The Talent Tank

EP 20 Ian Johnson

April 06, 2020 Ian Johnson Episode 32
The Talent Tank
EP 20 Ian Johnson
Chapters
The Talent Tank
EP 20 Ian Johnson
Apr 06, 2020 Episode 32
Ian Johnson

A play on the triumph and losses in performance and life.  The Talent Tank podcast will navigate the inner workings of lifestyle, lives, family, teams, careers, programs, and technology in and around the offroad motorsports industry.  What breeds success with your Talent Tank on full, failures when its on empty.  From the journey to the Starting Line to take that Green Flag, on to exploring trials and tribulations on and off the track in pursuit of victorious achievement and the Checkered Flag.

The Don King of Offroad Media, the Guy Fieri of ULTRA4, the Marge Simpson of Okay too far.  Ian of Offroad.  Ian from Big Tire Garage.  Ian Johnson @ianfrombigtiregarge We know and love this guy.  He's been a staple of offroad television, magazines, the internet, announcing King of the Hammers for ULTRA4 Racing @ultra4racing, and now one of the esteemed personalities to guest appear on The Talent Tank.  We talk Canadian, not the language, media, building, wrenching, building some more, being right, logistics of a build, being wrong, hair products, believing in yourself, and absolutely surrounding yourself with the best people you can find.     

After the Checkered Flag-
Xtreme 4x4 was a half hour series that began in January 2005 as part of Spike's Powerblock line up. The show used a how-to format, where the hosts build or modify vehicles in order to turn them into off-road-oriented rigs. They also periodically show various forms of off-road racing from across the United States. These include such events as rock crawling, desert racing, sand drags, mud racing, and trail riding adventures.

The hosts, Ian Johnson and Jessi Combs, were selected as part of a publicized, nationwide search for hosts where viewers were encouraged to send in their videos and resumes to Spike TV executives.

Unlike other shows aired as a part of the Powerblock, the "how-to" component of Xtreme is emphasized to a much greater extent. The show provides more in-depth information on such things as wheel alignment and creating rollcages and suspension for off-road vehicles.

Brought to you by:
Custom Splice www.customsplice.com for all of your recovery equipment needs, they are your one stop shop.
Branik Motorsports Custom Machine www.branikmotorsports.com is a full-service machine shop with one off and production capabilities that prides themselves on quality, service and value.
Magnitude Performance www.magnitudeperformance.com a Mast Motorsports Company www.mastmotorsports.com.  Magnitude is a Made in the USA manufacturer of premium chrome silicon coil-over suspension springs.

Please like & subscribe.
https://www.thetalenttank.com/
https://www.instagram.com/thetalenttank/
https://www.facebook.com/thetalenttank/
Insiders Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheTalentTankInsiders/

Show Notes Transcript

A play on the triumph and losses in performance and life.  The Talent Tank podcast will navigate the inner workings of lifestyle, lives, family, teams, careers, programs, and technology in and around the offroad motorsports industry.  What breeds success with your Talent Tank on full, failures when its on empty.  From the journey to the Starting Line to take that Green Flag, on to exploring trials and tribulations on and off the track in pursuit of victorious achievement and the Checkered Flag.

The Don King of Offroad Media, the Guy Fieri of ULTRA4, the Marge Simpson of Okay too far.  Ian of Offroad.  Ian from Big Tire Garage.  Ian Johnson @ianfrombigtiregarge We know and love this guy.  He's been a staple of offroad television, magazines, the internet, announcing King of the Hammers for ULTRA4 Racing @ultra4racing, and now one of the esteemed personalities to guest appear on The Talent Tank.  We talk Canadian, not the language, media, building, wrenching, building some more, being right, logistics of a build, being wrong, hair products, believing in yourself, and absolutely surrounding yourself with the best people you can find.     

After the Checkered Flag-
Xtreme 4x4 was a half hour series that began in January 2005 as part of Spike's Powerblock line up. The show used a how-to format, where the hosts build or modify vehicles in order to turn them into off-road-oriented rigs. They also periodically show various forms of off-road racing from across the United States. These include such events as rock crawling, desert racing, sand drags, mud racing, and trail riding adventures.

The hosts, Ian Johnson and Jessi Combs, were selected as part of a publicized, nationwide search for hosts where viewers were encouraged to send in their videos and resumes to Spike TV executives.

Unlike other shows aired as a part of the Powerblock, the "how-to" component of Xtreme is emphasized to a much greater extent. The show provides more in-depth information on such things as wheel alignment and creating rollcages and suspension for off-road vehicles.

Brought to you by:
Custom Splice www.customsplice.com for all of your recovery equipment needs, they are your one stop shop.
Branik Motorsports Custom Machine www.branikmotorsports.com is a full-service machine shop with one off and production capabilities that prides themselves on quality, service and value.
Magnitude Performance www.magnitudeperformance.com a Mast Motorsports Company www.mastmotorsports.com.  Magnitude is a Made in the USA manufacturer of premium chrome silicon coil-over suspension springs.

Please like & subscribe.
https://www.thetalenttank.com/
https://www.instagram.com/thetalenttank/
https://www.facebook.com/thetalenttank/
Insiders Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheTalentTankInsiders/

Intro/Outro :

Let's drop the green flag on this episode of the talent tank podcast with your host Wyatt Pemberton bringing you the best, fastest, most knowledgeable personalities and ultra before and off road racing.

Wyatt Pemberton :

This episode of the talent tank brought to you by three amazing partners, custom splice offered recovery equipment, briny motor sports custom machine, and magnitude performance a mass motor sports company. Enjoy All right, all right. All right, here we go. The talent tank we're back at it sitting down this evening with a media mogul and offroad this guy. I love this guy. You unmistakable. It's not Guy Fieri but he's got the hair. That's even better. Ian Johnson.

Ian Johnson :

Oh, not much, man. How are you doing my friend,

Wyatt Pemberton :

man. So you're a Canadian slash Tennessee. And like how Exactly, is there a specific name for that? Because it would seem like almost a rare quantity.

Ian Johnson :

It's gotta be, you know, it's the kind of a joke that I was telling when I said move into the states from Canada was culture shock version one, you move to the south, it's like double culture shock. It took my wife, probably a good year and a half before she could understand most of the people that we loved around. So we would go out to restaurants and they'd talk to her and she would just look at me and say, What did they say? I don't understand that. So it took a while for her ears to absorb the southern accent. So yeah, it's been you guys

Wyatt Pemberton :

and Shania Twain right? Exactly. Yep. So for those that don't know, we got Ian Johnson. I'm gonna call you a TV wrench. celeb that works. That works. and owner of digital lug that's a media media company. That's your media company. And you guys host some host a bunch of shows but your big show is big Tiger Raj on Amazon. Yep. And really one of the big things that you've got going now today that we just kind of rolled out As you're one of the ultra for announcers,

Ian Johnson :

yeah, you know, the whole point of doing the live stream with Dave like, I mean, I remember we went basically the very first king of the hammers, because back then I was involved with crawl magazine. So I kind of knew about the sort of top secret king of the hammers when Dave was doing that little sneaky thing where he went on pirate and told everybody, what if someone raised Could you do all the hammer trails in one day? Well, we at the time, I was working with crawl and we'd sent a photographer out there, his name is Brandon the time and he'd already covered it. So we already knew about it. And then the next year, when it was an actual race, you know, because we had known about it. And I'd met Dave and talked about it. We had said, you know, we got to cover this thing, you know, and that we sent a crew out there completely unprepared. It was a car crash, to say the least we got a little bit of content out of it. But when Dave went all in on the livestream A few years ago, I saw him at SEMA and I just told him, I said, Dude, I want to do your live stream. I think it'd be tons of fun and It really is it's it's great group people to work with love work with miles love when Ricky Johnson, Cameron Steele two years ago last year, this year, of course it was racing. But it is it's just a really, really fun time doing that live stream for that race.

Wyatt Pemberton :

I've so many questions about that, that we're gonna kind of go into not at this point, but I have so many questions. So your hair I know I just compared to the Guy Fieri but truly Guy Fieri should be just totally jealous of your hair is something else. I've heard the stories

Ian Johnson :

the super behind the scenes story that only a few people know about me and Goofy areas. I met Guy Fieri before he was on Food Network. So Guy Fieri his very first job in television. He did Flowmaster muffler commercials for the production company that I used to work for. And in 2004 he came through our studios shot a Flowmaster muffler commercial and was part of the power tour with the guys from Flowmaster and he did not have spiky hair. And he asked me when we were on the set my hair wasn't as tight Back then, but it was spiky. And he asked me He's like, Dude, what are you using your hair? Man, it looks really cool. So I totally say to this day that guy very stole my haircut. No questions asked. I'm just claiming that. I'll put that right out here right now guy fairy stole my hair.

Wyatt Pemberton :

I think that's fair. I think that's only fair. I think that's a rightful claim to Yeah, I think so. The story that I heard was I and I overheard it but I overheard you telling it was you saying that your son, you've got a son Zack he's 19 years old and because of COVID and everything that's going on you just holding back from college. But you guys had like a thing going where? about him being taller than you and you started spiking your hair to stay taller than him until a point? Is he taller than you today?

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, so I always had like spiked hair, but then he was getting older and my hair was getting a little bit longer. And I was teasing him that the hair counted to my total height. I still to this day, say I'm six one with the hair. He's now taller than me even with the hair at this point, but that that is part of how it started was just the fact that you know he was growing up and you know, five son back and forth kind of thing. And once it got up there and it just sort of stuck, my wife liked it. I liked it. And you know, you and I've talked about this a couple times in passing is, you know, it just became a recognizable thing. And so we just left it up there.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Oh, it's absolutely signature and I leveraged off of you I actually took pointers from you before I even got to the hammers this year by not wearing Well, I mean, I brought my flex fit, you know, flat bill black hats and my black hoodies, because that's just the wardrobe but I leverage I conjured up my inner Ian Johnson here and I got a I wore a Stetson hat out there. And it was crazy how you became instantly identifiable but don't get me wrong there were definitely a couple nights where miles and I were running around from fire pits and RVs and tents and stuff and I just wore a hat and felt back to my normal self versus having to be like you you're kind of like always on and yeah, I can't do

Ian Johnson :

the one time if I don't want to be recognized that is don't spike my head. It'd be like miles was wrench Mike. If miles was seen without his wrench, Mike, nobody would know who miles was.

Wyatt Pemberton :

I don't know. he's a he's a legend in his own mind.

Ian Johnson :

He He's a great guy. He's so and he is so much like I said before, he's so much fun to work with to. He's probably one of the hardest working people in that livestream group as well. I've never seen anybody work so hard during during that race for sure.

Wyatt Pemberton :

His brother in law, which is his wife's brother ELC call His name is Benjamin and he calls him his buddy in law, because they're their best friends plus, brother in law. He was out there at hammers this year and he brought his his daughter which would be miles is nice. And she says, oh, Uncle miles is just he's different out here. And that's it. That's the only word for he's just different because he's working his ass off from sunup to sunset and way past sunset. He's on he's either up trying to learn about new guys talk to new people Converse, people get the backstories and just so he's on top of he takes it so seriously, and I absolutely love that about him.

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, yeah, no, he works super hard and just enemy in the stuff that you don't even see. Cuz even when he's not announcing on stage, we'll be on stage. And when you do that live stream you in one year, you've got race Ops, and then another year, you've got the live stream trailer that's feeding you what camera they're going to cut to, when they're going to commercial, all kind of stuff. And then if you have a question, you can chime in to the live stream shower just asked him to say, hey, what are we looking at on screen? Where are we going to next? And sometimes it's miles in the light. He's like working as a producer, and all of a sudden in the live stream. It just like, Oh, yeah, hey, it's miles, guys. I know who that driver is. And he just chimes in and just takes over in the trailer. So he'll never know in a few years. Maybe he'll be sitting in the in the big fancy seat in that in that little dark room. I hope

Wyatt Pemberton :

so. He's definitely put in the work. He's killing it. Yeah, but hey, we're not here to talk about miles. We're here to talk about you. That's absolutely miles. You're out

Ian Johnson :

there. miles already had his turn.

Wyatt Pemberton :

He absolutely did. Oh, man. So current affairs

Ian Johnson :

COVID. Wow, it's crazy.

Wyatt Pemberton :

And like I said, you are in Springfield. I'm sorry. Not spring, a Spring Hill. Tennessee, which is just outside of Nashville.

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, so we're about an hour the My house is about 30 minutes south of Nashville. The new shop in the studios that we built is actually in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, which is about 20 minutes sort of Southwest from there. So I kind of live in between. I live in Spring Hill and this new shop and the new studios are built out in Mount Pleasant. So we're pretty far from I mean, I'm an hour from Nashville airport if I was the driver.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Gotcha. How close are you guys like Woodlee?

Ian Johnson :

Woodley? He's in Murfreesboro. So Woodley is probably about 45 minutes. The guys from busted knuckle. They're about an hour south of me. So we're kind of all about just you know, in that little range about an hour away from each other. I see Woodley. I'll text Woodley constantly because, I mean, I knew Woodley, back before he raised co H. He was on the show because he was a rock bouncer guy and we were building a rock bouncer at the time, even though we didn't know that's what it was called. I met Woodley. My funny story from Adam Woodley is he'll kill me for telling this but it's worth Elon is the first Tommy brought Adam Woodley onto TV. He could not stitch two words together to save his life. And my producer at the time, great producer, he stood him up on a basically right beside him with a mic pack on and just said repeat after me. And he said, say these words was 14. And then when they would say 14 inch inch travel, travel Fox shocks, and he did that for like 30 minutes and then he goes, are you guys go to lunch and come back and when he came back, he goes, here he goes, he plays this and he edited all of Woodley together. So wasn't it was like yes, sir. This bug he's got 14 inch Fox 14 inch travel shocks front and rear. So weirdly, his first sentence on TV was 100% built by a computer. I love it. It was great. It was great, but it's good to see him now. What now you see him he's doing YouTube videos for a shop. I heard him on your podcast. He's, he's done so well. I'm super happy for him. And that's the one thing that I remember his back in that studio couldn't and got in trouble from his grandma for swearing on TV.

