One Question Interviews

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Here’s a new bit to sink your chompers into like one of those gigantic turkey legs at the state fair - the one question interview. “What the hell is that?” Well here’s the skinny broham. Once or twice a month I email a single question to a bunch of dudes and ask them all to answer it. Who ever gets their answer back to me before the deadline will have it published on the site. Simple. Some of these dudes you may know because of the work they do, some of them you’re going to have no idea who the fuck they are, they’re just your everyday wrench head.

A lot of great responses in the mix, some long, some short - all good. On Monday, I’m going to post my favorite one - the answer I got back from Jason McElroy (www.jasonmcelroy.com). Jason didn’t just send me back an answer to the question, he wrote a killer article that had me gripped from the start. It really deserved it’s own separate post, so make sure to check back on Monday for that one.

One last thing, I’d love to hear you guys (yes YOU) answer the question as well, so use the comments section to drop some knowledge/sarcasm/humor/wit/etc…With that said, onto the show. (Make sure to click read more to check out all the answers)

Question: If I was to walk into your garage / shop while you’re working on a
bike, what would be the most likely sound I would hear… and why?

Truth | Choppahead | www.choppahead.com
You’d hear the sound of glory. That is, of course, if glory to you sounds like midget strippers dressed like clowns throwing 40’s of Olde English at our shop apprentice to a soundtrack of early 80’s hardcore punk. Oh yeah, and hammers to metal, grinders to metal, and welding arc’s to metal for ambience.


Zach | Chop Shop | www.chopshopcycles.com
It seems the only noise I ever hear in this shop is a grinder. My old man seems to have master that tool and can use it to do anything from brushing his teeth to freeing slaves in third world country’s.

Bill | Biltwell Inc. | www.biltwellinc.com
Always kids. My kids pop in every couple minutes to talk me into fixing something, agree to some plan they’ve cooked up, help fix the mini ramp, or whatever. The neighborhood rats are always coming by to see what nutty stuff is going on in the garage or get a tire pumped up. I like hanging out with the kids, it’s easier to impress them with my welding skills since they don’t really know shit from Shinola and still think it’s cool to watch sparks shoot off of the grinder.

The iPod is generally on in the background but not rocking unless it’s a really good day. I have 8 years of continuous music on my iPod and listen to less music than ever before. It’s pretty much always these usual suspects: Drag the River, Slobberbone, Lucero, Minor Threat, Dropkick Murphys, Patsy Cline, Miles Davis, Fear or something really hardcore and chopper-certified like an NPR podcast such as “This American Life” or “Left, Right or Center”.

Wes | Four Aces Cycle Supply | www.fouracescycle.com
You would hear the soft sounds of smooth jazz and the unmistakeable clink of tools on fasteners. Why? I don’t like loud music most of the time and mostly I work on bikes, motors, parts and pieces.

Flatironmike | FIM Build
You’d first hear the satellite radio. XM 53 Fungus, the punk channel most likely. Although I listen to a wide swath of music, the punk channel works well with a simple, yet direct approach to wrenching and problem solving. Okay, that was whack. I like it the channel and it cuts through the din of fabricating.

You would also hear the sound of a chop saw, die grinder, belt sander, files, etc. I’m usually fabricating steel parts/brackets or ‘modifying’ stock parts in non-stock applications. Handle bars, riser mounts, tail lights, license plate mounts, etc. Parts that give my bike builds a ‘familiar’ or vintage look and feel, but with repurposed stock parts that have practical applications.

And, you’ll most certainly hear the distinctive sound of twist off bottle caps in action, which helps keep the frustration factor at a minimum when creating something from something else on a ‘less is more’ design aesthetic.

Duane Ballard | www.dbcustomleather.com
When you walk into my shop it’s usually 80’s punk and the sound of me banging on a seat. Every once in a while I’ll listen to something different but 90% of the time that’s it.

Ken | Biker Radio Magazine | www.bikerradiomagazine.com
The stereo would be out in front with a gentle mix of wrenches clinking.

Ryzart | www.ryzart.com
The sound you would most likely hear coming from my garage/shop would be the air compressor running and the hissing sound of a spray gun being sprayed. That being because i custom paint so that is most likely what i am doing in my garage. If it isnt paint its me wrenching away on my bike and hearing air tools being run. After all the dust and overspray clears hopefully the end result is real cool of whatever i am working on !!

Josh “2 wheel nation”
The radio and that leaky air coupling i’ve been meaning to replace for ever.

Our pal Matt
An unspeakable dirge of obscenities mixed with the faint crackle of freshly melted solder. Why? The joys of a rebuilding a prototype wiring harness are best with the most obscene of expletives.

Scott | Choppertown | www.choppertown.com
The first sound you would hear is the sound of cars whooshing by. The reason is we work outside and we are very close to the Freeway.

