The Madness with Matt Rice

I really don’t know where to begin with Matt Rice. I’ve attempted this introduction on a few different occasions, but I haven’t found the right tone. Matt is undoubtedly one of our sport’s most unique characters, although “unique” doesn’t really do him justice. He is thoroughly his own person, not a copy or imitation of somebody else. Maybe Randy Marsh, but nobody else.

Matt can’t remember why he started shooting photos. He can’t remember his early days racing motocross. Hell, he doesn’t even remember how he fell in love with skateboarding. To him, all of these things just happened somewhere along the way, and he’s continued to do them ever since.

To be fair, I don’t really know the exact moment Matt and I became buds either. I think I just started talking at him, unprompted, about a skate part that had recently come out. Lucky for me he’s all about that shit. For that, and many more reasons, Matt’s one of my favorite people to see at the races. He’s a lot of other people’s favorite person, too.

We love ya, Matt! The next Dr. Pepper is on me.

Discussion includes: Suicide bombers, life as a pure 90’s kid, being a skate rat in the mid-2000’s, hanging wallpaper, instigating the “Post Diarrhea” Instagram model, growing up, learning about yourself through your motocross family, and of course… Team Fried.

World of Echo: Who is Ignaty Grinevitsky?

Matt Rice: [laughs] It’s actually a really hair-brained plot. It all comes from my mom being adopted, and the fact that I took my mom’s last name. She was adopted into the Rice family. My [biological] dad, it wasn’t like he was never in the picture, but they split up when I was really young. So, after that happened I took my mom’s name, Rice, instead of my dad’s name, which is Grinevitsky.

Ignaty Grinevitsky would be my great-grandfather’s older brother. My whole life, my dad’s whole life, my grandpa would always tell these stories about Ignaty. He’d go off on these tangents, “This guy, he was the first suicide bomber! He was an assassin! He was my uncle!” My dad and I would always brush it off as some crazy made-up story. Apparently TIME magazine even did a story about Ignaty, but we never looked into it.

In the last couple of weeks, my dad got these medical documents and birth records from my grandparents after they passed away. He was digging around and started sending out these DNA tests through Ancestry and 23 and Me. It really locked it down for us.

Ignaty Grinevitsky was a Russian-Polack and member of the conspiratorial revolutionary society Narodnaya Volya. Under direction from the society, he assassinated Alexander II, the Czar of Russia at the time. And, yeah… he’s my great-grandfather’s older brother. Even still, my great-grandfather had a ton of siblings, and he wasn’t even born until eight or nine years after Ignaty died. They never actually crossed paths, but somewhere along the way my great-grandfather moved to the United States and had my grandpa.

Ignaty.

Wow… [laughs]

That’s my blood!

…he does kind of look like you.

I know! We were joking about that man, it’s crazy. If you ever saw a picture of my grandpa, it gets really creepy. There’s no question, they’re almost identical.

What’s your family situation like then if your parents split?

I have a step-dad named Richard. He’s a sport’s photographer in the Philadelphia/New York area. He takes some great photos. He’s shot a lot at Yankee Stadium, some football games, all of that.

And your biological father is Bill?

Yeah, ol’ Bill!

He used to drag race at Englishtown in the 80’s?

Wow, you found that out? What’d you find!? I kind of think he’s lying. He’s never bragged about winning or anything, but I’m not 100% sure he actually did it.

I’ll be honest, I sourced it from something you said. I couldn’t find any info on Bill Rice.

See, that’s where you messed up because my dad’s name is Grinevitsky! You were using my mom’s name. When I was growing up racing moto, everyone would make that same mistake. My dad, he’s the sweetest and calmest guy ever. He’ll never get opinionated, political, or even topical really. He just does his thing. He goes to work, has fun, and is an all-around good dude.

When we’d be at races, I’d have all my friends around our pit and they’d all clamor for Mr. Rice. “Oh, hey Mr. Rice! What’s up Mr. Rice!” And my dad would just take it on the chin every time. “Hey. Hey! What’s up?” He’d never correct anyone.

