the US and abroad; Kelly developed a keen ear, and playing ability to match, for what would develop into an ever widening spectrum of rock n roll sensibilities. After the unforeseen dissolution of Crank County, in 2010 Rory Kelly began to hone his own dirty rock n' roll based signature sound and recruited his former musical partner and father Mike to form two-thirds of what would ultimately become their current band. Together they recorded, and Rory Kelly produced, what critics deemed a “swamp rock” sound in their first release, Better Than The Blues.

When demand for that record began to outweigh supply, Rory Kelly began to branch out regionally, playing live with a hired gun on bass and gaining footholds with venues and audiences throughout both the Carolinas. In March of 2011 they scored a coveted series of showcases with Texas Rockfest, which takes place in the heart of downtown Austin, Texas each year during the world famous South By Southwest music conference. Those showcases brought Kelly interest from endorsement companies and rekindled a connection between him and Rusty Knuckles, his former label from the Crank County days, that was in the midst of successfully developing its’ own niche signing renegade artists from within the ranks of southern sleaze. Summer ’11 brought more recognition to Rory Kelly as they were thrust into and embraced by the Southern biker circuit and a permanent bass player joined their ranks. Billy Miller, also a seasoned musician from touring gigs with Voodou and Super Sport, brought the final element needed to round out this dirty rock n' roll trio, forming a mercurial rhythm section with the elder Kelly to compliment the smoldering swagger of Kelly’s rock riffs.

The addition of Miller has brought a new dynamic into the band and, with that, an ever evolving definition of what Southern Rock means to Rory Kelly and how they intend to translate that to their followers. The new album is done and scheduled for release in late Spring of 2012, and has captured the interest of well-known NC radio personality Steve Blanton who will assist Kelly in the production of their second effort. Revealing a band edging toward a harder sound, (Don't Shake My) Family Tree, will be released to world-wide distribution through Rusty Knuckles with both US and European tours planned for early 2012 in support of the record. 

- Tammy Moore

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Update on Erik Buell Via Cyril Huze Blog

If ya haven't ridden a Buell, well ya haven't ridden a modern sport bike built right here in America. Forget about taking a sportster motor out of the older tube frame models and popping it into a chopper frame. You are basically robbing yourself of one of the best riding torque beasts in existence. Erik Buell has been an amazing innovator in the Harley realm and we can thank him for many innovations. Its great news to see that he is carrying on after the debacle with corporate Harley Davidson and hopefully many more racing championships and innvoation will be coming the way of Erik Buell Racing.

175 HP 389-pound EBR 1190RS
On October 15, 2009 Harley-Davidson announced that production of Buell motorcycles were immediately discontinued. The economy started to tank in 2008 and in 2009 sales of new motorcycles crashed. At the time, Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell statement to the media was “The fact is, we must focus both our effort and our investment on the Harley-Davidson brand, as we believe this provides an optimal path to sustained, meaningful, long-term growth”. In a press conference a couple of hours later, a very emotional Erik Buell confirmed the sad news he received from Harley-Davidson. What was not disclosed at the time and that only Erik knew was that he had lost it all, even the rights to the Buell Motorcycle name. A musician, Erik turned to his guitar for therapy, then decided to start a new independent venture called Erik Buell Racing (EBR)

175 HP 389-pound EBR 11, aiming for championships in 2012
From the liquidation sale of Buell Motorcycles Company, Erik kept a small building in East Troy, a 40-minute drive from Milwaukee. Erik Buell Racing is financed by his own money and other small private investments. To help cash flow, some income comes from design consulting jobs for other companies. Erik is now looking for a $20 million investment to finance development and production The goal with Erik Buell Racing is to focus on being an American manufacturer of race bikes and parts to challenge foreign manufacturers with invention and intellectual property. To go beyond by doing radical things that the rest of the racing world has never done. Last summer at the Superbike series in Lexington, Ohio, Buell debuted a pro racing version of the 1190RS, the first offering from his new company. The rider finished a respectable 10th. Later, at the German Superbike Championship, an early customer entered with an EBR bike and won, beating out established competitors on Ducatis, BMWs and KTMs…

