Welcome to Racerhead on a very busy, news-filled week. The Anaheim opener was last weekend, of course, and we’ve pretty much been covering it from every angle all week long. It was a historic win for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson; an expected one for Yamalube/Star Racing’s Cooper Webb; a solid first night for Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, HRC Honda’s Cole Seely, RCH Racing’s Ken Roczen (after scrambling from a heat race crash and a poor start), and a comfortable and fast Chad Reed, who looked like he’s once again turned the clock back.
It was a downright bad night for Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart and JGRMX Yamaha’s Weston Peick. Of those last two, at least one won’t be racing tomorrow night in San Diego—Peick was fined $5,000 and suspended for one race by FIM/AMA referee John Gallagher, a punishment that might be unpopular with Weston’s fans (and Vince Friese haters) but one that I think fits the violation. Weston wrote an apology to his team, his fans, and others, but not Friese—and I probably wouldn’t have either. No matter, the officials will be watching Vince a little closer, as well as anyone out there banging like that.
The Stewart thing is much more complicated. He suffered a blow to the head after Dungey tried to cut down hard on him early in the main. He hit the Angel Stadium floor hard, knocking him out cold and causing an immediate (and wise) red flag to the main event. Stewart did not go back out, and he’s been a question mark all week long. Matthes has more below, and it sounds like James will try to answer the bell this weekend. I don’t know the severity of the concussion James incurred, and as Asterisk’s Eddie Casillas wrote on VitalMX, every person reacts differently to such a head injury, and every injury takes a different length of time to properly heal. If there’s anything Stewart can take solace in here, it’s that he looked very good on the bike, he was in the mix, and he can still win the championship—just like Ricky Carmichael did in 2002 when he threw his Honda CR250 away at Anaheim and DNF’d.
Stewart was joined on the injured list by Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM’s Jessy Nelson, last week’s 250SX Class runner-up, who took a digger while practicing this week. Details have been hard to come by, as the team has not made any public statements, but we’re hearing the crash was big, and we hope Jessy is okay.
It’s weird having two guys down all of the sudden (and RJ Hampshire still on the mend since that brutal Red Bull Straight Rhythm crash) with concussions, given that the season is just one week old. But it’s part of the collective realization that seemingly all sports are having about just how harmful head injuries can be. Take the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Antonio Brown: he got blasted late in last Saturday’s playoff game with the Cincinnati Bengals and was carted off the field. The Bengals’ Adam “Pac-Man” Jones implied that he was faking it. Turns out he wasn’t—Brown will miss Sunday’s playoff game with the Denver Broncos because he’s now in the same type of concussion protocol that AMA SX/MX uses and has to pass the ImPACT test before he can return to action. Obviously, he did not, so he’s out. The same will happen with Stewart and Nelson—they will have to be tested before they will be cleared to race.
And then there was the breaking-and-entering-and-cleaning-out of the BTOSports.com KTM rig sometime Sunday night in Murrieta, California. While they didn’t lose the race bikes of Davi Millsaps, Justin Brayton, and Andrew Short, they did lose about $200,000 in equipment. Not a great way to start the season, but at least tomorrow night’s race is close to many of their sponsors and companies like Fly Racing can get them new gear in a hurry. But if you happen to see someone dressed like a member of the Butler brothers’ team around the Inland Empire this weekend, you might want to let the authorities know.
Beyond that, I thought Anaheim 1 was a great event and a great start for the 2016 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship. The Dirt Wurx crew deserves an early pay bonus for doing a masterful job rescuing the track after all that rain (not to mention making last weekend’s “Pro Perspective” here about muddy openers kind of pointless!) and giving us an exciting track to watch. And Feld Motor Sports in general did a lot of cool things with the opening ceremonies and videos and even the whole Pit Party experience—and the wiener dog races during intermission were hilarious! It was cool to visit with European stars like Gautier Paulin and Tommy Searle, both of whom were on hand to check it all out while on a break from their own training, and to also hear about some deals that are already taking shape for 2017 and beyond.
I did hear complaints that security was tighter than usual, but anyone who remembers what happened with the terrorist shootings last month in San Bernardino must understand that it’s the new normal now, especially so close to that attack. I imagine San Diego will be similar, but I won’t be there—I will be on the couch back here in the very cold East watching it live on Fox Sports 1 (FS1). The program starts at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. out West. Stay tuned to Racer X Online and @racerxonline on Facebook and Twitter. Live streaming coverage kicks off with Andy Bowyer, Jim Holley, and Mayra Tinajero hosting qualifying live from the Petco Park beginning at 3:50 p.m. ET/12:50 p.m. PT on Supercrosslive.com.
