"Fuel Family Profile" is a new section of EFI. This section will be a more in-depth, get-to-know-you-better type of interview. In this issue of EFI, we step into the mind of Gary Craddock.
Now, that is 4-wheeling!!!
VF: OK, let's just get it over with. Any relation to country music singer Billy "Crash" Craddock? If not, how many "Billy Crash Craddock" jokes did you endure growing up?
GC: Funny you ask that. My nickname happens to be Crash. I've been called that since I was 11 or 12. If there is any relation it's probably pretty distant, but then again, if he is worth tons of cash I can be related for the right price. I have endured jokes over the years but everyone assumes I'm called "Crash" because of the way I drive and not because of the country music singer. I used to own one of his tape cassettes but it has since mysteriously disappeared.
VF: OK, are they correct? Have you wrecked a lot? How many crashes? Or ya just drive too fast?
GC: No not at all. I have only been in one accident and it was not my fault. I don't drive fast...it's just that everyone else just drives really slow.
VF: So, Gary, tell us a little about yourself. Where you are from? What you do? Things like that.
GC: I was born in Alexandria, Va. I am currently employed in a heating and air conditioning company in Washington, D.C. I was born on May 5, 1968. It wasn't until I asked my parents many years later why their anniversary didn't quite add up to my birthdate. Ultimately, I was the reason why they got married in the first place. So, does this make me a bastard?
This is what Gary works on
VF: Not in the FUEL family! So, does having a Cinco de Mayo birthday have advantages?
GC: I get all the free coronas I can drink.
VF: Tell us when you first became a Metallica fan?
GC: It was when I was still in high school. A friend of mine had made me a copy of the B-side of "Kill 'Em All" when it came out and I have been hooked ever since.
VF: What was it about the "Kill 'Em All" album that got you hooked?
GC: It had to be the raw sound and energy that I could feel in the music.
VF: Who was your favorite band at the time you "discovered" Metallica?
GC: Up until that time I was really heavy into Judas Priest.
VF: OK, so we know that you're a slave to metal. But every metal-head has a secret favorite song by a hair-metal band. I'll admit it. I turn up the radio when I hear Motley Crue's "Dr. Feelgood" or Skid Row's "18 and Life". So how about it Gary? What's your favorite hair-metal band song? And, no you can't be Mr. Studly and say anything by Lita Ford! [Asst. Ed: For any Fueler reading this who is too young to know who Lita Ford is — enjoy your youth, and, oh yeah, Bite Me!]
GC: Favorite hair-metal band song or songs — in no particular order: Skid Row, Motley Crue, Poison (are they metal????), Dokken, Stryper, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister.
VF: What was your first-ever concert experience?
GC: Black Sabbath
VF: Black Sabbath! Mad cool! Tell us more. How old were you? Where was it? What did you think?
GC: It's been so long — all I can remember was Ozzy singing and Tony on guitar. I think, and one bad-ass drum solo!
VF: First Metallica concert?
GC: "Master of Puppets" album when the boys opened for Ozzy during the Ultimate Sin tour. I think it was in Baltimore but my memory is a little fuzzy when I have to think what I did 20-plus years ago.
VF: How many Metallica concerts have you been to?
GC: Hard to say; I did not start keeping my ticket stubs up until about five years ago. My best guess is about 15.
1st Fillmore Show (May 2003)
(from left to right) Pat, Gina, Andy, John and Gary
VF: Craziest thing that ever happened to you at a concert?
GC: I was at the Philly show in July 2003. I was among a couple of fellow Fuelers when we stumbled upon the mayor's (or was it the governor's) glass enclosed booth inside the stadium and grabbed a few cookies out of that deal. It was a really nice setup. We just couldn't convince them to let us stay.
VF: Have you met any of the 4-Horsemen? (former Metallica members and present?) Tell us about the experience(s):
GC: It was after the fact when I finally was able to meet Jason Newsted at Ozzfest in 2003. What they say is true — he takes care of his fans. I had an additional request that I had asked of him and he gladly obliged.
(from left to right) Joie, Gary, Jeanette and Jason Newsted
VF: Who are your favorite bands other than Metallica?
