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 who 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 month's installment.
* If you have an idea for someone you want to see in The Hot Seat, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions, questions, or comments, and maybe your favorite person will be our next victim!
This month, we bring you Eric Saliba from The Little Shop of Horrors. If you don't know him yet, you're about to know it all!
Full Name: Eric Saliba
Place of Birth: Lawrenceburg, TN
Current Residence: Lawrenceburg, TN
Occupation: Professionally evading a real job since 2003
Daily Driver: The Grey Goose
Who are you?: Egotist, vagabond, and the owner of The Little Shop of Horrors
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: Some of Max's recommended books have been hanging out on the porcelain for a while now. Then there's the occasional Playboy. You know, for the articles right?
Q: Tell us one thing people either don't know about you or would be very surprised to hear?
A: I graduated college a couple of weeks after my 20th birthday and started working on minitrucks. Let's face it; I'm a dumb smart kid.
Q. Do you have any tattoos?
A: I had a couple one time, but I didn't really like them on my forehead anymore. That's the best part about the ones that come in cereal boxes! No real deal Holyfields. But if I ever got one, I think I'd tattoo a tape measure on my index finger to save me some time.
Q. Do you consider yourself "regular"?
A: Man I just don't do poo jokes, so I'm going to have to assume this is a question about being a regular guy. Sometimes I get a little ahead of myself and start to get the big head, or get mad at my work, but then I'll stop and think to myself "Come on Eric, you're working on compact pickups, that's about as rockstar as riding a scooter." I try not to take myself too seriously.
Q. What is your favorite show of all time?
A: Showfest for sure. I miss seeing people lined up 15-feet deep on both sides of the strip. I'm excited it's coming back, I'll just have to quit calling it "Greenville."
Q. What got you into the scene?
A: Someone gave me an issue of MT my last year in high school and I got interested enough to buy a beater on eBay and bodydrop it in time for the 2002 Mini Nats show about a year later. That thing was rough as a cob. At the Shular Inn that weekend I parked next to this guy Jerry with another older Toyota. I thought his was just the coolest truck ever, so I came back home and dug in a little deeper. I've always been a tinkerer; I eventually just graduated from playing with LEGOs and taking apart VCRs to this stuff.
Q. Who do you look up to in the scene?
Bob Grant is super talented and just so damn good-looking. Max Fish is a pretty sharp cookie. I don't know them, but guys like Cole Foster, Russell Mitchell, Troy Trepanier all have a no-nonsense style I can really get into.
Q. Where did you get all of your crazy-awesome skills?
Crazy-awesome? Right... I guess I'm mostly self-taught. There isn't anyone in my family that does metal work or is into stuff like this, so I just learn things the hard way out in the shop. I am a notorious question-asker though. When I find somebody that I think knows their shiz I'll pester them until they tell me to go away.
Q. How big of an operation is Little Shop of Horrors? You must have dozens of people helping.
A: Two employees, and 52.5 helpers.