Combining the raw power of American music and the thrill of the open road, Down the Highway is a new music interview web show hosted by musician and motorcyclist Ian Harrower. Riding city to city on a 1967 Triumph TR6C, Harrower drops in on such mainstays of American roots music as Social Distortion guitarist Jonny Wickersham; poet, artist, and X vocalist Exene Cervenka; former Black Flag frontman / OFF! vocalist, Keith Morris; and The Blasters lead man Phil Alvin. The wide palette of American music includes jazz, punk, blues, country, and folk. Interviewees are not solely limited to musicians, but include influential guitar makers, studio engineers, and painters and photographers who are inspired by the rhythms of music made in the USA.
Interviews present a complete picture of these musical legends and include windows into to the musical, historical, and artistic influences that shaped them. Viewers discover the artists’ respective inspirations and gain an understanding of the significant social issues of the time as well as the subjects’ take on current social, political, and musical climates. Down the Highway melds Harrower’s gift of gab and lifelong love of all things musical, infused with the enticing lure of the open road.
The Host, Ian Harrower
Ian Harrower was born into a musical family and canʼt remember a time when there wasnʼt music in his house or life. If the records werenʼt spinning at home, it was because there were 7 people jamming in the living room with his father, a player and builder of electric guitars and basses. This was a huge inﬂuence on Ian as far back as he can remember, and an obvious start to what would become his passion in life.
By the time he was 10, Ian had three instruments under his belt and was playing in his first band. At 13, Ian met his good friend Gabriel Hart (singer/guitar player/songwriter) through a mutual friend. This was the start of a long personal and musical relationship. Gabriel introduced Ian to the underground world of punk music. This is when “The Starvations” began.
The band became the start of Ian’s playing music “for real”. They really worked on song-writing, playing live shows, and recording records. There was a small punk rock record shop in Laguna Beach, CA called “Underdog Records” that gave them a great outlet for learning. As Ian grew up, so did his interest in all forms of music. During his teen years Ian started to listen to and appreciate many different styles of music including country, bluegrass, blues, delta blues, cajun, soul, and early pop. Ian also furthered his interest in punk, rock, and all things in between. With his new found interest in different genres came the urge to learn some of the instruments associated with these styles of music. So, in his usual fashion, Ian started collecting this gear. Including: banjo, mandolin, accordion, dobro, cello, trumpet, upright bass, autoharp, 12 string acoustic guitar, many forms of percussion, and whatever else he could get his hands on!
When Ian was in his early 20ʼs he made the move from Orange County, CA to Los Angeles, CA He realized that there is music used in everything on ﬁlm and television. He thought to himself, “Why canʼt I make music for ﬁlm and television? I play many instruments and have knowledge of many forms of music.” This was a eureka! moment of sorts. Ian realized that you can have a better chance at making a living with music if you think outside the box and try to get as many jobs as possible within music. He had only really known playing in live bands, touring, and making records. Ian proceeded to make contacts within that industry and ended up scoring a few short ﬁlms, a featurette, a feature documentary, and several TV shows.
After Ian had ﬁgured out how to use music in other ways, his world opened up. He now co-writes and collaborates with other artists and writers for recording or ﬁlm/TV projects. Ian works with several bands as a hired professional. He recently played drums for Nick 13 who is known as the frontman for Tiger Army. Ian has also recently collaborated with Alain Whyte (Morrissey/Red Lightning) on song writing/recording sessions. Another really cool thing that Ian gets to do is ﬁll in for one of his favorite drummers, Bill Bateman (The Blasters/Cramps), in a band called Rumble King when Bill is on tour with other bands. Ian has his own band with his girlfriend Danni called “Red Roses” in which he sings and plays guitar. Believe it or not, in Ianʼs 26 year music career this is the ﬁrst band where heʼs played guitar and done vocals! Ian continues to write music for ﬁlm and television. As a matter of fact, all music that you hear on Down The Highway, besides that of the people being interviewed, is written, recorded and performed by Ian.
This brings us to the present. Ian is very excited and enthusiastic about music as a whole. He always considers himself a student. From playing the instruments to learning about bands, artists and styles, Ian is constantly learning. He is always looking forward to where his career with music can go next and what he might learn along the way.
The motorcycle that Ian is using in this show is a 1967 Triumph TR6C. The motor is a 650cc with a single carburetor. The “C” in the make title stands for “competition”. This bike was originally a dirt/road race bike when it was sold in 1967. The only difference between this model and the more famous “Bonneville” model was the 1 carb verses 2 carbs and the physical set-up of the bike itself. This would include knob tires and suspension that had more travel for dirt riding. Sometimes the TR6C model would have “up” pipes as well.
By the time Ian had purchased this bike when he was 18 years old, different owners had made many changes to it over the years. He always wanted a street bike and this one was almost there. Little by little, Ian made some minor improvements to the bike, trying to get it back to an almost original state, but with some original style as well.
The first time Ian was in an accident was on this motorcycle. A driver in a van made an illegal left turn causing Ian to hit the rear-right side of the vehicle. He walked away from the accident banged up, but generally ok. This bike was his baby and he wasnʼt going to let the insurance company “total” the bike. With a lot of dedication and help from a friend/band mate who owned a motorcycle shop, Ian would spend the next year rebuilding the Triumph. He always wanted to tear the bike down to the ground and rebuild it properly. It just always seemed like a tremendous task to take on. Now, there was no choice. A forced rebuild, if you will. Ian put as many proper original pieces back on the bike as possible, re-built the motor, re-painted all metal pieces including the frame and everything else in between. The Triumph was re-born as the motorcycle Ian always believed it could be! All of these years later the Triumph is still running strong and out of all of the motorcycles Ian owns, or has owned, this bike is still the most reliable and continues to be his “baby”.
Ianʼs Triumph looks like a custom motorcycle at first glance with a mean stance, but it actually is a pretty stock motorcycle. The few things that make this bike stand out are the flat-black paint job done with nothing more than spray can primer, the earlier 1960ʼs Bonneville petrol tank, and the “Ace” style cafe handlebars. Itʼs a beautiful motorbike that turns heads everywhere it goes and is an absolute joy for Ian to ride and enjoy in every way!