Buell’s innovation include: Zero Torsional Load (ZTL) brake, which lightens wheel weight by eliminating the need for hubs, the underslung mufflers placed under the engine to limit noise and maintain a lower center of gravity, a fuel tank integrated within the bike frame with optional carbon fiber version which reduces vibrations and shaves off even more weight from the frame. Tthe 175 HP 389-pound EBR 1190RS is a full 50 pounds lighter than some competing bikes. The bike has been a hit in motorcycle shows here and abroad with Erik Buell signing 1 and 3-year sponsorship agreements for two riders to race in the American Superbike Championship. EBR is currently building out an international dealer network, and at the end of year 2012 the company plans to reach a production level of about 850 bikes with 50% expected to be exported. The 1190RS will be racing in Daytona in 3 weeks (March 15-17) at the 2012 Superbike Championship. “We found an additional 10 mph in the post season, and the bike can reach 213 mph in race trim,” Buell says. It would make the 1190RS the fastest motorcycle manufactured in the U.S…

Yesterday evening Feb. 22, 2012, Erik Buell Racing announced that it has partnered with Hero MotoCorp. The deal sees Hero becoming the title sponsor for two teams in the AMA Pro Racing National Guard Superbikes Championship — Team Hero and AMSOIL Hero, while Erik Buell Racing will give Hero design and technology inputs for bikes destined for the Indian market.

Friday, February 24, 2012

RIP Mike Davis of MC5 and Destroy All Monsters

Really sad to hear the news on Mike Davis passing on but in the few times that I was able to hang out with him and talk music and art, he was truly a stand up individual. Mucho thoughts go out to his wife Angela and their kids.

Below is a great write up from Billboard about Mike Davis and his legacy.

RIP Mike Davis, long live Rock N Fuckin' Roll

As word of his Feb. 17 death spread, musical colleagues remembered MC5 bassist Michael Davis of the MC5 as a key ingredient in the group's "Kick Out the Jams" chemistry that combined ferocity with creative ambition, creating a template for punk rock during the late 60s.

"Michael was a major force in shaping the sound and attitude of Detroit's foremost band of the 1960s and beyond," said Dick Wagner, whose bands the Frost and Ursa Major hailed from the same southeast Michigan scene. "The MC5 was a Detroit music leader and scene-maker, and Michael Davis played his role as foundational driving force as the band's bass player. His place in rock history is firmly held." 

Wayne Kramer, the MC5's guitarist, said that, "Michael and I experienced so much together over our nearly fifty years of friendship. We shared great adventures when we were young and even had a few when we grew up. Despite life's twists and turns, and there were many, we maintained our connection. "I loved him dearly and told him so the last time we spoke."

Ted Nugent, whose Amboy Dukes tread the same territory, noted that, "The MC5 were such a powerful musical/spirit force to reckon with, and so very influential to all who witnessed their might, that it is a sad day when half of their incredible rhythm section is gone. Michael was a dedicated musician and a good man. In our Motor City musical wind, he will always be alive and kickin' out the jams."

Davis, 68, died in Chico, Calif., after being hospitalized during the past month with liver disease. His wife, Angela, announced his death on Feb. 18. He's the third member of the MC5 to pass away, following singer Rob Tyner in 1991 and guitarist Fred Smith in 1994.

Davis was studying fine arts at Wayne State University when he dropped out of school to join the MC5, replacing the group's original bassist Pat Burrows. He played on all three of the group's albums and stayed with the band until it ended in 1972. He took part in a 1992 tribute concert to Tyner in Detroit and was part of the DKT/MC5 with Kramer and drummer Dennis "Machine Gun" Thompson as well as guest musicians.

"It was always like a huge fantasy that there would be another day in the sun," Davis said when the group began touring in 2004. We've been sitting on the sidelines watching the legendary status of the MC5 grow over the decades.

Now it's not a fantasy anymore. The call is out. People want to see the real deal, and they want the MC5, or what's left of it, to show up in their town and play.

"I'm just happy to carry on the thing that I started."

Between the MC5 and DKT/MC5, Thompson played in the bands Destroy All Monsters and, after moving to Arizona, in Blood Orange and Rich Hopkins & Luminarios. He also worked as a producer and, after surviving a May 2006 motorcycle accident in Los Angeles, set up the Music Is Revolution Foundation support public school music programs. He had also returned to painting in recent years.