So, the drag racing?

As far as I know, yeah, he did that. He loves racing, man. He’s a total gear-head. He’s a professional mechanic who works for the state of New Jersey. He was racing cars way before I was in the picture. I don’t remember exactly, because I was so young, but he did have this completely restored car. A ’68 Camaro, I think. Fully dragged out, big drag tires, running in the 9’s and 10’s on the quarter-mile. After I was born he put that aside and helped raise me.

We’d go to Englishtown because of my dad’s connection with the drag racing scene. I honestly didn’t enjoy it, because it was incredibly loud and intimidating. However, one time we went to check out the drag strip and they were holding a race at the motocross track, which we later learned was the annual KROC (Kawasaki Race of Champions) event. It was packed, and I was hooked.

So you grew up riding all over the Northeast? Englishtown, Hurricane Hills…

Oh yeah, I loved Hurricane. We frequented Englishtown mainly because it was fifteen minutes away from where we lived. I always got hurt there though, so I wasn’t that into it. I was more about the practice track they built later! I really enjoyed Broome-Tioga as well, or when Unadilla made the U2 track. The racing was always great.

Matt with his step-father, Richard.

I think you really came up in a special time. You developed in peak 90’s motocross.

My mom will always fight me on this, but I swear I remember the ball dropping on 1990. I would’ve been two and a half, but I remember seeing it on TV. To me, the 90’s was the first decade I was coherent for. I like to think I’m as 90’s kid as possible.

You’re pure 90’s kid.

Bro, all I listen to is Nirvana.

For as great as motocross was in your time, and the great times you had in it, you still became more of a skateboarder.

I think it all went hand-in-hand, really. Skateboarding and motocross were both accessible to me from a young age. When I was at my dad’s house, I could ride dirt bikes! We were fortunate enough to live in a great spot in New Jersey for it, too. Once the weekend was over, I’d stay with my mom for school and go skate. Skating and motocross were just always there for me.

I will always love motocross. I don’t really ride anymore, and I’ve seen enough to where I’m a little freaked out by it, but I still love it. Skateboarding though, that has had more of an influence on my everyday life than anything else.

We’ve talked about this before.

Oh, I’m sure of it.

I think skating can consume you in more ways than motocross.

It’ll make you crazy, I already know that because I’m there. I’ll head to the park and only do back smith’s all day. Kid’s will get on my case about learning new tricks and it’ll irritate me. “I like how this feels, so that’s what I’m doing!” My room looks like a skateshop with shoeboxes stacked on the wall, parts on the floor, boards everywhere. I recently counted all of my bearings that I own. Cleaned them all up. I’ll pair up the ones I like because they spin a certain way, and they go in a certain wheel. It’s crazy shit.

The borderline of sick and psycho.

Oh, it’s full psycho. I’ve been doing the same thing with my insoles, actually. I decided recently that I don’t like the fact that my insoles stay in my shoes after taking them off. I pull the insoles out and lay them upside down so they stay flat.

[laughs] I should’ve guessed we’d divulge on this path. I do want to include some skateboarding, though. It’s obviously a big part of who you are.

Ok, good.

Do you remember the first time you visited X-Styles Skateshop?

Oh god, X-Styles [laughs]. It’s a little bittersweet talking about X-Styles. It ended, the shop closed, and I don’t like the way it ended. I can’t erase it from my past though, I spent sixteen years of my life there.

The first time I went… I actually couldn’t find it. A few of my friends and I were skating in front of a liquor store in our neighborhood, and this old guy in a white Mercedes pulled up and said, “Ay, you guys like skateboarding, huh?” We were like, “Uh, yeah?” He told us about a new skateshop he’d opened in the mall. It was a really run-down strip mall, hardly a mall even, but that’s where he set up shop. From 2002 to 2018 I was a full-blown X-Styles head. I was so involved there. I was the team manager, then the manager, and through it all I only actually worked there for three years. I’d spend almost every day there regardless, staying until closing time every night just bullshitting with everyone.

