I didn't think these things would get as big as they have. But it's been awesome
It’s pretty incredible to think that I’ve done over 500 podcasts (not including the Pulpmx Show of which there’s been 138 of those) at this point. I started in 2008 with Chad Reed as my first guest (that was a no brainer, call a friend who happened to be the biggest rider in the sport at the time. My second ever guest was Weege so the drop off in talent was huge) and about $140 in equipment (thank you Radio Shack for the phone and the recorder thingee that plugged into my mic jack on my Dell) and software and now I’m at about 5K. Audio perfection is my goal folks.
I would say it’s an hour and a half average for the podcasts so that’s 750 hours of audio which equals out to thirty-one straight days of podcasts. Sweet Jesus that's a lot.
Anyways they’ve been great for me to do both personal and professionally and the decision to do them was a wise one on many levels. For example they’ve allowed me to find out why Mike Kiedrowski retired so suddenly (his mechanic told him he should), why Mark Barnett didn’t race in 1986 (no one offered him anything) and why Broc Glover stayed with Yamaha all those years (he had a Honda contract and just didn’t sign it for some reason). These nuggets all allowed me to sleep better at night. Being a geek fan of motocross can be taxing you know.
Doing these podcasts have allowed many of the legends of the sport to get their stories out, inform us all and make us realize what was going on behind the scenes of all these guys’ great careers.
The most recent one that got me pretty excited to do was Rick Johnson. It was a long time coming, Rick sort of blew me off a whole bunch of times (come to find out, he’s notorious for being a busy guy and hard to get a hold of) but with the help of Parts Unlimited’s Lou Lopez, we got it done. Of course, I had the wrong number for RJ for a while as well.
Once I got him to commit to it, the podcast itself was pretty epic. Johnson, always a showman as a rider and also as an interviewee, was a terrific guest. There was so much interesting stuff in there- including Roy Turner at Kawasaki dropping the ball in getting Johnson for 1986- it was ridiculous. Johnson’s podcast was pretty cool and very interesting. HERE it is.
Bob Hannah’s been the subject of three podcasts by myself because, well, he’s the Hurricane. But there’s nothing like the first one to me. With the help of DMXS’s David Izer Bob granted me some time (I had contacted Bob a couple times in the past but I guess at some point I wrote some stuff about Bob that he and his wife Terri didn’t like and they had no interest. For the life of me, I can’t really remember what it was although I’m sure I made fun of Bob and probably deserved the shunning. This podcast wouldn’t have happened without Izer backing me up to Bob) and it was great. Bob’s storytelling and memory of different events was fantastic as was his mocking me for being a Rollerball fan (thanks Izer!) made it all great. HERE it is.
Speaking of Ross Pederson, getting to do a couple of podcasts with my childhood hero was epic. Ross has been through a lot since hanging up his boots and you can hear the regret in his voice. I wasn’t having any of it though, no pity party here- I wasn’t letting my hero go without feeling like he was my hero you know what I mean? It’s right HERE
Jean-Michel Bayle doesn’t do a lot of interviews so I felt pretty fortunate to be doing one with the legend. Thanks to LeBig, he made it happen as Bayle was staying with Roger Decoster in California and I finally got to talk to a guy that captured my imagination as a kid as well as blew by me in the Millville sand whoops doing mach 5. And to make the show even better, I brought in Jeff Stanton halfway through so these two one-time rivals could hash everything out. They made nice on the podcast, the years dulling the harsh realities of their rivalry (I had a couple of people that were there tell me that these two HATED each other despite what they said on the podcast about respecting each other) and it was awesome. I had a smile on my face the whole time while they swapped stories- JMB’s quote of the podcast “I do not like Damon Bradshaw very much”. Oh wait, I didn’t have a smile the whole time as I accidently stopped the recording 20 min in and in my haste to hit the record button again I deleted the entire first half recording. Having to stop JMB to tell him that was not very fun. Thankfully, he was cool about it and we started the whole thing again. HERE is that podcast.
Rich Taylor, the owner of X Brand Goggles, did one with me that was very interesting (he was a long-time privateer racer as well as lead tester for Honda and Suzuki R&D) and I still get comments about it to this day. HERE it is.
Dave Arnold was team manager of Honda for a long time and there were so many stories to get into, we had to do two podcasts. They were both super interesting and Dave’s memory was fantastic. He’s also smarter than you. Here is PART 1 and PART 2
Jeff Ward, Ron Lechien, Broc Glover, Mark Barnett, Johnny O’Mara- all the 80’s superstars ones are worth a listen. Damon Bradshaw’s story was epic, Brian Swink’s was depressing and NOFX’s Erik Sandin (co-owner of Moto XXX) WAS surprisingly great. Industry giants like PETE FOX and JOHN GREGORY was, to me anyways, a couple of my favorites.
Thanks for listening to all of these things and I’ll make you guys a deal. You keep listening to them (and stats say you are) then I’ll keep pumping them out. Deal?
Bottom of the page, we'll give you some links to the shows but of course they're also on iTunes under Steve Matthes Show and Steve Matthes Classics
Here are a few industry heavyweights (and Weege) with their thoughts on the shows that they liked and why:
Jason Thomas- The Rollerball podcast sticks out to me. Going into it, I knew this was Steve's hero so it would be a lot of weeping and shameless worship. What I didn't expect was to see Ross tell his story so transparently. All of his mistakes, his triumphs, you could literally hear the pain in his voice about where his life has gone during and after his career. He was my riding coach/manager for a few weeks in the summer of 2000 so I had a different perspective of Ross than most. He was such a proud, strong guy outwardly but in this podcast you can really see the man within. That's the beauty of these podcasts. We are given a window to their reflection on lives and careers we all envied. Mostly we just listen in awe but every once in a while, there is a real lesson about life choices and regret. That's what I remember about that podcast, it made me take a look at my own choices after hearing the road he had traveled.
