I haven’t tried to be anybody that I’m not. People look at me and say, what’s a white guy doing with low riders? You just got to be you, work really hard and you have to figure out what you really want out of life and what you want, and just go for it. It’ll happen. You know, you may strike out a couple times, but you’ll eventually get there if you work hard enough at it. My name is Michael Grey. My dad was a police officer, and my mom worked in the grocery business. They’re both very hard workers. Yeah. My dad was a car guy. Growing up, I would say at least, once a year he would come home with something new, never a new car but new to us. You’re little, dad’s the hero.
So whatever dad’s into you’re into. I mean, this car’s a big piece of my family. We built this shop behind the house like a shrine to the car. I mean, this car will never leave my possession. I’ll have this thing forever. It’s a 1960 Impala, it was a nice car when I got it great driver, so wanted to take it to the next level. It didn’t have any suspension in it, it’s pretty much a stock car, but it’s in pretty good shape. So, took it to my friend John Kennedy at Bowtie Connection and we ripped the frame out, took it to Home Use they wrapped the frame.
And Big Frank did the hydraulics system in it. And it’s just the perfect car, it’s exactly the vision I had for it when we built it. Had it about seven years now I guess, and its been real good to me. I kept it pretty traditional, there’s a lot of different styles of low riders. You got the lifestyle guide with just incredible paint, just awesome cars. I wanted to built something really traditional. The engine’s all stock, just got a little bit of chrome on it.
Pinstriping, no murals or anything like that. Course in California you have to have Zenith wheels right, you have the whole Dayton, Zenith thing. But in the west coast, got to have Zenith. (hydraulics action) You saw the movie Mcfarland? That’s kind of like the town I grew up in, Durham, California, just a little bit about 20 miles out of Chico, and it’s a farming community. We had one gas station, one grocery store, one hardware store and just tons of farming. So, I spent my summers working in the orchards and the bean fields. What I did mostly was those big 20 foot sprinkler pipes, onto the next one. That’s what we did in the bean fields, it’s all muddy. And we’d change a whole field all the way across in the morning, go home, take a nap and then you’d come back and then you’d move them over again cause you had to move them two times, sometimes even three a day.
It’s a lot of work. I think it gave me a really strong work ethic. There’s a lot of work and the guys are counting on you. I mean you’re all moving pipe, if somebody’s slacking that’s not cool and they’ll call you out in a second and so you had to keep up with everyone and that was a lot of work and I knew I needed to get a good education and get a job that paid well. It taught me I didn’t want to do that the rest of my life. One day, one of the guys showed me his Polaroid, back then that was the thing right? You don’t have the phone but the Polaroid of this low rider that he had just finished building and it was incredible. So after work, went over and checked it out in his garage and I was just in aww. You know, someday I’m going to have one of those. But now I’m a high school kid not making much money and so we got Volkswagens. So me and a bunch of my friends, that was kind of the thing back then. You had the cow bugs and then you had the mini truckers.
Ever since high school, I’ve been tearing apart the cars and lowering them in the garage and kind of got into that. And never could afford an Impala or, the real cars but did that for years and then got to a point in my life where you can’t really go to school full-time and work and build cars. Anyone who builds cars knows there’s a strong financial commitment that goes along with that. I kind of put cars on the side, senior year of high school we had an accounting class. A lot of people were really struggling with it and I liked it, it was easy for me so I thought well this is it, this is what I can do.
I’m the chief financial officer for Caesar’s Palace. I’ve been in this role at Caesar’s for about eight years, I’ve been with the company around 23-24 years. Right away, I wanted to go to casinos, that’s always been an attraction for me. My grandpa was always a big gambler, he lived in LA and he’d always go to Vegas and come up to Reno and Tahoe and just kind of been in my family as well.
It’s a fun industry, everything that you can think of happens under a casino. You’ve got retail, you’ve got shows, you got gambling, you have awesome food and beverage, you got hotels. There’s just so much going on, and you get to meet some really cool people. My colleagues, they spend their Sundays at the country club playing golf which is fun, I like to play golf too but my passion is the low riders. Couple years ago I bumped into one of the colleagues at work, one of the presidents of the casino and I had my wife beater and my hat and I said “Hi!,” and she kind of looked at me weird she said “Hi,” and I said “Eileen, it’s Michael” she’s all “Woah! I didn’t even recognize you.” It was pretty funny, cause I don’t really fit the mold of my job but I’m me and I’m true to who I am.
Perfect day is to load the family up in a car, head down to the park. When you’re there with all your friends, your family’s there everyone’s barbecuing, sit and look at the cars go by. Everyone who’s into low riding, it’s very much an inclusive culture of “Hey come look at my car, come look what I did to it.” And we just love to share stories of each other, “Look at this part, I’ve been trying to find this forever. “I got it, put it on my car.” That’s what it’s all about. When you have a vision for a car, and you go get the rusty pile of crap that you start with and turn it into this beautiful work of art, there’s a lot of dedication there. You have to have a really clear version of what you want to do and the dedication to see it through and a lot of hard work to earn the money to make it happen.
I have a genuine passion for my job, so if you don’t have the genuine love and passion for what you do, you’re never going to be successful. It’s a dedication, you have to know what you want to do and go for it. My son tells me things that he wants to be, just crazy things and I said you can do it. Whatever you want to do, I mean, I believe that with every bone in my body. You just figure out what you want to do and make sure that’s what you really have passion for and really do want, you’ll get there. You just have to stay focused and make it happen. Nobody’s going to do it for you. Make sure that that’s something that’s going to make you happy. My name is Michael Grey, I’m the chief financial officer at Caesar’s Palace and I’m a low rider role model.