Danny Wainwright

After an email interview went tits up over Xmas, this interview was done by Zac over the phone in Feb 04 …it took an hour. Some of the questions are from Ralph LD and others from the Crossfire and Sidewalk Forums…..this photo here was shot by Leo Sharp and robbed from www.vans.co.uk

so, let’s get on with it…

Name and number?

Geoff Capes mate!

Haha! I have not heard that name in years..like a bit of wrestling huh?

Later..be patient, haha!

Ok, lets get on with it starting from the beginning. How did you get into skating, and why?

My mate Pob back in Stroud where I grew up had a board for his Birthday and we used to share it and skate together, then one day Mum and Dad said to me, ‘check out what is the car’, and there it was a brand new board, you know, the Turbo 2’s.?

Haha! What was the graphic?

It had a Bruce Lee graphic haha! You know the sketchy ones you used to get in the market for a tenner?!

Yeah, I remember them.I had one to with Palm Trees on it! It was rad! But no one at that time had wide boards, so they were pretty rare back then huh?

Yeah, too true, I saw some kids on one once and I was like whoa! I gotta have one of those one day and try that man, and then a few years later, I hooked one up!

What about pro boards?

Back then, I used to just buy all of the second hand boards from locals kids cos we was skint..they used to call me Second Hand Dan! All the rich kids use the take the piss out of me! I used to buy people’s shoes and everything man!

Back then though, nobody even dreamed of becoming pro and having a career right?

No way! We used to drill metal on the back on it and spark the hills. You know, like blakeys.remember them at school?!

Yeah, everyone had Blakeys.what ever happened to them?

I have no idea. But we should get them going again man! That is ours, let’s trademark it haha!

What about Powell, how did the relationship come about?

Through Shiner.this guy called The Hawkins who used to hook up the teams and all that you know, I owe him big time cos he hooked me up, and got me on Powell.

So it was flow to start with right?

Yeah, Shiner were looking for people to represent Powell here, and also get someone on the Vision offshoot label that Chris Gentry and others were riding for, I can’t remember the name now..but all my friends were like, ‘yeah you should ride for Powell man’, so I just did it! I got a few boards for free and I was also getting flow from Jeremy Fox with Death Box, like jeans and the boards an all that, so he helped me out in the early days.

What about the original Bones Brigade Videos, did they influence you choosing?

Yeah, the opportunity to ride for them was massive, they were massive.

Yeah, I remember it was either Santa Cruz or Powell back then for me.

Totally man, …but the Powell videos were amazing, all those skaters, Ray Barbie, Chet Thomas etc, I used to record the music off the videos and go out skating with the soundtrack on in the headphones….the music was as important as the skating.

Do you have contact with George Powell?

Yeah, he is cool man, he arrives at the office from 12-8pm, he has his dogs in there and everything, it’s a cool set up over there in Santa Barbara, all the warehouse and factories are downstairs and then upstairs is like a massive open plan office, and everyone works in there, so you just go up there and hang out..

Do you get over there much?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I will probably go over there soon.

So what was your favourite era then?

I dunno.maybe when Real Skateboards came out, before it got all technical and slow and all that, you know.when all those Blind videos came out, Henry Sanchez, Chico Brenes and all those dudes man.that was THE era..

With the limits of skateboarding being pushed each day, do you think that somebody who wants to make it as a skater has to learn to discipline themselves and take care of their body?

Well the Americans who skate vert for sure..all of them are like full-on athletes, supplements, work out, if they get hurt, they get it sorted and move on, very different to here man! And street skaters, especially here in the UK.well, a bag of weed and a Pot Noodle will do, and if they get injured.well they get walking again and go skatin! That is the UK! Skaters here don’t take it too seriously, and that can be bad as well because we don’t get anywhere because of that..you know what I mean, we are not really supported because of that.

Do you think we are not supported enough then in the UK?

Well look at the contests here, barely anyone goes, you know! They are all like, ‘yeah I can’t be bothered‘.British Teams, or ‘so called Teams’.where they at?

Like say there is a comp in London or something, they are too busy drinking Stellas and playing chess in their cardigans and that..they are like, ‘whoa, I’m not into that’, which is fucked!

You seem to take comps seriously right? You have won loads of comps lately like Board-X, Turin Italy, and Montpellier etc. Is there a method to this, do you go to win?

I think about it a lot beforehand, a lot of the time I feel like I gotta do well, you know like there’s Vans, Powell etc, they want me to do well you know.

Obviously sponsors don’t push you into doing all of this, it’s up to you right?

Yeah, it is up to me, but you know, last year I really tried harder cos I’m 28 now man, and I wanna be seen to still be progressing, and doing well you know, so last year towards the end I was like lets do this, it’s on you know, I felt good about my skating, and the last 5 events I entered I won, so it felt good man.

Do you think loyalty to sponsors is important?

If they are cool with you. You have to build a relationship, you not gonna have no trust if you jump around, you won’t really know anyone that you are dealing with, I find it easier you know.I have been at Powell for like 10 years now, pro for 6 of those now..and Vans, the Team manager Pete is like one of my best friends, so I don’t wanna fuck him around, I just wanna represent, and do the best I can.

Do you think kids nowadays understand this loyalty too?

A lot of it is about image, being seen to be part of a fresh thing, it’s a funny one, I’m not really that bothered, you gotta sort yourself out; it’s hard to explain.

Talking of brands. If a big brand such as a mobile company or big clothing manufacturer wanted you as part of their team, would you take the money and ride or turn it down?

Well fuck, what other skills do I have man? I don’t wanna do too much crazy stuff.I did that thing for the BBC and I didn’t know what it would be like or how it would turn out…

Yeah, that looked good on TV, where you happy with it?

Yeah man! It was amazing; it won a Bafta as well! Best camera operator!

Was it a skater who filmed it?

Nah, BBC filmed it..i helped to choreograph it and all that, it was cool. We has to go to Northern Ireland 3 times, help set up the course, and then got to pick the riders for it, Frank Stephens and Ollie Todd you know, get the Vans boys in you know! I went to a meeting with Christian Stevenson and we picked 2 heads that would be able to do tricks all day solidly.we filmed all day, they got good style.

Frank has some good stuff going on right now huh?

Yeah, it’s about time to.

We heard rumours that there was a possible switch for you to Cliche, is this true?

Where did you hear that from?!! Walls have ears huh!

