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Posts Tagged ‘E Street Band’

Remember that outsider who kept Harley-Davidson on the road?

Keith E. Wandell (retired H-D CEO) grabbed the handlebars at the company in the heart of the economic crisis in 2009. Harley lost $55 million that year, as buying a motorcycle stopped being an option for many consumers.

Wandell made some big statements. “Don’t let Harley-Davidson become General Motors!” Look in a mirror, he told staff – Harley was already so far down that same path [as GM] “it wasn’t even funny.”

Wandell took bold action and made quick decisions to focused the company on doing what many say it does best: Making big, powerful, premium-priced cruisers.

Keith Wandell

Keep in mind, this was when the great recession and credit crisis sent shockwaves through Harley-Davidson. In less than one year, bike shipments dropped about 25 percent.

Wendell cut the workforce – at least 2,700 hourly workers and 840 administrative employees. The economy was in the tank, the motor company had a big union labor force and old manufacturing processes.  People were just churning and everything was upside down at the company.

Imagine…

I’m not talking about celebrities’ filming themselves singing John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, from their multi-acre estates and whining about their COVID-19 pandemic isolation.  Never has disproportionate privilege been so apparent and I for one am really fed up with their self-serving need to be in the public spotlight with style-over-substance videos.

But, I digress…

Mark-Hans Richer

It is equally important to recall Wandell’s right-hand “stunt man” — you may remember him as that over-the-top marketing genius who had women screaming, grown men crying and Oprah jumping up and down, chanting: “Everybody gets a car!

I’m talking about Mark-Hans Richer, who was Sr. VP, Chief Marketing Officer at Harley-Davidson, prior to his 2015 departure. Granted, Richer is currently employed at Fortune Brands, but with the mass exodus at Harley-Davidson and salary decreases across the executive staff it’s plausible to pull him back into the H-D team.

Richer, generated the most bankable kind of publicity: controversy.  He made the difference between a motorcycle brand being a rock star versus more employees working in the rental lot.

He’s the charismatic dude that dropped a Dyna Super Glide on Pope Francis at the Vatican.  Then turned around at a press briefing and said, I would be really upset if you felt our strategy was about “meeting the nicest people on a Harley” because I can tell you that ain’t the strategy.  Later he pontificated that a Harley costs less than “another tattoo, a parking ticket, a gas station burrito, and a lip ring” in an appeal to what makes millennials tick.  In 2002, he helped the company get named Company of the Year by Forbes magazine.

110th Anniversary Celebration

In a university commencement speech, he stated: “Everything I ever learned from business, I learned from Willie the Wildcat stuffed animal,” a business he started right out of college.  Richer secured the first major worldwide sports sponsorship for Harley-Davidson at UFC and was instrumental in X-Games marketing.

No, I don’t have a man crush.

Richer was a key contributor of the “Ride Home” anniversary events.  Do you remember when returning to the mecca of motorcycling in Milwaukee was truly an EVENT i.e. the 110th Anniversary festivities featured 60 bands, including Aerosmith, Kid Rock and ZZ Top.  Remember that 3 ½-hour set by Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band at the 105th Anniversary?   How about when Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl, committed a major sin on stage by cracking open a Coors in Miller Town?

100th Anniversary Celebration

There was the surprise headliner (Elton John) and outright disaster for the centennial anniversary. Musical highlights included Billy Idol, Kid Rock, Joan Jett, Poison, REO Speedwagon, the Doobie Brothers and Tim McGraw for the 100th anniversary so, people booing and walking out might have been overstated in the media.

Then came 2018 and time to celebrate 115 years of the open road.  Harley-Davidson CMO, Heather Malenshek tells the media the event is all about returning to its roots with a focus on the motorcycle, not the entertainment.  Huh?!  It was an unmitigated flop for entertainment.  She very quietly departs the company in October 2019.  Coincidence?

Indian is challenging Harley’s cash cow, the Road Glide.  BMW has market segment share in the ADV or “adventure motorcycle” sector and recently introduced the new R 18 touring, cruiser configuration to compete head-on with Harley-Davidson and Indian.  Rumors started circulating recently that Honda is introducing a new 1100 Rebel to compete directly with Harley-Davidson.

Pan American

Harley needs more than anything a fast start for a new model to become a breakout hit.  Is that the Pan American, ADV?

The ADV segment is crowded and entrenched with BMW, Honda, KTM, and newcomer Ducati, among others with decades, of dirt-tested refinement.  Harley doesn’t have the luxury of burning up stacks of cash on a another “vanity project.”

The Milwaukee motor company has a very narrow window to establish that hit. Gone are the days when a slow seller can be nurtured into a hit.  Here’s looking at you LiveWire and the “Field of Dreams” marketing of distressed or stigmatized merchandise!  I truly wonder if acting president and CEO Jochen Zeitz or Harley-Davidson management really understand why the LiveWire product is failing?

It’s logically time to recall Mr. Wandell and “CMO head-honcho,” Richer back from spending their days taking lunch at the Polo Lounge and crank up the H-D buzz machine.

What the media’s hourly drumbeat of “panic porn” on the COVID-19 trauma has shown us, cannot be unseen.  A motorcycle-less Los Angeles.  Coyotes wandering on the empty Golden Gate Bridge.  A quiet New York, where you can hear the birds chirp in the middle of Madison Avenue.

We’re in it. Stores are closed. Restaurants are empty. Streets and multi-lane freeways are barren.  Body bags in tractor trailers.  The Oregon beach is an eerie ghost town.  The economy has collapsed and a devastated 22+ million Americans have lost their jobs in four weeks.  It’s a dark feeling of rust, rot and ruin.

