Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Ghost Rider 

B-movie guitarist Davie Allan.
  • B-movie guitarist Davie Allan.
You'd think the guy behind all those scruffy, fuzz-tone instrumentals that accompanied many of the '60s' premier motorcycle films was a dedicated biker himself. Or at least had ingested enough era-approved psychedelics to fuel his own trip, mind or otherwise. But according to guitarist Davie Allan, the myth is more interesting than the truth.

"I always hate to have to say this, but I've never even been on [a motorcycle]," he says. "People ask me what I was on when I did some of these things, and when I tell them that I never hit any drugs or anything, they just about fall over. Boring, huh?"

Instead, Allan, leader of the recently regrouped Arrows and the writer of such movie-derived tunes as "Theme From the Wild Angels" and "Devil's Angels," finds inspiration in the serene sounds of "Moon River" composer Henry Mancini. He's especially proud of his recordings of Mancini's "Theme From Peter Gunn" (which is also a tip of the hat to Allan's guitar hero Duane Eddy) and "Experiment in Terror," which is included on 1994's Fuzz Fest, one of two recently reissued albums Allan and the Arrows are currently on the road supporting. (The other is '96's Loud Loose & Savage; both initially suffered from shoddy distribution.)

In the mid-'60s, L.A. native Allan originally supplied music for a documentary film on skateboarders. B-movie producer Roger Corman saw the flick and tapped Allan and the Arrows for the soundtracks to several of his biker films; other filmmakers soon followed suit (among Allan's "two dozen or so B-movie" achievements: The Wild Angels, which spawned the Top 40 "Blue's Theme," Born Losers, and The Glory Stompers). Some of the songs were written specifically for the films, Allan says, while many others were pulled from the Allan catalog and plugged into the features. "They cut a lot of corners then," he says with a laugh.

As for his grungy, fuzzy sound, Allan explains, it was initially a matter of economics: "Everybody was trying to plug into the same amplifier." He and the Arrows have a new album due in September, and Allan says he has no intentions of slowing down now that his band, which re-formed five years ago, has found its target. "I've written more tunes in the '90s than I wrote in the '60s, '70s, and '80s put together," he says. "I don't know what happened. All of a sudden, these melodies just keep coming forth." Born to be wild, indeed.

— Michael Gallucci

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Speaking of Highlights

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar