Skate More in Brussels

Crossfire has come a long way since the days of little B&W fanzine pamphlets and blagging the odd handshake with a pro. Today it’s worldwide recognition and Champagne dinners. Well, almost… DVS were in town for the premiere of their first ever video, ‘Skate More’, and Crossfire had been invited to rub shoulders with the pros and sip on complimentary drinks. To tell you the truth, the usual roll call with a video premiere is that we end up scrambling for tickets until the last minute, get squashed with the rest of the sweaty fans as we queue up anxiously awaiting the curtain-rise, spot a pro in the distance and then head off to the off-license for a couple of cold ones and an over-the-top trick by trick analysis of what we just saw. Yeah! We are the media, promise!

This time it was different. I received the call a week prior to any screenings and had VIP invites for several of the premiere dates. I had to call around to make sure this wasn’t a joke… (‘I’m on the list, promise!’ ‘Sorry, no Crossfire here. Stand back!’). The rumours were running thick and fast- DVS had booked the largest cinema in town, there was the promise of a free booze pre-premiere party and after-party, plus the possibility of a proper meal and personal trainer lessons with Daewon Song. No, that last bit was made up, but when this kind of cash is flying around- Why not?

I spent a few sleepless nights beforehand getting my questions ready for D-day. I had to think of something original, but not too ‘out there’ otherwise it was like career suicide. When I arrived at the press conference (this wasn’t some ‘catch a couple of quick answers mid-run’ situation!), my hopes were dashed as half of the people I’d thought I’d meet weren’t there. Jason Dill was officially M.I.A and Jeron Wilson doing the rounds in South America. Great. I was greeted by the head honcho of DVS Europe and he pulled me, and another journalist aside…

We were led into an underground bunker stuffed with free goods. The lights were dim but I could spot several pairs of DVS shoes, at least 20 boards, a few big boxes of t-shirts and more stickers that a little skate rat could handle. It was the DVS Alladin’s Cave for any little rat that screams , ‘Give us your board! Can I have your shoes? Stickerssss….!’ The boss then began to distribute freebies, but I declined the Yellow ‘Skate More’ mesh cap. I was afraid he was taking the piss, plus yellow is a horrible colour! We were also given résumé packs as if to help us understand just what a skate video is, who DVS are etc… Thanks mate, but I think I spend more time on a board than you do at board meetings.

Luckily the business heads weren’t interested in what questions I had prepared, but there was a constant presence of hired filmers and photographers fidgeting around. Was my identity being held against my will..? The time had come to be professional, so the following is a direct transcript of what Steve Berra (apparently moody because he’d hurt his toe…?), Daewon Song, Keith Hufnagel, Torey Pudwill, Mikey Taylor and the American man responsible for all your DVS related viewing pleasure, Colin Kennedy had to say.

Now that the work had been done, Maxwell Woodger Esq. could take center stage among the high rollers and hot chicks that live the jet-skate lifestyle. Woo Hoo!

As the credits rolled, a steady downpour of free product rained down on the crowd from the cinema balcony. I slapped a 12 year old as I fought for a mesh cap, then made my way to the free bar… Goddammit!

I swear an hour ago a pretty young thing was serving free Champagne and beer here!?! Where had the coy vixen gone??? I mingled a bit with the headless chicken of a crowd that didn’t know what to do with itself after witnessing the truly SCANDALOUS prowess of Daewon Song and his cohorts. The situation was getting ugly as a crate of Red Bull was ripped open and the knowledge of fake VIP tickets having been distributed prior to the event. Apparently the dinner and after-party was a very exclusive date that night, so if you weren’t ‘a friend of the Family’, you’re date was at the local offie… Ha!

It is times like this when I realise Crossfire and Maxwell Woodger are on the up! Either that or dead lucky… The rendez-vous for the worthy (or those that neededa good greasing depending on how bitter you are) was at a very exclusive night club next to the Hilton Hotel. A setting of plush designer cushions, waiters with diner-jackets on and a few jet lagged DVS riders spotted around, greeted me with open arms. Needless to say the tab was a joke so Champagne, Beer, Rum Cokes, Double Whiskies etc were ‘de rigueur’ for the jet-skate wolves.

I sat at a table with the cream of foreign press and we talked shop. It was hard not to notice the 6 or 7 plasma screens playing ‘Skate More’ on loop, but my ‘filet d’agneau’ served with McCoys was a good diversion.

Posh food has come a long way…

Me and the rest of the hacks laughed at the suits who asked us how ‘radical’ the movie had been, but answered sincerely when Daewon came around to get our opinions on the DVS video. Timidly, the press around me muttered sweet nothings to the BA Barakas built manual god, but I said it straight:

“Do you want the honest truth, Daewon?” Daewon nodded and came closer.

“Honestly, this video is a real corker that makes you want to skate, and as I mentioned to anyone bothered to listen, your part in particular was SCANDALOUS! However, I have the strange feeling little kids are not going to appreciate the full fluidity of Mr. Cheeks- Chico Brenes.”

It was obvious to me that the ADD inflicted teens were not going to take long to skip various parts in preference of the ever-present banger boys. It was sad, but somehow the first FTC video was not mandatory viewing anymore… It needs to be!

Daewon paused for a minute, and the press grinned and prepared for the worst. How dare I not agree with the general consensus that ‘Skate More’ was the greatest ever skate video in history??? I was alone on this one…

“You know what?” Daewon started. “I am so happy you said that because an honest opinion is worth so much more than the tip-toed friendly reviews we have to read post release. You know that I knew my Almost part had too much manual craziness in it, and that’s why this part is different. Nothing beats Chico and Sade, and I am glad I’m not the only one to know this!”

We shared a strong hug and I knew, between those rock solid arms, that a true respect and friendship had been founded.

The party continued its due course and fun was of the essence. Things only came close to ugly when yours truly thought it would be polite to ask a mob boss and his plastic lady friend to a dance. As Pharrell serenaded the scene with ‘Beautiful’, I made my move… And knocked a full glass of Champagne into the bosses probable bonerfied crotch!

‘Goddammit!’ He said.

The bimbo wasn’t impressed either and felt it was time to go. But, this was his club and the only people leaving would be the 50 inebriated skate fanatics! As the bimbo demanded her bag be passed over, I spotted a full bottle of Moet sitting alone. I grabbed the sweet nectar and offered it as an apology to the boss. His screams turned to sympathy and a hand shake was had. He called me an honest man and wished me the best with my career before calling over ‘Brains’ the body guard.

Myself and the other few skaters left were allowed to keep drinking the night away so long as we didn’t interfere with the bosses private lap-dance again.

So we did. Till 5 in the morning.

Download Festival 2005

So, it’s 11pm Thursday night and James Sherry, Alan Christensen and I are speeding on the M1 heading North to Donnington with the i-POD on shuffle providing us with a magnitude of good tunes such as the new Finch and Hundred Strong albums, We Are Scientists, Interpol, Ween, Circle Jerks, Quasimoto and many more… but we were also hoping that some serious rock would spring up as the thought of watching Black Sabbath on Saturday night made us salivate during the entire journey.

As we checked in and hit the hotel bar that was stuffed full of pro skaters and PR liggers, a haggard blonde geezer going by the name of Billy Idol comes up to the bar where we are standing and says “alright lads, do you mind if I join you?” Pints of cold Murphy’s flowed, pics were taken, and then he promptly fell asleep with his head down in the dregs on the table which brought out bare arses and camera phones in their droves! Have you ever heard the words “It’s Only Just Started?”…well you have now!

Last year, Snickers really went for it and constructed this monster bowl inside the Download Festival and although the event and the skating was electric, the area that it stood in and the set up itself was always going to have to be changed, so what did they do? Well, for starters they dug a monstrous pit that could have housed a demon and then dumped a kinked vert bowl in the middle of it that had its own stage! There was a riot brewing and it was fuelled firstly by legendary skaters such as Mike McGill, Steve Olson, Duane Peters, Kevin Staab and Tony Alva. Caballero did not make the trip due to an accident which was a bummer but with these guys and the entire World Cup Skate crew, it was all set for some serious sessions.

The practice runs were amazing to watch in this bowl. Andy Scott was like a fish out of water and Jeurgon Horrworth’s and Renton Millar’s style is something that you just cannot NOT talk about. These riders have something most skaters’ dream of. But when you are stuck in one area inside this mammoth festival it’s easy to forget that once you are able to switch off the decks, stop DJ’ing and get amongst the metal mania, there is an entire world out there full of people who want to rock with their cocks out all night long until they puke, until they are seriously hurt, and until their ears bleed! Shame that our old bar mate Bill could not come up with the goods live. White Wedding was a blast and we danced like crazy but then new songs and a version of Jump by Van Halen was too much for someone who wants Slayer and Motorhead, so Napalm Death were next in line and that is where we bumped into Powley, Munson, Potter, and G-Money who were holding drinking comps from a 2litre bottle of diet Pepsi filled to the brim with a £6.40 a bottle of cheap as fuck Horsemen Whisky…it is here that the Horsemen of the Apocalypse was born!

