Saturday, June 16, 2018
When I asked when he planned on opening and he said mid June, I chuckled.
The algorithm for opening a bar looks something like this...
Take your timeline and your budget...and double them.
I gave him a quote in early May, and by mid May we were off and running, and yesterday he opened the doors for business.
My friend of 17 years took a massive shit on the algorithm.
Wanna know his secret?
He paid people.
I can't tell you how many jobs I've been on and walked right the fuck out of when I hear the plumber complaining to the electrician about how he hasn't gotten paid.
If the guy providing lights or the guy providing a place for people to vomit up their Fireball aren't getting what their owed, then I am damn sure in for a bumpy ride...and my days of bumpy rides are long gone.
We've been on job sites where the tension is so thick and every ass crack showin' mother fucker is the picture of misery. You may as well go back to your work truck, slather the vaseline all over your asshole and prepare yourself for the financial butt fucking of the century.
Not this job site.
I've never seen so many happy mother fuckers in my life.
Trades actually helping other trades, people stopping or pausing what their doing so that another trade can get their shit done.
Because Mike did what everybody should do...pay your workers.
He was well prepared. He had a plan, he got quotes, he had money put aside for unforseen's.
Can I tell you what else he got?
He got a little more.
When a worker doesn't have to panic about getting a check, you're more than likely to get a better deal, get their best work, and have a worker that will go above and beyond.
I've seen some of these business owners put so much time and effort into trying to fuck the people they hired, and it makes no sense. All it does is delay your business from generating any capital.
We had a client once...This mother fucker...he had, what he thought was a good hustle. It got to a point where he would get so frustrated that we weren't buying his bullshit that he would call Zach in these screaming tirades demanding shit for free, or claiming that he paid for stuff that he didn't get, and Zach would be like "yes...yes you did write a check for those tables, but your check bounced, and writing a check and actually paying for something are two very different things."
I'm proud of my friend Mike.
He put a lot of years in the business, learned that shit inside and out, stacked up his dough, opened his own...AND had fun doing it.
If Mike was stressed out, you'd never know.
So, if you're in Rolling Meadows Illinois, stop by REPS PLACE at 3200 Kirchoff rd., have a beer and a burger and high five that son of a bitch for having something too many business owners don't have, and that's INTEGRITY.
Saturday, June 2, 2018
We're building out a bar, and what usually is a 6 to 8 week project, of course we're doing in 2.
I used to get frustrated with bar or restaurant build out time lines because they're fucking ridiculous, but ya know what?...I get it.
While working on site, I see all the vendors and tradesmen pollute the site and they do their best to make our job fucking impossible, but another thing that I also see is the future owner making it rain like a hillbilly in a titty bar who just hit the fucking lottery.
A lot of money goes into these things....a lot, and the owner wants to start slinging beer as quickly as possible to recoup that shit. I'd be the same way.
While the only photo I have right now is one of 7 bar tables, there will be more to follow very shortly.
Last Friday while working on the bar, the owner said "hey man, are you going to SLAYER tonight?"
I had no intention of going and I assumed it was sold out, but he told me that you could get lawn seats for like $20.
My kid is fucking high maintenance. He loves nothing more than emptying my wallet for the sake of a good time or an experience.
I knew that when I got home that night, he would have a elaborate evening of Chuck E Cheese or Dave and Busters or some other shit that would ensure he had fun and I would be broke and miserable.
I had something in store for his little ass...we were going to see SLAYER.
I've seen SLAYER 5 times. First time being in 1983, and this is supposed to be their final tour.
My 8 year old knows of SLAYER, but I don't think he knew what he was in store for.
If you were ever curious to know what beer farts and bad breath smell like, you should attend a SLAYER show.
Now, lets not judge a book by it's cover, cause all of these dirty, stinky, metal heads, we're sweet as pie. They embraced my sons attendance with high 5's and metal signs. I got a lot of pats on the back and "good job dad!" from these smelly, sweaty heathens.
We hit the merch booth, and the boy got a SLAYER hat, and was fully transformed into a dude-man-bro metal head.
We purposely missed most of the opening acts but made it just in time for Lamb of God. We were in the lawn and mini pits were breaking out around us and my son wanted to join in.