"(The MC5) really was a band, so everyone contributed -- Michael as much as anyone else," said Scott Morgan, who led the Rationals and once lived at Davis' house in Detroit. "He was a really solid bass player and a totally good guy."

Destroy All Monsters frontwoman Niagra says Davis was recruited for that band by the late Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton. Davis, according to Niagra, "was sly and funny, rock 'n' roll savvy and witty with lots of energy. A true Gemini....But like most musicians, he wasn't really a tough. It was a convenient pose, a test and a game. He was suave and charming, a drifter and a grifter. He was always gentlemanly to me." 

Niagra adds that Davis "used to put his amp on like 10 just for practice. The guys made me tell him to turn down. He made them nervous."

Davis also played in Sillies leader Scott Campbell's band during the late 80s, and Campbell remembered that "Mike's abilities as a bassist barely scratched the surface in the MC5...Mike was the one guy I knew and played with who could dance around the fundamental of a chord and never lose sight of the actual melody. He could complicate the hell out of a bass line, and it always worked in the context of the song."

Iggy Pop, whose Stooges paired with the MC5 as the twin titans of the Michigan rock scene at that time, posted a simple "R.I.P. Brother" on his Facebook page, while Johnny "Bee" Badanjek, drummer for Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels and the Rockets, wrote "We had many good times on the road together. You were part of the Detroit Music Scene and all the World knows it. Much love. God bless you." The Romantics' Mike Skill addressed his Facebook note to the MC5 in general, noting that "you guys were a huge influence...I grew up with your music...Thank you."

David Draiman, frontman of the hard rock band Disturbed, was among the scores of fans who posted Twitter messages about Davis' passing.

Davis is survived by his wife, their three sons and a daughter from a previous marriage. Funeral and memorial plans have not yet been announced.

She Rides US Tour Dates

She Rides US Spring Tour 2012

3/2/12 Providence, RI @ local 121 w/mastehead & the silks
3/3/12 NYC @ ABC no RIO (day show)
3/3/12 Brooklyn, NY @ the archeron
3/4/12 Philly, PA @kung fu necktie w/ halo of snakes, american speedway
3/5/12 Raleigh, NC @ deep elm
3/6/12 Fayetteville, NC @ the black cat
3/7/12 Greensboro, NC @ TBA
3/8/12 Atlanta, GA @ The Highlander w/ campaign & the party pirates
3/9/12 HELP! somewhere between atlanta and New Oleans
3/10/12 New Orleans, LA @ HELP!
3/11/12 Off to hang/Baton Rouge, LA/anywhere along RT 10 @ HELP
3/12/12 Anywhere between NOLA and Houston @ HELP
3/13/12 houston, TX @ TBA
3/14/12 SXSW @ we're available/going to see a storm of light
3/15/12 SXSW @ the annex 1808
3/16/12 SXSW @ we're available/going to hot water music
3/17/12 SXSW @ we're available/going to see torche
3/18/12 El paso, TX @ sleepless nights (houseshow)
3/19/12 Tucson, AZ @ HELP!!!!
3/20/12 Tucson, AZ @ HELP!!!
3/21/12 Phoenix, AZ @ Wallstreet 
3/22/12 San diego, CA @ bar 11
3/23/12 Los angeles, CA @ dollhut
3/24/12 Los angeles, CA @ redwood bar and grill
3/25/12 Fresno, CA @ HELP!
3/26/12 Las Vegas, NV @ HELP!/day off to party
3/27/12 Flagstaff, AZ @ HELP!
3/28/12 Albuquerque, NM @ amped
3/29/12 Amarillo, TX @ TBA warehouse
3/30/12 Tulsa, OK @ Downtown lounge
3/31/12 Decatur, IL @ Donnies Homespun w/soy city stranglers
4/1/12 Columbus, OH @ The shrunken head
4/2/12 Cleveland, OH @ now that's class
4/3/12 buffalo, NY @ TBA/HELP!
4/4/12 Albany, NY @ valentine's
4/5/12 Pittsfield, MA @ TBA
4/6/12 Springfield, MA @ HELP!
4/7/12 Wallingford, CT @ cherry st station w/ flesh hammer

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How Do Carburetors Work?

