Krit Campbell, to my surprise, just sent me an article she wrote about Q-Ball and his book “Living the Life”, photos and poetry about the bikers lifestyle. This is an incredible book! I met Q-Ball in Washington, DC for Rolling Thunder’s Ride to the Wall. This is a Christmas Gift that your biker friends will keep. Trust me! Get this for your biker for Christmas. It is not something that will be re-gifted or thrown away. To order the book go to http://vtwinbiker.com/Living_The_Life/living_the_life.html
Here is Krit’s article…
Much to my excitement I received an email thru Alpha Biker’s Known Associate Network, from a gentleman nick-named Q-Ball. In his email he told me about a book he had published titled, “Living The Life”, which was a compilation of photographs he had taken over the years, accompanied by poems written by Sorez The Scribe. One look at the cover, which shows a dude riding on the beach flying his sidecar and I knew this was going to be a good f*king book! Suffice it to say my interest was piqued! From there he and I were caught in what seemed to be a never ending game of phone tag, until this weekend when we actually got a chance to talk.
I caught up to him after he had a great day of riding in Maryland, while he was enjoying a beer at his house. He told me that in this time of his life he considers 3 things before he heads out on a ride; 1) Wind, 2) Rain, 3) Temperature- and that there has to be two in favorable condition for him to hit the road. I LOVED this! I plan to quote this guideline- and often!
Q-Ball is the quintessential laid-back biker, he has got that very subtle yet highly detectable, “I’ve been there and done it, or at least seen it done”, kind of vibe that I find very comforting in people. After the first 2 minutes of talking I felt like I had known him for years, and after 15 minutes, we think we actually met post 9-11 at a rally in NY State! Q-Ball is a true artist, a photographer, a Graduate from the Maryland College Institute of Art, creator of www.VtwinBiker.com, a husband and proud father of two. He kind of stumbled into his “forte” when, over 30 years ago, an officer of a 1% motorcycle club asked him to photograph a national mandatory run and a funeral for a high ranking club member. Q-Ball went and recorded this event, leaving the film with the club. This “assignment” changed his path, so to speak, and he has been photographing old school, hard-core bikers ever since.
Q-Ball was nice enough to send me a copy of his book, “Living The Life” and I can honestly say that it is by far one of the best photojournalistic peeks inside of the old school biker lifestyle that I have ever had a chance to peruse, and the biker poetry is nothing less than I expected from Sorez, who is considered to be one of the Godfathers of Biker Poetry’s written word. The front cover draws you in like bees to honey, and if you think that cover photograph is the climax of the photography in this book you are sadly mistaken. In two words, this book is a MUST HAVE for any motorcycle enthusiast. Period. To say that this book is a conversation piece to leave on the coffee table, would not do it’s content justice- as this editorial style book shares with the reader an honest depiction of real bikers actually, “Living The Life”; being it good, or bad, pretty or ugly- the “Life” is what it is.
Before I got a chance to read Living The Life, quite a few well-known people in the motorcycle industry had a chance to give it a read and here is what they had to say…
… “Doug Barber’s (a.k.a. Q-Ball’s) photos remind us of a time when the bikes, and the people that rode them were the real deal.” By: Todd Ingram, Editorial Director, Iron Horse Magazine
… “Living The Life is the “IMAX” of the Biker Nation. Sorez’s poetic cadence draws you into Q-Ball’s lens where you are not just looking at some pictures, you are on the bike, riding with the pack, or just taking a solo run into the wind.” By: MarySusan Williams-Migneault, RoadHousePress
Impressively, there are some pictures included in this book containing no motorcycles, and, yet, are still about motorcycling. The small child on the bike dreaming of rolling with the “big boys”, or the candid portrait style photo of an old biker who, much weary from the wear of his life, had that happy twinkle in his eyes, and you could tell he was content with his own journey. One of my favorites is titled, “Orlando” which, for which Rusty Baker, from the Susquehanna Art Museum, had this to say: “There is something remarkable about this shot. Never mind the picture is hip enough to be an album cover for The Band. There is rest. There is dirt. There is dirt you don’t care about because the rest is better, laughter is better, PBR [Pabst Blue Ribbon] or something somebody has twisted up is better.” This photo reminds me of my 1st 9-11 ride, and how I felt at the end of each grueling day of side by side riding with my friend Laurie Ferriero. We were tired and sore, yet happy, with an unquenchable thirst, happily sitting outside on the ground shooting the shit with other bikers. We should all have memories like that- and if you can’t recall any then you should immediately get off your ass and go make some! God willing, I plan to continue making more myself!
Here are a few Questions I had for Q-Ball, because I like to think I have an inquiring mind- or as Joe puts it- I am just plain nosey!
Krit: What or Who influenced you to start riding? And at what age?
Q-Ball: Adolescents & testosterone. I was 16.
2) What are you riding now? Do you ride “local” or still “hit the road” on long trips?
I am riding a hardtail chopper that I built in 2001. I ride as often and as far as time and money allows. A couple of years back I rode 1000 miles in 16 hours straight through to Canada. Most of my trips now are shorter.
Krit: How did you meet Sorez?
Q-Ball: I met Sorez through my website www.VtwinBiker.com when he submitted his poetry for me to publish. I took an immediate liking to his work. In fact I created a whole section dedicated to his poetry. We have been friends ever since, though we have only gotten together twice in person.
Krit: What made you decide to do your site www.VtwinBiker.com ?
Q-Ball: Being part of the biker community, it gave me the opportunity to share ideas, and my photography with others. It also gave me an answer to everyone’s question “What are you going do with them photos?”.
Krit: You stated in your intro that these photos are 1970’s and prior… do you still have an extensive collection of recent years that you plan to show or publish in the future?
Q-Ball: I’ve got a shit load of photos. I wasn’t planning on publishing “Living the Life”. I just like to ride, photograph, and make friends. As far a future plans, who knows?
Krit: Besides on the www.VtwinBiker.com site, where (if anywhere) can this book be purchased?
Q-Ball: It can be purchase from Sorez at www.sorezthescribe.com, or my publisher Lowside Syndicate at www.lowsidesyn.com It is also in selected independent bookstores worldwide. Believe it or not Japan is our biggest importer. It will never be in Amazon, or any chain bookstores.
Krit: I have shown this book to guests at our home (all bikers) last week, and what i really liked was that each and every person loved them all, and the accompanying poetry, but each individual’s favorite picture was different from everyone else’s. I guess there is a photo for everybody’s taste in this book. Was that your intention from the start?
Q-Ball: I reckon, “Living The Life” is a non literal look into the life of hard core bikers. Allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions from the material presented.
I think it is SO important, especially in this failing (I don’t give a crap what the politicians say) economy to support each other, especially fellow bikers who are doing such a great job of preserving the history of riding. Q-Ball is one of these old school, and highly talented bikers. Please join me in showing your support, as you will not be in the least disappointed and will definitely be reminded of some of your own memories through these photos. Not to mention the conversations this book will inspire, because friends have dinner and leave, biker friends eat then exchange stories
and laugh for hours. As Q-ball says to others, I say back to my new friend- “Long May You Ride!”
Once again, this column has allowed me to expand my personal, artistic and literary horizons- and most importantly- make a really cool new friend. And for this I am thankful! I have got to get out to Maryland with Joe, because Q-Ball promised to fill me with crabs! And, I LOVE crabs!! LOL!!!!
Till next month-