Paul Teutul Sr. is the President and CEO of Orange County Choppers, which he formed in 1999. He was introduced to the world of reality TV in 2002 with “American Chopper”, which aired for many years on Discovery Channel and later on TLC. Paul returns to TV with this latest show “Orange County Choppers”, which premieres on CMT on November 16th. The show has him continuing to do what he does best…making bikes. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Paul about his new show and his love for what he does.
Mike Gencarelli: How does “Orange County Choppers” differ from “American Chopper”?
Paul Teutul Sr.: One word. Freedom.
MG: Tell us about this freedom with working with CMT this time around on “Orange County Choppers”?
PT: What the cool part is that when the station decided to take us on they wanted this to show who we are and for us to do what we do. They didn’t ask us to fill this certain format or change this or that. They told us to build some cool bikes and just go crazy.
MG: What are some highlights that we can expect from this season?
PT: First of all, I think you are going to see a different style of bikes, not major but I want to go more basic this time. Even though we do themed bikes, I want the bikes to actually look like bikes, not crazy but still cool looking. I think some of the bikes we did in the past stopped looking like actually bikes…
MG: Well some people want over the top and people want old school, I understand that…
PT: Absolutely and there is a balance there. I think for me personally, I just want to build some really cool bikes and I want some more hands-on work.
MG: You have been on TV for over a decade now, what do you enjoy most about reality TV?
PT: I enjoy it most because it IS reality TV. You come into work in the morning and you do pretty much exactly what you would do whether the team is there or not. I think if it was scripted it would have been gone a long time ago. I tell people it is like a form of discipline also since when you are filming you have to make certain commitments. I think that this is good and it helps discipline yourself. I am 64 years old, so I can pretty much come and go as much as I want. But I love the shop and I love building bikes, so I will always do that regardless whether the filming crew is here or not. There was though about a six month gap from when we stopped with Discovery and started filming with CMT, so we came to work and it just felt different. It was like “Where did everyone go?”.
MG: You weren’t the only ones going through withdrawal Paul! We were all there with you man!
PT: Oh yeah! You know what is funny we have been on Twitter and everyone just seems so excited to see the show. They are like junkies, they need their fix! [laughs]
MG: What is your favorite activity related to owning OCC?
PT: Hmm…that is a great question Mike. I guess there are multiple answers to that. I guess it is honestly the freedom to being able to do whatever you really want to do. It is a business but it is also an opportunity to reach out to people and do good things and that is very important to me to be able to do those kind of things.
MG: Now for the opposite, I have ask what is your least favorite activity related to owning OCC?
PT: Paying the bills…[laughs]
MG: You are a business owners for sure, I would have said payroll myself!
PT: Well, it is all part of it. [laughs]
MG: What was your all time favorite build?
PT: It has to be the POW/MIA bike. That was my favorite.
MG: Yeah, that was a great bike!
MG: What do you like to do most when you are not on camera?
PT: I’ll tell you what my life is…building bikes, riding bikes, fishing and working out. [laughs] That is it!
MG: You got into to this business to build choppers, do you get to do what motivated you as much as you would like? Or is it just a business now?
PT: You know what Mike, around the shop here it is a little difficult. But I have a shop at home and I build at least three choppers a year out of my home shop. But I build the kind of bikes that I would want. I build the regular David Mann, 60’s/70’s-type choppers that are streched out with springer foot ends. That is what I do all winter, I build bikes.
MG: If you could have one thing that you don’t have now, what would that be?
PT: Wow, these are some good tough questions Mike! [laughs] You know I am a big car collector and I am always on the look out to buy another car. I have some of the Vette 01Z and the Camaro ZL1 and stuff like that. I am not a Ferrai or Lamborgini guy. I am not sure…but it will definitely be a car. I have to admit, I am very blessed I got a lot more in life that I ever expected. So I don’t have a lot of needs.