Community Classic and Custom Motorcycles Richard Grieco Interview: Passion for Acting, Motorcycles, and Freedom

Richard Grieco Interview: Passion for Acting, Motorcycles, and Freedom

A working actor since 1988 and a motorcyclist since 1972, Richard Grieco has a passion for both disciplines. An Ossa 125 got him started on two-wheels, and he rose to international stardom in 1988 as Detective Dennis Booker on the 21 Jump Street television series.

Since then, Grieco has expanded on his continuing acting career with stints as producer (23 credit), a director (five credits), a musician (Waiting for the Sky to Fall), and painter (“Abstract Emotionalism”).

Grieco currently has two movies in post-production—Desert Moon and Anadellia Rises—while he is starring in a science fiction thriller, Risen, that is currently shooting.

Richard Grieco with his Harley-Davidsons

As a motorcyclist, he’s a fan of vintage motorcycles, owning nothing newer than a 1987 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail. So, let’s talk bikes.

Richard Grieco Interview

UM: Birthplace?

Richard Grieco: Upstate NY

Current residence?

Los Angeles.

What’s your current ride?

I used to have seven Harleys. Now, I have three Harleys, and two Indians—one a 1939 trike and a ’41 Scout. The Harleys are a 1990 Springer rebuilt to look like a ’48 knucklehead, an ’87 Heritage built to look like a ’59 Duo-Glide, and a 1982 shovelhead “Booker Bike”. I also have a 1966 Triumph Tiger 500.

What’s your dream ride?

I have it—the 1990 Springer rebuilt to look like a knucklehead.

Richard Grieco Interview - Harley-Davidson Springer
1990 Harley-Davidson Springer as a ’49 knucklehead

What got you involved in riding?

Started when I was a seven-year-old. It was an Ossa 125.

What type of riding do you do most often?

I would say cruising.

How about racing? Are you involved in any, or follow any?

I do like Supercross, and MotoGP is sick.

What is your most memorable motorcycle story?

I have had quite a few. It has to be my assistant at the time, Dale—also a great friend. We took a trip through Arizona and New Mexico. I’ll never forget crossing into Arizona and strapping our guns and holsters on. It was a total sense of freedom.

Richard Grieco Interview: Harley-Davidson Duo-Glide
1987 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail reimagined as a ’59 Duo-Glide

Who is your most admired motorcyclist, besides Steve McQueen? [LOL]

Evil Knievel—he changed the game.

What is your favorite motorcycle movie?

Easy Rider.

How has riding influenced your acting?

It gave me a sense of freedom, and the understanding of being in the moment.

Have you gotten to ride while acting ever?

Yes! Booker and Bolt or, as some called it, Rebel Run.

What other past times do you do besides motorcycling?

Painting, music, cars, writing.

Richard Grieco Interview: Motorcycles and Painting
“When Music Goes Silent” by Richard Grieco

Did you ever participate in huge motorcycle events?

I have in the past—usually, the trip out is more fun than the actual event.

Is there one motorcycling-related trip or event you’d like to participate in?

Sturgis.

In as few words as possible, how has motorcycling truly changed your life?

It has given me a sense of freedom and being your own man, not the Hollywood bullshit.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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