The Starboyz Interview - where did they end up?

1999, US stunt outfit the Starboyz were the nearest thing motorcycling had to rock stars. Then seemingly overnight, they disappeared.

It's dark outside as I peer down three floors into the deserted Sunday night street below. The clock says eleven fifteen. I'm dozing off when the lift door pings quietly behind me and spews forth its exhausted cargo. Two distinctive figures cross the office to the room I've set up for our late night rendezvous.

Carrying huge kit bags ready for their flight out of the country before the sun's up again, the blond-haired one cracks a smile while the one with the mohawk swears loudly and stops to nurse the tibia, shattered five days previously, which he's just caught on a photocopier.

Scott Caraboolad, the blond one, and Kevin Marino, the one with the hair, are what remains today of the infamous Starboyz stunt act. These riders from Akron, Ohio, were the catalyst for street freestyle as it stands today. Taking their cues from European riders they took stunting on sportsbikes to the road, and did it all in little more than baggy jeans, trainers, and hair gel. 10 years ago it was something they did for shits and giggles, then it became a multi-million dollar business. It's been no gravy train, though...

KEVIN: At the beginning it was more of a dream than anything. Making money riding wheelies? We couldn't believe it.  Scott, Joe Frasier and I met four months before we started the Starboyz. I was the best wheelie rider in my area, Scott was the best in his and Joe was a new kid with a reputation for being hot. We knew each other by reputation and finally met up. We just gelled. Then we made our first FTP (Fuck The Police) video and that changed our lives.

SCOTT: We shot that first tape for fun, but word got around and people started asking for copies. We ran out but the calls were still coming in, so we made more. We figured maybe we could make a few bucks for gas money so we sent the tape to a distributor who sold dirt bike videos. They saw it, wanted it and they were talking serious royalties.

KEVIN: So there we were, and someone's going to pay us royalties for riding wheelies which we were doing anyway? Shit, man. I was stoked because they were paying me the same amount as the payments on my GSX-R. I had my bike paid for just because of a video. My life was regular at that stage, had a wife and a house.

Then we make this video and suddenly we've got people asking us to do shows, girls asking us to their rooms, the lot. Suddenly I'm away from home, my marriage and job are suffering and I'm going from wanting to be a regular married guy to wanting something very different.

So I quit my job. Scariest day of my life. My boss said: "Kevin, you have a family, a house, all paid for by this job. And you want to leave it for something called Starboyz? Which will probably land you in jail and only give you enough money for a six pack at the end of the day if you're lucky?" My marriage lasted another week.   

When Starboyz started we embraced the rock star life. We were young, loving the attention and the money was pouring in.

KEVIN: I remember the first time we got asked to do a show. This guy called up from a local speedway and offered us 800 bucks to ride at a small drag race. We said yes, but didn't even have a show or a clue how to do one back then.  We went on to do over 500 shows after that, and that initial $800 fee grew to become more like $12,000.

SCOTT: Suddenly we were sharing VIP rooms with people like Ja Rule and Justin Timberlake, real A-listers, and even weirder they knew who we were! I remember being at a show in New York and Ice-T telling us he loved our films. I was blown away. The more we acted up, the more crazy we got, the more we drank, smashed and wrecked, the more people loved us. And every time we got into trouble we paid a lawyer to get us out of trouble. It was too easy.

Now I can see it a little differently. All three of us had lost our fathers young, and that leaves a big hole for any young guy. It made us closer and pushed us harder. And in the environment we were in, we weren't too fussed about consequences. We were screaming up and down the street at four in the morning, blowing trashcans up with dynamite, wandering out on the porch shooting handguns. All in the heart of a suburban neighborhood.

KEVIN: It was bad but there was nothing our drunken minds ever thought was serious enough to land us in jail. But it wasn't healthy. Man, the parties. The destruction. We'd finish up at a show blowing our bikes up. People figured that had to be for the act. But then I'd be home that night, drunk, on my own and I'd be destroying stuff. Throwing stuff out the window, blowing up a spare motor in the garage. Anything. Then I'd wake up in the morning, go to my safe, pull out a stack of money and go buy everything again I just broke. It became so normal I never even questioned it.

I suppose the craziness was waiting to come out from inside. Half my family was dead by the time I was 21 - the men on both sides of my family died young with health problems - and that haunted me. I'd wake up in the morning just fucking miserable. I'd look out and see what I had - my own family, my job, everything, but I was never happy. So I'd combat the depression by getting drunk and smashing shit up.

KEVIN: Joe woke up one morning after yet another party, at his absolute lowest and he said God spoke to him and he was done with it. Now he's a born again Christian. He doesn't drink, ride, smoke, swear or even have sex any more. But he's happy and that's all that matters because the way he was going it was only ever going to end one way. 

SCOTT: Sex, drugs and alcohol are great, but they don't fill the holes in your life. It all just falls right out again the next morning. 