So ya dig messing around with vintage motors and rides, well how much do ya know about a carburetor's functions? Don't lie, ya probably know about as much as the rest of us and are online looking at ways to fix the gas problems you are encountering with vacuum leaks, cheap gas or gunked up jets, haha! No matter how much we know, we can still never know enough when it comes to the basic principles of an air and gas mix to make your motor fire efficiently. 

We have cut our teeth on many styles of carburetors from tinkering with lawn motors, tractors, motorcycles and old v8's. After coming across this article over on Popular Hot Rodding we knew it might help to dispel many myths about tuning carburetors. This article in particular focuses on carbs for hot rods but take the general principles and apply them to bikes as well. 

Carburetors removed from 1979 cb650 for cleaning, notice all the gunk on the floats? © Rusty Knuckles 2012

Slow and main jets from 1979 cb650 for cleaning © Rusty Knuckles 2012

Carburetors removed from 1979 cb650 for cleaning © Rusty Knuckles 2012

Some stories are so obvious and necessary that it's difficult to identify the need. Surely everybody knows what a Q-jet looks like and how to tell it apart from an old Carter or a Holley 4150. "Not so fast, Mr. Smarty Pants Editor," you might say. "Don't take so much for granted." Hard to believe, but a carburetor hasn't been placed atop a new production car or truck since 1988. That's 20 years ago, folks. To put it into perspective, a kid who graduated high school in 1988, then got a job as a line mechanic at a new car dealer after Vo-Tech training, could conceivably be a 20-year veteran without ever having been paid to turn the idle screws on a Holley. That puts things in a whole new perspective. Then there's the guy who only knows Holley carb architecture (which includes Barry Grant, QFT, and many other smaller manufacturers), never thinking to try a new Edelbrock or a Sean Murphy Q-jet.

To another point: We'll be generically referring to carbs here as "Holley," "Quadrajet," and "Carter." There are many manufacturers that use the Holley architecture, so using the term "Holley" is strictly a convenience to keep the reader from getting confused. The term "Carter" is essentially the same case, though current Carter carburetor architecture is strictly all Edelbrock these days. The Rochester Quadrajet is out of production but is currently available from several sources only as a rebuild. Our thanks to Sean Murphy for providing one of his seriously refurbished units.

The idea here isn't to compare the pros or cons of one carburetor architecture over another, but to do a straightforward walk-around of the three major types and to show you where to "turn the dials," so to speak. Maybe after reading this, you'll want to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.-Johnny Hunkins

The last thing the world needs is another carb versus EFI story, so we'll spare you the rehashed and inconclusive monotony. What the collective hot rodding community can use is back-to-basics carb tech. Despite its perceived simplicity, meeting the changing fueling demands of a motor- from idle to cruising to WOT-strictly through mechanical methods requires a complex device. The maze of fuel and air passages that constitute a carburetor is hardly intuitive in terms of functionality, and basic carb tuning requires understanding how it all comes together. Furthermore, Holley (aka modular), Carter (now Edelbrock), and Quadrajet carbs all take different approaches to performing the same task. To help those less familiar get up to speed, we'll cover the basics of how carbs work, reveal simple tuning tips, and divulge the differences between major carburetor platforms.

This cutaway of a Barry Grant Demon carb clearly illustrates the atomization process. Fuel from the float bowl passes through the main jet and enters the emulsion tube. The fuel is emulsified by air entering the emulsion tube through the air bleeds. View Related Article

How Carbs Work 
The principle of carburetion is really quite simple. In liquid form, gasoline does not burn and therefore needs to be vaporized. Through an elaborate network of internal air and fuel passages that rely on rudimentary physics, carburetors introduce atomized fuel into the air stream above the intake manifold plenum, which then vaporizes into a gaseous state by the time it reaches the intake valves.

