The Monster Rides the Mountain…Or, Racecar Drivers…a different kind of interview

pic of racecar

Monster Tajima 2013 Sport E-Runner Pikes Peak Special

It isn’t everyday you meet a monster.  It’s even fewer days you meet a legend named “Monster”.  But, here we are and here he is.  Team GoPro race driver Noburhiro “Monster’ Tajima packing his 2013 Monster Sport E-Runner Pikes Peak Special in and out of our service garage as he and his Team AVP prepare for this Saturday’s 91st Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

I had heard for years of this particular legend….and, not being entirely sure what to expect I just assumed he would have the personality of some Hollywood script race car driver ego, as if out of “Days of Thunder” or even “Talladega Nights”.  Nope.  I was completely unprepared for the Monster I was about to meet.

Step back with me a few weeks ago to late April, when his name began floating around the dealership.  “Get ready, Monster is coming again”…”Alert the media” and make the preparations.  So I started my research.  Not being of racing blood there was much information to dig into.  As a single mom, I can honestly say I wasn’t fully involved in the racing scene of Colorado Springs.  And, let’s face it, the Colorado Springs race scene really only exists one day a year…on Hill Climb Day.

If, like any other Hill Climb novice, you’d like to be caught up, let me digress first with my two favorite fun facts about Pikes Peak uncovered during my research….Did you know, there have been several sightings of a sasquatch on the mountain?  We call him Big Foot….perhaps you are familiar, a monster…but not the one we’re looking for here?  And my number one favorite fact (drum roll please)….Abraham Lincoln is spotted on Pikes Peak each and every year…..TWICE a year.  Awesome, right? (Again not a monster either, unless you read that book last year…yet here, there’s been no reference of fangs.)

Now, how about the details regarding the real Monster.  Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima has been racing since about 1968 when he made his race debut at the All Japan Dirt Trial Championship.  He won.  His first appearance to the Pikes Peak Race came in 1988.  The winning has not stopped, including the six consecutive wins which wrapped up in 2011 totalling eleven total wins.  2011 was also the year he took the then mountain record breaking the 10 minute barrier.

2012 was a bit elusive.  Coming to Colorado with a message and new electric car the 2012 Monster Sport E-Runner Pikes Peak Special. Too early for the Mayan Apocalypse, and a race postponed after the Waldo Canyon Fire, Monster Tajima experienced a bit of a fire of his own….ending the race before the goal line.

The other day, Monster walked onto our showroom floor.  He’d already been bustling around in the service bay, adjusting his vehicle, getting settled into our high mountain desert atmosphere.  I hadn’t met him yet, I hadn’t even seen him.  But when the press conference ended, and I was given the opportunity to interview a legend I took it to learn more about the Monster.

He’s remarkable.  There really aren’t words to describe how unassuming, kind and gentle this “Mountain Monster” really is in person.  My interview began with questions of the new 2013 Monster Sport E-Runner Pikes Peak Special, how was it different from this year over the last.  If it is at all possible to make a vehicle lighter, his team has managed to do it, 200 Kilograms lighter than the 2012 E-Runner.  He’s not kidding about this either, as all week I’ve personally witnessed his team carrying large portions of the vehicle in pieces with little to no effort at all.  He’s taken on new GT tires which he’s indicated will provide better traction with a smoother glide up the asphalted peak road as he strives for a finish time of an unprecedented time of 9:30:00.  “The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is one of the most unique events in the world, so I come here in 1988 the first year, and each year there is improvement.  So this year’s race car has improvements, and I want a challenge every year.  This is my dream, my life, so I’m here.”

What impresses me most is his message to the younger drivers.  Messages of encouragement to the 9 younger Japanese drivers.  Messages of concern for the environment, global warming, and the value of looking at alternative energy sources.

A “Monster” on a mission…..on a journey up a mountain.

He’s made promises to not just run the Hill Climb this year, the 91st installment, but also the 100th installment, he’s not leaving anytime soon.  But don’t blink, because the moment you register that he’s coming around the corner….he’s already finished the race.

Source of the Sound: Anthony Armstrong of Red: Release the Panic

Red Release the Panic CD

This week Source of the Sound caught up with Anthony Armstrong of Red.  Their 4th CD “Release the Panic” (due out February 5th, 2013).  In addition to the discussion of the new CD, Anthony takes time to discuss the new collaboration with producer Howard Benson.  Armstrong clarifies the Jasen Rauch’s involvement with the group and the writing process of Red.  According to Armstrong, Red fans are voicing concerns in regard to the direction of the sound of “Release the Panic” and assures me that this is not a new direction as much as an evolution.  Red can be found on the WinterJam 2013 tour currently rolling through March 2013.

Source of the Sound: Maria Brink ~ In This Moment

In This Moment "Blood"

Currently on tour with Halestorm, Source of the Sound caught up with In This Moment’s Maria Brink.  With new found radio success with their latest CD “Blood” (Century Media), Maria discusses the track, the tour, the history….And if you’ve eve dreamed of jumping on a romantic cruise…you can make half of that happen with this year’s ShipRocked.

Drowning Pool has leaked their new single “Saturday Night”

drowning poolThrough Noisecreep you can check out the new Drowning Pool single “Saturday Night” via the as yet untitled CD due out early 2013 from Eleven Seven Music.  Check out the track here.

Source of the Sound: Clint Lowery of Sevendust

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Last week, I had a few minutes to catch up with Clint Lowery of Sevendust and Call Me No One.  As life manages to catch up with you and yours, sometimes it crashes into the world of the rock players too.  While rescheduling might have been a better option…we went ahead with our conversation anyway…and in retrospect, with his talkin’ toddler in the back it was a bit refreshing.