They did talk to me an all that, but I didn’t see it as being the right thing you know, I like what they are doing, but not for me man.

So what is the deal with the Wainwright pro shoe?

No love from Vans man.I got that one called “the Sums” that was amazing, and they didn’t even give me an ad or anything, they didn’t promote it and get it out there enough.

Would you want another pro shoe out?

Yeah for sure, it’s a big achievement to get a shoe, I’m surprised and I’m stoked I got that opportunity, I dunno if I will get that opportunity again but if it did, I would make sure it happened properly.

What was you contribution to the Customized Vans in the new Vans Shop in Carnaby street?

Yeah, I did a pair, I don’t know if it sold, but Stella McCartney’s sold for like £8000 or something and the Gallagher’s designed some, it was fun. We came to your jam afterwards man, it was cool.

Yeah, that was the best to date..

We came late to yours as we had to do our Vans stuff, and I remember getting there, hanging with some kids, went to have a skate and all the lights went off, I was like oh shit, we missed the main event man! But everyone was stoked on that jam, keep em up, they rock!

You are pretty cool with the kids right.don’t mind autographs etc

Yeah, and I will tell you a story why I am like that.

Go on then, let’s have it!

When I was little, I went to see the Wrestling with Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks yeah, it was sick, and after the fight, Giant Haystacks walked off, you know, and I’m all like running over to him, by this time he is at his dressing room, and I’m like, ‘hey man, can I get your autograph?’. And he looks at me and bellows at the top of his voice ‘ FUCK OFF’ and he is this massive geezer, I was gutted!

It happened to me with Henry Rollins once so I know how you feel!

You know what, if I saw Haystacks now man, I would thump him! Haha!

So you are into your art, would you use your own art for a board graphic?

I do a few bits and bobs, I like street art, graffiti, posters and stuff like that but I have never done a board graphic.

When you were growing up, was Electro music a part of your life? Did it start there?

Yeah, of course, we all used to Break Dance, I had my name on the back of my tracksuit and shit, haha..

That’s funny!.What did it say?

‘Mini D’!

Haha! ‘ Class!

Yeah man, that was my tag, I was about 8 years old or something!

We used to have sessions in school cos they had great polished floors, where did you kick out the electro jams?

Well I used to live in Coventry and we used to take over these abandon garages and we took 2 of them over, we had a bed in there, lino and a beatbox, it was great!

Where you into skating then?

Nah, I was into BMX but I never had a good one!

Yep, same here! So what about music, tunes always have played an important part of art, skating etc, what is on the stereo right now?

Hear ya go (turns the stereo up) , Trojan Dub right there man! Loving it!

So what are the fave musicians in your life?

Oh, whoa that is one hell of a question, this is gonna take a while.lemme think.hmmn…Biggie Smalls will be in there, Mobb Deep, yeah, some Jazz in there to.I reckon Robbie Coltrane..

You like your chilled stuff then?

Oh dude, fuck yeah, well I’m a stoner innit so, you know, nothing hectic! Snoop would be in there..OG Snoop, Doggy Style!

Have you ever made your own tunes?

Nah, lots of friends of mine make tunes but I have never really gone for it, Bristol has a really good scene for music, and I’m into that for sure.

Tell us about 50-50? How did it come about in Bristol?

It’s the bomb, the best, it’s the most original, skater owned yo!

Did you start up on your own?

Nah, me and Sid man. I won some money at Generation 97 and Sid got some money together, we put a business plan together, and the bank helped as well, and we got it all up and running and started with nothing.

What about distributors?

We did not get support in the beginning from distributors, people like Shiner were really supportive, and slowly after about 6 months, people started to come around you know, obviously the shop will do well because of who is involved, people like Alan Rushbrooke was there from the beginning, everyone knew about it and now it’s no problem at all, we get to choose what we wanna do now.

What’s the future for the skater owned shop vibe?

Yeah, there should be like a recognized group of shops you should got to, skater owned, or shops that support the scene and put something back into skating, cos there are a lot of shops that just stock shit, and happen to be a distributor as well so they are just undercutting every other shop the stock to, like that Osiris shop in Bristol. We used to sell their stuff and then all of a sudden they open a shop right next to us, they sell it cheaper than what we can buy it for so why would people wanna buy it from us, it’s tough you know, but that is life.

And chain stores?

Well, 6 months in, the Legends shop in town is closing! It can only be good to for the scene. It’s bad, of course, but it’s good because it filters it back to what it was in the beginning.

Are skater owned shops doing enough for their local scenes?

Yeah, Sumo, Ideal and others do that I know, I can’t speak for other shops, but we organize demo’s, contests, make flat bars, take them out for the kids, we have the ramp at the back of the shop that people can skate, people come in and watch videos, it’s like a meeting place you know, and we don’t just sell the kids products. Kids don’t really know what to buy when they come in sometimes, so we teach them what is good and what isn’t. Say for example if some fat kid comes in, I’m not gonna sell him a super light! We just be cool and fair to people.

What is the future then for 50-50?

Who knows, we are just waiting for these other irrelevant shops to get out of the way so we have a bit more room to do things. We have great support from local skaters, wearing the shirts, and even parents like the vibe; we will try and keep that going cos it’s all good.

What about the 50-50 brand?

Yeah, we wanna get that out there more, do more stuff with artists instead of just logo based stuff. We got 4 people working on stuff right now. Science is one of them, Eko with a graffiti crew called TCF, and another friend of mine, Sick Boy,who’s doing boards right now and another guy called Parish who writes for TCF as well, all these guys are well known round here.

Nice..so let’s talk about ‘The Ollie’!

Ahhhh, I knew it would come up! Haha!

How does it feel to hold the record?

Stoked man, it’s tough but, ollieing 40 inches – I can it every day pretty much and I know other people can, but over 40 inches is hard, it’s a real push..

Do you think you could break it?

Back then I was into ollies but now, I try a different style of skating, new tricks you know?

What about switch then?

Dude, you know that guy Javier Sarmiento who rides for The Firm? That guy has the biggest switch ollies! He switched ollied this thing in Japan that I just ollied, it was fucking massive.seriously!

With the highest ollie, highest switch ollie, longest ollie and $10 000 games of SKATE, what’s next?

There was something recently, a long ollie comp at ASR, I heard about it, but I think all that stuff has calmed down now a bit, it’s media induced you know.

Do you think such competitions are good or just a mockery of what skateboarding is all about?