Wyatt Pemberton :

You know, I saw I did you brought that up. He has really tried to step up his media game, his social media game I saw they did a just a spot this evening. I think it's maybe about 15 minutes, a little shop tour of what projects they had going on in his shop. But yeah, was the first project he had with you guys that you guys do together? Was it that cab truck,

Ian Johnson :

so he had built the cab truck to pimp an 80s truck, and I was gonna copy it on the show. And so I reached out to him through pirate and I had said, Hey, just an FYI. I want to copy that. I'm like, I never wanted to say to someone just like copy and be like, look what I made up this things, but I was. So I reached out to him. And I told him I said, Hey, listen, I'm going to copy this exact truck. Would you like to be on the show when I build it? And he was like, absolutely, I'd love to. So he brought over he brought over the Rubicon buggy, which he that was one of his first buggies ever built, brought it in the shop. We talked about it and then talked about his pimping ain't easy cab truck and then we basically recreated it on the show. A couple other things made a couple changes. But it was a very similar build to his bill in Pippin.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Easy. That was the that was a red truck. Oh,

Ian Johnson :

yeah. Red s 10 with flames on it Rockwell's four wheel steer. Yeah. And then I did ours was lime green but similar drive train 5024 LED, I think I think on that when we did the range box blackbox range box into a tool five Rockwell's front and rear. Very similar bill. Very similar.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Gotcha. So you just had to move your son back from Arizona because of COVID.

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, how was that? He's not happy. But so, I mean, it is what it is. Right. You're at this point. And I think I think closing the schools is the right decision. It really is. Step one, when you're trying to prevent the spread of any type of virus. So I think closing the schools was the right decision. He goes to University of Arizona and Tucson. The school was super cool about it. They didn't just call up and say come pick up your kid. He's out of school. They he could have stayed if he wanted to. But you know, they were closing the gym closing the library. He was basically be in prison, because that's what a dorm room is its prison, right. But he's doing all of his courses online. They've made a lot of really good concessions for the kids and gave us a bunch of our money back. They gave us basically all of our money spent on the dorm back if he stays in a dorm next year, or just half back towards tuition next year, so and he's still going to finish this first year, and he's still going to get all this stuff done. So I think they did it right. He's bummed out because he can't get a job. You know, he's a teenager and wants to work and wants to basically make money. You know, we sat down and it's a good life lesson for him as far as I'm concerned, because I told him, what do you do if you can't find a job? You make a job. So he immediately went out, bought $2,000 cars, and went down to the local pull apart, start pulling parts off of wrecked cars to put them on these cars and he's gonna flip some cars at around the $5,000 range, which I think when the economy goes bad, you know, a good reliable 500 thousand dollar car you'll probably sell in a heartbeat so I think he's doing the right thing.

Wyatt Pemberton :

A smart move growing up did you teach him how to ranch how to weld how to fabricate any of those things or was that anything that was interesting?

Ian Johnson :

He was not a shop kid. I always joke I say kids are like, like the ultimate karma factory because whatever you aren't into their into so he was a job 100% no questions asked. started playing football our very first year we moved to Tennessee and Tennessee's kind of like probably like Texas, they take their football pretty damn serious down arity serious

Wyatt Pemberton :

it's a really so

Ian Johnson :

he was full contact football I think at four years old playing offensive line. He was a big kid for his age. So he played AAU line, play center or guard always he averaged about four sacks a game for most of his life. And he had he had a patented move where he would pick up the offensive linemen and throw him at the quarterback because he was always a good 20 to 30 pounds heavier than the kid lined up across from him. So yeah, he was a football kid football. Basketball sports, which I was never into growing up, he came out and worked on the worked occasionally in the garage. And that's actually where the name big tire garage came from. We were at the house and we had a shop behind the house and then the garage that you parked your car and obviously, I wanted him when he was about 11 or 12 years old. I said, hey, go grab me. I can't remember it was something from the garage. And he said from the regular garage or from the big tire garage, because everything in the back garage had big tires on it. What

Wyatt Pemberton :

a great name.

Ian Johnson :

I was like, Man, that's a pretty cool name for a shop and I immediately went registered the domain and then I was like, that's just a cool name for a shop. So that's it. That's how it was born. He came up with a name didn't even know it.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Wow, no, I mean, that's a that's a great story in and of itself right there. How does all of this impacted your business and your ability to your day to days now I know with Easter Jeep Safari canceled a lot of the stuff that you're doing outside of your shop is canceled? What's that doing for maybe even production that you guys have coming up because I think you guys are about to start shooting for weather very soon as well when we were talking about scheduling this

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, our four wheeler shoot got pushed back we were supposed to shoot in April, it got pushed back into May. So that that's affected that losing Easter Jeep Safari man, that's just, I mean, I get it. It's the right decision but talk about earth shattering news mean that it's never been canceled ever in the history of that event. And not even a discussion about rescheduling just cancelled, which I was incredibly shocked by to be honest with you. But knowing what we know now, I definitely think it was the right decision. But aside from on the business side, it's pretty much shut down all production across everything. We've sort of changed how we shoot for our Amazon. What I'll do is I'll set up lights set up a camera in a lockdown, I'll do a lot of just the individual shots I need to get and then I'll bring in maybe a cameraman for one day a week and he'll just get a few shots here and there where I need to have the camera moving around. marketing budgets are frozen. So nobody in our industry is spending money on anything. So that kind of dried up anything that we're doing for any companies, but we did have a few of our Really my opinion are really smart clients. They sort of leaned into this pretty hard and have started pushing us to do live stream stuff for them. We're doing live streams every Thursday for Aesop welding and cutting live streams every Friday for UConn gear and axle. You know, just to sort of service those guys are just guys and girls are just stuck at home and still want to learn how to work on their junk.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Absolutely. No kidding. And I didn't make a big deal out of this for last week with Eric Miller. I also kind of glossed it right but no kidding when I bought froze the show I about did not do talent tank after Josh Bleiler came out. I bought frozen and having conversations with friends and supporters and partners all that but you know, I talked to Todd Stauffer at custom spice. He was already on board to sponsor the show. And I called him I was like, Man, what if I don't do this and he just like he didn't lose it at me but he was just like, what I think that's the absolute. The wrongest thing you could do. I mean, you need to be doing this now. People need to be listening and For my business people are at home spending money, because they're bored this some extent I'm like, Okay, okay, so then I follow that up with the guys that magnitude performance, and then follow that up with Stan and Brandon Haynes over branding. And all of them said the exact same thing. They're like, no, we're leaning into this. They didn't necessarily use those words. But that was the effective outcome was lean into this. And that's cool to hear that some of your guys are doing that, too.

Ian Johnson :

So if you just take the Coronavirus and the COVID-19 and everything out of it, the reality is is what you have right now or what we're going to have shortly as a recession, that's what we have. And if you just roll back the clock to 2010 and look at the last recession that we had, the smart players in the game took advantage of the recession to steal some market share from people who basically froze their budgets during the recession and I i understand why a lot of companies that's their first reaction to just free spending. But you know, Henry Ford once said, stopping advertising to save money. is like stopping the clock to save time, it doesn't work. And that's just the truth. And so I think that you'll see some people who not necessarily take advantage of the wrong term for it, but they will see this and realize, you know what, yeah, Everyone is scared. And you know, there's everyone's gonna do this differently. But at the end of the day, people still want to listen to stuff, people still want to watch stuff. And as soon as this is, we'll say, quote, unquote, gone. Everyone is going to be back recreating in probably one week. That's just the American spirit. That's just the way it works. You know, the minute they say, the minute they say you can go to a restaurant, every restaurant in this country is gonna be full of people. So that's what you have to get ready for. I've used this analogy recently in recent weeks is the slingshot feels like a slingshot feels like we're being pulled back right now. Yeah, as soon as someone says go, it's gonna launch at least I mean, that's what I'm praying for. I think that's what everybody's praying for. But I think to some extent, I think it's gonna happen because people will be tired of one being told what to do. Tired of young Americans aren't good at being told what to do. Being a Canadian citizen and gas, I won't say against your country. I've been around, I'm here for good. Now you're not getting rid of me. But having a worldview of living somewhere else. And we I talked to people who live in other countries, we have friends who live in France, we have friends who live in, in, in parts of Europe, lots of friends and families still back in Canada. And I tried to explain them. I said, That's not how America works. I said, you guys are forgetting. America is its own breed of country. Number one. Most states are the size of some of the countries that this country is being compared to, you can't compare America to a France because, you know, basically, Texas is bigger than France. So that's not gonna work. And just the reality of the situation. Like you said, Americans aren't good at being told what to do. And they're a social group of people. That's just part of the nature the minute that you tell everyone, it's okay to go outside. Everyone's gonna be outside, and everyone's gonna be doing stuff again in a heartbeat. And that's just how it's gonna work. And I hope that it comes sooner rather than later. And I hope that we are on the good side. This everything turns out in a good light. If there's one thing this country's good at, it's bouncing back from a challenge. No questions asked

Wyatt Pemberton :

resiliency. 100% is so resilient. Yeah. So you brought up that you're Canadian. I brought up that you're Canadian, but you're Canadian.

Ian Johnson :

Yes. Kanaka stanny. And as I like to say,

Wyatt Pemberton :

Smith falls Ontario. Yep. Just across the the St. Louis River ish area from New York,

Ian Johnson :

Thousand Islands areas where I grew up.

Wyatt Pemberton :

You're basically like upstate New York, but like pretty much a little

Ian Johnson :

bit further past. All the TV channels I just listened to and all the radio stations I used to listen to basically were from Ogden Burg or Syracuse, New York. Yep. 100%.

Wyatt Pemberton :

So I, in just my research, this is what I do. I'm looking at Smith Falls, Ontario. And there's there's some, you know, notable individuals from there, but I could not believe that Wikipedia does not list you as a notable celeb. We need to fix that.

Ian Johnson :

I got to fix that. I got to get on to Wikipedia after this conversation and fix that problem. I mean,

Wyatt Pemberton :

especially considered it is it's crowdsource? Yeah, I really,

Ian Johnson :

I'm surprised at that slipped through off to get my wife on that I got to get her on that right away.

Wyatt Pemberton :

So I'm gonna go off on a little tangent can kind of fall out of order like I would normally do right now we'd normally be talking about this falls in your family and stuff. But how exactly did you end up in Tennessee? Like from there to there?

Ian Johnson :

It's all around the TV show. So I was in Smiths falls as a high school shop, teacher teaching high school auto shop and welding shop. And I turned on the TV and the show came on called monster garage. And I watched it and I thought, Man, that's such a cool show. So I jumped online and I went to the Discovery Channel homepage, and there was a forum and then there was this little button that you could click to apply to be on the show. And so I did I clicked on the Apply to be on the show button. And two weeks later, I got a phone call from a guy's name's Joe mol. Crone. We are still very good friends to this day him and I text private once every two or three months. And he was a segment producer for a monster garage and he said hey, we want Bring it down, man. This is watch on this episode. Come on down to the episode so I did went to Long Beach shot an episode of monster garage. I saw that episode did a big old Santa Claus parade float. Yeah, we've seen a really dead the behind the scenes story that we shot that literally the week of Halloween. So everyone is in like that Halloween mode, right and so and then Jesse shows up and he was like, we'll just make Santa Dan will make a skeleton Santa. And the real behind the scenes story of that is that that float was supposed to be in the Rose Bowl parade because that time monster garage was like the highest rated show on Discovery Channel. So it was going to be huge and they were going to put it on in the Rose Bowl parade. Three of the builders on the show were from a company that built Rose Bowl parade floats. And that was the deal. As soon as the Rose Bowl committee found out that it was a dead Santa Claus. They were thrown out of that. It was wasn't going to the Rose Bowl parade, no questions asked. So it ended up in the dude operate in Long Beach instead. But yeah, it was a 24 foot folding dead Santa Claus that shot candy out of his hands type of thing. So we came, I came home from that and and sit at the house watching TV. We had a big party at our house for the premiere of that show. We watched it and friends and family came over. A couple of my friends were teasing me. They were saying, oh, man, you've peaked it. Whatever it was, I think it was 29. At the time it was you've peaked at 29. You can never do anything better than the monster garage. And I said, Yeah, I guess that's it. What's a good way to go out and we're kind of teased each other and then that that Saturday or the following Saturday, I was watching power block. And there was a commercial for apply to be the next host of a power block television show. I called my buddy Joe McCrone and asked me if he knew the production company and he said, Yep, he said, you know that you should try out I'll put in a good word for you. And he emailed the producers there, let him know that hey, you should give this guy a shot and I flew down to Tennessee about two weeks later, there was a group of 20 of us that showed up to audition. 5000 people applied, they brought in 20 of us. Two weeks later, I was in Tennessee making the very first episode of extreme form before

Wyatt Pemberton :

we're gonna dig into that, because that's a that is some seriously cool stuff. So that's that's how you ended up in Tennessee from

