BOO JOHNSON INTERVIEW BY CHUCK TREECE
When we got the news that one of skateboarding’s favorite skaters, Boo Johnson, is the face of boohooMAN’s new skate collection, we reached out to legendary skateboarder and musician, Chuck Treece, who loves skateboarding and music just as much as Boo Johnson. Enjoy this talk story with two of the nicest and most creative skateboarders out there. Check out Boo’s new skate collection here at boohooMAN.com and keep up with Chuck at @ChuckTreece on Instagram.
CHUCK TREECE: What’s up, Boo? I’m over here playing a little guitar.
BOO JOHNSON: Nice. It sounds good.
CHUCK: How are you?
BOO: I’m good, man. Where are you located right now?
CHUCK: I’m in Ambler, PA, out in the ‘burbs, outside of Philly.
BOO: Okay. Nice.
CHUCK: How’s LA? You’re out in LA right?
BOO: Yeah. I’m in LA at the moment. It’s been all right. It’s a little hazy out there. The weather has been a little crazy. For the most part, it’s good.
CHUCK: Nice. Okay, I have a few questions for you.
BOO: I’m ready when you are.
CHUCK: Cool. Being a skater that has influence over style, how did you come to the idea that you wanted to integrate that into lifestyle fashion and skateboarding?
BOO: Honestly, I grew up being a skateboarder. What got me into skateboarding was the style, especially the era when I got into it. In 2009 and 2010, KREW clothing was a thing and it was all about skinny pants before skinnies were cool. The older I got, the skate culture just grew on me and skating is a huge influence on a lot of different styles. My style is very simple. I like to look at it like simplicity. I wear very light things or I’ll wear a Supreme jacket of something that just pops a little different. I think growing up being a skater got me into that whole fashion.
CHUCK: Having knowledge of skateboarding, history, fashion and black culture, from what I see, you’re applying this old school anthem into the new school. Was that a conscious effort?
BOO: Yeah. Definitely. In my new BoohooMAN collection, you can see it, especially with the puffy parachute style pants. I believe that the ‘90s was the hottest style era in the skate industry. Everyone was so raw and everyone was doing their thing and having fun. I think that era is coming back around and I definitely got my inspiration and creativity from a lot of ‘90s looks. When BoohooMAN hit me up, they were like, “What would you like to do?” I was like, “Trust me. I’ve been waiting on someone to hit me up to collab. This is what I’m looking for.” I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
CHUCK: How would the regular person relate to you being creative through skateboarding and fashion? How do you relate that to someone outside of skateboarding? Are there any strong points that a typical person can pick up from the Boo Johnson way of life?
BOO: Definitely. How I push my whole image is that you’re able to do whatever you want. With doing whatever you want, you have to pursue an open mind and a peaceful mind and you’ve got to be able to care for the world. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to me on that tip, on my style and what skateboarding is. Skateboarding, in my eyes, is a community. We all come together from so many different places. Skateboarding is the melting point of so many different diversities of people and it’s a lifestyle. I’m able to push a movement where it’s like, “This kid is a skater that connects with everybody in every lane.” It’s not all about just skateboarding. It’s about making connections and being there for the community and representing something real. I’m here to spread peace and love.
CHUCK: It seems really tangible. I’m a huge Bob Marley fan and I checked the “Ride Natty Ride” video you are in recently. I’ve never been to Jamaica, but I’ve always wanted to go with more of a skate, music related trip.
BOO: Oh, bro, let’s just go, me and you. You’ll fucking love it. Everyone out there is so talented and the food is amazing and everyone is so great. We can go stay at the surf camp and just vibe, man.
CHUCK: Crazy! How has Jamaica influenced you and how has Bob Marley been an influence to you?