It seemed like a really solid group of guys formed under that roof, guys like Sean Smith, Brian Johnson, Devin Scala…

Those are some good dudes. I grew up with those guys. I went to high school with Brian, Ricky, Chris, and Mo. We all went our separate ways eventually, but Mo and I hung out for a bit after high school. He’s living in San Francisco now.

We’d make a skate video every year and have premieres at our friend’s houses, it was crazy. We were just skate rats. It’s just like motocross, I came up in an era where it was accessible and commercial. At the time of our skating and video making, skateboarding was huge. I never got bullied in high school for skating, in fact, we were some of the better skaters in our area and people actually liked us. We had small sponsors from local shops. We had a small local following. That’s funny you bring up Sean and Brian man, those are some real dudes.

I was just watching a re-edit of your Banana part by Sean.

[laughs] What was the song for that? Was it Chili Peppers? I can’t remember.

Death Cab for Cutie!

That’s it! Oh man. There were a few re-edits of that. I would say that’s where the madness came out in my skateboarding life. I used to be a little hesh skater who didn’t care about how anything looked. If I landed a trick, no matter how sketchy or sloppy, I’d take it. Whatever clothes I had, I didn’t care. Right around when this part came out, a switch was flipped, and all of the sudden I cared so much. I couldn’t think of a song for that part to save my life. There was footage that I just didn’t want to use. Such a prima-donna. There must’ve been two other versions of that part alone. One had a Red Hot Chili Peppers song, the other had a Postal Service song.

The mid-2000’s vibe was heavy!

Oh, dude…

Skinny pants, big shoes.

I hated it. I hated it so much.

You were in Keepin’ It Kosher as well?

I was actually pretty proud of that part. I still claim The Cardigans as my favorite band. That was the first time I had a part I really liked with a song I really liked. I used Carnival by The Cardigans, and I remember everyone at the premiere hated it. I was so bummed! My friends and I still talk about certain tricks I did in there. Weird tech-y ledge stuff. If you could find Green and Brown, the original X-Styles video, hit me up. I helped make that video and I don’t even have one.

So after skating and working at X-Styles you went into a trade? No college?

I did not want to go to college at all. I did not have a good twelve years before that, and I really wasn’t looking to continue it. Once I left high school, I was stoked until people told me I wouldn’t have health insurance if I skipped college. I was like, “What the fuck is health insurance? No one’s told me any of this!”

I got a job at a craft warehouse driving a forklift. It was terrible, and I just thought work in general was horrible. I couldn’t understand why anyone would do it. Around that time I was getting serious with my photography, so I just quit on the spot and moved into my dad’s house. Through a family friend I got a gig hanging wallpaper, which supported me for five or six years while I honed my photography skills. It was right up my alley, really meticulous labor. I loved it. We’d be going back and forth for hours about re-doing a section of wallpaper, a section that the homeowner would never notice. It was all mental, totally bonkers, just like me.

“I didn’t have an interest to ‘learn’ photography. I just wanted to do it.”

Before all of this, you were shooting disposable rolls at the races. Shooting Doug Henry at Budds Creek and all of that. How’d photography come into frame?

I don’t know!

Another lost origin. [laughs]

Whenever I talk about motocross, skateboarding, or photography, I just don’t know. I’ve always been doing those three things. That, and drawing. I’ve been doodling forever. I just tinker around with all of those things. Something about being ten years old at a pro national made me want to capture it. I just wanted to take pictures because there was something about it. I didn’t have an interest to “learn” photography. I just wanted to do it. I didn’t take any classes in high school or anything like that.

Stewart, Lammy, and Townley at Budds Creek, 2002: Rice.

I was so against high school that I wouldn’t take any extra courses, even if it was something that I might be remotely interested in like photography. It felt like they were tricking me, suckering me into another class to keep me there longer. The only thing I cared about at school was the stair set out front. I never took to the video class, the photo class… and it sucks because I wish I did that now. We had a photolab with a dark room where I could learn to develop film. I’d fallen asleep in the darkroom before… but that was about it.