Now, for those of you who like to party, you may well have come across Aftershock. This vile looking stuff is potent and is almost an instant party once it gushes down the back of your throat. The tent they sponsored had all sorts of drinking games such as a rodeo lamb, motorised porcelain toilets, sumo wrestling and a crap DJ that we would have burnt off the stage within 2 songs given the chance but this place was electric anyhow. The shots flowed and Powley started getting on one! He was next found at midnight on stage at the comedy tent after booing the paid fella off the stage and taking over the proceedings that the crowd was totally down for!

The 2 litre bottle of Horseman slowly disappeared with most of it down his shirt and the raucous throng egged him on even more. I mean how can u get up there and open it up with…. A bloke walks into a pub with his mate and proclaims: “I could fuck any bird in here I want to!” He’s mate replies “How the hell are you gonna do that then?” “It’s easy, I’m a fucking rapist!”. How the hell he got away with that is anybody’s guess, but with boozed up metallers wanting a sacrifice, he was the lamb to the slaughter!

The Saturday morning was the biggest hangover you could have dreamt of and there is nothing like trying to cue up a record whilst live bands are sound checking their drums and guitars whilst you are trying to hold back the puke! There were a lot of hangovers here, but somehow people were shredding this bowl like it was a mini ramp. The longest grind comp saw a 28ft 5-0 from the ever impressive Brian Patch through a corner of the bowl to scoop $5000 followed by Omar Hassan’s huge maydays.

In the legends session, Steve Olson threw mad carves and power slides in a war helmet, Tony Alva slashed at the coping in his crazy Dog Town style, Duane “Master of Disaster” Peters threw sober invert to smiths, roll in reverts and more proving that he is better in the flesh than in videos. He won $1000 just for being him which will come in handy with new kid with Corey Parks who is in the Die Hunns band with him. Mike McGill brought his classic McTwists, Sean Goff packed Todd Twists and McGill even asked to learn them after seeing Sean rip it up!

Nicky Guerrero picked up on sad plants that he has not done for years, Tomas Madsen skated better at other events, but impressed, Tomas Kring is really starting to push his game forward, he is one to watch for the future with frontside ollie to nosebonks from low to high on extension and amazing fs smiths around the corners of the bowl. Jim the Skin “the man with the best lien to tails in the business” put Cov on the map, 14 year old Ben Raemers stunned the entire platform with a Mute 540 on his second run!

Munson, John Nixon, his best mate Wingy and Blackwell ripped it up with and Benji Galloway’s kick flip indys, and back tails round the bowl corners, crazy bonelesses and tech wizardry won our hearts over. He is officially now riding for Crossfire Clothing. Not bad for our first rider knowing he is the WCS Number 1 right now…stoked on Benji, check the interview on our site this month with footage at Rom, it will blow your mind!

Hey James, what was going on outside of the Snickers Bowl? Well, aside from all of the drunken chaos, lunatic skateboarding and general bedlam, there are some awesome bands playing over the course of the weekend from the hottest new rockers to a handful of absolute legends of rock. Saturday morning I left Zac to DJ and headed to the main stage to check out punk nutters The Dwarves. First time I saw this band the gig ended after five minutes when the frontman Blag was punched into the drum kit and the whole gig ended in a hail of flying instruments. These days their gigs last longer, in fact today they refused to get off stage and just kept pounding out the hits until they cut the power. They’ve got ex-Queens Of The Stoneage beardy bassist Nick Oliveri back in the band and they showed the metal kids exactly how punk should be played.

Later in the day legendary eighties thrashers Anthrax hit the stage and took the older audience members amongst us back to our distant youths with a set of metal classics with vocalist Joey Belladonna back in the ranks. They played fierce and furious renditions of all their best tunes, slaying the audience with the likes of ‘Indians’, ‘Caught In A Mosh’ and ‘Medussa’.

Of course, Saturday was all about Black Sabbath. The greatest band in rock bar none. The true inventors of heavy music. Still the fucking daddies. But first, rock hags Velvet Revolver pump out some of their own tunes whilst most of the audience waited impatiently to hear some Guns n Roses classics. They didn’t let us down, saving the best to last as they hurtled through ‘Mr Brownstone’ – still the best song about drug abuse ever. And then there was Sabbath. As the sun came down and the opening slow doom chords of ‘Black Sabbath’ rained over the crowd there was a real moment.

Donnington is right near an airport and the planes come down really low over the crowd day and night. Just as Sabbath hit the opening rush of their self-titled anthems, two planes roared over our heads, the whole audience exploded and the hairs stood to attention on the back of our necks! It was a magic moment and from then on they played classic riff after classic riff, carving through the likes of ‘Into The Void’ and ‘War Pigs’ with the power of men half their age. These guys are nearly sixty for fuck sake! Younger bands watch and learn! Sure, Ozzy’s voice may have been a little off at points but this did nothing to detract from the awesome power before us. All hail the metal kings! Zac will tell you what mental stuff happened next!

Well, how do I explain the carnage that reigned after this gig? We left Dave Duncan and the lovely Jen, and headed for the Aftershock tent with 20 UK peeps, who were all blagged in through the back door to avoid queuing, and 10 aftershocks later, The Horsemen were ready to fully Riot! My shirt was ripped off my back as Powley hung from the tent poles! The DJ was abused so much to play classics, he was forced to find a Slayer record and we started the biggest mosh pit going!

Shirts were all ripped off as The Horsemen charged over 1000 people that spilled drunken bodies, drinks and teeth everywhere. Munson’s voice roared “Keep on going Horseman!” as we flattened anything that moved in sight until the entire tent realised they were out of their depth to 6 of the finest from The Apocalypse! We even bare-backed a fat metaller who hung out with us all night! With his shirt ripped off his back, he thought he was in the club whilst Powley snogged his bird for a photo and then let himself down by pissed himself at the bar without even knowing about it! (I am crying with laughter as I write this!) All I can remember is chants of “This is the early night we all wanted!” from James, and “Let’s burn the tent down!” from Alan.

But it all came to a sudden end when I managed to find a Jacuzzi in the tent full of semi naked people and went stumbling over to check it out in disbelief! I was hovering gently over some ply wood that covered the other half of this bubble fest and was about to fall just as a security guard dragged me in time before I plunged into the dirtiest, festival filled dirty water that would have taken me out! I was of course ejected and all I can remember on the way out was Powley in his piss soaked jeans crying, “will someone please kick me in the bollocks!”

We left that tent in ribbons and somehow a beautiful blonde stranger in a sports car magically appeared and picked us up and dropped us back to the hotel where Tony Alva was fighting off the Law brothers for the second year in a row! Don’t ask me how that happened, I guess it’s what happens when you are a Horseman. James ended the night by spewing up a tasty mixture of spicy Mexican Pringles and After Shock in our sink and I pissed into a fire place at the bar.

Sunday was obviously a bigger mess! We are all pickled to the bone by now with 6 hours sleep across 3 days! Put it this way, if the lights in the bowl had blown, the comp would have been saved by the shining red colour from Sean Goff’s eyes! How he skated on Sunday was beyond explanation! The best trick comp was won by Jeurgon’s fakie 720, the same best trick as 2004 mastered by PLG. Omar came second with a massive fs double heelflip fs air over the elbow, Andy Scott threw in fs tailslide shuv in and a bs tailslide shuv in, in the same run but came 3rd with an Alley oop kickflip board varial.

Renton alley-oop kick flip 5-0’ed. Dave Allen’s alley-oop eggplant on the extension was monstrous and got him into 5th. You are a beast Dickie, that was the nuts mate! Mattias Nylen pulled back smith shuvit, and a meat grinder (where you pop out, spin your board from your wheel and pop back in fakie) I’m sure he was taking the piss but the Swede won dollars for this show! Overall, Jeurgon took all 3 main prizes with highest air at 11.5ft including the main £10,000 pro bowl prize, he cleaned up this weekend and the best thing about it, is that he is a Euro rider. Its awesome news for everyone really but with style like that it was always gonna be that way. Omar came 2nd, with Renton 3rd for the main event. Hey James, what was the highlight of Sunday for you?

Slayer. Say it again, except this time scream it…..SLAYER!! Feels good doesn’t it? Now throw your head back, hold your arms in the air, do the metal salute with your fingers and scream Fucking SLAYER MAN!!! While Sabbath are the masters of slow doom, Slayer go to the opposite end of the spectrum and hurtle along at an almost inhuman speed. There’s something not quite right about drummer Dave Lombardo. The sheer speed and power he can conjure up behind the drum kit propels Slayer faster and harder than any other metal band and this afternoon (Slayer should have been headlining!) they prove themselves to be true legends of metal with earth-shattering renditions of ‘Angel Of Death’ and ‘War Ensemble’. It’s little surprise that Slayer are still the skaters metal band of choice. Skaters like it fast, and it doesn’t get any faster than Slayer. We missed Motorhead but Pritchard & Dainton said they were awesome, lucky gits….

So, to cap this off, you will not find a better skate and rock related festival this year in the UK as this was The Daddy of them all without a doubt. No extreme bollocks, fruitbooters, or happy sac idiots, just plain gnar. If you missed it, then you will have to wait until next year. It will take us that long to recover! Well done to Snickers who provided massive VIP treatment all weekend and worked hard to get this to a superb level. I got home to find slapped man-hand marks all over my body! Thanks Munson you Essex munkey!

