I read somewhere once that said: it takes 10,000 hours to master something. I don't exactly know where I read (or heard that) but it is somewhere out there...just Google it, I am sure someone will agree with me.
15 years ago there was a Motorcycle documentary produced in California that aired on the Discovery Channel called: Motorcycle Mania. We've all seen it and when it aired, it changed the custom motorcycle industry forever. Of course...saying that something is "changed forever" is really an oxy-moron. Of course, once something has changed it will always be different than it was so saying something is "forever changed" is really just word trickery to make something seem bigger than what it really "is" or "was".
When MMI was produced there was definitely a change going on but the fact of the matter is that the custom motorcycle industry and scene had already been changing or virtually exploding since around 1988. MMI was just the blast that sent everything mainstream. Some of the builders that were new to that era were doing some cutting edge stuff while others had already been doing cutting edge stuff for a decade and a half.
There is a difference to today's custom builders that didn't exist with the young builders in 1999. Besides all the beards, there is an absence of quality to not only the quality of the featured builder but also to the production value of the show.
When was the last time that you watched MMI? With it's grainy video and less than perfect audio, cheesy psychedelic screen transitions and lack luster (I'm guessing royalty free) soundtrack. Standards were different then for cable documentary shows. Especially the ones with no grant from (insert multi-billion dollar corporation here) for funding. Even with all of those short comings, MMI was spectacular. It's featured builder was a perfectionist and his work was no less than perfect and very different from any other builder of the day...but not for long. And...just like builders today, Jesse James was not already famous.
MMI didn't need strong production value...the subject matter alone was enough to carry itself on its own merit.
I don't know any of the builders that were featured on Biker Live and I wasn't asked to participate. But what I saw was basically "Honey Boo Boo" for bikers. Only one of the builders appeared to have a professional commercial location. None of the builders appeared to be starving (this is a metaphor) and none of the builders appeared to rely on their motorcycle business to feed their families.
Why is this important to me? Because I do!
Do I care if there is a guy that wants to call himself: "Blah blah Choppers" and build something in his garage? Nope! But let me (start my sentence with a preposition) explain why this is important to me:
- I own two motorcycle shops that service Harley Davidson Motorcycles
- I have two Garage Keepers insurance policies
- I have two rent payments
- I have two complete sets of tools
- I feed my family selling tires on Road Kings
- I can't afford to throw temper tantrums in my shop, in front of an employee and destroy a toolbox because my bike wont start.
- I build my own engines and transmissions
- I know how to diagnose a charging system that isn't charging
- I employ 9 people (plus myself)...I know pressure of deadlines (especially payroll)
Am I jealous? No fucking way...I am pissed! Yes I am. I am pissed that my industry is paraded around on television with such bafoonery as Biker Live. I am offended that I didn't see the kicker pedal spring back up on one of the builders bikes as it was kicked over and over again. I am offended that they had to pry the frame apart on a wheel to get the rear wheel to fit. I am offended that Discovery is portraying the industry that I have spent over 10,000 hours to learn (I am still learning) is being made to look like something that SHOULD be done in the garage behind a house can be passed off as a profession. I am pissed that the questionnaire for the show requested information regarding "what kind of characters" you have in your crew instead of "what kind of character does your crew have".
This is fuckery and I am calling everyone out on it! Just because it is shot in HD and everyone has better lavalier mics than were available 15-years ago does not mean that this is a quality show. Why aren't the shows producers looking for talent? When Thom Beers walked into West Coast Choppers he was blown away and felt the urge to make something out of what he saw, what he felt. There was energy in the building at 718 Anaheim in Long Beach.
I bet there is some talent on that show...but they didn't show it and THAT isn't fair to anyone involved. I remember in one of the build offs featuring Billy Lane Discovery filmed Billy at his desk paying bills. That shit is real and that is why it was there...no fake ass drama was needed. Want to talk about pressure? I know for a fact that when Matt Hotch was building his V-Rod powered chopper for the Build Off, he was losing dime and quarter sized chunks of hair from the stress! No one on biker live had any "hair problems". Their perfect hair was either slicked back with this month's new pomade flavor or hidden under a trucker hat.
Shame on everyone involved in Biker Live. Shame on the builders. Shame on the producers and shame on The Discovery Channel for their vapid empty half assed attempt at yet another money grab through the exploitation of people that need attention to validate their work.
If you think I am wrong...erase your hard drive of everything you know about West Coast Choppers and sit down and watch Motorcycle Mania again...see just how wrong I am.