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 Ernie Macias, the founder and president of No Regrets and contributing editor of your favorite mag. If you don't know him yet, you're about to know it all!
Place of Birth:
Los Angeles, CA
Moreno Valley, CA (MoVal!)
2002 Volvo S60
Who Are You?:
I'm the guy in all the Lowlife videos, the guy that started No Regrets, and I work for a little mag you all know and love called Mini Truckin'! Yeah, I'm THAT guy.
Q: What's 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: Curves, Maxim, National Geographic, and Time seriously!
Q: Tell us one thing people either don't know about you or would be very surprised to hear?
A: I'm not a fabricator, I don't weld, and I even hate grinding. I get a lot of questions about 'bagging this and that but I just happen to know the right people.
Q. Do you have any tattoos? Do you have any MISSPELLINGS in your tattoos? Don't lie; we know the truth!
A: I have a ton of tattoos, and I know where this question is going. I have Japanese letters on my arm that say No Regrets, and all my friends always like to tease me and say, "How do you really know what it says?" It probably says I wet the bed or something, but to me it says No Regrets.
Q. What is your favorite show of all time?
A: Resolutions hands down! I loved that show and the way it brought us all together. I think it was the weather; I don't think people can get overly drunk and stupid when it's below freezing in California, we're just not used to that kind of weather. I met so many good people at that show and made so many friends. It's also the first place I tried absinthe, and no I didn't see any green fairies.
Q. What got you into the scene?
A: I grew up in the L.A. area and there was a ton of minis in that area at the time. The club I remember as a kid was Cities Finest. They rolled deep and had a ton of clean Nissan 720s. I loved lowriders too, but by the time I became of age driving a lowrider already had a bad image and since I was a good kid I went the minitruckin' way. What's funny is my first vehicle ended up being a Mitsu Mighty Max, but it was almost a Dodge Neon. That could've ended up really weird. Maybe I'd be drifting or something by now.
Q. What is your favorite part of your job? Favorite place you have traveled? Any regrets?
A: Well that depends on which job. In my real estate career I love the negotiations. In my business of property preservation, I pretty much hate all of it. In my job with MT mag, I love it all. I love getting to see the newest and coolest trucks and going to all the shows. My favorite place I've traveled is hands down Japan. I'm not a big fan of the food, but the trucks and the minitruckers are the best. And lastly, of course I have NO REGRETS!
Q. Who do you look up to in the scene?
A: Honestly, I look up to the guys who nobody remembers or knows. The guys that first turned torsion bars and cut some springs on a minitruck that weren't in the limelight or part of the cool crowd. I always wonder who that guy was back in the late '60s or early '70s who decided it would be a good idea to lower a minitruck. I can only assume that he probably also had a van, ha ha.
Q. Ever been to the St. Louis Arch? We hear it is just as beautiful as the caves in Kentucky.
A: The best part of the arch in St. Louis was the girls volleyball team that was at the top when we got there. You just gotta love those short shorts. The elevator getting up there is horrid and I don't recommend it. I don't remember much about the caves other than we weren't allowed to film in there. It was me, my partner in crime Mike Venegas, and Mr. Johnny O. I remember Johnny was there because I had to tell him to quit licking the walls.
Q. Tell us about "Big Ern." Where did this alter ego originate?
A: Big Ern is a myth, he doesn't exist. I think you got your information wrong. Don't listen to the following people about this myth: Mike Alexander, Max Fish, Lowlife Mike, John O'Neill, Courtney Hallowell, and any other goober I forgot to mention.
Q. On that note, are you a lover or a fighter?
A. I'm definitely a lover (despite what the previously mentioned people might have told you.
Q. No Regrets has really grown over the past few years, even winning the coveted Club of the Year award. So how did No Regrets come about?
A: I'd need the whole issue to go over how NR started. The in-a-nutshell version is this. I was in Forbidden Fantasy out of SoCal, and things weren't working out so I left. My buddy Garry Stalling and I decided that we loved minitruckin' too much to give it up so we decided that instead of joining another club we'd give starting our own club a try. On May 26, 2000, I came up with the name of No Regrets. I actually saw it on the back of a car on a bumper sticker and thought it fit my situation perfectly. On June 3 of the same year, we had our first meeting and have just blown up from there. We currently have roughly 15 or so chapters worldwide, including Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and Mexico.
Q. We know you have children, so do you ever do some babysitting for the wife while she runs errands? What do you do to keep the kids occupied, maybe video games? Nothing like nerdy war games or anything right?
A: The video games in my house are definitely only for me, and yes I'm a total Call of Duty dork. My name on the game is baggedmitsu and I'm on every chance I get, so sue me. A guy has to let loose and relax every once in awhile.
Q. So you and our editor, Mike Alexander, have been close for a number of years now, but we are sure like all great relationships there must have been some rough patches. Hopefully none at any house parties you have had, right?
A: Over the years Mike and I have had a few run-ins. The first time I got to kick Mike was when he got voted into Severed Ties at my house years back. Chad Lucas got on the phone and said that Mike should get jumped into ST. He was joking of course, but that didn't stop Josh Freeman and all the other ST guys at the party who started to give Mike a good beating. I figured since it was my house I might as well join the action and I got one good kick in. Of course Mike got his payback a few years later when he took me out so hard that I did a full 360 with a camera in hand and recorded the whole thing. Lucky for me, my bodyguard Tiny was there and put Mike in his place, in the mud. Good times!
Q. So, welcome back to the Mini Truckin' ranks. Why did you leave in the first place?
A: The ugly truth is that associate editors don't make nearly enough money. I have a family and I left to start my own business. Once that got going and Mike knew I could put some time back into the mag, he asked me back.
Q. Good to have you back, and yes, this is how we repay you for leaving. So who do you want to thank?
A: I have to thank my wife Melissa, my kids, Max Fish, Steve Wilk, and Jason Fry first and foremost. Also Quigley for getting me into the scene, Garry Stalling for starting NR with me, Mike Venegas because he sucks at life, Mike Alexander because he sucks at life too, Chris Pasley for never getting enough credit for the mag, the entire No Regrets family, Forbidden Fantasy, Tito, Jamey Jordan, Duck, my dad, and all the guys building trucks, going to shows, and enjoying the scene.