Editor's Note: Before going any further, you all should know that Tim Conder is a professional madman. He built a bike with several thousand razor blades and nails welded all over it, business side up! But the only thing that outpaces his love for all things dangerous is his creativity. His bikes have always been well ahead of their time, and when he decides to cover his amazing metalwork with paint, it is always something that both shocks and amazes the masses.
Tim is also one of my personal heroes. And it is fitting that getting this version of Busted Knuckle turned in is my last act as the editor of STREET CHOPPER I couldn't think of a better way to be remembered by the readers than turning Tim Conder loose in the pages of the magazine to speak his mind. Let the madness begin! - CH
What this culture needs the most is more customers with balls.
I'll tell you right now I don't read magazines. It's not because I don't like 'em, it's because I used to work in advertising. The media game is ground zero for relating to the "people," brother. They don't just represent a demographic, customer base or social movement...they create it. They manipulate, orchestrate, inflate, castrate, and overall facilitate what you want.
Now, I realize STREET CHOPPER and most every other 'zine out there just reperZENT "yo," but I don't want to be influenced that much. The fact remains, if yer gonna roll you gotta dance. Ya gotta sell it.
Choppers and machine culture in general offered me a chance to make a living in a bullshit-free idealistic environment, where I fully expected to be able to think up, build, and paint the wildest freakshow death machines ever. I couldn't wait to do without. To scrimp and save and drag these kinky-ass motorcycles out of my head and on to the street, ultimately collaborating with independent-thinking individuals. My God, it was beautiful.
All my life, I've read about custom guys pile drivin' some badass hunk of machinery together, then blinding the local squares with it while dancing the night away with barely legal Penthouse models at some star studded "charity event." I figured, "any minute now, I'll be doin' that s#*t!"
Barely six months into it I had grown-ups with major careers asking me if they could work for me for free. Lots of people were trying to be a part of it; millionaires arrived at my shop on a regular basis with saggy assed corduroys and mustard in their beards saying s#*t like "I want the best" or "Money's no object," waving their wallets in the air like Glade mist air fresheners. True, yes, so true.
At the time, I was sleeping in the bed of a '53 Dodge truck and living on potatoes and coffee.
Customers with balls. Right. Most of the above consumers are intrigued by the image of customizing, but prefer to sit on the fence themselves. They simply won't risk enough to go deep. They'll try for second base sometimes, maybe third if they're drunk.
Original, triple throw down, hide-your-daughters-'cause-I'm-into-feet-and-midgets custom motorcycles are not real to most custom customers! They're just little puffs of horny vapor wafting up from TV screens or magazines. Which would be fine with me, except I get a little tired of hearing these guys say things like:
"I want the only one man, I'm sick of seeing myself everywhere at Sturgis. How about some ghost flames?"
"I want the baddest f*#kin' chopper ever built...but I need a 7 gallon gas tank, blinkers, huge rear view mirrors, a windshield, saddlebags, and a giant cushy seat. Oh, and don't make the paint too fancy because I ride."
Both of these statements are usually followed by them pulling out a magazine and saying, "Just like this one, only green."