Ian Johnson :

exactly yeah, that's what moved me in Tennessee. So I moved, I moved to Tennessee, my wife stayed home, she had to finish out her teaching contract in Canada to finish this semester, I was able to get out of mine early. So she stayed home and took care of her son who at the time was like two or three, you know, kudos to her because when you move from Canada to the United States, you have to pack all your belongings, put everything in a box, they give you a sticker to put on the box has a number on it. And then you have to list every item that's in that box, number the box and then seal it and when it crosses the border. They open like four random boxes to check to make sure that you're actually importing what you're saying are important. not bringing in a whole bunch of illegal Canadian maple syrup and So she had to pack all those boxes by herself because I was down in Tennessee making, making TV and having fun

Wyatt Pemberton :

and your wife Rhonda, right

Ian Johnson :

wife is Ronnie. Yeah, we've been married. We were married. We were married Friday the 13th in 1999. So that was It's been a while years 20 plus years yeah 20 years so this year we went to France for our our we had a friend get married and so we went to France this summer for a little wedding trip. It was great.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Congratulations on 20 years that's a that's a significant number and you know, you and look at you I would never guess you've been you know, one married possibly they even be married 20 years but the fact that you've got a 19 year old son is just even more florina You're still young

Ian Johnson :

it's the Canadian in me you know cuz when in Can't you only age for half a year because you only go outside for half a year you're stuck inside in the snow and you hide from the weather. So I always tell people I said for like 30 years of my life. I only age like half a year at a time so I only went out for like four months out of the year. I hate winter. I hate winter despise it. So how did you two meet We're teachers. So I started my life in high school, I went through an apprenticeship program in Canada kennis kinda like Europe, where in grade 10 you got to decide what you want to be when you grow up. So I finished grade 10 and you have to decide Are you going to be a tradesperson? Are you going to be a doctor or lawyer or other and if you decide to be a tradesperson, you sign your apprenticeship papers right then and there and you start your training. So I went to school in the morning and went to work in the afternoon at a mechanic shop. And before you're allowed to call yourself a quote unquote mechanic in Canada or carpenter, bricklayer, welder, any of that kind of stuff. You have to finish your trade training. In my case, to be an auto mechanic, it was 9000 hours of on the job training, and nine months worth of college schooling, so I had to go to school for two months at a time and then work in between. The beauty of it is the government. You don't have to pay tuition to go to school tuition free and actually paid me to go to go to college. So I didn't expect to be a teacher when I left high school. I was Gonna be a mechanic. But I said I hated winter. And we'd rented a cottage one summer. And I was sitting at the cottage and I was like, man, I don't want to go. I don't want to go back to work because it's busiest in the summer and I was slowest in the winter. I was got lots of time off for being a mechanic in the winter, but I hated winter. And so I thought, Wait a minute, teachers don't work in the summer. I wonder if I can become a teacher. And so I researched a little bit and I could get my teaching degree because I had mechanics license, become a shop teacher. And so that's what I did. I became a shop teacher had to go back get my diploma or education diploma from Queens University, and I did that in Kingston, Ontario, and then got a job at a high school in Whitby, Ontario. And my wife Rhonda at the time, she was the art teacher, and we were dating, none of the students knew we were dating, but all my students kept telling me like they because they were always more free with a shop teacher, right? They'd say, Hey, old man Johnson, you should really hit up that hot art teacher because you know, she's, you guys should be going out and they didn't No, we're already going out at the time. So then we got married like a year later so it was all good. Ha,

Wyatt Pemberton :

that is absolutely great.

Intro/Outro :

Stay tuned, your talent tank is in full yet.

Wyatt Pemberton :

For the past 10 years, there has been a group of individuals working hard pushing the limits of what's possible with suspension spring technology. today that group has opened some exciting new doors stepping out with the release of their own line of premium high performance coil over springs magnitude performance suspension is now up and running their new complex deep in the heart of Texas manufacturing their new line of premium chrome silicon springs right here in the USA. While the name and location is new. The crew magnitude is anything but with extensive multi genre racing application experience, including 10 plus years specifically testing tuning, listening to working with an answering the needs of ultra for and off road racers alike. I'm ecstatic to have magnitude onboard as a partner of the talent tank and I stand behind their products as I'm a customer of this team myself. When I was building my last race car I reached out to now president of magnitude Jason yoed. About his sway bar design. He built a sway bar to the specs he calculated for my application, and it was 100% dialed in right out of the box. That almost doesn't sound real but it happened proof this team magnitude no suspensions, springs, sway bars, what works, what doesn't and I haven't even mentioned their line of valvetrain Springs. They do those as well. ls lt diesel's drag racing duals and triples. They've got them all No more waiting around for springs to be made. backordered all the while you could be testing and tuning your vehicle and practicing your best podium pose magnitude has over 10,000 springs in stock that's over 225 different links and rates these guys have embraced technology with real time inventory status on their website so enthusiasts and competitors can order with confidence that magnitude has the parts you need when you need them. I know I mentioned that they are in Texas. That makes me proud But that also means they're centrally located for quick shipping to your door. No more right coasts waiting on California left coast waiting on North Carolina. Give the team of magnitude a call 866-674-1516 or hit up their website magnitude performance comm mentioned you're a fan of the talent tank or use online code tt 10 and get a special 10% discount.

Intro/Outro :

Now back to the show

Wyatt Pemberton :

so what when you were a mechanic though what was your specialties? Were you good at one thing not good at others were you like

Ian Johnson :

when I started in? I worked in a big GM dealership in Kingston, Ontario called name was Taylor Chevrolet is a huge dealership we had 22 texts in the back and it was a specialized dealership. So you had a couple alignment guys couple General Service guys fuel and fuel electrical tune up with a Saab specialist because we had a Saturn and Saab store. But I wanted to be an engine builder because this was in the 80s and pro street cars were huge. And one of the summer jobs I had was I helped my friend who had a engine building shop called street tech engine. In Smith's balls, and he was like the cool guy in town because he built, you know, pro street cars and pro street engines and, and I wanted to be an engine guy, and to their credit name was Paul grew, we call them lumpy. Paul pulled me aside and said, Don't be an engine guy. It's a bad bad specialty. You need to be a transmission guy. I was like, I don't want to be a transmission guy, Paul, you know, I just don't want to do it. He said, walk around this building and ask every single one of these mechanics if they'd work on their own transmission, and I went and talk to these guys, these were guys who, you know, in the trade for 1520 years, and I'd say would you ever rebuild your own transmission? And they'd like, no, there's like magic fairies in their I don't know, a transmission works. So I was like, that's actually a good specialty to get into. And he told me he's like, if you become a specialized transmission and driveline tech, you can name your own price. You always have work, and nobody will bother you because nobody knows what you do. So that's what I did. I became a driveline, specially transmission, transfer case drive rear ends, front axles, and it was right at the point when General Motors was entered. A lot of the electronic transmissions and that was Paul's. He didn't tell me this at the time he told me after I started working with him, he didn't want to learn how to deal with computerized transmissions. He didn't understand them. So he wanted out of that job. And he just wanted to fix the old school transmissions. So he was basically handing all those off to me that was my job to fix all the electronic ones. So I that was my segue into being a transmission guy. That was my specialty.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Oh, that's hilarious. So at what point did you get bit by the car bug? Off Road bug? Where did Where did this come in? Because I know you still own your first car. I do know they're 3.4 books

Ian Johnson :

Volkswagen Beetle sitting right there. Yeah, no, my first car so I always kind of like cars. I don't know why I remember I still remember to this day. I remember I was probably like 13 or 14 years old walking through the we used to go shopping in town with my mom. We'd go like Friday night to the mall. She would go buy groceries my brother and I read aloud to wander around the mall and just look at stuff and buy candy wherever you want to buy, get our allowance and spend it. And I still remember to this day, walking through the magazine section of the drugstore and picking up an issue of hot VW magazine. And I wish I knew what it was. I'd love to get a copy of it back. But anyway, so I remember to this day picking that up and just thinking that that bug was so cool. And I was like, that's my first car. And I bought the car without telling my dad I had a job at a bait and tackles shop slash gas station when I was 14 years old. And I just saved my money and I bought this $500 Bug Out of autotrader didn't tell my dad I just bought it brought it home and just parked in the driveway. And the next morning I went out and it didn't start and there was no YouTube back then there was no Google there was nothing. So I had found a book called How to keep your Volkswagen alive for Dummies. I think it was a huge big fat book. I just basically started working on that car. And it came natural to me and so it just felt good. And then I was like, You know what? I'm gonna be a mechanic because this just feels right. And that started me down that road of being a mechanic. If I bought a reliable Honda Accord I probably wouldn't be a mechanic today.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Yeah, fair enough, right because those things go like a million miles. Exactly

Ian Johnson :

was your dad into Nope. All my parents were white collar. My mom was a high school my The reason I was able to figure out how to become a teacher is my entire parents generation. We're all teachers. My mom was a teacher. My dad was a teacher. My uncle was a teacher. My aunt was every member of my family was a teacher. And the funny story about that was when I told my dad I wanted to be a mechanic. He thought I was just throwing my life away because like, that's just total blue collar. He's like, I can't believe that's what you want to do. You know, you should go to university, you should be an engineer, you should do this. And because my brother was going to university and I said I don't want go I'm done school man. I've was fine. 12 years like grade 12. That's enough. I'm done. I want out of this game. And I said I that was it. I knew it wasn't meant to To go to university, once I became mechanic and he saw that it was he eventually admitted that I made the right decision. But then he, when I was leaving, quitting my job as a mechanic become a teacher, I didn't tell him about it. I told my mom, she helped me fill out the paperwork and stuff, but I kind of kept it from my dad was sort of sort of like I was gonna be surprised for him. And I came home got my acceptance letter to Queen's University, which is a pretty prestigious university in Canada. And I said, Look, Dad, I'm going into the family business, I'm going to be a teacher and he's like, why would you want to throw your wife away? You've got such a good job as a mechanic and you're gonna take the most thankless profession in the world and I'm just like, oh my goodness, there's no way you sometimes just can't make your dad happy. You know, that's how it works. But in the long run he once again couple years he realized you know, what was the right decision and then it led to even way more than that, so I he knew that I was never going to take a normal path anywhere in life. And so that's how I ended up here. So but that's just how it works.

Wyatt Pemberton :

And then how have they been about you guys being you you and Rhonda now a grandchild and you're moving moving to 10 See moving away from them and doing what you're doing today? Where's Where are your parents on that?

Ian Johnson :

So at first, I mean, when we first moved, they were, they were a little shocked. I mean, my dad, he's not a huge, like big life risk taker kind of guy. That's just, I think it's more his generation. That's just how it is. I mean, my father in law, my wife's father, he was the same way that was crazy to you know, because teaching in Canada is not like teaching in United States. It's, I think, the third highest paid profession in the country. It's, you know, it's six figures plus to be a high school teacher. It's summers off, it's March Break, it's, it's a good job. I mean, when I was applying to be a teacher, there's only three schools in all of Ontario, that take teachers take tech teachers to become a technology teacher. And just to put that in perspective, Ontario is like two Texas's big so it's a big province, and only three schools of those three schools. They only had 20 people, and of those 20 people, it's every tech teacher. So in my class, there's only two of us who are going To be auto shop teachers The following year, so it's hard to get that job people apply year after year after year to get into Teachers College and then take two to three years to get a job because it's, it's a really, really good job to have. So we moved first, you know, he was but he was at that point used to it, he knew that it was crazy. The beauty of it was I was on a sabbatical from teaching. So if I wanted to come back, I could come back. But they were getting ready to retire. And they were like all Canadians, when they retire, they were going to spend half their year in Florida. So it actually worked out pretty good because they would come down, stop in Tennessee for a couple weeks and then go on to Florida or we would go down to Florida with Zach when he was young, and we go to Disney World. And so it actually worked out pretty good in the long run.

Wyatt Pemberton :

That is very, I mean, I mean, it's cool. But yeah, I've made the joke about being like really, truly like upstate New York but across the river, but really like all New Yorkers, that they run to Florida, I mean, it really embodied it.

Ian Johnson :

I always made the joke I never understood you know, sewing when you live in Canada, you really have a choice. right the the climate is the climate. You know, you can go to British Columbia where maybe it doesn't snow but it just rains every day. It's kind of like Seattle. But that's why all Canadians live like right up against that border. If you look at the population map, they're looking for heat, right? They're looking for warmth. I always joked I'd be like, why does anyone live in the northern you have count you have? You have Arizona, you have Nevada, you have all these great sunny Southern places you could live where it doesn't snow. Why would anyone choose to live where it snows? Still to this day? I don't understand that because I hate I just hate winter. I hate everything about it. So it just baffles my mind. Why? why some people would live somewhere when they could live somewhere. That's the weather's nicer. That's just how my brain works.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Now I think you're spot on I'm I'm right there with you. I move 750 miles south of where I grew up, you know, I get old paila Kansas with miles masochist. You know, we could be you know, drinking Keystone lights on his driveway right now.

Ian Johnson :

I see those pictures. I see you I see when miles post pictures working in that triple A truck out in the snow. I'm like, No, sir. Not for me. You can have that all day long.

Wyatt Pemberton :

He's like when it's cold. It's cold when it rains. It's wet. Yeah.

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, there's better. There's places where it doesn't do either of those things.

Wyatt Pemberton :

I don't even own a winter coat. I have jackets, but I don't even have a winter coat.

Ian Johnson :

I always joke that I said I liked snow on Christmas. And that was it. And I said, You know, I always want to live somewhere where it snowed on Christmas Day and melted on Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas for anyone who's either British or English or Canadian. They know what I mean. The first year we lived in Tennessee, it did exactly that. snowed on Christmas Day melted. The next day. I was like, this is where we're meant to live. It's perfect.

