We bring back to you an exclusive Mike Vallely interview with switchmagazine.com having insights on many of his personal and professional life events. Read on where he talks about some of the Mike Vallely fights which made him very famous, his net worth, his association with Black Flag and his love for skateboarding.
by: Aaron Frobase
Feb 15th 04 – One of Mike Vallely’s oldest talks
Mike Vallely “Enduring”
switch: Was tonight’s demo work or fun?
Mike Vallely: I don’t think I ever look at it as work. I think I bring a work ethic to what I do, you know, go in and take care of business. But those are just slogans or sayings, at the end of the day this is fun for me. I thrive on this, this is play, this is necessary for me.
switch: What’s the longest you have ever been out because of an injury?
Mike Vallely: I was out for about a year and a half. I broke my collarbone, tore the muscle in my shoulder 3/4’s of the way through and tore a ligament half way through. The problem that I had was I kept trying too come back to early and I kept rebreaking the collarbone and re-taring muscle. It was about a year and a half that I was out and It has affected my skating up until this moment. I feel like I was skating the best I had ever skated in my life when that happened. It was like ’95-’96. I don’t have the same pop I used to have and I can’t ollie as good. It really set me back. You don’t realize how much you use your upper body.
switch: Do you ever hurt that shoulder when your wrestling?
Mike Vallely: It’s good now. I haven’t had any problems in a quite a long of time. I try not to fall on that shoulder when I’m wrestling. Mostly when your wrestling you take a back bump, you try and distribute your weight. Falling in wrestling is a lot easier than falling in skating.
switch: What do you think about the whole skateboarding community getting involved in your wrestling?
Mike Vallely: Some people have been really mean to me about it, but for the most part everyone thought it was cool. I don’t want to rub it into anyones face. It’s just something I had the opportunity to do and I did it. I’m sort of done with it. Some people think I’m going to have a career in wrestling. I’m not. It was a childhood dream and I got to live it out.
switch: What kind of people were giving you problems?
Mike Vallely: People that consider themselves so hardcore. I get a lot of grief because I’m such an easy target. I have sponsors that people don’t agree with like Oakley and Hurley, I do the wrestling thing and I’m very opinionated and outspoken. I get a lot of hate mail and death threats all the time.
switch: Oakley and Hurley take care of you don’t they?
Mike Vallely: They take care of me and they are putting money into skateboarding. I would not be supporting them if I did not feel they had something to offer the skate community.
switch: Were you upset when Transit didn’t work out?
Mike Vallely: I was upset but I kind went into it knowing it would fail. I really didn’t have any options at the time. I had to leave Powell, I had no choice I had to get the hell out of there. No one else wanted to work with me, people thought that my time had come and gone. But that’s a pattern. People keep telling me my time has come and gone and I find some way to survive. It was a bad deal. The worst part was that I brought friends into it. The spirit of the thing (Transit) was the right thing and that spirit is still intact. Everything we said in our ad and everything we were trying to be about we are still individually about.
switch: Skateboarding is kinda like a soap opera…
Mike Vallely: I think it is a soap opera, and I have played a major part of that soap opera for many years. But the one thing I would hope comes shining right though all the bull#%@* is that I have given back to skateboarding and I care about skateboarding. That’s the only thing that I want anyone to realize about what I’m doing. It’s just about giving back, I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t care about it. Skateboarding has been so giving to me. Coming here and skating tonight hoping that somehow just through my skating I can inspire and empower young people to do their own thing and be their own person. That’s the bottom line for me.
switch: It’s kinda like Black Label reaches out to a generation of skaters that the industry has forgot about, by being on Black Label do you feel like you support that.
Mike Vallely: The thing about Black Label is that it is completely John Lucero’s deal. He has hand selected these people. They are on the team for a reason and that is because they are individuals. Being an individual is really what skateboarding is all about. And so Black Label has a true skateboard team. I don’t care what you say about the riders, what they can or can’t do. None of that is relevant to me. What is relevant to me is that these guys are true skateboarders, Black Label is a true skateboard team. As far as being friends we don’t hang out together.
We all live in different places, but when we all come together, we are all on the same page. We all believe in the same thing and we all support each other. This is mutual respect.