Like tattoos they left a mark of The Horsemen clan that would never be removed – and as the saying goes….”We Take No Prisoners and No One Gets Left Behind!”

Zac and James

Skate London

Saturday July 2nd at Bay Sixty 6 Skatepark

This weekend was by far the most enjoyable event that Crossfire has been involved in since we have started. The hangovers we brought to the park slowly whittled away once the comp kicked off and the skating was mental. This event was filled with about 250 people, a much smaller crowd than usual due to the Live 8 event in West London, so a lot of people bottled it cos of the traffic but the people in attendance witnessed the most fun we have in ages.

Here are the results at Bay Sixty 6:

Best Hip Trick

Guy Burchard – Nollie 540 Big Spin Heelflip

Best Koston Block Trick

Trevor – Backside Tail Shuv

Best Rail Trick

Trevor Beasley – BS Smith

Best Hubba Trick

James Gardner – Nollie Heel Noseslide

Longest Manual

James Gardner & Kevin Edwards

Sunday July 3rd at Southbank

“For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful”

That quote rang around my head as i woke up on Sunday morning after no sleep and the biggest hangover ever. I puked in the shower and packed up the stereo and prize money and got down to the Southbank to see over 500 people waiting for carnage. It was gonna go off!

Kids were throwing themselves down the 7 set like lemmings…

The atmosphere at this comp was unlike any other i have witnessed. Everyone was amped in anticipation of this event and as soon as the best trick sessions went down, the hammers were snatched from the tool box and that place was fully worked. The only negative aspect of the day was Vaughan Baker annihilating his knee ligaments after sessioning the ledge. Get well soon man. The other guys from Blueprint Skateboards took most of the cash on the day.

Here are the results:

Best trick down the 7 Set

1. Danny Brady – fakie double flip, fakie frontside flip,
double flip and backside double flip.

2. Neil Smith – backside nollie heelflip, nollie bigspin heelflip,
switch frontside bigspin heelflip.

3. James Gardner – Switch frontside 360

Best trick on the Bank:

1. Danny Brady – kickflip nose stall on bar frontside revert in.
2. Sean – Nollie Bigspin Heel Flip/ Heelflip varial

Best trick on the ledge down the 7 Set

1. Danny Brady – Kickflip frontside 5-0.
2. Chewy Cannon – switch backside 5-0 and backside smith.

“LAST TRICKS AT THE BAR PLEASE!”

Best trick on the wedge into the bank

1. Neil Smith – Nollie backside 5-0 / Switch frontside 5-0.
2. Spencer Eagles – Nollie K/Backside Smith
3. Danny Brady – Flip Nosewheelie

The product toss was mental. A local chav was sent his marching orders or
he would have been annihilated by pretty much everyone present!

If you came down to this event, you have witnessed some history.

Crossfire are proud to have promoted this event.

Thanks for coming down if you made it and big love to XBOX and the UKSA.

Watch the videos of both events on this page…download them and keep them, then you can watch them whenever you want to. Just right click, save target as…and save it.

Busted In Barca

What do you do when you’re not working, got no money and the weather in London keeps teasing you with one sunny day per month? You round up as many heads as possible and embark on a skate trip of course!!! What else???

BCN aeroport was the destination on the front of our Easy Jet Airbus as we departed a grey Luton airport. Once up and away, the sun gave us a nod and our trip was officially in full swing. Arrived BCN and settled into a hostel which sleeps half the world. With rooms sleeping up to 8 people, broken lockers and drunk Scottish bachelors, I knew this was gonna be an interesting one! We crashed for one night and left first thing in the morning to find a decent hostel whilst my head was ringing with booze from the night before.It was a question of checking in, having a wash and off to the supermarket for a cheap continental breakfast. The meeting place for most of the trip was the infamous Macba. After hooking up with everyone, I was amped on a skate and Fondo was on today’s menu. It was just a good as I remember it! It was a relaxing skate until everyone got hit by the Ben Jobe affect. He surprised all with some unusual skill and his random conversation. We was having a great time til some undercover agents ran the spot down and confiscated a few skateboards. Most of us got away, but a handful got caught and fined. “Oh well, back to Macba it is then!!!”

Las Ramblas was heaving with some of Spain’s most amazing Export material and this meant getting your party shoes on. After a crazy evening of hooch and spading, it was time to head back to my room before I get arrested. It had suddenly occurred to me that I had over done it with the hooch, because I was sporting the shoeless look in search of a kebab at 4am?!? Yep, retard!!!… The morning after was a bad one, but I made it down to Macba with the alcohol pumping through my veins and bloodshot eyes. Got a little lost on the trains as we set off to meet at a spot outside of the City.The urge to get a T-shirt printed with ‘Special Needs’ on the chest was getting stronger by the second as we spent 3 hours traveling in all sorts of directions. It ended up being a good session and the teenage mutant ninja kids, killed this spot. Ross, Rory, James and Josh were on it and it was great to watch them skate this place.

This time it was quite easy to say no to a night out as I was still feeling rough from night before, so we ended up at Manola’s for a drink and a chill. Up early the following morning with no sign of a headache for today, YET… Off to do a bit of bowl riding and have a look around for some secret spots. This bowl is really gnarly and Josh raped it. The tranny is so hard to skate, but not for them bowl riders yo! After an afternoon of fun, we set off to find the hidden beauty of Spain.

Stopping of at a handrail on the way there turned out to be a bad idea in the end. We were setting up to shoot some rail madness when sharks on scooters circled their prey. The Old Bill arrived on the scene and started asking some serious questions! I was thrown into a cop car immediately and soon after that, the rest of our crew got nicked too. Downtown these boys were asking all sorts of questions and my understanding of Spanish is dangerous! There were about 12 of us and we all got arrested.

“No Passport in your possession meant a night in Barcelona’s finest Establishment…..Jail”

We spent 8 hours in custody and after some serious begging, we eventually got some food and doggy biscuits at 01:00am. I don’t think the food was really what everyone had hoped for and no-one actually ate it. Aqua was also not an option, these people don’t bottle their water for the folk in prison, no sir, all them folk in prison receive is a semi cavity search and paper thin mattress. By 06:30am my cell door was open and I was once again set free to terrorize society with my skateboard and VX1000. It was heavy to take all of this in, but once back on the streets I was more amped on skating than ever before. James, myself and Tom got a cute little breakfast once we got back to our hostels, followed by a short power napp. We made the most of our last day in Barca and went mad on filming. We covered all the well known spots, where you are allowed to skate and sneaked in two lines down by the Port. It was a good day and I was enjoying my freedom. We had spent about a week in Barca and it was one trip that I’ll remember for as long as I shall live, not cause I got locked away, but because I was given my life back. So if you fancy a trip to skateboarding’s most rinsed out city, head down to LLukemajor Metro Station and hit up them rails outside on a nice little quiet Sunday afternoon… It’s worth it….

pce out yo…Alan

Ed Templeton interview

Ed Templeton has been in the forefront of the skate industry, blood sucking the kids across the planet with his company Toy Machine Skateboards and pushing his own skateboarding through every possible nook and cranny in the process.

He visited London through his wonderful art and photographic skills and met Zac at his recent exhibition in East London for a chit chat. Questions were chucked in from Ralph LD from Crossfire and many other skaters from forums in the UK…this is what went down…

Full name: Edward Albert Templeton (laughs!)

Age: 32

Welcome to London fella, tell us all about why you are here?

I’m over to do an Art Exhibition at Modern Art Gallery here in East London and this is my first official UK exhibition.

Why London?

Well I don’t have any choice over this but it is the 2nd biggest art market the world after New York I guess and the people from here at Modern Art invited me to do a show which was cool. I have not done a show in almost a year, so here we are, right in the winter!

Yeah, it’s cold and wet huh?

Yeah, it’s not too bad, I thought it was gonna be worse, in fact I did not even bring a board with me, but then again I was really working on getting this all up and running which took 5 days so not much time to skate really.

When did the exhibition kick off?

It started in January and will run for 6 weeks until March 6th.

What is the theme to this exhibition?

There isn’t really a theme, I was just given the space and told to do what ever I wanted so if someone gives me this much space then I can usually do something like this which is putting every thing I work on up there on the walls including photographs, drawings, paintings and paint all the walls. It’s nice to be given the chance to have so much space.

There are a lot of different themes within what I do that you could put a track on. I carry a camera all the time and shoot pictures of everyday life and don’t really go out of my way to shoot these photos, as they just happen. Luckily I’m privileged enough to be a pro-skateboarder and an artist now and traveling for both, so I just keep the camera on me and shoot whatever situations that come about. This is youth culture, this is my personal life, someone coming into this exhibition from outside that is not related to skateboarding looking in would have a pretty good idea of what it would be like to be a pro skateboarder. Although it’s not why I do it, but I think you can pull that aside. But as a skater I think you get more out of it as you can recognize guys that you are familiar with from videos and magazines.

After seeing the gallery space, I think that is spot on. There are no photos of people actually skating though right?