Wyatt Pemberton :

We're great. When I do have to layer jackets. It's only for California. And it's only for Johnson. Why do you want to start on cap Johnson Valley but

Ian Johnson :

my funny story is the year that I raised co h in 2009. I invited a couple of my friends that I'm still friends with this day from Canada to come down to work on our pit crew. They packed nothing but shorts and T shirts because they were coming to the quote, desert in February. So they were expecting you know, like, you know the movies. It's like this Sahara, right? They thought they were gonna be hot. And then they show up and they were like, buying hoodies up. They drove it back to town and bought some long pants was hilarious because they were not ready for high desert. Not at all.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Perfect timing. We're in where we're at in, you know, this interview is king of the hammers. And you as a racer, there's a window there that you raced for a little bit. Yep. What was that? Oh, nine 2000 Oh, man.

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, it's ironically, it's the only year that they didn't make the poster. So it's 2009 and I wanted the poster from the year they race but they didn't make a poster in 2009. So yeah, it was 2009 that we we built a car brought up like bad. We raised kayo HR cq, and a race in Oklahoma that year as well. So those those three races we raised?

Wyatt Pemberton :

No, that's 2010

Ian Johnson :

Okay, that would be 2010.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Yeah. 2010. All right. Yeah. What happened to that car?

Ian Johnson :

We gave it away. So the deal went like this. So I said to my wife, I'm racing king of the hammers, or I'm doing the wide open baja thing. One of the two I said I want to do one of those two things. I knew what kickin hammers was, I thought was super cool. I knew Jeff and Dave and, and I at the time I was involved crawl magazine and so I knew I'd be able to leverage my crawl stuff to basically slide in there and get a spot. I wouldn't have to qualify I knew I could get a spot. They'd give me a spot for like media type thing. It's the only time I've ever pulled the I'm on TV card in my entire life was to get a spot to race the king of the hammers, because back then you might remember this back then you couldn't just I don't think there was last chance qualifier back then it was you were invited. If you finish top 10 We rock top 10 you rock xR you guys came. Basically Dave Cole made at the Super Bowl of off road racing. It was you had to get invited to come. And so we leveraged a spot at a Dave that way. I went to my buddy Jimmy Penner, who was my co driver. He owned a shop in Murfreesboro, called essentially off road. And I said I want to race this race. I can get a spot and I can get all the parts we need. I don't have time to build a car and so he said well My shop will build the car, and I'll be your co driver and we raced. And I said, All right, well, here's the deal when we're done, I'll just give you the car. I don't care what happens the car I got enough cars as it is. And so when it was all said and done, I did that I gave him the car and he kept it for a few years and I think he gave it to an employee after that. It ended up in a couple of the dirt Riot races and a couple other local races here and I honestly have no idea where it is now.

Wyatt Pemberton :

What is Jimmy pinner up to these days I haven't heard that name in a while is offered still kicking around,

Ian Johnson :

essentially off road still going, he's not running it. He took a step back. He had a kid and went did some other stuff. He basically stepped out of the off road stuff for a while, and he's getting back into it now but not as a business. He got deep into cell phone tower manufacturing for a while as a business. He started a new business now called he's basically doing fleet truck repair maintenance and selling trucks. But he's back in his old building, but I think he just got burned out. on trying to survive as a hardcore off road shop, you know, it's tough. It's tough to do it,

Wyatt Pemberton :

I absolutely get that you know that one things are cyclical, but to you know, you have to keep challenging yourself to learn new things, challenge yourself to accomplish new goals. And as you keep moving that ball, if you come up short, that's disheartening, you lose motivation, you'll lose traction, the prize gets fuzzy, and you just need some perspective in life and sometimes the best thing to do is walk away wash your hands.

Ian Johnson :

I think what it did is it got him back into into four wheel and for fun, you know, I think cuz I go to Easter jeeps fire every year. And I invited him out one year and he came just to ride for a couple days and then the next year, but I warned him I said, you go once and you go, you'll always go back. And so then the next year, of course he was back. You know, he started to get back into just the recreation side of it and he actually I sold him I had the show sell him one of my favorite projects, which is a Suzuki super light tube chassis zouk with aluminum bought with a VW diesel engine in it. And it's actually back in the shop here right now. It's gonna be on four wheeler next year for a little bit of work. But the deal was I told him, I said, I'll have to sell you this project, they're gonna sell it to you at dirt cheap, but you got to promise me you can never sell it. It's always got to be yours. And he's kept that promise. He's like, I'll keep it forever. He's brought it out to Moab a couple times and now he's getting ready to go back out and mow up again. I think it's gotten back into the recreation side are we on which, which is good. I mean, some guys get burned out on trying to make a living at this and everyone always says, you know, turn your hobby into your job and you never work a day in your life. But the reality is you turn your hobby into your job and then all of a sudden your hobby has become your job and that's just the truth and you hate it. Yeah, and some people adapt to that great and some people they just don't and that I think that's what happened with Jimmy but he's still a good friend, great friend and we still talk all the time so it's good to see him back recreation again.

Wyatt Pemberton :

I'm glad to hear his name and he's still kicking around still in exactly like you said back at it. Yeah. What was your first offer vehicle

Ian Johnson :

85 Jeep CJ seven.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Do you still have that long

Ian Johnson :

No, I wish Well, it was pretty bad. It was pretty rough. So I worked at street tech and I was helping out the guys at street tech engines and this guy in our town, small town, you know, everyone knows everybody. This guy showed up with this Jeep, and he showed up with a copy of Peterson's four wheeled off road, and he wanted a 360 AMC put in the jeep. And so we helped them put the 360 in and then he took off and the next week it's showing up back on a tow truck and we're freaking out thinking Oh, the engine goes south or what's going on and he comes walking in big old smile on his face with a copy of Peterson's and he's like, I need bigger axles. Here's an article on how to put these one ton axles underneath this Jeep. And I looked at I said, What are you doing with this Jeep because he wasn't mad that he'd completely destroyed the axles is like our trail ride and then mud bog and up this thing. We've been building pro street cars and when you build a pro street car, it's great because a lot of to work and it's cool, but back then it wasn't like it is now. No one drove the car, you know, you'd put off These race car parts in this car and it's sat in our town it's sad it will worse sat downtown well worse. For every Friday night you stood around the car, polish the tunnel RAM and talked about you know how fast it would go if you ever put it on a drag strip, but you don't want to do that because you might scratch the paint. You know, it was kind of disheartening. You put all that work into a car and it never raced. And this crazy guy this Jeep was every time he came back, it was broken. He was happy. I went out with him once and immediately came home at the time I had a 79 Chevy pickup truck that was slammed on the ground it was pro street, and I sold that and went out bought a Jeep the next day and that when I bought a Jeep ever since then I've always owned a Jeep no matter what. And never look back but he got me into it hard and fast.

Wyatt Pemberton :

And so this I'm gonna say this this for like Jonathan Cahoon and company. They'll know I'm talking to them. That's a great inflection point, an inflection point in your life. I do love that phrase. But no, that's that was exactly the hook that I was waiting to see where It hooked in your life when the bug kind of hit New your cargo you can be a car guy you can be mechanic car guys are car guys or car guys, but are you an off road guy and when did that hook get set in there it was this guy with this, this Jeep that was coming in and you're like okay I'm in.

Ian Johnson :

Yep. Oh as by no problem and then you know immediately did all the things you shouldn't do to a Jeep you know, sprung over lift 30 fives on an AMC 20 and that's what also helped me be a better transmission mechanic because I pulled a 360 I got a 360 from my old high school shop teacher at the time. And he just said yeah, I got a 360 and so I bought it from him. This is when I'm like 1920 right. So I'm working everyday at the dealership and then working at a garage by my parents house at night and stuff in this 360 in there but it was a 360 Chrysler not a 360 AMC but my jeep my 85 cJ it had a torque command 904 or torque command 999 which is actually what the name of it which is the three speed automatic and the 904 would be what Behind the 360 AMC and I tried to basically take two transmissions and make them work by putting all the different parts inside. And I had to rebuild that transmission. I think I think it was 13 times before it worked right I would leave the house the joke with everyone that knew me I would leave and I'd come back with only reverse every time and I back it into the shop and drop the transmission out and start working on it again. The transmission was good for one weekend and one weekend only. And that was it and it would burn up terrible it was awful but I learned so much about chasing valve body patterns and check balls and and pressure and all the stuff that goes on inside a transmission just because of that car Ed because that Jeep like To this day I can rebuild a torque command 999 transmission without looking at a manual No bro problem and I'll take it apart put it back together and it's good to go. I know all I know all the clutch pack specs. I know the end play. I know all the gotchas because I've been gotten by them all.

Wyatt Pemberton :

You're a dying breed, man. How many projects have you had?

Ian Johnson :

Oh, it's too many. If you count, I think one time we add we did the TV. So if you counted all the TV projects we did at once when we cracked like 100 episodes on extreme four by four, I think we added it all up and we went through and it was Kalia. It's it's over 50 vehicle builds in the past 20 years. Currently right now I have 13 cars for running. So right now I have at least nine projects on the go at this current time right now.

Wyatt Pemberton :

This is what kills me even you know, as a racer, and as my own, you know, hobby wrench myself, just getting parts in and flowing from all the different parts of the world. Guys tell you, you know, we're not gonna talk about like Doug's axles or something like that where you order for? Yeah, he's got a factory out there, you know, trying to slow recovery sackless for him, but you kind of tend to regularly hear stories like that. Like you order apart and then it takes that you know, like, Oh, yeah, it's unstuck, ready to go. And then you don't, it didn't show up for three months, and you're having to chase it down. And that's just one guy working on one project. I mean, how do you have as much hair as you have when dealing with that in automotive industry and dealing with that in the offroad industry where it seems like almost this proliferation of parts kind of are kind of laws a fair about their stuff. Don't be wrong. There's some badass companies out there that when they say they're selling it, you're getting it?

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, it's the funny thing about that is that was always the number one complaint about all the TV shows, they always say, you know, oh, you jump around from project to project to project that's just annoying. And, you know, when we started the show, I immediately changed my screen name on pirate to inform extreme and just took a bashing because the first show is terrible, but that's a long story. Anyway, that was always their complaint, right? It was the jump, but I would always explain to them that's it's a necessary evil because we have a production schedule to meet. But then at the same time, like you said, sometimes parts, they just don't show up. So you have to roll a different vehicle in and work on it. That's what created that was just trying to get these parts in. When I was doing extreme, we're doing 23 episodes a year. So you're basically trying to do two every two weeks to try to make a show. And it's just, it's tough. And, you know, you may think, oh, on Monday, we're filming with the axles, but the axles don't show up for many different reasons. And you got to punt and move to something else. And that was it is tough. But over the years, it's just, you know, I've been doing this for so long and built so many cars that I know when to order enough parts. I think for a lot of guys, they just if it's their first project or even a second, you don't really get into the groove of Alright, if I I'm going to need this part. And if I need the shocks, I better get springs and I better get this and I better get my joints at the same time. And I think until you've built a bunch of cars, you don't realize how many parts you need to move a project forward at different stages. And I think I'm fortunate that I've done enough now that I know when To get different parts coming and how to work around that, which is good.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Well, if this TV thing doesn't work out for you, I think that's the job for you. So consultancy work on that, like you could you could farm out your consultancy, on doing project management from from a distance. I mean, if anything we've learned anything out of the COVID-19 is how to do everything from a distance.