Nah, I think it’s really good, but in proportion. The ollie thing was good because it had not been done for years, and they shouldn’t bother do it for another 10 years, until there is a whole new batch of skaters and new techniques.

Could we see more competitions like this in the future ‘ any invites to new ones?

Well, look at the loop with the gap, who knows what is next. The Americans are good at doing all this stuff.

Have you ever been tempted to move ship to the States?

Not really, more than ever now. Sometimes I think why did I not go there for a bit, but there is still plenty of time, but it’s really different out there than the UK. The whole lifestyle wears you down you know. The sense of humour here is great, and the way people are, they tell you straight here, over there it’s like one big game. I used to go for like a month or 2 and then come home which was cool, there are always invites, I reckon I will go back soon, Powell ask about when I’m next visiting now and then.

After making the pilgrimage to the States and then returning to set up shop in England, do you think Europe has a chance to compete with the American skate industry?

Yeah, Europe is on fire right now, has been for a while. Support it!

And finally..

Some Questions from the Forums..we asked online community if they had any questions for you and these came back!

Do you think you’ll be remembered as “The Dude Who Did The Ollie”? – Dave1

Haha, probably i don’t know !

Why R U the only skater to have a pro shoe that actually lives in the UK?
– Arry

Cos the UK don’t get no love man!

How come he hardly gets coverage in the big american magazine ?
– Arry

They always over the same people, the same places every issue so i’m not missing out, plus i live here man, i got the 50-50 for life.

Are you still obessed with Vanessa Paradis?
‘ Frontside Rocker

That is a funny one man! I did an interview years ago, it’s funny someone remembered that ! ‘ I saw her on TV the other day, and she’s not looking so hot these days! When i was 16 yeah!

Also what are Powell doing with those graphics? Does he have any say? I think they’re awful!
Spanky

I could not agree more mate ! i don’t have a say.hey have you seen my new one, it looks like a prehistoric corn on the cob !

Has having a name 1 1/2 times as long as ‘Danny Way’ had any beneficial impact on your career?

Did Jason Lunn ask that question ? Haha ! He is great Jason, big respect.

Who do you idolise in skateboarding ?
– J Hetfield

I don’t idolise anybody man, but dude, great skaters, – so many i don’t even know, from back in the day, all of those amazing videos.style man, i love watching stylish skaters. Someone with flow.

Fave session?

Whoa, that is a hard one…Will Ainley, Frank Stephens – all the 50-50 crew man.

Why wasn’t your section on Day in the City 3 because i didn’t see his section on the premiere
‘from Tyler

Well, i didn’t do one..Will Ainley did, but it didn’t get on there.

If there was one thing you could change about your career so far what would it be?
– Rom Skater Andy

I would not tried that handrail in the Raggy Video that i split my nuts on man, yeah, that for sure !

Who’s the most annoying & hard worker of the 50/50 ams?
– Deegwaad

Oh boy, they ask some real sick questions..I’m stoked they wanna know about the crew though, it probably would have to be Little Dan Wileman for both, they are all annoying, a bunch of idiots ! But Dan is the most annoying for example we will be out skating and he will be like – “Dan have you got a bearing or whatever or “can i borrow you knee pads?”, and he will borrow them and not give them back or something..Big Love though Dan!

Any shouts, plugs weblinks or general abuse to people you know reading this?!

Yeah. Thanks if you take time to read this.

Thanks to all the kids for their questions and yeah, of course Big Ups to Crossfire for hooking this up and pulling us all together.

Support Skater Owned! – DW

Danny’s recommended links include:

50-50 Skate Shop online at www.5050store.com

And some Graf sites well worth checking out at www.woostercollective.com and www.ekosystem.org

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!

Lee Smith

Speak into the mic.

Testicles 1-2! (Laughter!)

Great! Ok Lee, it’s the 8th July and you’re in Lyon, France. How did you get here? When? Why?…

I’ve only been in Lyon about 2 or 3 days, but in total I’ve been in Europe about 5 months. I just got kinda sick of Los Angeles, sitting in traffic, trying to skate a shitty handrail that Johhny Wickerbean already did a nolllie boardslide down! So, I decided to just be a gypsy for a while and spend some time in Europe.

Where have your travels taken you through Europe?

No where exotic really. I’ve been spending most of my time in Barcelona on the beach… And at Macba! (Laughter!)

I guess you still get to see your friends because of the strong influx of US pros during these recent times.

Yeah. I’ve been hanging out a lot with Paul Shier, and a lot of guys I know that came out from San Francisco like Brad Johnson. The DVS guys came out… I’ve also been spending time with a lot of the local Spanish skaters, so it’s good. I’ve been brushing up on my old ‘Espagnol’.

You mentioned earlier that you were tired of skating in the States. Is this because of the constant competitiveness of it over there? Do you find Europe more laid back?

Yeah, I mean in America, skating wise, the mentality is that you’ve got to push! Push! Push! Do this trick! Do that trick! Get this out there! In one way it’s good, but on another level it’s just too extreme, you know? I think the European lifestyle, in general, is a lot more laid back. People are relaxed and like to chill. It’s more about enjoying each moment of every day, instead of trying to make a buck.

With the recent blow out of ‘Johnny Hammertime’ skaters and skating, do you feel a little left out because your image is at the other end of the spectrum? Or, is this a relief that takes you out of the spotlight and lets you enjoy your skating more?

Well, I definately think that people weren’t paying attention to the whole City Stars thing until we got the little kids on the team (Ed. Mike Taylor, Paul Rodriguez…). But, me personally, I didn’t do a lot for a long time. I was pretty lazy and I was kinda just into partying. I was kind of out of it, so I really don’t know… But I think the whole handrail craze is coming to an end! People are just starting to respect style and creativity, which are the most important things about skating.

Definately! You spoke about Paul Rodriguez being on the team back then. Did you get to witness this wonderkid firsthand and watch the progression?

Oh yeah! Paul was already really good when he got on City Stars, but he was still just a young kid and really humble. He’d pray before every trick… Now he’s just a bit caught up in all the money and hype of fame, glitz and glamour, and trying to be a gangster. He listens to too much Hip-Hop! ( Laughter!) It’s music, that’s it. It’s just like a movie: it’s there to entertain you and then the movies over.

Watching the recently released FTC Trilogy, there is quite a bit of footage of you back then. What was it like in San Francisco during that time?