No, I don’t shoot skating. If we are all skating then I’m skating to, so I shoot only when we are traveling or partying or just hanging out. I read and study other people’s photography and art and am trying to create works that are as good as those other people. I hope that people see that to.

If you are skater reading this interview right now, what skaters would they recognize at your show?

Well, there’s lots, including Brian Anderson, Brian Sumner, everyone that has been on the Toy Machine over the years and Emerica riders. All the Flip guys that came to stay in Huntington Beach all those years ago like Geoff Rowley and Arto, I get on really well with those guys.

You have a very defined art style and work with an abundance of different media. What do you prefer to work with and in what direction do you think your work is going?
Question by Frontsiderocker:

To me I’m interested in all of them; I don’t feel like have a tendency to go all to one or all to the other. When I’m at home I paint but you can’t take the easel on a tour or when you travel, so that’s when the camera comes out. So there is not one definitive direction so I will keep doing what I am doing here unless someone in art wants me to do a photographic show only or something. I think next year I will do an exhibition in LA with paintings only.

How long would it take you to paint one of your pieces on average?

I’m really quick! I think every painting in the show was done between Thanksgiving and Xmas, so one month basically. There are about 7 or 8 pieces in the show.

You don’t fuck about then?!

(Laughs!) Yeah, I like to do portraits of people, so once I get the drawing and outlines down with a sitter, it starts to be quicker. Getting someone to come over and sit down for a drawing is the hardest part and then once that is done it just takes a bit of work. I spend a lot of time on them, I go megalomania style and work 4-5 hours at a time flat out for 3 days or something.

How come so fast?

I think I had to do them so quick this time as I working on the ‘Good and Evil’ video, so that kind of crunched the time that I probably would have had to work on getting the show prepared. So straight after the Premier I was able to put skateboarding down for a second and work on the show so I kind of rushed stuff. I don’t think it looks rushed, but I had to do it quick. But you know with art, it’s never done but it was good to have a finishing point.

Do you sell your art?

Yeah, it’s all for sale here, it is a commercial gallery so they will try and sell it.

What would someone expect to pay for one of your paintings?

Since my first real official exhibition in LA in a commercial gallery they have become quite pricey. Up until that point it was DIY style, you know.. I show up, put the work up and skaters show up and you meet other skate artists, real mellow stuff and sell a few things. But since then, the prices have gone up and the guy in LA is kinda managing me a little bit which is strange. It’s kinda funny seeing the 2 worlds, you know I have Toy Machine and I am the Team Manager for these guys and the riders always want advice on sponsors and stuff and I feel like I am the same over here. These guys have a team of artists they manage and the art world is a real weird, different thing. They would ask me how much I would sell my pieces for and I’m thinking of skater kids buying the art for what I would call silly figures like $500 and they are like, ‘your name is much bigger now‘, you have had this show and that press etc and saying I should be selling my stuff for nothing less than $1100 to $1500 dollars a piece now!

Wow, that is a big hike? What about the skaters, they don’t have that money sitting around right?

It kind of bums me out as I feel I have a connection to the skaters who would come to see the show and it’s almost like they cannot afford it now. So I’m trying to devise some ways that I can make the prices come down. I wanna do things that are more affordable for the younger fans.

If you had to compare your gallery to a song, what would it be and why?

I actually wrote a lyric on the wall down there in the gallery from a band on Dischord Records called Lungfish, so I would say ‘The Words‘ by Lungfish from the album ‘Necrophones’ as it’s a really weird song and the lyrics are amazing. I was just talking about this to someone to day; I want the show to be like a finely crafted song in a way. Say someone like Dylan for example, who is telling a story, and I am telling a story but he is taking that story and turning it into something that is aesthetically pleasing as a song and I am doing the same that is crafted into an art show.

Are you planning any future books, be it art or photography?
Question by Robbie.

There is one out there right now that came out 2 years ago called ‘The Golden Age of Neglect‘. If you type in Ed Templeton into Amazon.com you will find it.

Yeah but if you visit www.edtempleton.com you will get the Toe Sucking site instead of the Blood Sucking site right!? Does that piss you off? Question from Simie 65

No, I’m not pissed off about it. It’s a weird story. This kid got the URL as a fan site, and I saw it, and I was a little weirded out. So I contacted him and he said that he wanted to do this site as he was a big big fan, so I was sending him stuff for the site and he was putting it up until I felt a bit strange that he owned my URL. So he was supposed to hand it over to me and these people are ‘using’ it. I mean I’m not bummed as I would not want to do a edtempleton.com ‘check me out site’ you know, I would rather do something a bit more creative that that. But yeah, it’s there!

Sorry, that was too good to miss! Where were we? Oh yeah, is there a new book in the works?

Yeah, it’s gonna be called ‘Deformer‘ which will be paintings, photo’s and all sorts of other stuff. I don’t know when it will come out but it will be sometime this year.

Let’s talk about the content of your photography. Some of it is quite full on with erections and soft porn etc. When taking photographs at what point would you feel that you had crossed the line in your observations of someone’s private moments?
Question by Monster Network:

There is no crossing the line! (Laughs)

Good lad!

Number one, the people know I’m there and they know I am shooting it and do art shows and stuff, so there is a certain trust there and they know that I wouldn’t do anything that I know they wouldn’t like and if there is something where someone’s nude or something like that, I will show them and ask if it’s ok to use. So far no one has said ‘you can’t use that‘ yet.

So you have not been sued yet then?

No, but Toy Machine got sued recently. There was a Toy Machine advert where we had a photo of 2 girls on a bed smoking with shirts on that said ‘mullet‘ on them and it cost us $40,000! Skateboarding is a lot bigger now so it’s harder to get away with things, you can use something and people will run a cease and desist order on you. For the new video ‘Good and Evil’ we had to clear all of the songs on it, we couldn’t just punk a song like the old videos like Welcome to Hell when we would use Pink Floyd etc but we got away with that then, now its different but our distributor sells mainly to skate shops and not the bigger cheesier stores, because that is when you run into problems. But of course we wanted to be able to be available anywhere so the rights were important to sort out.

And art content?

Well, I have had the luxury to take a subject and go after it that I really enjoy and like. I hope that when I retire from pro-skateboarding I can just go pick some subjects to go and shoot like a war or riding motorbikes or something as it just happens naturally at the moment because I’m just shooting my personal life as I have this access that a lot of other people don’t have as I am a pro skateboarder hanging out and working with other pro skateboarders.

It’s a very good litmus test of youth culture as these kids are young, earning a lot of money to do what they do, and here I am driving the van taking them to what they are doing and partaking in what they are doing, so I’m lucky in that respect. I’m taking my story and documenting it, putting it out there and when other people come in they see the connection with their own life, so they can relate, as these are trials and tribulations that everyone goes through in life. Hopefully there is a conversation or a relationship that people get out of it and it’s interesting to see my life and my friends photographed then placed on a piece of paper and put on a wall, it’s like a celebration of life and dicks and pussies are part of that life. Like everybody I’m not gonna censure myself. If there is a beautiful sunset or a beautiful naked woman or some sort of scene going on, then I want to capture it.

You like shooting your wife quite a lot in the nude right?

Yeah, that is the personal side. I shoot whatever is happening you know, like anyone else who is like enjoying sex, you could look down and think ‘wow, this is beautiful, let’s shoot it‘. Like right now, I’m away from my home in a cool country, where there is a cool setting and it’s 100% just for personal things and then it comes down to selecting things for an art show and I know that I’m definitely gonna put them on a wall. So I use an editing process as I know there will be a lot of people seeing these shots. I have seen photos where it just come off as ‘check me out, I’m fucking my wife’ or something and there is a line between that and putting it on a wall and I’m sure everyone would have a different opinion on it and I’m sure a lot of people would think that it’s completely fucked!

The Taschen books are like that?

Yeah, you are right, the Taschen books are really into the erotic side of things and that is why I probably wouldn’t want to do a book with him because I wouldn’t want to be lumped into that Terry Richardson world. I really don’t feel like I’m doing that. Just because you are doing shots with sex in them, people are very quick to lump you in different categories. So I get kinda bummed when I get compared to Terry Richardson’s shoots as he is doing photos of himself having sex with people exclusively and they see me having sex and it’s so NOT what I am doing. Sex is part of life and I’m doing that as well, but it’s part of life and there’s a lot of things I shoot that don’t involve that.

Do many people bring up the issue?

Yeah! Loads of people have mentioned it, but look at the show, you will see there are 160 pieces on the wall and you can count about 20 nude photos. But as far as actual sex or something like that it is a real small number. Whatever I am shooting, you have seen before at some stage in your life. This is really normal stuff. I have been married for the last 14 years to my wife Deanna, completely monogamous, regular relationship. I am a married regular guy with a regular cat, who lives in a regular house and I go on these skate trips with these kids and shoot it all. So I’m not trying to deliver you deviant, crazy people, it’s just real life. Something in those shots tell a story, they are not meant to be lewd at all, a lot of them are funny and document suburban life. The mega sprawl of Southern California is a subject that I cover as I have lived there all my life.

What introduced you to the European scene and how did it affect you?