Ian Johnson :

How to do everything from a distance. Yeah, this morning, I taught TIG welding 101 to 142,000 people on the east sub Facebook page. So if I can teach people how to TIG weld from a distance, I think I think we're on our way to doing anything by distance. So it was all good.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Right? Absolutely. Digital lug we touched based on a little bit ago. Digital lug is a company. It's a media company. It's your media company. Yeah. And I don't want to go too deep into it because that's really where you're at today. But you moved to Nashville. Starting the ball in motion for digital lug becoming something in your life. You've moved on there for RTM Yep, that's Joe St. Lawrence. Joe say Lawrence Yep. Joe St. Lawrence

Ian Johnson :

greatest individual on the planet as far as I'm concerned, I have nothing but good. So one of the reasons I left RTM was I would never put this on him because he would he would feel bad if I said this. But Joe St. Lawrence retired. He deserved to retire. He was older. He was the smartest person I've ever met in my entire life. His wife, Patti was probably one of the most savvy business women I've ever met in my entire life as well. They ran that company from nothing to literally they started that company by selling ignition points, spark plugs and spark plug wires on home shopping networks for Harley Davidson motorcycles to at its peak in 2000 678. It was a $20 million company it was the most watched automotive television because this was pre Motor Trend Motor Trend didn't exist. There was the most watched automotive television on the planet. And it was all run by those two people out of Nashville, Tennessee Franklin, Tennessee, actually But the cool thing about Joe was he was the kind of guy that you could walk into his office and sit down and you could say, Joe, why did you do this for this business? And and what what made you do that? And he would pull back the green curtain? no secrets, he would tell you everything about his business. No questions asked. When he retired. He was here. I'll take it. I'll pull away at here and I'm gonna go pull it aside for a second. Yeah, absolutely. The coolest Joe St. Lawrence story was when we started an extreme four by four. It was myself Jessi combs. Tom's bychowski was our producer, and we had a freelance cameraman by the name of David Glover. I sat down with Tom I was hired first. Jesse was hired about a week later, and I sat down with Tom and Tom and said to me, he goes, this is my vision for this show. I want to make it very different than anything else that RTM that does. And I said, Okay, so the first episode of the show, first two episodes, they're not that good. I'll be the first one to admit it because they were planned. By the previous people at RTM was planned basically by the sales guys it was basically like trucks TV was Stacey David just with two different people hosting the show, when we hit episode three and four was where, you know, Tom and I sat down and said, This is what the show is gonna look like. And we brought in some junkyard axles and you know, we drag and stuff across the floor and that show hit edit, and we were in production of show five and Joe St. Lawrence showed up at the studio at the time the studio was in a different location than Joe say, Lauren shut up and shut down production. And he said, Stop what you're doing, you're doing this all wrong. And he made us watch an episode of like horsepower TV, where they installed spent the entire episode putting in a carpet kit and a shifter that was 30 minutes of television. And he goes that's that's what these shows are supposed to be. And we had taken a frame, put suspension underneath it, cut apart some junkyard axles put the junkyard axles on the welded all the brackets on now that the body and drop the drive train and drop the engine transmission transfer case in one episode, Joe was like, that is too much, you're going too fast. And he basically told us we're doing it all wrong, and we need to change it. Tom, my producer at the time, looked at me and he said, What do you wanna do? And I'm like, I didn't know I would just I was teaching three weeks before that. I didn't know what I did. My answer was I thought we were making a cool show. And Tom said, So do I, here's what we're going to do. He goes, we might get fired. But I'm going to keep shooting the show the way we want to shoot it. I'm just not going to hand the tapes in until it's too late to change it. So it has to go to the network. And we're just going to let it slide and we might lose our jobs, but I think we're making the right decision. And to Joe's credit, the show aired first two episodes aired, we were destroyed on pirate, rightfully so. And I jumped in there and tried to mediate it a little bit, you know, tell people, it's going to get better. Sorry, trust me. Show three and four hit and that's when we're there. Were our shows we call them and the tide completely changed. Everyone loved the show. To his credit, we became the highest rated show on the power block, huge fan mail, rip response, lots of emails, lots of forum action, because it's pre Facebook. So that's all you had to go by. And Joe say Lawrence came to the studio and he walked in and he said, I was wrong. You were right. I obviously have no idea what your audience wants to see. I'm out. Just do it. Just get it done. Every two weeks hand me a show. It's your show, do what you want to do. And he let us go after that. Just really let us be hands off, which was great. And that that's how we grew extreme four by four into the show that it was he wasn't that overbearing boss. It was like I told you to do it my way. He was just Nope, you guys were right. And I was wrong. So make your show and we'll see what happens. And it was great. That is a great story.

Wyatt Pemberton :

I really, I mean, I'm completely, I guess unanswered with people that are great media in mindful insights and how they go about operating their business and I heard you say this at one point about Joe, was his kind of philosophy was rising tide lifts all ships.

Ian Johnson :

Hundred percent. Yeah, Joe is always about that. And when I started digital love, the first thing I did was I called up Joe and Patti. And I told him that I was doing, I said, I'm starting this, this media content production company. We're doing things differently. We're pushing heavy into social media. We're pushing heavy into the digital streaming, we're not really going to even deal with any traditional cable networks for any of our shows. He said, What are you doing tomorrow, Patti, and I will have lunch with you. And they want we sat down. And Joe basically said, Tell me how you're running your business. And I told him, and he said, I think you're 100%, right, you're doing you're going the right way. And then Patti sat down. And she said to me, all right, how are you running the business side of your business? Because that was her forte. She steered me right into how I should run my business. I made a lot of changes on my basically back into my business, thanks to her, and it's for the best and, you know, they basically to this day, I can still text Joe Ask him for advice or a question. And he's always gonna be the first one to say, Hey, this is how this is what I would do. And I think you're this what you're doing here. You want me to call somebody, I can call somebody for you. That's just how Joe is.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Well, I can think of like, how many weekends were spent, you know, by all of us, everyone listening on this show, the pirate crew, everybody watching power block, you'd lock it in and you'd catch horsepower TV, you catch your show, you catch portney. Our team kind of had it going all the way back from when it was on Tnn. Then it went to spike. And then Yep.

Ian Johnson :

And the cool thing is, I mean, when I went to Joe, back in in 2000, and whatever it was six, seven, I can't remember. It was like King of the hammers was just an a new idea, right? I knew about it. And I went to Joe and I just said, Listen, this makes absolutely no business sense. There's no sponsors. There's nobody on this lake bed, but we really need to cover this. He called Dave and Jeff. Talk to them both. hung up the phone and he just said, you know it's the right thing to do to get a crew out there to cover the event and and that's what we did. We sent a couple guys out to sort of try and cover it and they they covered it. The next year was the year that Lauren Healy wanted we had him on set for the day basically and then replayed some of the video that David captured with his crew. And Joe disbelieved that he's like he he was always the one who said you know, if it's if it's real, it's gonna help the show and so let's just help this guy out and get get the name out there and and help him push this this idea and so he bought into king of hammers from the very beginning. And I think it was really smart enough to do it. You know, it was it was obviously it's, it was the right decision at the time and it is today to fully

Intro/Outro :

Stay tuned. Your talent tank is in full yet.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Since 2007, custom splice has been the go to supplier for tactical on an off road vehicle recovery equipment, custom splice on Todd Stoffer saw a market where demands for absolutely the safest solutions to vehicle recovery were not being met. Since then custom splice has taken on numerous safety and recovery projects solving deficiencies and recovery gear for individuals and companies worldwide was started with synthetic ropes has led to custom splices expansive inventory of not just ropes in countless colors and diameters, but an expensive product line of hooks barrier leads specialty thimbles chafe guards to name a few plus the fabrication and customs places newest addition, recovery rings not to be forgotten. Don't miss grabbing some custom supply soft shackles with your next order, which are also available in many sizes and colors. Even though custom splice is a small business in America's Heartland at Kansas, you can find custom splice employees shipping their products globally on a daily basis. Let's support the small business that supports our community and the talent tank give Todd and his crew at custom splice a call at 785-856-1844 or go the web at custom splice.com Before you get stuck without a custom splice solution

Intro/Outro :

now back to the show.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Back when you raised it like 2010, and kind of through that little error, could you imagine that we would be sitting having this conversation a decade later and saying that you're one of the core crew of announcers?

Ian Johnson :

No, I mean, back then there was no announcers. Right? It was like it was I remember Lance running 1000 foot LAN cable out to the cellphone bush with a hotspot modem and he was like, they had this like hidden camera had this like sketchy like borderline kidnapper rape van that they called the pirate mobile van. It was and they were like, typing in text updates of the race. And it was it was so it was there was nobody there and everything was against that that like putting on if you if you were to go today and try to pitch that idea to somebody Oh, I'm gonna put a race on in the middle of desert Nowhere and this is what I want to do and and you know, they've called you know, you've had so many people on the show say the same thing and I'll say it he's he's a scary visionary all in one in one deal because he does come up with crazy ideas to probably do a detriment they keep working out because he just keeps coming up with crazier ideas. Yeah, to this day. I mean, when you think about just when you go to the lake bed now, and just look at it and then compare it to pictures from 2008 2009. It's, the growth is amazing. Absolutely amazing.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Oh, yeah. The drivers meeting back then was standing on somebody's flatbed trailer and yelling at us.

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, well, there was there was no event there was a small tent with like four vendors in it. Tom Kingston was there PSE was there and they je Rio was there. I mean, a few of the core guys were there. But there was no vendor row. There were no food trucks. Oh god. No, that was just what it was. You were in the middle of the desert, doing it hanging out with your friends just trying out this racing thing. And it was The race has changed so much. You know, it was back then it was it wasn't a race. It was basically a trail ride to mile 90. And then if your car was still together at mile 90, then you tried to race to the finish because nobody's car would be able to stay together for 90 miles of racing back then the technology was not there like it is today.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Yeah, we used to run ready welders on our cars remember that like yes that was a race item on your vehicle as a ready welder?

Ian Johnson :

Yep. Ready welder on the car? It wasn't is it gonna break it was when's it gonna break and how like that that's just what mean that even just the attrition rate like I mean, and and also just to finish, you know, back then you finished in the dark. Now you finish you know, Sun's still up top 10 or across the line before it starts getting cold. You know, it's a completely different and the race is twice as long. It was maybe 150 miles back then. Now it's 230 miles long. It's It's It's amazing how far this race has gone in just 10 years.

Wyatt Pemberton :

So what you're saying is it's gotten easier.

Ian Johnson :

It's Well, no. I think I think everyone learns that if you ever tell Dave it's easy that he just throws more rock trails at you and makes your life more difficult out there for sure. Does Dave Cole, like if you if you comment on the race day of cold anyway, but it's easy. It's definitely harder than next year, no questions asked.

Wyatt Pemberton :

I think 2021 race is gonna be insane hard. I feel like 2020 utvs came back to quick trophy truck attrition was not really what it was the year before. And then 4400 there was 40 some racers there was I mean, that was almost 50% of the field finished this year.

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, the race this year was probably the biggest nail biter race I think I've seen in like, at least five years. And so I but I think you're right, I think next year, he's gonna push it even harder and make it even tougher, which I mean, he you should if you're going to take the claim of toughest single day race in North America or the world, you should be the toughest Single Day race in the world, which it is.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Well, I have a line item on here where we're going to talk more about qH 2020. But I'm going to bounce back to extreme four by four. You did that show for 14 years.

Ian Johnson :

That'd be right around 14 years. Yeah,

Wyatt Pemberton :

yep. Tell me what your favorite highs and tell me what your lows were.

Ian Johnson :

Man. That's a tough one. Probably. See, so probably my lows, if I was gonna say my low, it'd be when Joe retired. That's gonna be the lowest lowest point of that because I think when Joe retired when you're in the business when there's a visionary and the visionary kind of peels back, you see the business changed in a way that you're not not happy with. And I think that that was kind of that was definitely a low for me for sure. Highs would be man. There's so many of them. I mean, probably the first. first four years we did the show a Steven especially with Jesse on there, those are probably when I look back on it now. Probably the most fun we ever had. Making that show was when it was the core group that started the show. So myself, Jessi combs, TomSka, Chow ski, and our camera guy, moe and Matt, at the time were the two camera guys. Those were the highs. I mean, I couldn't pick one high end of that there was just so many fun things that we did from building a truck on the floor of the Denver Convention Center for four parts truck and Jeep fest to go into Pomona for offroad Expo, where we just grabbed two random people out of the crowd, walk them around, looked at a bunch of parts, and then had all the vendors give them those parts to build their trucks, and then go back a year later and see the trucks. So that leads me so there's too many to pick too many to pick for sure. That would be my top ones.

Wyatt Pemberton :

How cool and in retrospect, inspiring was it of yourself and to watch yourself and think about your your self and your personal growth over that time period. And to have done that side by side with Jessie combs.

Ian Johnson :

So I mean, the thing Jesse was great question It was super good to work with her. Looking back on it now. She took the job because I think she knew it was a stepping stone for what she wanted to do. She told me on day one, you know, which first started working there. She did not want to be a mechanic did not want to be a TV host. She wanted to be a racecar driver, no questions asked. She said I'm doing this to be a racecar driver. And back then, you know, in 2004 2005 the only real racing off road was Baja, maybe some we rock stuff. There was no rock x x ray hadn't come along, hold your Ford and come along. So I think that that was her deal was she she added an end and out plan. And I think she did it. Well. I think she came on the show represented herself. Well. She was definitely a pioneer in the space. I think at the time. You know, there were no quote, car girls that were famous because YouTube hadn't even been invented yet. So there wasn't a lot of people out there she inspired generations. Have girls to get out and work in the shop, which I think is amazing. So I think it was great. You know, they say, you know, I think it was a line from dusty glory. He said, If you knew you were making history, you probably would have paid more attention to it when you were doing it. And I think that when I look back on it now, I think Jesse would probably feel the same way. I mean, we didn't know at the time that we were the only offroad how to television show with the only female talent doing what we were doing helping them basically budding industry of off road just blow up like it did. We were definitely riding that wave and didn't even know it at the time. We were just having fun doing it which was great.

Wyatt Pemberton :

In retrospect is always you know, hindsight is 2020 right?

Ian Johnson :

Hundred percent. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, working with Jessie I mean, it all I'm not gonna lie at all wasn't sun sunshine and lollipops. And she would be the first one to admit it.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Headed.

