#throwback – When Vegan Good Life issue 03 came out, Jackass-celeb Steve-O had to go to jail for protesting SeaWorld. We discussed activism, drug addiction and his way out of a destructive lifestyle through veganism.
Photos_ Sam McQuire
Art Direction_ Meet Kvell
Assistant_ Natalie Lewi
How much of Stephen Glover is Steve-O? Can you still separate the two?
Yeah, uhm, I would say that with getting older and wiser, I'm starting to feel some separation between that character and who I am. But I didn't for a long time and I just came to a point where I definitely need to do that.
You said that you were a sober, dog-rescuing vegan now.
Good for you! I was wondering how crazy your lifestyle has really been before that? Are there even words?
Yeah, I mean it's all been pretty well described and documented, I lived a wild life, that much is for certain.
You've been a heaavy drug user.
Yeah, of course.
"I was doing a lot of drugs
and as a result I heard voices"
You stopped eating meat and then went to rehab shortly after that. Are these two milestones connected in any way?
I was doing a lot of drugs and as a result I was hearing voices and was hallucinating a lot where like people were walking around but they weren't really there. I was the only one who could see them.
To get out of all of this, I went to rehab. Not wanting to hurt others, people and animals, helped to get through it all. Once I was in rehab it helped me feel better about myself. Being more compassionate towards animals was something that made me feel better about myself because that was that I needed. Before I went to rehab I had done a lot of stuff to really not feel good about and practising a lifestyle that's more compassionate was very helpful finding the way out. It became an important part of my recovery.
So going vegan helped build new self esteem?
Oh, absolutely. When I went to rehab I heard people talk about building self esteem through estimable acts. Meaning that when we do things that are good for others it helps us feel good about ourselves, too. And that was really important to me. My journey towards becoming vegan was very very much a part of that and it helped a great deal.
Johnny Knoxville played a big role in all of that, correct?
Yeah, he organized the intervention that got me sober in the long run. I've said that you know you have a very bad problem when your intervention is put together by Johnny Knoxville.
So these guys brought you to the hospital and you actually were locked up for a while, is that right?
They brought me to a psychiatric ward and I was locked up. And then from there I went to the rehab facility.
How long are you sober now?
Now it' been seven and a half years.
In other news, you're going to jail for protesting SeaWorld when this issue comes out.
Yeah, I did a couple of stunts and me going to jail is about the one where I'm climbing a 155 feet high crane and then lit fireworks. You can find the video on my YouTube channel still, but my lawyer asked me to take it down on Facebook. That wasn't at SeaWorld but it was aimed against SeaWorld. It was at a random construction site. As I said, I'm doing silly things…
What's amazing about this is that you probably lead a pretty good life and then to go out and do something like this…
Mostly I'm just an attention whore and if it's bringing attention to a good cause, then all the better. Doing wild things and something crazy is what I do, so it's not like I'm getting too far out of my comfort zone, if you look at it like that.
When did you hear you would actually have to go to jail?
The problem was that so many police men and firefighters and a SWAT team came out and I didn't think that would happen. I didn't think it would be that big of a deal but there's a big response with police men and firefighters and these guys and that's why I've gotten into so much trouble.
"The problem was that a
SWAT team came out…"
On the upside, the state of California has just passed a law that prohibits breeding orcas in captivity, clearly aiming at SeaWorld.
Right, yeah. I like to think I helped with that.
Looking back, a lot of the stunts you guys did for Jackass as well as the Wild Boys show included animals. Did your perspective on that change at all?
Right, right, yeah. I mean in a certain way, we did a bunch of stuff especially with Wild Boys that had a lot of animals and that's stuff I wouldn't do anymore. I'm more and more careful about stuff like that but back than, it just wasn't on my radar. Many people remember the time I swallowed that live goldfish, but that was over 15 years ago. I have people criticizing me for using animals for entertainment in the past but I think it's rather narrow minded to worry about that rather than the evolution and the improvement I've been going through.
Okay final question: How come all around the world, random dudes want to be kicked in the nuts by you?
Aehm… yeah, I don't know. I think it's universally entertaining to see a guy get kicked in the nuts, there's some kind of primal compulsion to laugh at that and I think people want to be a part of that.
But I stopped doing that. Well, I used to do it, then stopped, then I started doing it again and now I stopped again.
"It's universally entertaining
to see a guy get kicked in the nuts"
Worried to be sued over it?
Nah, I'm not worried. Before I kick someone in the nuts, I videotape them saying that it's their wish.
Alright man, that's it.
Thank you so much man, I really appreciate it!
Thank you for your time.