Louie Barletta literally fell onto the scene thanks to a scene video featuring the merry pranksters that are the Tilt Mode Army. Since his unique introduction, Louie has been bagging praise and making friends all around the globe.
With good times and an independent route, it wasn’t long before Louie crossed paths with Crossfire. He turned up unannounced at our 2006 Southbank 7-Set Jam and got amongst it, which led to a day out in South East London on a filming mission for this very website.
The shots that you see on this page were from that very day. It was a good one, the sun was out, The Clash were on the stereo, the chicken was slightly spicy and most of all the kids were united!
Here’s an interview answered late at night with adult entertainment cranked up in the background that was completed on March 6th 2007. Louie takes time out from his busy schedule of fun and hiding his salami to answer a few questions compiled by Zac and Ralph L-D.
All photos by Zac, apart from the beer stall here at Bloblands shot by Styley. Footage courtesy of Alan Christensen.
Full name please including all nicknames, middle names etc
Louie Sweet Lou, Dick Trickle, Hot Lou, Lou Dog, L-Diggs, L., Flat Bar-letta, Barletta…
Where did you grow up?
Northern California, we have winters.
Have you got any brothers and sisters?
Two brothers; one works in construction whilst the other flies with the Air Force.
What did your parents do for a living?
What were you like at school?
Quiet. I just read books and did my homework like a good boy.
Did you ever play spin the bottle?
Nah, I didn’t care about girls much, just skating.
Were you the sort of kid that had green buggers dripping from his nose or were you a clean cut kid?
I was a thrift store kid.
What TV shows did you grow up with as a kid?
Were you ever influenced by Kermit the Frog in any way?
My aunt used to call me Kermit and my cousin Miss Piggy… She was fat, but I wasn’t skinny or green so I never understood that one.
How did you lose your virginity?
I put my wee wee into a girl.
How many whales do you think you have speared over time?
(Laughs!) Too many Or actually… Not enough!!
The ocean can bring up some strange looking things can’t it?
And boy have I seen my fair share! You never know what’s lurking down near Davy Jones’s locker.
I love eating seafood, are you a foody?
I’ve been known to sample…
What’s your dish punk?!
Can you cook after all that traveling?
Hell no! The only cooking I do is cooking up schemes and ideas.
Where’s the best country to whale?
Finland… The white whales!
How come you turned up at the Crossfire 7-Set jam at South Bank last year?
I wanted to win some money and buy some beer!!!!
What did you make of it as a first Crossfire event?
It was fun because it had a real carnival like atmosphere.
(laughs) You have been here before but what is your impression of London and the UK scene?
I think London is rad. Back in the day it wasn’t a bust to skate downtown San Jose, so we would just skate from spot to spot… London reminds me of those good old days.
Any UK riders that you like skating with?
Rob, I know I’m going to blow his name mathewson (Matthiesen a.k.a. Robbleyard), his whole crew is sick… Fos is always a good time… Chris Avery! Stu Graham.
Have you seen much of England or just London?
Been around a bit but it’s nothing to brag about though.
What have the skate spots been like compared to home?
They’re rough and challenging which is way more fun because you get to skate to and from them.
OK IT’S WORST CASE SCENARIO TIME
SWIMMING THROUGH PIRANHAS
Difficulty rating 2.5/5
You are on a boat trip down the Amazon with Jake Phelps and Geoff Rowley. Two days into the trip, the boat develops engine trouble and begins to drift uncontrollably down the river. With a waterfall approaching, the captain tells the passengers the best chance for survival is to jump off the boat and swim or wade to the riverbank.
You anxiously look over the side of the boat and see a school of piranhas. You must jump. Do you:
a) Throw a large object into the centre of the school to disperse the fish.
b) Drop some raw meat over one side of the boat and lower yourself into the water on the opposite side.
c) Remove your clothes and throw them overboard ahead of yourself, then swim quickly to shore
d) Cover all bare skin with oil, then quickly swim ashore.
e) Throw Jake into the water as bait whilst Geoff and yourself survive and you pick Geoff for his experience with boar hunting for food.
f) Call the Enjoi team manager and tell him to archive all footage just in case.
I wouldn’t have to do any of those! (Laughs) Haven’t you seen any of our movies? Fucking Rambo or Arnold will come down in a helicopter, kill the commies that sabotaged the engine, dodge a spear thrown by a local, punch him out (because you can’t kill natives, that is politically incorrect) and then rescue my American ass!!!!
Wrong Answer! The answer you were looking for Louie was b)
Piranhas are drawn to blood and flesh, so dropping meat over the side should distract them enough for you to get away. However, the fish may go into a feeding frenzy and bite and snap at anything while they feed, so jump on the other side of the boat.
Here’s an expert tip: In piranha country, avoid approaching docks and piers where fish are cleaned; the blood and offal will attract the fish. So there…
Ok we are back into the questions… Do you get busted a lot?
