[Ed. note: The following interview contains mature subject matter.]
Known for his fearless riding style, troublemaking antics and rock star persona, Colin 'Scummy' Morrison turned a lot of heads and made a big impact during the height of his hot and cold career. But as we've seen time and time again, Scummy eventually succumbed to the temptations that come along with the infamous lifestyle, leading him down the path of no return.
Now back on the bike after completely disappearing from the scene for nearly five years, Scummy has returned with a new lease on life, a grocery list of ambitious goals, and a newfound love for the simple things in life.
ESPN: Scummy, what's going on man? It seems like you've been making a huge comeback, pushing to get back into the scene. What's up?
Morrison: Well, right now I pretty much just got my entire life straightened out. Just being in the Metal Mulisha and being in this sport just really took its toll on me. Pretty much everything just came to me -- the girls, the drugs, everything. I'm one of the innovators and I've been in this sport since day one and you know, I'm the kind of guy that doesn't know how to shut it down, party-wise. I was going big on my dirt bike and with the partying -- that was me and I was living the Motley Crue lifestyle.
But now I'm over 40 days sober and I'm really taking the whole sobriety thing really serious and bottom line, I'm 28-years-old and I don't want to be known as that guy that parties and messes up, you know? I feel like I have so many great sponsors right now and so many opportunities that I can take advantage of. I just want to be clean and sober and show people that if Scummy can change his life around, anyone can. I just wanna be a good role model and kind of just change my whole outlook because I want kids to look up to me. I've noticed that since I've cleaned my act up, so many opportunities have fallen on my lap and so I've got a lot of good things in the works.
Man, you know what? For me there's way too many crazy stories to even talk about -- there really is, so let's just keep it at that. Bottom line is, Motley Crue? They ain't got nothing on me.
-- Colin Morrison
Obviously you disappeared for a long while. When do you think you experienced the height of your freestyle career?
I was never into freestlyle -- I mean I was, but I was never the kind of guy that's like "Oh dude, I'm going to get top five in this event." It was always about putting a show on, being punk rock and having fun -- it didn't matter if I came in dead last. So I'd say the height of my career is just when I was going big on my bike. I've had a couple big jumps in my life -- I'd say a pretty big one was when I did the train jump. It was fifth gear wide open and nobody has ever hit that jump since I did it. So, just that and being noticed for going big and hitting jumps that nobody else will, and that's what I want to be known as right now. Everyone's doing freestyle, but I like doing my own thing and not following the grain in any which way. I don't want to be a freestyler and follow what everyone else is doing, I want to be an originator and just do my own thing.
Back when you were "big" in the scene, were you making a lot of money? Like back in the 'Twitch and Scummy" days?
Yeah, I was making a lot of money and we were just having fun, like just raging out and traveling. And maybe I should've saved some money, but with the name recognition I have, I've always done pretty good. I can market myself really good and dude, I've stayed busy since I've pretty much been in this sport. It's crazy, but I've never really had a slow moment. Maybe there were a couple slow moments when I was in that dark hole, but luckily I've always had great sponsors to back me up.
So you obviously rocked it in your hey day -- do you have any specific moments that you look back on and think to yourself, "Jesus, what the hell was I thinking?"
Man, you know what? For me there's way too many crazy stories to even talk about -- there really is, so let's just keep it at that. Bottom line is, Motley Crue? They ain't got nothing on me. Breaking down hotel rooms, screwing things up -- people would trip out if I began telling stories -- I don't even know where to start on that one.
When do you feel that you started to slip out of the limelight?
