Sporting symbols of anarchy signs, middle finger gestures and Mohawk silhouettes, Colin Morrison was on a long train ride on painkillers, booze and marijuana. That trip eventually became a train wreck for the rider known for parts in "The Adventures of Twitch and Scummy" DVD and a role in the 2012 dramatic film "Bro'."
Starting out in freestyle motocross back in the earlier days meant that nights were fueled with drugs and alcohol and the rock 'n' roll lifestyle. For some, though, that party ran out of gas as soon as they got back on the plane ride home. But for others that party lasted for years and took a bigger toll.
Not one to sugar-coat anything "Scummy" Morrison says, "I was pretty much high for a long time, I fell into the rut of addiction."
After some time in rehab, Morrison has since been working on cleaning up his life and is coming up on a year clean and sober. He has a clothing company called Scummbag Clothing and enjoys handling business with a clear state of mind.
Out at the Dirt Bike Kidz Pro Am event late last year we spoke with Morrison after checking out his booth and some of his Scummbag Clothing products. In the blunt honesty of a recovering addict, Morrison explains how he is putting his life back together.
XGames.com: Long time no talk, buddy, how's Colin Morrison doing?
Morrison: Colin Morrison is actually doing better than ever, man. I went into rehab to clean my whole life up and coming up on about a year since I've been there, clean and sober. It's the biggest thing in my life; I finally get to enjoy my life now. I really turned things around.
Man, just enjoying every single day of life now, my life is completely different for all the right reasons. Doing better than ever.
What made you decide it was time to get some help?
Pretty much, you know when freestyle first started it was all partying and rock 'n' roll, I was really one of the guys that got sucked into the lifestyle, didn't really care about the contest from Day 1.
You know, I got into freestyle to show off basically. I was never really into the contest scene, I just liked doing the big jumps. And when the backflip came out, I knew I was overdoing it. And just seeing everyone else doing it, I saw the whole sport change. And everyone knows how gnarly the sport has gotten.
Bottom line, there wasn't enough money to be made and that's when I fell down a bad path when everyone else was excelling. Dude, I was just struggling, you know. When you get hurt you get into pain pills and pretty much everything from there just [accelerated]. I was pretty much high for a long time, falling into the rut of addiction. I feel like I wasted my career, I had talent but I was just to into the lifestyle of partying, you know. But everything is good now.
Can you describe what actual physical withdraw symptoms are like from pain killers?
Yeah, for me and others in the same situation coming from a pill withdraw, it makes braking bones look like weak sauce. No joke. It starts out small but escalates quicker than you think. You literally need them just to function. And when you don't get them your body literally shuts down.
You get cold sweats, start throwing up, diarrhea, your bones start locking up, body aches, can't eat, can't sleep, pretty much just feels like just dying is the only good option at some point. It's different for all people but if you went as big as me this describes it to the "T" and then some.
It's all a vicious cycle with no good outcomes at all. I swear being 100 percent sober has been the best gift I could have ever asked for and I plan on keeping it this way and to give back to others that are struggling and give them hope that there is a way out.
Back in the day you had to party to do well in a contest. I remember if you didn't stay up all night with everyone, and specifically the judges, you certainly would not be scored well. Pretty crazy that's how thing were in the beginning.
Yeah, back then, you know what, I don't even care, that's the freestyle I'm proud of, that's what got me into this sport not because it's so corporate. I look at freestyle now and I give it up to everyone but everyone was actually friends back then and everyone actually rode to have fun.
When I think about it back then, that's what freestyle is about for me. And the new s--- wasn't me, man, I like keeping it punk rock and having fun, whatever. I don't take back anything I've ever done.
So you're pumped now on your new outlook on life?
Yeah, it's kind of funny, when I was on this path of [self-]destruction I always had this idea for Scummbag Clothing but I was never in the right state of mind to run a business. And what do you know, I get out of rehab and I got my own clothing company and it's actually doing good.
It's perfect for me because I'm kind of over the riding right now. I ride for fun but nothing to do it for a living. So now I'm doing Scummbag Clothing, still part of the industry and it's going really good for me right now.
How did you come up with the nickname Scummy?
Ahh, man, that's a tough one, back in the day I think on Warpt Tour with Twitch [Jeremy Stenberg], Beau Manley, I think we were doing scumbag kind of s--- and so it stuck. "Twitch & Scummy" [laughs]. Pretty much it was just punk rock back then and we were going for it. So for reasons you can probably figure out the name says it all what we were doing [laughs].
Any plans to do some riding this winter?
Colin: Yeah, I want to go out and film for sure. Metal Mulisha still has my back and I'd like to go out in the hills and film with them for sure. And if a long distance jump comes into the picture, I want to do that as well. I love long-distance s---, it don't scare me. I love going big fifth gear.
Nice! Well, now that you have a new outlook on life, get to wake up every day clear headed, what's that life like for Colin Morrison now?
The biggest thing right now is knowing that I got through my career without getting seriously hurt. You know, I think I did 13 years of riding freestyle and to see good friends of mine like Chris Ackerman and these other guys who are seriously hurt, you know throughout the years I've seen so much gnarly stuff. My head is pretty jacked up seeing my boys die and get seriously hurt that now I just enjoy life.
Unless you've been in my shoes and have been in this industry for a while you have no idea what it's like. Bottom line, this sport is gnarly and you can't take it for granted. It makes me sick how every single person is doing backflips and they're not sharing because you don't see anyone sharing when they do get hurt and what they go through.
So you have a fresh start, your head is clean, you have your clothing company and you enjoy walks in the park. I'd say life is looking bright for you!
Yeah, man, enjoying walks in the park, life is good. I'm stoked on everyone still supporting me, obviously Metal Mulisha, my new clothing company Scummbag which you can go to scummbag.com.
I really want to thank my fans and all the people in the freestyle community, which I'm sure I p----- off a lot of people but I'm really thankful for everyone, everything.
The movie "Bro" was just released to DVD, how pumped are you to see it at a Red Box or in iTunes?
Yeah, the movie I filmed, "Bro'," just came out on DVD nationwide, and I'm pretty excited about it. I'm just p----- cause when I was filming it I was in a deep pill addiction and don't think I did as good as I could have, but other than that I'm excited its finally out.
For a movie that only took 20 days to film with a very low budget to make it with, it's a great movie. And remember to everyone that may get offended by how it portrays dirt bikes and partying: It's just a movie so stop crying about it!