The scene was a lot of fun. Some of my best times in my life, just coming up and skating Embarcadero. Watching the progression of certain skaters like Jovantae Turner, Mike Carroll, or Henry Sanchez. People like that really push me to progress with my skating. It was a great time! Obviously we were getting into a lot of mischief at the same time, but I don’t regret anything.

Looking at then and now, who inspires you today?

Back then, it was obviously my peers that I was around. Karl Watson, Marcus McBride, and then all the older guys I mentioned earlier like Mike Carroll, James Kelch, Jovantae… All those Embarcadero guys, those are the ones I looked up to. Nowadays I’d say whoever is just being creative and doing something else from the norm. It’s like every skater wants to learn every other trick that every other skater does. They only want to skate the spot that’s famous! ‘Let’s go to this rail that 30 other people have done tricks down!’…

Do think the whole one-upmanship is to blame for this phenomenon?

No. I think that a lot of skaters are kinda stupid to tell you the truth! They think that if Jaime Thomas grinded this rail, then if I lipslide it, I’ll be famous aswell! So, they’re going to go to the same spots, do the same tricks, and all of a sudden one person does a nollie flip noseslide and the next thing you know, every little kid in the world ca do a nollie flip noseslide! Someone does a switch bigspin heelflip, then all of a sudden every fuckin’… It’s crazy! Most skaters lack creativity and ideas. I don’t know, I find it strange, you know?

You’re recognized as a technical street skater, but do you ever skate other things, say pools or transition for example?

I like to skate whatever is put in front of me. I’m not saying that I’ll be a maniac on it! (Laughter!) But, I’ll definately skate a mini ramp. Bowls I’m not too good at, but I’ll push around, man… That’s what skating is about: trying to learn. Fuck! Take a slam if you have to!

During your travels over the last 5 months, have you got any good stories to tell, or crazy happenings that occurred?

I wish I could say ‘Yeah!’, but I can’t. No, not really. Nothing too abnormal. I’ve just been taking it easy and that’s about it… Oh! I did meet a girl. (Laughter!) … I met a girl at a club and she said, ‘Meet me at the beach’, so I went and when I got there she was topless with a thong on! So, for me to be an American in Europe and meet someone that you’ve just met on the beach in that form was very odd… (Laughter!)

But it’s a nice surprise!

Yeah! I was like, ‘This is great!’ That was awesome!

As you’re in France at the moment, what are your plans for the near future?

My plan is to stay here a bit longer. Maybe visit a couple of friends in Switzerland and go back to Barcelona in a week or two. Try to wrap up some more filming for the new FTC video which I’m going to have a full part in, the last part. So, I’m looking forward to that! I’m looking forward to… I don’t know actually, I’ll take it as it comes. (Laughter!)

Ok, have you got anyone one you want to give a shout out to?

I want to say ‘Thank you’ to Kelly Bird over at Lakai and Sam Smythe over at Chocolate and Girl. I’d like to thank Diamond supply and FTC Skateshop, and Autobahn Wheels.

One last thing, the last time we met you gave me some stickers with these little mushroom things on them. What was that?

Oh, that’s Angel Biotek! It’s still running, it’s my friend Shelby Woods who does it, but he’s got a lot on his plate at the moment, so… I mean, it’s still going, but you’ll have to wait a minute.

One very last thing that I ask every person I interview: If you were sent to a desert island and could take one book, one object and one CD with you, what would they be?

Ummm… I don’t know. (Laughter!) I’d take my I-pod! (Laughter!) Isn’t that what JB said?! My I-pod and a bottle of Jack Daniels, because you wouldn’t last long on the island, so you might as well make it a party!

That’s it! Thanks Lee!

Thank you man, and thanks to Crossfire!

Andrew Brophy

Ralph met Andrew Brophy during a session in Lyon , France and got some words whilst they were both bombed by little gypo kids armed with firecrackers! This is what went down whilst they were Caught In The Crossfire…

Here we are in sunny Lyon, but what I want to know is how you got here?

I was in London before, and Jeremie (Daclin) brought me here I think. (Laughter) Oh, and Ben from Circa in London paid for it.

You’re not from London though, you’re from Australia. Whereabouts?

I’m from the West coast, a little country town called Margret River. Basically it’s a little surfing town with not much to skate.

If there wasn’t much to skate, how comes you didn’t just pursue a career in surfing?

They had a skatepark opened and I didn’t like the water because the waves were scary as fuck! Skating was the easier option, and I ain’t gonna drown, I’m just gonna fall on concrete.

While you were skating back in Australia, did you know you now team mate, Cale Nuske?

No, he’s from the East Coast. I met him when I first came to Lyon a year ago.

Who were your first sponsors?

The first was Momentum skateshop from Perth, then Modus Bearings from Brett Margaritis’ company and TSA Clothing.

Seeing as you have travelled all over the world, how would you compare the different skate scenes?

It’s all quite similar. Everyone still takes their sport quite seriously in Australia, but maybe there isn’ as much to skate in Australia either. Well, there is but it’s not as accessible.

But I heard that places like Melbourne or Sydney were full of spots?

Yeah, Melbourne is full of spots! But for me, coming from the West Coast, it’s just as easy to fly to Europe as it is to fly to the East Coast. It’s all the same.

[A little gypsy kid lets off a massive firecracker nearby] That was fucking loud! (Laughter) Oh shit! Maybe we should move because he just put one in a metal can..?

Excuse us for this brief interruption. Some kid is giving us a fireworks demonstration!

Vietnam. Vietnam. Ha! Ha! Look at him, he’s going off!

You’re on Cliche now, so tell me how that’s working out for you? How did the deal come around?

It all started from when I was on Link Footwear and came over here for some touring. I got hooked up then, and got flow from the distributor back in London, Slam City Skates. [Gypsy kid’s firecracker doesn’t bang as loud as hoped for] Oh. Ha! Ha! He wanted that shit to blow up. (Laughter)

So, wait. How come you even left Australia? Wasn’t the jump to London a big step in the dark?

Well, it was either go to London or move to the East Coast, and I didn’t know anyone over there at that stage. Well, I did. There was Brett, Chip Waltman, Ben McClaughlan and Kyle Stanley etc had all moved back from the East Coast, so there was no-one for me to go over there and stay with.

My brother was living in London at the time, so I thought, ‘Fuck it!

My grandparents are going to pay for the airfare over there, so I might as well go and live with them rent free!’ It’s easier, and since I’ve been there everything has worked out great! I’ve met loads of new people and made new friends.