In 1990 when I first turned pro for New Deal, I took my first trip to Europe for contests with Steve Douglas and others, I was 18 years old and have never really left HB. Experiencing Europe changed my view on a lot of things, its was all new to me, like the way the walls are and the history and the art, so these guys are hanging in the bar every night and I’m off in the streets checking out all of this stuff, it was amazing. You have been to Orange County Zac, so you know we have no statues really or squares designed for populists to come and hang out and meet like in Europe and you know that the US is all about Malls and strips, it’s so different. Seeing all these things like museums and stuff really hit me. Everything about me changed, I saw things differently. I have always been a really big fan of David Hockney, he came from a small school in Bradford, England and when he came to California he took his own perceptions of what we do here, immersed himself in the gay culture and did these paintings. He was amazed by the different light that this country gets and it was interesting reading about him before I went to Europe. It made me think how much of a weird place this really is. From an outsiders point of view. Americans are really weird; I think we come off as really strange people!

You were instrumental in building up New Deal when it first started, which in many ways helped kick start the rise of the skater owned company. Was it hard to leave after all that time? Question by Ciaran.

Yeah, it was a tearful departure, in a lot of ways I cannot look back and say that I regret it but at the time, I really left because of Mike Vallely. He rode for New Deal at the end and came from World Industries where his board was one of the best sellers. He was making about $10,000 a month which was amazing back then. It was a whole different world with New Deal though as he was making like $2000 dollars a month and he wanted to start our own company at a time when skating was changing. The industry was smaller and it was hard to have a company and make money. So it all happened at the weirdest time and looking back I’m glad we did do it, as it lead to Toy Machine.

Do you still hang out with Mike now?

Yeah, we had a falling out during that period and money was real tight and stuff, but after a couple of years we decided to bury the hatchet as we knew each other for so long it wasn’t worth it. I met Deanna through Anne (who is Mike’s wife), and she was going out with Jason Lee at the time and he was going out with Anne. She would drive us round to skate spots and one time we went to a concert in LA and Anne brought her friend Deanna, we met and that is how we hooked up. Deanna and Anne have known each other longer than I have known Mike so yeah we hang out.

Has Deanna ever skated?

Yeah, she did try to skate at one point, we actually still have her mini-Gator set up but the first time she skinned her knee she was off it!

How is it going with Emerica, do you have a new shoe coming out this year?

Yeah those guys are ready to release a Templeton 4 shoe that I am wearing a sample of right now, and they are really cool about everything. I work with Justin and we went to school together which is kinda rad. He was like the little runt when we where skate kids at High School and now he’s my boss! Shoe companies can look a bit mercenary sometimes and whoever looks good they will sign up, but Emerica are different and have a really strong team and everyone gets on really well. I have been riding for them since the beginning. I have no idea what year that was but it’s cool.

What criteria are you looking for when you hook up a new rider to Toy Machine?

Over the years I feel like a psychologist! I have to pick somebody on so many different levels. I suppose I have a track record that is pretty good but I can’t pick someone just for talent alone, there has to be personalities and every level of that person gets kind of studied to decide. Lately we have been taking kids on tours that we flow product to. We wanna make it hard to get on the team and wanna get someone dedicated to ride for Toy Machine.

It’s important to get a kid that wants to ride for us and not just to get sponsored. So if they want that, then we will put them through a trial and if they are dedicated they will go through with it. We have had flow riders on tours and demos and even that level is hard to get. I have to see that rider in the van with the rest of the team, and ask the team what they think as they have full say of who is in here. Everybody has to have a say, we vote. But sometimes before there have been problems and some members of the team have been a bit biased when a new rider comes into the mix especially if the other members of the team have been kinda threatened by a new rider because he is so good!

With Johnny Layton, the consensus was strange as people where like ‘er.I don’t know‘ and I was like, this kid is really cool, he likes cool music, can skate really well, and he is good. So that is when the psychology comes in because I have to ask people one on one about why they feel like they do about a certain person as you are dealing with a bunch of young kids who skate well, get coverage, make a lot of money and are really strong willed with big personalities so it’s important top get it right.

But you have signed up some serious players out there over the years.that track record is pretty good huh?

I can’t say I knew they were gonna be as big they have all become, but if they get past the things I was just talking about with the potential and the drive to get to a certain level then that is what I am looking for primarily. For example Brian Anderson did not have that when we first met him. He was amazing and a real cool guy as he was friends with Donny and others and he was coming from this angle of ‘hey yeah, I just skate and maybe I will just quit and become a chef or something‘ so he did not have these aspirations until a certain point and that is why I lead by example with these things. Not because I am a strict, driven guy or anything but I run my side of it that can lead by example to the guys on the team. Toy Machine demos are known for being really good because that is how I want them to be, I set the example you know. There is no coming through a town and hang out and be cool and saying, ‘no I’m not skating that course because I will kill myself and I may suck the whole time‘, it’s a case of skating everything and getting on with it. This is the key.

If every skate company had that ethic, then I think they would be more successful huh?

Yeah, this is how it has always been; this is how we run our ship.

How do you keep all of this together?

I think a Chinese proverb said once that ‘A man with many talents is a master of none‘ and I really truly feel that if I had only focused on skateboarding all this time and not started the company or have started doing these art shows I would be killing it. I don’t think I am ultimately talented, but I know that when you put effort into something, you get something out of it and I feel that I have dropped levels, which is fine with my age, that is normal, but I feel like I could hang with the best up until maybe when I broke my neck in 2000 and then all this stuff has been getting bigger, better and busier so the athletic side of things is something I do think about.

Sometimes I think it would be really cool to be a 32 or 35 year old dude, doing big rails with kids but I would get injured more. Between the years of 2000 and 2003 I had 6 concussions and I have never had any before that, so I’m on 6 right now and after 3 you gotta start to think about it. I feel as though sometimes if I keep falling on my head or tweaking my wrists it could ruin a lot in my life. I feel though in Good and Evil, I kept it pretty low key, but it’s me you know and I have got a lot of good responses from it from various people which makes me happy. There’s maybe not a 17 stair lipslide in there but there is lots of other stuff.

How come you did not have Sonic Youth in your video part?
Question from Londonskater

Ah, well, I just spoke to Kim from the band recently on email and I wanted to use a song on the video but it had to go through the label with all the bureaucracy so it did not happen. I always have these songs as back up but I always wanna use Sonic Youth.

Top 5 Fave bands ever?

Well, Sonic Youth and Fugazi for sure, after that it gets all over the place, er.Rites of Spring, Breeders, Pixies and all that sound stuff on the punk and metal side etc.

What are your Top 5 Skaters Ever?

Let me see, The Gonz, Geoff Rowley, Marc Johnson, and I guess Hawk would be legally on this list, he has to be and I reckon John Cardiel, he deserves it.

So what does the future hold for Ed Templeton? Will you retire as a pro? Is this on your mind?

More of the same, i guess. i have been doing the same thing since 1990 and I’m constantly looking at myself going when should i retire and it comes back to the same point where i can’t retire, I’m a lifer, there is nothing i can do about it. I keep having fun, i keep skating, I keep managing to produce video parts out of nowhere, I don’t know how. I actually sat down with Lance Mountain as he is a wiser, older man and asked him what he thinks of me retiring and he just said ‘Ed I don’t know how you see yourself but you have gained that sort of status where you don’t really retire, you are just a lifer, and there is nothing you can do about it. You can’t quit, you can’t stop, and people like to see what you are doing so you are never gonna be milking it’.

Any plugs, thanks etc?

Yeah, to Modern Art, what’s up to Ben Powell and thanks for the interview Zac!

Associated Links:

www.toymachine.com
www.emericaskate.com

Heroin Skate Massacre

Interact Skate Park

Burnley Saturday 26th February 2005

It has snowed all fucking week and the North is apparently hit worse than the South as per usual, but screw the reports, we wanna skate that bowl that everyone has talked about for the last 6 months. It’s called the Mantub and we want some of it! It’s 1o”clock, Saturday 26th February and we are all waiting in a freezing van whilst Zorlac lays a cable that would have put BT out of business. It’s a much lighter drive for the van with this mission completed and thankfully now underweight, 8 skaters are on the M1 in search for Heroin, addicted to the smell of freshly burnt urethane and shaved wood. Passenger list: Driver: Zorlac Shotgun DJ: Zac Filmer: Alan Christensen Punks: Louie & Brandon Steeze: Seth Leathers: Damian Fartbox: Stu Cantellow. I didn’t get wood on this trip as I was up front manning the stereo, but I bet the younger punks in the back of the wagon had to move coats to get rid of the evidence, as this was getting exciting and with a soundtrack of The Hunns, Dead Boys, Ramones, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Adolescents, Spandau Ballet, T”Pau, Devo, and a million odds and sods 80’s artists, we were fucking motoring!!

Why is motorway food so expensive? Why does it taste like crap? Why do they only offer you the worst food you could possibly find? I dunno but we all fell for it, but one thing was clear, the vegetarian food is always cheaper.add a fat filled sausage for an extra £3.cunts! Dying for a drink and ushered into the park entrance by Wingy who rolled up alongside us in his van, we could hear the Dead Pets on the side of the bowl destroying vocal chords and fingernails by the second. Apart from the Punk rock, it was much quieter than we thought. Had we missed the event? Was it over or just beginning? Where was Howard Cooke? In fact, fuck asking questions, look at that bowl! It is called Mantub for a reason, a stupid one but here it is: One day a local was so pissed looking into the deep wooden hole with metal round the rims that he shouted “Mental” “Mental!” but it sounded like Mantub cos he was so pissed, and it stuck, so there!