Okay, let’s start with Matthes….
Mini Obs on a Friday (Steve Matthes)
I definitely noticed my workload, number of texts, calls, and typing went up dramatically this past week, and I thought to myself how I better get used to it from now until September. We're back! What an opening round in Anaheim, and here now are some news and notes from the week.
Although it's not official, from what I hear and judging by James Stewart's IG post, I would expect him to line up on the Yoshimura Suzuki after taking a hard hit in the A1 main. Stew still has to pass a concussion test today but it seems he's feeling better and will be on the line. If I'm Stew, and knowing how rough my off-season has been, I'm focusing on staying upright, doing twenty laps, and taking whatever position comes with that.
We had former Pro Circuit factory Suzuki rider Austin Stroupe on the PulpMX Show this past Monday and he talked about his recent comeback to racing. Stroupe's been MIA for a few years and has had some rough years off the track. But he rediscovered motorcycles and is getting back into it. He made the main in Cincinnati on a borrowed Yamaha, and this weekend he's in Baltimore on a Kawasaki. He sounded good, said all the right things, and we wish him luck in his return to racing.
You can listen to the show here. We also had Chad Reed on where he said the number one thing he's going to work on this week is starts.
The BTOSports.com KTM team had every team's worst nightmare happen to them when their transporter was broken into outside the race shop. It wasn't a good thing by any means, but in talking to Forrest Butler, the owner, the bikes were not in there and the thieves, although taking plenty of very valuable parts, did NOT take the works WP suspension including the air shock that Davi Millsaps uses and is rare. I have a feeling the team will get some of these parts back; they have to show up somewhere and are pretty identifiable.
Speaking of Millsaps, he was pretty good at A1 and flew under the radar with an eighth. As mentioned, Davi is using the air shock on his bike, but with spring forks. That's an odd combination for sure from what we've seen, and he's hoping to get a set of WP air forks on there as soon as he can to be on an all-air system like Andrew Short uses. The hold-up is how incredibly rare the air forks are, as there are just six sets in existence.
Another guy who did pretty well at Anaheim and maybe didn't get the press he deserved was Jake Weimer. A solid twelfth for #12 was a good start, and no slight on Team Tedder, but when you look at the quality of bikes that were right in front of or behind Jake, that's a good thing. Weimer told me he worked on suspension testing this week to try to fine-tune the Kawi. I think Jake just needs a few good breaks in a race—getting a good start and staying up—and he could be hovering around the top five.
Pro Perspective: Bouncing Back (David Pingree and Jason Thomas)
Ping: Hmmm, how to bounce back from a bad opener? I like to drown myself in self-pity and loathing until at least Friday before round two. That way, when you do get out of bed and decide to wear anything but sweat pants, you really don’t have high expectations for the following race. After all, the only food you’ve eaten is delivered pizza and Macaroni and Cheese so you’re pretty sure you’ll be sick the first time your heart rate jumps above 85 again. Between that and the drinking the neck and shoulders off a bottle of whiskey before noon each day you’ve laid the groundwork for a big comeback. You’ll expect very little out of yourself and when the gate drops for round two you will either ride better than you ever have as a result of the pressure-free environment or you’ll anchor at lap nine from the booze and cheap food products you’ve consumed the previous seven days. That’s the way I did it, anyway.
JT: Bouncing back from a rough opener is usually more of a mental exercise than anything else. Sure, there are a few riders that just didn't jive whatsoever with their bike setups on a real racetrack (Kyle Chisholm, for example), but most were either just nervous or ran into unfortunate circumstances. They have now had a week to sort things out and calm down.
I never try to draw concrete conclusions from Anaheim 1, simply because it’s many times not indicative of what we will see later in the season. For instance, Ryan Dungey finished fourth last year at the opening round, and we all saw the clinic he put on as the season rolled forward. The veterans realize that just getting solid points and building confidence is the main goal leaving Angel Stadium after that first night. Yes, everyone wants to win. That's a given. Winning is great, but the points earned at Anaheim are no more valuable than the points at Toronto, Detroit, or Oakland. Keeping all of that in perspective is key to rebounding this week and entering San Diego with an upbeat outlook.
