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What the Hell is a Round Six?!

…it’s about how many of us show up to record.

No… it’s a clever play on a few events that led to the podcast’s coming to be, as well as an even more clever play on this being a roundtable-type discussion involving nearly a handful of gearheads trying to be as clever as the name they chose for the podcast.

Brad was having a conversation one day with good friend Steve about cars and enchiladas (seriously!), and he made a comment about an idea he had for a TV show. This turned into what car guys would call “Bench Racing” (TV Racing?) and the ideas started flying about content or lack of good content in automotive based TV. Brad being, well, Brad and always looking for a challenge, decided that he needed to tackle two TV shows. This idea afforded him the chance to team up with longtime friend Alex to assist in hosting one of the shows

Fast-forward a few months and Brad was having a discussion with the infamous (more than famous!) Brian about cars, computers and people connections (they both know a lot of car people) and Brad realized that Brian needed to be part of this whole thing to really make it work. Brad then called Alex and asked his thoughts about bringing Brian on board to finish this thing off, and after getting a resounding “YES!”, Brad called Brian back and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Brian had numerous ideas he wanted to throw into the pile, which was awesome because now Brad had someone to constantly bounce ideas around with. If you’re reading this and have been listening to any of the podcasts, welcome to the “brain-child” of Mr. Stupski, who’s vision of our little project expands even larger (even MORE cool stuff) than what Brad had envisioned.

Being that Brian had an idea for a podcast and blogs to constantly evolve just like the future TV plan,  Brad knew he had to listen. Brian also told Brad that to make the podcast really work, his good friend Del, who’s an extremely funny, smart and artistically talented artist car nut, needed to be part of it. We added Eric, who’s another knowledgeable car guy and now Round 6ix is complete!

As this whole big project evolves, we’ll introduce you to the other key players who are helping make it happen and will explain a little more about “what” we are actually doing, and just how this all ties together…

The Round Six Mission

Round Six Productions and its supporting network of podcasts, blogs and video entertainment seeks to be THE destination for automotive enthusiasts. Engaging our audience through unique perspectives, inspirational stories and conversations with the people who shape our industry and hobby, we are committed to chronicling the history and knowledge of the sport. Returning substance to an art form which has been diluted by the popular media, we will ultimately empower our audience to pursue their passions!

Meet the Gearheads

round six podcast cast

Alex, Brian, Brad, Del, Eric with our Hollywood connection and mentor, Carson.

Round Six seeks to entertain, educate, and offer a half-dozen (or more, depending who swapped meds that day with whom!) unique perspectives on all things automotive-related. Our eclectic group discusses topics both current and historically-relevant in a fast-paced and humorous roundtable format. Expect the professional insight to be served equally with friendly jabs.

They say that it takes a village… And in our case, we’re short a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker, and perhaps a few other key positions; but man, do we have our share of idiots. Rather than embarrass or give them too much undue credit, let’s have them introduce themselves.

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Brad King

Brad’s been obsessed with cars and pretty much ALL thing’s mechanical his entire life. From the time he was old enough to talk, pointing at cars and using the word “cool” was just the start. Being like most other “Gearheads” growing up, school was just more time to spend drawing cars instead of doing boring school stuff. Deciding at a young age that custom paint and pinstriping was something that he needed to be involved in , he attacked it with a vengence. The family vehicles were NEVER safe from the time he was about 11 years old after he aquired his first pinstriping brush. Thank goodness for parents who were patient enough to deal with this “quirkiness.” When he was 12, his uncle put another crazy engine combination in his early Mustang in the backyard garage. The hook was now officially set in what would become a lifelong obsession with Hot Rods. At 13 he got his first airbrush and now the obsession for custom stuff  was even bigger. In High School he read magazines featuring artists such as Phill Whetstone, Steve Stanford, Glen Weisgerber, Tom Stratton and Kenny Youngblood that cinched the deal. During high school, his friends would let him paint their stuff even though they knew it was risky with all his ideas of what he deemed “cool”. After graduation and painting for a Chevy dealership it was decided the move back to southern California to the Hot Rod capital needed to happen.

