Ah, the joys of working in print media. If you've ever subscribed to a magazine for more than a few years, you've likely noticed the high rate of employee turnover. It seems that not even a year goes by that someone doesn't move on to greener pastures by switching from one magazine to another or running for the hills of another industry. The bad news this month is that our beloved art director, Joel Chadwick, is leaving us, making tracks out of California. I can't say I blame him, either. Thankfully, he's going to continue helping us in the art department until we find a suitable replacement that can match the incredible work he's done on the magazine.
The good news is that this month Sport Truck has also become that colorful, green pasture in the middle of Orange County, California, for two new individuals, where the freeways are crowded (but still free of charge!), the gas is expensive, and the office is right next door to a Hooters restaurant. We try to pretend that the proximity of the office to an eatery staffed by woman paid to be nice to you isn't the main reason that the new guys came to work here. Denial is a wonderful thing.
And so, it's with great pleasure that I introduce you to Sport Truck's FNGs: Tom "Baller T" Gomez and Mark "Skids" Hankey. Tom joined the staff to fill the gaping hole in our feature files and will be the man to find at truck shows across the nation when you want your truck photographed. He'll tag-team all the big events with Gary Blount, creating a two-man rental-car wrecking ball and dynamic photo duo. Tom came to us from the competitive world of freelance photography, which means that he's hungry, ready, and willing to get all the best trucks on film for your viewing pleasure. Before joining the staff, Tom contributed to several automotive magazines, calendars, and automotive marketing projects.
Our second FNG earned the nickname "Skids" the first day we met him by laying down a healthy burnout that sent rubber flying all over some Honda in the parking lot outside the office. Mark Hankey is neither a journalist, nor a photographer, nor a politically correct friend of the family. He is a seriously funny guy, though, with a thousand stories to tell about road trips and life in general from a die-hard custom-truck owner's perspective. You'll find his adventures every month (as long as he remains reliable and out of jail) in the new Skid Row column the staff gave him. His first submission, a holiday-themed story of shopping at the mall, had us on the floor and if we didn't know him, we wouldn't believe any of it was true. We think you'll enjoy his antics, and if you don't, drop us a line and we'll kick his butt.
This month, we've also added a new column to the magazine that includes music and media reviews for even more entertainment. Think of it as an added bonus that you weren't expecting when you picked up this issue. Music is a universal language, and you can tell a great deal about a person's tastes by inspecting their CD catalog. What better way to get to know the staff of your favorite magazine than by checking out what's in our trucks' CD players? Tom penned a hilarious commentary based upon what he found out we were listening to, and I've included it here just for you:
You can pick your nose, but you can't pick our music.
Here, at Sport Truck, we have a very diverse staff. We have a rap fan, a metal fan, a country fan, and an alternative-music junkie. But, what we all have in common is that we all love music. Sometimes, we even trade. You can't stop us, because we play like that.
Gary "Magilla" Blount: This hardcore gearhead and all-round tough guy has been known to break into song, singing his rendition of Journey's "Lights." That's usually when we tell him, "Play the CD, dude." Gary can also two-step to "Achy Breaky Heart" and Eminem's "Without Me," before jumping right to "Sexual Healing." This truck dude is well-rounded when it comes to his musical taste.
Calin "Mr. Salty" Head: The Ode To Mister Salty
Come 'n' listen to my story 'bout a man named Head
A poor country boy, barely kept his music taste fed
And then one day, he was drinkin' some home brew
When out through the radio come a bumpin' Crew-
Motley, that is, Heavy Metal, Rock 'n' Roll
Well, the first thing you know, old Head's a hair-band fan
Kinfolk said, Head, turn it down, man,
Said Country is the type it oughta be
So, he shaved his head and converted back to Country-
Western, that is, hard luck, cheatin' wives
After reading that, you can probably guess Calin listens to country with a little classic rock mixed in.
Mike "Finicky" Finnegan: What can I say about our fearless leader? This Tesla-loving Socially Distorted, Charlie Daniels Band, Beastie boy can appear disoriented at times but has a calculated assault on his music. What's in Mike's CD player? Try Voodoo Glow Skulls and Orange 9mm. We thought at one point we heard mariachi music coming from his office. He swears it wasn't him. We think he's in denial. His doctor says only time and money will help this misaligned mini-trucker.
Tom "Baller T" Gomez: I roll into the office from the two-hour morning traffic commute listening to surf punk virtuosos Los Straitjackets, and during the four-hour drive back home, I listen to Suicidal Tendencies. But, most days, it's a daily dose of Jimi Hendrix and Social D. I'm a psycho-billy Supersucker/Reverend Horton Heat fan that can hang all weekend at the Hootenanny and still have time for a latte. Once the rest of the staff caught me grooving to the Black Eyed Peas in the parking lot, when I thought no one was looking.
Mark "Skids" Hankey: This Honda-wrecking maniac loves the Salsa with a side of Merengue. You could totally find Skids pounding the SoCal pavement, singing along to his favorite Barney tunes dressed up as the blue Tella Tubby trying to pass it off as if he is going to a costume party in July.
We hope this gives you a glimpse of the guilty parties behind the madness that occurs every month and gives you dedicated readers an idea why we do what we do and act the way we act.
So, now you have two new columns for your reading pleasure and two new staff members to make fun of. Visit the website, www.sporttruck.com, and let us know how we're doing in the forums. Play on, playas!