Well...allowing my son to mosh in a second rate pit would just be bad parenting. I told him the REAL pit is front of the stage and we didn't have floor seats, so maybe next time.
He took notice of the non-pit participants, and began to head bang with the rest of them.
By this point, he had a firm grip on being at a metal show, and his adrenaline had kicked in.
Lamb of God finished and a massive black curtain covered the stage.
About 10 minutes later, the venue goes dark and the intro music comes on as the massive black curtain drops. A faint glow comes from the stage. As the intro music builds, the glow reveals itself as fire, and grows, and grows until the whole stage is engulfed in flames and SLAYER rips into Repentless.
The venue erupts with thrashing hair, and this young boy hands me his hat so he can head bang with this new tribe.
My son has no IPAD, no phone, no XBOX, no Minecraft or any other stupid ass time wasting games.
He has experiences. A lot of them. At a very young age.
Parents might say "how could you take your son to a Heavy Metal concert?" I ask them this..."How can you expect a electronic device to occupy your child so you don't have to be bothered while you stare at your electronic device?"
Judge me? Fuck YOU.
What happens when your kid is 25 and all he or she has to show for their childhood is a high score on fucking Candy Crush?
Put that shit in their hands and you're stealing from them. You're stealing moments from your child, minute by fucking minute.
Judge me for taking my kid to see SLAYER while you ignore your children by jamming a phone or Ipad in their hands, or having TV's in the head rest of your car.
I'm sorry, but ya'll should be ashamed of yourselves.
Here's another valid reason for snatching up your kids time wasting machines and chucking that poison in the garbage...conflict.
I watch other parents bitch at their kids to stop playing that game or get off your phone, but you gave it to them!
It's like giving a crack head a jumbo and then telling them not to smoke it.
I have enough problems trying to get my kid to comb his hair or put his shoes on, and now I'm gonna fight with him over electronics....FUCK THAT.
He's going to see Taylor Swift tonight, and we're going to the UFC fights next week, and shit is expensive but not nearly as expensive as a new XBOX game every week.
And yeah I said Taylor Swift...he's musically well rounded, more so than most adults I know.
I got a feeling that after seeing SLAYER last week, T-Swift is gonna seem lame as fuck to him, but he gets to cultivate a opinion and not a high score.
Saturday, May 12, 2018
1. no concrete deadline
2. minimal direction
When you're not fighting the clock or adhering to a specific list of requirements, you...as the builder...are allowed to just be.
When a customer allows you to just do what you do, you usually do the do, and it's a safe bet that they won't end up with doo-doo, and when they see their piece, they're like "duuuuuude"
We took all the old growth cut offs and ripped them down to various thickness's to create dimension for the door and side panels. Why? Because we fuckin' felt like it. Sure we could've glued up some panels and been done, but it's never about being done, it's about creating something that we're proud of. Something that we can say "damn...I want one of these.
If I was a guy that actually had "friends" I would be friends with our customer, Andy.
I've put myself on the deserted Island of "Friendlandia". Not because I'm some bitter fuck wad that hates people, quite the contrary, I love people...I'm just a sucky friend.
There are a lot of people close to me that I'd go to war for at the drop of a hat, and I suppose they can be called "friends", but when I say that I'm a sucky friend, what I mean is, I don't do friend shit.
I don't go out to dinner, I don't join people to concerts, I don't have friends over to do whatever people do when they come over, I don't wanna go to a baseball,basketball,football, or hockey game with anyone, I don't wanna meet you there and then pick up that guy over there to go there and meet up with those guys over there later.
It's not like those things don't sound fun to me, it's that I just don't have time...or energy...or the patience.
Maybe it's age? I dunno.
I'm trying to build a empire, and quite honestly, I can't listen to a mother fuckers girl problems.
It's like a grown ass man is telling me about high school girl problems and I'm thinking of ways to bend 1/2" steel without having to purchase a $40,000 machine. I just can't fucking relate.
I can't relate...that's it...I've solved my own mystery!
It's not that I don't care (for the most part) about other peoples problems, it's that I can't relate.
