etnies TM Matt Chapman recently had some quality Q&A time with Brian Deegan. Read up as the man behind the Mulisha opens up about the industry, family life and... phobias.
So Brian, how long have you been on the etnies program?
I’ve been with etnies since 97, so geez, over 10 years!
When did you guys actually start the whole Metal Mulisha thing?
Metal Mulisha started around '97. But the clothing company probably started in '99.
And how’s that going?
Good, it’s one of the fastest growing action sports companies ‘cause it’s the real deal and kids know that we’re the best team out there and we’re the best group of riders. So we’re growing super fast.
How many riders are on the Mulisha team?
Over 20 riders. You know international and America.
Some people say you’re kind of like the father figure of the sport... how do you feel about that?
I think it’s great. I was the OG of the sport and was there to help pioneer it. I took a lot of chances to make it work and I’m pretty stoked to know that I’ll always be remembered as like, the Tony Hawk of skate… you know the guys who were like the true OGs. And that’s kind of the way... no one will ever take that away from me, ya know?
We were the first guys to start the sport and that’s one of the hugest things. That’s one of my biggest accomplishments.
Around 10 years ago when all this started, did you think that you’d be where you are... or the sport would be where it is today?
I always had visions of it being big, but not when it first started. When it first started I was just stoked to ride dirt bikes and get paid a little bit of money. Didn’t realize it would get this big, but it certainly did.
I’ve noticed recently that you’ve kind of changed a little bit and maybe just grown up a bit. Got older but, you know, starting out having the really bad boy image and now you’re more of the family man and business man.
Yeah, well we had to build the company to build the image. We had to start somewhere, and so that’s how Mulisha blew up, you know? Being the hardass, bad motherfuckers that backed it up on dirt bikes. I think we’re still that, but I had kids and I have to be a role model to represent to my kids… and I had to grow up. And to run a company, to blow up the company, to give back to the sport and all this stuff, I had to become responsible. To be a leader, you have to look upon leadership as a role model and stuff. I had to grow up, had to be a man, had to be a father and so I did it dude. But we’re still bad motherfuckers on dirt bikes that will pretty much back it up, you know?
Do you have any phobias? With riding or spiders is there anything that just irks you or bugs you?
I have phobias honestly of being on big ships you know?
Oh really? Like a cruise ship or something?
Yeah, I don’t even like being around them you know? Something about it. I always have nightmares of falling off of it and…
Like having a cruise ship leave you there?
No, like falling off next to the boat and looking up and it’s all gnarly looking.
Oh. What’s the gnarliest thing you’ve ever seen happen, like in real life? Moto or non, either way.
Well obviously Ackerman’s deal you know? That was probably the gnarliest thing ever. Chris Ackerman crashing and breaking his neck and having to give him CPR 'till the helicopter came. That was the gnarliest thing.
That’s definitely right up there. It was a bad scene. What’s the worst decision you think you’ve ever made in your life?
Having a business partner in Mulisha for sure.
What do you feel the best decision you ever made was?
Probably having kids.
Yeah, that’s a pretty cool deal.
Also going to church. At least I plan on going to heaven, you know? First and foremost best decision.
Do you feel that that pretty much turned your life around quite a bit? Do you think you were heading down a bad path or you were just kind of dicking around a lot?
I just think I was lost, with no direction, just looking for getting a thrill out of being a dickhead. And now I’m going to church and being a Christian you know? I’m not saying I’m on the perfect path and I’m the perfect guy now but it’s definitely given me a guideline. So at least I feel guilty about doing the things I used to do.
That’s cool. But it makes you feel a lot better.
Yeah definitely, I feel way better now. I have a kind of reason for being. Instead of just cruising around and just taking up oxygen.
With that, what would you say your main goal in life is?
The main goal in life is now to raise my kids right. Be a good role model. Be a good example, you know? Try to not live in sin basically. Which is really hard to do living in California.
It’s quite hard anywhere being an athlete in the spotlight. Traveling and being around a lot of bad people probably doesn’t help.
No, it’s hard. That’s the biggest challenge for sure.
What’s the worst and best advice you feel you’ve ever gotten?
Worst advice would probably be to do that backflip at Bam's.
Yeah, someone just saying, "Oh go for it. It’s TV." You just kind of wanted to not feel like you let anyone down. Everyone was there and…
Yeah, advice from probably the TV crew and myself. That’s not my shit man. And the best advice is probably like I said... trying to change my attitude and be a good person... be a better role model.
And who was that from, like your pastor or something?
Probably from the pastor telling me basically that the way I was living my life wasn’t beneficial to anyone and just to be a more positive person.
Yeah. A lot of kids are out there lost these days so hopefully they could use more people to look up to that are doing the right thing.
Best advice, probably from my chick that said, if you don’t quit partying I’m leaving. And taking the kids, so that was pretty good advice.
To be continued... for now enjoy this tour of Deegan's fat house.