JUICE MAGAZINE 13 YEAR ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL
INTERVIEW BY MERK
INTRODUCTION BY MERK
PHOTOS BY DAN LEVY AND TED TERREBONNE
Wow, Jim Murphy. Skadush! What can I say? He is my hero; fueled by iced coffee, chicken parm, and Guinness. No one has done more for skateboarding than “the Murf”. There are not enough hours in the day for this guy. Shit, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him sleep past 7AM. It gets kind of annoying, just ask his chick. He’s traveled the world, skated through the “dark days”, snowboards like Yetti, came up through the ranks on the East Coast (which was no easy task). He owns and operates Wounded Knee Skateboards, and acts as an ambassador by bringing it to the Native American reservations, giving the kids a much needed positive push. He’s had cancer in a headlock and killed it like a 99-cent Bloody Mary on a Sunday morning! He’s a 5.9er, skate editor for the best mag. in the world, Murf does it all for the love, no questions asked. He’s saved my life more than once, even at times when I didn’t want it saved. Jim Murphy is more than a friend, he’s my brother. A true BEAST from the EAST! Lock in the hubs, drop the plow and enjoy! SSKKADDUUUSSSSHH!“WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT WITH SKATEBOARDING, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE I’M RIDING WITH. THE TERRAIN COMES SECONDARY. WHEN I ROAD TRIP, I’M REALLY GOING FOR MY FRIENDS. THEN WE MEET OTHER PEOPLE WITH KILLER SCENES AND THAT’S THE BONUS.”
Let’s lock these hubs in. As a great interviewer once said, “Let’s get your name, rank and serial number, right off the rip.”
Name, Jim Murphy. Rank, Private First Class. Serial number, 1-2-3-4.
How old are you? Where were you born?
I was born October 11th, 1965. I’m 41 years old now.
When did you start riding the four-wheel toy?
Like everything else, it started in Jersey. We moved from Buffalo, New York to Jersey because my dad got a job there. In ’75, my Aunt Pam got me a yellow plastic skateboard. It’s all because of my Aunt Pam that I started skateboarding. I got on that thing and rolled and rolled and rolled.
You were just a bored little kid in a little town. You were left to your own devices. That’s usually how it goes for a lot of skateboarders. It’s a very solo pursuit in the beginning, before everyone turns into crazy crews and stuff.
I was just out there doing my own thing. I’d moved about ten times because my dad was in the Navy, so I didn’t have a lot of close friends. When I moved to Jersey, it was another solo flight. I got a skateboard and that was my friend.
Were there any parks around that area in ’75?
In ’76 and ’77, the Paved Wave was built in Oakhurst, NJ. That was cool. My mom would drive me over there. That was the first time I’d really skated concrete. I was stoked.
What happened next?
When I was 13, my dad left my family high and dry. It was just my mom and four kids. We were on our own. From then on, it was just me trying to help my family survive. Skateboarding was my outlet.
Were you the oldest?
Yeah, I had one sister and two brothers. I was a little kid and my whole world was falling apart. I had to channel my anger and my aggression. I had my skateboard and it motivated me to ride even more. I was told early on that I had to do well in school if I wanted to go to college, so I worked hard and got straight A’s in school. I loved skateboarding, but I knew I had to knuckle down and not screw up, so that’s what I did. Then I found out about this halfpipe at Fort Monmouth, NJ, about ten miles from my house, so I rode my bike there. I rolled up on this halfpipe and met Steve Herring, Brad Constable and Jef Hartsel. Those guys had somehow convinced the military to let them build a halfpipe.
Were those guys all military brats, too?
Yeah. Hartsel, Constable and Steve all had punk rock crew cuts and homemade Sex Pistols t-shirts. We’re talking circa ’78. It was great. I’d only seen that shit in magazines via Duane Peters. I was like, ”These guys are punk.” I was so hungry for a friend that skateboarded, and those guys were cool. They let me skate their ramp, and they were my heroes. Those guys saved my life. They were hardcore skateboarders. They skated for the right reasons. For me, it was always a struggle to find someone else that skateboarded. When I started skating with those guys, I really got into it. Then Cherry Hill opened and we’d take a 2 1/2 hour bus ride to go skate it. That’s where we met Groholski.
You’ve been tight with Hartsel since day one.
Oh, yeah. That’s back when Hartsel was a punk rocker. He was riding a Mike Smith Madrid board with a swastika on the nose. He was a punker.
What were your first impressions of Cherry Hill?
When I first walked in, I walked through the pro shop and I could smell the urethane wheels. I was like a kid in a candy store. I looked at the magazines, and then walked into the actual park. All I could hear was loud music, rock n’ roll slides and urethane sliding down concrete walls. They had all these banners hanging of Eddie Elguera and Tony Alva. I couldn’t believe it. It was heaven.
Who were you looking up to in skateboarding?
I looked up to a lot of guys for different reasons. I liked the style of Jay Smith and Duane Peters. I liked seeing Caballero blasting backside ollies at Winchester, and Olson doing channel jumps at Big O, and Steve Alba and Micke Alba riding Upland. All those guys were my heroes.
When you got to Cherry Hill, you had your own little slice of concrete heaven and pool coping.
I was 15 at the time, and I remember thinking, “There’s no way this place is ever going away. How could something so big and beautiful with so much money invested into it ever go away?” I was thinking the place would be there forever.
There are rumors that the bowls are still there.
I think they just boarded up the top.
We’re going to need to do a little recon mission. I never got to skate it, but everyone says it was one of the best places they’ve ever ridden.
Well, just imagine. You had four pools next to each other, and running the whole length of that was a halfpipe with a 3/4 pipe. After that was dozed in ’81, I haven’t ridden anything even similar. It was so huge.
During that era, most of the concrete parks weren’t built well. If you had the chance to ride something good it must have been unbelievable.
I didn’t get to travel much outside of the area at first, so I didn’t know anything but the perfection of Cherry Hill. I was stoked.
So that’s when you started earning your wings, traveling up to Cherry Hill and skating with the boys at Fort Monmouth.
Yeah. I really earned it when Steve, Brad, Hartsel and I were riding that Fort Monmouth ramp. I’d ride that thing every day, rain, sleet or snow. We would chisel ice off that ramp. We would ride in blizzards. We’d do whatever we had to do to skate every day.
The good old winters of the Northeast, man. It wouldn’t be uncommon to have six inches of solid ice on the flat, and a couple inches of powder on the tranny. You’d have to get an axe just to skate.
I loved working hard to skate. To me, that was part of it. I like sweating to get the job done so I could just do a grind. I’ve never been spoiled. Everything for me growing up was hard to come by. I’d do anything just to ride some tranny.
When did you get sponsored?
I got sponsored by Zorlac towards the end of high school. I took a bus trip to Kona and won an unsponsored contest there. I was hanging out with Chuck Treece and Groholski and I was like, “I’m thinking of asking the guy from Zorlac, Jeff Newton, if I can get sponsored by Zorlac.” They were like, “Go ahead. Ask him.” I idolized Zorlac. When I saw Craig Johnson and the duct tape and John Gibson, I really wanted to ride for Zorlac.