Fuel is pumped into the bowls through the needle-and-seat assembly, and then drawn into the intake through the pressure differential created by the venturi effect. The hourglass shape of a carburetor's venturi increases air speed in the section where it necks down, creating a low-pressure area. It is this reduction in air pressure that enables fuel to be pushed from the fuel bowls into the intake manifold. "Think of a carburetor as a fuel injection system that operates at 1 psi of pressure," explains Judson Massingill of the School of Automotive Machinists. "Everyone thinks manifold vacuum pulls fuel out of the carburetor, but since manifold vacuum drops to zero at WOT, it's the pressure differential that's doing all the work. Fuel bowls have air vents in them, which means that there's 14.7 psi (normal atmospheric pressure) of pressure pushing down on the fuel. The venturi effect reduces pressure to about 13.5 psi at the manifold, and that 1 psi of pressure differential is all it takes to push fuel through the carb." Moreover, boosters in the venturi, which act as a venturi within a venturi, further increases the pressure drop (carb signal) without significantly compromising airflow.

Even so, the fuel droplets would be too large for effective atomization without a means of introducing air into the mix through emulsification, and that's where the air bleeds come in. Emulsion tubes carry fuel from the fuel bowls to the venturis and preatomize the fuel by mixing it with air channeled in through the air bleeds. The effect is similar to drinking through a straw that has a hole in it. Ensuring thorough atomization, and therefore complete vaporization of fuel, yields more thorough combustion, increased power, and reduced emissions.

Unlike many industrial motors, the load and rpm a car engine experiences is in a constant state of flux, whether it's idling, part-throttle cruising, or at WOT at the dragstrip. Meeting these fueling demands through mechanical means require several networks, or circuits, of air and fuel passages. These consist of the idle circuit, primary and secondary circuits, fuel enrichment circuit, and the accelerator pump circuit. As its name suggests, the purpose of the idle circuit is to provide fuel at idle. Likewise, the primary circuit delivers fuel in proportion to the throttle angle of the primaries, while the secondary circuit initiates additional fuel flow once the secondaries kick in. "While it's true that changing the tune on one circuit can affect another, each circuit can be individually tuned to effectively meet the needs of the engine's operating range that it affects," says Victor Moore of Barry Grant. "However, this means that there are often several ways to address a single issue."

Carburetion would not be possible if not for the venturi effect. As air travels through a carburetor, it speeds up in the section where the venturi necks down in diameter. This creates a low-pressure area, which allows fuel to be drawn into the carburetor.

The fuel enrichment circuit, or power valve, adds fuel only at WOT, and is typically found on the primary side of the carb. This allows running smaller jets for crisp cruising and throttle response and adds extra fuel only when needed. At idle and part-throttle, manifold vacuum keeps the valve shut. However, when manifold vacuum drops at WOT, the power valve opens up and adds the equivalent of 7 to 10 jet sizes of fuel. "With a typical Holley, that means you can have 72 jets up front and 80 jets in the rear so it cruises real nice going down the road. But when you go WOT it's like having 80 jets in the front and back," Judson explains. "Everyone wants to block the power valve, but if you block it and then go faster, that just means you were 7 to 10 jet sizes too rich in the first place."

The accelerator pump circuit is akin to a mechanical fuel injection system and is the only circuit on a carb that is not affected by airflow. It is designed to help speed up fuel flow when the intake charge stalls under heavy loads by providing a small squirt of fuel. "People think that when you floor the throttle and the motor bogs, it's because the carb dumped too much fuel into the motor, but the exact opposite is true," says Judson. "What's actually happening is the volume of air entering the carb is so great that the carb signal drops to where the air stalls and no fuel can be delivered. The accelerator pump combats this lean condition by squirting fuel until air speed and carb signal picks up again, easing the transition between light and heavy throttle."

Carb Sizing 

A quick Google search will find several formulas that recommend a specific carb size based on factors such as engine displacement and rpm range. While they're better than nothing, they offer ballpark estimates at best. "If you have cylinder heads that move a lot of air and a cam that takes advantage of that airflow, you need a much larger carburetor than those charts recommend,"explains Judson. "However, I fyou have factory heads that aren't very good, you're better off with a carb that's smaller than the charts recommend."

Regardless of the carb platform, all that have fuel bowls have vent tubes. The pressure differential between the air in the venturi and the ambient air pressure pushing down on the fuel through the vent tubes is what sets fuel flow in motion from the bowls to the boosters. Covering the vent tubes while a motor is running will kill it immediately.