Now that you’ve gotten to this point, you’ve almost circled back.

I feel like it all recycles. All of this crazy technology comes out that everyone jumps on: 200mm lenses, 300mm lenses, on and on. Before I knew it I’m showing up to the races with a disposable camera and a polaroid. People are into the shitty stuff again! It will cycle back and someone will come out with this amazing mirrorless camera that can take 90 pictures in one second. Everyone will jump on that.

And you’ll be there with your gaffer-taped 70-200mm.

That’s an original. I got that when I started professionally shooting motocross in 2008.

What about Unadilla 2007?

I actually wasn’t supposed to get a credential for that one. This guy Vinny had a vest and a credential for the national, but something happened to him that week and he couldn’t make it for the weekend. He asked me if I could shoot the event for him. “I can only make it Friday,” he said. “I’ll come by and drop my equipment off, and you can shoot the race.” I was technically “Vinny,” because he gave me his credentials. I signed in as Vinny and all of that. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t even go to the media tent, I’d just stay on the track all day.

J-Law Unadilla 2007: Rice.

I feel like your motto is, “I’m not supposed to be here.”

It still feels like that!

I remember you saying that at the MXoN last year.

And I couldn’t get a credential until the middle of race day? That’s just par for the course for me, man. I’ve had credential issues for the longest time, I’ve learned not to trust it. I don’t even trip on it. I don’t freak out if I can’t get somewhere, I’m just happy to be wherever. I’ll make it work.

From what I understand, you did some pretty standard photo work with Woz [Matt Wozney] at MXPTV, you even had a deal with Alli Sports for awhile. It seems like we didn’t see your creative tendencies until years later.

Oh, yeah. I always say, “Shoot for the middle.” You know what I’m saying? [laughs] Don’t aim too high!

Even before Woz, I was just riding that wave. Everything I did was local, and I was still hanging wallpaper at the time. I would contribute to whoever needed it, and it was hard to think they wanted my work because of who I was, you know? 90% of the time they just needed somebody, anybody. I didn’t want to burn a bridge, really. If somebody paid me to shoot something and I went off and shot a bunch of slow-shutter, warped out photos, they might look at me funny. “Yeah, this is great… you’re artistic,” all of that. “But we just need to know who won the race.”

I shot for Woz. I shot for East MX. I had a pretty long run doing some shit for Pant Saggin Dezign. Even Motoplayground… I was just bouncing from job to job. I did things at Vurb for awhile. I shot the first Monster Cup for Vurb as a fill-in. I’d shoot whatever anybody wanted, and I garnered a reputation for being reliable, not creative. I wouldn’t put any of that stuff out there.

Once Instagram consumed everything, that went out the window. I could post four times a day, and I was posting whatever I wanted because I didn’t give a shit.

Elaborate on that.

I was in the right place at the right time, and I didn’t think Instagram would be what it is now. I’ve been on Instagram since 2011, so I had an early start. I’ve had @mattymattrice from day one based off a joke between friends ripping on “Marky” Mark Wahlberg. Once I had an iPhone, that was it. I was addicted to it and downloaded all kinds of apps and what not. I was feeding my inner junkie on that thing. I liked posting and that was it.

“Congrats, you’re artistic.” Rice.

I was trying to post solid photos for awhile, not be too adventurous, but I had this split-personality thing where I wanted to appear professional, and then later be like, “I don’t give a fuck.” I didn’t want to be another photography page on Instagram, I just wanted to be me on Instagram.

You can tell just scrolling through your feed. There’s a batch of motocross pictures. There’s a batch of illustrations, there’s skating… I think you’re one of the most popular media figures in our sport, and your feed looks nothing like anyone else’s.