THE NUMBER: 15 (Andras Hegyi)
Thanks to the Yamalube/Star Racing's Cooper Webb, Yamaha has won the West Region opener for first time since 2001. The defending champion started this season in a much better way than he did last year, when he fell and was only seventh at the checkered flag. This time he came in the heavy favorite and got himself a solid victory. The last time a Yamaha rider won this race, it was Ernesto Fonseca in his debut with the game-changing Yamaha of Troy YZ250F. Amazing to think it took fifteen years for that bike to win this race again!
Also, it had been since 2008 that Yamaha even got a podium at the West Region opener. That year it was none other than Jason Lawrence, just emerging as a contender in this class while also riding for Yamaha of Troy. J-Law went on to win that title over then-Suzuki rider Ryan Dungey
All told, going back to 1985, this was the sixth time a Yamaha rider won the West Region opener in whatever it's been called: 125, Lites, and now 250SX. In 1996 and '97 Kevin Windham would win at the season openers while riding a YZ125, the former held at Angel Stadium, the latter at the L.A. Coliseum (Angel Stadium was being renovated). In both seasons K-Dub would go on to become champion. In 1998 it was John Dowd's turn to win the season opener, which was held at the Los Angeles Coliseum, and he too went on to win the title.
Back in Anaheim for 1999, Yamaha of Troy's Casey Johnson was the season opener winner, though he only finished only seventh in overall after suffering a broken arm. Finally, the Costa Rican rider Ernesto Fonseca also became champion after winning the season opener in 2001.
STADIUM NEWS (DC)
There was a big NFL announcement this week about teams relocating that will ultimately have some effect on the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, though not for a few years. The news involved five different cities that have long histories with SX: Los Angeles (since 1972), Anaheim ('75), Oakland ('79), San Diego ('80), and St. Louis ('96). In a nutshell, the NFL is going to allow the existing St. Louis Rams to return to Los Angeles, where they played at the fabled Coliseum from 1946 to '79 before moving to Anaheim ('80-'94). The Rams won the NFL's approval to return to Los Angeles after their owner promised to build a brand new stadium in Inglewood, a suburb of L.A. St. Louis won the bid over the San Diego Chargers, who may or may not eventually move anyway, either as a partner in the brand new stadium or a tenant paying rent to the Rams. The Oakland Raiders, who actually were the Los Angeles Raiders from 1982 to '94, were also in this bidding process, but ended up third and likely won't move to Los Angeles.
So, after losing two teams in one year back in 1994, Los Angeles will likely have two brand new teams playing in a brand new stadium by 2019. But as they are building the most expensive stadium in history, the Rams will play in the Los Angeles Coliseum, which of course is the cradle of Supercross—Michael Goodwin held the first Superbowl of Motocross there in 1972. And when that new stadium is built, you can bet the Feld Motor Sports takes a long look at going there, too, as SX has been held all over the Los Angeles area over the years: Anaheim, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Dodgers Stadium in Chavez Ravine, the Coliseum, and someday the brand new building in Inglewood.
And one other stadium update: Daytona International Speedway's "Daytona Rising" project is pretty much complete and will debut later this month with the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona race. The race track has been under construction since July 2013, with $400 million worth of renovations. The HQ of NASCAR first opened in 1959 and has been hosting dirt bikes since 1971, even before the Los Angeles Coliseum. It will be cool for everyone to see in March, when the infield is packed for the Daytona Supercross by Honda, as well as the Ricky Carmichael Daytona Amateur Supercross.
THE NUMBER: 9 (Andras Hegyi)
The forty-third season of Monster Energy AMA Supercross began with a historic triumph. Sophomore Jason Anderson got his very first win in the 450SX Class, becoming the sixtieth winner in the premier class. More importantly Anderson's win is the very first for legendary Husqvarna in history of SX's premier class—the ninth brand to get a win in supercross premier class.
Husqvarna, which has been a property of KTM since 2013, has been reborn in the hopes of reviving its past success. Romain Febvre won the last MX2 race of 2014 on a Husqvarna, and then Max Nagl was winning and leading last season in MXGP before breaking his leg in a meaningless race for starting gate picks. Now Anderson's win gets Husqvarna on the biggest board of all, AMA Supercross.