When someone tells me how tired they are because the just got home from Cancun and had to go to work the next day where they sit in front of a computer...my give a fuck bag is empty.
Really? you're tired? I just carried 2000lbs of steel, delivered 2 heavy ass night stands to a second floor bedroom on the fucking moon after being up all night with a kid with a dangerously high fever and a dying dog vomiting from one end of my house to the other, then trying to get to the post office to ship customers orders, then come home to no hot water, then take my kid to get a Lego cause he's been home sick all day and bored out of his mind, then come home and cook dinner, then help reverse engineer the Lego my kid fucked up, and after running on 2.5 hours of sleep, I'm forced to stay up till midnight while my kid finishes his Lego cause he's not gonna be like "oh I'll just wrap this shit up tomorrow"...cause he's fucking 8, so meanwhile I try to market my tshirts on social media because I have to stay awake somehow and there's not shit on Netflix and even if there was, if I sit down for 2 seconds I will pass out and my son could very well take the keys to my truck and kill 12 people while I drool on my arm...and you're fucking tired?
So yeah...I have a hard time relating.
Trust me...I'd love to just "hang out", that shit would be awesome, but I get 24 hours, and there is a metric shit ton of stuff I have to cram into that 24 hour box, and hanging out isn't even on the list.
Hanging out is a fucking Rolex to me. I'd love to have a Rolex but I gotta settle for this Snoopy watch that came in a Happy Meal box.
Those who run their own business and have kids, ya'll get it. Single folks rockin' that 9 to 5, think I'm a fuckin' recluse asshole.
So...in closing, and even though it's Saturday and I technically shouldn't have shit to do, but I do...I love you all, and I'd love to hang out and talk shit all day and night with all of you, but I can't, so please be understanding.
Sunday, May 6, 2018
Very modern building, new construction, all the clean lines and modern fixtures that look cool upon site, but tend to be slightly cold. You kinda get a feeling....kinda like...a nice hotel.
He needed a dresser and a couple of night stands.
I can call a spade a spade, I'm very aware that our stuff is pretty fuckin' masculine, but in this instance, we didn't necessarily need to chop the balls off our style, we just needed to shave them and make em smell good.
If we are talking in terms of stylistic testicles here, then these pieces are one good looking set of balls.
We always have multiple projects going on. My partner Zach dedicated himself to this project. There are so many tedious steps involved in dressers that you can't just pick away at it, you have to be fully committed.
These pieces are a testament to the fact that you can accommodate a customers aesthetic without compromising your style.
Next up is a collaboration I did with Willaim Purcell of Witness Company.
A couple of months ago, William had made me a sterling silver skull ring with my birth year engraved on one side, and a pair of crossed arrows on the other side. His engravings were always a detail that drew me to his work.
I'm moved by art.
The thing about the engravings on this ring is that my hand would have to be in your face to see it, and lets be honest...if my hand is in your face like that, you're not paying attention to my ring engraving, you're probably going to be visiting a dentist.
I wanted the world to get a better view of his work, and what better way then this T shirt.
The significance of "WORK" on the front refers to the fact that anything worth doing is going to take hard work. Building things, making art, raising kids, making a life for a family, caring for loved ones...no matter what you do, you're gonna have to work at it.
The significance of the arrows....and you'll notice the arrows have a sort of bend to them, is that the road to victory isn't a straight line. There are going to be a lot of curves and obstacles to overcome in battle.
This is what it meant to me, and like any art, it's totally open to interpretation.
The shirts are very limited and will be available at www.pilsenmfg.bigcartel.com .
The shirts are also a prelude to what is about to come with Williams new company called WitnessCo Speedshop. His new site will be a more apparel based site rooted deeply in moto culture.
Pick up a shirt, it's easy on the wallet and you're supporting the hustle.
Truth be told, in this day and age, you can't just hope some corporation is gonna keep your family fed. Ya gotta hustle. Ya gotta find a angle. Ya gotta do something you enjoy and give people something unique in order to gain their support. You can't just be a runner in the marathon, you gotta be the mother fucker that created the marathon.
Thanks in advance for your support.