I remember when Instagram really started to boom. I remember the transition from web-based posts to prioritizing Instagram posts. Woz and I were around for this and we were neck and neck in followers. Our deal was that he’d get me to races and I’d shoot them. I’d get him a gallery, he’d pay for my travel and lodging. I’d hustle and get contracts and shit. Woz wanted to be a media site that was active on Instagram, and I was just a person that was active on Instagram. Whatever I’d give to him I’d just post on my own afterwards.

We were both growing at the exact same amount at the exact same time. It got to the point where you’d see MXPTV and Matt Rice posts above anyone else in motocross. We were just making that our goal, to post on Instagram 24/7.

I like to call it “Post Diarrhea.” It doesn’t matter how many times a day, it doesn’t matter what it is, just post.

Then that eventually became the formula.

I like to make fun of photographers now because we kind of shot ourselves in the foot. I come from a different era of it, when digital was “the thing,” but you still had so much time to get your work done. You could be a little more creative because you didn’t have to post what you shot the second you shot it. It turned into this thing of, “We need it, NOW.” And it’s like, “Fuck, man. What were we thinking!?”

I remember at RedBud a few years back, I shot something I really liked and I ran back to the media tent to upload it. Everyone thought I was fucking crazy. “You’re posting that right now? Nobody has to get their work done until the next day.” And I’m all hopped up like, “Ah, no! I’m the first one!” Why did I do that? [laughs]

You’ve cannibalized yourself.

Yeah, dude. Kinda fucked. [laughs]

So you’re bummed on it now?

I mean, most of my job is just doing what I already did, so I can’t really hate it that much. At the same time, it takes away from the creative aspect of shooting motocross. You can’t wander and get lost at a race, because you have to get the finish, and you have to get to the podium. It’s gotta get sent out now. I don’t hate it, I’m not against it, I just miss wandering. You can’t do that… unless you have no work. If people need their shit, it gets serious, and I’m not a serious guy.

If anything can be surmised from this: Matt Rice is not a serious guy.

I like to keep it loose, loose and mellow. Is that possible?

You can’t be mellow, you’re too crazy.

Yeah, in my head.

If there’s actually anything I’ve learned about you, it’s that it seems like you’ve been non-stop for the last ten years. There’s so many things you’ve done and been a part of. You’ve practically been online for a decade.

I hear you. For that reason it’s funny to be around Tom and Jason all of the time, and it’s weird how our paths converged onto what it is now. Tom’s especially interesting to look at because it doesn’t feel like that long ago that I was shooting him racing at Englishtown. That was a long time ago now, but it doesn’t feel like that. I’m 33 years old now, and it still feels like I’m 20. There’s those little experiences like that that make me feel old, but to do this for ten years is nuts. It’s insane. You start to notice that time really does fly. Jason and I do this all of the time. We’ll remember somebody from the past with all of these stories, and we’ll be blown away that it was eight years ago.

With the culture of the #throwback, everything feels like it’s right now.

My girlfriend’s Aunt said something about Lake Whitney the other day. Her family had property out there. I was just like, “Oh… Lake Whitney!” They’re like, “You’ve been to Lake Whitney!?” I go, “Oh, have I ever…” You talk to kids now, they’re like, “What the fuck is Lake Whitney?” Some kids, anyway… other kids know how to get down.

“…whether you’re racing or just involved in the industry, it beats you up. It’ll beat you up mentally, physically.”

What have you learned from being on the circuit so long?

Oh, man. [laughs] That is such a weird question. You just learn the most about yourself, I guess? Shit changes. I always try not to burn bridges, but it’s going to happen. You’re going to piss somebody off. I’m sure I’ve pissed off a lot of people, situations that I don’t even know about! I don’t know… I’ve just learned about myself.

I like to say ten years exact, but I’m not really sure. At one point in my life I had a full-time job, and then suddenly I didn’t. One day I looked up and it was just this. It’s a weird routine, and I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. I mean dude, motocross, whether you’re racing or just involved in the industry, it beats you up. It’ll beat you up mentally, physically. I think I’ve done a good job holding it together physically, but mentally it’s tough. I get burnt out. I had to learn how to take a step back and focus on myself, because I never really did that. I’ve always worked with so many different people that I’d always make sure my relationships with them were good, but I’d forget to check on my myself.