Perhaps the best way to dial in carburetor sizing is through trial and error with a vacuum gauge. While cylinder heads are flowed at 28 inches of water, carburetors are flowed at 1.5 inches of Hg, which equates to roughly 20 inches of water. Consequently, if a motor never pulls 1.5 inches of vacuum, then the carburetor never flows at its peak potential. According to Judson, on a typical street/ strip motor, it's ideal to shoot for 1.5 inches of vacuum at Wot.

Start with a carb on the small end of the spectrum-such as a 650-cfm unit-hook up a vacuum gauge to the intake manifold, and run the car up to peak rpm. "If it pulls, say, 2.5 inches, you know that the carb is too restrictive,and you need to step up in size," Judson explains. "Let's say you ran the same test with an 800-cfm carb and only pulled 1 inch of vacuum at WOT. Then you might have picked up some horsepower up top at the expense of low- and midrange power, in which case you should size back down to somewhere in between." Furthermore, a carb that is too large won't show any kind of reading on the gauge, which means it isn't presenting any restriction in flow whatsoever -most likely resulting in poor low-rpm metering. It's better to err on the small side than the large side when it comes to carb sizing, but shooting for 1.5 inches of vacuum at WOT will typically yield the best compromise between peak horsepower and driveability.

Jet Sizing 
Understanding how jets regulate the air/fuel ratio is rather simple. Larger jets (with bigger numbers) richen the mixture, while smaller jets lean it out. However, jet sizes don't necessarily correlate to a specific diameter. For instance, a 40 Holley jet has a .040-inch diameter, but a 70 Holley jet has a 0.073-inch diameter. That's because all jets are numbered based on what they flow, not their drill size diameter., Just remember: The bigger the jet, the greater the flow.

The needle-and-seat assembly and float control the fuel level in the bowl much like a toilet. Fuel enters the bowl through the seat, which gradually raises the pivoted float arm. As fuel level rises, the float arm pushes up on the needle, which slides into the seat and seals off the fuel passage when the bowl reaches maximum capacity.

Judson's Six Tips For Carb Nirvana 

1 "Everyone wants to put bigger jets in a carb because they have a hot rod and think more fuel equates to more power. The exact opposite is true. Lean is mean. The average carb is engineered on the rich side to save you, so fine tuning usually involves removing fuel from a motor, not adding it."

2 "Bigger isn't better. Don't just go out and install a bigger accelerator pump, a bigger shooter, and a bigger needleand- seat assembly. Carb manufacturers already know how much fuel a carb flows, and the factory setup is fine for 99 percent of motors out there."

3 "People think carb gurus can get more power out of a motor because they make the carb flow more air, but that's not true. Where they get the power is in flattening the fuel curve from minimum to maximum rpm."

4 "Never start out by decreasing the jet size, or you'll risk burning a motor up. First, up-jet and make sure the motor loses power just to be safe, then startreducing jet sizes. As a rule of thumb, go up one jet size, and if you lose power, down-jet by two jet sizes."

5 "If you're running at the dragstrip, gauge your losses or gains based on trap speed, not e.t."

6 "Carbs work great as long as the fuel bowls are full. If your fuel system can't keep up, nothing you do to the carburetor means a thing, so it's paramount to have a good fuel system."

Vacuum vs. Mechanical 

A carburetor's secondary throttle blades open up to provide additional airflow under heavy acceleration. This can be accomplished mechanically or via vacuum assist, and each has its pros and cons. For heavy vehicles with tall gears, it's generally accepted that a vacuumsecondary carburetor provides superior streetability and gas mileage. This is because the secondaries open up gradually as engine vacuum in the primary venturis increases with rpm. Mechanical secondaries, on the other hand, are directly linked to the gas pedal. Typically, mechanical secondaries will begin to open at 40 to 45 percent throttle. They have a reputation for "hitting harder" than a vacuum-secondary carb at the expense of driveability and are better suited for more serious engine combinations. Additionally, some (but not all) mechanical-secondary carbs feature a second accelerator pump, so some (but not all) mechanical-secondary carbs are double-pumpers. Despite their reputations, vacuum-secondary carbs can support massive horsepower, and many enthusiasts flog mechanicalsecondary carbs with great success on the street. The introduction of Barry Grant's vacuum secondary King Demon (4500 series) recently is a good example of this.

