Skater/Rocker Mike Vallely: ‘No One Puts It All on the Line Like I Do’
Mike Vallely — who you may know as Mike V. — has got it made, really. He’s a pro skater, a rock ‘n’ roller and he’s the architect of the Glory Bound Skatepark Tour this summer. He was stuntman in ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop,’ and he had a cameo in ‘The Hangover. His band, Revolution Mother, had a song on the soundtrack. He also sang for Black Flag at the reunion shows in 2003, performing the ‘My War’ album from cover to cover.
But he’s hardly living a charmed life. He worked hard to get where he is, so we polled him about his upcoming, Glory Bound Skatepark Tour, his skating career and his movie good luck. The GBST kicks off July 18 and hits 24 cities before ceasing on Aug. 18, mixing skate competition, entertainment and fan participation. There are premium tickets with mentoring session that will allow a limited number of fans to join Mike V. on his tour bus and gain access to the skating legend for a half hour of bonding and discussion. There are other contests and prizes; finalists for the best trick session are being rewarded the opportunity to skate with Mike V. that day. A professional DJ/emcee will be on hand to provide a soundtrack of hardcore punk, heavy metal and hard rock to keep adrenaline coursing through the veins of the skaters and attendees.
The Glory Bound Skatepark Tour sounds like tons of fun. Can you talk about some of the fan participation? I assume you have lots of tour insurance since fans will be partaking in some of the ‘skatefoolery.‘
I’m definitely excited about adding the premium ticketing to this tour and giving fans who are able and willing to spend the extra coin a great experience. The opportunity to come and hang out on the bus for a half hour, ask questions and take photos is something I’m glad to do for my fans.
But really I plan on giving everyone who comes out to these performances a great experience. It’s about being consistent — it’s an all-out approach to touring and performing. And although I’m insured, I’ve found that if you put it out there in the right way, it tends to come back to you in the right way. So I don’t foresee any issues at all. It’s gonna be fun.
Can you draw some parallels between life as a skate and life as a band dude. Best part of each? How they differ most? How they are most similar?
Well, creatively they are very much alike; I absolutely have to and must pursue both regardless of doing either professionally. I’ve had some mild success with my music and it’s been fun, but obviously as a skater, I have a much larger audience that is tuned into what I’m doing. The best part about skating compared to being in a band or doing almost anything else is that it is entirely an individual pursuit; it’s just you and your board.
Being in a band is a collaborative effort which can be great when it goes well, but it can also be a drag when it doesn’t.
Is there going to be a ‘Paul Blart II,’ and can you talk a bit about being on that set? Any behind the scenes stuff, since that movie was such an unexpected breakaway hit?
I haven’t heard anything about a ‘Paul Blart II.’ I had a great time working on that movie for sure. I was there for the entire production, and I felt that I played an integral role in the movie on camera and off in some ways, and that is a good feeling. Kevin James is a great guy and a lot of fun to be around. Having a shopping mall to ourselves for two months could have gotten old, but it seems like we always found some way to make it a new and fun experience. There were always physical challenges of some sort going down on the set inside the mall, and I can tell you that Kevin James is quite the athlete.
And you had a role in ‘The Hangover,’ another huge hit comedy. You have an agent with good movie connections?
No, I don’t have an agent, never have had one. Just some friends in high places I guess. I know Todd Phillips, the director of ‘The Hangover,’ and I’m also friends with the stunt coordinator on the film, Darrin Prescott. One thing lead to another and I got a small cameo in the movie and my band Revolution Mother got a song on the soundtrack. Pretty sweet deal really.
Why do you think a fan should spend the coin on the skate park tour this summer, given these trying economic times?
I could use these trying economic times as an excuse not to tour, as an excuse not to pursue things that I value, but it’s precisely because I value them that I pursue them. I’ve always given my all every step of the way, and my fans know that. Skaters know that, and they know that when they come out to see me, it’s gonna be full on. Add Duane Peters, Bill Danforth, Kristian Svitak, Ben Raybourn and Cyril Jackson to the bill, and they get five generations of balls-to-the-wall skateboarding. No one has ever assembled a crew like this before; no one puts it all on the line like I do, and no one values their fans like I do. From the ‘locals only’ contest we host at each stop, to the premium ticketing fan experience, to the actual performance — no one is going to be walking away bummed out they spent money on the Glory Bound Skatepark Tour. I can guarantee you that.