Hello, and welcome to another jam-packed edition of The Hot Seat. In case you missed last month's story, each month we take a person that has been a vital part, a mentor, or made some significant impact in the scene, and expose him or her and make them blush for your reading enjoyment. So sit back, light a match, do a courtesy flush, and enjoy this months' installment.
* If you have an idea for someone you want to see in The Hot Seat? Email email@example.com with your suggestions, questions, or comments, and maybe your favorite will be our next victim!
This month, we bring you John O'Neill, AKA Johnny O; if you don't know him yet, you're about to know it all!
Full Name: John O'Neill
Age: The Big Three-O
Place of birth: Palm Springs
Current residence: Redondo Beach, California
Daily driver: '97 'bagged S-10
Who are you?: I've been writing for truck magazines for almost a decade. I started with Sport Truck magazine, worked with Mini Truckin', Tailgate, and then spent the last four years on Street Trucks, trying to fill the huge shoes of Courtney Hallowell and Brian McCormick.
Q: What is in your Toilet Tower/Lavatory Library? Be honest, not the obvious ones like Mini Truckin', we want to know about the US Weekly, the Better Homes & Gardens and the Luscious Large Woman mags.
A: I've always been a reader. I have everything from computer hacker mags like 2600 to the chick version of Maxim, called Jane. I also have a stack of books from Hunter S. Thompson and R.A. Salvatore.
Q: Tell us one thing people either don't know about you or would be very surprised to hear?
A: I'm an awesome cook. My specialties include, Baja chipotle shrimp tacos, caramelized salmon, fried garlic plantains, rosemary chicken parmesan, and the poorest meal you've ever enjoyed; ramen noodles, an egg, seasonings, and cheese.
Q. Do you have any tattoos? If so, what is it, and do you regret it?
A: I have a half sleeve of a leprechaun tearing up a four leaf clover. It's two good luck charms battling each other, which is my way of saying, "F- Luck."
Q. Do you consider yourself "regular"?
A: I eat fiber, but I'm not your garden variety dude. I hate when people talk with their mouth full, but I've spit a mouthful of dinner at an unsuspecting crowd. I hate when people piss all over the toilet seat, but I've placed my balls on some dudes chin while he was passed out, and poured a beer over them... that's known as the "beer ball waterfall", by the way. Does that answer your question?
Q. What is your favorite show of all time?
A: I think Greenville of '03 was my favorite show. There wasn't any local influence on the show, and the cops were standing on the sidelines asking people to flash, burnout, and drag their trucks. Picture four lanes of insane highway congestion, framed by thousands of minitruckers with girls, beads, and trucks throwing sparks. That's the stuff that my wet dreams are made of.
Q. What got you into the scene?
A: I started with Volkswagens and then moved to muscle cars. After that I started building trucks and haven't looked back since.
Q. What is your personal opinion on the current state of the scene with us losing so many shows lately? Why do you think that is? Can it be repaired?
A: Our scene is a direct reflection of our economy, and everything is a circular cycle. Right now we're in the down swing of that economic cycle. It will swing back up soon enough, and we'll experience another boom in the industry.
Q. It's been rumored that you are a good person to have on their team in a fight. What's the story with that?
A: It's a two part story. Part 1; I'm Irish. Part 2; I drink like a fish. When you combine those two components, it's likely that if my friends get punched in the face, someone is gonna get knocked out.
Q. Your body seems to be in good shape (no we are not coming on to you), are you taking that fancy Creatine to bulk up those arms or just eating a lot of spinach?
A: I hit the gym as much as I can, hopefully one day I can get some of that race horse steroid stuff though. I can't wait to be a hulk-a-maniac with tiny balls.
Q. We heard you and an 80-pound sea bass got into a drinking competition and you won! But we have to ask, how did you manage to out drink this mighty fish?
A: I've been drinking since I was in the womb; that's the Irish way. Our lives are one giant training session for the big game. We're like the Olympians of Cirrhosis, without all that sporty crap.
Q. Your writing skills are great, and we all love to read your stories. What got you into the writing side of things? Is there a writer you look up to and why?
A: Honesty is always the best way to write. I learned that by reading Hunter S. Thompson's books. He's a man that didn't sugarcoat situations, and he didn't ask other people for direction. He lived his life in excess, and when other people didn't agree, he just took more acid, or drank more whiskey.
Q. We always see you with a different lady on your arm, what's that story?
A: Here's the God's honest truth; women are crazy. For some reason the crazier women seem to be attracted to me, so they end up on "my arm." I'm trying to take a new path though and find a non-crazy woman that doesn't make me wanna shoot my face off. Keep your fingers crossed, but until then, all you crazy chicks can get in line.
Q. How many magazines have you worked for? Which was your favorite job and why?
A: I've worked for four mags. I'd like to say that Street Trucks was my favorite, only because I got the chance to reach a true audience that appreciated me, but unfortunately I had one single roadblock: stupidity. It comes in many forms, but lack of direction, lack of a true sense of our scene, and lack of pure creativity, all equal one thing: a Travisty.
Q. So what's next for Johnny O?
A: You will see my words in magazines, you will see my pictures in print, and you'll see me at shows, but you just won't see me wearing that "wizard hat" of creativity that I like to think I brought to our scene for a few years. I don't play politics well, and I'm better known for kicking a$$ rather than kissing it.
Q. What's your most memorable experience as an editor?
A: I think we all remember our first cover shot, mine was a silver and blue GMC with a wide angle lens; it pretty much solidified my shooting style for the next decade.
Q. What would you like to be most remembered for?
A: I'd like to think that I have made an impact in our industry providing fun to read columns, great photos, and some stupid antics at shows.
Q. Who do you look up to in the industry?
A: I've always loved Brian McCormick's photos as well as Courtney Hallowell's writing style. They both have mastered the art of connecting with their audience and I can only hope that I reached that pinnacle. I've also admired the people like Mike Alexander, that can think outside of the box when building a truck. Now if he ever finishes one, he can be my hero.
Q. What have you gained from this industry?
A: Fortunately, I've gained a huge group of friends over the years from all over the US. That's the one thing that I wouldn't trade for the world. These jobs come and go, but the people that have shown a genuine love to me are absolutely priceless.
Q: And of course, the plugs?
A: First of all, support everyone in our scene. Buy Mini Truckin' each month, hit up shows, and help a friend with his ride. Add me on myspace at myspace.com/xjohn_oneillx, and remember FTN.