KEVIN: For me the lowest point was losing Sarah, my girlfriend of the time, and my kid. She left me because of my lifestyle. Scott was getting married, Joe had found God and quit the partying and I was left on my own. I was out every night spending $500 at a time just hitting bars and drinking with anyone I could, not the behaviour of a happy person.

SCOTT: We'd still take care of business when we were sober back then, but that wasn't very often. We blew a lot of money. Like the time we came to Scotland five years ago, they paid us $15,000 and we spent $10,000 just on bar bills. 

KEVIN: But if we'd been different, if we'd saved all our money, never hit a bar, never gone crazy, never bought drinks for everyone we could see, I sincerely believe none of this would have worked. We'd just be some guys riding wheelies. If we wore leathers and helmets, didn't run from the cops and didn't have all the dyed hair and tattoos as well, I guarantee this would never have happened. So sure we wasted money, but in a weird way that's why it worked.

SCOTT: And we would lose money too, we'd get wasted and forget where we put the cash we got paid. And that would be that - gone! Another few thousand lost. We even lost hire cars. No keys anywhere, no car outside, and no clue where we possibly could have left it. So we'd have to pay for that on top of the money we'd just tossed.

KEVIN: As for the money we've paid to hotels for damages, we would routinely have 10 grand bills. And we'd only been there two nights. In one room. We were paying for the fucking damage. In Texas, some guy hired us to do a show, but didn't pay our deposit up front nor our balance. We rode anyway, but had a real bad feeling. Afterwards he told us to go to the hotel suite he'd booked for us and he'd be over with the money in an hour. So we went, but he never showed.

We started drinking, and he's not even answering his phone now. So, we decide the best way to get our revenge is to destroy the suite he's booked.  We threw every piece of furniture out of the window, and we were on the 11th floor. I was jumping from the bed and diving through the walls into the bathroom. We were smashing all the glass in the room, the ashtrays, the TV, and so on. Then we fell asleep. 9am the next morning, the door knocks so Scott goes and looks through the peephole. He comes back to me looking really bad. "It's the guy from last night, and he's got our money," he says. Oops.

SCOTT: Shortly after that I was arrested on my wedding night for being disorderly. I was already on probation in three other states, had another court case pending, so went to jail for three weeks because of another case which had just gone through.  When I turned up in court later for the wedding night disaster, I'm sitting in front of the judge and she rolls out this massive long roll of paper over her desk and down to the floor. And it's my record. She looks at me and says, "this is the worst record I've seen all year", and then it hit me. For the first time I realised I was a fucking mess.

She could have sent me down for anything up to 90 days. Not the world's biggest sentence, agreed, but jail isn't pretty and having been in for a few shorter stays I knew 90 days would feel like a lifetime. And if the other states where I was on probation found out about this, I'd have to do time there too.

That was when I realised I couldn't drink any more because it was going to cost me everything. My family was being torn apart, my wife was falling to pieces, and everything we'd ever worked for with Starboyz was on the brink of imploding.

KEVIN: Because apart from the drinking and destruction, the rest of Scott's life was set. Great family, great house, best job on the planet, but he was fucking everything up. I was glad he stopped drinking. He had to. Sure I miss having a drinking partner, but it's a small price to pay.

SCOTT: And the only trouble is now Kevin has to drink for both of us. Luckily he never gets as violent as Joe or I did when he's drinking though, he can handle it much better. I worry about his health though. He's still living like a rock star and we're certainly not getting any younger these days...

So right now we've been doing this for eight years on the trot and we're still making money, but where do we go from here? Who knows. People have always said to me stunt riding will never last another year and yet here we still are, doing our thing. The riding's evolving year on year too, and with all of that going on we're going to keep on riding as long as we can. We've straightened up, have finally got some clear business heads on us and we've got a lot more responsibility these days. I mean look at me. I'm married and I've got three kids now. Before I only had to care about myself and the problem was then, I just didn't give a fuck.

Serious hellraisers: those whose love of chaos went too far...

  • Led Zeppelin's drummer John Bonham ordered his driver to take him to the pub where he drank 28 vodkas and ate one ham sandwich before rehearsels. He promptly died 10 hours later.
  • Keith Moon had been out to see the premiere of a new play with Paul and Linda McCartney and was on anti cold-turkey drugs at the time. Instead of taking two pills, however, he took 30. And died.
  • Legendary wildman Phil Lynott  loved his smack and booze, so much so that in 1986 his body parts dissolved. First his liver went, then his kidneys, and finally his lungs. He promptly died. 
  • Jimi Hendrix was full of pretty much everything in 1970, including anti-depressants which, at the time, shut off the gag reflex. After a hard night on the sauce Jimi passed out, threw up and drowned in his own wine-flavoured sick. 
  • Elliot Smith, a huge country and western singer in America, overdosed and got so depressed in 2003 that he stabbed himself to death in the chest.