I got busted last night for talking to this girls boobs….Her face didn’t like me not paying attention to what it had to say. But them boobies were screaming at me!! (Laughs)
Ha! Who cuts your hair? Will you ever do something different than the bowl cut?
I cut it. I used to go to this Vietnamese place where you got a haircut and a neck massage for 5 dollars. But she cut my ear and I never went back… Now I just put on a truckers hat and cut around it… And no joke, the saying on it is “drunk man walking”
You mention in a past TWS interview that ‘…there is a saturation of conformity within the ranks of skateboarders’, define that comment? What exactly is it?
Everybody is content with doing what everybody else does… like I have Gucci sunglass- Me too! I’m no different.
“Young Turks” by Rod Stewart-Explain?
I wanted to use a song by the Monkees but couldn’t , so I had no choice…
Can you describe a typical day for me? Include music.
Ok, I wake up. Check to see if I’m alone in my bed. Either go in for a second helping or if nobody is there I get out of bed, check my email… Lately I start off my day with that song Danny Brady used in the Blueprint video. Then I’ll go ride my bike to super taco and get a carne asada burrito. Go home, call up some people, see if any of my roommates are going skating.. If so I go out with them, if not ill just try to get a ride to the skatepark and just skate there.
Eat dinner, come home maybe ride my bike again and run errands. Skate to the bar, see if I get lucky, go home listen to the Smiths and either play hide the salami with my new friend that came home with me or check out stuff on e-bay, then pass out…. And repeat unless I’m hurt or it is raining … In that case skip straight to hide the salami!
How has the daily routine changed since you got into the limelight?
Today I was with a friend who was taking his car to the mechanic. He said “Hey! You’re that skater Louie right?” I said yes, my friend paid and then we went to eat spaghetti.
What was your worst job?
And your last job?
Manager at a coffee shop. 7 years. Just quit recently. Didn’t do it for the money, I just liked working there. I was the boss and all my roommates worked there. Best job ever, just scamming on hot business chicks.
Do you think it’s important to do extra-curricular activities outside of skateboarding? If so, what do you do off your board?
No not necessarily, I do other stuff but mostly I just like to “think” about new tricks to try… I hang out with my friends and talk about skating or spots…
Have you grown up in San Jose all your life? Did you see the old Metrospective they did in 411vm of the area, with Simon Woodstock doing a barbecue?
For better or worse yeah, I was around during the BBQ days.. I just didn’t know any of those guys. They were part of the cool guy crew. Only one of my friends was in it, and I don’t think he even knew any of those guys.
People associate you to the Tilt Mode Army – How did it start, and how did you become a member?
It started when me, Marc Johnson, Jerry Hsu, Chris Avery and Matt Eversole got a house together. This was about 1999. Someone introduced us to the Capt’n and Tilt Mode was born right then and there! We just came together like voltron. Best of times, worst of times.
What was life like in the Pink house? Who was the best house mate? Who was the worst?
Two in the pink, one in the stink!
New film coming? Are you going to film a part?
Hell yeah. I’m hyped.
Critics said the Tilt Mode videos brought back the fun side of skating instead of the business side? Do you agree? Is it really all fun and games or is it hard work?
Nah, we were all filming for real videos so that was just whatever footy… I was still working at the coffee shop back then. It was all footy from my days off skating with my friends
Your debut video part had you falling all over the place – Did any of those spills hurt? Were you worried people might think you actually couldn’t skate?
I didn’t care. Seeing Marc Johnson and Jerry Hsu skating everyday, it really made me realize that I was not that good and I should just skate and have fun and not worry about grinding the biggest rail or doing the craziest block line… what for when you can just watch the masters do all that!
Bag of Suck was truly amazing. Your footage in particular was unique. What was your fave spot from that movie?
Finland, just because it was so laid back. I had a place there and just went out skating with my friends. No pressure.
You must have all been stoked with the full cut?
Yeah it turned out good. Jerry really came through which made us look like a legit company!!! (Laughs)
Is there another in the mix?
Nah, I think everyone wants to film another Tilt Mode… it sucked not being able to give marc or Ricky Esponosa or Matt Evs a part in the Enjoi movie, so we decided the next one is for the hommies! That’s the way it should be anyway.
OK, we interrupt this interview for another worst case scenario question:
Level Of Difficulty 3.5/5
Yourself and Jerry Hsu are enjoying a picnic on the banks of a large pond. The pond is full of wildlife and as you eat your meal you see frogs, turtles and large fish moving in the water.
Just as you are about to have dessert, you are startled to discover that what you thought was a large turtle, sitting in the shallow water 50 feet away is actually an alligator. It climbs out of the pond and up the bank directly towards you. Do you and Jerry..:
a) Flap your arms and yell to scare it away
b) Punch the alligator under its bottom jaw
c) Get on the alligator’s back and force its head down
d) Back away slowly
e) Call the fashion police and hope they turn up with Muska so he can wrestle it.
f) Call Dave Duncan and hope he can talk the alligator out of it on a megaphone.
Oh man, I’m going for f, because if he attacks he’ll go for Duncan first, there is more meat on him….