They were unapologetically ugly.
Yeah. That’s where I was, through no effort of my own. I was ugly just like those guys. I walked up to Newton and told him I’d just won the contest and I’d be proud to ride for Zorlac. He was like, “You’re in.” That started it all. I was so stoked.
Were you still in high school?
Yeah, I was a junior or senior in high school.
Did you start hitting the road then?
Well, I couldn’t afford a car, so I’d get on the bus and head down to Kona. I’d road trip via buses or get rides. Then I went to college at Rutgers on scholarship. The reason I applied to Rutgers was because Groholski’s ramp was in the same town. I had to go to college near Groholski’s ramp.
What did you study?
Economics. Supply and demand, baby.
How’s that working out for you?
Right now, there is some demand and I’m supplying it, so it’s all working out. It’s all making sense.
Did you do the full four years of college?
Yeah, and the day after I graduated I turned pro.
Then you got a Zorlac pro model?
Well, actually, no. There was a transition going on with the Zorlac team and Alva. Fred Smith started riding for Alva first. Then Craig and John were definitely looking to ride for Alva because they saw that as more opportunity. Alva was offering them a better deal. It was one of the toughest decisions of my life to quit Zorlac, because I loved Zorlac. I was born and raised Zorlac.
They treated you right for a long period of time.
Yeah, they did. What happened was that this company Airborne was buying Zorlac out. The problem was that I loved Jeff Newton and Dana Buck. They hooked me up with Zorlac and that was a dream come true.
At some point, I’m sure they felt like family to you.
Hell, yeah. I felt like such a piece of shit when I was talking to Steve Schneer. He was working with Airborne. He was like, “Come on. Sign the contract. You can ride for Airborne/Zorlac. You can be a Zorlac pro and have a Pushead graphic.” The problem was that John and Craig were going over to Alva. I said, “I love Zorlac, but I want to be with my bros.” I had to make a decision. I could be the solo Zorlac pro and have a Pushead board and I’d be on top of the world, but I’d be alone without my friends. It was never about the money, but then again I never had money.
So it was an open invitation with Alva?
Yeah, and I remember having to talk to Jeff Newton about it and I felt so bad. I always wanted to apologize to them, but that’s just the way it was. It was one of those decisions you always look back on and wonder if it could have been different. I blame all of this on my friends Craig Johnson, John Gibson and Fred Smith. It’s their fault. I just want to say that I have so much respect for Jeff Newton and Dana Buck and what they did with Zorlac.
Did they harsh you when you left?
No. They were men about it and I was a man about it. They were like, “Man, that sucks. All you guys are kind of screwing us over and we’re not happy about it.” I didn’t quit over the phone. I went to Zorlac and did it face to face.
That’s one thing that’s lost in the skateboard industry lately. Being man enough to look people in the eye and giving them the benefit of the doubt instead of all the team hopping.
I can’t speak for any other pros these days, but if you have a family relationship with people, it’s got to be hard to switch. Unfortunately, you have to make financial decisions. Guys who are married with kids might need to make money by riding for a less hardcore company to pay the bills.
What was the Alva team looking like at this point?
I was pretty much the last of the group to join. I forget the order but it was Alva, Danforth, Duncan, Reategui, Cooksie, Hartsel, Freddy, me, Craig, Gibson and that’s about it.
Hartsel went to Alva around the same time?
I think Hartsel was already on. He was out in Venice and had a relationship with Tony. I remember talking to him about it. After Hartsel moved away, Jersey was desolate. Steve Herring hung in Jersey for a little while and then he moved away. Brad Constable moved south. For a while, I didn’t see those guys. When I started riding for Alva, it’d been four or five years since I’d seen Hartsel, so it was like being reunited with a brother.. It was cool. Brad, Steve and Jef helped me out so much. It meant so much to me. They were such hardcore friends. When I got to be on the same team as Jef, that was really cool for me. All those dudes knew him as a street skater Rastafarian dude, but I knew him when he was a punker and he rode vert at Cherry Hill. We’d joke around and he’d say, “Okay, Murf. Keep that on the down low.”
What was happening in Texas at that time?
When I first got to Texas, I thought it was the best scene in skateboarding. From the skate scene to the music scene it was about having fun and skateboarding for the sake of skateboarding. You’d go to a gig, get in the mosh pit and you weren’t there to fight. You were there to have fun. When I went there and met up with Wilkes, Phillips, John and Craig, I said, “This is what skateboarding is all about.”
Then you moved there?
Yeah, I was in Jersey and then I started traveling. I was headed out to California, and getting back to Texas a lot.
Tell me about Cedar Crest days.
When I heard about Cedar Crest, I was like, “Metal. Yeah. No more splinters.” It was great, and it was at a country club. The thing was so fast. No kinks. Now we had something that was perfect, fast and it had pool coping. You couldn’t ask for anything more. It was a real gift from the guy that got it going. It was just wide open. You could camp out and skate the ramp. It was a great scene. The Toke Team would show up. All the guys like Jaime and the crew. People would road trip from everywhere. Fred Smith, the Loud One, the ECRW guys, the Florida and Atlanta guys and the crew from South Carolina. It was like mecca. You’d get the word from Micro or Brewce Adams and they’d be like, “Here’s the date.” It didn’t take much. We’d tell every skateboarder we knew. The thing about traveling and meeting people is you just know you’re going to have a great time.
That’s one of the best things about skateboarding.
You ride something new with all these different people. I’ve never been to Cedar Crest and met anyone that I didn’t like.
There was no bullshit politics about who could skate there.
There was no one that ever showed up there that I had a problem with. When everyone gets together, they’re coming from their own backyard scenes and they’re just so stoked to be there. Even more than the perfect ramp, it’s the people I’m with. If you asked me whether I’d rather skate a curb with my best friends or ride a perfect pool alone, I’d rather skate a curb with my friends. When it comes down to it with skateboarding, it’s all about the people I’m riding with. The terrain comes secondary. When I road trip, I’m really going for my friends then we meet other people with killer scenes and that’s the bonus. That’s why I’m so grateful for skateboarding. It got me up off my ass at 16, riding buses to go and skate where other skateboarders would be. If I had to ride a bus for 24 hours, I didn’t care. I sat on the bus and thought, “I can’t wait to hang with my friends from around the country that are as addicted to skateboarding as I am.”
So you’re living in Texas and skating for Alva. Those were the glory days.
With Alva, I went out to California and started getting ads and getting in the magazines. At my first pro contest, I got a spread in “Thrasher” and then Fausto sponsored me. I rode Independents when I was on Zorlac, but when I turned pro, Fausto was like, “Yeah, dude. You’re ripping. I’ll give you a little money.” I was like, “Yeah, man.”
You were down with Indy since day one, huh?
Yeah. Indy was hooking up the guys that rode for Zorlac. For me, it was such an honor. I always respected Indy and always got into the Indy pride. When I got sponsored by Indy, I was so honored. I couldn’t believe it. It might sound childish and ridiculous, but that was the way it was. Skateboarding was my life. To get on Indy was the shit.