Easily accessible dual float bowls, power valves, and jets make the modular Holley-style carburetor one of the easiest to tune. This unit is a Barry Grant Mighty Demon. The dual accelerator pumps, in conjunction with mechanical secondaries, allow transition from part- to full-throttle without bogging. Few carbs have the street cred of the Holley-style double-pumper.

A detailed guide to carb tuning is beyond the scope of this story. Dozens of books have been written on the topic, but the question is, is it even worth bothering with? "Carb manufacturers have done an incredible job of engineering their products right out of the box," Judson explains. "All these bracket racers and street squirrels want to tinker with them, but they mess them up more than they ever improve them. As long as you size carbs properly, they're so good out of the box, it's unreal. Even if you're a great carb tuner, you might only get another 1 percent out of a motor."

A trick feature of the Mighty Demon is the annular discharge booster. The setup yields a finer mist of fuel for improved atomization and throttle response. Boosters are easily replaced if altering the signal strength is required. The greater the booster's restriction to flow, the stronger the carb signal-and vice-versa.

Nonetheless, there is a time and place for altering the factory's calibrations. "Out-of-the-box carbs are fine for street/strip motors, but if you're building a race motor, you need a race carb," says Dave Braswell of Braswell Carburetion. "Race cars operate in environments that street cars never see. For instance, since drag cars launch so hard, we've developed carbs that can deliver fuel at 3 g's without uncovering the main jets."

Granted, that's an extreme scenario, but where most gains can be picked up is in the fuel curve. Production carburetors are intentionally tuned to run slightly rich at high rpm for safety. Flattening out the curve is best left to a pro, but doing so can yield dividends. "Every engine wants a different fuel curve, and the fuel port passages in a carb are like the cross-sectional area of the ports in a cylinder head," explains Patrick James of ProSystems Carburetors. "We modify the fuel passages to make the emulsion process more active and custom-tailor the diameter of the fuel ports and fuel curve to each application. There's more to it than simply adding more fuel; it must be introduced in a burnable fashion."

Holley Carbs 

Numbers aren't always an indicator of quality, but the Holley modular fourbarrel is the most popular performance carburetor in the world. George and Earl Holley started building carburetors in 1904, and the company has since produced over 100 million units. After introducing a pair of 370-cfm fourbarrels in the early-'50s-Models 2140 and 4000-Holley launched its legendary 4150 model in 1957. Amazingly, that same basic design architecture has been chugging away for over 50 years, with continual refinements increasing airflow from 400 cfm in 1957 to more than 1,000 cfm today.

The Holley-style modular design offers easy fuel level-adjustment, and it's accomplished similarly to this Demon carb cutaway. The needle and seat can be externally adjusted by simply turning this screw.

The 4150's big brother-the model 4500 Dominator-was developed by Holley for Ford in the late-'60s to assist the company in its quest for NASCAR and Trans Am racing glory. The original Dominator flowed 1,150 cfm and was used on Ford's 429- and 302ci race motors. Today, the Dominator is available in flow ratings ranging from 750 to 1,050 cfm and is the carburetor of choice for hoards of hardcore racers.

In response to the changing needs of the OEs due to smog concerns, Holley has introduced countless carburetor models over the years. These include emission-friendly models, and even carbs designed as high-performance Quadrajet replacements. Nevertheless, the 4150 and 4500 series carbs are unrivaled in their popularity and street cred. Over the years, various manufacturers (such as Barry Grant, Brasswell, and QFT) have introduced their own product lines based roughly on the Holley modular architecture.

Quadrajet Carbs 

Vilified by the masses yet embraced by experienced carburetor tuners, the Rochester Quadrajet has gotten a bad wrap over the years. Dubbed the "Quadrajunk" by the uninitiated due to its complexity, the Q-jet is quite possibly the most versatile and advanced carb ever built. "Since it was designed as a GM production carb when emissions laws were getting stricter, it had to, be very accurate," says Sean Murphy of Sean Murphy Induction. "When tuned properly, a Q-jet is hard to beat. Fuel mileage, top-end power, and low-end torque-it can do it all."