That’s what I can take away from ten years of doing this, you learn a lot about yourself. Hell, I’m still learning.

I don’t think that ever ends.

God, I wish it would. [laughs] I just want to know what I like and what I hate. It’s always changing.

Why have you stuck around the industry?

I don’t know! I guess this is just what I do. There’s times where I fucking hate this. I’m like, “Get me out of here! I’ll work at Home Depot, I don’t care!” Then there’s times where I don’t know what I’d do without motocross.

Motocross is such a part of people’s lives, even as fans and enthusiasts, but once it morphs into this thing where you survive off it, the relationship gets complicated.

It definitely takes over for a lot of people. This past year was the first time I did Thanksgiving that wasn’t at Mini O’s. That hasn’t happened since 2008. It doesn’t feel like it’s been twelve years, but it has. One day I just stopped having Thanksgiving with my family, and instead I was having it with my traveling circus motocross family.

I think I know one or two people that I graduated high school with, and a few friends from our local park that I met through skating, but outside of that the majority of people I know are motocross people. It’s like, “Hey, here’s your new family! You’re gonna love and hate some people.” That’s really it, man. You know what I’m talking about.

I don’t know if I can claim I’m industry, but I’ve certainly peeked in there.

Seeing the kids growing up is the craziest. Tom and I still shoot amateurs a lot, even as much as he says he won’t shoot amateur races, we always end up there. I’ve seen kids grow up from five years old and go pro, to a certain extent. Little, little kids to pro riders. I still can’t look past them being a kid. When I think of Chase Sexton, I think of shooting him at Sunset Ridge when he was on 85’s. I watched him win another title in Salt Lake City… like, what? You’re just a kid!

You seem to have a soft spot for amateur motocross.

I really do. I like it so much more than pro racing. I loved racing, I still love racing, but I really enjoyed amateur motocross. Maybe I like camping or something? I always liked being at the track and fucking around with people. Being somewhere for an extended period of time and getting really involved with people’s family’s and what not, that’s cool. I get more satisfaction out of shooting an amateur race. Supercross and outdoors? That’s just work to me.

Freshly minted pro, Jalek Swoll: Rice.

Not to take away from the kid’s who grow up to be pro, but there’s satisfaction in shooting something that directly affects someone. A lot of times that happens in amateur motocross. If I shot somebody’s kid winning an amateur title, they’d see that and tell me it’s the greatest thing they’ve ever seen. That trips me out and makes me grateful. It’s amazing to think that I made something that someone else is proud of. I fucking love that. It’s way better than getting paid! If I could do that for free forever, I’d do that. Obviously, you can’t, but I’ve taken huge pay cuts where I could’ve been shooting something else to be at Loretta’s or wherever.

I’ll tell people straight up: Loretta Lynn’s is my favorite event to shoot. It’s insane. It’s insane for riders, families, photographers, track crew… that place is nuts! I would 100% go back. If things were normal right now, you best believe we’d be talking about gearing up right now.

Hell yeah. Now, Team Fried, that’s something you did…

Mm, yeah. We’re still doing it! It ain’t over.

Yeah, but it’s lame now.

[laughs] Hell yeah!

How has that affected your career?

It’s had it’s negative and positive effects. I mean, dude, the name is Team Fried! I’m sure everyone has their little take on what it means. I know people have had to fight for me to work for certain people because of the name. I’ve needed vouchers, if you will. It just sounds bad! At the same time, I don’t really know how to describe it. At the end of the day it’s been more of a positive than a negative. It’s something different and new in moto, and I’m not too sure how accepting people can be on things that are new and different, but it takes time.

