Interview with Jeff Hardy

by Phil Speer at on 3/24/03

With Jeff Hardy’s autobiography, “Exist 2 Inspire,” just hitting bookstores, thought it would be a great time to chat with the former Intercontinental Champion, which we did prior to Monday’s RAW in Sacramento, Calif. How are the book signings going?

Jeff: They’ve been great. The turnouts have been great. At the last one we did, about 300-400 fans waited out in the rain to get our autographs. And everybody’s been really happy with the book. So you have been getting good feedback to the book?

Jeff: People have enjoyed it to the max, man. Neither Matt nor I have heard anything bad about it so far. One of my favorite parts of the book was the fact that you guys didn’t seem to sugarcoat anything. You really told the truth – you said some critical things about Matt and vice versa; you admitted if you messed up.

Jeff: Matt and I agreed on avoiding that; we both wanted to stay away from sugarcoating stuff. We told the truth. We told how we feel. (We mentioned) differences in opinion and different views that we have. We wanted that to get across. A couple of different times in the book you mentioned how fans expect you to jump off ladders, and how you need to get beyond that. It seems like you’ve come to the realization that you have to slow down.

Jeff: Yeah, and I never thought I was going to do it forever. I’ve slowed down a lot, and I know Matt has too. We knew that it’s not going to go on forever. But the fans do expect it. Once you do it once, and you develop a reputation of being a daredevil – which I have – they’re going to continuously want to see that stuff. But I think they know that it can’t go on forever. Are you concerned about the reaction you’re going to get from people you talk about in the book?

Jeff: Yeah, actually, Michael Hayes is one of those people. And I heard it through the grapevine that Michael was reading the book and he questioned, “Did he really say that?” And that he was kind of upset. I don’t know how true that is. But there were so many stories that were in there, like about when we (Hayes and the Hardy Boyz) had to break up, and he came into our hotel room with two cups of coffee, and he said, “They’re not gonna break us up boys! We’ve got to stand together and fight this!” It meant so much to him being with us at that time. But also at that time, he was driving us crazy. We were just honest about it. What if he comes up to you and says something about the comments you made in the book?

Jeff: I’d probably just say, “I didn’t say that! The writer must’ve added it in!” You guys talked about gifts you’ve gotten from the fans. Matt mentioned the best gift he’s ever gotten, a DVD player. What was the best present you’ve ever received from a fan?

Jeff: Man, we got a lot of good stuff. At both of those signings we did last week, I had to get a new bag just to take the stuff home because there was so much good stuff. The best thing I’ve ever got was probably this pair of motocross pants that were really expensive – over $100. That was just sent to me by a fan. There’s been a lot of clothing that was real cool. Matt’s actually got more impressive stuff, like a DVD player. One of my favorite parts of the book is when you say that you wanted to get out of Cameron when you were growing up, but now that you’ve traveled around, you appreciate home more than ever.

Jeff: That was a big part of the book, as far as Matt talking about moving to Raleigh and buying a house there. We’ve got 100 acres of land that my dad owns. To me, that land is ours, and it’s so cherished. They’re not making any more land; that’s obvious. As far as I’m concerned, you need to hold on to whatever kind of land you have the opportunity to hold on to. But anyway, Matt finally changed his mind and built a beautiful house across from my dad. Now, it’s good to see that we’re both there. If something were to happen to my dad, we’d be there to take care of the land. I think some people, after reading the book, will get the impression that you don’t care about wrestling, and that you’ll only be around for a little while longer. Can you comment on those things?

Jeff: One of the things is with the Internet, and the stories that are told on there – Jeff’s got chronic fatigue syndrome, or Jeff’s got an eating disorder, or Jeff’s a drug addict that’s on all these pills and is out of control. There’s just so much bulls*** on the Internet as far as I’m concerned. Some little kid can post something about me, and then that spreads so rapidly, and people believe the first thing they hear. But I’ve seen some of the feedback on the book. I think the majority of stuff I’ve seen and heard, people were saying that I’ve answered the questions that they were wondering about. I think it illustrates that I have more interests than just wrestling. I love wrestling, but I don’t love it as much as Matt does. When he says he loves wrestling more than he loves life, then that’s what he feels. I also love motocross and songs and music and all that stuff. I think I got that across in the book. I was really open with the fans, and if they’re truthfully my fans, they’ll be interested in me in other areas as well. Hopefully, that’s all-around good for WWE. Do you plan on sticking around in WWE?