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, well, and I mean, the thing that the thing that people don't understand and this was another thing that was you know, I keep going back to Joe se but that's just how Joe St. was Joe St. Was, and this kind of could, when I started for winter, this is one thing that blew the Motor Trend network away was Josephine always said, if you're going to go on one of my television shows and say, I rebuilt this transmission, you have to be the person that rebuilt the transmission. You there's no stunt mechanics, no behind the scenes work. That's not how we do it because the viewer will know. No questions asked. So we were working. I mean, that first season of extreme we have the new 22 episodes. first episode had to be delivered to the network on January one. We were both hired. The week after SEMA. I was hired the week of SEMA. She was hired the week after SEMA. So for those of you who don't know, calendars and Sema, that's November seem weird, but same as the same time every year even though we never got our cars finished in time for it, but it's a it's the last week in October. So you're talking two months to get the first show delivered to the network and then we had to deliver 13 shows in a row. So we would basically work all day making television and then I would work all night Jesse would work for the night we would build the vehicle for the next Day shoot the next day work, shoot, work shoot every single day for basically four months straight. Yeah, there was times that we just got on each other's hair, you know. And plus I just moved here from another country. She had just moved here from Rapid City. So it was just there were times were huge fights, but at the end, great shows. So it ended up really well. In hindsight, you wouldn't change a thing. hindsight it didn't like you. I don't remember what we thought about but I certainly remember all the great times we had when we were on the road together, doing silly stuff together. Yeah. Here's a great Jesse story. Because when I used to travel for the first, probably six months of the show, we traveled a lot because we were trying to get the word out from the show. So we went to a lot of things like the formal January's, and all these different events, and we're also covering them to get content for the show. And at the time, my son was like three years old, and he was super young. So he him and my lovely wife traveled with me, because she didn't know anybody in Tennessee and he didn't go to school. So they had the freedom to go Come with me. Jessie used to always decorate whatever hotel we stayed at, she would decorate the door of our hotel room for my son. When he woke up in the morning, there'd be some silly thing that she drew a sign that she drew for him or a picture, or his name or something. And so when he woke up every hotel that we stayed in, he knew that there would always be something on the door for him to find that the next morning and that was just a person she was. And that's, that's rare for someone, she did have kids, like somebody who has kids, it's easy for them to do that kind of stuff, right? But she just just a good person. She just saw him as the only kid on the shooting. So she's gonna make sure that he was having fun as well, and just not being the kid that's drag around to different events. So it was great.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Yeah, you're not the first person to tell me similar stories like that. And I you know, not having not known her personally or having a relationship with her to hear those. It's really heartwarming to hear the stories about her. And the world's really missing really missing out by not having her entity anymore.

Ian Johnson :

I think my wife said it She, you know, when we got the news and and it sunk in and I think we're like, about a week later my wife had said, she said, No, it shocks me that somebody was such a huge life force and the only way to describe Jessie she had just a life force about her is gone. And it just she said, you know, you can almost just feel it that there's that there's less of that in the world because she just sort of had this sort of like ability just to if she walked in the room, she picked up the whole room. And, and that was just the way it was. And she was such such an individual in such a powerful individual and to have her gone is just, it's it's shocking to this day. I know she was doing what she loved. She was chasing a dream and she was always that's just how she was it was no holds barred. I'm chasing my dream. That's what I'm going to do. And sometimes it just doesn't work out. It's a shame but I think at the end of the day, the only way to look at is just sort of say, you know she was doing what she loved and and went out probably as happy as she's ever been.

Wyatt Pemberton :

I think I would be remiss if I did says, I feel like it didn't work out for her.

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, right. I was super glad when I heard they were giving her the land speed record. I think that was the right thing to do. I'm sure she earned it. I think she did. And I think it's the right way to posthumously award her that fastest woman on four wheels, which, you know, that's that's her and well, even in my opinion, you know, it's like, it's what she said. It's like, even if she wasn't the fastest woman on four wheels. If I was to think of a caricature of the fastest woman on four wheels, it's her it would be Jessi combs. Yeah, she doesn't have to be Atlanta Speed Racer to win that, in my mind. She's the fastest woman on four wheels. 100% I mean, when you think about it, the few times that she crossed the finish line and hammers like when she wanted to stop class, she crossed and had the biggest smile on her face. She didn't come in tire more out, she came in happy and wanting to go more. And so yes, in my mind, and spirit, she was the fastest woman on four wheels, no questions asked.

Wyatt Pemberton :

So shifting gears here a little bit. At what point did you know that you were ready for your next chapter? You did 14 years with extreme highs lows. At what point did you step back and say, almost the Jimmy pinner of it here is I need to change.

Ian Johnson :

So for me, this will get kind of into the business side of this. For me the biggest benefit of extreme four by four when we were making it is we were able to help so many companies go from zero to hero, no questions asked. That's just how it was. Because we would just put a product on the show. And then Monday morning, these company owners were calling me up and they're just like, Oh my God, our website crashed we had so much traffic and thank you so much if there's anything you can we can do for you because I mean, we had spider tracks axles on the show, when when Tom and Eddie were doing and they were nobody, you know, they had just graduated college New Jersey and and open this little this little wheel adapter an axle company and and we had them on the show and they blew up you know, and we had so many companies that would come to back to us. This is so great. I think what changed it for me was I was sitting around and I was sitting there watching and I was looking at social media was growing and streaming video was growing. And I was just looking at my personal numbers and I was watching what companies were doing. And I was seeing how companies were starting to push heavy into social on video content and content creation. And I was sort of looking at outside of our industry I was kind of joke that automotive industry is about five years behind the mainstream industry. So if you look at like the Coca Cola is and and the tides and, and the Red Bulls of the world, and you look at the moves that they make. About five years later, somebody in our industry makes the same move. And people think they're visionaries, because they're like, Oh, my God, I can't believe that, you know, Fox is doing they're doing their own stuff. Well, Red Bull is doing their own stuff 10 years ago, you know, they they bought a Formula One team, for goodness sake, that's you don't buy a Formula One team, because it's a good investment. You buy it because it makes sense for your marketing department. So I was watching that happening and I just kept saying to my wife I was like, you know, someone's got to start a content agency that only specializes in these platforms. I think there's, I think there's legs here. And I kept talking about it and said, someone's gonna do it, someone's gonna do it, someone's gonna do it. And finally, she just said, if you don't stop talking about this, I don't want to hear about it anymore. Because I'm tired of this being our conversation every night at dinner. She said, If you know, Joe's retired, you're ready for a change, our son's going to college. If you're going to make a change, this is the time to do it. So do it. And I just said that's it. Let's let's pull the pin and do it. And that's exactly what we did. And that that was the sort of the driving factor was just watching the changes in our marketplace and thinking that it might work out.

Wyatt Pemberton :

So digital leg is formed.

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, exactly. It formed a little messy. I started with a partner. And I knew better I should have known better when I I never thought I'd be a business guy. My first business venture was crawl magazine. And that was just because the magazine was going away. And it owed me money, to be honest with you. They went back bankrupt. And I've been freelance writing for them for over a year, and that never got a paycheck. And so they owed me a bunch of freelance paychecks. And john Herrick, who at the time was doing some work for them, he called me up and he said, Do you want to keep this magazine going because we can get into bankruptcy. And I said, well give me a portion of the magazine in exchange for the money that the magazine was being we'll do it. And so I ended up part owner of the magazine and did that for like three years. And he bought me out because I knew then that I couldn't own part of something I needed to own all of it. If I was going to be a business guy, just my personality type. I kind of knew it, because him and I would butt heads occasionally about business decisions. And but he was a majority owner, and that was his call. I was a minority owner and I knew that so when I started digital log, I started with a partner and I shouldn't have done that I should have started clean and just bite the bullet and did it myself. But I started with a partner and that lasted literally 31 days. And then I bought my partner out and then started doing this this myself and we launched Kevin Tate's show hands on cars. Cuz the Hot Rod space is a little bit bigger than the offroad space and I knew we could try this type of media roll out there easier. And it was a success. And so then we had to wait out a non compete, which is a long TV contract kind of thing. I had to wait a year before I could be on TV again, to kill time I did Kevin show in the meantime, and then we start a big tire garage and we've been going ever since and it's so far it's taken a while for our industry to sort of understand what we do. But you know, this year at SEMA, we actually had people chasing our ad team down and our our guys to you know, to talk to them about what we do and which is so I think the tides turning and I think future's bright for sure.

Wyatt Pemberton :

And you guys have a third show, too. You guys have a hawk machines.

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, we Kenny Hawk. I kind of like work like you said before, you know rising tide lifts all ships. You know, Kenny Hawk called me up he had he lost his deal on history channel because the network had canceled his show. And he just sort of was bouncing ideas off me and I said well Hey, wait a minute, you know, we're doing this show with Kevin, do you want us to do a show with you this Hawk machines will all go in and show you our business model and how we do it and, and all that kind of stuff. And he was all in and he's like, Yeah, he just wanted to continue to be on TV. You know, he had that TV bug still in him. And so I said, Well, we can help you out. And he has a crew out there that he works with that does the shooting and the editing and we handle distribution and some of the post production and and some of that and make sure he gets streamed out on amazon prime. And but yeah, it's gone. Well, it's gone really, really well.

Wyatt Pemberton :

So being in the content creation game like you are, how much time do you spend a week a day working on what your next story is? What your next storyline is, what your next where you're going? You have to write, right?

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, I'm like every small business owner, I quit a nine to five to work at 24 seven. That's just three. I mean, you know what it's like you've started this podcast, I'm sure. Every minute of your day you're thinking of other things. And what you're going to do next or who you're going to talk to next and and I'm the same way not only am I thinking of what my next move is for digital for me big tigerish content creation video, what's the next build going to be? Who are the sponsors? We're going to pitch. We've got a lot of people talking to us about doing some lifestyle stuff for them now, just basically, we did some stuff with Cummins, two years ago, we did the Cummins crews for them, you know, helping them plan that event, shoot that Event Stream that event. And we're getting more and more calls from companies like that. So I have that happening. 24 hours a day, I've got what's the next right business move for digital lug it because if there's one truth about social media and streaming is that it's an ever changing platform. At this point, you are always having to stay one foot ahead of the game. So it just never stops. I would say every minute of every day. I'm thinking of something to do. Even even right now. We're in lockdown. And yet, we're putting together livestream packages for our clients because that's what they want and it's the right thing. To do and it's the right way to keep people entertained right now, so we had to like, try to find equipment in the middle of all this when people aren't shipping and aren't selling and you know, we're buying stuff on eBay and on Craigslist and getting it shipped to the shop and I'm patching cables together and I'm trying to do all myself, you know, so it's, it's a constantly moving target that you're trying to hit at all times,

Wyatt Pemberton :

and you're trying to hit a moving target that's sometime two weeks, three weeks, four weeks into the future. And in the world of instant gratification where it's they want it you know, you post a post on Facebook and you get instant gratification gets you get likes or comments or whatever. We're gonna do this and actually yours is actually gonna be fairly fairly instant gratification, you know, a week, but some of them you know, it's three four weeks and I've got you know, the racecar driver sitting in your seat, calling me or text me Hey, when's one come out? Hey, when do I get a listen to it? Hey, what

Ian Johnson :

yeah, it just drives me batty. It's so funny. I mean, like cuz all I post some pictures of this I'm building a 53 Willie's wagon right now. For the next Build series for Amazon. I had to put a YouTube video out there day, basically explaining to people because I had started a Jeep Comanche build. And then I started, I built this giant shop that I'm in right now and started this company and sent my kid to college and started the four wheeler for Motor Trend. So I had to kind of just stop building the Comanche and just sort of pause that for a little bit. And a buddy of mine called me up. He goes, man, I'm going to start a drinking game, that every time someone comments on your posts on social media, and they asked where the Comanche is, I'm taking the shot, because it's every time every day, and as I understand it, I get it. And especially now people are stuck at home, and they want stuff, but it does, it takes time. And it's hard. And you know, as well as I do you get this just because we're sitting here talking right now. It has to be edited. It's got to be gone through and checked, and it's no different in my world. If I put a camera at something that's 10% of the work, you know, you got to edit it, mix it, prep it, get closed captioning is done. There's so much work But you're right everyone wants it right now

Wyatt Pemberton :

and then you got to produce it get it out there you know give birth to the baby and then promote the baby.

Ian Johnson :

exactly yeah and at the same time you're doing the next one so it's tough but it is you know I always say to everyone I said I you know I could go back to being a mechanic tomorrow I don't have to keep doing this I can this garage I'm in right now. It doesn't have to be to TV studios. I could be could be putting wheels and lifts and on jails all day long and probably make just as much if not more money in the long run, but that's uh, that's not what I want to do right now. This is what I want to do. So it's my choice and it's my bed I made it I got ally in it and it's good bad. I'm happy with it's good.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Yeah, no, I think it's I think it's awesome to be honest with you. What it looks like from the outside is you've been able to make a fairly smooth transition from the syndicated network to this now this streaming platform and you got some great partners in that right you got Motor Trend, plus, all of your other like, let's call it like East sobs that support you.

Ian Johnson :

You Yeah, I think the benefit of what I have, it's like I said before, we were in this mix at the very beginning when no one else was out there. So I'm very fortunate in the fact that I've never had to let a client down, I've never had to say I'm going to do something and then not be able to deliver. And that's partly because of the freedom I had when we did extreme four by four. And that's partly because the freedom I have right now of owning my own destiny, and the help of social media, you know, the nice thing about it is, you know, if I say to someone, hey, don't worry, I'll get your stuff in front of 100,000 people, I know how to get it in front of 100,000 people in a matter of days now, I don't have to go and like get it on a network or get it in a magazine. I can leverage what I know about social media and get it out to just as many people sometimes in a matter of days instead of a matter of months.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Oh absolutely social media is it's at everybody's fingertips online and then on their once their mobile device. Oh man. I mean that's that's pretty much it. So motor training you guys got together with on big Tiger Raj, and if I butcher this all up because I'm on I'm not fully exactly sure that's why I'm asking the questions is you pitch them or they pitched you on four wheeler.

