When I set out to get an interview with FMX ripper Beau Bamburg, I figured it would just be the standard kind of Q&A where we just talk about what he's been up to lately and what he has planned for the future... but I was wrong. Somewhere along the way we took a detour for the better. While talking about his lack of marketability, he mentioned that he's really amped to be sponsored by Fender guitars. This sponsor drop turned into a conversation of its own and I quickly found out that I don't know Beau as much I thought I had. Read the interview below to find out just how just rad Mr. Bamburg is on and off the bike.
First off, let me tell you that I suck at giving interviews.
Well I suck at giving them, so it'll probably turn out sweet.
[laughs] Nice. Let's get right into this. For those who don't know, what happened to you at X Games?
Well, I went out for my first run, and I crashed just doing something stupid. I just got done doing like four cordova flips off this once certain jump in practice and I don't know what happened really I went to do a cordova flip off one of the dirt jumps and I kicked my hand off or something. When I went to go through the bars, my left hand came off somehow and just got detached from the bike and I fell to the ground and broke my leg, the tibial plateau of my right leg and my wrist on the left arm.
As I was falling away from my bike in the air, I was like "What the hell just happened, I was feeling so good before this."
-- Beau Bamburg
What's the tibial plateau? Is that the top of your lower leg?
Yeah. Basically what happened is my femur came down and smashed into my tibial plateau and it kind of split it down the middle.
Dang man, that's gnarly. So, you came into X Games riding really good after watching you in practice I could tell that you had been putting in some work. Did you come into X Games 15 ready to do some damage?
Yeah, it's funny because I kind of took the month before off I had a bunch of shows planned and I just put them on the back burner and decided that for one time in my life I'd stay home before X Games and practice. I did a bunch of work to my course got a good dirt jump built everything was sweet and I was feeling really good. It's weird because I was feeling better than I've ever felt going into X Games and it was a huge surprise to me, like as I was falling away from my bike in the air, I was like "What the hell just happened, I was feeling so good before this."
What a bummer. Another bummer at X was not seeing you in Biggest Whip. I mean everyone knows that you've got one of the sickest whips around... what happened?
I just wasn't invited. Basically, when I first found out I was doing X Games I was told that I'd be in Biggest Whip and Freestyle, but I think that was before James Stewart had officially announced that he wanted to be a part of it. So, once he did tell X Games that he wanted to ride Biggest Whip, I'm sure he had a little priority over me. [laughs] I don't know why, I guess he's pretty good at racing or something. [laughs] But I'd love to be a part of it man. I told Paul Taublieb over a hundred times, "Man, you gotta get me in this thing next year." I tried to do a couple good whips in Freestyle practice so that people knew I could still throw it sideways, so hopefully I can get in next year and I think I can give Potter a run for his money, for sure!
I'm not trying to be Mad Mike [Jones] or anything, but I think can be around for a couple more years at least and still be relevant in the sport.
-- Beau Bamburg
For sure you can! So since your unfortunate get-off at X Games, you've just been healing up right?
Yeah man, I'm just healing you know – just getting ready to make a run at it again. My next event will be the Dew Tour in Orlando. I'm kind of one of the older guys now I'm 31 and I still feel great. My body's in great shape and I've been fortunate enough to not hurt anything too bad to where it's affecting me just little things here and there. This is actually the worst crash I've had is several years, so this is the first thing that's kept me off the bike in a long time.
But yeah, I'm feeling good man, I'm not trying to be Mad Mike [Jones] or anything, but I think can be around for a couple more years at least and still be relevant in the sport.
So, you're obviously a ripper and one of the sport's best why do you think you haven't got as big of a name as say Nate Adams or Jeremy "Twitch" Stenberg?
I don't know man, I'm pretty much un-marketable. [laughs] I don't know why, but I think it's because there's no media outlets and photographers up here in Oregon. But yeah, I have a hell of a time finding sponsors. Like you said, I've been one of the top guys in the sport for a long time and I always do well at the contests and there's guys I finish ahead of that have big energy drink deals and all kinds of crazy sponsors, but for some reason I have a really hard time getting help from people.
Is it because you're thinning hair? [laughs]
[laughs] It might be.
Well, you're a handsome dude so I'm sure it's not your looks... [laughs]
Well, I have a couple really cool sponsors like Fender guitars. I'm pretty proud of that, that's one of my career highlights for sure!
How long have you been sponsored by Fender?
