On Saturday afternoon, September 24, while working our booth at Hawg Wyld Cycleís 5th Annual Birthday Bash and Block Party I received a call from Helen Garzee, a good friend of ours who had some exciting news she thought we might find interesting.
Apparently, the Eastsider Bar & Grill located at 7321 E Truman Road in Kansas City, Missouri was hosting an event called the 1st Annual David Mann Memorial Bike Night. According to Helen, Jacquie Mann was supposed to make an appearance later that evening and several people were planning to ride there to visit with her and get her autograph.
We have known Jacquie for some time now and the last time I saw her was at the Easyriders Bike Show at Bartle Hall this past April. Stripe attended the David Mann Memorial Ride on Sunday, October 9, 2004 and prior to that, he and I rode out to Lake Jacomo on Saturday, September 18, 2004 to pay our respect and celebrate Davidís life after he passed over on Saturday, September 11, 2004 following a lengthy illness.
When we crossed the railroad tracks and pulled up in front of the Eastsider Bar & Grill I knew this was my kind of place. It was a very old building with a lot of character and is conveniently tucked away below an overpass just east of I-435 on Truman Road. There were already several bikes parked outside and I recognized a couple of them from Davidís memorial at Lake Jacomo the previous year. As soon as I got off my bike Helen introduced me to owner Richard Larabee. Richard told us about the history of the building, which confirmed my suspicion that this was in fact a very old building.
Richard showed us around the outside of the building and told us about his plans to remodel the bar in October 2005 so it would be ready for some great bike nights this spring. I have to tell youÖthis place is very cool. One unique feature is that the overpass in front of the bar provides covered motorcycle parking for you and a few hundred of your closest friends. Richard also has plans to enclose the parking lot behind the bar so riders can party outside under the stars while listening to some of KCís best local bands. He also plans to build additional restrooms to accommodate the crowd, which Iím sure will be there once the spring riding season kicks into gear.
Richardís wife, Nancy is co owner of the bar and Jimmy Pena, a good friend of Richards cooks up some great food! Valerie Calderon runs the bar during the day and the atmosphere of this place gives you a very warm family feeling. We were also introduced to Melissa, a friend of Jacquieís who helped put this event together.
When Jacquie arrived she received a very warm welcome and once she had a chance to meet everyone she agreed to a talk with us about where she had been and what was currently going on in her life.
CC: I understand you just returned from California
Jacquie: Yes, just today. The anniversary of Davidís death came around and I needed to be with family and friends out there. They missed me and wanted me back. I never realized that David and I were like a catalyst with that group. We kept that circle of friends together. When we left California, everything kind of fell apart with them. I had no idea that me meant that much to them.
CC: Where in California did you live?
Jacquie: In Ventura County. We were there for seventeen years. It felt like going home.
CC: Are you thinking of moving back there?
Jacquie: Yeah. Not only do I have friends and family there, but my son has come up with an idea to keep Davidís legend alive, his legacy. Itís something that has never been done before, and we have found some investors that want to back us.
Jacquie: Yes, weíre working on that, and itís going to be incredibly huge. It will be in Hollywood, and David will be the basis, the foundation, of this multi-faceted place. Iím dying to tell everyone, but I canít say much until the deal is consummated. These things take time. You want it to happen fast, but it never works that way. You have to get everybody on the same page. We are close, and things are looking good. It will keep Davidís name out there, and you know he deserves it. I owe it to him.
CC: Iíve admired Davidís art in Easyriders for years. I still have many of the older magazines.
Jacquie: It was over 33 years. I thought I had a full set of them. My girlfriend Melissa and I thought we had better start getting things categorized and organized. My God, if I ever do go to move and donít have it all done, itís just going to be crazy. So we started in the basement. David had bookshelves down there, and he would go down and use old ones for reference. He might borrow from an old work and think about different angles and bike styles. That would save him some time. Anyway, going through the stack I found that there were missing issues. Iíd like to track them down. There wonít be any more. Biker Magazine agreed to continue reprinting his centerfolds for one year after his death. Itís too bad, because there are so many of his pictures that people have forgotten, and there is a whole new generation of bikers that missed them the first time around. They are classics, they are beautiful, and every one has a story to tell.
CC: Iíve noticed that there are websites out there dedicated to Davidís work.
Jacquie: Yes, there are several. Thereís one by Knucklhead 47
or something like that. The girl that did the flame paint on the Orange County Choppers tribute bike idolized Davidís work and she put together a similar site.
CC: Are you okay with that?
Jacquie: Well, theyíre not my property. I donít own them. Itís okay if theyíre not selling them. As long as itís not for profit, itís fine.
CC: Where did you and David meet?
Jacquie: We met in Florida. I went to work for the company that he had just quit to move to California to be closer to the magazine. I replaced a secretary that he had the hots for. He came in to see her, and he never got past my desk. That was the start of our relationship. We were together for 27 years. I miss him so much! He was my world.
CC: Heís missed everywhere. Thanks for taking the time to visit. You have lots of friends here who are excited to see you, so weíd better give them a turn.
Story and photos by Mike Schweder, Stripe and Helen Garzee.