Steve-O: The 10 songs that changed my life

Jackass legend Steve-O reflects on his life as a metalhead and snot-nosed punk, diving into a speedfreak music collection of Slayer, Misfits, Mötley Crüe and more…

Steve-O: The 10 songs that changed my life
Mike Rampton

Steve-O has packed a lot of insane behaviour into his life. Whether being launched into the air in a port-a-potty or getting a larger-than-real-life self-portrait on his back, the Jackass legend has put his body through a ridiculous amount, and has the scars – and stories – to prove it.

And he’s about to hit the UK – where he was born, in fact, back in 1974 – with his latest stand-up show, The Bucket List. A combination of hilarious anecdotes and truly gruesome footage, previous performances have led to audience members passing out.

It all kicks off tomorrow (June 30) in Glasgow, but before Hollywood's silliest man regales audiences with his blood-and-vomit-stained life story, here he takes us through the music that made him who he is today...

The first song I ever owned…Michael Jackson – Thriller (1982)

"I got Michael Jackson's Thriller for Christmas in 1983, when I lived in Florida. It was significant not only because it was my first album that I owned, but I listened to it when I moved to London from Florida at the age of nine, because I got it for Christmas in December of 1983. But then I moved to London in January of 1984. So I was listening to Michael Jackson's Thriller on a loop when I moved to London. Also it was on MTV, it was the first music video I ever remember seeing, and was super impactful."

The song that taught me I was a metalhead…Iron Maiden – Run To The Hills (1982)

"I got my first Iron Maiden album when I was 10, The Number Of The Beast, and that taught me that I was actually a metalhead. I was running around the house, screaming out the lyrics to Run To The Hills. My mother heard me doing that, and she was offended and confiscated my Number Of The Beast album. She threw it away. And I believe by the end of the same day, I had another copy of it. If possible I’d like to count that whole album, The Number Of The Beast. I’d say Run To The Hills, but that whole damn album is so important."

The song that made me fall in love with sleaze…Mötley Crüe – Shout At The Devil (1983)

"The next really impactful thing was when I was 11 years old – my first Mötley Crüe album taught me why I was a metalhead. I was so enamoured with the way they portrayed their lifestyle. They introduced me to the word sleaze – they just wanted to be sleazy. Their debaucherous lifestyle, their unapologetic celebration of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll, just resonated with me. It made me wanna party like them. And I was only 11. That first Mötley Crüe album was Shout At The Devil, and it absolutely changed my life."

The song that didn’t make me any friends...Slayer – Raining Blood (1986)

"At 12 years old, my first Slayer album taught me how bad the situation really was. Reign In Blood, goddamn, that album’s fucking badass. That just took it to such a gnarly, antisocial level. I made heavy metal music kind of an identity, which I was kind of anti-social with – I listened to heavy metal music at people. And once Slayer came into the fold, that all became quite intense and didn't work wonders for my social skills."

The song that got me into punk…Misfits – Angelfuck (1985)

"From the age of 13, I started getting more into punk and hardcore. I would probably credit the Misfits for really, really solidifying my journey into punk and hardcore music. It was as simple as changing my identity from a heavy metal hesher to a skateboarder – a conscious pivot in what I chose to make my identity. In came the Misfits and Suicidal Tendencies, the Sex Pistols and SNFU. When I looked at my first Misfits album, Legacy Of Brutality, having a song on it called Angelfuck, I found deliciously naughty. I was very drawn to that."

The song that reminds me of my days as a skater…Gorilla Biscuits – Big Mouth (1988)

"As my journey continued, I was 14, and I heard that first Gorilla Biscuits EP. That fuckin’ Gorilla Biscuits EP was badass, man. That song Big Mouth really took hold of me. I was a skateboarder, I wasn't yet really getting loaded or anything, and I heard that Gorilla Biscuits stuff and then I just got into all the straight edge stuff. Youth Of Today, Bold, Judge and Side By Side, all these straight edge hardcore bands, but Gorilla Biscuits was definitely at the top of that heap."

The song I associate with my time as a pothead…The Grateful Dead – Throwing Stones (1987)

"Very shortly after I turned 16, I made the conscious decision to put down the skateboard and identify as a pothead. It’s pretty pathetic in hindsight, but I always had to have an identity, I was never comfortable in my own skin or okay with who I was. I had to just take on some identity that I could really cloak myself in – Little League baseball to metal to skating to drugs. As soon as I picked up the marijuana and the LSD, it was all about the Grateful Dead. I became a big time Deadhead. There are so many Grateful Dead songs. To this day when I listen to them I get really wrapped up. Standing On The Moon’s a good one too. Fuck, I love that song."

The song that reminds me of the UK…Evesdroppers – 9 Lives (2016)

"One of my favourite things to do, especially when I go on trips, is to pick one album and listen to it over and over and over, nothing but that one album, on a loop for the whole time. Because I know that when I do that, for the rest of my life, whenever I happen to hear it, it's going to take me back in time to that trip. The last time I was on tour in the UK was 2016, and I listened to this album that my buddy Bam Margera made called Evesdroppers. So that whole UK tour is really fused to that album. Hearing any song from that album will take me back in time to that tour."

The song that nearly made me a rapperSteve-O – Hard As A Rock (2008)

"The idea of me creating comedy rap music started out as a not entirely bad idea. The first rap song I recorded was intended to be patently absurd. It was funny, and it inspired me to actually try to make an entire comedy gangster rap album. The idea went really sideways when I got a record deal with Universal Music Group – somehow all the funniness of the idea was lost. I became pathetically involved in the idea that I was making rap music and started taking it seriously on a level that ruined everything about the idea. It was less about the actual rap music than just the state I was in, being at the end of my run with drugs and alcohol. I was just a very sick person and if it wasn’t rap music it would have been something else. I could have ruined anything at that time; I just ruined rap music."

The song that makes me cry…Cirque Du Soleil – Alegría (1994)

"I’m fanatical about Cirque Du Soleil for many reasons – my beginnings as a circus clown, my passion for animals [Cirque Du Soleil do not use performing animals, and were a huge part of the move away from performing animals in modern circuses]. I think that Cirque Du Soleil is beautifully inspiring, and I love how fuckin’ rad it is. Before going to see a Cirque Du Soleil show I’ll deliberately, belligerently listen to the soundtrack on a loop, so that when I see the show and hear the music played live, it won’t be new to me and it’ll enhance my experience. I fucking love Cirque Du Soleil, it makes me cry. When I’m at their shows I’ll be fuckin’ crying, I love it so much. The title track from Alegría? Beautiful."

Steve-O's Bucket List tour starts June 30 in Glasgow – get your tickets now

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