Machine Gun Kelly is a name synonymous with rapid-fire bars and spitting quick wit and unapologetic truth. In fact, that’s literally how Colson Baker, the kid from Cleveland, Ohio, got his stage name.
MGK has made for some of the funniest (and strangest) headlines in entertainment – and he’s about to make more as he tears through Australia on a whirlwind tour that is well overdo, even by his own standards. Music Feeds caught up with the rapper in the very small window he had at home between wrapping filming of the Netflix Motley Crue biopic The Dirt and flying out to New Zealand to begin his first MGK tour in two years.
Machine Gun Kelly: Sorry I had a gnarly birthday party and I forgot to pack all my stuff and I leave for Australia in like an hour so I’m just trying to pack all my stuff and do everything all at once… I was just playing Tommy Lee for the last four months in this Motley Crue movie so it’s the first day back and I’m just trying to figure out how to be me again.
MF: So four months playing Tommy Lee – how did you get into character for that one?
MGK: Jack Daniels every night for the first four weeks before we started filming, going out with the other crew members and the cast and just like, just living it. Just living it and staying away from my phone, practicing the accent.
MF: So playing a lot of double bubble?
MGK: Oh yeah, yeah they do this thing where they flick the cap off and they go, “we won’t need this any more,” and they fling the cap and they drink it ’til five bubbles… oh no no no you’re right sorry you’re right, they did five gulps and then they’d get the double bubble (laughs) so yeah, yeah, playing that. Yes, that’s exactly what we did (laughs).
MF: So you’ve got a few acting credits behind you now – was that always part of the plan?
MGK: Yeah I think so. I mean I was holding a big ass camera back when it was like, you know, you would almost have a VHS inside the camera. I used to have one of those when I was a kid, like pre-teens. I loved Jackass so much…You know, so we were like young skater kids so we always wanted to film our tricks and I was the guy with the camera. And then eventually I started turning the camera on myself and then it was… I don’t know… I think I just always liked being in front of the camera and ended up wanting to… yeah.
MF: Well it’s kind of worked out well for you then.
MGK: Oh fuck yeah. But I mean I make it work out for myself, because I chase those roles. The process behind every movie I’ve got is pretty intense, and they’re all done differently and… yeah, it’s pretty cool. I mean, I auditioned for The Dirt six times over the span of, like, two or three years.
MF: So this has been in the works for quite some time, because it wasn’t really announced until about six months or so ago.
MGK: Oh yeah. Well you know, studios picked up the project and then they left it because it was so uncut and so raw and so… you know, rock’n’roll… a lot of people didn’t want to touch it. And like, you know, there were certain scenes in that book that… to fucking imagine them in the movie theatres is crazy. It took someone like Jeff Tremaine, who is the director, who also did Bad Grandpa and Jackass; it took someone like him to have the balls to do the film and make it work and still keep it as uncut as possible. So it’s gonna be insane, it’s gonna shake the culture up.
MF: Oh definitely, I mean the book is one of my favourites – I read it so many times the spine fell out of it.
MGK: Likewise (laughs) yeah, likewise.
MF: So working with Jeff must have been a bit of a dream come true for someone that grew up in the Jackass culture?
MGK: Oh absolutely (laughs) that’s my boy for life, and he’s one of my idols. I mean, to meet him and for him to be as rad as I thought, it’s pretty cool yeah.
MF: As you mentioned before, you’re getting ready to tour Australia this week. Are you excited, or are you just kind of wishing you had some more time off?
MGK: Oh no dude, I’m more excited than ever. It’s the first week of me being Machine Gun Kelly again, so I’m just glad to come and do some shows. I remember touring Australia five years ago and it was only a small amount of people at the shows and just knowing that the hype is so huge right now for us coming over there is just making… I’m just so excited because, you know, the before and after effect is a beautiful thing, and it’s just amazing to see it come to fruition.
MF: For sure, I mean you had a lot of mainstream chart success here last year with Bad Things so does that pump you up more?
MGK: Oh yeah (laughs) I’m super excited about that. I think we had a certain amount of mainstream success throughout the past, you know, five or six years, but because of certain unfortunate events like with Chester passing and certain other things, we weren’t able to go out into the world and tour the album and do it the way we wanted to. So it’s kind of like our first time coming out again, you know what I mean? Like we did Europe, but just to like come out in the world and do Australia and do the States, I mean that’s a big… it’s been two years, you know, for us, we haven’t even toured the United States, you know what I mean? So we’re just really excited about the times right now, because we had all that success and weren’t able to go celebrate it. So, it’s been building up for a long time so I’m gonna come over there and go fucking crazy (laughs).
MF: Well pardon the pun but you’re kind of gunning for it now.
MGK: Yeah, (laughs) exactly, yeah.