Fast forward a few years and after countless custom paint, pinstriping, lettering and airbrush jobs and aquiring a pretty good reputatation, the need arose for more challenges.  Adding automotive based artwork for screenprinters into the mix was the next choice. Beginning with drawing the original line-art with with ink and doing color separations by hand gradually became a digital drawing tablet and coloring art using the computer. After gaining a pretty good reputation as an artist and shipping work all over the world, again a new challenge was in order.  A stint in publishing creating a local “Auto Trader” style magazine  lasted for nearly two years until the economy tanked. Going back to his original roots in pinstriping and lettering seemed like the logical choice. Always looking for a new challenge it was decided that the goal of aquiring the “200mph club red hat” at the Bonneville Salt Flats needed to happen. That didn’t seem like enough of a challenge, so the idea to build a car capable of setting records in the 200, 300 and 400 miles per hour classes was now the goal. The car is still being built and getting closer to completion. A conversation about goals and dreams with friend and fellow car nut Steve Hayes one day, led to Steve’s comment about wanting to have a Hot Rodding style of TV show and an agreement was made to give it a shot.  Brad spent the last year and a half studying cinematography, sound and lighting with the dream of creating something never before seen on TV.

Brad has two daughters whom are both amazing writers and artists, one grandchild and two more on the way. He currently resides in Southern California with his girlfriend Vickie.

Brian Stupski

Often called “The Man Who Will Write the Funniest Suicide Note of All-Time”, he can often be found wandering his Studio late at night, wiping what could be paint, might be blood or spaghetti sauce from a brush. He has drunk deep from the chalice of regret, and forged a path to become an unknown. But it hasn’t all come as easily as an oil stain on a fresh concrete floor.

Let’s allow a third person voice to tell us more:

What do drawing hot rods and custom cars, sweeping a shop, and drawing a fat lady sitting on an overturned bucket all have in common? They can come together, and lead you to a glorious career in illustration and hot rod design! It worked for Brian, although his results may not be typical. Thank whatever god it is you may worship for that.

As a kid, our odd Brian wanted to be an automotive engineer. A stylist, A designer. The next Harley Earl… or, at the very least, the guy who came up with the split rear seat in a Camaro. Exposing the hump… Brilliant. Sounds like something you’d read in the Us Weekly. ‘Hollywood Legend Caught in Midnight Tryst With Talk Show Diva: Exclusive Photos Expose the Hump that Rocked the Hills’. What were we talking about? Oh yeah, engineering. Brian started down that road. Mathematics, Engineering, real Science-y stuff. Sadly, his youthful mind was filled with visions of fast cars, girls, parties. Imagine walking from a room full of guys talking slide rules and angles, and wandering into a room loaded with laughter, girls, music …and naked models. Yes sir, the Fine Art building. Or ‘Home’ as he called it. A trek to the Administration offices, and he was on to a new major: Fine Art.

Building on his natural skills for drawing, our subject honed skills in painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, typography, and balancing a full-time job and building his Chevelle from garage-based basket case to boulevard-cruising basket case. Jobs in auto parts stores, collision shops and more gave him experience in how things were put together, and what it took to build a car, manage a project and so-on. Between this work, he’d draw and paint. Life drawing classes were a constant stream of oddly-proportioned models and strange fruit and dinnerware. Our boy honed observational sketching, art history and technique, and hit on girls. When he wasn’t hitting on those girls, he’d hit on other girls. “Art,” he famously said, “seems to involve a lot of girls and booze and strange fruits arranged on ugly dinnerware. I can totally do this if it pays.” As is often the case, fantasy and reality share little in common.

A fast lane career that was a blur of painting, drawing, partying and working would land Brian where many high rollers before him find themselves: In a cubicle. It was during those flourescent-lit years that Brian came to realize his true calling: He would be near broke, working for himself and drawing cars. Never before had those words held so much promise (and truth).  Asked if he’s change anything about his career or where it has led him, he grows decidedly serious, and advises budding artists to forget all of that and become a dentist. ‘Those guys make a lot of cash,” Brian says.

Brian has been published over three hundred times, and is a regular contributor to Street Rodder Magazine, Hot Rod Magazine, Truckin’ Magazine and many other top titles. He has designed some of the most memorable and groundbreaking custom cars of the past decade, including Goodguys Street Machine of the Year, Custom Rod of the Year, Ridler Great-8, and Mother’s Shine Award winners, among other accolades.

This podcast will help fill a few holes, and perhaps widen others in his tale. Oh, and probably teach you that making dick jokes can be perfectly acceptable for a 40-something single Dad to do, so long as it’s recorded and presented as “entertainment.”

