Lance Mountain Interview

Questions: Crossfire and Ray Calthorpe
Photos: MRZ and Lance

Portrait: Heel Bruise

Lance Mountain is the best friend skateboarding ever had. From riding for Variflex at the very start of the 1980s, to being one of the Bones Brigade, skateboarding’s original super- team, right through to being on today’s only true super- team in Flip, Lance has never strayed from skateboarding.

Where generations fell away only to come back later and try to rescue us from ourselves, Lance never quit, or specialized or re- invented or pigeon- holed himself. He competed in the era where competitions mattered, demo’ed right around the world when demo roadshows were the only game in town, he’s got street, he’s got vert, pools, the lot. What Lance understands primarily is that skateboarding has no prefixes: street, veteran, legend…you are either in or you are out.

Skateboarding in all its forms, first and last and always. Lance has always had fidelity for the activity itself in his heart first and foremost and it is this truthfulness of spirit which sees him venerated today as he was way back when. The other thing that is refreshing about him is that there is no nostalgia for a bygone era which never existed. Lance understands that the greatest thing is skating, and the greatest time in skating is right now, always.

He has had many parallel roles in his career- actor, 411 presenter, owner of The Firm, designer of some of the greatest graphics of all time, but always he has been a skater first, and always he has been whooping ass- take a look at that new Skateboarder cover and remember that guy has been taking the spills that pay the bills for 28 years straight and counting.

Can’t stop Lance Mountain.

So the Bones Brigade is year’s ago now but do you like the fact that kids still talk about it today because of Youtube?

It is great to be a part of something that has had such an influence on skateboarding. Don’t know if I could be here now if I wasn’t.

What were your fondest memories of that era?

The early years when things were changing skating was trying new stuff. Different guys were popping up with new things, anyone could win a contest, everyone was trying to figure out what this was, going to promote something they loved. It was creative, scary, and unknown, nothing had been proven to work yet, so it wasn’t contrived.

Do you still hang with the rest of that team now and then?

We see each other here and there.

Who is closest?

Steve and I were and still are the closest probably.

We took your autograph in 1988 on the UK Bones Tour as you skated Latimer Rd, what do you remember from that trip looking back? Including the demo at Livingstone as well?

I had been skating for almost 15 year already. We were going through the motions with skating at that time and things were changing. We had been doing the same thing, demos, contests, same ramps, tricks to make a living. New skaters were coming up and skating was getting interesting in a new way, street. I didn’t know where I fit in, wasn’t interested in riding the same thing over and over and knew it would be impossible to keep up with the new style of skating. But I wasn’t going to stop what I loved. Generally, it was a bit of a rough time.

Do you know much about the UK skate scene these days? Web nerd on that shit or not?

No, I used to try and stay informed on everything as much as possible when I owned my company but since then I guess I have dropped off the intelligence map.

What skateboard company around now comes close to that vibe the Bones Brigade had?

It is just a way different time and vibe now, what was done then can’t be now.

Did you ever get sick of the acting?

There were times we wanted to get our skating filmed because we new the acting stuff would take long, but the non skaters could leave and we would have to skate later when we were tired. But that is how skateboarding pro goes, it was worth it now that I get to be in this situation today even talking about it. Most skaters whole deal is acting now, I just don’t care if I admit to it.

Could you ever imagine a session with the entire Brigade for old time’s sake? Has it happened of late?

I think Tony was trying to set something up, it will happen one day with all of us at once.

You ran The Firm, what is your best memory of those years at the helm?

The relationships with the riders, the creative parts, just being able to stay involved.

I guess life is easier now you are not running a skate board company as it must demand so much time, are you generally skating more as a result?

Yes, for sure.

What’s the daily pattern for Lance Mountain?

Last year it was wake up, have tea with my wife, take a bath, read the word, go have lunch, film from 1-4, have dinner, go on a walk, go to bed. Pretty simple.

Upland, Whittier or your current backyard set up?

All different and great at they’re own time, although I could say Upland hurt the most.