MF: You know we still haven’t legalised cannabis out here though, right?
MGK: Oh you know, I still just don’t give a fuck (laughs). It’s getting lit regardless.
MF: Do you have many fond memories of your last tour out here?
MGK: Last time I was in Australia? Oh yeah, absolutely. The finale night – I mean we only did four dates, I think we’re doing the same thing this time – the finale night was when we had a rooftop suite and we all stayed up until the sun came up. We packed it and had a big party. And our friend was so wasted that he did… some of the dumbest things I can’t repeat (laughs). But yeah it was just a great time. I remember showing up to Sydney and the concert was, like, three-fourths metal heads, and they were all super down with Machine Gun Kelly, and they all had mohawks and leather jackets and tattoos everywhere, and they were just going fucking apeshit, like, jumping around everywhere and jumping off the speakers. I just remember it was unreal, just a super good time. But that was on a much smaller scale so I’m just excited to see how it is now.
MF: I mean, I’m just making an assumption here – but I’d say there’s going to be a lot more girls at the shows this time around.
MGK: Oh my god, so many more. It’s been a blessing to have that last album be perceived by the girls the way it was. You know, girls singing to you in concert is the coolest thing ever. That’s my favourite part of this thing.
MF: I did read somewhere you had started cleaning up your act a lot since your daughter became old enough to Google you.
MGK: Haha! Yeah I guess that’s one way to put it. I think I just am more aware of… yeah, I don’t know. Let me tell you something – I’m going to be crazy forever (laughs) so… it is what it is.
MF: Well you were known for your crazy stage antics for a while there. What’s the craziest thing that you’ve read about yourself? Whether they be true or untrue, you don’t need to confirm or deny.
MGK: Oh man, what have I read about myself? I mean, I don’t know – maybe the headline, “Machine Gun Kelly Humps Girl Off Stage” or something. Usually whenever I see that I go, that’s pretty funny (laughs) and then I click on the video and like, we had this really high stage and I just remember this girl was on stage and she was like dancing, and I just remember doing one hip thrust (laughs) – like, one hip thrust – and it, like, air-humped her off the stage. I mean it was just… it was really fucking funny. But I mean, I’m sure there’s ridiculous stuff out there.
I mean, I’m not really big on the whole reading things about myself thing. I see enough of me every day that I’m completely okay with not seeing what else I’m doing. Or not doing (laughs) and the world of lies, AKA the internet. I don’t even care. But shit like that is funny, like, “Machine Gun Kelly Gets Blowjob On Stage,” you know what I’m saying? There’s funny things out there that I get a kick out of. At the end of the day I am who I am and I’m unapologetic about it. I’m a good person, with a good soul and good morals and good manners, so I’m not really here to justify the fact that I’m a fucking rock star as well.
MF: Well from being a kid moving around all the time – you were almost homeless – and working in a takeout joint…
MGK: Almost?! Are you shitting me? (Laughs) Do you know how many fucking couches I crashed on chasing this dream? There’s no almost.
MF: Well now that you’re working with people like DMX, Ty Dolla Sign, Kid Rock; playing Tommy Lee on film – do you ever sit back and pinch yourself?
MGK: Yeah, I did the last couple mornings. I did on my birthday. Yeah, I accepted the fact that there’s some really amazing things that have occurred in my life, so I absolutely am in a very humble mood and mode right now. Just like looking back at it now like, wow, it’s all real.
MF: What is there left to do? What’s on your bucket list now professionally?
MGK: It’s time to spark a new wave. So I’m focused on creating that musically right now. I mean, in terms of new music we’ll see, I mean I just got done being Tommy Lee yesterday so I’m re-adjusting. I mean yeah that’ll be on the cards at some point for sure, but I go straight from being a character like that back to Machine Gun Kelly in 24 hours, I mean it takes a minute to get out of that.
MF: Do you think the experience of playing Tommy might not so much affect but have any kind of influence on your performance now?
MGK: Yeah, I mean I think I’m happier, yeah. He was a happy dude. He woke up and pinched himself every morning, yeah so absolutely I think I’m happier.
MF: Well, last of all – what would you say to a kid looking up to MGK right now?
MGK: I would say… dream so big that they laugh at you, and when you grow up make them shut up by achieving your dream. You gotta make sure that you dream so big everyone laughs at it because it just seems that impossible, that’s the key.
Machine Gun Kelly 2018 Australian Tour
Tickets on sale Wednesday, 14th February
Wednesday, 2nd May
Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Tickets: Live Nation
Thursday, 3rd May
The Tivoli, Brisbane
Tickets: Live Nation
Saturday, 5th May
Tickets: Live Nation
Sunday, 6th May
Metro City, Perth
Tickets: Live Nation