Maybe like a couple years ago, but it's not like I was smoking crystal meth and shooting up heroin or anything like that. It was nothing like that, just smoking a little weed, taking a couple vicodin. But now I've realized that I don't need that stuff man. I can get over the pain, I'm a strong dude. I have a lot of issues in my life where my head's not like anyone else's. I've got a lot of messed up things going on in my head -- a lot of crazy things -- and for me, smoking a little weed, taking a few pills and drinking just took all that stuff away. But I've discovered that's not the way to live your life, you know? I have to attack my problems and conquer them full force. By drinking and taking drugs, it just makes you a weak person and I'm stronger than that. Since getting sober I feel like I've got a clear head to figure out my problems and I'm cleaning everything up. I just want people to know that I've got my s--t together and I aint' going nowhere in this sport -- I'll tell you that right now.
So, was there a turning point where you realized that you had to clean your act up before it was too late?
Well, pretty much, I did the whole sobriety thing for me. Every other time I tried to get clean it was because I had an intervention with the Mulisha guys or an intervention with my parents ... but I never wanted to get clean for myself. I was always trying to stay clean for my friends, but I never really wanted it. But this time I realized that I needed to do it for myself and ever since I've had that mentality, it's been working. I wake up every single morning and go to an AA class, and it's good to see I'm not the only person living like this. There are a lot people out there that have addiction problems, no matter what it is.
Back when you were rocking it super hard, where were you living and what were you doing on a day-to-day basis? Because you kind of just disappeared from the FMX scene.
You know, I was always riding my bike and making sponsors pumped, but I was pretty much just eating vicodin and smoking weed. Then I'd go out a lot and when I would start drinking, I was the center of attention -- I was just like a sparkplug in the club. Nobody would mess with me because they knew I was going big and I just turned into a crazy person pretty much.
Were you in Los Angeles during all of this?
No, I was living in my dad's house, but then he kicked me out because I was crashing trucks and got a couple DUI's. So he kicked me out and then I moved to the cabin north of LA, which I'm sure a lot of people know about -- it's a very famous spot in the "Twitch and Scummy" movie. I moved in there, and it was like the first house I've ever lived in where I was away from my parents. It was crazy because before I was partying hard at my parent's house, but now I lived in a sick house and that just took it to a different level. The guy I was living with was really into drugs and every single night was a party out there. But also, every single day I was riding. I learned how to ride kind of screwed up and I fooled a lot of people, but it was just a party every single day.
After I got out of that place, my chick and I got an apartment in Valencia, but if you want to ride motocross professionally there's nothing out there. So I was riding there, but I still didn't have my life together, so we moved to Murrieta and I still had issues. My best friend died in the back of my truck on a pill overdose and I was so messed up and into pills that right after he died, I popped a couple of them myself to help me get over it. Then I had an intervention with the Mulisha guys, cleaned my life up, but then I got right back into using because doctors would prescribe me vicodin after getting hurt.
I did the whole sobriety thing for me. Every other time I tried to get clean it was because I had an intervention with the Mulisha guys or an intervention with my parents ... but I never wanted to get clean for myself.
-- Colin Morrison
That's probably where it all started because being dirt bike rider and getting prescribed pills when you're hurt is not a good thing. Some people know how to just take a couple pills, but I don't -- I would just eat them to feel good and one thing would lead to another and so on and so on. One beer would turn into eight beers and that's just who I am, I don't know when to shut it down.
Obviously you're on the right path now; how were you able to overcome your addictions and demons?
You know, I am so blessed with all my friends, my fiancé and my family. I just have so many people that want to see me do good because they know I have a name in this sport and they don't want to see me screw it up. It's been huge knowing that they've all go my back, because it makes it a lot easier. But like I said before, I finally got clean for myself and it's working. People are saying that they see a huge change in me, I'm riding better and overall things are just getting better. I'm never going to go back to who I was, but you gotta take it one step at a time, because I'm not really too far into this. You can't say, "Oh, I'll be sober for the rest of my life," because that's not the way it works -- you gotta take it one day at a time and that's what I'm doing right now. I know I'm never going to go back to who I was, but I can't think like that. If I know that I'm not going to take pills, drink or smoke weed today, then that's fine, but I can't say what I'm going to do tomorrow.
