Mike V. On His New Band Revolution Mother
Over the last twenty years the name Mike Vallely has come to be associated with an ever-expanding palette of disparate but oddly complementary activities and ideas. Much more than just an explosive, unpredictable skateboarder, Vallely is also a spoken word artist, vocalist, brutal brawler, and most recently— acclaimed television personality (Drive on FuelTV). Married fifteen years and a father of two daughters, Vallely’s never slowed down. Imbued with a sense of limitless freedom and a love of responsibility he attempts to live his life as a creative and energetic role model to thousands of skateboarders. So, of course, this summer—in true Mike V fashion—in addition to skating on the Warped Tour, he’s playing two sets per day with his new band Revolution Mother. We caught up with him in between tour stops to see how things have been shaping up on the road and in his head.—Arlie Carstens
You’ve recently put out a new album with the band you front—Revolution Mother.
This is our first full-length release and really the first recording I’ve been a part of that I feel stands up on its own and will stand the test of time.
How long have you been playing together and what are a few of the goals you and your bandmates have set for yourselves?
Well, this band grew out of a previous project I was doing called Mike V & The Rats. That band sort of ran its course, but my partner, guitarist and fellow songwriter Jason Hampton and I continued to move forward together. Our only real goals are to pursue this thing to the fullest.
The band at times has been referred to as “thrash metal and “Southern boogie rock, however, how would you personally characterize the band’s sound?
I’d say we’re a punk band in spirit. There’s definitely a lot of heavy rock and metal influence in what we’re doing. I don’t know where the whole Southern thing comes from. I mean, we love Lynyrd Skynyrd, but I’d say our sound is aggressive, intense, passionate, and direct.
Collectively, what are the band’s greatest shared influences?
Black Flag and Black Sabbath are probably the two bands that make this band possible. But we also love Motörhead, AC/DC, Danzig, Skynyrd, Zeppelin, and Minor Threat.
What are a few highlights and lowlights of being on this year’s Warped Tour?
No lowlights. All positive out here, and that’s just a matter of perspective. We’re the only band out here playing two sets a day, plus I’m skating every day as well. It’s been a blast.
What’s it like performing onstage and skating in the tour each day? Do you get roughly the same experience from each, or does skating fulfill one need and the band another?
Well, generally speaking, both activities come from the same place for me, the same well of inspiration. I don’t really have much choice in the matter; this is what I was born to do and what keeps me interested in life.
Do the Warped Tour audiences respond differently to these sides of you?
People watch the band and dig it, but ask me when I’m gonna skate. That’s cool, I’m down and I don’t know that it will ever change, but I’d like to think the music is so powerful and kicks your ass so hard that you forget that I skate.
Have you seen the finished This Is My Element product?
I’ve seen most of it. I have a hard time staying focused during skate videos.
What are your thoughts on it—and specifically, your part in it?
Well, I think we have the best, most diverse team in skateboarding, and the video is a testament to that. My part leaves much to be desired, but between Drive on Fuel and the band, I just didn’t have the time this time around to dedicate to filming a real part. It’ll happen at some point, though.
How much focus do you place on putting together a video part these days? Where does it fit in between performances, demoos, travel life, autograph sessions, Drive, and family commitments?
I haven’t attempted to film a real video part since 1988. “Video parts are just something I’ve never really valued as a pro skater. I’m much more about the miles and kicking it live, but like I said, I do plan on getting at a traditional video part some time in the near future.
Over the years, is there anything funny or surprising that you’ve learned from juggling professional skateboarding and family life?
No. It’s just a real balance and it takes great patience, understanding, and maturity to pull it off. Luckily, I’ve had a supportive wife for the past fifteen years to walk me through it.
What do you see as being the next step in the evolution of Mike Vallely? Are there any other interests on the horizon that you’d like to charge into? Or are you—as of right now—busy and contented with where life’s taking you?
I’m living every moment. The past is gone; the future doesn’t interest me. I’m right here, right now, and living it to the fullest.