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!