Weege- Bradshaw and McGrath were the best ones, I was shocked to hear MC say that Washougal '96 still sticks out in his mind. Didn't know the MX titles meant that much to him, even decades later. HERE'S MC's
And to finally hear Bradshaw tell it from his end, that was good. But you could have Bradshaw describing a campfire and some S'mores he made and I'd be pumped on it. HERE it is
Swizcore- Anyone who knows me in any capacity is well aware of my terrible memory. I’ve come to the conclusion over my 36 years that my memory sucks due to two things: Song lyric retention and The Steve Matthes Show archive. I spend lots of time with ear buds plugging my ears. Music, podcasts and audiobooks constantly pumping audible data into my noggin. Now, with this little off-weekend reading assignment, I finally get a little payoff for all of this useless knowledge I have been archiving. My favorite podcasts in the massive archive are, as I’m sure all of you reading this would agree, a mixture of the old school racers, the painfully honest guests and those who simply have backstory facts on the historical incidents we’re familiar with. I’ll spare you my specific reasoning’s, just grab these shows. You will not regret it.
Moser- How do you pick a favorite podcast that is like picking a favorite child? Fun fact I had never listened to a podcast of any kind prior to meeting Steve Matthes and Weigandt in a bar in Seattle. One I started though I was hooked it, like a diabetic to a donut. It was a great way to pass the time while on the road or exercising and as a 4 time Ironman I exercise a lot (heavy sarcasm). When Steve first started podcasting he did a bunch with Shorty and I listened to them over and over, I basically had them memorized. But picking a Shorty podcast is too predictable so I’ll omit them from my top three.
Third place is Bob Hannah the guy tells it like it is, has a great memory and is a good story teller I’d love to have a beer with him someday.
Second place is MC it was a two-part podcast to cover the scope of his career and I was a huge fan of his growing up his poster hung above my bed all through high school.
My favorite though was TRAMPAS PARKER. I had honestly never heard of him. Much like Tit’s my moto knowledge basically starts in the early 90’s and my GP knowledge isn’t great. Like Hannah, Trampas didn’t sugar coat anything and was a great story teller. I love the stories about Europe, what a cool way to travel the world while racing a motorcycle. The drama of not getting paid and sneaking out in the country in the middle of the night they could make a film out of this podcast.
His career was epic and I almost felt guilty that I’d never heard of him before if you haven’t listened to it yet go check out the archive. You didn’t ask but worst podcast hands down Steve Lamson, so disappointed, probably the worst memory ever....Moser out.
Blazier- When Matthes asked me to come up with my two favorite podcasts it seemed like an easy enough task. Once I actually tried to narrow it down to two, however, it turned out to be a lot harder than I expected. I mean how do you just pick two from in incredible catalogue of motocross interviews he has done. I don’t want to seem like I am sucking up to my boss, but you really cannot overstate what a great gift these podcasts are to the moto community. There is so little appreciation and historical information available in our sport, that anything that tries to document the people and events that have made motocross what it is today should be cherished.
It was Steve’s podcasts that prompted me to start digging through my motocross collection and posting them on YouTube. It was Steve’s podcasts that cajoled me into rummaging through my hundreds of motocross magazines and posting the classic pictures for others to enjoy. It was Steve’s podcasts that made me think about trying to create a place where motocross enthusiast could go to learn about the history and roots of our sport. These podcasts are gold and everyone of them is to be revered for the great gift that they are.
Now that being said, some are definitely better than others. Over time, Steve has certainly gotten better at his interviews and he tends to do a lot less interrupting and talking over the guests than he did in the beginning. Also he has worked out a flow and structure to the interviews that makes them both informative and enjoyable to listen to. While I would have rather listed my top 20 podcasts instead of just two (TWO! Come on Bro, two out of all these classics?!?), I will stick to his rules and list just my top two picks.
#2 Rick Johnson- As much as I love Bradshaw and Reed, my first love was the Bad Boy from El Cajon, California. These days, Rick Johnson just does not get the credit he deserves in my opinion. When he was on top, he was an absolute beast and by far the best showman in the sport. If not for his wrist injury, he would have one at least one more Supercross title and probably another Motocross title or two.
This podcast was a long time coming, but worth every minute of the wait. As much as I am a MX history buff, this podcast blew me away with new info. Most of the time these are more like bench racing sessions, where we relive old stories, but in this one I learned a lot of stuff that I did not know about my childhood hero and his career. On top of being informative, RJ is also quite an entertaining guy and his stories are always great. If you are a fan of 80’s motocross (and you should be), this baby is a must listen.
#1 Dave Arnold-My heart wanted to go with Damon Bradshaw, Jeff Stanton or Jeremy McGrath here, but my head said Dave Arnold. If great stories are what you want, any of those podcasts are a great choice, but if you want to really get into the nitty gritty behind-the-scenes nuggets, Arnold is your man. This baby is a marathon, but every moment is moto gold. Do yourself a favor and listen to this gem, I promise you will not regret it.