Venice Vintage Motorcycle Rally X Pagnol
Next up for our featured entrepreneur and engineer riders, we are so happy to have one that is both! The man behind the Venice Vintage Motorcycle Rally and Ramming Speed Racing, Brady Walker with his Pagnol M2 jacket. The VVMR is happening this Saturday Sep 17th 2016, so what better rider to feature and interview!
We also like his case because besides being an entrepreneur, he also has a cool day job (and some nights!) as a sound engineer at FOX studios. For most of us we had to “work on the side”, nights and weekends, building the dream of owning our own business while working at a job we hated just to make ends meet. Brady is fortunate to love his career, while being able to fulfill his inner desires as a producer & business owner at the same time!
So sit back and enjoy his very interesting and fun interview. You can also check out his gallery shot by Pagnol's own Paulo Rosas from SMD and with one of our all time favorite bikes and colors, the 2002-03 Yamaha R1 in silver and matte black...just like our van!
What did you do before becoming a promoter & producer of motorcycle events?
When I was flunking out of the University of Michigan - School of Engineering the Vice Dean took me aside and asked “What would I like to do with my life”. I replied “I wanna be a rock n roll star!” She pondered this for a second, knowing my high skill set for math & physics and said “Why not create your own curriculum and go for an interdisciplinary degree between the music school & the engineering school and become an audio engineer?” Without her guidance I might not have ever earned my degree nor realized how much I really was in control of my own destiny. I have never looked back, as once I changed my degree program, I earned straight A’s and graduated two years later. After college I worked at a commercial studio cutting spots for the radio. Soon after I made the big jump to Los Angeles. I went with my rock roots and landed a job at Paramount Recording where Led Zeppelin & Jimi Hendrix cut tracks. Earning $4/hour, I could barely afford gas to get to my job. Two months later I got a gig at another commercial recording studio in WLA for triple the pay. Although I wanted to be in the rock scene, I enjoyed working in a professional studio…and actually making a living! I moved to Venice Beach and eventually landed a gig with FOX, working in the On-Air Division where I am still to this day.
I moved from Mexico to Los Angeles to be a “Rock Star” as well! I also ended up becoming a recording engineer producing demos for bands. I did not make much money but I had a blast! And this led me to fashion design which set a well prepared stage for Pagnol!
What made you do the jump to have your own business?
Upon moving to Venice I had no friends and a lot of time. I answered an ad in the local paper for an event needing a audio help. I showed up and they said “You are the stage manager!” And I’m like “What does a stage manager do?!” And they slung me in there and I just learned on the fly…to locate the artists, make sure the show ran on time, manage personalities & juggle egos. Ten hours later I was exhausted, but the whole crew thought I was the bees knees. I eventually became the associate producer of that event that lasted eight years. Around the time that event was folding I found myself hanging out with a bunch of hoodlums with vintage bikes called the VVMC. A late night drinking whiskey with Shannon Sweeney prompted the question “Why don’t we have a party and invite everyone with old bikes…I know they are hiding around all over in Venice”. I replied: “I can do that!” In less than two months we had planned the first Venice Vintage Motorcycle Rally. And although it was a hit, it wasn’t a financial success. In fact I lost money for three years putting on the free community event. But I saw how vintage bikes were coming into popularity and I knew with persistence and hard work that something special could be achieved. We needed a bigger space, and found it in the Venice Farmers Market Lot, but every time I inquired about renting it I was shot down. Every time I got a NO, I asked “Why?” I would just keep going up the ladder until I got a YES, even though it was accompanied by a lot of conditions and expenses. Today the Venice Vintage Rally is still going strong. We pack the little lot with over 40 vendors and we get support from dozens of businesses. Because of the rally I created my own catering business to handle permits & staff that led me to work on non-moto related events with much success.
Amen to the gods of speed! The major requirements: Vision, Talent, (The 3 Ps) Preparation, Practice, Persistence, Know how, Balls and where a lot of people slip…HARD WORK!
What relationship do you see in being a Moto rider and business owner?
The first thing that pops into my head when I hear that question is the amount of time I spend driving on the freeways of Los Angeles to get things done. In addition to my catering business, the event production business & my day job, I have also developed a home studio installation business geared towards voice over actors. Sometimes I have to travel from Pasadena to Santa Monica to San Pedro and then back up the Valley in one day. The only way to get that kind of a driving schedule handled is by splitting lanes on my bike. Yes, it’s dangerous, yes it’s scary, but it is also a lot of fun. I can say that I have visited nearly every corner of Los Angeles…and sometimes I can do it in a day! I think there is also something in here that relates to the fact that, with my motorcycle, I can get so much more done. I have so much freedom to get where I need to go, quickly. I don’t have to wait in the endless traffic asking permission to change lanes. I just do it. I am not one of those lane splitters who constantly revs their bike for cars to move out of the way. I move quickly and effortlessly…and if the lane is too narrow for me to get through I patiently wait for traffic to begin moving again and slip past with courtesy. There’s no need for excessive ego when all you want to do is get by and continue on.
The use of a bike FOR efficient business AND pleasure! Of course! THIS is something that a lot of USA people are missing out on! The “practical” everyday use of motorcycles as they do in Europe and many other parts of the World. Kudos for not being an entitled asshole splitting lanes while you are at it is a BIG plus!
But do you also think true Moto riders might have a fearless personality for doing their own biz?
I do not know if it is all about fearlessness. Although I am always up for a challenge, it does scare the hell out of me when beginning a new endeavor. Will it succeed? Will I regain my investment? How much time & money will it cost? But I believe that starting a business is an adventure. You can plan and run figures over and over…but you really do not know what the outcome will be until you step off your safety platform and dive in. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but looking back on all of my failures I can say that I am a better businessman and better person for trying. Riding bikes on the freeways of Los Angles and being a racer with the AHRMA circuit has very high risks of danger. So you do your best to assess the pros and cons, make sure your chain is adjusted and that your brake pads aren’t worn and you dive on in. I always get very nervous before a race and the butterflies in my stomach make me sick…and the old timers tell me “I would be more worried if you didn’t have those butterflies!” Having fear forces you to really consider what you are doing and plan ahead for the danger you could encounter. And I believe that is a good thing!
So far from only 3 interviews none have shared my concept of “fearlessness”, but they have come up with other great points of view such as yours! The point I am trying to make is that although you don’t have to be fearless every minute of every day, there is a “moment”, whether riding or in business, even if all is well planned and prepared and you have those butterflies, that you HAVE to “put fear aside” and go! Other wise you never go anywhere! And once you are on the track or roads at speed, the fear disappears, and you proceed with confidence.
You are correct, Paulo. There is a definite moment when the green flag waves or the contract is signed and you’re in it 100%. You feel the hair stand up on you arms and you don’t look back. I have made some moves on and off the track, that looking back, surprise me to this day. When you get in the zone there’s nothing more you can do than give it your all without any regret. It gives me life and excites me nearly every day.
Thank you Brady! Can’t wait for this year’s Rally this coming Saturday Sep 17th!