by Phil Urkov
Mike Metzger is the Godfather of Freestyle Motocross but ramps and dirt aren’t the only the only media he works with. Raised in an artistic environment, Metz is directing his creativity toward other avenues. Now 32 years young, Mike is exploring the other side of the tattoo needle as well as trying his hand at clothing design. We caught up with Metz to see how all his new endeavors are treating him…
We know you had a pretty serious get off filming the Discover Channels Stunt Junkies show, How is your recovery going and are back to normal or still on the mends?
Oh man, I’ll never be back to normal (laughs) I have rods in my back which have fused three vertebras together. I’m still sore every morning but am feeling better everyday. It comes with the lifestyle.
How exactly did it happen?
As you said I was filming for the Stunt Junkies show and was scheduled to backflip over the water from a floating barge to another barge. I over rotated and landed in he flats. The impact was so intense I basically exploded off my bike and blew my back apart. It wasn’t good.
How is the tattooing side of things going? Any plans to expand that portion of your already fully packed life?
I try to set up tattoo appointments daily. With my wild schedule it’s hard to find the time to commit to my own shop. I’m currently working out of a shop in Murrieta, CA called Sideshow Artwork. I don’t have an agent and I am doing it all on my own. Sometimes it drives me a bit nuts but I’m lucky enough to have my bikes as an outlet to keep me in line. No matter what kind of hectic day I’ve had, after a ride I always return calm and inspired. There’s a lot to Mike Metzger other than motorcycles and Freestyle Motocross. I always have something going on and my main priority is taking care of my kids.
It seems like you are always doing something new whether it be tattooing, competing in an FMX event, flying around doing Endurocross races, or appearing in television shows. What’s new in the world of Mike Metzger?
I’m currently training for an enduro race, which will be round one in Vegas on July 1st. I also do SuperMoto and Off-road races whenever I can. I ride KTMs with the help of 3Bros. Racing in Temecula. With all that’s been going on, anything on my dirtbike feels good. I also just launched the Metzger Brand Artistic Apparel line.
A clothing company? Tell us a little about that.
I’m super pumped with this endeavor. I’ve been Mike Metzger for quite a few years now and with my art background, I decided to show off my artwork through a clothing brand. I grew up around artist. My mother and father both have artistic backgrounds and it rubbed off on me growing up. My father builds insane custom pools while my mother does anything from drawing and painting to crochet (laughs); she’s awesome. Ironically I learned how to paint and draw during the down time I had in between injuries. Anything from airbrushing helmets to fine art work. I’ve also done some larger projects like the biker build-off on the Discovery Channel building a custom FMX bike. That was super cool, as I not only painted the end result but also built the bike from the ground up. These side projects have kept me out if trouble in those times of agony and defeat.
What will your clothing line consist of?
It’s basically my artwork on clothing under the Metzger Brand icon. We’ll start with t-shirts, hats, hoodies and eventually move to other products growing the Metzger brand name. As of now we plan to do some simple graphic digns on basic tees, eventually producing more fashion pieces like button ups and super nice denim. We’re taking a different approach than many. It seems that there is so many lame companies out there doing the same things. Just copying each other. They make t-shirts only with their huge logo and no real thought or expression behind it. I want to tell a story that is METZGER, through my art. The sky is the limit. I have two business partners, who are my good friends that will be running the daily operations so I can focus on my art and designs. I’m extremely happy I have friends I can trust that are completely dedicated.
Is the Metzger brand primarily going to be sold online or are you going to eventually target clothing stores for the public to purchase?
As of right now it is solely sold online, but my partners are working on the retail side of getting units into stores. We don’t want to whore it out to every account that will take it. We want to keep it core and only have the products in core shops where people can appreciate it and stand behind it’s meaning. If people want it, they will find it. I stand behind the Metzger Brand and it means much more to me than just another logo. I’m so happy with my partners Brandon and Jake. They really understand the overall vision and aren’t in it to make a quick buck. They get it! It is something I have been planning on doing for years.
It seems like you have a very well thought out plan which will diver from the already flooded clothing industry. What makes the Metzger brand different?
I like to keep the industry guessing. What the heck is Mike Metzger doing? With that said I think they will see what I do and it will translate through the art and brand created. I live my life in a very inspiring way. If I feel like doing a supermoto race, I’ll do it. If I want to travel overseas and enter an enduro race I’ll do that. If I feel like drawing or painting, I make it happen. I just do what I feel I need to. I think people respect that which eventually comes through in my art. I want to make my own market that understands the type of mindset and passion I have for riding and art. Not just wearing a t-shirt with skulls and guns because people think that is cool. That is way lame. I would rather see someone draw a stick figure and iron on their own white T-shirt. That is core and original. I want to influence people to do their own thing and go against the grain. Don’t wear or do something because they tell you. Create you own style. Make your own path. That is who I am and will always be, MYSELF… a true individual.
How is your family doing? Is everyone well and supportive as always?
My daughter Michaela is in first grade. She is super smart and my little artist. My five-year-old son, Myrie can’t stop thinking about BMX and Dirtbike riding. He reminds me a lot of myself. I couldn’t be happier with my kids.
Sounds like your life is full of good things and everything is lining up just as planned. When can the public plan to see the Metzger brand of clothing?
It’s already out there. You can go to www.metzgerbrand.com and get the lowdown on what we are introducing right now. I just want to keep the Metzger Brand icon in the people eyes. Once all is set, we can introduce the finer pieces of the brand. I’m not just another freestyle moto-cross rider…I am the original, the innovator, and I can generate some insane art as well. There’s so much to the retail side of the business and I have one heck of a schedule. All in all I’m so stoked to be learning something new and showing everyone what I’m all about. Stay tuned…
You can check out Metz’s stuff at www.metzgerbrand.com