After Hours with Ric Savage

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While most of us have hobbies and pastimes that we enjoy in the precious free time we have outside of the 9 to 5, few can boast as interesting a collection of side projects as Ric Savage. His day job, if you can call it that, is as a spokesman and outside sales rep for Solid Start/True Brand. Savage has been in the industry for 19 years, having got his start as a Jiffy Lube store manager in Pennsylvania back in 1997. From there, he became an OSHA manager for Jiffy Lube before going on to run an independent chain in New Jersey called the Oil Well. A few other oil and lube and auto parts industry jobs followed before he landed his current gig with Solid Start/True Brand.

In the Ring

It’s what Savage does outside the industry that truly makes him an interesting character. Before he took that first Jiffy Lube job, Savage paid his bills with the money he earned as a professional wrestler. His stage name was “Heavy Metal” Ric Savage (his birth name is actually Frank Huguelet), and between 1991 and 1997, he performed in the ring using his signature chokeslam and spike piledriver moves to dispatch his opponents. Along the way, Savage won a number of championships, but after a variety of injuries, he decided it was time to hang up the singlet for good.

Digging Up History

As he settled into a more sedate and less violent stage of his career, Savage nevertheless managed to keep things interesting. Since he was about nine years old, Savage has been a relentless history buff. As he was beginning his first stint at Jiffy Lube, he also began moonlighting as a storyteller, performing live renditions of “Haunted Gettysburg” by Bob Wasel in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Savage’s love of history turned into a hobby of collecting historic artifacts, particularly those from the American Revolution, Civil War and World War II. Along the way he became an expert in recognizing fakes, which led him to create a website to help other collectors determine which historic finds were real and which were not. In 2007, Savage began writing a regular column in American Digger magazine called “The Savage Facts” that provided him another platform to share his wealth of knowledge.

An American Digger

The success of his magazine column and website, not to mention the leftover notoriety from his wrestling career, culminated in landing his own show on Spike TV. The show was called “American Digger,” though it was not affiliated with the magazine by that name, and debuted in 2012. “American Digger” followed Savage and a team of artifact recovery experts as they attempted to find lost artifacts and buried treasure.

Savage’s show was a success and was later renewed by Spike TV with the new name “Savage Family Diggers,” to reflect the fact that Savage’s wife, Rita, and sons, Giuseppe and Nick, joined him on the show. “Savage Family Diggers” was produced by Gurney Productions, which has had a hand in a variety of successful reality TV shows including “Duck Dynasty,” “American Guns,” “Hollywood Treasure” and certain episodes of Discovery’s ever-popular Shark Week.

Savage, with his larger than life personality, was undeniably the focus of “Savage Family Diggers.” In the show’s second season, which premiered in early 2013, the artifact hunters found themselves digging with actor Bill Paxton and Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Rickey Medlocke as well as embarking on a hunt for Blackbeard’s lost treasure. The show was not renewed for a third season, but Savage’s catch phrase “Boom Baby” continues to live on with his fans and on T-shirts.

The Savage-Turner Rock Express

Not surprisingly, Savage’s interests are not limited to just history and wrestling but extend to music, as well. (Remember his wrestling stage name “Heavy Metal” Ric Savage?) After “Savage Family Diggers” had run its course, Savage turned his attention to radio. He and partner Erik Turner of the ‘80s hair band Warrant (cherry pie anyone?) founded the Savage-Turner Rock Express radio show in 2013. The show debuted locally on a small AM radio station in Savage’s hometown of Sylva, North Carolina and streams online around the world. The Rock Express features Savage and Turner interviewing a number of special guests from a wide variety of backgrounds, as well as a solid mix of rock music from the ‘70s through today. Guests on the show have included former professional wrestler Matt Hardy; the aforementioned Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Rickey Medlocke; Ron Thal from Guns N Roses; Carmine Appice, drummer for Rod Stewart; among others and many, many more members of rock ‘n roll royalty. You can catch the Savage-Turner Rock Express Thursdays at 10p.m. EST.  

A Foray into Music

Not content to let the guests on his radio show have all the fun, Savage began making music himself. He recently recorded his own take on Steppenwolf’s classic “Born to be Wild” with Carmine Appice on drums and Tony Franklin (known for The Firm and for playing with Jimmy Page) on bass. The trio, along with some other friends, produced a music video that was recently released fulfilling one of Savage’s lifelong dreams.

All in a Day’s Work

As impressive as Savage’s laundry list of projects and accomplishments is, what truly makes it incredible is that through it all he has maintained his day job in the oil and lube and auto parts industry. On top of that, he hits the gym six days a week and has a side business dealing in historic artifacts.

When asked how he finds time for it all, Savage simply responded, “I just do it; I don’t have a life. If you look at my Facebook, it looks like I’m having a ball, but I work seven days a week.” He added humbly, “I’m just a jack of all trades but master of none.”

Looking Forward

Never one to settle into a rhythm or sit back on his laurels, Savage is continuing at his usually break-neck pace. He continues his story telling on the Haunted Gettysburg ghost tour, is planning on furthering his music career and has a new TV show project that’s slated to start filming this fall (the show’s subject matter remains a tightly held secret).

To say Savage is a busy man may be a bit of an understatement, but with all he’s got going on, he remains loyal to Solid Start/True Brand saying, “It’s a great product, and they’re great people. I’m going to stick with them as long as I can help and as long as they’ll have me.” 

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