Good Time Charlie, RIP

Charlie Brechtel back home at the Buffalo Chip, August 2016. Photo ©2016 Michael Lichter
May 27, 2020

When I heard Charlie Brechtel died in a bike wreck on April 25, it was hard to believe he was gone. "Good Time Charlie's" voice and presence were so clear in my head, but wanting more, I turned on his music and immersed myself in it. I listened for hours and then listened some more. That's the amazing part of when a musician dies; they leave all these recordings behind. Its as if they're still with you. If anything, the lyrics took on a new and deeper meaning. My plan was to eventually go to bed, but Charlie's music is far from a lullaby! It was t 3:30 am when I finally did go to sleep (with some help!)

Motorcycles, Photography, Michael Lichter, Charlie Brechtel, Sabrina Brechtel@charlie_brechtel, #charliebrechtel, #charliebrechtelband, @sturgisbuffalochip, #buffalochip
Sabrina and Charlie Brechtel on the Legends Ride - riding from Deadwood to the Buffalo Chip during the 78th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Sturgis, SD. USA. Monday August 6, 2018. Photography ©2018 Michael Lichter.

Charlie had his Biker Inner Circle radio show, and the "Rebel on the Highway" and soon to be released "Rough Boys" movies, but it was for his music he was most known. It didn't seem to matter where he was playing, Charlie always played and sang as if he was on the big stage (even if he was just in a small club). In a strange twist, my favorite memory of him playing live was in a situation where I didn't actually see him. This was the case on the first Friday of Sturgis the last few years. Its the same night that the installation of the Motorcycles as Art exhibition has to be completed, so I'm typically knee-deep working with installation and lighting crews on final touches, or on my belly shooting one more bike in the studio attached to the gallery. I'd be shooting away with a big smile on my face as the walls literally vibrated to the sounds of Charlie and his Band. His voice projected his passion for music and love for life. Just a few hundred feet away with a wall blocking my view, I saw him in my mind's eye, there on the Buffalo Chip's giant main stage where he felt so at home and where he belonged. He wholly owned it as he sang his heart out, and that's how I'll remember "Goodtime Charlie". Charlie Brechtel, 1957-2020 RIP

Motorcycles, Photography, Michael Lichter, Charlie Brechtel, @charlie_brechtel, #charliebrechtel, #charliebrechtelband, @sturgisbuffalochip, #buffalochip
Charlie Brechtel plays the Hoyt Axton stage during the Annual Sturgis Black Hills Motorcycle Rally. SD, USA. August 6, 2016. Photography ©2016 Michael Lichter.
Motorcycles, Photography, Michael Lichter, Charlie Brechtel, buffalo chip, motorcycles, motorcycling, guitarists, guitars
Charlie Brechtel poses for a portrait during the Annual Sturgis Black Hills Motorcycle Rally. SD, USA. August 6, 2016. Photography ©2016 Michael Lichter.

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Michael Lichter Photography is a commercial photography studio in Boulder, Colorado specialized in motorcycle photography and capturing the motorcycle lifestyle through images.

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