I just want to come back and hear people say, "Damn, there's Scummy. We've seen that guy weeded for the past five years and look at him now!" I know I'm a huge inspiration already because people are looking at me and realizing that this is the cool new trend. The cool new thing is to stay sober and not to go get all messed up. I already know I'm doing a lot for people and I want to keep it that way. I have a lot of fans out there, so I just want to show people that I can do this, I'm still young in the sport and I'm not going anywhere. I still want to go big in this sport and I've got a lot of things to prove.
You've been saying you have a new outlook on life; what's that exactly mean?
Since I've been clean, I just have such a clear vision of my life. It goes from talking straight, just to making my sponsors happy, rolling up at Deegan's house with a clear head, which I've never had before. I'm just attacking all my problems, knowing I'm not going to get into trouble today, I'm not going to piss my sponsors off and I'm not going to screw anything up. Like instead of hanging out with my stupid, messed up friends, I like coming home to my fiancé, my two little white dogs, taking bubble baths and watching the Kardashian's. Like those are lame shows, but I love it dude – I love being inside with my girl and just living the lame lifestyle. I always used to be the guy to be like, "Where are we going to go tonight? What are we going to mess up? Where are we going to get wasted?" Now it's like a complete 180 dude. It's just a nice lifestyle and I've never been happier. I really have a new outlook on life.
So, now that you have this new outlook on life and whatnot, how's your riding been going?
It's insane man. I'm known for going big and so I know that's the direction I want to go. I showed up at the Daredevil Rockfest where Trigger Gumm and Seth Enslow were battling for the distance record and I showed up out of nowhere -- I wasn't even invited -- and I killed it. I went bigger than both of them and I proved myself. They were on 450's and I was on a 250 with a freestyle seat -- my bike wasn't even set up for that stuff and it was cake dude. I don't want to say I went bigger and jumped more than them, but bottom line is that I did. I proved that I can go as big as the best and after that, the guys at Crusty Demons saw my potential and invited me to ride the Crusty Demons Night of World Records, which will be going down on the fourth of July or the first of the year. And that's a chance for me to hold my bike fifth gear wide open and pretty much show these guys, who the real record holder should be. I ain't claiming nothing, but I really think I'll be setting the distance world record here within the year.
Do you think you can beat out Robbie Maddison and Ryan Capes when it comes to distance?
Definitely, I don't think they're any better than me whatsoever. Bottom line is that I got them -- any day any place.
What do you think makes a distance jumper good? Is it skill or just all about being fearless?
I think that being a distance jumper is all about having balls, man. You're going fifth gear pinned on your bike, knowing that if you do crash, you're probably going to die. There are no foam pits involved -- I look at it as the most hardcore thing you can do on a bike. Every single kid is doing backflips now and for me, backflips have never been my thing. And right now, that's not the way to make a lot of money. It's like if you're not doing a hart attack backflip, you still ain't s--t, dude. So I look at it like, "Am I going to kill myself on a backflip, where every single person in the world's doing it, or am I going to go huge on my bike, where there are only a handful of guys attempting that?" For me, going big has always just come natural. If it's a fifth gear jump, I feel comfortable. I feel more comfortable on that than I do hitting a 75-foot ramp-to-ramp jump.
I know you hit that massive jump at the Daredevil Rockfest shirtless -- is that something that you would do again if you had the opportunity to set a world record?
Oh dude, I'd jump without a shirt while smoking a cigarette in my helmet just to show everybody how punk rock I am. It's like, "Who's the most hardcore?" That's why I got into the Metal Mulisha, because they're the gnarliest dudes around. I want to keep this sport hardcore, because it's not like it used to be. And I want to be hardcore without the drugs and partying, and I got it dude. I know I do.
Well, I can see that you've got your direction set when it comes to distance jumping, how about everything else? I heard you're doing a lot off the bike as well.
