Many discovered Chopper Dave (last name is Freston) when they saw him on TV in one episode of the Discovery Channel Motorcycle Mania documentary which chronicled Jesse James’ everyday professional life. In one episode he was featured riding to Sturgis with Jesse. Giuseppe Roncen and Indian Larry and Dave will tell you that this trip changed his life.
As a matter of fact Dave got professionally involved with motorcycles well before his TV appearance. Around 1989, working first running the parts department then being a motorcycle mechanic at Vic’s Custom Cycles in the San Fernando Valley , CA. It’s where he acquired a passion for vintage Harleys, rebuilding several times his own daily ride (a 1951 Panhead), then in 1990 went to MMI Arizona to enrich his old bikes knowledge. He will return to Vic’s Custom Cycles to work on all Harley engine families, from Flatheads to Evos.
After the memorable trip to Sturgis, Dave went to work at West Coast Choppers where during 4 years he helped Jesse James build high end custom bikes. During this time he also built two versions of his own Panhead and a rigid frame Evo powered flat track bike. There he also learned how to make his own cast aluminum parts, his new passion. In October 2005 Dave started his own shop – Chopper Dave Casting Co. – where he specializes in sand cast aluminum parts and continue to build bikes with a preference for models from the pre WW2 era. Not very well known is that he is also a photographer enjoying shooting pretty girls on sexy bikes (or sexy girls on pretty bikes) always in industrial settings. Like his motorcycle creations, he is very loud when denouncing what he considers the Chopper Business BS. He hates talking about himself but didn’t avoid any of my questions… (all pics copyrighted)
Cyril. Who were your childhood heroes? Chopper Dave. Evel Knievel
Cyril. What was your 1st vehicle? Chopper Dave. Skateboard.
Cyril. If you were not working in the motorcycle industry, what would you do? Chopper Dave. Taking pictures of naked girls, oh wait, I’m already doing that… I’d like to be doing vintage aircraft restoration stuff.
Cyril. What is your favorite way to relax? Chopper Dave. Submarine Movies, and Japanese food, not in that order.
Cyril. What is the last music you downloaded in your iPod? Chopper Dave. Bison BC – Dark Ages and Wino – Punctuated Equilibrium
Cyril. What are you afraid of? Chopper Dave. Forgetting what really matters. And big trucks running me over on the 405.
Cyril. What is the person you would love to meet? Chopper Dave. Howard Hughes, ok he’s dead. So probably Larry Flynt. I’ve met some AMAZING people over the past few years, I’m lucky.
Cyril. Which film made you cry? Chopper Dave. The Pacific, that series on HBO, wow, that is some heavy stuff. We are all lesser men than the ones who fought for our freedom during WWII. And I mean no disrespect to the guys who are fighting for our country now with that statement.
Cyril. Do you have any tattoos or piercings? Chopper Dave. 175 hours-ish of tattoos, “Tattoos are a stupid hobby for stupid people” – Scott Silvia
Cyril. Name five things you hate. Chopper Dave. 1- The post office losing my stuff. 2- Broccoli. 3- Forgetting having a model sign a model release. 4- Sleep Apnea. 5- The fact that bacon is bad for me.
Cyril. What is your best life achievement? Chopper Dave. Not sure if I have done it yet, possibly just being lucky enough to do what I love.
Cyril. What do you miss most at home when you are on the road? Chopper Dave. My GF and just the fact that since it’s just me, I just fall behind and I am constantly playing catch up.
Cyril. What was the last book you read? Chopper Dave. Currently reading the graphic novel the Watchmen and the last one I finished was Scorpion Down: Sunk by the Soviets, Buried by the Pentagon: The Untold Story of the USS Scorpion. Fascinating stuff.
Cyril. Do you have any guilty pleasures? Chopper Dave. Ramen, real Japanese ramen.
Cyril. Do you collect anything? Chopper Dave. Bardahl stuff and vintage motorcycle speed parts.
Cyril. What was your worst buy? Chopper Dave. Not sure, lots of stuff I’ve bought I shouldn’t have!
Cyril. How do you take your coffee? Chopper Dave. I don’t, I hate coffee. I’m an ice tea guy.
Cyril. What was the most embarrassing thing you have ever made? Chopper Dave. A fool of myself? I seem to do that on a regular basis.
Cyril. What is the best thing you can cook? Chopper Dave. I make a KICK ASS Jambalaya!
Cyril. When was the time you were really angry? Chopper Dave. Not sure honestly, it’s been a while since I was really mad…
Cyril. What is your perfect weekend when you are at home? Chopper Dave. Sleeping in. I don’t get to do it enough.
Cyril. What is your preferred rally? Chopper Dave. Right now it’s the Brooklyn Invitational. Those guys fucking rule.
Cyril. What is the worst question a journalist asked you? Chopper Dave. “Why do you like motorcycles?”