You came up through the ranks as an amateur. You were doing well in the NSA contests.
Most of my amateur career was on Zorlac. I was doing really well at the East Meets the West. I was getting top three. I won some contests. Then I remember skating at a contest out in Little Rock Arkansas where Grosso got first and I got second. That was the first time I really skated against West Coast guys. It was cool. It wasn’t like a rivalry. We were just stoked to be skating with other vert skaters.
Did you see Groholski and Buck Smith a lot?
When I was back in Jersey, Groholski and I would road trip to Reading. We’d skate random ramps and bowls. When I was in college, I’d skate his ramp all the time. His parents were rad. Tom Groholski’s dad was the ultimate skate dad. He did everything for Tom to help him skate. I respected that, and I really looked up to that guy. He was incredible.
Tom was the most underrated, underappreciated skateboarder in the world.
Groholski, Steve Herring and Brad Constable are the most underrated skateboarders.
Then you were killing it in Texas. You told me once that the chicks in Texas were hands down the best in the world. They were hot, and all tattooed.
That was the first place I’d been where chicks could drink you under the table. They were so hot and friendly and they just loved out-of-towners. You’d show up and hang out with cool skateboarders and then hang out with hot chicks. It couldn’t get any better. It was heaven.
The partying went hand-in-hand with it.
We were on the prowl, a little partying, a little drinkin’, and a little hanging out with the babes.
You could party until four in the morning and get up and skate eight hours the next day.
That’s what we’d do. It was good. Riding with the guys I was riding with was great.
The Alva team was crazy. They were the exact opposite of the Bones Brigade. You had the Alva guys and the Day-Glo guys.
We were just being who we wanted to be. You saw the clean cut side of things, but we weren’t really into being clean cut. We were into being dirty and punk. We didn’t care. We were wearing ugly thrift store clothes. I guess after a while we sort of prided ourselves in that. I just wanted to look gnarly. I was like, “I don’t care what my hair looks like; I’m just going to grow dreads.”
There was no Alva team meeting where you all sat around the table and decided to grow dreads, except Danforth?
No, it just evolved. I just didn’t wash my hair for six months. I wore a hat the whole time I was in college. People were like, “What is wrong with that guy?”
Let’s talk about that team photo. What lead up to that because that is one of the most epic team photos ever? It’s legendary. You’ve got the entire team all in one spot.
That photo was taken when we were all at a contest in Chicago. Alva flew us all out there for this contest and he had a friend in downtown Chicago who was a photographer. It was winter, so we all had on our leather flying jackets. It was funny because we all just wore those clothes because that’s what we did. We didn’t wear stuff because each other wore it. We were all from different parts of the country, but we all were into the same shit. When we all came together, it was pretty sick.
When you put the whole team together, it was like the Alva uniform. After I saw that photo, I went out and got a leather jacket the next day
Everyone had a beer going. It was insane.
It wasn’t like a poser shot. That’s how we were living. It’s not like we were wearing corduroys all day and then we showed up to the photo shoot in punk rock regalia. That was day in day out attire. I’ve always been like that, but Alva gave me the opportunity to really liberate myself and be who I wanted to be.
It’s such a cool picture. If you look at it closely, you can see each person had their own little story going on in their eyes. You’re doing the ugly “Skadush” face. Freddy’s on the rail with a beer just looking at the camera like, “Come on. Let’s go.” Everyone has their own thing happening.
Everyone was from different parts of the country. You had Texas, New England, Jersey, California and Detroit. It was rad. It was a cool representation.
Let’s talk about the Alva videos. Skateboarding videos were getting really big then. The video I’m thinking about was “Backyard Annihilation.” The editing in that was very weird. It almost induced seizures. What was that all about?
Tony Alva’s wife, at the time, wanted to do the video and she took an artsy approach to it, so that’s how it turned out.
Were you bummed on it?
I was not feeling it after I saw it. I wish it were more skateboarding-oriented, but what’s done is done. I didn’t want to rain on anyone’s parade at the premiere. Some people were stoked on it. Some people weren’t.
Was there any one Alva tour that stands out in your mind that you’re allowed to talk about?
[Laughs.] There were a couple of them, but I’m not really allowed to talk about any of them
The Japan tour was sick. They flew us all over there. Duncan and Craig Johnson had Japanese stewardesses crying and on their knees begging them to stop blasting the radio. It was punk. We all thought we’d get arrested when we got off the plane, but when we got to Japan they treated us like royalty. It was full rock star.
All of the giant Americans with dreads and leathers were invading the land of Japan. Did they think Craig Johnson was Godzilla?
Oh, yeah. Little Japanese girls were giggling and pointing at him. It was rad. Craig would wear his dreads straight off the top of his head like three feet up. He’d walk down the street and the looks on people’s faces were great. All of the adults were scared and all the little kids were idolizing him. It was great. The tour we did in Australia was on, too. They flew 12 of the Alva guys over there. We’d just take these little plane flights from town to town and party, skate and rage.
The team was more accessible to the public than a lot of other teams. A lot of the other guys would come in on a bus, do the demo and then leave.
When we landed we wanted to figure out where all the locals were and where they partied. We had to figure out where the backyard ramps were. We were just buying drinks at the bar and having fun with the locals. We wanted to hang out with everyone that was skating and it didn’t matter if you were pro or not. When I turned pro, I felt weird. I didn’t want to be treated different. I never treated people like they were anything less than me, because I’ll never forget the pros at Cherry Hill that were cool to me. I always thought if I ever turned pro, I would be cool to little kids. When I was a kid, some pros were cool and some were dickheads to me.
You think about how the littlest thing in the world can impact a kid. I remember going to a demo and seeing all these pros. Most pros would just sign their names, but Tommy Guerrero actually took the time to write, “Stay cool and skate hard.” He went out of his way to do just a little extra. I’ll never forget that. You want kids to be stoked on what you’re doing.
Yeah, I remember that from Cherry Hill. Brad Bowman took the time out to sign my Ray “Bones” Rodriguez board, even though it wasn’t a Brad Bowman board. He let me explain to him why I didn’t buy a Brad Bowman board. He was cool about it when he could have been a punk and not given me the time of day. When I was a little kid, for a pro to be nice to me, made me respect them so much and made me feel so much better about skateboarding that I vowed never to be an asshole to people.
It means a lot to the kids.
I’m still a kid. Even when I rode for Alva, I was still 16 years old in my head. I was a goofy little kid that just rode backyard ramps and pools.
How many models did you have on Alva?
I had a couple of vert models and then I had to get a street model because that’s what was selling.
The writing was on the wall during that time.
It got scary. We were trying to come out with graphics that would appeal to street skaters. It got kind of sad. We were all vert skaters and the market was going to street skating.
When did it all break down with Alva?