Jeff: Oh definitely. I’m going to stick around, and still be a part of WWE. But maybe not just wrestling. With shows like Confidential now, and the music – I couldn’t imagine the show without music – we can collaborate somehow, I’m sure. Matt made a comment about your match at Vengeance 2001, that you were in your “I don’t care about wrestling” frame of mind. Do you have an “I don’t care about wrestling” frame of mind?

Jeff: Oh, I was (in that frame of mind) big time at that point. I think that was right around the time that they were going to make me kiss Lita. I was in a crazy mood. I remember we were almost going to fight after the match that day. It was a decent match, but Matt acted like I had forgot so much, and I just wasn’t in it because I didn’t care anymore. I remember saying something to the effect of, “Tell me what I forgot! Tell me!” And he couldn’t. He was just like, “You don’t care, man!” My whole thought that whole time was that he didn’t want the Hardy Boyz to break up and he was thinking I wanted to do something on my own, so I wasn’t putting in my share. He thought I was being selfish. I was feeling kind of held back, I guess, to a certain extent, because say if I wanted to paint my arm back in those days. I couldn’t do it because I was with Matt and Lita.

They weren’t doing it, and I couldn’t look cooler than them. This is a good example: I ride dirt bikes. A lot of people, when they think “Hardy Boyz,” they think both of use dye our hair and do all of the extreme stuff, which is not true. I’ve always been into dirt bikes and all the craziness. Matt and Amy (Lita) have never been involved in much of that, to where it comes across on TV that all of us are. I’d like to get your reaction to one of the comments Matt made in the book: “Jeff used to listen to what I say, before he became a household name.”

Jeff: A lot of times I present an idea, and I think it’s so good. That kind of hurts when it gets shot down. When I spend all this time on a plane or in a car or whatever thinking about an idea, and you get a feeling inside you like, “Oh man, that’ll be sweet.” But then when it gets shot down, that gets so frustrating. That happened to me so many times. I feel like I present something and people automatically just go, “You’re crazy! You’re just a maniac!” They don’t even take time to listen to me. With that said, I’m going to start carrying action figures in my pockets, so when I present something, I can actually illustrate it with my hands and two action figures. But basically with Matt’s comment, I think he was just saying that I’m getting a little more independent and confident in myself after being on TV for so long, and getting big pops after he would tag me in. (I’ve) just started to rebel against him. I think it’s natural. I think it was time for me to. It’s like standing up for yourself kind of, because there were so many times where I would just give in. A lot of times I’ve said, “Man, I wish I could just give Matt the talent that I have.” Because he’s dedicated for life. A lot of times I feel crazy because I know I’m good at this, and sometimes I wish that I could just give it to him because I see how much he is devoted to it. Is your ultimate goal to be WWE Champion? Matt said in the book that both of you had the goal. I know he does. Do you?

Jeff: Yeah, it’s definitely a goal before I quit altogether. And honestly, I’d love to do it before he does it, just to beat him to the race. That’s the competitive fire between us. What’s your relationship like with Matt right now?

Jeff: It’s great. I don’t see him as much as I used to, but in a way that’s good. We get along. We talked on the phone pretty frequently. It’s kind of cool to be on different shows, but then to stay in touch with what we’ve done. On every Monday, he’s always calling to find out what I’m doing because he’s interested. We’re fans of each other. Man, he’s doing great on SmackDown! And Shannon (Moore) owes him a lot for helping him out. So you’re an MFer?

Jeff: I don’t know if I’m all about that. (Laughs) No, I am. I enjoy it. He’s doing great. But he does -- he talks about himself so much. I don’t even think he realizes it, but he does. Other people will tell you that. Amy would tell you that. Do you think the release of the book will bring you closer together, drive you farther apart or have no effect?

Jeff: I think it will bring us closer together. The signings we’ve done, they’ve been fun. It’s been fun to be in that atmosphere again. Being on separate shows, we heard it all the time: “Are y’all going to get back together.” Yeah, eventually we probably will. But right now, we’re happy with what we’re doing separately. We’ll keep that up for a while.