So last Summer I was taking a break from manning the booth, just wandering around the Om Boys Shitshow & Shine, up in Nanaimo, when I see this purple beast of an old school chopper next to one of the other vendor tents. Stops me dead in my tracks and makes my little heart go pitter-pattity. Whoever this builder or rider was, was obviously someone I was going to have to meet, so I rolled on over to check out what Keg Killer Customs was all about.
And that's how I met Mike Watson.
It was like stepping into a time warp. Old school chopper artwork everywhere, and the dude behind the table obviously woke up every morning right after the ghost of David Mann drew him. Totally gave me the screaming warm and fuzzies just looking at all that shit. If I wore panties, they'd've been floor-pie for sure.
First thing that grabs my heart strings in a deathlock are all of these torched and varnished driftwood pieces of David Mann paintings. Those things were straight-up Chopper Gospel and I needed saving in the worst way.
Yup, no freakin' way was I leaving without one of those bad boys. Souls are cheap, and dirtbag artisanal sculptures are just portable gateways to paradise anyways, so I start chatting the furry bastard up. Tell him how rad his bike and his artwork are and ask if he wants to swap some swag.
Little while later, he's the proud owner of one of our Real Mexican Saddle Roll Blankets with a Leather Carrying Harness and I'm squee-ing like an anime schoolgirl over my new objet d'motherfucking wonderful. Thing's had pride of place on my mantelpiece ever since.
Got to chatting with mister Mc Chopper again later of course, and it turns out we'd met his badass and beautiful girlfriend, now rockstar fiancée, Fatima the year before when we were neighbours at the original Om Boys Shitshow & Shine. Fatima's a pretty talented artist/pinstriper her own bad self too, by the bye. Chopper Dude turns out to be named Mike Watson, formerly of Carstairs Alberta. He also turns out to be a pretty righteous individual.
Over the rest of the season we all bumped into each other repeatedly on the show circuit, culminating in Mike's win of one totally funky trophy for Best Bike at the Cassidy Country Kitchen event at the end of the Summer. We cheered like drunken savages. Mike's bike was worthy and he hauls around bucket-fulls of the old karmic awesomesauce for sure.
Once I decided to start up this series of indie and alternative interviews, Mike was obviously one of the first people I thought of. Guy lives breathes and poops this stuff, so it's time to help him shine a bit. Now enough of my rambling on, let's hear from the Dreamy tub of scruffy wonderful himself, Mike Watson everybody!
(As always, just click on any of the pics to make 'em bigger!)
Why do you do what you do?
At a young age I looked up to my uncle and all the bikes and choppers he had.
Soon as I got the chance to get my own bike it didn't take long to start making it my own.
What would be your superhero name?
Sexy Jesus !!!
* Editor's note: Well shit, thanks a lot Mike. I may just have to retire this question now. I mean how the hell is anyone supposed to top that answer? Well played you bastard!
What was the best thing to happen to you due to poor life choices?
Got any nicknames and how’d you get ‘em?
Keg Killer. I love beer haha.
* Having been neighbours of Kegkiller Customs at a few shows and events now, we can solidly confirm Mike's steadfast and unconditional love for beer.
Got any heroes or role models?
My uncle who got me into choppers.
How did you wind up where you are?
Lots of trial and error!
Who’s work, do you have a crush on right now?
Always love what Big Scott does.
What would you like to see more of in the custom world?
Anything hanging in your shop or office that gives you joy to look at and what’s it’s story?
A picture that my little man painted of myself and my chopper.
* Editor's note: Aw man, must've got a little sumpthin' in my eye there...
What would you do with one million dollars?
Travel North America on my chopper.
Favorite motorcycle-related story?
The one that comes to my mind is a ride that Fatima and myself took to Kamloops. A blown-out headlight and blown wheel bearing in the middle of the night on our way there.
It's always a trip like this that you look back on and smile. If you ride a chopper it will happen sooner or later. And that's what makes it all the more fun.
What was your favorite glory moment?
Not motorcycle related but the moment when our little guy called me dad.
* Aw Man, that is it. Where are the goddamn tissues? Make no mistake, the family game is strong with this particular chopper freak!
What’s your next adventure?
Spring is here, and every weekend is an adventure.
Want to give some shout outs to other talented peeps, or anyone that helped along the way?
Wanna thank my Uncle for getting the bug started and my Fatima for always being there for me. And all my friends past and present who have help me along the way.
Ya, we wanna thank your uncle too, Mike. It's no small thing to take a kid under your wing and to teach them a love for beauty and the life long skills to make art out of machines. Reminds me of somebody else I know... Yeah you, Mr. Modesty.
Well there we go folks, a quick peek into the twisted mind of all around decent dude and wicked wrench, Mike Watson. Hope you all enjoyed the ride today and be sure to tune back in next week for another behind the scenes visit with another killer guest!
Keep the shiny side up and we'll see you around the way!