CHOPPER BUILDER

AL  | AE CHOPPERS

Desert Mama- Who is Al and where can we find you?

Al- I’m just a hard working blue collar guy from small town Iowa hustling daily to pay the bills and avoiding the majority of people in the process. 

Most of the time you can find me in the shop working through the night. I’m a night owl and I just enjoy the night hours more. Less people around and I can get more done without being bothered. 
 

D- How long have you been working with motorcycles and when did this love for the art come about? 

A- Motorcycles have been a huge part of my life since I was a kid.

I grew up wrenching so I’ve been working on bikes as long as I’ve been riding.

The first bigger motorcycle I rode was a 70’s Honda 550. I think I was 10 years old. It was a pile of shit. We had to charge up the battery every time, pull the spark plugs, dump a little fuel in the cylinders to prime it, kick start it and my brothers and I would take turns dirt biking it around the farm till the battery would eventually go dead. Good cheap fun. 

I got my first Harley (1986 Sportster) when I was 17 and never looked back. I immediately wanted to chop it up and that was basically when my love for Harleys/choppers started. 19 years later I’m still doing the same shit every day. I absolutely love it. 
 

D- Who taught you how to do this?

A- I grew up wrenching on cars with my dad. Not so much a father son bonding experience but either way I learned a lot of mechanical knowledge at a young age. 

I got a job in a machining department of this factory I was working in running cnc equipment when I was 21. I learned a lot about tooling, programming and setting up machines there.
 
 
Then I landed a job as a tool and die machinist at another factory making fixtures and tooling for cnc equipment, robots and screw machines. I would make a lot of prototype parts also. I punched in and out of factories for 12 years or so that’s where I learned most of my machining skills. My main goal was to get paid to learn so I could make my own bike parts.
 
As far as welding and fabricating I’m completely self-taught. Just a lot of trial and error. Which I still do daily. I’m always trying to learn more and pushing to get better at what I do. 
 

D- Show us your best work by now and tell us why you love it.

A- My favorite bike I’ve built is one I built 6 years ago actually.

My skills have progressed since that build but it’s one I’m most proud of. I handmade basically every part or heavily modified any part I didn’t make, frame, wheels, frontend, axles, sheet metal, etc. , every important part that connects your ass to the ground on the highway. I rode the hell out of it before I eventually sold it. Lots of miles and good memories with friends on that bike.

D- What inspires you, and what other artist currently working inspires you? 

A- I’m not really inspired by any one particular builder.

I just love clean and simple well-built choppers that are built to ride. All business no bullshit kind of bikes.

I take inspiration from all sorts of motorcycles street and dirt. My main inspiration building bikes comes from riding. They have to perform and hold up to the miles. 

D- The part you love most about what you do, and the worst part:

A- What I love most about what I do is I turned what I love to do into a career.

The worst part is some days it feels like a job but I wouldn’t trade doing it for anything else.

D- Where would you like to see yourself 10 years from now? :

A- Honestly if I’m still doing the same thing, I’ll be happy. Building, riding choppers and partying with friends I’ll be good.

D- You only have two days left, what would you do?

A- Two-day Party

D- Your best quality and worst defect:

A- I have crazy ocd with how I build things, which helps with making quality parts but it slows me down considerably.

D- How is a perfect day in your life?

A- Any day I get to live life on my own terms.

D- A success and a failure:

A- Being able to build choppers for a living. You don’t get rich off of it though.

RECOMMENDATIONS

– A phrase: Life is tough but it’s tougher when you’re stupid.

– A song: Wymore’s Blues

– A drink: Budweiser

– A city:  Music City (Nashville, TN) I love bars and good country music

WHAT DOES AL PREFER?

  • Ten years in a coma /Ten years in jail
  • City life / Country life
  • Talking to animals / Talking to the dead
  • Only being able to whisper/ Only being able to scream
  • Lifetime free wifi / Lifetime free coffee (I could probably sell it ha)
  • Singing in public /Dancing in public (No one needs to see me sing or dance in public )
  • To only eat salty / To only eat sweet
  • Waking up in a desert / In a boat in the middle of the Ocean
  • Something organized / Something improvised
  • Visiting the past / Visiting the future
  • Being unable to see / Being unable to hear
  • Reality / Fiction
  • Motorcycle trip / Car trip (Chopper trip)
  • Never leaving your city / Not being able to return 
  • Being submissive / Being dominant
  • Continuing with your life / Restarting your life (I never look back) 
  • Knowing what you will die of / Knowing what day you will
  • Music concert / Theater play