It started breaking down when Mike Fallahee who owned Alva Skateboards started to push more street skating. Then I got the call. I’ll never forget it. I’d just gone through cancer surgery, and was just recovering. Fallahee calls me and gives me this speech about how vert skating isn’t happening and he’s starting a new label called New School. He said he just couldn’t sponsor me anymore because vert wasn’t cool anymore. I realized vert skating wasn’t cool in the market anymore, but I was also pissed that the guys skating vert, blasting airs and doing handplants were getting out-marketed by guys that were riding curbs and handrails. To me, that was such a kick in the nuts.
They were making money off mocking vert, too.
They were making money on us both ways. They were saying it’s easy to market to kids that street skate, because not everyone has a halfpipe, but my take on that was if you didn’t have a halfpipe, build one. But the writing was on the wall.
How did that go down with your cancer? Was that the first time you felt your mortality?
That’s when I realized that maybe skateboarding wouldn’t be able to pay the bills anymore. Everyone was trying to figure out how dead skateboarding was going to be. How dead vert was going to be. I was living in New York and I was searching for a new sponsor. That’s when Shut Skateboards was around the first time, so they agreed to sponsor me and give me a pro model. We did a tour in Europe, but the concave that we had at that point wasn’t happening. It was a spoon nose, and they were looking for more of a flip nose like the Mike V board. We were still trying to hang on to the tri-tail, but that didn’t work. They weren’t digging it over in Europe, so Shut went out of business at that point. Then I started riding for Toxic.
Was that the deck with the big pickle chasing a monster zucchini board? I loved that deck.
That was the Toxic deck. That was the last ditch effort.
Were you living in New York City at that time?
Yeah, I was living in New York and I’d gotten married. I was still trying to make a living at something I’d been doing for the last eight years of my life. Toxic was paying me and they paid for me to do a tour in Italy with Darren Menditto.
Menditto “The Moose”.
Darren Menditto and Sean Miller were such good vert pros. It was the worst timing, because vert skating was dying.
We would take trips to Cheap Skates all the time and we stayed at Darren Menditto’s house once. He had a row of couches in his basement like a movie theater. We skated vert for hours and hours and then partied with him all night long and then we’d go crash on the couches. He’d be up at like four in the morning going to Ju-Jitsu classes. After that he’d go to medical school. And after that, he’d meet us at the ramp. It was insane.
When I lived in Philly, I was skating Cheap Skates a lot with Darren and Dan Tag. The Pennsylvania guys had a great attitude. It was always great to skate with Ken Sigafoos, Charnoski, Barker Barrett and Pedurski. The whole PA scene was riding vert. It was a great East Coast scene. But at that point, in the industry, vert skating was dying. Wheels were getting smaller. Pants were getting bigger. We kept skating vert for the love of it. There was no money in it. There was just a vert ramp, so we’d show up and session together.
Everyone was just left to their own devices.
Yeah, and then we had to get real jobs.
Did that start to freak you out a little bit? I’m sure some cats handled it better than others, but it was pretty tragic for a lot of people. A lot of people turned to drugs.
Yeah, there were guys like Gator. There was a guy like Jeff Phillips. Jeff was having some problems in all aspects of his life when he killed himself. For me, it was a very dark and sad time. Skateboarding had gone through such a rad phase. Vert skating was what I grew up with and it was just sad to see it go. It was sad for me to realize that kids weren’t going to be pushing themselves to ride vert and blast airs.
It felt like skateboarding was abandoned.
It was incredible to experience the time of no more phone calls. Vans stopped giving us shoes because we weren’t street skaters. We weren’t valued anymore. I was like, “You can’t even drop in and ride vert. You’re not a pro.” That was my attitude. Whether that’s right or wrong, that’s how I felt. It’s not like I hate street skating. I just love vert skating. I love skateboarding. If I had the option of riding vert or riding a curb, I was riding a vert ramp.
Vert skating was getting weird, too. Cats like Frasier and Colin MacKaye were riding 7” wide skateboard decks on vert.
Yeah, and they were killing it.
It was like a totally new form of vert skating. I remember going to a contest at the Playground in Wallingford, CT and Rich Lopez was doing inverts. Cats were ranking on him because he was doing inverts. They said, “No one does inverts anymore. That’s not cool.” Vert skating took a weird turn.
That’s when it came down to skating with my friends. I wanted to skate vert on my terms. It all comes down to being with your friends. It doesn’t matter what trick you’re doing or how many kickflips you can do on vert. It’s about hanging out and skating and having fun. You have to have a sense of humor when you’re riding with a guy like Dan Tag, where you can be skateboarding and laughing at the same time.
You’re slamming, because you’re laughing so hard.
It’s always about skating and having fun. When you’re on the vert ramp, it’s not about being competitive with your friends. It’s about joking around and having fun. That’s what life should be about. In the ’90s, even though I was bummed that I wasn’t getting paid to skate, I was still stoked because when I did skate with my friends and we were having as much fun as we’d ever had. It was cool. It was underground. I was stoked. I was like, “I’ll just work a 9-5 job and then go skate with my friends.”
I’m sure having skateboarding there helped you with your cancer, too. How did you react to finding out you had cancer?
I was like, “Holy shit.” I almost died. I had a gnarly form of skin cancer. It got into my blood system and I almost died. All that time in the sun, partying and getting the Irish sun tans was all coming back to haunt me. It was weird. It gives you a different perspective on life. It makes you appreciate things. I’m glad that I’m still alive to skate another day and to be with my girl and my family another day.
Yeah, so the industry wasn’t appreciating vert skating anymore.
Yeah, it was sad. It’s like you were part of a family and then all of a sudden that family kind of turns their back on you. You’re like, “I thought you were my friends, but maybe some of you weren’t. Maybe you were just looking at me for the dollar signs. When I couldn’t make you money anymore it’s like, ‘See you later. Bye’.” Times like that are when you find out who your real friends are. Your real friends stick by you no matter what.
We first met, in the early ’90s at Newburgh, Hudson Valley. Our crew was still skating hard and traveling our asses off to find anything with corners to skate. We were drinking the same blood.
Yeah, Kessler and me were the guys in the city. We’d get a car and drive north. Kessler would say, “There’s a place in Newburgh. Let’s go ride it.” It was rad.
When you were in the city, what were you doing for a living at that point?
After I first got married, I was just jumping around from job to job. We moved to Charlotte, NC, in the mid ’90s, and then up to Boston. In Charlotte, I wasn’t being paid to skate, so I had to find a job. I answered a want ad job. This guy said, “Are you afraid of scaffolding?” I said, “No.” He said, “Well, I’m going to pull some windows out of this church. Can you do that?’ I said, “Sure.” So that’s where I first learned how to do stain glasswork. I pulled windows out of churches. Then I went up to Boston and started getting paid to restore stain glass windows. When I moved to New York City, I started getting paid to work at high-end museums and churches. I started making a good living. With all the museums, there’s a lot of restoration to be done. It’s cool.
That’s a cool trade to learn. It’s very artistic.
It was artistic. It’s not what I went to college for, but it’s all about supply and demand. You have skills and there’s a demand for those skills and you fill it.
You’re the weekend warrior.
