INTERVIEW BY STEVE OLSON
INTRODUCTION BY STEVE OLSON
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JIM NOONAN
Keep on, what it is that you dig. Do it cuz you dig it, and keep on… Fred Smith, that’s right, doing it… Whatever it is, and Freddie does. What Freddie does, so easily. By chance, nah, by passion, and Heart. That’s what separates the good from the ? ? ? It’s all Good… and then some…
“We went out there and we had fun and we put on a show. It just made people want to skateboard and want to skateboard with you. It was just an all around good time.”
What’s going on, Freddy?
I’m just in my car driving to work. How have you been? I haven’t talked to you in forever.
I know. I haven’t seen you in a while. How’s everything?
It’s been a long time. Everything is good. Time keeps rolling. You have to roll with it.
Exactly. How many kids do you have now?
I have three kids. The oldest one is like 6’ 2”, size 14 shoes. He’s a goon. [Laughs]
I haven’t talked to you in a long time, so I can ask some questions that I don’t know anything about. Where were you born, Freddy?
I was born in Massachusetts. It was Fall River, actually, but we don’t like to talk about that. It’s just a lower end spot.
It doesn’t matter. It’s just a good thing you were born there.
That’s true. It’s not where my heart and soul is.
Did you have brothers and sisters?
I have two sisters, one older and one younger. We’re not that close, but we get along. They live far away, so it’s kind of hard to get to see them a lot.
How did you get into skateboarding up in Massachusetts?
That’s a great question.
It’s not something that most kids jump into.
I think I was ten when I saw a little plastic board somewhere.
What year was this?
It was ‘74 or ‘75. I saw a plastic skateboard at K-Mart and I had to have it. Boom. I got that skateboard and started grinding that thing right away. That was it. Eventually, I upgraded from plastic to wood, of course.
You got the shitty board and then moved into the real boards?
Yeah, I mean, as real as they were back then. You know. You were there. You were one of the innovators.
You start with these shitty boards and then you upgrade and it’s a giant difference.
The difference just in performance was insane. Having the right equipment makes a big difference. It’s like anything else in this world. If you’re going to do a mechanic job, you want good tools. If you’re a carpenter, it’s the same thing.
As a kid, what did you do before skateboarding?
I always rode bicycles and mini bikes. Today, I love riding motorcycles. I love anything that’s an adrenaline rush. That’s what I’m all about. I’ll jump off bridges. I just love having fun and getting that rush for free. Surfing is fun. There is so much good stuff to do out there. That’s why these kids are killing themselves. There are all these obese American kids playing video games. Blah, blah, blah… I don’t have to tell you what you already know. We didn’t have video games. We had to go out and actually do the video game ourselves. We were doing it. We weren’t just buying the freaking remote control. It’s insane.
I used to tell my kid, “You can play your video games, but you have to go outside too.”
[Laughs] Oh yeah. You have to throw them outside, in the rain! My kids love doing the bottle cap racing down the gutter when it’s raining like mad. You put on some shorts that you don’t care about and just roll with it.
Did you play any sports as a kid?
I played baseball and little league and that was about it. As soon as it started getting serious and the coaches started screaming and yelling, I’d had enough. Give me a skateboard. No coaches.