Sevendust has just wrapped up a new CD tenatively called “Blackout The Sun”.  We cover that in this conversation as well as Call Me No One, his producing projects and more.  Check it here!

Source of the Sound:Eddie Veliz from Kyng

img of Kyng members


Have you heard of Kyng…more importantly, how many people have you talked to who told you to go check them out.  That’s how my relationship with Kyng began.  About a year ago, I started hearing the chatter about the band.  First, it came with urgings to check out their new disk “Trampled Sun”.  Then, as they began their trek back and forth across the country, it came with demands that I get to a stage and see their live show.

Interviewing Eddie came easy, like talking to friend.  Almost a last ditch effort to give a band a go, Kyng (with Tony Castaneda and Pepe Clark) united in Southern California in 2008.  One track led to another, than another, then to a disc, then tours with Trivium, In Flames, Seether, Sick Puppies, The Orion Festival, Clutch, and more…they don’t seem to have even a breath to catch.  They’ve been tapped for a winter tour with Megadeth.  Writing has never stopped for the band and they’ll be eventually slowing down long enough to get into the studio to lay another disc just in time to jump back on the road.

Ever wonder what freaks out a rock band on a lonely trek across the states in a van? Halloween is coming, the answer is here.

Get the CD.  Or if you’d like to get the added track Eddie speaks about…pick up “Trampled Sun” on iTunes (Here:  The CD is  hard, almost impossible to explain.  The texture rolls from a Sabbath sound, to a Zeppelin sound, to its own ethereal magic.  Tracks like “Falling Down”and ‘Trails in Veins” offer the metal speed you’re looking for, with vocals that are very reminiscent of a young Chris Cornell…then almost as if you should have know they were coming are tracks like “Porcelain” and “The Roses”…with so much depth and tortured energy.  The best way to experience Kyng is for yourself.

Stevie Benton from Drowning Pool 28 Aug 2012

Short of a few slightly disturbing, and dementedly humorous posts on Facebook, the founding members of Drowning Pool have been quiet over the course of the last few months.  Having wrapped up promotional touring for the self titled “Drowning Pool” CD, the only major news whispered came regarding the departure of their third front-man, Ryan McCombes.  Rumors had swirled for a while prior to McCombes finally rejoining his former band SOiL in Europe, before he finally exited the band.

Then, they picked up a new guy, Jason Moreno…a hometown boy to fill the slot.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Drowning Pool’s loss of original front-man, Dave Williams.  As a tribute, the band quietly released “In Memory of” to YouTube.

It’s been a good while since I spoke with anyone from the band….thought it might be time to check in.  Turns out, the break with Ryan…not so rosy.  The new guy, they love.  And a new CD…could be closer than you think.

Matt Sorum (GnR, Velvet Revolver, The Cult, Kings of Chaos) 17Sept2012

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Interviewing Rock n Roll Hall of Famer Matt Sorum was actually exactly what I had imagined it to be.  Having already interviewed Slash, and Duff McKagen I had a pretty good sense that Matt would reasonably be as laid back and friendly.

Kings of Chaos is another new side project. Already on his card he’s got performing rights with a half dozen bands including Guns N’Roses, Velvet Revolver, Camp Freddy, and The Cult and charity projects like Wounded Warriors and Little Kids Rock.

Our conversation covers the effort on the “Deep Purple:Re Machined”, induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, Slash & Duff the authors, the future of Velvet Revolver, and his new efforts with Kings of Chaos.  In two parts, check out the interview here.

Rick DeJesus from Adelitas Way September 17, 2012

 In this week’s “Source of the Sound”,  I spoke with Rick DeJesus of Adelitas Way.   Their sophomore CD “Home School Valedictorian” (Virgin Records) has been in stores for about a year (June 7, 2011).  This summer (2012), they’ve joined rock staples like Godsmack, Shinedown, and Staind on the mainstage of the Rockstar Uproar Festival.  The last time I spoke with Rick, their first CD (“Adelitas Way “(2009)) had just dropped.  Then, it seemed the Las Vegas rockers were only  interested in the party.  We talked about back stage antics and tour madness.  I was not impressed.  To say that this interview (conversation) changed my opinion would be an understatement.  While it seems many in the rock world are content to play a part and ride a way of interest for the time they’ve been given, I would feel confident in saying the  DeJesus is now interested in molding out a longer term role, marking out a higher destiny of sorts.

Having just been banned by Houston’s alternative “The Buzz”, I found DeJesus to be a man of conviction and determination.  He’s ready and willing to fight the good fight to make sure that hard rock isn’t lost in the new era of consolidated radio…and that’s a battle I’m happy to fight along side of him.  The conversation explains the Houston eviction, as well as his determination, his band’s development, the state of rock radio and more.

If you have not yet checked out “Home School Valedictorian”, put your ears on it.  Already “Sick”, “The Collapse”, and “Criticize” have taken rock radio by storm.  I have a feeling’the next single “Alive” is about to make it’s mark as well.

Source of the Sound with Wendy Campbell and Kaz of Redlight King:Something for the Pain

Kaz, Redlight King

Last week I had a chance to catch up with Kaz, frontman and founding member of Redlight King.  This is a “first date” interview, which is a prime opportunity to get to know the basics on a fresh artist.  While the CD “Something for the Pain” (Hollywood Records) has been out since  June 28, 2011 fans are just now getting familar.  This CD has already dropped “Old Man”, sampling Neil Young, “Bullet in My Hand”, and now “Comeback” which also appears on the “Marvels Avengers Motion Picture Soundtrack”.  Getting to know Kaz, includes a bit of his history and a taste of what is to come.  Catch Redlight King on this summer’s Rockstar Uproar Festival.


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