I got a Honda Civic and I knew I could put 200,000 miles on it, so every weekend I was driving somewhere to skate. I started riding Newburgh and then Newburgh went under.
Tell us about Newburgh.
My friend from Atlanta came up to do that job. They came up and hung with me and then they went to Newburgh to build the place. Kessler and I were in on it from the beginning. They made that C bowl. They said they were going to make something with as many corners as they could with a spine. So we had a new destination. We had a bowl to go ride.
It was a giant indoor wooden bowl, but no one skated it, because everyone wanted to street skate. It was in a gnarly neighborhood, too.
I was amazed that kids would rather ride the streets than ride a bowl, but I just wanted to make myself happy and ride what I wanted to ride.
You took some trips to Cutting Edge in Vermont.
When I was in Boston, I’d go up to Cutting Edge all the time. I remember seeing you guys. For me, it was like, “Okay. Road trip. Where am I going? Am I going to Z.T. Maximus or am I going to Vermont?” I would just go.
It didn’t matter if it was nine hours in the car, you were going.
The longer the better. I love to drive. I’ve been riding in cars, since I was five years old moving all over the country. I love taking in the countryside and having a destination to skate.
In the ’90s, there were ten wooden bowls going on down the East Coast.
I was amazed that there were still hardcore dudes building bowls. All of a sudden all of these bowls were getting built. I was like, “All right. Now I’ve got something to ride.”
Underground crews were building here and there. If you put them all together, you had an army.
It’s the same thing that happened in the ’70s and the ’80s. When all the skateparks died in the ’70s, only the few and the proud still stood tall and rode a skateboard.
Salba said that after you’ve been skating for 20 years, you’re technically a lifer…
You know what my definition of a lifer is?
No. Tell me.
With all the highs and lows in skateboarding, when skateboarding crashes and there’s nothing to skate and all the hype is done, if you keep skating and building halfpipes, you’re a lifer. You could have only been skating two years, but you’re such an addict that you’re going to do whatever it takes to skateboard. Whether you’ve been skating for six months or 20 years, a lifer never quits. They keep going regardless of what’s going on their lives, regardless of girlfriends, money situations, work, where you live or where you don’t live. That addiction to grinding your trucks down to the axle is like nothing else. It’s all you can think about.
It’s like skateboard Darwinism.
Exactly. You filter out the weakness. Those that stay in there are the hardcore lifers. You’re doing it for life. No matter what. If you’re going to have to build your own halfpipe, you’re going to build your own half pipe, because you’re so addicted to riding transition that you can’t get it out of your system.
You skated the Hanger a lot, too.
Yeah, in the early days when it was indoors. The Hanger came about when street skating was taking over, but those guys down there pulled it together. They were like, “We’re building a vert bowl.” Blaize Blouin, Brad Constable, Hank Biering and all the boys got it together. It was a killer scene. We’d show up and see the guys from Atlanta. It was rejuvenation for them because they didn’t have the Ramp Ranch anymore.
How long was it indoors?
It was only a year or two. Then for financial reasons they couldn’t pay the bills anymore, so Hank took it over to his land and he’s preserved it since.
I remember seeing photos of that bowl and I was like, “I can’t believe that is made out of wood.” That was my calling to build wooden bowls.
It was built so well. I couldn’t believe it. The advantage of a wood bowl is that it’s not as painful when you slam. If you’ve got a wood bowl with pool coping, you’re in heaven. The bowl was indoors and it wasn’t getting weathered. It was a great scene. I never took anything for granted. I knew from watching Cherry Hill get dozed that nothing lasts forever. That’s been my attitude since.
You have to go skate it while you can.
The thing that keeps all these scenes going is the people. Just one hardcore dude that keeps pushing everyone around him, like Iggy Talls up in Attleboro, can spark a scene. That guy is an unsung hero. What he’s done with that bowl and the way it’s expanded and the way he’s kept it going up there, that’s what it’s all about. He’s putting everything on the line just to carve and grind. Scenes come up around people like that. Then you go down to Jacksonville and you’ve got a guy like Dave Suede building pools for a living. He’ll build you a pool at the drop of a hat. You have Hiler down there. Guys like that are just building what they want. Look at the guys at Burnside. Everyone is just dedicated to skateboarding and having fun. Look at Burnside and what Red sparked. Now Red and Monk are traveling around the world building skateparks.
Here are some one-liners for you. Who does the best eggplants?
Who’s the most underrated skater?
Who’s the fastest skater?
Who’s got the biggest ego?
Who’s the biggest kook?
Who’s got the longest rock n’ roll board slide?
Is that why you started putting rails on your board?
Guilty as charged.
You gave me shit for years for putting sissy rails on my board then you’re riding them.
You only had one sissy bar. You were really faggin’ it up.
It was for my ugly sloppy slob fastplant grabs.
Those are ugly.
Back in the day, the best scene?
Best scene now?
The Outer Banks.
If you were to have a dream session, where would it be and who would it be with? Any time frame.
It would be at the Turf with Reese Simpson, Ben Schroeder, Neil Blender, Chris Miller, John Gibson, Craig Johnson, Tom Groholski, Merk the Jerk, the entire 5.9 crew, Herring, Hartsel, Constable, everybody from the East Coast and everyone that rides Independent trucks. That would be the best session.
And the girl that does that modeling for the t-shirts in “Juice”, the “Playboy” chick, would be handing out the frosties.
She definitely would be.
Who would win a doubles tennis match? Rick Charnoski and Buddy Nichols or Preston Maigetter and Rhino?
P-stone and Rhino would win easily. That combo would win at anything.
Who’s the most selfless?
Let the good times roll.
What exactly does Skadush mean? It seems to be a multi-purpose word.
Well, the evolution started in the late ’80s being on Zorlac and hanging out with the boys. I was looking at Gibson skating, and I’d just go, “Gibson. Layback rollouts. Ska-dush.” He would haul ass and do layback rollouts. Then Craig Johnson would do an Indy air eight feet out. His front foot would come off, his back foot would come off and he’d make it. It made you want to scream some Nordic warrior call. Skadush is an exclamation of gnarly ecstasy, of someone’s impending doom or a beautiful woman.
It could be a noun or a verb.
It could be anything. You take it from the gut and go with it.
Let’s talk about Skatopia. When did you take your first trip out there?
I don’t remember, but Charno was going out there with Tag, George Draguns and Shaky Al, so I drove out there in the Honda Civic. It was gnarly. It’s out in the middle of nowhere. Brewce Martin is another guy that put it together. He bought 88 acres and built a bowl. I have a lot of respect for Brewce because he just went out and did it.
Those first years were sick. All the boys were there. I’ve never seen such a high caliber of skateboarding.
Neither have I. In a bowl like that, with Little Eddie, Science and Brewce, it was great. Every local was killing it. Every time I’ve been there I’m just blown away. I have total respect for the pure backyard skateboarding of it. It’s another example of a hardcore individual just taking shit into his own hands and saying I don’t want to live by any rules. I’m going to get this place going for my friends. Now he’s building concrete. My hat is off to him. That’s American ingenuity.