I don’t want to say it was unexpected the way that we blew up, but I thought it would be more of a 50/50 type thing. There were gonna be the people that loved it, but the same amount of people would hate it. We’ve gotten so much more positive feedback from it, though. There was a brand of people in motocross that didn’t have a place before us and we took them all in. We’re all weirdos, man. Bring us your weird. I like it that way. Not that I’ve ever felt like an outcast, but I’ve had some very different point of views that I don’t think a lot of people agree with. With Team Fried, I get to do and say what I want to.

“At a certain point, we didn’t care who we made happy. We just wanted to have fun.”

There’s always been a rowdy, left-field audience that are die-hard moto, a crowd that you aren’t going to find at the Ryan Dungey autograph line with a Wheaties box.

I don’t know if it’s certain brands or media, but I’ve seen it often where companies want to cater to everyone. They wanted to make everyone happy. At a certain point, we didn’t care who we made happy. We just wanted to have fun. I’m talking by the second vlog, when they were still shit and we didn’t know what we were doing, people were straight up telling us things like, “I don’t like this,” or, “You can’t do this.” We were going to do it regardless. I don’t know what to tell those people!

By the middle of the summer, something clicked and we spent the rest of the nationals getting yelled at! It was almost annoying, actually. [laughs] They scream it so loud! If my back is turned I flinch.

I was genuinely concerned with the crowd at RedBud last year. I wasn’t sure if you guys would make it out alive if Jason won.

I was kind of nervous! He was riding really good that day. Everyone was freaking out on the podium after the first moto, and when he was doing well again in the second moto, I was like, “Man… we might fuck this place up.”

Getting rowdy at RedBud!

I didn’t think it could get as crazy as RedBud, and then the fucking Netherlands happened. That was like a whole other level.

You were carried by the shoulders of Irishmen!

I really didn’t think the Euros gave a shit about us, but they were so stoked on everything. Everywhere we went people were so pumped on us. I went to the Eindhoven skatepark by myself and the two kids working there noticed I was American and started asking questions. They were like, “What are you doing out here?” I said, “I’m working at the motocross race next weekend for Team USA.” They immediately went, “No way! Do you know Jason Anderson?” After that it was crazy. They started talking about Team Fried and I couldn’t believe it. They gave me a bunch of potato chips and Red Bull.

It was so weird, that trip. I went to go take a piss and some guy was pointing at me and screaming. My first thought is, “Uh oh,” and then he gets his friends and they scream “TEAM FRIED!” In one motion they picked me up and started carrying me around. Tom and I had Team USA gear that trip, and one of the Husky crew guys told us he kept getting yelled at because fans thought he was in Team Fried.

You seem pretty proud of what Team Fried has morphed into.

Yeah, I like it. We’ve been mellow this year, but it’s good. Our crew, we’re all different, but in some way we’re all the same, and it goes way beyond Tom, Jason and I. There’s Deegan [Vonlossberg], Gage Schehr, and Ben Griffith. Everyone at Grindstone Compound really, they’re all Team Fried heads. Everyone has this similar personality. We’ll brainstorm a million ideas and then say, “fuck it,” and play video games.

I think that’s where the success of Team Fried stems from. You are all pure moto and it’s undeniable. Even the most hardcore fan recognizes that. Here’s a group of guys that just get it.

I used to have a lot more followers on Instagram, and in recent years I’ve gone backwards, but it’s kind of nice. It’s like I’m trimming the fat. The people who are into what I do and what Team Fried does, and are active about it, they’re awesome. That’s what really matters to me, I could care less about the numbers or notoriety.

I’ve made friendships over Instagram with people in other countries about music and art. I talk with a guy who’s really good at painting, and I suck at painting, but I love art and we talk. I have a follower in Sweden who skates and now he follows my local park’s page. We just had a lengthy conversation about Ishod Wair the other day. Without Team Fried and nine years into my career, I don’t know if any of this would’ve ever happened. I never would’ve expected any of this. They like what I do, and I like what they do, motocross just brought us all together. Let’s explore it from there.

Special thanks to Matt for taking the time. Cover photo by Eric Shirk.