Of course Husqvarna won the 125 Class at the Houston Astrodome back in 2001 when Travis Preston, riding a Fast-by-Ferracci Husky, took advantage of KTM's Grant Langston throwing a sure win away on the last lap while celebrating—and that would have been KTM's first win in 125 SX! Here’s the TV show from that crazy night; fast-forward to the 19:30 mark to see how it all shook out.
Here are the winning brands in the premier class of AMA Supercross, in order—but rather than begin with the first official "series" in 1974, we will reach back to 1972 and the very first Superbowl of Motocross at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Yamaha-mounted Marty Tripes was the winner that night, finishing 2-2-2 in three mains to get the combined overall. As far as the series goes, Yamaha has gathered 168 "official" wins since 1974. That's when the Dutch rider Pierre Karsmakers won Daytona. But the winnings have been slim as of late: Yamaha is waiting for another win as the three-diapasons brand has not been able to win since 2012.
In 1973, at the second Superbowl of Motocross, Tripes won again, only this time he was on a Honda 250 Elsinore. In official AMA Supercross history, Honda is the most successful brand, having collected 209 wins in all. The bad news is that Honda has been unable to get championship title since 2003.
In 1974 two European brands won premier-class SX races. First came Washington's Jim Pomeroy, who won at the Houston Astrodome in 1974 on the Spanish brand Bultaco. Next came Czech brand CZ, which was ridden into the winner's circle by Jaroslav Falta at the third Superbowl of Motocross that summer at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Neither Bultaco nor CZ would ever win again.
Next into the winner's circle was the Canadian brand Can-Am. Every win for Can-Am was taken by only Jimmy Ellis. The first Can-Am victory was in 1975, the last in 1977. Ellis won the AMA Supercross Championship in 1975 and went into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2014.
Suzuki has been able to get sixty-eight wins so far. The first Suzuki winner was Tony DiStefano—the winner of 1976 season opener at Daytona. Their most recent wins came from Ken Roczen last year on the RCH Racing team.
Kawasaki riders have scored 135 wins so far. Kawasaki's first victory was taken by Jim Weinert in 1976. Their most recent winner was Chad Reed at Atlanta last year. Chad ran his own TwoTwo Motorsports team at the time.
The Austrian brand conquered the supercross premier class for the first time in 2012. The historic KTM win was taken by Ryan Dungey, putting an end to the thirty-three-year dominance of Japanese brands. Between 1978 and 2011 only Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, or Suzuki riders won AMA Supercross mains in the premier class. Since Dungey's breakthrough win in 2012, KTM now has seventeen wins.
Before the 2016 season opener, Husqvarna was able to get only eight podiums in supercross' premier class. Between 1974 and 2015 Husky got one second-place and seven third-place finishes. But at the 607th supercross premier class race the world could applaud Husqvarna's first victory.
Going Electric (Jason Weigandt)
Anaheim is always the center of our world in January, but this week I had the chance to spend an hour on the phone with Marc Fenigstein of Alta Motors, a new company that has launched an electric motocross bike called the Red Shift. This bike, apparently, has been in development for eight years but we’re only just hearing about it now that it has reached the production stage. And the goal here is not just to offer a motocross bike that can be fun while also being quieter or better for the environment. The folks at Alta started this project because they feel the type of power delivery possible with an electric bike will allow you to go faster than a traditional gas powered unit. Yes, performance is going to be the hallmark of this machine, the other advantages of electric come second.
I’ll have the interview with Marc up on the site next week. I have to say whatever tough questions I threw at Marc were handled with some pretty logical answers—including why they focused on motocross in the first place. Why? Because electric technology still lags when it comes to the range needed to replace a gas passenger car or street bike. But for an hour of moto? This could work out really well.
LITTLE RIPPER (DC)
Back in the early nineties a man named Bud Maimone changed the minicycle landscape forever when he built his first Cobra in his garage in Ohio. The bike was so well built and potent compared to the junior minicycles of that era that they pretty much dominated. More than twenty years later, Cobra is now located in Michigan and run by Sean Hilbert. No matter, it seems like they are about to alter the landscape again with their all-new American-made Cobra Moto CX50FWE (Factory Works Edition). We haven't ridden one yet (nor have our kids), but as Pat Schutte posted on his Facebook page, "Thing's a rocket ship! Props to Cobra Moto's Sean Hilbert & Phil McDowell on the FWE project lead." Find out more here.
