Mike v is a man of contrasts. There are those who would call him a hypocrite. I view him as a beardly figure brimming with nuance and harsh truths about the human condition. Also, bonelesses. Truly he is a man of our times, but as it ever was, the measure of a man is made not in X-Games or even the wrestling ring, but rather in that penultimate court of American accomplishment, the box office.
Last weekend, you see, Mike V met and introduced himself to the U.S. public, or at least those unlucky few who haven’t seen his Fuel TV series or his numerous biographical documentaries or his poems. As one of the chief villains in the new retail-themed thriller “Mall Cop,” our Vallely is garnering passing mentions, if not rave reviews, in the national press. To wit:
Finally there’s champion skateboarder and musician (in the band Revolution Mother) Mike Vallely, who plays the criminal ringleader, Rudolph.
“They had to find the most bad-ass skateboarders on the planet,” says Vallely, a voracious reader and father of two who wears his blond hair long and scraggly. “I was at the top of that list.”
Vallely has the biggest action sequence of the bunch, battling James throughout the mall. In what he describes as an undoubtedly riveting climax, Rudolph will leap from floor to floor as he chases Paul Blart. Then, in a never-before-done skating move, he’ll jump on – and break into – a moving elevator.
“It’s a whole new challenge,” Vallely says. “I’m not just skateboarding. I play a character that is somewhat integral. This is the first time I feel, as athletes, we’ve really been taken in.”
Somebody’s been taken in for sure, as the Blart-star vehicle hoisted an estimated $40 million over the three-day weekend, putting it in the number one box-office spot.
But the tidings of Vallely’s Hollywood success is of course no news to those of us in the skateboarding sphere, who gladly cheer the multifaceted Mike V as he flexes his pecs in the squared circle, gets his nose cracked open on the hockey rink, recites verses at the poetry slam, snarls through his beard at the Warp Tour, or pushes over and over and over in that Black Label video. Cuz it’s not the destinaton. It’s the journey.
“I just had water, anger and a destination. It’s just how I am,” Vallely says.
Equally transfixing are Vallely’s intellectual travels, transitioning through vegetarianism, straight-edgeism, and non-violence over the years. (Yes, non-violence.) He hews closely to the punk purism of local scenes and staying true to skating’s roots, whatever those may be, while fervently embracing mega-corporate sponsors. He remains fiercely loyal to his sponsors of the moment and wastes no time in spewing poison upon those who dare to cross him.
To this end there’s actually a really good interview in the new Transworld (2-09) where Mackenzie Eisenhour kind of gets Mike V to admit he wants to have his beating-people-up cake and eat it too.
TWS: You repudiated violence after the “Greatest Hits” DVD. (re: fighting “Creature Lee” at Van’s Downtown Showdown last year)
MV: In a broader sense, I have spoken out of both sides of my mouth…. “Greatest Hits” was definitely the capitalist pig in me [laughs]. After the craze of “CKY” and “Jackass”, I saw an opportunity in the marketplace to package that stuff and that’s something I can understand someone disagreeing with.
There’s a lot more, it’s a pretty good interview in terms of putting the harder questions to Vallely as far as his perceived jock nature, whether he ever considers learning new tricks, how he’d be a great cop and that hoary old cliche “skateboarding saved my life.” Also there are two photos of bonelesses.