BOO: Oh, man, Bob Marley has been a huge inspiration to me with his music and his quotes and everything he said from being in the cut to where he rose to his success. Everything comes from within and that’s what Bob Marley taught me. Being able to be blessed enough to go to Jamaica was game-changing. It made me feel like I was on the right path. It made me feel like I have been listening to reggae music for a reason. The reggae culture and the Jamaican culture made me feel okay for doing what I’ve been doing. It taught me to be that much closer to our people. Organic is the way of life. Simplicity is the way of life. As long as you’ve got your style and you love yourself, you can push out more love to everyone else. That’s what I think the Jamaican culture shows. We are all one, straight up.
CHUCK: Yeah. Pure lion paw. You’re in a time and place where you can influence a lot of people in a lot of different areas and you have a lot of East Coast fans that may not get a chance to vibe to what you’re vibing because everyone is stuck to their neighborhoods. Skateboarders now are viewed through the phone so much. For the kids and young skaters that are into what you’re doing, what would be a message that you would want to send to them? Other than just watching the banger footage that you put up, what are some of the personality traits that you can give to some of the kids out there?
BOO: To everyone on the East Coast and West Coast, if they are looking up to me, I want it to be like, “I look up to Boo, not just for his skating and his clips.” I’m on the study of getting my knowledge right so I can be a philosopher. I want everyone who wants to be grounded to pursue being a philosopher. You don’t have to preach to everyone. Just know what is going on in the world and know what you want and what’s best for your family. Get to know yourself and that’s going to save you a whole lot of time when people approach you for collaborations or just to talk. It’s all about being one with yourself. If you’re one with yourself, you are able to expand and get what you want. Even if you’re the best skater and you’ve got this crazy attitude and you don’t know who you are, it’s not going to get you anywhere. I feel like this is the time to sit back and get all your paperwork organized and get some books and really tap in to your inner self. That’s what I do. I like to drink a lot of water. I like to read as much as possible. I didn’t graduate high school. I dropped out in ninth grade, so my formal education isn’t the brightest. As long as you know what’s going on in the world and you know what’s best for you and you’re up to learn how to compromise and you can sit back and take in information, that’s the best we can do right now. You’ve got to know you and know what you want. That’s going to make you blossom into the sunflower that you want to be.
CHUCK: Thank you for that. My approach to being excited about doing this interview is that I went to a park where you were warming up one time in LA and I saw you from a distance. I was tripping because, when I saw you doing a bunch of flat ground tricks, every trick was about a foot or two off the ground. As we’re talking about skateboarding and how the body fits into your clothes, how would you share the idea of living healthy as a way to get to a place of doing skate tricks two feet off the ground? If your clothes are too tight, you can’t do that, you know?
BOO: That’s true, bro. All of that comes with stretching and health. If you focus on what you want and you feed it, it’s going to blossom. With skating, I love warming up with flat ground tricks, but before I do that I’m stretching for a good ten minutes. I’m very consistent on my yoga and my every day physical therapy because our bodies are like cars. We need to be tuned up and we can’t just wake up every day and go straight to the streets or the skatepark and get it. You’ve got to take time to rejuvenate and drink lots of water and stretch. The next thing you know, you’re going to be snapping your tricks two feet high. I think it just comes with taking care of your body and knowing your body’s performance. Your skateboard is not going to make you pop five feet high. It’s your body. If your body is good, you and your board are good.
CHUCK: That’s amazing insight. My younger son is a big fan of yours too and he is suffering an injury and he was skating yesterday. He split his leg open on a ledge.
BOO: Oh, yeah. That’s part of the game. Injuries are bound to repeat, but tell him to heal up and take the time off. No rush. With skating, once you jump on a skateboard, it’s muscle memory. It’s going to be there. You might be a little rusty the first couple of days, but it’s good to take time off.
CHUCK: Well, thank you for the inspiration. You and I both have had a connection with Powell Peralta. Working with Stacy Peralta, he had access to all of this amazing talent. He figured out, from his acting days, about the style and emotions around skateboarding and he was like, “Everything needs a great soundtrack.” So I was able to go in the studio and knock out ten songs in ten hours for him and he was able to put my emotions and my music with the people that he was working with, like Rudy. I followed all the skate footage of Rudy and Guy and Gabe before anyone even knew them. Stacy was like, “I found these four kids from LA and it’s the sickest skateboarding I’ve ever seen.”