Saturday, April 28, 2018
If you're gonna do a bad ass basement remodel, and have us build you a rolling bar, ya gotta say "fuck it", and go all in and get a back bar made with space for 2 beverage coolers. It's like going to GUCCI and buying one shoe. Actually, we're nothing like GUCCI because our stuff is made in the USA and not some sweat shop in Malaysia. Yeah I said it...That $4500 handbag that you think is made in some pristine work shop at the House of GUCCI, is made in some shitty warehouse by 8 year olds with bleeding fingers in some third word country for $10.
ANYWAY...It's always a pleasure to add our work to what a hard working couple has created in their home. When we left, we were talking about their remodel and how we'd probably never leave the basement if it were our home.
There are a lot of new and exciting things happening.
We're doing a collaboration with Witness Company which will be these motorcycle helmet hangers and sold through WitnessCo Speed shop.
I have a new Tshirt which was designed by William Purcell who is the founder of Witness Company. That Tshirt will be available at www.pilsenmfg.bigcartel.com
I have the Breclaimed side pouch available through www.yukonharbortradingcompany.com
I, personally feel like I'm in a creative place where I want to spread my wings.
Even my approach in how I work has transitioned into this really smooth peaceful flow. It's not like I've ever not liked what I was doing, it's just now I feel a sense of calm in it. Maybe I'm dying?
As far as the other projects and collaborations....I just fucking want more.
I love supporting other makers, but I had a moment where I was like...I want my own shit. I know what I like, but I sometimes have to settle for purchasing what someone else essentially likes.
For Instance, the side pouch. J10 customs made me a killer one a few years ago, and someone in my family had taken permanent possession of it, so I needed a new one. There are some out there for purchase, but I wanted one that strictly fit my needs. I ran the idea past Yukon Harbor Trading, and she was just as stoked to produce it as I was to wear it, and now anyone can share in it's functionality.
I've been a big fan of Witness Company for awhile now, and I have a fondness for the tattoo style artwork that William does in his engravings. Summer is gonna come (eventually) and I wear tshirts, and destroy tshirts over the course of a season so I was shopping around. Nothing really interested me, so I'm like fuck it...I'll make my own. The way I see it, if no one likes them, I'll have enough tshirts to last me the summer and a big chunk of Christmas and birthday gifts are taken care of.
I mean for fucks sake, I'm constantly telling you all to get out of your comfort zone, take chances, think outside of the box, and blah blah fucking blah, and yet, there's a laundry list of shit that I want to do, that I haven't been doing.
Let's be real fuckin honest here, I've kind of made a career out of being a "practice what you preach" type of mother fucker, so I need to step my game up.
I eat failure for breakfast so I have nothing to lose in my ventures.
Sharing shit you make is a little scary. You can be so stoked about something and think the whole world is gonna finally recognize you for the amazing bastard that you are, and then when the realization comes that nobody gives a flying fuck about your tshirt, or helmet hanger, or whatever...it's like getting kicked in the nuts. Luckily...my nuts are made of steel in that respect.
I'm so used to being on the losing team, that even the smallest victory is monumental.
It's funny, I'll read shit about the old band I was in back in the 90's, and people will say how we made one of the best pop punk records ever, and how we should've been playing stadiums, and how Green Day should have been our Roadies, and all these wonderful things that mean absolutely fucking nothing today. Thanks for the accolades 25 years later you assholes.
So that's that....I'm gonna make more of what I want to make. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't, I dunno, but I'm gonna keep on keepin' on.
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Yelawolf was about to release his own brand of Whiskey, and www,creekwaterspirits.com had contacted us about a bar cart for it's release.
I didn't know much about Yelawolf, I mean, I had heard of him, I knew he did some stuff with Travis Barker, and Kid Rock, but it's a musical arena that I don't venture into on a regular basis.
I'm a researcher by hobby. If you said "hey B, check out these awesome rubber bands", I'm gonna spend 200 hours finding out everything there is to know about those fuckin rubber bands.
So I did some homework.
I didn't have to, it was a done deal, but I was curious.
I started by listening to his music. Then I looked into his Nashville store "SLUMERICAN MADE", where there is a barber shop, a tattoo shop, and a retail space, all run by his mother, Mamawolf.