What do you think of the London scene? Who do you hang out with?

Nick Jensen, Charlie Young, Robbleyard a.k.a. Rob Mathyssen, Levant Tanju and the Slam City crew. London’s good in Summer, terrible in Winter!

Why is it so terrible?

Oh, you know! It’s so wet and freezing! You know.

Well, I know, but the people reading this don’t! Often you hear London is so shit for skating because the grounds so crap and there are no spots.

No! There are loads of spots everywhere. You’ve just got to know the people who know. (Laughter)

So how long do you think you’re going to spend on this side of the globe, in Europe and stuff?

I don’t know! I’ll see how it all works out I suppose. Hopefully for as long as possible.

What’s it like having Jeremie Daclin as a team manager?

It’s funny! I wish I could speak French, so that I could communicate with him a bit better, but it’s all good.

Do you hook up with the Cliche team very often, or is it on one of these rare occasions that you visit Lyon and see them all?

This is the second time that I have been here and hung out with the team. It’s fun, the weather’s nice here as well. [Gypsy kid suddenly blows a firework up in his hand regardless]

Wah! That kid’s gnarly. Did you see what he just did??? Anyway, is your brother a skater? What do your parents think of your career move?

Well, my brother was a surfer before I skated and he was busy doing the Pro/Am shit, travelling.

Whoa. Wait a minute. Watch out!… Oh, it’s alright. It’s not going to blow!

Yeah. So, my brother did a lot of travelling and my parents didn’t really mind. They’re pretty happy for me to do what I want and enjoy my time. Just doing whatever interests me.

Have you quit your studies now?

Yeah, I’m finished with all that. I’m 18 now! I might go back to Uni afterwards.

What are your plans for the future? Cliche is about to head off on a couple of tours including the Roast Beef Tour aren’t they? Do you know anything about that?

No. I don’t think anyone really knows where we’re going! (Laughter) Just get in the van with sleeping bags and as much clean clothing as you can possibly fit in a backpack, and go and stink! (Laughter) Just smell and sleep on the floor, it’ll be funny!

Any other plans for the future, non skatewise?

Just travel, skate and meet new people. Be poor for a very long time! (Laughter)

Have you done any filming yet with Fred (Mortagne)?

No! None so far.

You’re known for your huge pop, so if they were ever to organise an ollie contest again, would you give Danny Wainwright a good run for his money?

Yeah. I’d check it out, take a few people out. Whaaaa! [Gypsy kid blows off a huge firecracker right behind us!] I think that shit popped my ear drum!

I’ll push that little fucker in the water! Damn!

That was so loud dude!

[We take a little break to soothe our ears, laugh and threaten the Gypsy kid and Lee Smith for making him do it]

Do you ever get sick of people asking you to ollie up the 6 stairs at Shell (Skatespot in London)?

Yeah! No requests!

What would be your dream session?

Back home ??? skatepaaaark! [Gypsy kid tries his luck one more time but Jeremie tells him to fuck off or else!] With Brett, having a barbecue, drinking beers and skating the miniramp. That’s the best!

One last question that I ask all my interviewees: If you were sent to a desert island and were allowed to take one object, one book and one CD with you, what would they be?

Ummm. The book would be porn! (Laughter) The CD would be the ‘Postal Service’, that shit’s good. An object? I don’t know.Maybe a blow up doll?

Tissues perhaps?

Yeah! That or a tent!

Ok, thanks for the answers despite our little gypsy friend.

Brandon Biebel

Ok, it isn’t very professional, but it happens at least once to every journalist:
I erased my interview with Girl Skateboards pro Brandon Biebel! Maybe the recorder was stuck on pause? Maybe I didn’t realise because I was star-struck? In any case, this is as close as the interview went, or at least as good as my memory gets. Sorry, it won’t happen again, I promise!

Hi Brandon! Welcome to London and the new X-box Bay Sixty6 park. What do you think?

Thanks! It’s pretty cool, but it’s real busy, huh?

So, is this the first time you came to the UK?

Oh no. I’ve been once before, but I don’t remember much so this feels like the first time again.

I see you’ve just been signing autographs and taking photos for the last hour or so; do you still enjoy doing demos and autograph sessions, or would you rather travel abroad to skate new spots and film stuff?

I don’t mind doing the demos, you know it’s for the kids and all. It’s good. I like to see new spots, and I guess we’ll try and film some stuff if we can.

Is this the beginning of your European visit through the Summer?

Nah! I’m just here for a week and then I get back home to Sacramento.

Do you know where you’re going after London? I heard you were heading to Milton Keynes.

Yeah. We’ll be in England, maybe Scotland. I don’t know.

Before you rode for Girl, you were on ATM. That’s quite a difference. How did the change come about and how does it feel?

Well, in my eyes, Girl is the best company there is! No doubt! I wouldn’t ride for anyone else, but I guess it all came about through Lakai and hookin’ up with Rick (Howard) and the boys.

Judging by your part in ‘Yeah Right!’, it’s quite obvious that you know how to manual. How long does it take to get to a level where you can bust out tech tricks like that?

Oh man! I’ve been doing manuals since I was a little kid. It’s something I’ve always been doing. That and curbs, you know?

You like Hip-Hop and travel a lot, so what have you got playing on your I-pod during the trips?

I listen to some rap and R&B. I like to chill with some R&B.

Have you listened to the latest Ghostface album, ‘The Pretty Tony Album’?

Nah! I ain’t heard it yet. I don’t listen to him so much. It’s funny, I didn’t choose that track for my part in ‘Yeah Right!’ I guess it just worked.

So, what are you plans for the future?

I just got finished with my part for the new Transworld video, so that’ll be cool. Right now, I think we’re starting to film for a Lakai thing.

Will it be like ‘Beware of the Flair’, another tour video?

Nah! This’ll be a real skate video!

Ok, well that’s all I’ve got for you, so thanks!

Thanks to you and Crossfire man!

Brian Anderson

RLD – You just arrived here in London, what do you think of the Bay Sixty6 park?

BA – It looks good! I’ve never skated here before, but I hears that they re-did the floor or something? I looks pretty fun. I’ve got to set up a new board and skate it. I’m curious.

You must be used to the whole demo/autograph situations, but nowadays it seems pros prefer to travel abroad, see new spots and film- Sort of like a holiday. What do you think?

I like to do demos and film. Both those things are fine. As long as the demo is organised properly, I totally love it!