Leatt Intro (Kyle Scott)
Leatt invited us out to LACR to test their stacked product lineup and get educated on their latest product, the GPX 6.5 Carbon Moto Helmet. It was a bit chilly in the shade out in the desert in Palmdale, California, that day. When I say chilly, it was about 45 degrees—call me a wuss if you will, but I live at the beach, so that’s cold for me.
I already own a couple Leatt products, and I’ve always noticed their attention to detail. The moto helmet launch day was no different. Not only did all those in attendance get a helmet (job perk much?), but Leatt even printed everyone stickers of their last names to put on their helmets. I thought that was pretty cool.
We were also all given two sets of gloves to try out: the Airflex GPX 4.5 Lite and the DBX 4.0 WindBloc. I preferred the Windbloc, as it has a stretchy wrist versus the Velcro strap on the Airflex. When I come back from a long, brutal five-minute moto, I yank my gloves off ASAP and don’t want to mess with a strap. Both sets of gloves have this very unique material called Armourgel on the knuckles. Armourgel has a squishy, rubbery feeling to it, but when an impact such as roost or a digger occurs, it hardens and helps absorb the energy. Armourgel is incorporated into an array of products Leatt sells: elbow pads, shorts, and even their new GPX 6.5 Carbon Moto Helmet (more on that next week in a interview with Jörn Steffens, Leatt’s product and design specialist).
The Armourgel is very thin yet very effective. This is great for those of you who want as much protection as possible, without resembling my kooky neighbor who looks like he’s lining up for an NFL kickoff when he cruises the boardwalk on his rollerblades. To demonstrate effectiveness of the Armourgel, Todd Repsher from Leatt placed a steak-sized sample of Armourgel on top of his hand on the table and then proceeded to slam his own hand with a hammer. That got everyone’s attention!
Leatt encouraged us to try as many products as possible and even gave us a brochure-like printout of the different options so we could check them off one by one. At the end of the day, guess what the prize was for trying the most gear? A DJI 3 Phantom drone! Still kicking myself for spending too much time with the Chipotle spread that was also provided. The list of swag goes on and on, but what really got my attention were the Leatt condoms with the phrase “Ride Safe.” Does this company care about me being protected or what? Now I’m just hoping they come out with some low-key Armourgel cheek pads for when I get slapped at the bar. I hope you’re reading this, Jörn.
Ride Safe Kyle Scott Leatt's new helmet comes in an array of different colors. Kyle Scott The GPX 6.5 Carbon Moto Helmet in action. Kyle Scott Armourgel is built into all of Leatt's new gloves. Kyle Scott Leatt welcomes the media to a private ride day at LACR in Palmdale, CA. Kyle Scott The brand's helmets were on display for side-by-side comparison. Kyle Scott
Brett Cue and MotoSport Part Ways (Chase Stallo)
In a post on Instagram today, Brett Cue announced that he and longtime sponsor MotoSport have parted ways.
Cue was a vital part of MotoSport's video program, starring in the series Brett Cue All In, which followed Brett to different events around the country. In the post, Cue said that he will turn his focus to working with the RIDE365.com/Honda Racing (Crossland) team:
I want to take a second to give you guys an update on a few things. I've made the decision to part ways with MotoSport.com. The past two years plus that I've spent at MotoSport have been some of the best days of my life and I'm forever thankful. Living in Oregon, I was fortunate enough to meet some of the best friends I could ever ask for; I promise I'll be back to see you all soon! Looking forward, I can't explain how excited I am to be back home near my family. I will continue to work on the @ride365mx gear as well as helping the @ride365com Honda team. Things may be a little different coming up, but I promise this is just the beginning. No matter what, I can't say enough thanks for all the positive words from each of you! 2016 is going to be the best yet! @motosportinc @ride365mx @crosslandracing photo: @dagsom
Hey, Watch It!
Racer X Films: San Diego Press Day
Malcolm Smith's son Alexander is currently racing the grueling Dakar Rally down in South America. Yup, chip off the old block there!
“My earliest memory of riding dirt bikes was riding on the tank of my dad's bike down in Baja,” says Alexander. “There was a lot of exploring happening and I think we stayed out a little later at night than we were expecting to… that kind of shaped my idea of what riding a dirt bike was supposed to be like!” It also started his fascination with pushing himself to his physical limits on a bike at extreme endurance events like the Red Bull Romaniacs and the 24 Hours Of Glen Helen.
