Portraits by Zac
Skate shot courtesy of Seu Trinh
Sometimes the good guys just stick out like sore thumbs and Lewis Marnell is one such character. In fact, this interview was not even scheduled, Lewis decided to turn up to the Crossfire office to say hello whilst in town on the Nike ‘Nothing But The Truth‘ promo trip and left us with an insight on how spiders, close encounters with death and skateboarding has shaped his life, and all to the tunes of Roots reggae. Zac interviews off the cuff with a word association game over a cup of PG Tips…
How are you Lewis, been a while?
I’m very good thank you!
Good shit, worldwide Nike tour?
Yeah, we are travelling around the world right now premiering the Nike SB video ‘‘Nothing but the Truth’. We’ve been to LA, Portland, Canada, Australia, Barcelona and now London and a couple of other people have gone to Shang Hai, Brazil and Moscow, but I didn’t do those, they were sketchy countries for me.
Can’t get in? [laughs]
[laughs] A little dodgy for my liking
Right, we have a word association game to play, we have a few words to get through. Let’s fire through them. I will say a word and you have to relate a story to it. First one, Skateboarding…
Skateboarding, well, to me it is everything. It’s what I do, it’s what I’ve always done and hopefully it’s what I always will be doing!
School, erm, never really liked it, never really got into it, never was really good at it, so I dropped out and focused on skateboarding.
Do you regret falling out of school?
I actually do wish that I just did it, straight up and got it out of the way. I ended up just dropping out. I went to a bunch of schools and was always behind. It became really repetitive, go to year 10, drop out, start year 10 again, drop out.
That’s my shoe sponsor, they help me do what I like to do and what I want to do with skateboarding. I get to travel the world and do my thing. I’m psyched to be able to do what I do. We’ve been working on this video for like 3 years so I am pretty psyched to see it all come together and be out there y’know, because you’re sitting around for so long, like ‘where’s this footage‘. There are all the tricks you forget about and stuff and it all comes together and it’s sick.
Almost, that is my board sponsor. Yeah they are cool. I am comfortable there, they are a good company, good team, nice dudes.
What did you think of the ‘Meanwhile Gap Jam’ we threw back in September?
Yeah it was cool. I had never been to one before so it was fun, everyone played skate. That’s my kind of thing, hang out, play skate and hang out with the homies all day. It was a good session, pie eating contest! Tory took it away. 10 pies I think he ate? I think he had a bit of ‘inspiration‘ before he ate them [laughs] he got the munchies a bit!
Melbourne is the place to be. If you haven’t been there, get there! It’s got good skate spots, good vibes, good people, good parties, and good food. Go see it, it’s my hometown. Love it.
Girls. Good for the guys? Yeah I have a girlfriend.
Do you miss her when you’re on tour?
I do extremely, but I have to go on tour, otherwise I would be stuck in an office doing some other crazy silly job. She misses me and I miss her when I’m tour. That’s what happens I guess when you’re in a relationship.
Here we go, kick flips…
I can do ’em, but I just don’t have them. Know what I mean? It just doesn’t feel like the way everyone else does them? Y’know when they do them and it’s like ‘Damn, that’s a sick kick flip!‘ and then I’ll try it and I’m like ‘Naaa!‘ I wish I had the flare, where it is just casual and cool and feels good and nice.
The new Nike video is called ‘‘Nothing But The Truth’‘. That’s some truth.
I’ve lied. Usually to get myself out of trouble. I’ve felt pretty good about lying before!
Anything you want to get out on this interview? Biggest regret?
Biggest regret. I don’t think I have one. I would just say don’t lie, because once you start, you can’t stop and you are constantly covering up and it ends up being worse than it was when you started!
Once I do this tour it will feel like an achievement, because it has been full of highs and lows.
Tell me the highs…
The highs are the good times, the partying, the fun, the skating, and the chilling with the homies. The low’s are the jet lag, the tiredness, customs, trouble with travelling, security and all of that. So after this whole thing is done it will feel like an achievement. We will have achieved something on this tour.
There is a huge amount of people on this tour, so let’s throw in Friends…
Everyone man, that’s the thing with Nike, everyone is super cool. Everyone is cool, there is nobody I couldn’t hang out with.
Who is the most entertaining?
Everyone is entertaining in their own little way. Diverse. Everyone is different in their own little way. Omar Salazar, man, he is the dude I will never get sick of. He’s always got something to say and he is always doing something crazy. Yeah, he’s funny. Oh, I gotta throw Chet Childress in there too.
I was waiting for that! [laughs]
Oh my god. I’ll leave it at that. He is good value to listen to if you get the chance.
Bullet, the man. I met him in Sweden in ’96, maybe ’97? We had both just moved out there, we’ve just kept in contact since then, so yeah, a good ten years.
Did Bullet teach you all of his womanizing skills?
Damn, maybe that’s where I picked them up from? [laughs]. Yeah maybe, got me a couple of pointers when I was a kid!
Sweden, I moved to Sweden in ’96. My dad is Swedish, he moved over there from Australia, lived there for 6 months and after 6 months he asked me if I wanted to come out there and live there for a bit. It was only supposed to be a year but it ended up being 7. I ended up staying there for a while, did some school, did some skating, and tried the Swedish food. It was good.
London. London’s tight. It gets better every time I come out here I think. You meet more people, more connections, and more things to do. It makes it great.
Favorite spot in London?
I don’t know, I never really got to skate that much when I’ve been in London to tell you the truth. I don’t have a favorite as of yet.
