008: DJ BBQ/Life's Rich Pageant

“If you put food into a person, they’re going to be a better person”.

 

It’s episode 8 of the Looking Sideways action sports podcast, in which I was hosted, cooked for and generally ‘catertained’ by the force-of-nature that is Christian Stevenson, aka DJ BBQ.

Sure, late-comers may know Christian through his latter handle, a man with a huge social following and his own hugely popular channel on Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube.

But in reality Christian has been in and around the action sports scene for the last three decades and has pretty much done the lot. Over the years, he’s been a film-maker, team manager, BAFTA award-winning TV presenter, actor, a Sony Award-winning radio DJ and a voiceover artist, before evolving into what he is today: a renowned live fire chef and best-selling author.

Christian sending it in Lebanon back in 2004. Photo: Scalp

Highlights of our conversation include:

  • Directing the seminal Jamiroquai video Light Years
  • Making classic 90s snowboard film Odd Man Out
  • How he built the DJ BBQ brand though his canny use of social media.
  • Life as a single Dad raising three boys while juggling his career.

I had a riotous time talking to Christian about his incredible life and times for two hours, and the stories came thick and fast. Sit back and enjoy.

If you only have five minutes…

Listen to this section - Christian explains how he built the DJ BBQ brand.

Connect with Christian

Show Notes

  • Barbecue prep
  • Alabama White Sauce
  • The meaning of barbecue
  • Coals v gas
  • ‘Barbecue helped us evolve’
  • How a childhood kidnapping led to Christian’s early love of cooking
  • Early cooking lessons from Dad and Grandpa
  • The Drumbecue
  • Texas-style pit barbecue
  • The ethos behind Christian’s cooking
  • Christian’s early years skating
  • First efforts as a filmmaker – and early set-up
  • Studying TV and Film at college
  • Early days riding in Pennsylvania
  • Hitting up Jackson Hole on the Burton 150
  • The move to Vail – and an early job in the media reporting on the Gulf War
  • The best way to clean your dirty grill.
  • Making blue screen music videos and ski videos for tourists…
  • … and using the same kit to film Vail’s best pipe riders.
  • The first film – Blindside – and the importance of music to Christian’s films
  • Heading to the UK to find distribution, and a lifelong love affair with the UK begins.
  • Christian’s early love of music.
  • DJing with cassettes
  • A fateful meeting with Swervedriver
  • Late night munchies.
  • Summer in Portugal
  • Making Odd Man Out
  • Early years in London working for Black Diamond and The Snowboard Asylum
  • Christian’s local butcher Caroline, and the film they made together.
  • Distribution road trip around the UK
  • Getting signed to Sony…
  • … and directing Jamiroquai’s Light Years video.
  • Jay Kay drops a twenty foot cornice.
  • The meaning of Light Years
  • How the soundtrack to Odd Man Out came about.
  • Becoming in-house video director for Sony
  • Memories of filming Odd Man Out
  • Leaving Sony and heading to A&M to film Day Tripper
  • Jack Bibbo blows himself up and fronts it right out.
  • Jim Wedlake’s latter career as one of the most in-demand filmers in the game
  • Road tripping with the Brits and other riders
  • Telling stories through film
  • John Cardiel’s brief snowboarding career
  • Taking the role as Van snow and skate team manager
  • Meeting Kings of Leon
  • Dirty onions part 1
  • Grooming tips and ageing
  • The importance of seizing opportunity and how it leads to more opportunity
  • Jake Burton’s favourite snowboards
  • How being the voice of High Five got Christian into TV presenting
  • The evolution of RAD
  • Life advice from Tony Hawk.
  • Juggling his many different roles
  • Projects for B&Q and Hellmans
  • The genesis of DJ BBQ
  • Delivering his third child at home.
  • Moving away from TV into radio as a DJ with Kerrang!
  • Air guitar with The Darkness
  • Moving to Birmingham – and winning two Sony Awards
  • The next step – DJ BBQ
  • The ‘catertainment’ concept
  • Food columnist for FHM
  • ‘Grills grills grills’
  • Signing for Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube, working with Google….
  • …and signing a book deal with Penguin.
  • Partying with Jared Leto, Boris Becker etc
  • Hitting a two week book deadline
  • No. 1 Amazon-selling author
  • ‘Phil Schofield loves his barbecue by the way’
  • The power of Christian’s social media network.
  • His relationship with Jamie Oliver.
  • ‘Dexter Fletcher is one of the greatest roller skaters I’ve ever seen’
  • Life as a single Dad raising three boys
  • Making it work with his various projects
  • Curating and hosting Meatopia
  • The camaraderie of the live-fire community
  • Using culinary travel influences in his cooking.
  • Squaring his role promoting meat eating with environmental issues.
  • Christian’s current favourite chefs
  • Christian’s final meal
  • ‘The sound of jealousy’
  • The final meal – dirty onions part 2