And you, the reader, Skatopia isn’t built out of love. Send a check via Paypal to Skatopia to pay for concrete at www.skatopia.org.
And bring beer.
That goes without saying.
It’s great to see that the backyard scene continues to grow as the city skateparks grow. Backyard scenes aren’t replaced by skateparks. Skateparks are an enhancement of a backyard scene.
When you’re in a backyard, you’ve got a bonfire. You’ve got a grill. God knows what else you have going. It’s on. No matter how big skateboarding gets and how mainstream it seems, the backyards are where it’s at and that’s where it will never die.
That’s where it started. Now the guys that skated as kids are building stuff for their kids to skate. My only exposure to that growing up was Tom Groholski’s dad with the ramp. Now you have people building pools in their backyards, so their kids can skate and they can skate. This is the first generation that you’re seeing that. That just solidifies the scene even more. That kid grows up with a pool and when he’s older, he’ll probably build something in his yard that will be skate-able, too. There will always be a backyard scene.
And don’t ever show up empty handed to the scene. Bring party favors.
Yeah. Show some respect. You have to know that with any backyard scene that you go to, there’s been a lot of love going into the ramps and the scene and a lot of money that you didn’t have to put out. When you show up, show some respect. That’s common courtesy. Help out the scene.
How do you feel about cats that used to skate and then gave it up to pursue other things?
Now all these epic parks are being built and they’re all coming out of the woodwork. All these cats have no trouble building these little chat rooms and talking about their weekend warrior trips, but where were these guys when things were so bleak and the lifers were out there busting their ass building these parks and creating skateboard utopia?
Now all these people are coming back into skateboarding because it’s easy and convenient. Does that make you bitter?
It doesn’t make me bitter. If you’re a lifer, you know it. You know who the people are that hang in there when the going gets tough. Then you know the people who don’t and only come back when it’s easy. I think it would piss me off more if I were more exposed to the chat room stuff, but I don’t look at that stuff. I’d be like, “Where were you when it was tough going?” There are a lot of people out there like Red from Dreamland and Monk from Grindline that rode trains and did whatever they had to do in their lives to create skateboarding for themselves and the people around them. It’s like the guys that built Burnside. Everyone just sacrifices their life and their money and relationships and family just to build a park. There are times when you know they’re underappreciated by people that have no idea the struggles that have been going down the last 10-20 years to get all this stuff going. They just roll back in.
I want to say to a lot of these people, “Where were you guys? Where’d you go?”
I remember when everyone around me quit in the early ’80s. I felt like I was alone again. I said, “Where are the hundreds of people that rode Cherry Hill?” In the end, it’s their loss. Some people have other priorities. You just have to do what you want to do. Sometimes it’s nice to have fewer skaters that you know are hardcore and do it for the love.
You’ve got to be super stoked on the trend of the skatepark building.
I love it. When I was out riding the new park in Currituck with Science, I got to see a guy like Science killing it. He’s just 100% hardcore skateboarder. He’s been through the highs and lows of skateboarding and he’s just killing it. Then I see Ronnie O’Neil and these little eight years old that are also killing it. They’re carving and grinding and doing it for the love. When I see little kids like that it reminds me of when I was growing up riding places like Cherry Hill. That stokes me out. Once you see a little kid carve grinding bowls and pools and concrete, and not just hanging out in the street course, that’s a lifer.
The kids that are into it with fire in their eyes, they’ll seek and destroy. They’ll drain pools and build ramps. They will carry it on.
That’s what we’re trying to do with “Juice”. That’s what we’re trying to promote. When I was growing up, that was the kind of thing that “Thrasher” promoted and I looked up to the magazines and that’s the kind of thing I idolized. When it comes to this magazine, that’s what we’re pushing. We’re not pushing idols. We’re pushing an attitude and trying to back up those people with the attitude of just skating for fun. That’s part of our duty at “Juice”. We want to get that out there for kids and show them the alternative. I want kids to really see that they can have a lot of fun skating roundwall. They’ll thank us later. I have to thank “Thrasher” and “Skateboarder”. If it weren’t for that kind of hype when I was a kid, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Skateboarding drove my life and everything that I was.
Now you’re living in New York City. Were you there on Sept 11th?
I was in Union Square. I heard the second plane go over the studio. I looked at my boss and said, “I just heard a really low plane go over the studio.” Every time I’d heard that before, I’d always think, “Is it a terrorist attack?” Then it happened. I ran outside and you could look right down University Ave and see both of the Towers on fire. We watched them burn and we watched them fall.
How far away were you from the Towers?
It was about 40 blocks. It was like a scene from “The Twilight Zone”. As we were watching it happen, there was a guy in a van with his radio blaring and we were hearing about the Pentagon. Our cell phones weren’t working so we couldn’t call anyone.
I remember we were trying to call you.
It was gnarly. We saw everything. It was painful. I remember being on the B.Q.E. a few days later, and you could still see the Towers burning and the smoke coming up through the lights. It was gut wrenching. My cousin was in a building across from the site and saw people falling from windows. It was heavy.
Let’s talk about Wounded Knee for a little bit. How did it all come about?
Kessler and I were looking to do a skateboard company, because no one was building big boards.
What year was this?
It was around ’97 or ’98.
No one was making big decks then.
No, it was all popsicle sticks. We were like, “Let’s come up with a name.” We were sitting up on the platform of the vert ramp at 108th Street Skatepark, and Kessler started laughing. He was like, “What about Wounded Knee?” We both laughed. Then I started really thinking about it. I thought it was a hardcore name, but what really happened at Wounded Knee? So I read “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” and I realized that using that name was heavy. Some heavy-duty shit went down at Wounded Knee. We’re talking about the memory of the massacre of 1890.
For people that don’t know the story, do you want to give them a brief history?
The 7th Calvary was taking Indians across the reservation at Pine Ridge. The Calvary stopped and gathered at a campsite with the natives, Minneconjou Lakota Indians. Then the next day, the Indians were told they needed to give up their weapons. A struggle broke out because one of the Indians was deaf and didn’t understand the command. In the confusion, guns were fired and all of a sudden, the Gatling guns started opening up and the Calvary went on a mission to massacre all the Indians. They killed a lot of women and children. After the battle was done, they had killed over 300 men, women, and children. Chief Bigfoot was also killed. He was the head chief of the tribe they were escorting. It was crazy. After that, the army awarded the Calvary for what they’d done at Wounded Knee. It was really eye opening to what was happening to the Native Americans at that time. Ever since then, it’s something that has symbolized how the Native Americans and their way of life was treated by the Calvary of the U.S. government.
The Calvary spun it somehow. They claimed they were being attacked.
They claimed they were, but they had the Indians surrounded by Gatling guns. It’s not like they were ambushed. They already had them surrounded. They were escorting this group of Indians. They could spin it anyway they want.
So you and Kessler started talking about doing the company?
We decided that we wanted to do something that would commemorate Wounded Knee. One of the first graphics we had was “We Remember Wounded Knee’. It was an old picture of a wood carving of a Calvary that has an old woman holding a crying child. We had a graphic that said, “You can’t jail the revolution.” That was taken from a ’60s protest book.