GC: Way too many to list.
VF: Any other backstage experiences with other bands?
GC: A few - most of the bands that I have hung out backstage with have been local bands and many are friends of mine. There is one but I can't really call it hanging out backstage. I saw Anthrax at a local club called Jaxx in Springfield, Va. The deal was you buy the "We've Come For You All" CD and they hang out after the show to autograph it for you, get a few pictures and some small talk.
VF: Tell us 3 things that you think Fuelers do not know about you.
GC: I'm stubborn. I don't like to let grass grow under my feet. I lost my virginity to a barmaid.
VF: A barmaid? Care to elaborate?
VF: Did she like Metallica?
GC: Metallica who? She didn't even speak English.
VF: Do you collect anything Metallica-related?
GC: Books, audio, video, bobbleheads, picks, posters.
Gina, Gary and Joie at the "Fade to Yack" Jam
VF: Best/favorite bobblehead you own? How did you get into collected them?
GC: James is the bobblehead king. My brother gave them to me. That's how I got into collecting them.
VF: Tell us your other hobbies/collections.
GC: My hobbies are a little amateur astronomy, some computer gaming and NASCAR collectibles. Mostly from my favorite driver, Dale Jarrett.
VF: What is the best/favorite thing about astronomy?
GC: It's dark, quiet and lets me do my Zen thing.
VF: Explain your "Zen thing" to the novices? Are you a really spiritual kind of guy? Meditator?
GC: My "Zen" thing is what I do to relax. When looking through the telescope at the heavens, I realize that I am nothing but a grain of sand in the beach of life. I am spiritual, but not religious. Meditation for me — it's more like daydreaming.
VF: Favorite sport to watch? Play? Brag about?
GC: Football. I would love to play football again but the older you get the longer it takes to heal. Brag? How can you possibly brag about the Washington Redskins?
VF: What magazines do you read? Are you reading a book right now? Which one?
GC: The magazines I read are Oilheat, gotta keep up with the HVAC industry. Muscle Mustang and Fast Fords. Reading about all the stuff I can never afford to have done to my car. Playboy. Yes, I read the articles. I can tell you Miss May is 34 DD, 5-foot-4 100 lbs., loves dogs, etc. I am currently reading Taltos by Anne Rice; Lives of the Mayfair Witches
VF: Favorite movie this year?
GC: Revenge of the Sith
VF: If you were offered a job at Metallica HQ (or in the band) what would you be doing or what instrument would you be playing?
GC: If I was offered a job at HQ, I would be carrying around Lars' gold plated pooper scooper. If I was in the band I would play the kazoo. You just don't hear any good kazoo in metal bands anymore.
VF: If you were offered your dream job, what would it be?
GC: My dream job is not to have one!
VF: Favorite all-time Metallica member? And Why?
GC: Newsted, because I can relate to him. I have been an outsider and been the brunt of many practical jokes and have never really been accepted as an equal.
VF: Who are these mean people playing jokes on you Gary? We want to hunt them down and hurt them?
GC: No need to know who they are. I have an elite mercenary task force assigned to that mission. When captured I will read them Vogon poetry!
VF: Favorite Metallica song and album and why?
GC: Song: Wherever I May Roam. The song came out while I was in the United States Navy and during my six years traveling the world. No matter what country I was in, when I laid my head down; that was home for me.
VF: Favorite snack food?
GC: Does beer count as a snack food?
VF: I see in your Fuel bio that your Rhodesian Ridgeback is named Betty Boop? C'mon there HAS to be a story with that?
GC: Not much of a story about my dog. My best friend gave her to me when I was on vacation in Minnesota. My dog is named after my best friend's mother because she was a real stick of dynamite. That was back in 1992, and Miss Boop still sleeps at my side to this very day.
VF: What is the Woodbridge Senior High mascot? And what was the craziest thing you ever did in high school?
GC: If we had a mascot, I haven't got the foggiest idea what it is. The craziest thing I did was take Home Economics as a course. Sure all the guys ragged on me for learning how to sew and cook, but you know what; I never once complained about being the only guy in a class with 30 girls.
