Spaceblues Artist Profile—Rick Thorne


Legendary BMX Rider talks about his foray into music and spreading positivity through music and riding


“This is my life. I’ve gone through a lot to get my spirit back.” —Rick Thorne










You can’t talk about BMX without bringing the name Rick Thorne into the conversation.


Dubbed the Biker in Black, Rick’s signature style, fearless approach to riding, and larger than life personality are why he is one of the most recognizable names and faces in the history of the sport. But Rick’s accolades extend far beyond the extreme sports circuit.


After appearing on 14 Warped Tours, establishing an impressive hosting career, and becoming a regular for cameos on everything from MTV’s Cribs to blockbuster films like xXx, it was only a matter of time before Rick started tackling another creative outlet…like music.


We caught up with Rick to talk about his foray into the music industry and how BMX and music helped him bounce back after serious career ups and downs.


Here is what he had to say:


How long have you been in Southern California?


Rick Thorne:  I’m originally from Kansas City, Missouri. I moved out to Orange County in ’97, then I moved to LA…Excuse me, I moved to Bel Air first because I’m baller [laughs]. Then I moved to Beverly Hills until 2006. And where I live now is a secret [laughs].


When did music come into the picture in your career?


 I started playing music around 2007—November 2007. It was just a time in my life when BMX was one of those careers where there…there was a lot of weirdness in that sport sometimes. There was a lot of jealousy towards me for what I was doing and I just felt like I needed a voice. I didn’t feel like I fit in like I used to. And I mean, there was jealousy within the industry because of the way the industry had treated for my success—and it really bothered me.


But that’s the past.


It took me a long time to get past that, and the vehicle I needed to do that was with music. When you ride, you have your physical expression, but the ultimate expression is to verbally expressive yourself. I was a lot more animated and more of a personality than the sport would allow, so it was just a natural progression. Plus, I had always been around music. I’ve done 14 Warped Tours. And I mean, who doesn’t love music? Ya know? Who doesn’t dream about being in a band?


I just went for it because I felt like it was the right time to take a negative situation and turn it into a positive.


Tell me about coming up in music around the Warped Tour circuit.


I got into Warped Tour after I met Kevin Lyman at the Big Day Out Tour in the mid-‘90s.



Extreme sports seemed to intertwine with Warped Tour on a bigger level at the beginning


Yeah, with BMX and skating and stuff…I mean, the world needs action sports—they’re very self-motivating. And everyone is into music.


 BMX was always my way of feeling free, getting out and feeling alive. But my personality was more [suited for] TV, film, and music—which is why I always felt like I fit in with music so much more.


Were there any bands in particular, whether on the Warped circuit or not, that influenced your foray into music and even your style of music?


Well, as far as music—I’m into everything. When people ask me, “Who’s your favorite band?”, its like, I don’t know [laughs].



I’m curious, since you are in a pretty unique crossover situation


Yeah. I mean, in the early days it was just music in general.


Being able to express yourself is a beautiful thing. People always want to express themselves through art and to me, music is all about an expression. It’s not so much about a calculated formula or plan of being a pro biker, and now I’m going to do music, and then watch me do this. No.


There’s so much heart and passion that goes into all of this. If it doesn’t have a purpose or meaning, it doesn't make sense—and I’m that kind of guy. I can’t get on stage and sing about some bullshit just to get fans, or to get money and be famous. To answer your question, if there was any band that really  influenced me besides Elvis fucking Presley and Johnny Cash, it would probably be - in terms of the punk rock side of me - Minor Threat and Suicidal Tendencies. Hands down.  Ian MacKaye is just so philosophical. He had a purpose and a meaning for everything he was doing, and I respond to that.


But then again, I like Iron Maiden. You know what I mean? It’s kind of hard to nail it down to just one. I like hip hop from the early days, ya know? Freaking Run DMC and the Beastie Boys. Sugar Hill Gang. Before hip hop it was freaking Peter Frampton. Carly Simon—there’s just too many to pick from.


I think music for me was just more about the expression than it was about a certain style.


Is that what you’re trying to do with your own music—appeal to a bunch of different audiences?


Yeah. I mean when people ask me who I sound like, I’m like…me. It’s a little Ian MacKay, a little Chili Peppers, a little Rage, a little this, a little that. I mean, one of my other favorite bands of all time is Lynyrd Skynrd—they’re just a rad band. I have too many influences.


I was born at that time when skate, BMX, punk rock and hip hop were all underground—and one at at time, they all popped off. You know what I mean? And I haven’t even talked about the baddest band in the land…Metallica. Don’t get me started!


So tell me where you’re at with your music right now. Are you cutting a full album, an EP…?


I’m writing new music.  I’m working with my bass player, who is like my brother, on writing songs and working with producers to make tracks. Right now I’m working on a new single and just playing a lot.  I’m getting ready to do a UK tour (13 stops) in October. Then an Australian tour in December for eight days.


Every day is a new thing, whether it’s a new song, social media, the web site, I design t-shirts—whatever. I do everything DIY. Completely. It’s so much more than music.


I’m recording, writing, playing shows, and touring—all at once. Those are the steps.






You stay insanely busy. What are your main projects right now?


Right now I do the stuff for SullenTV,  and I do a lot of work with Sirius Radio, riding, playing, appearances, and I’m a single dad with two kids. I did an appearance for a TV show coming out. I do some live hosting. The most challenging part is that there is so much…and doing it all while being a single dad—You’re always on. But it’s all worth it.


I mean, this is my life. I’ve gone through a lot to get my spirit back.


Do you feel like it’s back? I mean, do you feel like you’re in a good place right now both personally and professionally?


 Yeah. I mean, and I’ll put it out there. I’ve been through a lot with marriage and finances and  homes—and all of it at once, boom-boom-boom-boom. And I kind of got a little bit upset. I didn’t understand why I kept living in the past. When I stopped living in the past and started working on myself and my behaviors,  that’s when all of my energy started going back into music and my riding. It was like therapy for my soul. That’s all this stuff is to me.


The way that I looked at was like, I needed my spirit back. Not just for me, but for my kids, and everyone else.  Life tries to get you down, man. And you have to watch what you say because what you say is what you get.


That’s a great message


I like to have a lot of fun, but there’s also a really deep, sincere side to me. I always try to send a positive message. People try to put you in one category, ya know? So that they understand you. But the thing is—you can’t be afraid. For me, it was shifting careers. Being known for one thing and going for something that so many people are trying to do—and not riding coattails of being a bike rider.


It’s been a very challenging task, to say the least.


But to anyone out there—always listen to you. And let all the negativity roll off your back.  Straight up.


Keep up with music releases, appearance and tour dates at RickThorne.TV.