BOO: Oh, yeah! Guy was so young too.
CHUCK: Yeah! He was gnarly! Stacy was so excited about that. In fact, he was taking the urban side of rock n roll. I wasn’t doing hip hop. I was doing gut-punching, melodic punk rock.
BOO: That’s cool! Was Powell good to you?
CHUCK: Oh yeah. It was really fun. Working with Stacy, it always a pleasure. The fact that he had his eye on so much talent was blowing my mind. The fact is that so many talented people have gone through Powell Peralta.
BOO: Yeah. It’s insane. Powell has taken on so many amazing skaters. I got on Powell when I was about 14. I was with them for four years. It was great going to Santa Barbara and checking out their whole facility and Bones Wheels. They’re making their wheels in house and a lot people don’t get the opportunity to see all of that hands on, you know?
CHUCK: Yeah. It’s an epic spot.
BOO: Their history is insane. Having Deville Nunes as the team manager for the last ten years, he’s done a great job holding that team down. They went from Powell Peralta to just Powell and then they went back to Powell Peralta and I think that’s so sick.
CHUCK: It’s classic. Let’s collab on something. At one point, we did collab on something. I did some music for a piece for you. It was for an article about you and I sent them music for it.
BOO: Let’s definitely collab on some stuff. We can always work on something new to give back to the community. Hand to hand, I’m here.
CHUCK: No problem, man. I did some touring around with the Marleys and a friend of mine is playing guitar for Ziggy Marley and there is some energy going on there with the Marley vibe.
CHUCK: Let’s talk about the idea of how important community is as far as your collection goes. When I started skating, skateboarding was more wrapped up in the surf culture. Where it is now, it’s more connected to inner city youth. With the whole surf culture, you’ve got to surf. With skateboarding, you don’t need an ocean. Anyone can do it. It’s like hip hop culture. It’s everywhere. To me, that’s part of why skateboarding has become so successful. Hip hop is like a backbone of skate culture.
BOO: I agree totally. Like you say, the inner city squad is how it is now. You could go down to the water and catch the surfers and see skateboarders cruise by, but now skateboarders are on every block. It’s amazing. Skateboarding is something that you want to do because it’s cool. Skateboarding and music are everywhere. From the East Coast to the West Coast, it’s the same. On the East Coast, it’s still in the streets. On the West Coast, we have perfect skateparks everywhere. At the end of the day, the East Coast and the West Coast is the same. It’s one big community and the skate community is so strong. You just have to play your part and have fun. With skateboarding, everyone has a different style. Everyone pushes different and has a different trick selection. Everyone just figures it out on their own. That’s why skateboarding is so rad. It’s not like football or basketball where you have a coach tell you what to do. If you like skateboarding, you’re going to pick that thing up and elevate. Everyone in the community feels that way and that’s why we connect.
CHUCK: Sure. That’s the overall anthem.
BOO: Yeah! It’s good stuff.
CHUCK: Definitely. Since we are speaking on community, can you talk about the non-profit work that you do with Saved By Skateboarding?
BOO: Saved By Skateboarding is produced by DGK and it’s really just getting going. It’s Stevie Williams and his best friend, Cooley. They started Saved By Skateboarding through DGK just to give the next kid an opportunity because, at DGK, we really represent the colored community. At the end of the day, Stevie Williams left Chocolate Skateboards to create his own thing and give us another outlet to say, “It’s okay. You don’t have to feel some type of way. We’re all in it together.” When we go to Atlanta and we pull up to the cuts or we’re in LA and we go to Inglewood, and DGK pulls up with ten brand new skateboards to give back to the community, kids look at it like it’s a whole different thing. They see us skateboarding and then they see us blessing kids that aren’t fortunate enough to buy a brand new board with a skateboard. They look at it like, “I can actually skate. I don’t have to go play football or basketball like every other homie in the hood. These dudes just pulled up and they look cool and they’re giving us free stuff.” It gives us an outlet to build the community and build the tribes and let them see for themselves that skateboarding is different and it’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be colored and be on a skateboard. A lot of people think skateboarding is a white boy’s sport. I feel like we started Saved By Skateboarding to better people and to just help out. Saved By Skateboarding is a motto that all skateboarders can live by too. It really saved my life and changed my life for the better. I wouldn’t have any of this if it wasn’t for skateboarding. I wouldn’t have this Boohoo deal if it wasn’t for my platform of being a skateboarder. Saved by Skateboarding, we’re here for the people.
