As with ABANDONED CARS and FOLKTALES, the people inhabiting the environment of BELLIGERENT PIANO are not the only characters. As important (and more enduring) as the character driving the Harley-Davidson in the current scene is the Harley-Davidson itself. Because BELLIGERENT PIANO is my exploration into the Great American Mythological Drama, and involves a narrative method that is more stream of consciousness in style, it gives me the opportunity to digress into subjects in American cultural history that fascinate me: Such as, in this case, the relationship between Harley-Davidson, the United States Army, and the evolution of the custom motorcycle culture that began right after World War II. This current passage in the BELLIGERENT PIANO narrative is not only a kind of dedication to that relationship, but an exercise in my interest in trying to understand the specifics of some of those early customized Harley-Davidsons. Most of us think of those crazy choppers of the 60’s and 70’s when we think of custom motorcycles. All of that began with ex-GI’s buying military-issued Harleys from the Army after World War II and exploring ways to enhance or personalize the bikes they bought. I’m very interested in seeing what some of those early “choppers” looked like. If anyone knows a good source for that kind of material – dealing both with the specifics of early motorcycle customizing and the biker culture that arose from it – please let me know.
BELLIGERENT PIANO WEEKLY STRIP, EPISODE #47