Saturday, April 20, 2024 Apr 20, 2024
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A Few Words From Aaron Kaufman About His Beard and Being the Boss

Shifting gears indeed.
Elizabeth Lavin

Aaron Kaufman’s new show, Shifting Gears, debuted on the Discovery Channel last night. Having spent some time watching Fast N’ Loud, I was most interested to see how the new effort differed from the old. I think the intro to the show, where Kaufman drives the streets of Dallas at night, sets the tone. It’s a much slower, moodier, more contemplative show than FNL. One gearhead I know says he likes it a lot. There’s more mechanical stuff for him to take in, less of the bluster from FNL. I’d add that Kaufman could benefit from some coaching on his voiceover work. It feels stilted to my ear. All in all, though, good first episode.

Just because, here’s some more stuff Kaufman told me that I couldn’t fit into the story I wrote for our March issue:

Kaufman on being a boss: “I’m having a very hard time being the money guy. Which, quite frankly, there’s never enough of. It’s always problematic. There’s never enough money. No matter what the deal is. So being the money guy, being the boss, being the people manager, overseeing digital media content, what we’re producing, how we cut this thing, how long the bandsaw blades are, how long we make the control arm, what the shock ratios are — there are a lot of hats to wear. This is by far the hardest job I’ve had. None of the jobs that I have themselves are that hard. However, all of them together are absolutely crushing. You do what you do. You do the only thing you know how to do. You take one step, then another and another, and if you’re trying your hardest to get it right, then maybe we’ll get somewhere.”

Kaufman on Richard Rawlings: “I think he exists in an area that I think he shouldn’t. I think he has a lot of talents that he doesn’t utilize. I think he tries to exist in a place that he’s not built for. I think Richard knows how to party. He loves to party. You think it’s silly, but tell me it’s not a multi-billion-dollar industry, right? He’s in the wrong end of it. He’s the consumer instead of the purveyor. Richard loves to party. He knows how to throw a party. He loves high fashion. Some of it I question, but there again, it ain’t my style. It’s his, right?”

Kaufman on why he never watched FNL: “In five years, where I was with Fast N’ Loud, we produced 100 episodes, 81 cars. And of those 81 cars, I’ll discount three as being not big builds, just knock them out. Nothing exciting. In that time frame, I watched three episodes total. I watched our very first episode. This is something I’ve never done before. I don’t know anything about this. I watched the very first episode. Then when I went to Pike’s Peak, and a friend of mine was very excited about the deal and wanted to have a party. So we had a party of a thousand, and I watched episodes one and two, the first time I took the Falcon to Pike’s Peak. Those are the three episodes. Why is that? What if I don’t agree with how the show’s put together? I have no control over it, right? What if I don’t like it? How hard is going to work when you hate your boss, you hate your job, and you hate the product, right? It’s very difficult. If I don’t know what the product is, and I’m responsible for coming to work and putting cars together, I can do that endlessly. So if I don’t know what the product looks like, and everyone seems to be responding well to it, I’ll just keep doing what I do.”

Kaufman on not shaving his beard: “It’s definitely become an identifying trait. I had a beard when we started filming Fast N’ Loud, not that there was a planned thing. I’d grow a beard, shave, grow a beard, shave. I’ve never been like this. Had a beard, didn’t have a beard, it was always in flux. The deal is, we started, and finally, I said, ‘I’m gonna shave.’ And they said, ‘Well, you can’t shave.’ And I said, ‘That won’t work. I don’t deal well with apostrophe ‘t’s.” I said, “Let’s clear this up real easy. If you’re cool, I’ll be cool. If you say ‘can’t,’ the first thing I’m gonna do is shave it off right here. I’m gonna go to the drug store, and I’ll be right back, and y’all can film and come. Y’all can watch it on FaceTime. So if you wanna say, ‘Thanks for wearing the beard, Aaron. We’d love it if you’d keep it. Do you mind just hanging in there with us?’ Then yeah, sure, doesn’t matter to me one way or the other.”

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