Linkogle Discusses Why He Wrote His New Memoir & His Goal To Grow The Talent Of Young Riders
In his newly published memoir titled “Mind of the Demon: A Memoir of Motocross, Madness, and the Metal Mulisha,” motocross industry vet Larry Linkogle delves into the details behind his career, drug abuse, and what he’s identified as his ongoing struggle to keep Metal Mulisha focused on the riders and its roots. As part owner of Metal Mulisha and one of its initial founders, he explains his dream for the company: “I wanted the Metal Mulisha to be like a family-a place where young riders could grow and improve and be part of something bigger than themselves.”
In 2006, Metal Mulisha was acquired by apparel licensing company, The La Jolla Group, and has since grown into a multi-million dollar company.
TransWorld Business sat down with Linkogle at his recent book signing last Friday at Camp Pendleton, in San Diego, California to hear more about his decision to write a memoir, his take on where the moto industry is headed, and his goals for developing the careers of talented young riders.
What made you want to publish a memoir?
People pushing me to tell the truth of what's going on— not only my own personal struggles in life that a lot of people I know deal with— but also the corporate bullshit that goes on. It reveals the politics because I think it's time for people to be enlightened. There's a dark side of everything, just like the moon has a dark side to it but there's also a light side to everything.
Personally I don't really like anything to do with public appearances or having any memoir of any sort. I've been influenced by others around me that I've seen overcome the stuff that I did, and it's more about being able to help others around me.
Why did you choose Camp Pendleton for your meet and greet?
My family's been in the military and it's a part of Metal Mulisha, as well. We give a lot to the military and we support them. If I'm gonna do any public appearance anywhere, I want to go to the heart of America and really the heart of America is our military. Everyone here is the reason I can say half the stuff I say in my book. I see everyone doing all their trips and weird stuff that's all just so media-driven, but if you do go to a base, media usually isn't even allowed on there because it's not PR material.
What was your part in founding Metal Mulisha?
We didn't think it was gonna be as big as it is but you know, we had a pretty methodical plan that we were going to bump out all the corporate oppression that was going on in the sport. Now, I'm in the middle of basically trying to tear down the Berlin wall in my own company, to where it's now becoming a communist dictator. Everything I built the company not to be, it's kinda turned out to be. I'm in a constant battle with my partners to try to keep it at its roots.
What kind of experiences did you get from developing this brand?
I learned how gnarly the politics really are. Sports and all levels of management are owned by such huge conglomerate sources, and a lot of those people are so busy running other things that they're not able to see the shadiness that's going on below them.
What kind of involvement do you have in Metal Mulisha today?
Anything core that comes out of that brand is me. I have 50% involvement and I'm really deep into it, but it's basically like Finland against Russia. It's pretty hectic.
What are your thoughts on the overall state of the motocross industry today?
Motocross is a very respectable and physically demanding sport and one of my favorite sports. The good thing about racing is that it doesn't have the politics that freestyle motocross would have. There's always gonna be politics about who's got the better bikes and faster bikes but it's pretty cut and dry; if you cross the finish line first, you win. There's always going to be cheating and everything, but at least your score isn't dictated by a panel of judges [like in freestyle motocross]. Motocross in itself is still the same people that have been running it since the dawn of time; it's world class athletes filling stadiums with 30,000 people and their whole lives revolve around training and what not.
You look at an NBA star that's a professional athlete and they're making millions and millions of dollars just to be on a team but for a top 5 professional motocrosser they have to get onto a team just to get the good bikes so they can win, and they're signing on to that for next to nothing just so they can get results. When you win, the promoters that run the organizations are also the same people that own companies like Disneyland and Disney on Ice. For them, it's a source of income and they're just making hand over fist and not really paying the athletes. To get 20th in a supercross, you're one of the 20 best in the United States and for the lights class you might get $1000. I think its bullshit.
Do you have any projects in the works?
I have a lot of projects in the works. I'm most excited about the up and coming talent we have with Metal Mulisha and my struggle to tear down that socialist wall. My other projects are working with Nathan Fletcher and Robbie Maddison. We own a new company that's like a wine lagger. [It’s] better than a microbrewery. We're doing the first action sports alcoholic beverage. We're calling it The Talking Frog. Then of course the MDP block with me, Nate Adams, Robbie Maddison, and Josh Hansen. It's a bunch of all of us friends that live on the same block and we continue to build up younger riders and give careers to these kids while trying to do it in a safer manner, and keep Mulisha how it used to be, creating the gnarliest world class athletes.