You and Kessler liked the big boards, too, so that gave you the incentive to make the big boards.
We knew from the get-go that it was going to be a struggle, because the demand wasn’t there, but we had the attitude of “It has to be done”. We were doing it for the boys. I never envisioned making money. I was doing it for my friends. We were building decks for bowl riding because we were riding bowls.
I remember when you got Wounded Knee going. I was at Riverside riding the vert ramp and you and Kessler did the handshake and it seemed like the birth of a great skateboard company.
I was stoked. Kessler and I both were old Cherry Hill skaters. Kessler was a hardcore New York skater. We were friends. When we started getting the business deal going we went to my uncle who was a lawyer. He said, “They always say that business can go bad between friends.” I looked at Andy and I was like, “Well, I don’t like him that much anyway.” We had a good laugh about it. We both knew what we were getting into. We tried to have fun with it.
After a bit of time, you had different visions?
We started knocking heads a lot. We were getting really frustrated. We still wanted to be friends, but when it came down to business, we handled it a different way. I was like, “If you want out, I’ll give you money.” He said, “Okay.” We’re still friends. We respect each other. Kessler is a great guy. He does a lot of great things. People have no idea. Kessler is the one that got 108th Street Skatepark built and spearheaded the Brooklyn Skatepark in Owl’s Head. He’s the one who got the park at Canal Street built and the park at 34th Street and Westside Highway. Not only that, but Andy Kessler goes to AA and helps guys that are addicts.
That’s like half of the city. He’s there for so many people.
He helps a lot of people. I know a lot of people give Andy shit, but Kessler’s a good guy.
Kessler has saved my life on three occasions. I’d do anything for him. He’s a bastard. That’s what I love. He’ll tell you the way it is. At this point, you have sole control over Wounded Knee?
Yeah, I was pushing to get it back to the Native American focus. I wanted to do something more Pro-Native, not Anti-American, and I was talking to a guy named John Pearson who was doing a lot of graphics for us at the time. It was you that inspired me to get an Ira Hayes board going.
That board was sick.
For people that don’t remember Ira Hayes, he was an Indian from the Gila River Reservation who was one of the men that raised the flag at Iwo Jima.
There’s a movie out about that now.
Yeah, “Flag of our Fathers”. That’s about the guys at Iwo Jima and the flag raising. When we made that board in memory of Ira, a cousin of Ira’s contacted us. I explained I was doing a skateboard company and we were about Native American pride. We thought Ira Hayes was a great example of a Native America. Although he was brought up on a reservation and his tribe was treated like crap, he put his life on the line for the same country that enslaved his people.
That was a huge paradox.
It was great representation of an American, with a true warrior spirit that the natives are known to have. After she heard what I had to say, she put me in touch with her mom and dad. They invited me to the Flag Raisers Commemoration. The families of the flag raisers at Hirojima gather at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC once a year. I got to meet Ira’s family. I told them what we were doing and they were digging it. I just wanted to show them we were doing it out of respect. I’ve been out to meet the people at the Wounded Knee site. I met the Sacred Pipe Holders of the Lakota Nation. I explained what we were trying to achieve and they were down. I’m trying to do the right thing by educating people about the Native culture and get kids into skateboarding.
How are the kids on the reservation reacting?
They were just like any other kids. I showed up with a skateboard and immediately they wanted to ride it. They love skateboarding. Some of the reservations have skateparks. They have one in Cheyenne and I hear there’s one coming up in Pine Ridge. Native kids are just like any other kids, but they have less privileges and a lot less money. Skateboarding is a perfect outlet for kids on a reservation. In the Native culture, you want to prove your manhood and your warrior spirit and skateboarding is a great way to express yourself and search for your manhood.
Take a slam in a cradle.
Yeah, go for it and be a man about it. Get gnarly. I’m going to try to work with the people out on the other reservations to get more skateparks built.
That’s great. Are you getting mixed reviews from the tribes? Are they skeptical?
No, I stood in front of all of them at the Gathering of Nations where people gathered from around the world. I told them who I was and what I was about. I let people know that I have some Lenape Indian in my ancestry. I was there for my great grandmother as well as the kids on the reservation.
There’s a new Wounded Knee video coming out that you and Chicken Hawk are working on, right?
Yeah, we’re going to put in some rad skateboarding and try to let people know where we’re coming from. I want to do it for the kids and for all the guys that I’ve ever given a board to, and all the guys that keep riding vert. Those are the guys that are going to be in the video. I’m just going to do something I’m proud of and everyone else is proud of, too.
Through the evolution of Wounded Knee, you’ve had quite a line up on the team. Who’s on the team now? Who are the heroes?
The heroes are Chris Mearkle. Big Tim, Chickenhawk, Travis, Bato, Remy, Smiley, Sloppy Sam, Science Fair… Science has been there from the get go. He’s the purest skateboarder I’ve ever met. Dave Maxwell is the man. You have to skate with him a few days and you will know pure skateboarding. That guy is what every kid should want to be like. If every kid were like Science Fair, we’d have a rippin’ positive world.
Travis is like the top secret, undercover guy.
Chicken Hawk, Travis, and Science are like a three prong attack. It’s ridiculous. Those guys are all natural skaters. They’re not afraid to throw a couple of hurricanes at you or a stalefish boneless one. They just kill it.
You’ve stuck with it forever. Now everyone is doing pool decks and you were doing squaretails in the early ’90s.
Well, I refuse to ever have my decks made in China, so I’ll probably never make money. Chapman does our wood out of Maine. For me, I don’t want to go to China, even if China wood was just as good and I could make more money. I’m just not going to do it. I like what Chapman is doing. I like that they’re in America. I like the quality. That’s all I need.
Doing it out of the love of it is priceless. Don’t think it doesn’t go unnoticed, Jim. The people that know would kill and die for you.
I appreciate that.
Best decks ever. Best skateboard company ever. I love it. Friends and family have a way of taking care of each other, which brings me to your whole adventure with “Juice”. A lot of people don’t know that you started working with “Juice” back in the NYC days.
Yeah, “Juice” had been going for a while down in the Carolinas. Terri Craft had started it in 1993 from scratch. She was hooked up with the music scene and she was stoked on skateboarding and surfing. “Juice” was a rad magazine from the start. In ’97, she moved up to New York and that’s where we all met. Someone contacted me and wanted to do an interview with me for “Juice”. I was like, “Hell, yeah.” So they interviewed me and I gave them some photos and then I went over to their office. I was like “Holy shit. Check this out.” They asked if I wanted to help and I said, “Sure.”
In ’97, the industry was starving for a fresh voice. That’s when “Thrasher” was three pages with baggy pants ads and tiny wheels.
I knew that street skating was where the money was, so maybe I was really sinking the ship, but I was like, “We need a hardcore skateboard magazine with backyard vert skating and pool skating.” I just wanted to keep the ball rolling.