After spending a long time over at Toy Machine, how does it feel to be on another tight team like Girl?

It’s definitely a tight unit. I get along great with everybody. I already knew the guys from hanging out with them at Fourstar. We’d ride together at contests and stuff. They’re also just a really good group of people that work at Girl as well, not just the team. It’s an incredible company.

Do you think it’s important that your boss, Rick Howard, should also be a current pro skater?

Sure! Even when he’s done and doesn’t want to skate anymore, you know it’s cool because he used to skate, you know? It’s great, it’s better than having someone who doesn’t know much about pro life.

You’ve lived in San Francisco for a while now, is the scene still as strong as it used to be?

It’s not as strong as it used to be, but I love it because I grew up in New England, and in Los Angeles you have to drive your car everywhere! In San Francisco, you can take the bus, ride the train, take your skateboard with you and you can ride everywhere, poppin’ little ollies and shit.

Do you still hang out with Brad Staba as much?

Yeah, I live with him and two other people; him, Tony Cox and one other guy. I skate with him all the time, plus he comes on tour sometimes because he rides for Ruby.

I know that you are really into art and music. What bands are you listening to at the moment?

I listen to a lot of Joni Mitchell, and a band called Burning Bride.

You like Sonic Youth, right?

I love Sonic Youth!

Me too! I heard they just released a new album called ‘Sonic Nurse’. Have you heard it?

No, I haven’t heard it yet. I want to hear that new Morrissey album that’s out as well. I heard that’s really good. I hear the new DVD will be reviewed on this site soon though.

Back to the demos, do you have any good or bad demo stories?

Yeah definately! There have been times where we have skated a parking lot in Middle America with really really rocky ground, ramps falling apart, a garbage can, a tyre. But, it was awesome because I was with Ed Templeton and he’s a really fun guy for that type of situation. He’s been through it all, so he’s like ‘Let’s move these ramps all around and skate them till they break!’

Do you think professional skating is becoming more respected in the States nowadays, and perhaps understood a little better as an actual career move?

Yes and no. Some people are more aware of it because it’s on television, but there is still the same amount of people who, when you tell them you skate for a living, they are really surprised! They say that they never thought that was possible, which is understandable because the average citizen reads a news paper and they’re not reading about skateboarding. They’re more interested in current affairs, so why would they even know about it?

Talking about current affairs, what’s you take on this whole Bush and Iraq situation?

I really hope that he serves time in prison eventually for all the crimes that he has committed. I also hope that John Kerry (Democrat- Bush’s opposition) finds a good vice president to stand by him. I’d love to see Ralph Nader with him, they’ve been talking I think. I just really hope that the people who have done horrible things and try and cover them up pay the consequences for that. People like Donald Rumsfeld! John Ashcroft, the Attorney General, also needs to really grow up a little bit and stop living in the past. He’s a complete idiot, along with a whole load of other people in the Bush administration.

Well, we’ll leave world politics alone, and head back to skate related politics. Philadelphia shut down Love Park, yet today skateparks are taking the Plaza as a blueprint. Do you think this is the face of the future parks? Are kids tired of transitions?

I’d like to see more ‘Park’ style skateparks with natural marble and all that stuff. And then, it should be like back in the day, where a kid would just have his ramp in his backyard. That would be the best way, I think, for kids to learn how to skate everything. That would be better for natural progression, to have more natural style parks, that would be incredible!

So what are your plans for after this?

After London, Milton Keynes. We’ll be in the UK for another ten days.

Any plans for the future?

I think we’re going to make a video at Girl, but it’s not going to be a Girl video as such. Just everyone at Girl HQ or something. I don’t know. Then, Nike’s making a promo video for pretty soon!

How’s that riding for Nike?

It’s excellent! All the people that work there are really in touch with skateboarding, not just a bunch of corporate morons. They’re actually really interested in it. Also, a lot of my friends doing team manager stuff used to work with me over at Savier. They’re really cool people and they care about keeping it hardcore.

It’s pretty amazing the comeback Nike have had, seeing as loads of skaters are more than willing to have them as a sponsor and try out their new models!

Yeah! Paul Rodriguez is gong to have a signature shoe soon, too, so I’m sure that’s going to be pretty amazing.

How comes he didn’t make it over for this tour?

I think he’s moving house or something? We’re kind of mad at him right now, for not coming.

Aha…ok get in there and sign some more autographs! haha!

Cool, thanks for the interview, thanks to Crossfire for hooking this up!

Chet Thomas

On a windy wet morning in London 10/04/04, the Globe Team turned up to PSSP for a demo on thier way to Barcelona for the week….Zac hooked up with Chet for 30 minutes after the demo for a chat and this is what came out of it….

When was the last time you came to England?

Uhh. 1997 at Wembley. That contest where Mark Gonzales and Pat Duffy collided in the air.

That was a long time ago…and a good comp. My first introduction to you was from the Powell Peralta video ‘Public Domain’ in 1988, as it premiered in London at a rock club called the Marquee Club in Charing Cross Rd. Did you realise when you filmed that part just how influential it was on street skating?

Not at all. At the time, we had a little Long Beach crew, me, Steve Saiz, Eric Sanderson, Ray Barbee, and we’d always skate around Lakewood. Back then when you’d film, seriously you would go out for three days and that was it! Stacy (Peralta) would take us to downtown LA, he’d be like, ‘Look! A nice wide open sidewalk. Go for it!’ So then basically, you’d have three whole days of filming and that would be your video part finished. You don’t think about it like you do now, where you say, ‘I want to do this trick, this trick, this trick.’ Planning your video part 6 months in advance. Back then, whatever you came across, that was what you’d skate. I think it came out good!

Who played the music for your part? Was it McRad?

No, it was Stacy Peralta and Dennis the Dragon, from the Old Surf Punks? I don’t know. But it was Dennis Dragon who did that loop, and it was a classic song right there.

Skaters like Danny Way, Ray Barbee, Mike Vallely, they all got their first slice of fame through that video as well didn’t they?

For sure. Danny was on for a short period of time. It’s funny because him and Bucky Lasek got on at the same time, and they would always be riding these vert boards around. They were always really competitive with one another, and I hate to say it but I placed my bets on Danny.

How did you get on Powell Peralta? Was it Steve Saiz that put you on there?

