Monday Conversation:  Blake Wharton

Monday Conversation: Blake Wharton

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Most often Monday Conversations are interviews with a race winner or racer who has made some kind of headline. But in the off-season, things are a little different, and Monday Conversations sometimes turn into just that – a conversation – instead of the traditional interview. This week’s Monday Convo with Blake Wharton fits into the conversational category. Enjoy.

Racer X: Hey, Blake. I supposed I could ask you how testing is going and how much you’re liking the bike…
Blake Wharton: Blah blah blah blah blah.

Right! So let’s talk about something else. What’d you do during the off-season?
I worked on some music and made a demo CD with a few friends. It’s not completely done right now, but it’s close. Then we’ll be able to go record it in a studio eventually and we’ll have a CD. Music is something that I’ve been doing more and more. I actually just got a new 12-string Taylor guitar, it’s awesome. I play music as much as I can. I’ve been in California lately and there’s been a lot of testing with the new bikes and supercross and everything, but I still try to play as much music as I can while I’m out there. I have an acoustic right by my bed. If I’ve had a long day I’ll go strum some chords and try to write a song or something. When you get in the swing of things, it becomes harder to devote your time to music. The off-season is always the best time to take advantage of something, and for me it’s been music this past year.

So are you a racer that happens to play music, or a musician that happens to race motorcycles?
You know, that’s a good question. It depends who you ask, and it depends on how your season goes! I guess it depends how good the music is, too. Music is something that I’d do even if nobody were to hear it because I enjoy it. But at the end of the day you like to think that the music you and your friends have created is good, and that other people would like it the same as you do. When you create a song, it’s something that you’ve made, and it’s a part of you. You watched it come together, and if someone likes it, it’s awesome. It’s different than motocross, but in some ways it’s not that much different. Instruments are neat, and it takes a long time to get really good with them. I’d like to take more time to learn how to play guitar from someone who can teach me. I’d like to do that, but right now, in the time where I’m at, you have to do one thing and have everything else, like music, on the side.

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Wharton returns to Rockstar Energy Racing for his second season.
Carlos Aguirre photo

Do you have anywhere where fans can go to listen to your music?
I’d like to say yes, and I’ve got some videos up, but until I get this CD done I don’t have anywhere right now. Hopefully when the CD gets done we’ll talk about it and I’ll have a place where people can go. But right now I don’t know what direction it’s going to go. I’d like to do music one day and play shows and tour a little bit, but that’s a lot and it’s something that… I don’t know, it’s just an idea. I think if you can race professional motocross and supercross, you can pretty much do anything right?

I have no idea. I don’t have the skills to race professionally. I can kind of pull wheelies…
Well, okay then, that’s a skill right there!

If someone were to listen to your music, would they be able to liken your music to any other musicians? In other words, would they be able to tell where your inspiration comes from?
I don’t know. That’s like naming your own nickname; you just can’t do it. It has to be given. As far as what I think my music is like, maybe it is like someone and I just don’t know it yet, or maybe it’s not like someone. That’s really up to the listener to decide. But I don’t think you can really make music without having some kind of influence at some point. You begin to like music because you listen to music, and you acquire a style or taste and continue in that. And whether you like it or not, your songs will probably sound a little bit like who you listen to. When you get older you realize there’s more good groups and styles of music, whether it’s rock, alternative, Christian, worship music, country, really anything. You can’t deny a good song when you hear it. As far as my music, I’d like to think that it’s original; that’s the ultimate goal.

As far as musicians, I’ve always liked Chris Cornell and the stuff that he’s done with Audioslave and Soundgarden, as well as his solo stuff. I’ve seen him one time. It was after supercross in 2009 he had an acoustic show on Sunday so I had to go see him. There’s so much music out there that you can find what you like, and if you can’t, then make it!

As far as broadening tastes, I can relate to that with dirt bikes. When I was a little younger, all I wanted to do was ride on motocross tracks, but now I really enjoy riding in the desert or a nice long trail ride or something.
Yeah. When I was younger I had never played an instrument or tried to write songs or anything. But when you do it you realize how difficult it is. You start to see those things that you never saw before. When you’re a kid, you look at racing and you don’t really know what is all involved. You don’t know how much time it took to get there or what kind of decisions you had to make on the way. You show up to a supercross race for the first time and you’re watching it, and you don’t know what it took for the racers to get there. It’s the same thing with music. You pop in a CD in the truck, and you don’t the work that’s behind it.

Let’s switch gears here. How’s your Christmas shopping going?
I’ve ordered some stuff off the internet and that’s it. Driving home today, the roads are crazy! I think everyone waits until the last weekend. I don’t think anyone has done any Christmas shopping until today when I’m trying to get home on the freeway. It’s crazy! I saw people on TV fighting over toys and stuff. It’s ridiculous! But it’s Christmas and I like it.

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Wharton is expected to race the 250SX East Region in 2013.
Carlos Aguirre photo

I guess we’d better do at least one motocross related question…
Ok.

How’s testing going and how are you liking the bike?
Oh I’m so shocked that you asked me that! But truthfully, it’s going good! It’s similar to each year in the sense that you change things, learn and try to improve. You like to think that the bike you’re on and the team you’re with is going in a good direction, and for me, it’s going in a really good direction. With supercross coming up, I’m very confident and I’m going to do my thing and leave it all on the track.

Are you racing the East or West Coast?
I’m planning on the East right now, but that can change pretty quickly, unfortunately. But if it goes according to plan, Dallas will be the first race for me, and that’s kind of a home track; I live in Texas and I’m close to Dallas.

Well good luck with the upcoming season, and thanks for your time.
No problem.

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