My interest was sparked. There's some real warm vibes coming from this research, so I continue.
Come to find out, Yela supports a lot of independent makers. SpeakEasy Originals makes his Slumerican flag rings, he sells Thorogood boots (a American, employee owned company we also did a project with) and a slew of other independents.
So I'm feeling pretty good.
Someone famous is getting a piece from us who's pretty diligent about taking a lot of the little guys on to lift them up. Fuckin' aye....let's get this thing shipped.
Built a crate, slid this fucker on in, called for a pick up, and....no show. (Monday)
45 minutes on the phone, and they say they will pick up first thing in the morning.
Next day, around 2pm I call the freight company because the piece hasn't been picked up yet. An hour and 15 minutes on the phone and I'm promised it will be picked up first thing Wednesday. (Tuesday)
Wednesday comes and essentially goes with more hours on the phone and no pick up, and I'm having a melt down. I go home and start planning my drive to Nashville because I'm gonna have to deliver this fucker, when I get a text from Zach at 6pm to tell me they picked it up.
Thursday I start tracking it and...no movement.
Mind you, this needs to be there for the Whiskey release event on Sunday.
Friday, I track it again. It's in Nashville, but hasn't been offloaded and won't be delivered.
I call David from Creek Water and they are going to pick it up from the terminal...They get there and they're closed.
Monday...no delivery, Tuesday...no delivery..Wednesday...DELIVERED.
Mamawolf said she was gonna wait to have Yela uncrate it.
Yela uncrates it and when asked if he dug it, his response was "fuck yeah".
That was the most work I've ever done to earn a "fuck yeah", but it was and always is a priceless fuck yeah.
..It's not "all about the Benjamins...baby", it's about the "fuck yeahs".
The "fuck yeahs" are what keep us pushing.
Money...shit comes and shit goes, but "fuck yeahs" are the fuel.
There's a high that comes along with the happy customer. The happier they are, the higher we get, a we're a couple of dirty ass junkies.
Get you some 100 proof Creek Water whiskey, stoke the bonfire, crank up "American You", and get your "FUCK YEAH" on.
Monday, April 9, 2018
This motherfucker turned over every rock in Chicago, until he finally found something to match the rest of their kitchen.
We hopped in ol' Whitey and zoomed over to the clients house with the sample. We set the sample on the counter and behold...a perfect match.
All 3 of us are looking at each other, zero fucking excitement transpiring, until we came to the conclusion that it would look really great...if it was 1997.
Then the brainstorming started happening...what about butcher block? Yeah....fuck yeah...butcher block!
We get samples of different species of butcher block. Instead of driving it over, we take some photos and email them over.
The client really liked the butcher block, but she liked the table that the sample was photographed on better.
We ended up doing a old growth top with a apron and legs that match the rest of the cabinetry.
Just like that, a dated kitchen became Pinterest material.
A lot of people assume we make tables and weird sculptures and...that's about it. We make anything and everything, and it's always nonconventional.
Do I want to do countertops every day? No I do not, but when we are able to inject creativity into the virtually mundane, I'd definitely do them more often than not.
We headed up to Wisconsin for Ben Weasel's birthday this weekend.
For those that don't know what a Ben Weasel is...he's the singer for SCREECHING WEASEL, a punk rock band that I played in back in the early 90's..
Me and Ben share a lot of stories, from drinking warm Budweiser on the record label owners floor at 9am when I got off work at Kinko's, to trying to incite Nazi skinheads to beat the shit out of us in a trailer park in Florida.
Ben and I had a lot of fun in the formative years of that band. I was super young and everything was fun to me then, and if it wasn't fun, I damn sure attempted to make it fun.
Ben went on to mold and shape that band into a iconic machine in punk rock history.
I....I moved on to this, but still carry a lot of the punk rock ethic and aspect of fun into this craft.
Getting out of Chicago and spending good times with old friends is something I don't get to do very often, but it's some of the healthiest shit one can do for themselves.
As you read this patiently waiting for my big life lesson epiphany, or hear about my run in with a bunch of hillbilly's at a SleepInn hotel....I got nothin'.
I had a great time and unfortunately for you...you get a fuckin boring blog post.