I've done so much crazy crap that I probably can't remember half the things I've been through, but I can remember the other half and that's the story I'll tell.
-- Colin Morrison
Yeah man, actually Beau Manley and I just got the main lead roles for a movie I can't talk too much about, but it's going to be huge. It's going to be in the big screen movie theatres and it's all acting -- it's not about dirt bikes whatsoever I never would've imagined that riding dirt bikes would've led me to reading scripts, but it has and it's insane. We're filming in Hollywood at the CBS lot and this just turns the whole thing around for me, man. You know, I'll be getting a pay check for acting and I never would've thought this possible, but it's been a dream of mine forever and I think that this is going to open up a lot of doors.
It's funny because in the movie I play a drug dealer, so yeah I've practiced that role forever, but now I'm sober and I'll be acting it. I'm going to put 100% into it -- I'm not going to show up all messed up, mumbling my lines. I know that I'm going to do good and this will open up a lot of doors because the producers of this film have three other movies they're working on that I fit the part for, so this is going to be a big thing for me. And by doing this movie, I'll get my SAG card and I've always wanted to be a stuntman, so that will help open that door as well. So for the next three months, Manley and I will be filming this movie in LA, so look out for it in movie theatres in the future -- the movie is called "Bro."
I'm also working on a documentary movie called "Scumdog Millionaire." I'll be filming once a month and it'll be showing my progress on how I'm staying sober and how my life gets better and better by the month. More things will continue to fall in my lap seeing as how I've changed my life around and I want this to be an inspirational movie for people, showing that you can still be hardcore, but do it without the drugs and partying. It's going to take a while to film, but once it comes out, it's going to be really good and it'll touch a lot of people.
As far as your acting goes, have you ever acted before?
Well, when there's a camera in my face, I feed off of that. You know, I've filmed all these dirt bike movies and I've done skits and all that for over 12 years, so pretty much acting is second nature to me. We just did rehearsals and I killed it and the producers were saying I was a natural. I'm not claiming I'm the new Johnny Depp, not at all, but I think I got what it takes and I'm not scared in front of a camera.
So what's this I hear about you writing a book?
Yeah man, I am. The book will be kind of like this interview, you know? I got the idea from reading Nikki Sixx's "The Heroin Diaries." Motley Crue is my favorite band and you know, they lived the same lifestyle as I did -- the drugs and women would come to them. So I read the book and I realized that if Nikki Sixx is writing all these stories about his insane life, I can too. I've got so many crazy stories from the last 12 years, and if people read it and I really tell the truth, people will realize how gnarly I was. I don't want to hold anything back at all, I want to tell the most screwed up stories about all the messed up things I've been through. I also want to talk about how things are changing in my life for the better -- it's basically just going to be a diary of my life. The good, the bad, the ugly ... no holds barred. People are going to trip.
Do you even remember all the gnarly things you've done and lived through?
Yeah, I don't know. I've done so much crazy crap that I probably can't remember half the things I've been through, but I can remember the other half and that's the story I'll tell. [laughs]
It's obvious you're staying busy and have a lot on your plate. But, wrapping up, I want to know what you think makes your story different than the others who have tried to clean up their act and make a comeback before you? And are you at all worried that you'll fall back into that lifestyle?
There's no way I'm going back. You know, I'm addicted to this sober lifestyle and I want it for me, not for anyone else. It all comes down to commitment. I'm going to stick to it and I'm going to work the steps because it doesn't happen over night. I've got a lot to prove and I love life man. I'm just really thankful for my friends, family and sponsors and there's no reason for me not to go big and prove everyone wrong. When you got a clean head and you're sober, you can do anything you put your mind to. For once I've thrown the white flag up, I've realized that I have issues, and I firmly believe that this is going to stick. This ain't a lie man -- this is me, this is the new Scummy. Pretty much the old Scummy is dead and the new re-born Scummy is alive and he was born about 45 days ago.