VF: Your bio says that your favorite subject was chemistry? Please explain! Most folks fear that class. Tell us about your chemistry teacher.
GC: I had one awesome teacher. She never had anything negative to say. She always was very helping and understanding. I did better with the flash cards for the periodic table of elements than I did with flash cards for multiplication. I love to know how things are made and how to blow them up. If you love explosives you need chemistry!!
VF: Please explain to the novices what HVAC is and what a normal workday includes?
GC: Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning = HVAC. There is no such thing as a normal work day.
VF: Are you able to listen to music at work? Who are you listening to right now? Who's on your "Hot list"?
GC: I would listen to music at work whether I was allowed or not. Right now, I'm listening to Sonata Arctica, Nightwish, Witchmaster, Devil Driver and Antigone Rising.
Gary hard at work
VF: Again, your Fuel bio has great info. What was your favorite thing to cook when you worked at the now-defunct Italian restaurant, Manny Moons?
GC: My favorite thing to cook was a steak and cheese sub. I normally didn't do much cooking in the beginning. I ate more of the other cook's mistakes then anything else. Other than that I experimented with pizza dough to see how long it would stick to the bricks at the side of the restaurant after closing.
VF: Ever serve or cook for anyone famous?
GC: Not that I am aware of.
VF: How do you go from being an Italian cook to a 13-year career in HVAC?
GC: Let me get everyone up to speed on this one. I started out as a lowly busboy cleaning tables, washing dishes, pots, pans, kitchen prep, making pizzas; then a short time cooking before I joined the United States Navy as a Boiler Technician, which is a direct and easy transition into HVAC.
VF: How did you get hooked on cars? I know it's a guy thing, but what's the appeal for you?
GC: I'm not sure how I got hooked but the appeal for me is that if something is wrong I can diagnose the problem and fix it. If it's a woman then all bets are off. I can figure out a car not a woman.
VF: Dream car?
GC: F1 Mclaren
VF: Daisy Duke or the Invisible Woman? And WHY?
GC: Is this a question about which dream woman I would prefer? Neither. No Daisy Duke because I would have to spend the rest of my life trying to keep every other man off of her. And, no Invisible Woman because there is not a woman on this planet who is invisible.
VF: OK, you're only a few years younger than the dudes in Metallica. Do you think you'll stop going to concerts first, or will they retire first?
GC: If they ever come out with a "best of" CD, I'm not going to associate myself with them. They'll retire before I stop going to concerts, unless that CD comes out.
VF: Did the Metallica vs. Napster thing piss you off? Why?
GC: No. It's a double-edged sword; you want to earn the money you deserve for creating something but you also want to get your music out to as many people as you can. I know some friends that once they hear a burned copy of some music that they go and buy it anyway.
VF: What's in your car stereo/CD player right now? Home stereo/CD player?
GC: My iPod is plugged into my car stereo, and all the CDs I own are in my home stereo.
VF: What does being a member of FUEL mean to you?
GC: It means being part of a family.
VF: Who is your hero, or heroes?
GC: My hero will be the one that helps me find me soul-mate.
VF: Where do you get your inspiration?
GC: I get my inspiration from motivation. Once someone or something motivates me, then I become inspired.
VF: If you could interview any one person alive, who would it be and what would your first five questions to him or her?
GC: I would interview myself. The questions that I would ask are probably no different than what most people ask themselves everyday: Who am I? What is my purpose? Why am I here? Where am I going? When will I know the answers?
VF: If you could interview anyone who ever lived (throughout time); who would it be and what would your first question be?
GC: I would interview Eve and my first question would be....Why did you take the apple? He was charming, yes...but he was really just a snake.
VF: OK Gary, you shook up the VA FUEL listserve this summer with the girlfriend question "Harder to get, or harder to keep?" What did you learn from Fuelers' responses?
GC: The response to my question has been overwhelming. It seems that this is something that I must learn for myself. The answers have been 50/50 split right down the middle — coming from married, single, dating and divorced individuals.
VF: Anything you'd like to say about the young lady? Still dating her?
GC: Yes....I am waiting, wondering what's next because "There are no reclining chairs here in limbo." (To the D.L., thanks for the quote)