Now you know some facts you can win cigars and fluffy bunnies everywhere…. This bowl is big, it’s beautiful and when you skate it, you are lost in carve heaven not knowing where the fuck you are going and always trying to wipe the water from your eyes because it is so fast. This is not the sort of bowl that you can find in the UK. This is the sort of bowl you find in Europe or America. Burnley has a beast! Div won all the honours on the night. The Scottish, red haired fire ball went hell for leather in this bowl and managed everything he tried by the end of the night. His younger brother Colin can huck them out as fast speeds too. HIs Madonna’s at the high end of the bowl where massive. Slap that tail bitch! It was also good to see Napalm Jeff going off, even without a board, this Dad rocks!

Howard Byrom and Lee Blackwell fought out the snake award. Lee won in height, and Howard won in carve style. These boys rocked it until they couldn’t move. Mark Munson and the Essex monkeys made sure they were noticed as usual. Mark was seen with his hands on the coping, Ben Raemers stuck his oar in and Potter was seen in the street section transferring to hell and back. Andy Scott and Woody ripped the place a new arsehole alongside Rogie who can command this bowl like a puppeteer just like Tez who runs the Bolton Park, amazing to watch

The Kill City team where loving it to with Dainton carving it up, Little Nicky and Cashman flying everywhere. It was a good session. So what did we get up to. We just skated with all of this lot and drank into the night until it was time to rock up and get the hell out of there. Louie pulled the best tricks out of all of us. Foz seemed over the moon, Heroin product filled the skies whilst kids gathered bag fulls of stickers, boards and t-shirts and no one had to be carted off to the hospital! Even pizza’s were delivered by bike. Come on!

Big thanks to Foz and Anthony for organising a good get together. Big thanks to Nick Zorlac who drove us to Nottingham and then to Derby after the trip until 5am! Thanks to Ian Rees and Harry the Bastard for putting everyone up at 4am and taking us all to the bowl in Nottingham on the hill and watching me kill myself in front of everyone and big thanks to the pub who served us guiness and roast dinners….

No Thanks for reading this if you read the whole thing without being tempted to watch the video! Go on then, watch the video on this page now, oh…..and by the way, get in the van soon as there is nothing like a road trip once you get going!

Z

Hot Sand for 10 Rand

It’s not everyday you get to travel South Africa, but we looked at the flights and decided to ignore the bad publicity the country seems to get and in no time we were on a plane to Cape Town on Christmas Day and up for getting some bloody sunshine! Hire cars are fairly cheap to rent, about £10 per day so we picked one up and drove down to the beach where we had booked a 5 double room house at Milnerton, Table Bay, a wonderful spot where the beach has incredible views of Table Mountain and sunsets to die for. We had landed so next thing was to get to the skate parks. Cape Town has a park called Century City in a shopping centre. The locals there are super friendly and welcomed us in for nothing, but I would have paid 10 Rand for a session if they would have asked for sure! When you have 10 Rand see, you can do anything! There is a guy at who skates this park called Christy (pics) who skates like a Californian pro, he is amazing and seems to land everything in sight. The park is quite small and does get really hot when the sun is peaking, usually about 32′ but it has a mini ramp, loads of street stuff and large BMX stuff to. The scene out there is friendly and wherever we went we would meet people who would wanna talk and hang out, which is great when you are out somewhere you are unfamiliar with. We found a ditch that was fun. It was fucked up and had been there a while but we sessiioned it anyway (below) and then we found a little spot behind the Newlands Cricket ground which was unfinished due to the council being robbed by local builders, and met some locals who were chewing gum and hanging out on BMX bikes. The coping stuck out but was fun, it was much more fun than the snake run we found right near it in the same park, that was hilarious!

The beaches rock! There are no restaurants or bars on the beaches which stops litter so these beaches were beautiful. Llandudno Bay is where we surfed every day and it is simply stunning. Lots of young people and you can hire boards, wetsuits and other stuff there as well for £5 an hour. Be warned though the sea in Cape Town is like swimming in the Baltic, it’s freezing! My feet were so cold that I could barely feel my feet as they got up in my board. Kenny bottled it, his knackers were like cashew nuts after just 10 minutes! The party scene is quite cool to. Somerset Avenue in town is renowned for its bars and clubs. We managed to blag ourselves into every top club saying we knew various DJ’s from back home and it worked a treat, no queues, pure VIP treatment, free booze, just what the doctor ordered! There is a really cool bunch of bars in Camps Bay as well, and no it is not a gay beach, it’s just called that, but if you want to swing your axe in a gay fashion just go to Clifton beach as it will serve you well!

Cape Town overall reminded me of Australia. It is a beautiful setting for a City that really is not that big compared to others. But when you get out of there on the various big roads in your car, you can really feel as though you are cruising around in California with big trees overhanging the winding roads and breezy fresh air. It is so much safer than what you generally hear on the TV. We did not have to make sure our window were closed and the doors where locked, it seemed really safe but as long as you do not sway into the Townships unaware then you should be fine. It was a real shame to see the Townships there. Thousands of black people are shacked up in tin houses and it seems so wrong. With apartheid abolished, new life for Afrikaans is moving slowly in the right direction but it will still take years for the country to be on the same level as others. It’s quite shocking to see.

On a wildlife tip there’s loads to see in the ocean. As the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic it allows many different species to breed on this coast like Whales and Dolphins and especially Seals. Where there are seals there are Great White Sharks and we managed to get on a trip on the day of New Years Eve to cage dive with these beasts in their natural habitat. It was mental as you will see in the video! The week before we got there, news reports had reported that a local old granny had been eaten alive whilst swimming on this beach we were at. We asked a local about it and he said, “She swam there every day for 40 years and did not give a hoot about the warnings”. I asked him “So what made this shark eat her then?” and he said, “Well, you know what, the old bag probably just smelled of fish!” Haha!

I was the first into the water on this trip and I have never felt like bait before like this in my entire life. As soon as we got out to where the cage was moored we saw a 12ft Great White pass the boat…most people decided that going into the cage was not for them, others puked overboard for 4 hours and we had a blast! Kenny go the best of the action as you will see, it simply blew our minds! Seeing the Wildboyz show on Channel 5 recently with Steve-O and Chris Pontius made us think how stupid those geeks really are! It was bad enough in the cage, you shit bricks, nuff said! Get your sorry arse out to Klein Bay for this. It costs £100 from www.whitesharkprojects.co.za do not go to Cape Town and miss this as it was the highlight of the trip for sure! Did you know that more people die from toasters each year than from Great White Sharks? Me neither!

We flew to Durban where we suddenly realised that the fresh air had been replaced by humidity and it was suddenly really bloody hot! The first day we arrived we went to the Wavehouse skate park www.wavehouse.co.za which you have to pay about £7 for the full day to get into but it’s well worth it. The park has a snake run which is amazing plus a kidney pool for the concrete riders but also an amazing mini ramp and 2 street courses with all the trimmings you need. It was sick. Tony Hawk actually told me about this park as he designed a lot of it, hence the vert ramp being near perfect too. The Circa Team had been there to demo the month before, shame we missed it as the park rocks. There are other parks in this area of Umhlanga Rocks where we were staying but we only had 4 days to kill here before we went on Safari.

Durban City center is run down and it seems that most folk have moved out of town to Umhlanga. We took a Helicopter ride over the skate park on North Beach and the beaches around the area looking for empty pools and had a great time. This concrete park is the local for DC Shoes and Death Skateboard’s rider Snoopy. It’s a concrete park that looks great from the air and when you get down there it’s not as smooth as you would have thought. The coping gets sticky in the sea air but it was fun to skate for a while, even though the humidity makes you wanna puke! We gave a local kid called “Talent” a full brand new set up at this park and he was stoked! He had just been kicked out of his mothers house at xmas, was 13 years old and ripped at skateboarding with nollie flips and a stylish street prowess. He thought we were gonna kidnap him as we all looked at each other and said “are you thinking what I am thinking?” – you have never seen a kid so happy! To be honest we left the park feeling choked. We were chuffed we could help him and he was over the moon!

The nightlife in Durban was also fun, we got wrecked at a club called “80’s” where they played all the classic cheese from that era and got into a slanging match with a local arsehole who thought it would be funny to take the piss out of one of us not realizing that we were actually 4 people. He went for a gun in his truck and our cab driver who was about to take us home grabbed his gun fro the boot of his car and told the due to piss off! It was mental! The cab driver Russel was a man in his 50’s who looked like a yeti that had just come back from Brighton pier via Vietnam! Russel saved our skin and he turned into our cab driver for the next 3 days. He was hilarious! You could hardly hear what he was saying as it was so muffled but he loved Man Utd and thought Wayne Rooney was the best thing since the 10 Rand coin!!