Lately, that’s pretty much been my life. I’ve been travelling a lot y’know. I go home, I’m home for like 2 weeks and then I’m back out on tour again for a month and a half and then home for 2 and then out again for a month, so it’s always back and forwards travelling, but it’s good, it’s great, I love it.
When you look at the itinerary it there any country that you’re like ‘Damn yes!’
Yeah, that happens a bunch. I mean most of the places we go have a particular place that has the good spots, the good people and the good places to chill and the fun places , but at the same time, you get those places that are like ‘No, really?’. It’s a bit vice versa!
Reggae, like Roots. I mean I like a lot of different people. Bob of course, Sizzler, Garnet Silk, Voodoo Lantern, Capleton. I mean, I’m just reeling stuff off. There are so many more, but the list would just blow up!
Yeah! The holy herb it’s good y’know. Keeps me sane. It is definitely something that gets me inspired at times.
Any crazy weed stories?
Only happens when you eat it [laughs]
Ah, I was at the Volcom team house which was a house the teams stayed in which was eventually going to get torn down, so they got to do whatever they wanted with the house. So everyone is living there, it was cool, everyone comes in and out as they please throughout the year. Anyway, I was staying there and I was sitting by the computer and I had the front door open. It was kind of hot, I needed a bit of a breeze. I am sitting there in just shorts and I feel this breeze on my leg and I’m like ‘Whatever‘. I then felt it up on my thigh too, so I lift up the shorts and I see a spider sitting on my leg and I’m like ‘Whoa!‘ freaking out. I slapped this spider off of my leg and managed to kill it at the same time, which is probably a good thing because I’m not too into spiders. That made me freak out, so I was worried about spiders the rest of the time I was there. The day after, I woke up and put my pants on and I see this bug which was like 15cm.
That thing looks ridiculous!
It looked like a mix between an ant, a wasp and a grasshopper and it was nasty! I didn’t know what it was and there was only me and Andrew Mapstone at the house. I managed to wrap it up in the pants and I’m screaming ‘Whoa whoa whoa, Andrew, come and look at this!‘ so he comes and we are just standing there with this mutant bug trapped in my pants! Later Steve comes home and I am telling him about all these crazy bugs he has in the house and he is like ‘Yeah, that is harmless, it’s just a potato bug, but I guess if you’ve never seen one before, it’s pretty scary‘. Anyway, the day after that I’m sitting playing video games by the TV, same house, same scenario, shorts on, chilling. I felt something on my thigh, but I didn’t think much of it, I just figured it was my shorts moving around or whatever, but then I felt something on my balls, so I’m like giving them a bit of an itch and then I feel it on my other thigh so I lift up my shorts and it was another spider, which I killed. So I pretty much had the thing crawl all over my balls! Maybe it’s because I’m a warm blooded person, they are attracted to the heat or something?!
Or you’ve just got nice balls?!
[Laughs] Yeah, maybe it’s just like fuzzy and warm and nice.
Erm, I’ve pretty much just had a shaved head, or something out of control.
What’s under the hat?
A hair do. It’s just what it does!
Oh there are some dreads in there…
Yeah, the dread do. I don’t look after them, they just kind of happen and then my girlfriend maintains the rest of it.
Do they get washed?
Yeah, they get washed a lot. Couple of times a week, just normal hair shampoo. The works! Although, no conditioner.
That’s my no no. I had to cut the alcohol out of my diet. I’m diabetic y’see. One of my best mates Dustin Dollin called me one night and was like ‘Hey Lewis, you should come out, meet us for some drinks and we’ll party‘. Met up with him in the city at this place called Pony Bar in Melbourne, little place where everybody knows each other. I went there hung out, not long at all. Maybe like 4 hours. I had maybe 6 beers, didn’t really get drunk, went home and woke up in the morning. Went to have a sip of water and as soon as I swallowed it, I just started throwing up! Anytime I tried to eat or drink I would just throw up. I did that for 2 days and then went to the doctor who sent me to the emergency room. That’s when I had to quit drinking because I nearly died.
Death…there’s a subject.
Hmmm, I’ve dodged it a lot of times. It’s been real close, but I am glad that I’m not there yet. I mean there was the drinking that nearly killed me and driving around with people who have thought the lights were green. Here’s another story with Dustin Dollin actually. We were driving around trying to find a skate spot and we are crossing over a freeway which is what, 6-8 lanes? He is looking at the map trying to figure out where we are going and we are at a red light. He throws the map at me and then assumes the light is green and just starts driving across the freeway. There are cars dashing around us and somehow we managed to make a clean line across through all these cars. We dodged death only just!
What else?…erm, when I was younger living in Sweden, me and a couple of my homies decided to go on a little adventure, eat some shrooms and run through the forest. Then we found this cliff which we decided to climb and it was above a pretty big freeway, but we are scaling this thing and I try to grab this rock so I could climb further, I somehow managed to miss it, I couldn’t grab it and I started falling. I lost all my grip and fell off the wall. Anyway, as I’m leaning back I am thinking, that’s it, I’m a goner and I hear my friend Peter say ‘I gotcha!‘. He was climbing up the wall right behind me and he grabbed me as I fell and pushed me back up against the wall and was all calm and just said ‘There you go‘..
Yes! Thank you Peter you are the man!! But yeah, they are the main ones!
Lewis lives to tell the tale, thanks for coming dropping in, anyone you want to thank?