Alex Welsh

alex bioAlex Welsh was born and raised in South End of Louisville, Kentucky. Being the middle child in a family of six, he honed his skills of independence at an early age. Middle kids are often content with not being the center of attention, and this gave Alex the opportunity to go and explore things on his own. A gear head from birth, he was obsessed with all things that were mechanical, and was always taking things apart to gain understanding on how it worked.

“I was obsessed with cars, motorcycles, and anything with an engine. When I was 10, I could point at a car or bike and tell you exactly what year, make, and model it was. I used to get kicked out of the local Walgreens all the time for spending hours at the magazine stand, reading all the car magazines”.

His father was the sole provider in the household and money was extremely tight, so he learned the value of hard work at a very early age. Alex cut grass in the summer, raked leaves in the fall, shoveled snow in the winter, and cleaned gutters in the spring. “I always had money stashed away, and although it wasn’t much at all, even as a grade-school kid, I was very aware of the “work equals results” concept. I was cautious about how I spent my money because I understood the hard work that it took to make it”.

Alex’s Father, Bob, was adamant about all of the kids getting a good education, so Alex endured 12 years of Catholic school. Two weeks after he graduated, he was off to Basic Training as an Air Force recruit.

“It was the best decision that I had ever made, because the job situation in Louisville at the time was terrible, and joining the Service allowed me to gain a skill and get paid for it at the same time. It was a win-win situation for me.  I had an absolute blast in the Air Force”.

Alex spent the next 8.5 years as a Radar Technician on F-4 Phantoms, and was stationed in Georgia, Korea, and California. He met his wife, Lynn, and they were married in 1989. His enlistment stint was coming up for “renewal” in 1990, and Alex made the tough decision to leave the Air Force and join the civilian ranks. “There was a rumor that our unit was going to be transferred to Idaho, and Lynn and I didn’t want to leave California. Some friends of mine had gotten out and were working in the aerospace business in Palmdale, California, so I decided to join them”.

Alex joined the Northrop Corporation as an Electronics Technician on the B-2 Stealth Bomber. In 1995, Lynn and Alex became the proud parents of a son, Kyle. Fast forward 22 years later, and Kyle is now in the Air Force and stationed in Missouri, working around the very same B-2 Bombers that his Dad built. It’s a small world, indeed.

In his off-time, Alex is usually wrenching on something, from one of his many hot rod projects, one of his motorcycles, or doing a home improvement project. Not one to sit in front of the TV, Alex is always buried in a research book or taking notes on a website.

“I am an information junkie.  I love to learn, and I’m too cheap to let somebody else do the job for me”.

Del Swanson

The first indication his parents had that he was into performance vehicles was when he shot forth from his Mother drifting sideways reaching for another gear (“She didn’t scream or nothin!”… Points go to those who know the movie reference)! He’s always been fascinated with machines and altering or improving them to suit his needs, and drawing said machines just seemed second nature. Growing up the oldest (and arguably the best looking) of seven kids necessitated him helping out in the family business, so at the age of 12 he started working with his dad when not in school. There he learned the practical stuff like welding, designing and building your own tools, maintaining and repairing vehicles and how not to spray paint his brothers where his dad could see it…

All through school he got in trouble for drawing in the margins on his papers.  Even in college.

You’d think in an art school they’d be open to artistic expression. But he has a framed grade sheet hanging in his studio where the instructor told him he’d never amount to anything unless he would abandon his comic book or cartoon style.

The jury’s still out on that one.

He’s been a journeyman Steamfitter and a freelance artist for over 20 years and is the Art Director for the “Pinstripe Legends” (a charity organization comprised of artists from the U.S. and Canada that benefits the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin). He’s had the pleasure to work with some big names and some big companies in all three endeavors.  As an artist, he’s primarily an automotive illustrator, but he also has a passion for sci-fi, fantasy illustration and special effects.

Always the advocate for stepping out of one’s comfort zone, he felt the next logical step for a stutterer, of which he is, would be to do a podcast. Lucky you.  After all, they’re doing this for entertainment (albeit mostly theirs), but hopefully you’ll gain some information and not be too offended along the way.

Eric Hibbs

I was caught a bit off guard when I was asked for my “bio” but whatever. I’m human, male, Caucasian, six feet tall, need to lose 25 pounds…. wait, what? Biography? Not biology? Well that’s embarrassing.