Places/events/programmes/media mentioned

People mentioned

  • Ron Stevenson
  • Ross McGouran
  • Kriss Vile
  • Uncle Rip
  • Mark Bryant
  • Dennis Hick
  • Christian Graff
  • Adam Merriman
  • Stevie Altars
  • Barret Christy
  • Josh Hemminger
  • Travis Young
  • Todd Richard
  • Jay Nelson
  • J2
  • Jason Gerardi
  • Jim Wedlake
  • Jack Bibbo
  • Mack Dawg
  • Allan Green
  • Andy Allan
  • Adam Franklin
  • Toby Millage
  • Blue Stevenson
  • Chris Moran
  • Stu Brass
  • Jeremy Sladen
  • Martin Drayton
  • Steve Bailey
  • Caroline Billings
  • Mark Richardson
  • Rankin
  • Jay Kay
  • Axel Pauporte
  • Phillip Lalemont
  • Russ Brass
  • Mark Kent
  • Sara Lord
  • Regis Rolland
  • Valerie Blanc
  • Danny Wheeler
  • Neil McNab
  • Frank Screm
  • Travis Parker
  • John Cardiel
  • Jim Rippey
  • Noah Salasnek
  • Romain de Marchi
  • Tim Warwood
  • Adam Gendle
  • Scott McMorris
  • Danny Wainwright
  • Olly Todd
  • Franklin Stephens
  • Pete Derricks
  • Jake Burton
  • Johan Olofsson
  • Bob Callway
  • Vernon Kay
  • Tony Hawk
  • Harry Bray
  • Giles Coren
  • Victoria Coren
  • John Leach
  • Ben Grove
  • Sam Bruce
  • Lucian Clark
  • Ben Kilner
  • Paddy Graham
  • Murray Buchan
  • James Carr
  • Felicity Jones
  • Naya Stevenson
  • Frasier Stevenson
  • Nick Street
  • Tim Warwood
  • Ed Leigh
  • Kat McKenzie
  • Emma Reynolds
  • Jamie Oliver
  • Zoe Collins
  • Zoe Ball
  • Kevin Systrem
  • Boris Becker
  • Cheryl Cole
  • Jared Leto
  • David Loftus
  • Pippa Middleton
  • James Nesbitt
  • Mary Berry
  • Phillip Schofield
  • Dexter Fletcher
  • Ben Hennen
  • Bob Manchester
  • Pixie Woo Sisters
  • Jonathan Yeo
  • Jason Flemyng
  • Pewdie Pie
  • Francis Mallmann
  • Niklas Ekstedt
  • Jacob Soderqvist
  • Jakob Wilhelmson
  • Gumby
  • Yannick Amavet
  • Babs Charlet
  • Neil Rankin
  • Niall Davidson
  • Pat Whelan
  • Nathan Mills
  • Winston Churchill
  • Aaron Franklin
  • Jon Favreau

Musicians mentioned

  • Circle Jerks
  • Suicidal Tendencies
  • Hootie and Blowfish
  • Pharcyde
  • Swervedriver
  • William Orbit
  • Blur
  • Siousxie and the Banshees
  • The Smiths
  • Stone Roses
  • Young MC
  • Neneh Cherry
  • Reef
  • Jamiroquai
  • Seal
  • Ride
  • George Harrison
  • Radiohead
  • Deep Purple
  • Oasis
  • Leftfield
  • Moloko
  • Kings of Leon
  • Conor Oberst
  • Bright Eyes
  • My Morning Jacket
  • Boston
  • Nirvana
  • Kurt Cobain
  • Bez
  • MGMT
  • Cage The Elephant
  • The Horrors
  • White Denim
  • Black Keys
  • Dan Auerbach
  • Radiohead
  • Black Angels
  • Prince
  • Ronnie Wood
  • Boy George
  • Tinie Tempah