Best (skate) thing that ever happened at Mountain manor?

Jeff Phillips ally-oop ollie channel.

Did you shoot your video part in your own backyard for the Extremely Sorry section?


You must be stoked on the return of all that hard work surely?

I like hard work as it always opens the doors for more. The response from the kids has been real encouraging and it means a lot.

Are you loving your section?

I think it feels right, more the feeling you have when you start skating and the reasons you do rather than what you get caught up in once you get with the in-crowd.

How long did it take to put together?

I had a year and a half but I broke my arm and it took 9 month before I could skate and a few months of being scared still.

What trick do you wish you had in there but didn’t make the cut?

540, kick flip Indy, frontside invert fakie, I didn’t make them. If I did some of the other tricks that shouldn’t be in would be out with those filling the space.

What is your fave trick from the section personally?

I like the first line because that is the essence of pool riding. I think only the ones who have tried to do carve lines without lifting your front wheels up to do double doubles and figure 8’s can understand, to everyone else it looks boring.

How does it feel to travel the world knowing kids are stoked on it too? It’s been the talk of the town!

Overwhelming really, I’m so grateful to them that I still have the opportunity to have some influence to younger skaters or even do what I love.

What was your fave premiere so far, you did all of them right?

They have all been really different but the response has been the same. In London they were singing along to Geoff’s part! He would have been touched if he were there.

Bob’s Megaramp – ever fancied it?

It was pretty fancy wasn’t it, unbelievable.

How come there’s a shot of a large cat being shot in the Extremely Sorry video?

I don’t believe it is in the video just the premiere? I think it was a sleeping dart.

Were the whole team behind that decision?

No one saw anyone else’s parts until the premiere.

What was the full story behind the infamous yo-yo Schultz/Gonz incident at Munster?

Just Mark being hot and I was being nosey. Mark was way ahead of skaters at that time he could win any contest with his tricks. We were teasing Mark that he wasn’t going to win because he would choke. He did, so he went out and tried to show us that he could make his run but it was during someone else’s run, it was one of the first times USA skaters had come to Germany contest and I got mad at Mark because I thought all the skaters thought we were disrespecting them, that’s all. That night we locked him out on the balcony in the rain, so he asked for his jacket, I soaked it in the bath tube and gave it to him. We are friends even if it sounds like we weren’t.

You’ve done so many graphics, what’s your favourite ever?

I really don’t know, they seem to me like a learning experience for the next one.

Does Cyril still skate?

Yes he rides with his friends.

Is there any chance of the Titus skate band re-forming?

It has a new name, Indian Wig

Do you still take skate photos?

Sometimes. Not as much now that there are so many good photographers and digital cameras.
(The 2 photos on this page featuring Steve Alba and Eric Koston were 2 of Lance’s personal favourites that he shot.)

5 of favourite things to do ever that are not associated with skateboarding?

Spending time with my Wife and Son and his wife.
I enjoy fellowship with my Christian friends Ray Barbee, Richard Mulder, and others, keeps me grounded because it can get crazy out there.

Top 3 albums of all time

For skating in the USA these albums changed everything:
The Clash – London Calling (although I think Give ‘Em Enough Rope might be better).
Ramones – Ramones.
Devo – Are We Not Men?

Top 3 skate videos of all time

Skater Dater.

Video Days.

Dogtown Z-Boys.

Top 3 Flip tricks of all time

Frontside Flips

360 Flips

Backside Flips

Looking back into your skateboarding life, what would you be most Extremely Sorry for?

It has all been good, not sorry. We only have a short time with people you meet, make it count. When we look back at what we did with the time we had will always be the biggest question.

Checkout Lance in the long awaited and highly anticipated new DVD release Extremely Sorry from Flip Skateboards. Lance features alongside other living legends such as Rowley, Penny and Rune as well as some of the latest teenage talent to break through State Side.

And, if that’s not enough for you, check out the current issue of Skateboarder where he has an epic cover proving once again that age and experience still mean a great deal within the modern Skate world!