Nope, i’m afraid the correct answer was c)
On land, your best hope of survival is to get on the alligator’s back and place steady downward pressure on its neck and head. Once in this position, you may be able to clamp its jaws closed with your hands. Most of the animal’s mouth strength is in closing its jaws, not opening them. If the alligator continues to attack, jab it in the eyes with your fingers.
You want an expert tip on this one?
Yeah why not!
OK, here we go. Feeding alligators may cause them to lose their fear of humans and become more aggressive. Most attacks occur after humans have fed them. That includes ones with megaphones!
A lot of your tricks are unique – Do you plan them out or are they spur of the moment affairs?
I’m a spur of the moment, go with the flow kind of guy… I hate when it is like “film me, I got this trick” I like it when it is someone else filming and I’m just there skating.
What do you like skating above all?
As harsh as it sounds – Manual pads. I love them. I suck at manuals though. Maybe mini ramps too.
You’re often spotted riding quirky decks – Does the conventional shape of a skateboard need to change?
Sure. Life without change isn’t a life worth living. That’s why god created seasons. Besides the same old shape gets boring sometimes, so mix it up! Wonder what’s around the corner.
Who inspires you in and outside of skateboarding? Who did you look up to as a kid?
I’m inspired by a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. God, Basquiat, Oscar Wilde, Hans von Luck, I’m all over the place when it comes to inspiration As a kid I really looked up to Ronald Regan. I don’t know why. I think I just liked how he was hyped on space and I really liked star wars. We connected.
Are pro skaters good role models?
Yeah the ultimate! As a kid you’re demoralized by the notion that a dream is just that, a dream. Something that won’t ever become a reality… Pro skaters are the ultimate follow your dreams, dreams are possible to catch.
When are you having the op and coming back as a girl as stated in Slap?
Ha!!! I don’t know!!! Not any time soon!! (Laughs)
Yep, we can’t wait for the news!
Why is the gay question such a taboo in skateboarding?
I don’t know. I didn’t want to offend anyone, on either side of the fence… I think it is just as bad to ask who’s G do you believe in?
Best groupie/tour story?
A kid giving me and Jerry a bottle of Bacardi…
Worst groupie/tour story?
What we did with her after we drank that bottle!
Did you go through the whole process of making your pro shoe on Duffs? How much of the shoe is Louie Barletta and explain the process.
Yeah, my new shoe “Sweet Lou” is all me and Russ Pope designing it. I love the shoe, it fits and feels so good. Definitely the ultimate cruiser shoes. I love skating in them! Sneak preview here.
If you had a pint and a packet of crisps at the pub- Which beer and which flavour crisps?
Kronenberg and Walkers Salt and Vinegar.
You travelled a bit for yourself this summer – What was it like? How often do you get to do things like that?
All the time. Carpe Diem! It was rad this summer. Me and my roommates in London for 3 weeks. A lot of Stella, a lot of Southbank, couldn’t get much better.
OK it’s the last of the worst case scenario questions and it’s the big one!
THE DEADLY OCTOPUS
Level of difficulty 4/5
In search of underwater adventure you decide to a 2 week scuba trip to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef with Matt Hensley, Jason Adams and Adam Alfaro.
Before your first dive your instructor warns you about several dangerous sea creatures due to your interest in whaling that includes sharks, urchins and the extremely poisonous southern blue ringed octopus.
Mentally filing away the information, you strap on your tank and regulator and being a half day dive. An hour into the dive you see a small pale coloured octopus, wedged into a crevice in the reef. Looking closely, you see no apparent blue rings and prepare to prod the creature gently so it will move and give you a better view.
The diver instructor grabs your arms and pulls you away.
After surfacing does he remind you that:
a) The rings are not visible when the octopus is as rest.
b) All octopi should be considered deadly.
c) The ink from the blue ringed octopus causes instant death.
d) The blue ringed octopus does not actually have rings on its body.
e) Matt Hensley is still a legend.
f) Jason Adams wears the trousers, even underwater.
g) Adam Alfaro is one of the most ripping Black Label rider who loves taking his teeth out but has a hot blue cheese fetish.
I’m going to say that all the above are are words to memorize and live by!
Correct answer, although the survival answer is actually a)
Though indeed small (less than 8 inches long) the blue ringed octopus is one of the deadliest creatures on earth. Its colourful rings are visible only when the creature is startled or under attack, otherwise it appears pale or camoflagues its body colour to match its surroundings.
You want the expert’s tip on this last subject?
OK, here we go. The blue ringed octopus is not aggresive and does not attack humans except when handled, but the octopuses’ bite injects a tetrodotoxin, a neuromuscular paralysing venom that causes instantaneous respiratory failure, paralysis, and blindless, and is often fatal.
OK Louie, time to wrap this up.
Thanks Zac, UK, Avery, everybody over the pond that let’s me hang out with them! Mark Munson and the rest of the UK Duffs crew. Matt Law, I miss you, and thanks for everything!
Um…. Bye bye.