Yeah! I was skating in a really small competition in Lakewood, and he was one of the judges, and I won my division. Three months later, I walked into this skateshop called ‘Eldorado’, that Steve was working at, and he was like, ‘Hey, you’re that kid at the contest!’ He started flowing me boards through Powell, like he’d get a few decks and pass them on to me. I guess I got on Powell flow after that. There was a Valsurf demo where the whole team were there, Stacy, Todd Hastings the team manager at that time.

Basically, at that demo, they set a jump ramp up in a parking lot, sat there and put me on the spot! It was pretty crazy that the whole team that I had always looked up to as a super small kid- I mean, I was small when I got on, but I was even smaller than that!- Just the whole team staring at me and the jump ramp. That was mainly what people skated back then, jump ramps. Tricks back then were like Ho-ho plants, stalefish backside 360s, judos, judo methods – All that stuff. So, that’s how I got on the team, doing that stuff.

Do you still see Ray Barbee?

Once in a while, I’ll see Ray. He lives in Corona.

Does he still play his music?

Yeah, he’s in a band. I’ve forgotten their name, but he’s really good. Super talented.

If you were to pick a session from back then, which one would it be?

I think the most memorable for me was the first Powell Christmas party because they actually set up a load of shit in a warehouse to skate. This was before there were any indoor skateparks. They invited the whole team up and had a street park set up in a warehouse, so we could just skate it al weekend. Seeing Steve Caballero, Tony Hawk, Lance Montain, Jim Thiebaud, Jesse Martinez, that whole crew, was pretty sick!

I remember seeing you at Jim Thiebauds Ramp Jam, how was that?

That was good, but Oakland’s sketchy! I remember after that day, three cars got broken into right outside the event. We were trying to find the freeway, and it was starting to get dark, so everyone just started freaking out because nobody wanted to be in Oakland after dark.

You also used to skate for Santa Cruz. How long were you there for?

I was only on Santa Cruz for about a year and a half, maybe even shorter. What happened was I was skating for Powell for so long, like 5 years or something, and I was supposed to go pro at the San Francisco contest that was 6 months away. They were like, ‘Yeak, yeah! You’re going, you’re going!’ Three months pass, same thing. One month left same thing. So, now I’m like, ‘Look, where are my tickets, I thought I was meant to be going?’ And they were just like, ‘Ah well. You have to talk to Stacy.’ So, I went in to talk to Stacy and he just figured it would be better if I got myself a new sponsor when I turned pro because I had been riding for Powell for so long. As if this was a mutual understanding and wouldn’t be shocking! I was totally caught off guard. It wasn’t like he was kicking me off, but it came apparent to me that they weren’t hyped on me so much anymore. After that, I got on New School, Public Skateboards, but that was just wack! At that moment Tom Knox and a couple of other riders quit Santa Cruz, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try and work something out.

I got on the team, but then a year later they bunked on the contract. I was supposed to get “X” amount of $ over a two year period, but 18 months in they cut my pay. I’m like, ‘Hey! You can cut my pay at the end of my contract. See this piece of paper here? X amount for X amount of time. Once this is over, I’ll take the cut no problem.’ But they were like, ‘No.’

The way I found out was when I got my cheque in the mail, it was half as much as usual. It’s not like they called me and let me know, it was more like through opening my mail. That was fucking sketchy!

I went from there to Channel One and skated for them for a couple of years. I was stoked, but it was unfortunate that Channel One was done through Acme and Jim Gray.

Wasn’t Channel One run from that warehouse where the Soul Bowl was stored in Huntington Beach?

That was after I had quit riding for them. You see, I got on the team with Chris Senn so I was amped, but the month I got on, Chris quit! That was a shock because then I was the only pro on the team. It got to the point where Jim Gray just wasn’t starting anything because he wasn’t into supporting pros as much as he says he does by putting out generic boards and not pro models. It got to the point where I was hanging out with Danny, and we started the A-Team with Ben and Tas Pappas and Henry Sanchez. It was good for a little while, but before long nobody was pulling the reins anymore at the company, there was no direction. The first year was alright but then it started to get messy.

By then, I had already started Darkstar Wheels and we had made a couple of Darkstar team decks which sold really well. We were doing our own graphics, catalogues etc. So, I figured that if I was doing my own thing and it worked, me and my brother wouldn’t have to worry about 6 other guys and who’s doing what. We’re just trying to do what we want to do, and we have a definate strategy, direction and thought process so.

-You’ve been leading Darkstar for about four years now?

Yeah, and it’s working really well. We’ve just been trying to stay consistent on what we do. Having the same feel to all the graphics, not switching it up and followings trends like going from punk to hip-hop. Anything that’s dark, powerful an tough is how I’d sum up Darkstar.

So, tell me all about these sugar coated things you were all hyped about back in the day.

Oh, Cheerios! Nah, they’re done. I haven’t done a commercial for them in a while

That was basically why I didn’t have to work when I was a teenager -Commercials.

The first one I did was for McDonalds when I was 13 years old, then the Cheerios commercial after that. I did around 15 to 20 commercials between the ages of 13 to 18. I didn’t have to work, that was my gas money, my car payment, my beer money! (Laughter)

Would you recommend this to new skaters if the opportunity arose?

Any kid who has the chance to get into that industry, I would try to do it! A lot of the times they don’t even go on how good you can skate or not. You just do whatever they are looking for, which is usually pretty basic stuff, and then you have to correspond to the look they want for that specific part, then you’re in there! It’s the easiest money you could ever make. Just sitting around all day in a trailer, eating food, hanging out… They call you up, you skate for half an hour, and they pay you a grand. Then, you get royalties on the commercial and you don’t have to work for 6 months. So, I was super fortunate to be able to do that!

Are you a big music fan?

Yeah, but not so much that I’m into a lot of underground stuff. I’m into a whole different array of stuff, like I might listen to house music as long as it isn’t some hard techno stuff. Some hip-hop, a little bit of gangster rap, a little bit of East coast stuff, a little bit of West coast stuff. No country! A little bit of old school punk, just a mix. I can’t listen to the same thing for too long.

Seeing as you are travelling through Europe at the moment, what have you got playing on your I-pod right now?

Israel Vibrations- I.V. Dub, Andre Nicotina, he’s banging right now. We used one of his tracks, ‘Yae-yo’ on the credits of the Darkstar video. Murder City Devils, Led Zeppelin, some Metallica, some Slayer of course! Classic Bob Marley.

That all sounds like a nice little package right there! So, what are you doing here? Nobody knew you were coming until about a week ago.

