When ChopCult readers get their greasy hands on any new magazine, most of the sweat and tears that were shed during its production are literally and figuratively water under the bridge. The cycle that comprises the life of a DIY publisher is relentless, and myriad milestones and misfortunes can and usually do occur from every issue's concept to reality. Why a lone man might pursue such an endeavor is a case study in clinical madness. One such lunatic is Guy Bolton: founder, editor, publisher, graphic designer, accounts manager and janitor at Greasy Kulture magazine.
Guy founded Greasy Kulture magazine in 2007, nearly eight years after he started his blog. His 'zine-sized coffee-table-quality bike book found an audience instantly. Well over six thousand chopper fanatics invested in GKM in its first year, no easy feat for an English title dedicated to a niche subculture. If DicE is the modern scene's style guide, Greasy Kulture is its history book. Guy explains:
“I always love hearing about where people found old parts, and who originally manufactured them. I try to discover what influences went into a build. Was it seeing those old Corman biker flicks? Was the owner’s old man a 1%er? I’m fascinated by every aspect of traditional chopper culture: how it evolved, and where it’s heading."
Every thoughtfully written GKM feature is illustrated with great photos and packaged with clean design to deliver Guy's message of man and traditionally-styled machine without flash or filigree.
I pushed this bikebuilder, publisher and dedicated family man for more insight into the inner workings of his hectic world. To anyone not accustomed to the rigors of self-employment, Guy's seemingly glamorous life as a media mogul might shock you with its banality and bluntness:
"I photograph bikes, write features, do the layouts, interview owners, deal with advertisers and retailers, argue with printers, shout at postal workers and couriers, pack boxes and visit the post office daily. When that's over I design stickers and caps, muddle through the accounts, fix the computer, talk to customers, travel to events at home and overseas, top up stock on envelopes and parcel tape, negotiate with freelance designers and photographers, update the blog, beg the bank for a bigger overdraft and still find time to ride and fix the bike, walk the dog, drink beer, raise two kids and have a relationship with the missus. You need to be determined, driven, awkward and motorcycle-mad to make this work."
Any beancounter who crunches the numbers on Greasy Kulture's cover price, circulation and estimated ad revenues can see Guy's master plan is no get-rich-quick scheme. Like his publishing contemporaries Dean and Matt at DicE and Chris Callen at Cycle Source, Guy's GKM is a labor of love, one that he lives 24 hours a day. For gentlemen like Guy, crisp photos and sharply written manuscripts are their own best rewards, and readers like you and me are all the better for it.
Greasy Kulture at a glance:
Home town: London, England
First Japanese bike on the cover: Haven't had one yet, but I live in hope
First British bike on the cover: Issue #1, Buzz's Triumph
First Sportster on the cover: Nate's Miss Piggy XLCH, issue #7
Dedicated supporters and staff: Good people like Johnny Routledge, Jeff Baer, Mochi, Irish Rich and my brother Adam have contributed some great features over the years, purely for the love of the mag. Advertisers like Biltwell and Lowbrow Customs have supported the magazine from the beginning. We wouldn’t still be going without them
Greasy Kulture online