Ian Johnson :

So I had no intention of doing any type of traditional television, I'd already made the decision that I was going to focus on social media and streaming and Amazon and all that kind of stuff. And then out of the blue is guy by name of David Hall, who ironically used to work with Joe St. Lawrence. And he's very similar. And he's a great guy as well as Joe. So he called me up and he's working with a production company out of Florida, called Breton productions and Motor Trend. And he calls me up and he goes, would you be interested in doing traditional television again? And I said, Absolutely not. Because I know what you're going to do. You're going to put a big old contract in front of me that I got to sign where I can't post on Facebook, I can't post on Instagram. I can't put I can't have anything on Amazon. I can't I can't promote myself. Like, I know how these contracts work. I've seen them. I've had them in front of me. I'm not signing them. I don't want them I'm out and he said no problem. Thanks for the call. hung up. A week later, he called me back. And he said, so I talked to the network. What if we didn't give you one of those big, crazy contracts and just had you help us make formula TV? And maybe that's what we'll do. And I said, Oh, now I'm really interested, so long as you don't limit what I'm doing outside of the show, I'd be more than happy to. And then he pitched me this idea. And he said, yeah, we don't work like Joe did in our team. We don't make you build the vehicles. You're just gonna fly in host the show. We're gonna have a couple other people build the vehicles. And you just got to come down here in Florida and just work couple days, a couple days a month and get back out. And I said, I'm out. And he was like, What? And I said, I'm out. I said, you're you're talking to the wrong guy. I said, That's, I said, building the vehicles was the best part about making TV in my mind. You have a shop with unlimited resources, no budget, build what you want, when you want how you want. I love the building of the vehicles. And so he said, Well, why I'm gonna come see you in in Mount Pleasant. So he came down. Literally the shop that I'm in right now was bare studs, because we had just broke ground. We just started building it, the rough structure was up and installation wasn't even and nothing was done. And he said, so how are you gonna build it how you gonna finish this thing out and I explained to him like I have to studios wants to use big tech garage and other studio just for commercial stuff or special projects. And he said, Well, what if one of these studios was four wheeler and we shot four wheeler here and you built all the cars and we just brought in a crew once a month to film and you can build all the cars and you can we don't care what you do with the cars it can be your buddy's cars or you can own the cars or whatever you want. And I said okay now I'm I'm definitely in on this deal because he was a super cool guy and I met the Motor Trend guys and they were super cool. The funny behind the scenes story here he like the by the scenes stuff, Wyatt, so I'll give you the behind the scenes story is they reached out to four wheeler magazine and they have said, Motor Trend that network because it's two different companies now, right? You've got Motor Trend, which is Motor Trend On Demand and the TV channel that you watch that's owned by Discovery Channel. And then you've got the magazines, the magazines are still their own company. They're not owned by the network. And so they said, Hey, we're gonna make a TV show called for Wheeler. It's named after your magazine, because we own the rights to do that. And they talk to the editor. And the editor said, that's fine. But whatever you do, do not build a two buggy as your first project. And then they called me and they said, All right, what's the first project that we need to build? And I said, if you're going to start a TV show called four wheeler, and you want it to be successful, the first projects got to be a throwdown to buggy. No questions asked. They said, and they said, Well, you got to build it. So what do you want to build? And so I called up Drew, I literally was in the meeting with the network, and I had my cell phone in my head. I texted to people I'd text texted Adam Woodley, and I texted drew Burroughs and I asked them both the same question I said, Hey, If I needed a chassis in two weeks for a Jeep, would it be possible and Woodley, I'd used one of his jeep chassis previously for a giveaway vehicle for wd 40. On extreme and he had just said, there's no way I'm too busy. I can't do it. And I've said I get it completely. And drew said, I can cut you a chassis tomorrow and have it there the next day. And his was the Lj pre knotch Woodley. He would have to build it and weld it on his Jagan delivered to me, so I understood that were Drew's was different. Drew's was the tube show up on a pallet and you build your own Jeep Lj. I said, Drew, send me a chassis. It's going on Motor Trend. He goes, I'll get it cut tomorrow and I'll ship it out the next day. And that was the first project and it was it was perfect was the perfect way to kick off the show. No questions asked.

Intro/Outro :

Stay tuned. Your talent tank isn't full yet.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Do you know what The entire 2020 Ultra for racing 4400 class king of the hammers podium had in common brand new Motorsports custom machine. This small family owned machine shop in Fort Wayne, Indiana has been advancing offroad technology since 2003. By proud veteran owner Stan Haynes and his son Brandon and a talent heavy staff committed to pushing the motor sports performance envelope. If those names sound familiar, they should stand up Brandon had been offered racer since before kena hammers was a thing and both are pillars of team Indiana. I'm always talking here on the talent tank about supporting those that support you. I'm struggling to think of a sanctioning body that branding hasn't supported in rock sports ultra for we rock pro rock just off the top of my head and I support these guys myself. My current daily driven prerunner Chevy has numerous one off custom pieces on it from rear axle flanges to custom five eighths inch lug nuts, I sent the branding ideas and they made them a reality between the brake lines a forged 4340 axle shafts all the way to their custom billet 300 m shafts branding has you covered with pretty much any custom axle shaft A spline with no size or length restrictions need a rare oddball shaft for your unit mug they have those as well sway bars a large inventory of rod ends big and small. They're amazing specialized lightweight racing brakes and unit bearings and numerous bolt patterns onto their line of custom carrier bearings and u joints in 1480 and 1550 flavors and about Miss mentioning their amazing milled out aluminum suspension components 7075 billet aluminum links and trailing arms if you haven't seen these you're missing out on some very aesthetically pleasing pieces of hardware. Branding prides themselves on quality, service and value probably making parts that were made in the USA moniker No matter if it's for your daily driven Jeep Toyota Chevy prerunner or something more serious like your rock bouncer ultra for or trophy truck you're covered with a call to Indiana that I mentioned I've met a land speed racing team that runs a brand new axles that over 300 miles an hour. Yeah to ensure you eliminate your downtime while recreational wheeling this weekend. Reduce your time in the shop turning wrenches on repairs or looking to put your racecar on the podium. Call standard And Brandon 2604678 to eight or on the web at Brandon motorsports.com. Brandon is a full service machine shop that can handle everything from one off to production runs. If they don't have it, they can make it.

Intro/Outro :

Now back to the show.

Wyatt Pemberton :

So now Where are you guys at? You guys are about to start shooting.

Ian Johnson :

We'll start season two. It was supposed to start in April. We'll start it I think second week in May. So what's happening right now is we have I've written all the projects, I have to write like what I want to build. I gave him a brief description. I send that to the production company. The production company tweaks it on their end, and then they send to the network, the network greenlight greenlit the projects, and then sends it back. And this was a this was a similar thing, right? Because it was like, I mean, I don't want to bash TV people but TV people think they know more than the people watching TV. And when we told them we said hey, we're going to build this Jeep Lj and they said Great, so you're gonna build that whole thing in 130 minute episode, right? And I said, That's impossible. You can't build a hardcore throwdown ultra for Jeep in 22 minutes, it's not gonna work, because it has to be built, it's got to be welded, and then the drive trains got to go back and the axles have to be built, there's all these processes and their brain, their mind is just stuck on. When someone turns on a TV, they want to watch a show start to finish, they want to see the vehicle start and be done in a 30 minute period. And, you know, in my opinion, that's not what people want, they want some information. They want to see something get built, they want to learn something and they want to come out the back end. So the network push back pretty hard on the Gopal build because they knew it was gonna be four episodes in total, but we pushed right back at them myself and the production company they said no, we we think this is the right way to go. And when the show launched with the go build Lj we were the number one episode online we're the number one episode on their channel. It was the most watched that weekend, were the top 100 shows on that weekend of all cable TV shows. So we proved them wrong and prove ourselves, right. So now when we send them lists, they're just like, yeah, build whatever you want. Just Just send us TV. We're good. Just Just give us some cool stuff to put on our channel.

Wyatt Pemberton :

I've learned that as well, in the last year doing this show, I came out thinking, you know, 30 minutes or 40 minutes, maybe if we got to an hour, that'd be kind of crazy hour. It'd be long, who's gonna sit down for an hour and listen to myself and somebody and offer a talk? Who's gonna an hour I mean, Eric Miller this week was two and a half hours.

Ian Johnson :

So I think here's the thing, and and I don't know how much you looked into this podcast thing before you started it. But if you're familiar with gimlet media, gimlet media is like the whole podcast scene. Long Form audio content is huge right now. I don't listen to music in my shop anymore. I listen to podcasts. I listen to your Eric Miller podcast partner. Have it yesterday and finished it off today when I was driving to King of the hammers. I benched every episode up until we hit the lake bed on the drive out the king of the hammers, we will prove what they want. And they want long form audio podcasts, but they'll listen to it and, and they've proven it. They're listening to what you're putting out. And that's, that's the most important thing.

Wyatt Pemberton :

I mean, you're helping me with you know, some of the behind the scenes stuff, but a lot of people who've asked me like, Hey, are you gonna have Ian Are you gonna have you know, certain other people on I want to know what tech he has. I want to get get in his head and find out you and they're listening and they're listening to Miller. They're listening to Bleiler. They're listening to Dave Cole. They're listening to for those tidbits. Those those nuggets, those the Easter eggs, they're listening for the Easter eggs. So that of information that they're like, aha, that's how they did that. Aha. That's how those guys do it. Or, man, I do it this way. I wonder how they do it. And then they find out they're like, Oh, we do it the same way. Okay, yeah. Or oh my gosh, I wonder how I think about that.

Ian Johnson :

Yeah. When I Listen to Josh Bleiler. I mean I'm pretty deep in this industry and I know a lot of people like I I knew Eric Miller when he was that guy racing that clapped out you know, Jeep that looked like a bear cam on 35 but I didn't know that that Big B was cutting his Protoss season. And they were so deeply involved with each other. I didn't know that. So to me, even I'm deep in the industry and just getting that one little piece of information out makes it even cooler to listen to and it's just so much fun when like you said there's always those little easter eggs in there and people want to hear them and they want to they want to find out that kind of stuff and that's that's what makes stuff like this so cool. You know, I think it's great.

Wyatt Pemberton :

And then we have that those discussions on Facebook in the the talent tank insiders group. Literally I named it that for the insiders. I mean, but it's everybody, right? It's not good. It's like about anything. Yeah. It's like the old days on pirate four by four on general chitchat it'd be we talk about anything.

Ian Johnson :

Yep, the old yellow star

Wyatt Pemberton :

man there I love your business model. I love that you've embraced going to streaming I love that you've embraced Stefano, not necessarily stepping away from the network's but doing your own thing under just this paradigm shift in media and where everything is it's going away, your print media has gone away. We're seeing all these kind of different, you know, outlets showing up and on the scene, this show to be an example. I was naive, I'm gonna tell you straight up, I was naive until February on the lake bed, walking into the media tent, and all the photographers there, all the media was there checking in meeting people, and how many people that came over and wanted to have a conversation with me. And I'm, these are people I'm looking up to, you know, like Harry Wagner. I've read his stuff and watched his stuff for years. I absolutely love Him and for Him to come and be like, Hey, you know, I am Harry Wagner want to talk? I'm like, Wow, it was like you. You know, I've watched you on TV. I can't tell you how many hours I've I've seen you definitely you know catching you on power block all those years and you and Jesse on extreme but there we are. I'm trying to order the biscuits and gravy that coffee truck right outside the media to

Ian Johnson :

lunch and coffee coffee every

Wyatt Pemberton :

morning. And you were state you walked up behind me and you started the conversation cars I turned around looked at you mirror I said good morning, I don't know. And you're like, hey, why, you know, I'm really liking what you're doing. And I'm like, Whoa, holy in my head. I said holy shit in my head. But like wow, a boom. Yeah. All right. Yeah,

Ian Johnson :

no, I do. I love it. I mean, I think it's so here's the thing, right? I mean ultra for, you know, for those of us in the mix, for those of us like it's like that old saying, right? It can't see the forest for the trees. For those of us in the mix. Ultra for is like second nature. We all know ultra for we all know all the drivers. But the reality is it's we're a small group. It's not a huge group of racers. It's it's like I remember when Dave started the livestream a few years ago. He was still bugging me about getting on TV. And I kept telling him, I'm like, Dave, what were your numbers from your live stream last year, and he'd given to me and I'd say, you don't need to be on TV, you need to educate your sponsors that they don't need to be on TV. Because you're getting the more people through your live stream, stop spending money on network TV, just to keep your sponsors happy. So they can say that they're on TV, because, you know, I know the numbers. I see the numbers every day we subscribe to services, I can pull Nielsen numbers and, and rating numbers. And I know, I mean, everyone still gets excited when they see it on TV, because we're still we're still at that CUSP where people are still sort of, you know, they're watching some TV and they still get sucked into that. But the reality is, is the numbers that watch king of the hammers on NBC Sports versus the numbers that tune in live during the week on the lake bed, it's 10 times as many people are streaming it versus watching it on traditional television. And that's just the numbers are not lying. That's a legitimate statistic, you can look at it and see here, you hit it by 9am. In the morning, you've reached 100,000 people, you stream it, you watch on traditional TV, it's maybe clicking off in a one hour show, you're clicking off maybe 65,000 viewers, that's not a firm number, that's a statistical number that Nielsen feeds you. It could be 6000 viewers based on how they run their math behind it. So you've got it, you just got to educate the people who are writing you checks that this is a good thing, this whole sponsor thing. And it's the same thing with you, you know, you're reaching out to these people. There's people hungry for this information, especially but ultra for and in reality, I think you're the only sort of podcasts that's dedicated to it. And I think it's great. And I think the numbers prove it, lots of people are listening. And I think that more and more people are gonna listen as it goes.

Wyatt Pemberton :

And so I said to you, I said, when you let me interview you and you said let's do it. Yeah, time and then you You did a good job or ride me though. I was not ready to interview you on the time schedule that you wanted to be on you were wanting to be faster. was not that I'm a little bit further behind him a little bit slower than, than you needed me to be but announcing it kena hammers, you've been announcer for a few years now, we talked earlier about 2020. And what went on with being the most chaotic hammers the Friday race was just absolutely insane. You guys, as soon as I can't even tell you, I mean, I'm sure we could go back and count them statistically, you know, I'm gonna guess. But it seemed every time a name left your mouth in as being the new leader within 15 minutes. They were coming off the leaderboard.