We’re here to do a demo! Then we’re going to Barcelona for the next 5 days to just try and film for the next Globe video. The Darkstar video is done, so that’s next in the list.

How involved do you get with Globe?

I’ve been with them almost eight years now. I’m involved as much as I can, but not to sound selfish, in so much as what I have to do for them and vice-versa. If I get too involved with stuff that really doesn’t pertain to me, then I won’t be doing what I need to do which is skate. I need to keep in shape for skating now. I’m 30 years old and can’t skate all day anymore, five days in a row, and not have to do yoga, stretching or all sorts of shit like that.

So, I do as much as I can, be it ad layouts or photos. The main thing is I try and design my shoes and put it in their hands. I don’t just say, ‘Make whatever you want and put my name on it!’ It’s going on my feet, with my name on it!

Some designer that doesn’t really know what they’re doing will just design something and put your name on it. I want to make a shoe that’s good for kids to skate in, and they can spend a decent amount of money on it, without worrying that it will blow up or fall apart on them. For $80 or £60, I will try and get triple layers on there so the toe pieces don’t get destroyed.

Over a couple of weeks, I’ll try and draw 5 or 6 different sketches, give it to the artist who’ll put it in the computer and clean up the lines. I don’t really deal with computers; I just do a lot of spread sheets and business stuff, not like graphic art stuff. I get it back from them, and then I’ll take what I like from there so everything flows right. Specify the materials, thickness of the sole, how soft it should be, the tread pattern.

I’ve always got the tongues that attach to the heel so you barely have to lace your shoes. This all goes to the factory, who then send us some samples. After about five rounds of this you eventually get the shoe that works! It takes a long time because they are working on 20 different models at the same time.

Plus, they are changing the line they sell every three months or so.

Between testing, sampling and getting your shoe in the mix, it takes a little while.

Ok, it looks like you guys are splitting – Any shout outs?

Thanks to Crossfire – What’s up to the whole Darkstar crew! Everyone on Globe,

Matt Hill for sending me out here. My wife Laurie. Annex Trucks crew, Gailea Momolu, Pierre-Luc Gagnon.

Everyone who supported me, I wouldn’t be here without the support of the kids. They buy Darkstar and Globe goods so our companies can grow and we can travel around the world. If it wasn’t for their support, we might still be skating, but we wouldn’t be able to travel and visit the kids. It’s thanks to them that we are here today.

Andrew Reynolds interview

By Ralph Lloyd-Davis

When Crossfire was asked to premiere the Emerica video “This Is Skateboarding” Ralph LD managed to get some time with Andrew Reynolds in between band soundchecks whilst the rest of the Emerica Team all fell asleep exhausted by their World Tour.

What were the first and last tricks filmed for this video?

The last? See, I wouldn’t know the first because I had some stuff laying around and though I could use it for my Emerica part. The last was a line filmed at a school, probably a couple of months ago. I knew that that was the last because I have new clothes. (laughs)

Do you know how many countries were visited whilst filming for the video because it seems like travelling is pretty important in the making of videos nowadays?

We went to Barcelona, Australia, France. I don’t know, I don’t really keep track of where we go. We’ve probably been to five or six places, maybe a lot. Sometimes nobody got anything done at one place.

Is that a disappointment, to go somewhere and not manage to get any footage?

No. I just try and let it happen. I don’t get disappointed if I don’t get things.

Did you have a favourite spot you visited?

Umm. I don’t know. I just like everywhere. I like places that I’ve never been before. Those are my favourite places and they’re all over the place. It’s hard to say because I like everywhere.

Isn’t it more of a hassle, trying to skate in the States nowadays?

No, we skate lots of places. We just set up lights, skate schools on the weekend. With some spots you only get the chance to skate at night, so it’s like ‘Fuck it!’, let’s get it done, put the lights up and it’s the same as during the day.

Did you find it hard to distinguish between footage for ‘This is Skateboarding’, and ‘Baker 3G’?

There’s no Baker video right now, so everything I had went towards ‘This is Skateboarding’. I’ll start right now the clean slate for’Baker 3G’. You see, I thought about holding back on footage but then I guessed I didn’t want to look like a chump. (laughs)

Do you have a trick in your part that you are most proud of, or was the most difficult to do?

Maybe it’s not the most difficult, but to me what looks the best is this one line where I do a switch backside shifty down a set of stairs, and it’s my favourite. To other people it may look like nothing, but to me, I like it. It wasn’t much effort, it was easy, but it looks like something I’d like to see. Then there’s other stuff I hear people cheer about and I’m like ‘why don’t people like this?’, I don’t know.

With the title being ‘This is Skateboarding’, what would you say ‘is Skateboarding’ for you?

Just going out in the streets and finding spots, being with your friends, filming and making video parts. Doing all that stuff.

Do you have a dream session?

I don’t really have a dream session. I skated a mini ramp the other day with some kids from my team, Spanky, Bryan Herman and Brayden, the team manager of Emerica, Justin Reagan. That was like the funnest session I can think of.

If you were sent to a desert island and you were only allowed to take one book, one CD and one object, what would you take?

Well, it’s got to be a double CD! (laughs) I’d bring the ‘Big’ book, Hanoi Rocks ‘Decadent and Dangerous’ double CD, and an object? I’d bring my board!

In ‘On video’ there was an article on the Emerica mansion. Was that whole idea beneficial towards the making of this video?

Yeah because we got to be in a house with Jon Miner and work on our parts together, just the whole team could get together and talk about how we wanted it to look- Just being around one another when it was all coming together. Some people were settled down elsewhere in the State (of California), but the majority of us got together. You could wake up, knock on Miner’s door and then go film. It was pretty easy.

What’s your favourite of all the videos you’ve seen?

Baker 2G.

And which video are you anticipating?

Baker 3. I just think everyone on the Baker team, besides myself because I don’t really care what I do, but everybody else on the team are my favourite skaters, so that’s the one I really want to see.

Do you know why all the Emerica adverts are green? Is there a subversive message in the choice of colour?

Maybe. I think it’s because when you see an old New Deal ad, it’s all yellow, so you associate that colour with that company. I don’t know.

When the Emerica DVD comes out, is it likely to have a lot of bonus footage?

Oh yeah! A whole bunch of stuff! I’m sure the DVD will have footage people didn’t want to use, and there will probably be a little section about this whole tour, the premieres. Hopefully, a bunch of cool stuff.