After partying our asses of here, we then went on Safari with our guide Bert for 3 days and my brother Nathan got sick so he had to get a shot in his arse at the doctors for possible Salmonella poisoning…….of course we all roared with laughter and sang Ring of Fire all day whilst his stomach made more noise than the elephants outside the window!. Hippos and Crocs were scene from the boat trip went on and it was incredible to be that close! These beasts are responsible for the most deaths in the world each year for humans, you would not want to fuck with one, that is for sure. We then hit Umfolozi national park where we spent the entire day looking out of the van window at wildlife that included Rhino, Giraffes (that were like 10 feet away), Impala, Lesbian Zebras, amazing Eagles, Hawks, and those rad looking Warthogs (one chased me in a car park, I shit my pants and ran for the hills!). No Lions or Cheetahs but Buffalo and Wilderbeast were everywhere this time for us so the Big 5 were not seen on this trip but 3 of them were added to the list, better luck next time! A canopy forest tour was also chucked into this trip plus a visit to the Zulu place for some cheesy history before we set off back home with our guts full of South African food and an empty bag of the local Swazi weed which is the best ever! In fact we laughed for days on end!

It will cost you more than 10 Rand to do this trip for sure, but I recommend you go there at some point in your lifetime as it is a wonderful place to be.

Yeeaaaah!

Zac

Crossfire Third Birthday Tour!

……..in assocation with Tony Hawks Underground 2, X-Box and Hiding Place

Birmingham Epic Skatepark 26th September 04

Well, Sunday morning’s are hardly on the weekly menu in this part of the woods, but we just about made it up to Victoria in time to pick up DJ Sami, his bird, and Crossfire filmers Guido and Alan.

The car although it had been serviced decided to drag its lonely existence to Epic Skatepark but it did get us there so we were all thankful anyway, bonus! Bacon sandwiches and a cup of tea kick started the jam at 2pm and off we went!

Now Epic is the one of the largest skate parks in the country and even with 350 people in the house, people seem to just disappear! So a mini ramp jam was thrown and Mark (Frontside Rocker) showed us why he is so called with an array of Frontside trickery. Little Andy who had the hair of a lion made sure he was noticed by throwing in 270 mutes, and miller flips, and made his dad proud, but Dan Wileman and Chris Oliverwere on fire and wreaked havoc in there with kick flip tailslides, frontside floaters and much more. In fact Wileman’s arse must have been bruised the day after as he fell on it loads! All part of the fun though pain, isn’t it? James Woodley and Chris Vile came down to represent the A Third Foot Team on the day, and Woodley had one of those days when nothing really comes together but he had a laugh anyways.

Jim the Skin from Ride in Coventry warmed up the bowl with his son Joe who looks a spitting image of the man best known for being the best lien to tail merchant in the country. Joe rips for his age and won a bunch of stuff on the mini ramp too.

I managed to burn all my skin off my elbow after realising that there was a hole in that bowl, thanks for that Epic! Hiding Placeplayed whilst kids moshed and as it was the first time I had seen this band live, they do rock, it was a good show and they were mobbed afterwards for free t-shirts and stickers. I guess having free goodie bags is just not enough these days, but that is why we had a raffle for a board, and as one lucky winner managed to claim a free deck, there were 2 losers who were caked!

Gateaux was thrown everywhere and we all got covered! Luckily the Xbox consoles were at the other side of the park so they stayed clean but got used! 2 people went home with Xboxes and games, in fact, one guy scored so high on the new Tony Hawk’s 2 game that no one could touch him! After throwing out a box full of more free stuff we headed back on the road for the lazy journey home. See ya Birmingham! Hello car smell! Alan won the award for most smelly person so far….he reeked!

Broadstairs – Revolution Skatepark – Sat 2nd October 2004

I was really looking forward to this jam more than the other purely because we knew so many of the pro riders who were gonna be here personally, and the OG team are always up for the crack! It pissed it down when we got there, so we hit a local teapot filled café and got our dose of cholesterol damage for the day. Powley was hungover, the team were all still in bed and apparently he was dancing in a club last night and suddenly realised that his trousers were on fire! Spinning on his back again to “Wham” probably!

When we got back to the park, there was a queue of about 200 kids going mental! By 2 o’clock they charged the park and 100 of them got in courtesy of Snickers and 200 got goodie bags, so all was on course. Both Alan and I managed to kill ourselves on the mini ramp as soon as we got there! The ramp was covered in dust and it nailed us! My ass was bruised and his pelvis almost cracked! The skating was set to be high today with or without hangovers and it kicked off big style.

Little Ross McGouran supplied nollie backside 270 heelflips that were back to back with tre-flips and nollie heelflips, and nollie kick flips to boot. He even yanked in a 270 backside transfer into bowl that made the locals scream! He was on fire. Ortega’s main rider Brendan Ryall who has just had his first pro board released this month chucked in backside suski grinds, bs salad, bs smith, fs bluntslide, on the picnic table plus kickflip over the rail, feeble to 50:50 grind on rail and plenty more. He is an animal when he gets going. No wonder Blueprint were looking at him a while back.

Once the rain passed, it cleared up allowing Ged Cullen and Greg Nowik to rip the mini ramp outside whilst the other South Coast brothers Marc and Paul Churchill serviced the street course. Marc nailed a 540 flip on a snapped board, huge fs grabs over the ski jump, and smith grinds and front and bs slides on the rail. His brother Paul managed to annihilate a young local as they clashed in the heat of it all and he hucked out a fat kickflip indy over the ski jump and also a sturdy frontside rock on the vert wall.

Ben Cundall supplied feebles and crooks whilst Dave Chesson nailed switch fs flips over the funbox, alongside his power packed tre flips, and nollie bs flips. But the skater of the day award if we could be arsed to award one would have gone to Chris Oliver who walked away with £140 for best tricks on the picnic table. He was rabid and threw down pop shuvit front nose grinds, kickflip bs nose grinds, bs nosegrind reverts, kick flip back tail slides, flip backside 5-0’s, fs tailslide 270 out, and switch krooks! It was pretty full on and the crowd loved it. All he had to say afterwards is that he “needed the money!” Class.

Hiding Place were so loud that shoes in the shop next door were falling off the shelves but as kids who were moshing bled from the ear, the more technical kids won Xboxes and THUG 2 Games in the chill out room. We then got going on the freebie chuck out which was massive! Kids went crazy here and loved every minute of it as Nailbomb played on the stereo at mach 10! It was nuts! We signed loads of autographs on t-shirts and were harassed for more free stuff for ages! Kids were even asking us for our own shirts! Afterwards, we headed for the boozer where Powley had pre-organised a chilli and chips meal and pitchers of beer. The chilli was so damn hot that steam exited from Ross McGauran’s ears but no one puked! Local M.I.L.F entertained our video cameras and Marc Churchill ended up getting a slap in the street once the pub closed!

I managed to win £18 quid on the fruity and with that bounty we hit the road and zombied our car all the way to Ipswich for a wonderful few hours kip in a travel lodge. The bloke on reception was chuffed to see us. I think he may have died on the desk if we had not have turned up! As we got the keys from him to the rooms we left him to face his lonely self once agin and kipped hard! We are all bruised and battered by now!

Great Yarmouth – Sunday 3rd October

The Little Chef supplied us with the heart attack food we requested and we hit the road once again. The Park Warehouse is supposed to be the cleanest skate park in the UK by reputation and it was! In fact it also has the best mini ramp I have skated in a while, endless fun!

The Calow Brothers and Lee Blackwell were already there sessioning when we arrived which was a result. Ronnie was nailing massive backside 180’s over the driveway whilst brother Danny added a flip to fakie over the vert wall gap to his bag of tricks. The band and the full Death team were both late due to traffic so we got a best trick comp going on the driveway and witnessed locals chucking down all sorted of stuff for about 30 minutes and then we threw a highest ollie comp wher one local rider raised the stakes to take on Danny Wainright for the record and won a full Birdhouse set up donated kindly by a local skateshop in Skegness.

The arrival of Carl “Potter” Wilson made for good viewing as this boy can fly as we have seen all summer, but there were no broom sticks needed, just thunderbolts, as he delivered bs flips, tre flips, and kick flip over the driveway, backside flip on the vert wall, kickflip back tail slides, back tailslide shuvit out, huge 1 foot ollies to fakie and more.

The dark forces that lead Lee Blackwell to skate like a man possessed were evident. He threw in a nollie fs 180, a fakie indy grab caballerial and an ollie to tail on top of vert wall. Have you seen the size of this wall?He also made blunt fs 180 on that beast. It was sick. Dan Leech turned up to the park as well. He has the smoothest style and completed a fs board slide 270 out, switch back lips, bs 180 fakie nose grind 180 out, and kickflip front board slides on flat bar, nollie bs nose grinds on ledge, and bigspin flips on quarter pipe!

The rest of the Death Team turned up in 3 car loads. How funny is Dibble? Too bloody funny! Snoopy turned the rail upside down, The Calows skated all day, Zorlac left his mark on the mini, Horsey ripped, Wag threw in some shuvits and much more went down on the day and we met loads of cool people who came out for it. The band played hard, freebies were chucked out and 2 more people went home with Xbox consoles and Tony Hawk Underground 2 Games! We hit the road for sunny London, apart from it took forever and it was indeed pissing down!

