Q & A With Steve-O
Long before Stephen Glover, a.k.a. Steve-O, made a name for himself swimming with sharks on MTV’s Wildboyz and having his butt cheeks stapled together on Jackass, he was a regular in the pages of the legendary Big Brother skateboarding magazine. Even back in the ’90s, he was regarded as the class clown of skating for his circus-
like tricks in which he’d set himself on fire and do backflips onto his board. But when Jackass took off, he took his antics to new levels, entertaining people and getting arrested the world over.
Unfortunately, some of those arrests were drug-related, and it’s no secret that the entertainer has long struggled with addiction. In 2008, his friends forced him to check into a mental health facility to deal with his drug abuse, and after pleading guilty to felony possession of cocaine, he finally went to rehab. Fast-forward to 2010, Steve-O has two years of sobriety under his belt, he’s working on Jackass 3-D, which will be released this fall, and is doing his best to be less annoying.It’s Monday. So how many times have you stapled your balls to your leg this week so far? None this week.
Slow week for you? I did that so much in the past but I haven’t done that in a while.
Did it scar your balls? No. But sometimes it does get infected. You get these infected staple holes in your ball sack.
Have you ever gotten arrested for doing it?
Yeah. I was charged with felony obscenity, which was the same thing that happened to Lenny Bruce and Jim Morrison. Basically, I feel like it put me in the ranks of the real American heroes like Larry Flynt. Of course that’s my way of looking at it.
Did you serve any time for it?
I got arrested with $1.12 million bail. There were two felony charges. There was a $120,000 warrant for second-degree battery because the bouncers beat up a kid, and they charged me with it. For the felony obscenity, which was strictly for stapling my nuts, I got a full million-dollar bail. I got picked up on a fugitive warrant in Los Angeles and went to L.A. County Jail for five days waiting for the bail reduction hearing. They knocked it down to $150,000, which I borrowed from my shady accountant and had to pay back with interest.
When you’re in jail for five days, are you doing penis tricks to try to entertain the prisoners and the guards?
No. They had me in protective custody, and that doesn’t make the time go by any quicker. The correctional officers would pull me out of my cell and take pictures with me. I had just gotten my back tattooed [with a picture] of my face, and our first movie hadn’t come out yet, so I got kind of special treatment—but not like Vince Neil shit where they would bring him hookers and everything.
What was your first tattoo?
Oh my God, my first tattoo … I thought I was gonna be such a badass by getting a tattoo. I didn’t want to get something that was trying to show how tough I was, so I got a little flower on my hip. I went to go show my dad, like, “Hey, Dad, I got a tattoo.” I showed it to him and he said, “Awww, well, isn’t that nice?” It’s par for the course. Every one of my tattoos is stupid as hell. It really started out with a banger, with a little gay flower.
After that, when I was 19 years old I got the gayest tribal Celtic Batman logo on my back, between my shoulder blades. It’s not in the center and it’s lopsided. Thank God I got that humongous back tattoo by Jack Rudy to draw attention away from it.
I got “Your Name” tattooed on my ass. I got an XYZ logo on my right arm. I got symbols to spell “I Love 2 Bone.” After that it turned into, What is the absolute dumbest thing I can get? So I got “I have a small weiner,” with wiener misspelled. Then I got the bar logo of this bar in Albuquerque. It looks like Santa Claus. Then they closed the bar and so I jammed a sword through his head so it looks like I killed Santa Claus—or Jerry Garcia.
I have a Jesus fish with the word “Satan” in it. I have a big fat bitch on my abdomen and a big Bloods and Crips that’s pretty outlandish. Also a huge dribbling dick on my arm. Actually, a bunch of dicks. I have this big naked guy behind bars with a huge dick on my arm that says, “Prison Love.”
Did you get anything memorable for graduating circus school? For graduating clown college?
No, no tattoos for that. I did hump a clown, though. It was one of the chicks that I was in clown college with. I humped her. Everyone always asks if I ever had sex with a clown, and I have—but she wasn’t wearing her clown makeup. The way I look at it, that’s like the equivalent of having sex with a stewardess but not in the air. It sucks. I don’t have any other stories from clown college. I was a shitty clown. I really wasn’t funny or nothing.
Ultimately you ended up working as a clown, just without makeup.
Yeah, I actually did work as a clown with makeup too. After clown college, and before Jackass started, I was working as a clown on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and then I got fired from that job because I was hard to work with. After the cruise ship is when I joined the shitty flea market circus. It was at a flea market in Fort Lauderdale, FL. That’s where I got the elephant poo from. I got fired from that one too. That was because Johnny Knoxville and everybody showed up with cameras. They were like, “Why are these assholes filming our elephants?” I was like, “Man, I told you they were coming months ago.” Whatever, I got fired from that. I’ve gotten fired from every job I’ve ever had.
What keeps you from getting fired from Jackass?
I have no idea. That’s the job I deserve to be fired from more than anything. Honestly. But it’s so rad now getting to do this new movie with those guys and not be the way I used to be. You know me, I have always been such a super-annoying dude, especially when I got on cocaine. I was always such a nightmare. I’m not saying I’m not an annoying nightmare anymore, but I’m much less of one now.
Remember when I had to lay you out because you were so annoying?
I’m sure, dude. I don’t remember one time in particular but I just look back on eight straight years of being that annoying.
At least you’re consistent.
Yeah, I was pretty consistent about it. It’s just a trip to work with those guys again under these circumstances.
What eventually straightened you out? Was it when you had to stick drugs up your ass in Sweden?
No, but I was in jail for five days there too. I remember being in that cell thinking, Man, I gotta stop doing cocaine. I swore off cocaine that time but it only lasted six months. Then I got back on it. Then a few years later I was like, Man, I really gotta stop doing cocaine. That lasted one year. The problem was, when I’d swear off cocaine when I wasn’t doing it, it just meant that I would be a more drunken asshole. I was that much more belligerent, loud, and obnoxious from alcohol. I’d just substitute booze for cocaine. Nothing ever works for me.
vAre you completely clean and sober now?
Yeah, it’s been over two years since I’ve had any kind of drink or drug.
Damn. Congratulations. You deserve a drink. [Laughs.]
I’m sure you see it that way.
What can you tell me about this new Jackass movie? Did someone figure out a new way to kick someone in the balls?
Yeah, there’s been a couple of those. There’s fascinating new ways. I can’t tell you much, it’s just too early.
But it is going to be in 3-D?
Yeah, that’s for sure. It’s pretty crazy. I think 3-D looks a lot better when it’s real footage, not all that computer-animated bullshit. I think it looks really good. Ours is the real deal.
Will you give viewers funny-looking 3-D glasses? Like glasses that look like a penis?
I doubt it—that would cut into the profits.