Illegitimi non carborundum.” The Latin phrase loosely translates to, “Don’t let the [COVID] bastard get you down.”

Motorcycle enthusiasts are the ones who understand why dogs stick their heads out the window.  In the famous words of a previous H-D CEO, Jeffrey Bleustein, “We (Harley) have to pretend ten fiery demons are chasing us at all times,” and “make the right bikes, at the right time, and get them to the right place!

Let’s all take a deep breath and get ready for a potential Harley-Davidson tsunami. What is about to be unleashed will be the greatest campaign ever created to get you to feel normal again.  Every brand will come to our rescue, dear consumer, to help take away that darkness and get life back to the way it was before the crisis.

The great American return to normal is coming and you won’t be able to ignore that deafening motorcycle exhaust noise.

Photos taken by author and courtesy of Harley-Davidson and Wikipedia.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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boss_pianoThe Piano Protection Society (PPS) is an independent organization founded in 1958 by a group of piano lovers concerned with the plight of battered pianos. Today they held a press conference in London lambasting Springsteen and the NFL for yesterdays sad Super Bowl display of an ill-treated musical instrument!  They are asking the public to boycott “The Boss” and bring greater community awareness to protect musical instruments everywhere against violence.

Every piano deserves a loving and responsible home!

The background is an otherwise magnificent Super Bowl was marred by an ugly incident during the half time show.  The Boss looked straight into the camera Sunday night and proceeded to slam chicken-finger eating people everywhere and then made terse demands to crank the volume!  Then the 59 year old performed a sort of crippled-leg-leap onto the piano — the moment was a bit dicey and had potential disaster written all over it, but proving why he is still “The Boss”, Springsteen recovered his balance and proceeded to dance, scar and gouge the lacquer finish of the piano with his steel-toe boots as thousands of fans gasped and millions watched on TV.  Kids were horrified at the inhumane display of bombastic energy on that little Yamaha!  Adding insult to injury the Yamaha had to endure gunpowder ash from the overtly expansive fireworks display.   The malicious Springsteen was seen later laughing maniacally.  After the 11:57 minute concert horrified fans could not even recall what songs Springsteen sang.

Dancing

Dance, scar and gouge,  it’s how the Boss rolls…

The Piano Protection Society is a charitable association with modern premises at 103 Norton Street, London. The facilities include an adoption centre, welfare services, information and products to keep your piano happy and healthy. Sadly, they will have to deal with this abandoned and ill-treated musical instrument.

Viewed by the piano society as self-incrimination, a technician, not authorized to speak for the E Street Band said,

“We’ve been around a long time and people are aware of the kind of “work” we do,” they went on to say,  “Springsteen’s piano shows the scars of being on the road and being played for hours at a time during lengthy shows.  That’s how “The Boss” rolls….

Let’s not even talk about the unprotected swinging guitar and strap violence!!

UPDATE: No piano was hurt in creating this blog post!  Note – there is no such thing as the PPS organization and was meant as comical satire in response to the Super Bowl half-time show.

UPDATE: November 6, 2014 – I received a 2nd email from a person claiming to be Marty Gelhaar.  They did not provide a valid email address to respond, however, they requested I remove their name from this comical satire post which I have now done.  To the real Mr. Gelhaar (technician for pianist Roy Bittan), no disrespect intended and I apologize for any confusion.

Photos courtesy YouTube.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Below is my first “official” confirmation that it will be a Summer-of-Bruce.  His shows won’t be ending at Giants Stadium in July because he’s returning to Milwaukee in August for the Harley 105th show. 

H-D 105th Anniversary : Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band Concert

The Roadhouse at the Lakefront, Milwaukee, WI

Sat, Aug 30, 2008 09:00 PM 

Seat location: section null — Total Charge: US $ 42.50

You’ve secured your spot alongside your fellow riders at the 105th Anniversary Celebration Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band Concert. Your order will begin shipping in approximately 5 weeks. 105th Anniversary Celebration ticket packages and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Concert tickets, if purchased, will be shipped separately. 

For 105th Anniversary event information visit www.harley-davidson.com/105th. You didn’t add Event Ticket Insurance to your order, but it’s not too late to protect your purchase! Click here to add insurance to any Ticketmaster order. 

 

According to The Business Journal, 60,000 general admission tickets will be sold so I’ll be seeing a bunch of E-Streeters at the festivities.

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No, I’m not talking about a cold beer in your hand or your wish on the Oregon coast, but about Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.  This song is “off the charts”.

And, Harley announced Springsteen will be a main attraction at the Milwaukee 105th Anniversary celebration in August.  This will be an additional concert that will be held outside the Summerfest Grounds at the Roadhouse at the Lakefront and requires a separate ticket (read requires more $$ from your wallet) from the official 105th Anniversary ticket. 

Only 105th Anniversary ticket holders are eligible to purchase Bruce Springsteen concert tickets.  If you think you have back door around it think again.  The 105th Anniversary ticket holders are required to enter their 105th ticket package confirmation code to purchase a Bruce Springsteen ticket when tickets go on sale. 

For every official 105th ticket purchased, the ticket holder will qualify for one Bruce Springsteen concert ticket. If a ticket holder purchases multiple official 105th tickets in one purchase, they will receive only one confirmation code, but will qualify for the same amount of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert tickets equivalent to the number of official 105th tickets purchased. 

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert tickets are $40.00 (plus $2.50 for tax, shipping and handling).  Seating is limited. The concert tickets will be available only on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Tickets go on sale April 5th at 8am (CST). 

Photo is courtesy of Columbia Records and Springsteen web site.

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