Big Nick
The Stern Show on Sirius

Steve “BrewDude” | Brew Cycles | www.brewracingframes.com
You hear the radio blaring early 70’s rock, if I have been in the paint booth awhile I’m probably screaming out the song on the radio even if I don’t know the words. Air tools are always screaming also. Again, depending on how much paint fumes the air tool might be keep in tune with the radio.

Chris “Nardi” | www.chrisbernardi.com
Definitely hear country music! I build my bikes with basic hand tools. So unless you heard a sawzall or a drill, it would be hand tools. Hammers and ratchets, wrenches bouncing off the walls or floor. Nothing very interesting.

Vic | Sinners Inc | www.sinners-inc.com
You would hear many things, cursing, country music (seems to mellow me out so I can think), lots of cutting/grinding from various tools, BUT it’s what you can’t hear that’s the loudest, but I can hear it like straight pipes on a shovel doing 80 mph in my head. It’s the constant sound of indecision! When I build something, I must change it at least 50 times, be it tanks, front ends, seats, foot pegs, headlights, pipes (omg pipes!)…….or even details of a single item will drive me crazy, for example, the pattern of speed holes on a rear brake bracket, I will change the number of holes, the diameter, the angle (I draw it out first on a paper pattern)….I will do this until it feels just right to me. I have a vision in my head, and at times, this vision turns into obsession. This becomes a problem with people that help me, who can’t see this vision, but sometimes this is good. For example, Bobby at French Kiss painted my last bike, I wanted raw metal with flaked panels (still want to do this) with a flat clear coat on everything. Bobby set me straight, how the flat would not make the flake “pop”, and how gloss clear would not get the effect I want, “so just paint the whole thing dammit cause it’ll look better, get done faster and cost less”. It’s always good to listen to people that know more than you (that’s usually everyone), saves time, money and comes out right the first time. So yeah, that’s what I hear, and it’s real bad this time cause I am building my first Triumph and the wheels in my head are turning faster than ever!

Matt | Dice Magazine | www.dicemagazine.com
When the bloody hell am I gonna have a garage/shop so I can work on my bike without having to ponce some workshop space off a mate.

10 Responses to “One Question Interviews”

  1. poop says:

    nice feature! so far, it’s quick, informative, and varied. i’ll be interested how it plays out.

    good work!

  2. Jbram says:

    I’d like to be able to say you’d hear nothing, because I’d be concentrating on painting my lines straight. But mostly likely you’ll here me cursing because an object decided to warp to another dimension and now I can’t find it (even though I ¤&%¤#” just had the “¤%&%#& thing for #%”!¤ sake).

  3. Rick says:

    Pretty cool! Alot of diversity especially with the music. Rock for me all the way baby!!!

  4. kim scholer says:

    Nice idea, but limit the answers to - say - five sentences.

  5. jred says:

    I thought it was neat Bill from Biltwell mentioned Lucero. I remember those guys when they were punk rock!

    If you pop up in my garage, you’ll most likely hear a big black German Shepherd that sounds like he wants to eat your face. Once you get past that, usually a mix of cursing, muttering, and cursing :)

  6. DanVVArider says:

    Good feature…a little light commentary amidst the usual nitty gritty….

    I’m somewhere between Wes at Four Aces and Chris Bernardi…not something loud and pounding or even overly distracting…not even my particular favorite, classic rock…just something that puts a little hum in the room.

  7. jason (fuck winter) says:

    well i dont have a “real” shop or anything and these guys build circles around my anti-talent, but being a drummer of nearly 25 years has made music a mandatory staple of every facet of my day to day life. when in the garage-hole you’ll find a pretty tweaked assortment of shit between the cursing and sounds of metal/parts hitting the floor/walls/whatever after being hurtled in anger.

    lately the new dino jr disc shares time with geils “blow your face off” and springsteens pre-BTR days. CIV and Quicksand make it in. Fugazi, Shuddder to Think, Thhin Lizzy, black crowes, motown, joni mitchell, just goes on and on. now and again quiet is good, but not often. the garage is my sanctuary and wouldnt be the same without loud music.

  8. Vicodinwizard says:

    METAL……either music, or material, the sound eminating is almost always metal…..

    Oh yea, and a lot of swearing……….Damn Voices!!!!!

  9. Justin Caise says:

    The squirrels in my attic, and the gerbils in my head.
    And that damned dog… always that damned dog -

    Shotgun someday.
    Oh, and Primus, Thinktree, and Janes Addiction of course.

  10. Knucklebuster » Blog Archive » One Question Interview P2 says:

    […] Here’s the second installment of our one question interview feature, if you missed the first, check it out here: One Question Interview P1. Everyone stepped up their game this week; your gonna dig what you read. […]

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