“Juice” started right off the rip with a cult following. It started out with everyone scattered about, but you guys put them all together and now you’ve got the “Juice” army.
We do. It’s unreal. Terri asked me if I’d start interviewing people and I said, “Sure!” For me, it’s fun. I talk to people and ask them questions about shit that I want to know. Like when I interviewed you, it was pure entertainment.
What a drunken disaster.
[Laughs.] Mitsubishi. We had you pegged. I was like, “Jack, we’re going to interview Merk.” He was like, “Well, let’s get him wasted.”
After I left there I got lost on the subway and ended up in the south Bronx.
Oh, no. I’ve been there.
That’s what was so cool. From the beginning you guys didn’t care. “Juice” was all about the real life interviews. It was more of a character study.
That’s why I give all the credit to Terri Craft. She’s said, “Hey, Murf, do the interview the way you want, and if you think it’s cool we’re going to print it.” When she typed up your interview, she was like, “Right on. We’re going to print it.” Terri wasn’t scared. She’s always wanted the real story, no holds barred.
And the mag has that bigger different format.
We’re the biggest skateboarding magazine. We have bigger pictures and more stories. We go big every issue. There’s a freedom at “Juice” that I never would’ve gotten from any other magazine. Terri is not some corporation trying to sell a product. She’s just herself. She just wants to keep it hardcore and pure.
Whenever you guys put it together and make it happen, it’s magic. It could come out once a week or once a year.
It all depends on how the money is flowing. That’s how you do it.
A lot of people don’t realize that. I know you guys have had some buyout offers, but you’ve decided to keep it going independent.
Terri has put her life on the line monetarily just to get this magazine out to everyone that wants to read it. For every bill that comes in, we get response from the magazine that’s so cool and positive that we just can’t quit. When you get a letter saying this magazine reminds them of their old life skateboarding and it brings them new life to read the magazine, you just want to keep doing it. We’re like, “Someone’s got to do this.” With the people involved with this magazine, they’re not doing it for the money. They’re doing it for the love, like Olson. That guy is a great interviewer and he does it because he believes in what he’s doing here.
After 13 years, “Juice” has proven itself tenfold. It started when this kind of skateboarding wasn’t marketable at all. Now, everyone wants to have a token pool guy or reissue of an old deck. “Juice” is the spot. It’s super cool. The interviews are insane. You have to kick back and give yourself a week to soak it in.
Take for example the interviews that we do, like the way that Hosoi interviewed Caballero. Say what you will about your religious beliefs, to get an interview where a guy like Cab is talking about his life, I don’t think he could have done an interview like that in any other magazine. Where else could you read something like that? With “Juice”, we’re coming at people and saying, “We want to learn about your life. We want to know who you are.”
What’s your favorite interview you’ve done for the mag?
Ian MacKaye was a good one. The first time I ever met Ian was at the Virginia Vans Park. I was stoked to see him there, because he was just so stoked on skating. The interview was about his DIY approach to music. It was cool talking to him about his early days of skateboarding with Henry Rollins.
I love it. Do you want to thank anyone?
I’d like to thank my Aunt Pam, my Uncle Ronny and the entire Riddle family for supporting my family when the going got rough. I also want to thank my mom, my brother and sisters. Thanks to Jeff Newton and Dana Buck for saving my life with Zorlac, and Tony Alva for having faith in me and hooking me up with the boys. Thanks to Steve Herring, Brad Constable and Jef Hartsel for saving my life more times than I can imagine. Thanks to Groholski for being a great friend and having a killer backyard ramp. Thanks to everybody in Texas and all the hardcores in California, and the East Coast. Thanks to Dan Tag, Charno, Menditto, and the Sigafooses, the whole 5.9 crew – Merk, Bato, Big Tim, Sloppy, Chickenhawk, Smiley, Tom Jolt, Travis, and every hardcore that skated Skater Island. Thanks to “The Package” Sid Abruzzi for having the guts to keep skateboarding all these years and bringing a killer scene to New England when nobody else would. Thanks to you, Chris Mearkle for being a good friend and road tripping and partying and skating as hard as Craig Johnson ever did. Thanks to Terri Craft, who I believe has made the best magazine that I’ve ever seen in skateboarding. She has shown the most selflessness and endurance in skateboarding history. She is the most underrated and underappreciated figure in skateboarding today. To all of you that read “Juice” magazine, you don’t even know. Terri Craft is your hero.
And thanks to Dan Levy, the fastest mouth in skateboarding, sales man of the decade. I don’t know how he does it. I don’t know what happens in upstate New York, but big respect to Dan. And thanks to anybody that has ever done anything with “Juice”. You know who you are. Thanks to my girlfriend Christine, and to everybody in Colorado, Jerry Hahn and the crew, and the Outer Banks crew, Science and Corbett. Thanks to Jaime and the ECRW. Thanks to everybody that still skates for fun and likes to ride roundwall with pool coping. Keep doing it. I love you all. Skate tough. Eat muff.
Right on, Murf. I’ll talk to you later.
INTERVIEWS BY JIM MURPHY
Wes Humpston by Andy Kessler and Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 47
Ian MacKaye – interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 50
Steve Olson interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 50
Rick Carje interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 51
Dave Duncan interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 51
Wally Hollyday interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 53
Tim Payne interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 54
Dave “Science” Maxwell interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 55
Sid “The Package” Abruzzi by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 55
Tom “Twista” Putnam interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 55
Fork Crew – Henry Guiterrez interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 57
Geth Noble interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 57
Merk interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 57
Sloppy Sam interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 58
Ben Schroeder interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 59
Tom Groholski interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 59
Tim Klemonsky Interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 59
Green Sk8 Lab interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 59
JFA- Brian Brannon interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 60
Lil’ Eddie Lawrence interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 60
Chris Miller interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 61
Buck Smith interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 61
Monk Hubbard interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 61
Marc Corbett interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 61
Dan Levy interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 62
Jeff Ho interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 62
Mike Vallely interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 62
Bill Danforth interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 63
Dave Libhart interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 63
Bryan Lathrop interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 63
Chuck Treece interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 63
Pro-Tec Pool Party 3 words by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 63
John Gibson interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 64
Pro-Tec Pool Party 4 words by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 64
Sgt. Sk8 AKA Doug Moore interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 64
Jim Barnum interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 64
Dan Tag interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 65
Jake Brown interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 65
James Hedrick interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 65
Jef Hartsel interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 65
Mark Conahan interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 65
Craig Johnson interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 66
Fritz Mead interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 66
Rob Palmer interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 66
Wade Speyer interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 66
Dave Tobin interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 67
Ken Fillion interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 67
Dave “Shaggy” Palmer interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 68
Omar Hassan interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 68
Robert Groholski interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 68
Steve Alba interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 68
Tom Groholski interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 68
Carlos Baiza interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 69
Chris Mearkle interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 69
Dan Tag interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 69
George Draguns interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 69
Steve Herring interview by Jim Murphy – Juice Magazine 69