Located in the metering block, the power valve is easily accessible and replaceable. Power valves are rated at the inches of manifold vacuum at which they open. For instance, if an engine pulls 7.5 inches at idle, the carb should be fitted with a numerically lower (2.5-,3.5-, 4.5-, 5.0-, or 6.5) power valve to prevent running overly rich.

As with EFI, it's the Q-jet's precision that can make it finicky at times. Although Holleys and Carters can be extremely forgiving of tuning errors, this isn't the case with the Q-jet. "Due to its precision and accuracy, Q-jets won't let you be nearly as sloppy with tuning compared to the other carburetor platforms out there. You can't take a Q-jet that was running well on one motor and stick it on another motor and expect it to run right. Even small changes in compression or cam can really upset the tuning."

Built by the Rochester Products division of GM, the Quadrajet first appeared in 1965. Designated the 4M, it featured small-bore primaries for improved throttle response and fuel economy and large-bore secondaries to meet fueling demands under heavy acceleration. During its reign of over 20 years, the venerable Quadrajet was used by every GM division. It survived well into the '80s, even implementing computercontrolled engine management over many of its functions, until finally being phased out in favor of EFI.

Large throttle angles push the accelerator pump's lever against its diaphragm to initiate fuel enrichment when throttle angle increases. The pump can be tuned with interchangeable pump cams to alter its fuel curve.

As a production piece, the Q-jet was never designed to be a highperformance carb. However, all Q-jets flow a minimum of 750 cfm, and some flowed a very respectable 800 cfm. Furthermore, NHRA Stock & Super Stock racers have been pushing well over 600 hp with Q-jets for many years. The Q-jet was continually refined over the years, and the first major redesign came in 1975. Called the M4M, o rmodified 4M, it boasted a larger fuel bowl capacity, a revised adjustable part-throttle (APT) system, and larger primary bores. The Q-jet went relatively unchanged until the middle of the '80 model year, when it implemented electronic controls and was dubbed the E4M (Electronic 4M). Consequently, the '75-'80 castings are the most coveted by hot rodders.

Carter Carbs 

Noted for its simplicity, reliability, and adaptability to a myriad of applications, the original Will Carter fourbarrel (WCFB) carburetor dates back to 1952 when it was first introduced on Buick straight-eight engines. It was a cutting-edge piece for its time, used as factory equipment on C1 Corvettes and Chrysler Hemis, but increasing power levels of the era demanded higher air- flow capacities. To meet these needs, the Carter AFB (Aluminum Four-Barrel) was introduced in 1957 and was used as an OE carb by Chrysler, Ford, and GM throughout the years. The AFB earned a reputation for potent off-the-line punch, and engines such as the Pontiac 421 Super Duty-which used a pair of AFBs-helped reinforce that image. Although Carter didn't rate the flow of its carbs, the AFB is believed to have flowed between 450 to 625 cfm.

Idle screws located on the metering blocks can often cure a rough-idling motor. Turning the screw clockwise leans the mixture, while turning it counterclockwise richens the mixture. However, in certain emission "reverseidle" carbs, the exact opposite is the case.

By 1966, the AFB was superseded by the AVS (Air Valve Secondary) carb and was used primarily by Chrysler. The AFB and AVS look almost identical from the outside, which is partly why the AVS never gained widespread acceptance by hot rodders. "The biggest difference between the AFB and the AVS is the AVS has a spring-loaded secondary air valve as opposed to the AFB's counterweighted air valve," explains Smitty Smith of Edelbrock. "The AVS' air valve is adjustable to better suit heavy vehicles, whereas the AFB's valve is not adjustable." Another key difference is the AVS' lack of secondary booster venturis, although Edelbrock has revised the original design by adding boosters to its Thunder Series AVS carburetors.

Long after the AFB had been phased out, Carter brought it back in the mid- '70s as the Model 9000, updated with an electric choke, emissions provisions, and OE throttle-linkage compatibility. Due to the rise of factory EFI in the mid-'80s, Carter lost significant market share and was sold several times before being acquired by Edelbrock. Today, the company offers AFB and AVS carbs, with flow ratings up to 800 cfm, with both square-flange and spread-bore bolt patterns.