JUICE: Love that. Stevie is cool.
BOO: Stevie is like my mentor. I’m like, “I need to learn to talk like this guy.” He’s very smooth and he’s a businessman and he knows what’s good for him.
JUICE: Yeah. Since day one, at Love Park in Philly in the 90s, Stevie was a businessman. He always had it together.
BOO: Yes! That’s so cool.
CHUCK: So when did boohooMAN launch?
BOO: It dropped on September 17th, so it’s available now. I’m excited.
BOO: Thank you. I’ve always wanted this. I was on KREW clothing for years and I just dropped that. I wanted to do my own thing and I’ve always wanted to design my own clothing. I’ve designed a few things for DGK and a few things for Grizzly here and there. With Boohoo reaching out and letting me have my full hands on to design these pieces, I thought that was really cool. I always wanted to go outside the skateboarding industry to create some skate style clothes. For them to reach out and give me the opportunity, I though that was really cool.
BOO: Seriously. Mad respect.
CHUCK: Okay the last thing is shout outs. Who are your current sponsors and who do you want to shout out?
BOO: My current sponsors are Pharmacy Boardshop, DGK Skateboards, Bones Wheels, Bones Swiss Bearings, Ethika Boxers, Remind Insoles, Grizzly Griptape, Stiiizy, JHF, Straye, and if I’m missing anyone, I’m sorry. Shout out to BoohooMAN for putting this together. Thanks to Juice. Much appreciated.
CHUCK: Thank you, Boo. You are an inspiration to many, for real.
BOO: Thank you. I appreciate it much. Thanks for jumping on the phone, Chuck.
CHUCK: No problem, man.
BOO: I’ll talk to you soon. I just saw your Instagram, so I’ll follow you on there and reach out and stay in touch.
CHUCK: Cool. I’ll do the same.
CHUCK: Have a great rest of the day.
BOO: You too. Yew!
BoohooMAN X Boo Johnson Skate Capsule
BoohooMAN has launched its first ever skate capsule modeled by the skater’s favorite skater, Boo Johnson– being the first of its kind, the line adds to boohooMAN’s ever growing demographic.
The 27 year old inspired a concept, a collection which embodies skateboarding culture, California streetwear style and Boo’s day-to-day fits. Relaxed, oversized silhouettes including hoodies, sweaters, tees and cargo trousers are combined with a color palette of utility and ecru variations. Pops of color are seen on various styles including a classic pink stripe tee and the most statement item of the capsule, a sunflower print teddy jacket. The range is versatile in its offering and allows the customer to be creative in styling. Kept at the core of the collections theme is Boo’s life motto; ‘Peace & Love Worldwide’, ever prominent and powerful.
The parallels drawn between skate culture and streetwear, bring together a community in itself, a sport and an art form. This is reflected in the aesthetic of the shoot. The first location, downtown Los Angeles, takes on a street style vibe while the second location, a remote pool re-designed by artist Luke Hayes in the Mojave Desert of Southern California allowed for some of the campaigns more eye-catching visuals, focusing on psychedelic graffiti.
“For me, this campaign embodies so much more than meets the eye. Skateboarding carved a significant place in street style a while back so Boo has always been somewhat of a muse to us. It was a natural fit from the beginning, our vibe and style aligns perfectly.” comments Creative Brand Manager, Cleveland Campbell.
With price points ranging from £8 – £40, the collection is available now globally on www.boohooman.com.