Well, I started working with them in 2003, but I got officially sponsored by them in '05. I started running the stickers and since then I've really become a part of the whole deal. I have an artist profile on their website you know... like it's pretty f---king amazing to have a picture of me playing a guitar like right next to Eric Clapton's profile and Stevie Ray Vaughn you know? It's pretty unreal to get hooked up with a company that I've looked up to ever since I knew what a guitar was, just because I ride motorcycles you know? As it turned out, I just happened to play guitar too and I happened to be playing guitar at X Games one year at the Fender booth they had set up and I just started talking to the guy and he ended up being the main dude to deal with at Fender and it just kind of worked out from there. He was like "Yeah, we're looking to sponsor some athletes" and I'm like "Right here! Here I am, right here!"
[laughs] Damn man, you must've impressed him with your guitar skills.
I don't know if it was that or he just liked my riding... I can play a little bit you know... I'm not too bad I guess.
I have an artist profile on Fender's website... lke it's pretty freakin' amazing to have a picture of me playing a guitar like right next to Eric Clapton's profile and Stevie Ray Vaughn you know?
-- Beau Bamburg
Yeah right, you're probably being modest. What's the deal with the guitar lately? It seems like nearly every professional rider is all about playing it lately.
Honestly, I think the thing that got everyone else hooked on it was Guitar Hero. Like Adam Jones, Mike Mason and those guys were all about Guitar Hero when it came out and I always thought it was crap because I've been playing a guitars since I was a kid you know. But I think that game has revolutionized an entire musical instrument industry. Like I was talking to a guy from Fender and he said that a year after Guitar Hero came out, they had a record year of guitar sales and then once people found out that real guitars are hard to play, they had a record number of returns. [laughs]
So who do you think is the best guitar player out of all the FMX dudes that play it?
After me you mean? [laughs] I don't know, Adam Jones is picking it up really good he's been learning a lot and he learns really fast. He's only been playing for a couple years and he's come a long way man. I'd say it's me, him and then Mason. Mike's still learning...
What about Derek Garland?
Yeah, I've played with Garland a little bit he's pretty damn good too! There's actually a bunch of guys. Me, Mike and Adam talk about getting a band together all the time and just maybe play in bars here and there in the different cities we're at riding just like maybe go and have a jam sesh or something.
Dude, that would be so rad. You should just find out what events you guys will be riding and then book a show at a bar in advance. That would be so sick.
I would love to man. Because I play the national anthem at a lot of events before I ride like I've done it at the Dew Tour and I'll actually be doing it at the upcoming Dew Tour in Orlando. I do a lot of MMA fights around the Portland area. Like Randy Couture has an organization called Sportfight and I play the anthem before all their deals.
Wait, wait, wait. Hold up. So you're telling me that you get up there and rock the national anthem on the guitar in front of all those people? Does anyone sing or is it just you?
It's just me. I play the guitar like Hendrix style, you know. Like just do the national anthem all the way through on the guitar.
Damn dude, so you WERE being really modest. [laughs]
I play the national anthem at a lot of events before I ride like I've done it at the Dew Tour and I'll actually be doing it at the upcoming Dew Tour in Orlando.
-- Beau Bamburg
Well, I've been playing for a really long time, so you know. I'm not trying to be a dick or anything, but Fender must've saw something in me you know... you have to be able to play to be sponsored by those guys.
I'm really amazed right now. Do you write songs or just play existing songs?
I mostly just play other things. Like I've written songs here and there, but I never have the time to dedicate to writing music. There are a lot of times I have a buddy who has a band and they have a CD and out and everything and he'll come over and we'll just jam and we'll kind of make up a song and we'll be like "Damnit! Why weren't we recording that?" So it's possible to write an entire song, but it's not something that I'm really trying to do at the moment.
So, if Mike Mason, Adam Jones and you were to play as a cover band at a bar, what band would you cover?
Oh, with those guys it'd have to be Metallica that's all they play. [laughs] I swear, when those guys have a guitar in their hands, it's a Metallica session all the way. It's like a marathon. I don't know though man, if I was lead guitar in the band, there would have to be some Van Halen in there. Yeah, so I don't know we'd probably do some Van Halen covers, some Metallica covers and maybe a little Zeppelin. But the problem with us is that none of us can sing, so we'd need to find a good singer.
Well, Nate Adams can rap for you.
[laughs] Naw, we're rockers buddy, through and through!