When L.A. hard rockers Kicking Harold, whose tune “Gasoline” could be heard on the reality show “Overhaulin’,” descend on South Bay Customs on Saturday, it won’t be to get their Harleys fixed.
Yes, in recent years, the El Segundo customs bike and car shop has moonlighted as a live music venue, hosting local acts and theme nights such as “The Sinners Sermon,” where artists in bigger national bands execute side projects and acoustic sets. Steve Soto of The Adolescents, Jonny Two Bags of Social Distortion, Russ Rankin of Only Crime and Zander Schloss of the Circle Jerks are among the L.A. punk alums who’ve performed there.
South Bay Customs owner Michael Schreiber has worked in the motorcycles and hot rod industry almost his entire life, putting in a solid decade at corporate Harley-Davidson before opening South Bay Customs in 2007.
Five years ago, he had what he thought was the ingenious idea to start booking local bands “on a zero marketing budget, thinking that would translate into motorcycle business. Surprisingly, the music side took off with a life on its own.”
In terms of gaining music world cred, “I understood that it would take time,” Schreiber continued. “You really have to earn it and I knew that going in.”
Schreiber believes his dues have finally paid off “in the last year for sure. We’ve been getting a lot of attention.
“The reason [these music nights] exist is because I grew up a huge live music fan. The older I got, the more frustrated I got with venues that are not based on the music.”
With a hard rock sound akin to Stone Temple Pilots or Alice in Chains, the grungy Kicking Harold benefits from Schreiber’s rock fandom.
“The one thing that brings everyone is there’s no attitude here. Creating a super, safe comfortable setting on a Friday or Saturday night,” Schreiber said.
So Harold — no kicking, OK?
— Michael Aushenker