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, it was it was the joke inside the livestream booth because so to back up the reason I wanted to do live streams I'd never done live before and I always thought it'd be a fun learning experience to try it. So I asked Dave, it was at SEMA, like four years ago and he was like, yep, if you want to do it, you can do it. Come on out. And I talked to Shannon and Shannon and I went and she hooked me up and got me out there and, and I started doing it and, and it was just like, I literally was just thrown to the wolves on the first day when First time I did it, here's your headset have fun. And the first year was a little bit tough but now I think we're in a good stride right now.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Well you're the bro in their mind though you know you know that crew and in their mind you're the pro you shouldn't get any help but you're not used to live you're not used to filling 12 hours of of air

Ian Johnson :

and, and it's it's it literally is and I mean I tried to explain it to people you literally have you are talking in a microphone. The first year was the worst because you would talk in the microphone and they broadcast it out to the house speakers there and hammered down and there was like a two second delay. So every time you talk, you didn't hurt yourself two seconds later and it would mess with your head while you were doing it. So you had like plug your ear while you did it. So you didn't hear yourself talk or you I there's an app on your phone you can download to try and do it. There's it just messes with you mentally I can't do it. And then in one year, you've got Shannon giving you little tidbits of information and what you're going to see on the screen and then in the other year you have a live stream terror They're talking to you. They're saying, Hey, we're gonna go to commercial in 10 seconds, you know, oh, we lost the camera and whatever. And then you've got Dave running up on stage, just randomly changing the course in the middle of the race. He runs up this year he did it. He came up. We were in the middle of the race. He runs up and he goes, chocolate Thunder is a shit show. We are lap three is not running it. We're bypassing chocolate thunder. And then he walks away. And so then we're talking to the live stream after the live stream general knows nothing about this. They're like, what? We're not going to chocolate thunder and lap three. All right, we got to move some trailer, move some cameras around and figure out some stuff. And then 10 minutes later, Dave comes up. He's like, nope, chocolate thunders clear. We're running chocolate thunder. And you're like, I really don't know where the racecourse is anymore. But I'm going to tell all these people at home that we're gonna go up chocolate Thunder now, I think I mean, I don't know. It's crazy. It's absolute chaos. But it is it's it's it's so much fun. And like you said this year, it was that as soon as we said there was a race later, they break, in my opinion as an announcer in a live stream this year was the best race. I mean, it was there was one time when we were in in a canyon. And we had physical first chasing down the leader, physical leader in and we all came and there was a camera on it. And then physical third was coming up behind that, and it was all in one shot. It was the most exciting time to be an announcer for that race. 100% but such a good race this year.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Was that was that the Cameron Wayne when you either pass them?

Ian Johnson :

Yeah. And they were a mess in that mass. And it was just and it was weird. I mean, the cool thing is, is we are like, I know everyone at home is watching because even before I was announcing I was always I had running in the shop constantly watching. There's no work got done that day. I just played in the background all the time. So I know I was on the edge of my seat, and I knew everything that was going on behind the scenes who broke when who was actually out, but we're not telling them yet, you know, because we knew that cam was out because the whole laser crew had come up and basically said, you know, cams broke. This is what he broke. But we didn't announce it yet, because we weren't official. So we had to sit on that. So we already knew that. So we were on the edges of IRC, and I suddenly imagine how great it was to watch at home this year. I think it'd be a great great one to watch. I said,

Wyatt Pemberton :

you know, Dave Cole sold everybody the full seat, but they only needed the front edge.

Ian Johnson :

Yeah, absolutely. No, I think this was great. And then for hours, yeah, what broke my heart this year in the race was was Bailey, though. Cuz we she was and I told her I stayed I was spelled off before when she crossed the finish line. I was out of the booth and I was down, and I went down. You know, I've known Bailey since Bella was a little kid, right? I remember when Bailey wasn't even going to be a racecar driver. She's going to be a photographer. And that was her thing. Right. And Bailey and Waylon because I've known Shannon since back in the Iraq days back in 2004 2005. Before even racing fast was a thing on rocks. So and then I know Brian cross Campbell really well, I've known him for a while. So I went down there and saw Tammy down there and she was cross the finish line and I went up and I told her it was true. She had that race in the bag. I was so excited. I wanted her to win so bad I really really did because I really think I would love to see her win that race I think she's owed that race and I think it would be awesome to see a queen of the hammers and I you know if it's not going to be Jesse, I would love it to be her and so I and then just have something stupid like a water pump. Take care of that race. It just broke my heart broke my heart for no questions asked

Wyatt Pemberton :

in her brother wailing wailing Oh was overheating you guys called it on the live show. You know, you could see the steam coming out of the back of his car. And there I am. I'm texting their pit crew saying wildlands hot radio it in. I mean, you could tell just in the delay from you guys to the live feed to my text to waylynn pulling off and no one else problem it was you guys were doing the you know, it's kinda like when you watch an NFL game and the wide receiver gets a breakaway pass and he's running towards the endzone he's not looking over his shoulder he's looking up at the big screen to see who's close behind him. using technology to your advantage and you guys were able to call call some shots there but ya know I'm fully impressed with you Ricky and yourself and what you guys are able to do in the in that live little stand up there and talk nonstop with you I mean, you control the tempo you control the tempo of what what goes out on the air and I'm yeah I'm highly impressed with that. I think you do an amazing job of it.

Ian Johnson :

I love I love working with Ricky Johnson he is so he's so good. I mean miles is great and Jim are great miles knowledge of just the the depth of the ultra for racers because he's just been in it for so long. playing the game for so long knows everybody knows the backstories all that kind of stuff. Great pet reporter but when you throw Ricky Johnson in that mix, he is so good at basically bouncing back and forth getting pulling out little tidbits of information from you asking me tech questions about certain vehicles and he enemy and that's a true professional right he knows the answer. He knows he's like, but but he knows that if he asks me the question the viewer is going to hear the answer and and and that back and forth it works so well and and it's so good and you know that whole live that whole live stream crew, the crew and the trailer is so good. here's here's a funny thing that here's another little aside for a while because like there's so much the crew in that livestream trailer. They are most of them former whitewater kayakers who a lot of them I kayak with either them or their friends because I grew up on the Ottawa River whitewater kayaking. So my very first time when I when I met those guys, I walked into the booth, more than half of them are Canadian. So I walk in the booth and I get it introduced and they're talking and he goes oh you're from Canada. Yeah. Where are you from? I'm from Swiss falls. Do you know this guy? Yeah, I know this guy well how do you know he's paddle the Ottawa I work for such and such rafting company in the summer. I was the photography chaser guy. like are you kidding me? I paddle the Ottawa every August. So we we all like crossed paths in one word in our life on a river in Ontario, Canada. And now that guy's talking to my ear talking about rock racing in Johnson Valley, California,

Wyatt Pemberton :

and we really haven't given a lot of credit to Jim Marston that guy. Wow, I'm gonna have him on at some point. We got I got to get Jim Jim on here. Super accomplished. might be the best racer out of Europe, the BEST OFFERS out of Europe.

Ian Johnson :

I would. Yeah, definitely. Definitely. The one of the most committed and that's the thing like he comes over and announces it comes all the way from Europe just to announce you know, and to me, it's cool having them there just because I get to make fun of you know, the fact that the steering wheels on the On the side of the car where he's from, and he calls the hood, the wrong part and calls it a boot and, and and back and forth, we get that back and forth as well. But just having him there as as you know, sort of that international contingent, I think that that also works great too. It's just Dave's done really well. And the whole that whole live stream crews done really well is it's a good group of people to work together. And I think I think it plays really well on that live stream too.

Wyatt Pemberton :

So you'll be back next year announcing.

Ian Johnson :

I'll keep coming back until they tell me I'm not allowed to come back. I The funny thing is I give Shannon full props. I know you had Shannon on the show, and I love Shannon

Wyatt Pemberton :

Shannon Well, we're talking about Shannon watts, right? Yeah,

Ian Johnson :

yeah. Shannon Welch. I give her full props because the first year I went to do it, she said, Now Ian, do you want to stay on the lake bed in an RV? Or do you want a hotel room in town? And I said oh lake bed, RV is fine. And she called me back and she goes I'm gonna ask again and do you want to stay in the lake bed an RV or Hotel in town? And I said no RV is fine. And she said you know in a lot of the hosts like to stay in a hotel. Hell, it's just 25 minute drive. And I said no, no, like Arby's, fine Arby's fine. She goes, it's not your own RV, and I'm gonna ask you again, do you want to share an RV with five people? Or do you want your own hotel room? And I'm like, oh, a hotel room would be great Shannon. So she saved my bacon that first year. And it's like, there's nothing better than being on that stage for eight hours talking and then freezing your butt off and being able to go back and like, try to run the hotel at a hot water just to try to get your core temperature up. And I Oh, Shannon for that. 100%. So yeah, but no, I'll be back on come back every year until Dave cold tells me I'm not allowed to do it. Because it's so much fun. So much fun.

Wyatt Pemberton :

So what's the future hold for you and your shows? And what you have going in your goals and places you want to visit? Or bucket vehicles you want to build an own? What's the future hold for you and

Ian Johnson :

cat? I don't know. I mean, for me, I think you know, I think at this point, I'm in a spot where I always joke The 2020 is going to be my year where I finish all my unfinished projects. cuz I've got like five or six on the go, but I've kind of been pedaling away at so that's my short term goal. long term goal. I don't know, man, you know, I got a kid off at college. He's studying business and venture capital and, and entrepreneurship studies and, and I think for him I think for me, right now my next big long term goal is to just sort of see where he goes and how I can help him. I've been super fortunate that I've went from mechanic to teacher to TV guy that I never thought would happen. I used to joke when I lived in Kingston, Ontario, working as a mechanic. The most popular show on the time was was tool was not Tool Time. Yeah, Tool Time. What was it called with Tim Taylor? I used to joke that might say be perfect life. If I could just have a little TV show about tools, you know, have a hot rod in the garage, and you know, have a hot redhead wife and I've already got all three of those things at this point. Exactly. It seems silly to wish for anything more, I think I think I've been super fortunate and I think if I could just continue down this path and, and make a living doing what I love doing, I think I'll just I'll be happy. I think the big push for me right now long term goal is going to be see where my kid goes and sort of see if I can help him chase any dreams that he has to be honest with you.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Well, Ian, I want to apologize right now right up front because you sat down for this interview. You have your nice bottle of I believe it's a whiskey

Ian Johnson :

whiskey 111 that's my go. That's my go to whiskey right now. 100%

Wyatt Pemberton :

in a glass there and you didn't get an opportunity to take a single swig the whole time. So here you are. You're pouring yourself a little a little shot little shooter. Take yourself a little sip. But Ian, thank you for coming on. Thank you for enlightening all of us with two hours of your evening and man just filling in so many blanks on yourself. And then also, you're just the insights into what's going on in media and what's going on in offroad media and what's going on with With how that plays into our social media, and then also helping all of us take our minds off of everything that's going on with, you know, shut the shelter in place stay home orders with COVID I wish you and all of our listeners all the best to help I hope we we all pull through this and the countries better for it and an offer it's better for it. But um, thank you, thank you for coming on. I appreciate it.

Ian Johnson :

It was it was absolute pleasure. Why? Like I said before, I mean, I binge watched or binge listened to all your stuff on the Dr. King of the hammers. I love what you're doing with this podcast. I think it's so cool to turn that light onto these ultra for guys and girls in this race series and, and the cool mix that you put together on this podcast of the different people you know, everybody from Cody Wagner and talked about you know, laser town and just it's those cool little things I think make it super cool to have have this sort of out there for people to listen to, and at the very least take their mind off what's going on right now and think of something else and we can all Hey, we can all look forward to King of the hammers 2021 At the very least, we'll all be back on the lake bed again in next February for sure.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Well to channel Joe St. Lawrence on this one, it's the rising tide lifts all ships. That's kind of my process in my thought process anyway. And he's the one who said it. He repeated it. I heard it come out of your lips. it resonated with me. And that's kind of what I want to knock out with this podcast is we can talk about ultra four. We can talk about guys that are involved when we talk about our community. And by all of that, it raises all of us.

Ian Johnson :

Absolutely. Hundred percent.

Wyatt Pemberton :

All right, and thanks for coming on.

Unknown Speaker :

It was great being here. And we're out.

Wyatt Pemberton :

I hope you guys really liked this episode. It was a really fun one to make. As usual. I really have to thank my my three partners on this custom splice. Those guys if you do anything for offroad recovery or even on road recovery or any projects, please hit Todd and his crew up at a custom splice comm give them a call. machining. Whoa, my gosh, branding machine Stan and Brandon those guys over there in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They do it all If they can't make it I don't know who can if if you need it made they will do it hit those guys up. They are a big supporter of the talent tank and I value their involvement. And then last but not least, magnitude performance Jason yoed and company they're Nacogdoches, Texas, and everything that they've done for for the talent tanking, getting behind and supporting this, this venture in this project and everything, give them give them a call for your suspension needs. These guys do magic with springs and then the parent company mass motor sports engines, and they have they have engines on lock handbill, lots of horsepower. They're your guys. Thanks, guys. We'll catch you next week.

Intro/Outro :

Thank you for listening and taking a dive into detail intake. Please like and subscribe on Instagram. For our website, the talent tank comm