INTERVIEW BY ROGER HARRELL
PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAT MYERS
Spawned in the Windy City, Patrick Melcher was raised on indoor parks where good weather days were far and few between. Melcher paid his dues from the Pit to the Label and now finds himself among a very elite circle of pros and bros. As you are reading this, Patrick is filming his second installment for the new Black Label video, “Black Out.” Here’s The Melch…
How long have you been skating?
I’ve been skateboarding since age 10, but I was a little BMX dude. I got into skating because this kid in our neighborhood built a vert ramp. He would skate and we’d bring our bikes there. He’d get pissed because we’d get mud all over the ramp from our tires. He would yell, ‘If you guys ever get mud on my ramp again, I’m gonna kill you.’ At eleven years old, when somebody says they’re gonna kill you, you just start crying. I got a skateboard so I could hang out with him because he was cool. He drove a car. Plus, a lot of other kids in my school were starting to get into skateboarding, too.
“I WOULD GO BACK IN TIME AND SKATE A PARKING BLOCK WITH JOHN LUCERO AND NEIL BLENDER AND WATCH THEM COME UP WITH ALL OF THE STUFF THAT THEY CAME UP WITH BACK THEN. THAT WOULD BE A DREAM SESSION.”
What was your first set-up?
It was a Nash Executioner, straight out of ToysRUs. I really needed the Vision Mark Gonzales because I thought that would make me a legit skateboarder. I got the Gonz board and put the Nash trucks on it. I had that thing for a year. It was easier to go buy new griptape than a new board so I regripped that thing three times before it was done.
What was your first road trip?
The first time that I ever left my area was to go to the Turf in Milwaukee to skate the pools. I drove all the way there and had no idea that you needed your parent’s signature. I had to drive two hours all the way back to Rockford to have my parents notarize this thing then, I drove back the same day. Finally, I get in there but I didn’t know you needed copers. They used to require you to wear copers at Milwaukee pools. I didn’t have the money to buy them, so I borrowed money from some kids and bought some. I hooked them on but they’d fall off. I had to put zip-ties on because those stupid Nash Executioner trucks didn’t work with copers. That was my first failed road trip. It turned out to be fun, but it was a full day of driving.
How did you get hooked up with Black Label?
Well, before John called and asked me to ride for the Label, I had been shop-sponsored for a year and a half. I’d had offers from companies but I had always ridden Label boards. I guess word got around to some of the pros that all I would rock was Black Label and John finally found out about it.
Had you ever spoken to John before?
I didn’t know he was the team manager at that point. I had the misconception that Giant was running Black Label. But it was still John’s deal. He was packing the boxes, doing all the ads, and doing all the artwork for all the boards. It was a one-man show. Skateboarding was a game to him and I liked that because it’s always been just a game to me, too. So he said, ‘Hey, do want to ride for my company?’ I couldn’t believe it. It’s the high point of my skateboarding adventure.