Like Malcolm did years before, Alexander solo raced the Baja 1000. “The only thing beyond the Baja 1000 is Dakar,” says Smith, so now he's giving it a shot. Here's an MSR video following Alex's progress:
Head-Scratching Headline/s of the Week
Want to win at Fantasy Moto? The N-Fab Racer X Fantasy Moto Podcast with JT and Dan Truman will show you how right here.
Ping, Weege and JT joined me for the Fly Racing Moto:60 Show here and yes, Ping is still upset about the move from Qualcomm to Petco Park.
Swizcore and I took a few of the bikes of supercross and used our very judgmental eyes to come up with this.
Swizcore had a very nice column this week on the Vince Friese/Weston Peick brouhaha here.
Moser asked a few riders like Chisholm and Tickle what they thought of the brawl at the Big A right here.
The Amsoil Arenacross Series kicked off last weekend in Cincinnati and moves to Baltimore this weekend. Troy Bengden worked on some AX Obs, and you can check them out here.
And hear about Round 1 winner Gavin Faith’s road back from injury here.
Heading to San Diego for the second round of Monster Energy Supercross this weekend? Stop by the Racer X booth—located in the Party in the Pits—to pick up a free copy of Racer X Illustrated. You can also sign up or renew for just $25 (60 percent off the cover price) to get a one-year subscription, a FREE Racer X beach towel, and an extra issue!
Canadian fans with Rogers are happy to have the new Fox Sports Racing channel to watch Monster Energy Supercross, but Shaw and Bell subscribers don’t currently have the channel. Are you on Shaw or Bell? If so, make a channel request so your provider knows what you’re really after. After all, they won’t know unless you, their customer, tell them. It’s pretty easy, too. For Shaw, customers can send a quick e-mail that goes right to the proper department. The customer just has to follow this template by coping/pasting and filling it out in the email:
Send an email to: email@example.com
Subject Line: [Channel Request for: City]
Name: [First] [Last]
Account Number: [11 digit Shaw account number]
Channel(s) Requested: [Fox Sports Racing]
That’s it. For Bell, the customer must call (866-310-2355) and go through the automated service to speak to an operator, then ask for a channel request. Request Fox Sports Racing.
Speaking of Canada, check out DMX Frid'Eh Update #2.
Long before the Erzberg Rodeo or Red Bull Romaniacs, one event set the precedent for races you should be happy to complete, let alone win: the Blackwater 100. Then known as “America’s Toughest Race” by editors, industry, and fans alike, the Blackwater 100 ran from 1975 to 1993 and saw off-road racing legends such as Mark Hyde, Ed Lojak, Scott Summers, and just a few others emerge victorious through the 100 miles of treacherous terrain. To honor the racing lore survived by the event, we bring you the Blackwater 100 hoodie from Racer X Brand.
And in honor of Husqvarna's historic first win, now might be a good time to brush up on the history of Husqvarna motorcycles and their legendary racers, via Kenneth Olausson's blog of the Good Old Times. There are some fantastic stories here.
Check out these cool T-shirts that Jeff Emig’s Emig47.com company came up with following Anaheim.
And Jeff Emig himself actually invited me to be the subject of his Reflect column, where he turns the microphone around and interviews journalists and industry friends like Garth Milan, Simon Cudby.
Finally, the world at large lost a great artist when David Bowie passed away earlier this week from cancer, but for everyone at Racer X—especially in our early years—we lost a special part of the soundtrack of our collective lives. Music selection used to be downright competitive when we were those Young Americans—between Jeff Kocan being a former college-radio DJ, Bryan Stealey (alt rock) and Dave Brozik (heavy metal) being musicians themselves, and Julie Kramer and myself just being heavy listeners, it was tough to get your spins in. This was before everyone was wearing headphones and streaming their own stuff. We would go from Radiohead to Guns N Roses, from Bill Withers to Neutral Milk Hotel, from Ryan Adams to Outkast…. But the one musician I think we all had a common enthusiasm for was David Bowie. We're all grown up now, and mostly work apart, but I’m sure we were all listening to the Thin White Duke a time or two in solemn tribute this week. This is Ground Control to Major Tom, you've really made the grade … and we're sure your spaceship knows which way to go. Thank you.