We had the good fortune of connecting with Matt Grayson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Matt, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The thought process behind starting Rolling Heavy Magazine was actually one of accidental necessity. Yah see, up until October 24th 2011 I had been a working photographer here in Los Angeles. Arriving in L.A in 2006. fresh from the St. Louis area of Southern Illinois, I hit the ground running, working my ass off to develop my career and a client base as a photographer that could do nothing more than to pay the bills. Well, miraculously through hard work, self sacrifice and sheer luck, that’s exactly what was happening. I had been fortunate enough early on to get some side work photo assisting some legends in the photo industry like Don Miller and Bob D’Amico which afforded me the ability to reinvest in myself to help grow my career. Every check I would make sure to buy some piece of photo gear I needed for my kit, or fund growing the book and portfolio in some way. I was starting to get some smaller advertising jobs here and there as well as shooting editorial portraits and band promo stuff for actors, comedians, and bands, some of who I grew up watching or listening to. From everything I knew, this was the dream and I was living it. The bills were all paid on time and I had a savings for the first time in years. Well, that all came screeching to a halt on October 24th, 2011. I was riding my motorcycle home from a pre light in West Hollywood and as soon as I pulled onto Sunset I could tell it was one of those days where traffic was a crazy mess even for L.A. Everywhere traffic was at a crawl and drivers were cutting each other off left and right, like it was gonna do any good. Seeing all this I just took it easy and figured I’d get there when I get there. I made a left on Wilcox and was just moving with the flow of traffic, taking it safe and easy. As I was crossing Yucca, a driver in an SUV waiting to make a left couldn’t wait any longer and wasn’t looking for the guy on the motorcycle. He floored his gas pedal and plowed directly into me. Unfortunately I never lost consciousness and remember everything. Flying through the air, landing and rolling on the ground, seeing my left leg had been 98% severed at the shin, having to get myself to sit up, then reaching down and picking my own leg up off the ground and setting it on the sole of my boot and balancing so it wouldn’t tear the rest of the way off, yeah all that I remember. I remember The LAFD and how hard those guys worked to help me, telling them to take me to Cedars and not County cause I knew how bad it was and how the guy that hit me was just standing there on his phone with his back to me talking to his insurance company about his SUV. Yeah, pretty awesome, right? From what I learned in court, I actually died on the operating table when they were putting me back together. The orthopedic surgeon that night, saved my leg and my life. Needless to say this whole thing turned into a big court battle for years. Fortunate for me I am a creative and I needed something to do to keep me occupied, I couldn’t just sit there with my leg growing back on, watching TV, I needed something to do, a project. Having collected Easyriders Magazine from No.1 up into the 1980’s, I set out to read each and every one of those cover to cover, and that’s exactly what I did. After I finished reading those I got to thinking about what to do next. I knew I wasn’t riding again anytime soon, if ever. My 76 Chevy Van was what I was gonna be getting around in full time once I was able to get around again and I started thinking pretty heavy about that. Then the thought crossed my mind that no one ever did a van magazine in the style of Easyriders back in the day. Being stuck in bed with my phone and laptop, I started messing around with making a van magazine in that style. I didn’t really know what I was doing, just more messing around to give me something to do. Around that time, Instagram came on the scene, so I created an account just to give me another thing to do, That’s all it was for a little while, nothing more than just a thing to keep me busy. Then one day I remember I got a message out of the blue on Instagram from someone asking me if there was going to be a printed magazine and where they could get a copy. I don’t even remember what I was calling it back then, but that question got me thinking, maybe I should make one as art therapy, give it a purpose. That’s how Rolling Heavy Magazine was born. As just a project to keep me busy. As court drug on and I wasn’t able to work, needless to say, my savings dried up fast and I was living on a shoestring budget. The magazine paid for itself but by no means turned a profit, so I was able to keep doing it to keep me busy. We had gone through California Superior Court against ALLSTATE, the insurance company of the guy who hit me and the jury awarded me a settlement in the millions for the future medical I would need as well as for what had happened to me. Struggling, this gave me hope, things were going to be ok. My attorneys said it would take a little while to get the settlement and to do what I had to do to keep the bills paid for now. Sell off stuff you can buy again, whatever, not to worry, the money was coming. So I did, sold off most of my photo gear, all my bikes, furniture, most of my stuff. By this point in time, my photo clients had either switched careers or moved on and I was back at the bottom and broke. But for some reason this van magazine I started called Rolling Heavy Magazine was still supporting itself, so at least I had that. Some time had passed and I heard from my attorney that ALLSTATE was refusing to pay the settlement, so now we had to sue them for it. Flash forward to July of 2016 I get an email from my Attorneys informing me they had lost the case and best of luck. So there I was, broken and broke and I had to figure out what to do. The art project I had started out of necessity was the only thing I had that was doing anything, so I had to push it as hard as I could, So that’s what I did and I’m still doing it to this day. I actually just released Rolling Heavy Magazine #18 last week.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Rolling Heavy Magazine is a solid 56 pages of Custom Van content fully inspired by the Van and motorcycle publications of the 1960’s, 70’s and early 80’s. Going back to the days when N50-15 Bias Ply Tires pounded the streets and crazy custom paint jobs were laid on vans in guys back yards, this is our inspiration. Having just released Rolling Heavy Magazine #18 last week, we’re stronger than ever and can’t wait to see what the future holds as we continue to grow bigger and better thanks to all of readers and supporters.

You Guys N Gals are the best!!!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
You have a van to go see things. Point it any direction on the 5, 101, 405, 14, 210 or 93 and just go explore. See what you can find. Not having an agenda is what it’s all about. Make sure to tag #rollingheavymagazine on your social media posts so we can check it out too.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Huge Thanks to everyone out there who has supported Rolling Heavy Magazine over the years!!! Extra Big Thanks to everyone who was there through such a crazy time in life and still are. You guys know who you are, Can’t Thank You Enough!

Website: https://www.rollingheavymagazine.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rollingheavymagazine/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RollingHeavyMagazine/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/rollingheavymagazine

Image Credits
Rolling Heavy Magazine #18 Cover Art by Richard Taylor aka Boneyard Artillery

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