Larry Desmedt

Larry Desmedt

"Indian" Larry Desmedt (April 28, 1949 - August 30, 2004) was a noted bike builder, stuntman, and innovator in the world of custom motorcycles.

Indian Larry was born Larry Desmedt in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York. He became interested in motorcycles at an early age, and became a fan of artist Kenny Howard (aka Von Dutch). He later moved to California to apprentice under legendary hot rod builder and pop artist Ed "Big Daddy" Roth.

Early life and building bikes

Desmedt was convicted of bank robbery and struggled with alcohol and drug abuse in his youth. He decided to leave his tumultuous early life behind and focus on his bike building talents. Desmedt founded the Gasoline Alley custom motorcycle shop in New York City in 1991. His "old school" choppers quickly won renown in the motorcycling world. The Coney Island Psychoholic Side Show debuted in Richmond, Va at Cycle Expo 1998, which featured English Don and The Coney Island characters Combustible Kira, The Pain Proof Rubber Girls, Fredini The Great and his soon-to-be wife, Bambi The Living Mermaid. This event spawned all the rest of the special appearances of the motorcycle customizers who came to be known as master builders, celebrity builders and feature builders at events across the United States. No one ever came close to the character and quality or the public appeal of Indian Larry. His motorcycle "Grease Monkey" was named Easyriders magazine's "Chopper of the Year" and he was a winner of three Discovery Channel Bike Build Off Trophies. His second trophy was cut up and shared with his opponent Billy Lane and the audience, when he unexpectedly announced an exact draw after winning. His last build was the Chain of Mystery bike, in which the frame was made of welded tow chain. This amazing bike proved itself, as all of Desmedt's bikes did, by maintaining speeds well in excess of 100MPH for sustained periods of riding. After his death another Discovery Channel's Biker Build-Off episode a tribute bike was built by his long time partners, Paul Cox and Keino, Billy Lane and Kendall Johnson. Indian Larry is credited with re-popularizing the stripped down, tall handlebar, foot clutched, jockey shifted, no front brake or fender, small gas tank, open piped, kickstart only, stock rake choppers that prevailed in the 60s, before long front ends became popular.

Films

Indian Larry was also an accomplished stuntman and actor. Desmedt played himself in the film "Rocket's Red Glare". He performed stunts for the films "Quiz Show, Muscle Machine, My Mother's Dream, and 200 Cigarettes". He also appeared on "The Late Show with David Letterman".

One of his famous trademarks was a tattoo on his neck, just below his chin. It read "In God We Trust - Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord - No Fear" The middle two lines were in reverse so that he could read them when looking in a mirror.

Death

Indian Larry was performing a motorcycle stunt at the "Liquid Steel Classic" and "Custom Bike Series" in Concord, North Carolina on August 28, 2004. In the stunt, he was standing on the moving motorcycle. As the stunt progressed the bike began to wobble out of control and he was thrown from the motorcycle, sustaining serious head injuries. He was then taken to the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he died on August 30, 2004 from the head injuries sustained in the mishap. Larry was not wearing a motorcycle helmet at the time of the accident.

Two books were published on Indian Larry in 2006 including "Indian Larry: Chopper Shaman," by Dave Nichols with Andrea "Bambi" Cambridge and photography by Michael Lichter as well as "Indian Larry" by Timothy White. His autobiography, "Grease Monkey, The Life and Times of Motorcycle Artist Indian Larry", written shortly before his death, is scheduled for publication.

External links

* [http://www.indianlarry.com/ "Indian Larry's Website"]
* [http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/Article_Page.aspx?ArticleID=1301&Page=1 "Indian Larry dies of head injuries"]
* [http://www.liquidsteelproductions.com/page/page/1045183.htm Liquid Steel bio]
* [http://www.bookofjoe.com/2004/09/indian_larry_is.html Book of Joe Blog excerpt]
* [http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/191083_indianlarry30.html "'Indian Larry' said killed at bike show"]
* [http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/entertainment/gossip/9533189.htm?1c "'Indian Larry' dies after stunt in Cabarrus"]


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