NEW PORT RICHEY — Chad Land was surrounded by hundreds of bikers in Sturgis, South Dakota.
It was sometime in 2012 and Land, better known as “Torch,” had yet to appear on reality television or acquire sponsors for the traveling show he calls Rock ‘n’ Roll Inferno.
Everything was set. The bikers were buzzing with anticipation and Land got ready to show them some shooting flames.
Despite the countless previous times he had breathed fire for audiences, something went wrong. The flames were supposed to burst 25 feet into the air.
Instead, his face caught fire.
Land, 38, threw back his spiked mohawk — it’s braided in the back — and uncorked a laugh that could drown out a revving Harley-Davidson.
“If you’re going to set your face on fire, it’s cool that at least you’re eating it while you’re doing it,” he said. “I’ve done it a few times. I didn’t get burned bad, but it looked like I had a blistered sunburn down my face.”
An Indiana native, Land, 38, is a heavily-tattooed biker who has a long-held fascination with flames.