Alan once again got the car smell award but he did keep me interested in the journey by at least talking non stop for 3 hours…cheers Alan, it was needed as that journey on the darkest of “A” roads is not a dream ride!

London – Bay Sixty6 Skatepark 9th October 2004

It was an excellent way to finish these dates, and in true style London came out to party! Over 500 people came theough the doors to wreck the place with us. The jams for kids took place and people won boards, shoes, and one gnarler took an xbox for switch trickery.

The Pro jams were once again dominated by Danny Wainwright and the 50:50 team from Bristol. Wainwright himself took the street jam to edge with front board slides, kickflips, late shuvits and more. Dan Wileman finally got his nollieflip nose slide down the hubba, a trick that had plagued him in this park the last time the team came up for one of our jams. In fact he broke his ankle and his elbow on the last visit and still left empty handed on the day! The mini ramp jam was won by Greg Nowik who is probably the best mini ramp skater in the country.

Wainwright gave him stick on the day but he could not match double flip fakies 3 feet out. Dave Chesson killed it with a large frontside flip, Ross McGouran had a wonderful fakie flip on show for everyone and Brendan Ryall took his unique style to the midi with feeble grinds and loads more.

It went off in style and after 300 moshing kids sang happy Birthday to Crossfire and launched fights to get a barrage of free boards and clothing amongst the glitter of 3000 free stickers, we left for the after party and got it on until the early hours! We had a great time and would do it again for sure. Big thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy all of the dates with us.

Check out the video footage and let people know that they may well be in it!

Zac

Natas Kaupas interview

Zac hooked up with Natas Kaupas at the Marseille Bowlriders 04 and instead of going for the traditional swim in the Mediterranean; they exchanged socks in a tent, and this is what went down!

Ok fella, what is your name and where are you from?

My name is Tony Alva from California!

Haha, he caused chaos here last year huh?

Yeah, as ever. Nah man, this is Natas Kaupas in Marseille. (Haha!)

So Mr Kaupas, you obviously are now working with Quiksilver, how long now and what do you do?

Yeah, been working with Quiksilver for about 5 years now. I started designing some t-shirts for them on a freelance basis and they liked that so I ended up doing some skateboard ads and snowboard ads, and now I’m doing all their ads!

Full time now then?

Pretty much, I spend a lot of my time on it now, they pay the bills, keeps food in the belly, it’s great!

You told me earlier that you are you are starting your own skateboard company, how fresh is this news?

Very fresh, yeah, nobody knows yet really but yeah along with a full time job, I’m starting ‘another’ full time job which is starting a skateboard company but it’s gonna represent what I’m to now which is artwork, as in working with artists and being an art director. So I’m sponsoring artists instead of skateboarders.

So what are we to expect? How is it gonna work? Who have you got in your sights?

We are treating the boards like fine art prints where there is a limited run on each one and you can get one, ride it, or hang it on your wall, which ever, and each one is limited to just 500. The first run, we have got a board designed by Thomas Campbell, Shepard Fairey of Obey, and this great painter called Paige. You will be able to read all about the artists with little booklets that come with it. We will also have the guys from Lowdown design, you know, the magazine?

They have 2 designs they contributed and a few of the artists will also do representations of the old Santa Monica Airlines Panther graphic. They are given really loose guidelines, and just to let their creativity to kinda go forward with it..one of the new classics as it were. We are looking for good art and good aesthetics.

Sounds fun. The Panther is a classic design though. In fact, I almost said it WAS a classic but it’s obviously not dead just yet!

Yeah, history is never done! (Haha!)

Will you be scouting artists from all over the World? Is there anyone from London on your radar?

We are really trying to get hold of Banksy in London it’s just a matter of tracking him down; we have private investigators on it over there at the moment!

You like his stuff then?

Yeah, his books, his philosophy goes in lock step with skateboard mentality, the kind of stuff we like to promote.

And to promote it, what plans are there already?

Well, I think in a few years we will have enough good art to do a book as we already have a tentative book deal and plan to do art shows and tour it around, but most of the art is in computer form so we have to figure that out! There are a few raw pieces right now, we are still figuring it all out and it’s a little bit problematic!

All of the different riders will have their own styles, is it totally open ended?

Yeah, definitely open ended, we are also looking to work with a few painters who will paint a large installation and photograph it and put it on a board. We just want to people to push the whole thing of doing a print I guess.

The whole thing is about showing things to people that people haven’t seen before. We are working out and flexing new muscles there by bringing all of the artists together. We feel there is a new aesthetic that was born a few years back, you know, the do-it-yourself way; the confidence and style of showing a personality and individuality that skateboarding represents. When you see it, it will probably all make sense. Haha..it’s called Designarium by the way.

Ha-ha that was my next question! OK, so is there any connection here with music? What are you rocking out too right now?

I’m listening to a band called the Detroit Cobra’s who are girls doing covers of Motown songs, and it’s all pretty wild, raw, and has a super guitar-garage sound, the singer has an amazing whisky smoked voice and they just belt out the old Motown classics, that is on constant rotation right now!

Lately it’s all been about the recording quality, you know? You wanna hear some personality and you don’t get that when stuff is overproduced. I think The White Stripes brought it back and did it very well. You know you take Bowie’s latest album and it’s so slick and boring you know, over produced and it’s over, nothing really grabs you, and er, it’s just not great to hear. There is another band from the USA right now called The Gossip. Same deal, you know, you can tell that they are doing their own garage which is great!

As far as what we are doing, we wanna bring the artists together to do skateboard graphics, and mix them in with musicians and film makers and hopefully we can make some DVD projects and films and we are really looking for good distribution, and function as an agent to get things shown and get it out there. It’s not about making tonnes of money but we will hopefully be making good connections for others and just representing our culture to people.

Doing it the way you see it through your eyes?

Yeah, I would hate for someone else to do this that didn’t skateboard or grow up in it or didn’t know about what’s important or what the history is.

Is there anything else out there right now that is similar to what you are about to unleash?

Er – No. There are obvious examples of where you have the skateboarder in the right guard ads, fashion ads or whatever and they have totally cropped the photo wrong. I think that we are just totally maturing all of these ideas that are coming forward and it’s just as important as any other artwork that is happening right now. In a gallery they will make a fine art print, they silk screen it..it’s the same process, but I just wanna put it on a new way on a skateboard. It’s a way of putting skateboarding culture toe to toe and be representative I think.

And clothing, will you have limited runs?

Yes, I wanna make sure that we can bring something to the table that has not been done before and keep the quality there.you know?.like if people said hey ‘I’ve never seen that before!’ I don’t wanna do the same old thing.I wanna bring something new, just like skateboarding did for the rest of the world.

Just like what you did for skateboarding in the 80’s?

Haha, yeah I guess so.

Let’s talk about that briefly. So, when I started skating, you were everywhere, and since that day, you have set standards for today’s street skating? How did that affect you when you were younger?

Ha-ha, that was not up to me! Maybe for what I did but the people remember it and followed it, I dunno, it’s sort of like the motion was done. I did what I did and it grew and had a life of its own. I’m just glad that people remembered it or liked it – it’s cool.

Any regrets along the way?

No real regrets. I did the best I could! Haha! The only one I think is probably that I could have been more focused on what I was doing more, but I did not really appreciate the human connection for a while, as I was pretty young and I didn’t handle the attention really well. It’s not really a regret but I think I could have probably handled it better. A little training would have been nice! Haha! I really just wanted to go skateboarding and was stopped to sign autographs and it was really not why I was into it. But no real regrets though, cos it’s all good fun!

What about now, are you skating weekly, where are you hanging out and who are you skating with?

I’m down in San Clemente these days. It’s a sleepy little town between San Diego and Los Angeles. I just moved there and there is a cement park down there and I’m mostly skating with little helmeted kids! Yeah, I’ve been skating a bit but not as much as back in the day. I’ve been surfing a lot more and get to travel to all of these great spots so, anyway, yeah..still skateboarding!

If you had to pick one, what was your favourite ever skate session over the years?

Years ago, skateboarding with friends midnight until four or so… it feels like the world is yours skating at those hours!

How has skateboarding changed through your eyes compared to back when you were riding for SMA?

A lot has changed, but the skateboard it self if pretty similar. So it’s up to the skater; there sure are a lot of them these days!

What are your fave movies, the ones you always go back to, Skate or feature films?

I have a hard time watching any movie twice. Except maybe Fight Club because of the whole twist thing.

Have you seen the ‘Stoked. Rise and Fall of Gator’ Movie?

No…..not yet.

You must have skated together at some point back in day, how did his lifestyle change affect you when you found out what he was going through?

We never really got along from the first moment we met, so there was always a great emotional distance between us. But it was a bad and evil thing to do, so that part made me sad- but not in a real personal level. People should know to be decent to one another.

When will the Designarium touch paper be fully lit?

The end of summer 04. We are already questioning our slow start, there’s a pretty big demand- hopefully some products make it over the ocean to you guys.

Good luck with Designarium and thanks for the chat.

Yeah, thanks!