Monster Jam invades the Metrodome, destruction imminent
Courtesy of Nemer Fieger
In case you didn't know, I'm kind of an expert when it comes to machismo.
What's that? You've never heard of machismo? Allow me to hook you up:
Machismo - A display of extreme masculinity, typically found in dudes wearing leather vests, Biff from Back to the Future and monster truck drivers. (Author's note: I'm pretty sure that if Biff from Back to the Future drove a monster truck while wearing a leather vest, the world would implode from the sheer amount of machismo all in one place.)
This Saturday night, one of these three pillars of manliness will be on display at the Metrodome when MONSTER JAM rolls through Minneapolis, crushing the living Christ out of everything in its path.
Despite being a seriously macho gentleman, I can say that I've never actually experienced MONSTER JAM first-hand. That's why this week, I decided to talk with someone who knows what's up when it comes to wrecking shit, MONSTER JAM style, in preparation for this Saturday's face-crushing event: monster truck driver Tom Meents, legendary driver of the monster truck MAXIMUM DESTRUCTION. Let's get hard.
So Tom, as someone who has never been to a MONSTER JAM event, maybe you can tell me a little bit about why it's so popular. It's the smashing, isn't it?
Tom Meents: That's part of it. I think it's just the size of the trucks, the power they produce and that they have the ability to crush anything in their path.
Sweet. So how did you become a monster truck driver?
TM: Well, when I was in high school I remember putting bigger and bigger tires on my truck, and then I got into mud racing, and from there I got into monster trucks. I knew really early on that it's something that I wanted to do and I just didn't stop until I did it. I had a dream and I rode it all the way to the top.
Now, your truck is called MAXIMUM DESTRUCTION. That's a hot name. Did you come up with that yourself?
TM: Yeah, for the most part the drivers get to choose the names. Like Grave Digger, for example, got its name because that's what it does to anything in its path - digs its grave and buries it. My truck is called MAXIMUM DESTRUCTION because it just fits what happens when I get out there. I like to destroy stuff and that's exactly what I'm going to do when I'm driving.
Aside from driving MAXIMUM DESTRUCTION, I understand you used to drive a truck named after the pro wrestler, "Goldberg." Is that right?
TM: That's right. Back in the early 2000's when he was really big we had a sponsored truck modeled after the wrestler.
So hypothetically speaking, what would it take for me to get a monster truck named after myself?
TM: If you had the money for it and you could pay to maintain it, you could totally have that.
Wait, are you serious? What if I wanted it to be named after someone else, like Mark Paul Gosselar?
TM: Absolutely. You just have to have the money to back it, or get someone to sponsor it for you.
(Author's note: I officially have a new life goal. If you would like to sponsor the Mark Paul Gosselar monster truck, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's DO THIS.)
Getting back to the smashing for a second, what's the craziest thing you've ever crushed in your truck?
TM: Back in 2006 I crushed my house with MAXIMUM DESTRUCTION. Another time -
Hold up. Did you just say you crushed YOUR OWN HOUSE with your monster truck?
TM: Yeah. I got a new house and wasn't quite sure what to do with old one, so I thought to myself, "Well, MAXIMUM DESTRUCTION got me the new house - and I am all about MAXIMUM DESTRUCTION - so I drove my truck through the old one. You can still find it on YouTube.
(Of course I went back and YouTube'd it. This is crazy-tight.)
That's amazing. OK, so let's talk about the groupie situation for a second. What's the action like out on the road?
TM: I have a special someone at home so I don't really think about all that, but we definitely get a lot of attention in public, and it's getting bigger all the time. These days I get noticed walking through the airport or out to eat. It's crazy, man.
This Saturday night, you and MAXIMUM DESTRUCTION are rolling into town for MONSTER JAM. Why do you think people should come out to the show?
TM: Well first, it's affordable. Second, it's really family-friendly. We have a big Pit Party beforehand where you can get autographs and everything, so it's really cool to be able to meet the drivers. And last it's an event that everyone can enjoy together.
That's all good, but what about the DESTRUCTION?
TM: Oh yeah, don't worry about that. Last time I was in Minnesota I had a really bad night. My truck had some problems and broke before I could really get going, so I'm coming back to pay the fans back and clear my name.
You mean by smashing a bunch of stuff, right?
TM: For sure.
Want more macho face-smashing action? Follow me on Twitter and I'll drop some serious MAXIMUM DESTRUCTION this Saturday night. Twitter-style: www.twitter.com/patrickstrait
Sat., Jan. 23, 7:30 p.m.
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