INTERVIEW WITH DAVE “SHAGGY” PALMER
INTERVIEW BY JIM MURPHY
INTRODUCTION BY JIM MURPHY
PHOTOS BY JOE HAMMEKE
The Duty Now For The Future section of this mag was literally built for guys like Shaggy, skateboarders that have always skated for fun, and want to build skateparks and backyard concrete scenes for skaters who want to grind and keep the scene going for generations to come. These are guys with no egos, that come on the scene because they want to work hard to learn how to build stuff with no kinks, smooth surfaces, mandatory real bullnose coping and functional designs in roundwall. They’ve ridden enough backyard pools and parks that they know what works and what sucks! I’ve been trying to interview Shaggy for the last five years, and the guy is so damn humble that he kept throwing me this, “I’m not worthy” crap. I finally convinced this rad backyard pool skater and park builder to tell us his story! Nothing is easy, but it was well worth the wait. This guy has more than earned his spot. He has learned from the best, building the early Vans skateparks with Carje, and hanging with Monk and Red in the Northwest, honing a variety of approaches to skatepark creations. Shaggy is one of the most well rounded concrete builders ever, and being a personal friend of mine and Kessler back in the “We Were Punk First” days, makes this interview even more punk! Finally, here is the Shaggy interview! Read tough or go home!“This superficial, artificial world that we live in is ours for the taking. These people aren’t strong enough to hold us back. They’re trying to control and structure every inch of this universe and it isn’t happening! It’s our job as skateboarders to take it back.”
Hello, Shaggy. Are you ready to rock?
Yeah. Let’s go. I’m at the bar.
State your name, rank and serial number.
My name is Dave Palmer, foreman for Grindline. My serial number would probably be something like 6-6-6.
Nice. Where were you born and raised?
I was born in 1972 and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. At 18, when I graduated from high school, I hit the road and haven’t stopped since.
When did you start skating in Arizona?
I’ve got pictures of me skating around on a skateboard when I was three years old. I really got into it when I was about 12. I had some influence in the neighborhood from the kids.
What were you skating? What kind of terrain?
I started out in the street. When I got more into it, we built little ramps and then we started building half pipes. Luckily, I got introduced into pools when I was around 12 years old.
Was that in Arizona, backyard pool style?
Yep. I had a kid in the neighborhood that found a little Roman pool. It was during those days when that first Powell video came out, and there was a Roman pool in there. The pool was about a block from my house. They made my buddy and I bail it, and they hooked us up with a board. That was my introduction to pool skating.
What did that feel like to ride your first pool?
It was killer. I was skating this crazy thing and seeing if I could get up to the light. The challenge was hitting the light and the tiles. Then we were going over the filters and then we took it from there.
After a session like that, what goes through your head? Now you’re riding the round wall.
I was just a little kid and I couldn’t even sleep at night because I was so hyped on just being able to experience it. I didn’t even know how big of a deal it was at the time. It was something that I knew I was going to be doing for the rest of my life, after I did it once.
From then on, were you guys looking for pools?
Yeah. The same dude had some pools going. He hooked me up with pools because I would help him work on them. Well, he made me work on them, and he helped out too. It was cool. I was lucky to meet him and he showed me what was up. The search was on since that first pool. It was awesome. We spent the next eight years skating and finding pools, and we’ve been doing that ever since. We were meeting people, and then I realized the network of people that there was. More and more pools just kept popping up.
Who skated those pools with you?
The scene in Phoenix was huge. Some of the big dogs were Gavin Troy, Orlando Baker, Wrex Cook, Randy Colvin… Okay, let’s name drop. Chris Livingston and I were good buddies. We went to the same school. We were rolling pretty tight and skating a bunch of pools. There were vert ramps. There was everything back then in Phoenix. It was a good scene.
I remember Livingston. He was killing vert.
He was pretty much my mentor. We’d go skate every day. He got me in on this vert ramp. We’d get out of class, and listen to some Zeppelin, Metallica or Sabbath. We’d go skate, and the dude was just off the handle. He was cutting edge then.
So this was the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, right?
It started in ‘84. Once I got into it by ‘85 or ‘86, there were seven vert ramps in town that were all really good.
Did any pros come through and session with you?
It was the spot. Everybody would go skate Cellar’s ramp. Phillips and all those dudes would show up. Gator and all those dudes from San Diego would come down, because it was close. We had our own scene, but it was cool to see those big dogs come through though. It was an influence.
What was it like to see Phillips ride?
Oh, dude. I was just a little kid amazed at the situation I was in. Phillips was an animal. He could handle anything. He was a true powerhouse. That was who I wanted to skate with. I had the Phillips board with his name cracking through the concrete. That was a sick board.
Were you aware of the whole Zorlac thing going on? Were you into that at all?
Yeah, I was, as much as I could be. That was the first board given to me when I helped that dude bail that first pool. It was a Craig Johnson, with the Zombie. It was the board with the voodoo doll that had pins all through it. On the top of the board, it said, “Shut up and Skate.” I was twelve years old and I was like, “That’s so bad ass.” That was it.