I’m a hot rod guy. I’ve built a few, sold a few, have a few and want a million more. Although my tastes are typically towards traditional hot rods and customs, I also love functional pro touring. Key word, functional.

I have the world’s most amazing wife, eleven kids and two grandkids, two dogs, two cavaties and seven fillings.

Currently I’m working to finish a ’27 T roadster for my wife, have a ’50 Ford with a built flathead that doesn’t run worth a damn, a ’54 Chevy cabover that’ll soon be a Cummins powered ramp truck, and a ’31 Model A Sport Coupe that will go on deuce rails with a Y-block for power. Add to that a vintage camp trailer, a 19′ jet boat and other assorted toys and yeah, I’m a dryer in the wool car guy.

I’m truly flattered having been asked to join this merry band of misfits, as they all have something significant they’ve given to the hot rod world. I’m just some dude who plays with cars in his spare time at home and tells fart jokes. I like to think I “get it” though when it comes to hot rodding. That doesn’t put me on any different level than anyone else though, but my opinion on hot rod stuff seems to matter. To me.
I hope to bring humor (limited), knowledge (limited) and experience (limited) to the show. And interject fart jokes whenever possible.

Guest Bloggers

Meet our cast of regular contributors… Yeah, occasionally it surprises us just how talented our friends are.

Carson Lev

carson-levGrowing up in Southern California, Carson Lev was immersed in hot rod car culture at an early age. His friends and schoolmates were the children of race car owners, builders and drivers. His early teenage years were spent hanging out at Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s customizing shop and the studio of automotive artist Kenny Youngblood. Through the early influence of “Big Daddy” and “Blood”, a passion for hot rods, car design, illustration, pin-striping and lettering was nurtured and encouraged.

As his automotive passion grew, so did Carson’s foundation of friends and contacts in the Hot Rod Community, resulting in many life-long friendships. Through High School and College he continued to build hot rods, letter race cars, attend car shows and races of some kind nearly every weekend.

Graduating in 1977 from California State University at Long Beach, with a degree in Industrial Design, Carson pursued a career in Biomedical Product Development but still managed to stay active in the automotive field. His strong interest in car culture and Automotive Design resulted in his taking a break from the Medical Product Development field to work for Dick Cepek Off Road, as the Director of Product Development, Marketing and Advertising. He also began consulting on numerous automotive aftermarket projects.

Carson combined his interest in computer technology and design by founding Compression Engineering, an Advanced Product Development and Design Firm in 1994. Located in Orange County, California, projects were completed for Medical Product Manufacturers, and Automotive Design and Manufacturing clients utilizing state-of-the-art computer technologies. Suddenly, all the old friends in the Hot Rod community were becoming customers. An experimental project with Boyd’s Wheels and noted designer Chip Foose, led to a new computer based machining process to produce custom billet wheels. It also resulted in Chip and Carson becoming close friends.

Through Compression Engineering Carson began his first association with Mattel Inc., successfully completing projects for the Hot Wheels division. A deal was struck to bring Carson to Mattel, where he successfully served as Director of Engineering, Director of Design and ultimately Director of Hot Wheels Licensing, where he achieved first-year milestone sales in excess $4 million. As Director of Design Hot Wheels, Carson was responsible for the successful growth of the Hot Wheels Racing and Collector product lines, the creation of the Hot Wheels Licensed Automotive Program, the Hot Wheels Exhibit at the legendary Petersen Automotive Museum and the 35th Annual Hot Wheels Hall of Fame Event hosted by Jay Leno. Additionally, Carson managed the construction of the full scale Twin Mill and the Deora II, the only Hot Wheels toys to be turned into fully functioning full-scale vehicles.

Redphin Productions, LLC was created as the exclusive Licensing Firm for Foose Design, Inc. and since added Ivan “Ironman” Stewart, Chris Jacobs, Troy Ladd, Hollywood Hot Rods, Ryan Friedlinghaus and West Coast Customs to their expanding roster of clients. Lev’s unique combination of management experience and extensive real world, practical knowledge of the car
hobby give him a unique perspective on the current state of the licensing industry.

Carson has hosted and been a featured guest on numerous hot rod and automotive related television and radio programs. He was inducted into the Inaugural Class for the Die-cast Hall of Fame in 2008, and was recognized as a Distinguished Alumni by California State University Long Beach in 2011.

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