INTERVIEW BY DAN LEVY
INTRODUCTION BY DAN LEVY
PHOTOS BY DAN LEVY
Do you ever meet people that are so full of life and so excited about doing something that it becomes contagious? Marky Clements lives skateboarding from the minute he wakes up until the moment he rests. He makes riding a skateboard, look as easy as walking. He can ride anything you put in front of him. He has a style of his own and a personality to match. This interview may be the first time you’ve seen him, but it won’t be the last.
“WHEN YOU SEE OTHER SKATERS THAT ARE JUST AS MOTIVATED AS YOU ARE TO SKATE, IT’S GREAT. IT’S NOT LIKE A TEAM SPORT WHERE YOU GO, “OH, IT”S ANOTHER COMPETITOR.” IT’S JUST SOMEONE ELSE THAT WANTS TO GO SKATE AS MUCH AS YOU DO.”
What’s your name?
How old are you?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a rock star.
Who do you ride for?
Hurley, Electric, Lakai, Saltwater, Ghosttown Wheels, Krux Trucks, Rockstar Bearings and Rockstar Energy Drink. That’s about it.
You live in Hampstead, NC. What’s it like there?
You’ve got your normal strip malls. You got a Hardees, a Food Lion and a skatepark.
What’s the skatepark?
It’s called the Skate Barn. You can tell it by the name, with Doublewide Skate and Surf.
How long have you been skating?
What was your first board?
It was a Think board.
Why did you start skating?
My brother skated. We had a halfpipe in the backyard. We had the skatepark down the road. It looked fun.
You got your first board, and knew you wanted to skate?
At first, I just loved carving and cruising around. Then I started trying hard stuff and I was hooked.
What hard stuff were you trying?
I was doing ollies, launching off bowls and trying different stuff.
What’s your favorite thing to skate?
I like pools and street. I like it all. I don’t skate vert much, because there are no vert ramps to skate around here. The biggest ramp is like, 8-foot. Bowls are really fun. There are two of them at the park.
The scene on the East Coast is a lot of backyard ramps and that whole deal. We’re on our way to the Hanger bowl right now. You’ve never skated this place before?
No. I heard it was pretty gnarly.
Do you like skating vert? I watched you learn frontside airs at the Wanchese bowl in the dark.
It was cool to skate something big. Everyone else that was skating there that day was pushing me to go faster and try new stuff. Vert is fun. I wish I could do it more often.
Do you like skating contests?
I like contests to a certain point. People attach too much importance to contests. It’s like, if you win, you’re the best. I’m not down with that. Contests are fun because it’s extra dough. You get to meet people and say ‘what’s up.’
Do you win a lot of contests?
Do you make a lot of money at contests?
I probably made about $2000 this year.
That’s a lot of Krispy Kremes right there.
That’s pimp living. What’s the deal with the Krispy Kreme sessions?
I read the box on the back of Krispy Kremes, and I saw that when the red light is on, the doughnuts are fresh. I tried that out. Got hooked. Those doughnuts are like crack.
What other kinds of food do you like?
What kind of chicken?
Do you like Bojangles chicken?
Bojangles is the best! I could eat there every day. I eat there at least once a week at least.
There’s no Bojangles on the West Coast. There’s no sweet tea.
We’ve got sweet tea and chicken. It’s all good southern cookin’.
What are you going to do when you go on the road later on in life and don’t have that stuff?
I’ll just bring it with me. I’ll just work at Bojangles for a while and figure out all their secrets. I’ll quit whenever I want to go travel. Boom. Everybody on the tour would be happy. I’ll have all the ingredients, too, and the secret recipes. I’m hungry already.
What about your Arby’s obsession?
It’s chicken, dude. You can’t go wrong with chicken.
Even though Arby’s is known for their roast beef?
Well, yeah, but it’s all about the number five.
How long have you been a vegetarian?
I actually thought about being a vegetarian, but I have to eat chicken. I used to own a chicken. I was going to cook that baby.
You used to own a chicken?
Hell, yeah. His name was Mr. Chicken.
What happened to it?
It got lost.
How do you lose a chicken?
I lose everything.
Are you sure your parents didn’t eat it?
They probably took it from me, because I liked it too much. It was like my dog.
You had a special relationship with Mr. Chicken?
I taught it to attack people. Just try to come in the yard when I had Mr. Chicken there. I tried to teach him to skate. I got that chicken from doing a fundraiser at school for me. I went around with a hat at my school. I put a little sign that said, ‘donation for a chicken’ on a hat. I live in Hampstead, so we have a farm at my school. They sell chickens for $3. I went around with my fundraiser, bought a chicken and brought it home. My parents were like, ‘Where did this thing come from?’
It was a sad day when Mr. Chicken was lost.
I’m still pissed.
Are you ever going to get another chicken?
I might get a donkey.
What are you going to do with a donkey?
What happened to your little motorcycle?
It’s currently out of commission. It has a flat from when I was running through somebody’s yard.
You should do a fundraiser for your motorcycle.
Yeah. That’s a good idea.
Let’s talk about skateboarding. What are your goals?
I want to be an alcoholic and live in a pool. Not really. I just want to skate.
Do you work?
I’m a gigolo. The girls at my school pay me. No. I don’t work. I’m 15, dude. I can’t even fix a motorcycle tire. How am I supposed to work?
A lot of kids around have backyard ramps.
I love gnarly mini ramps. That’s what I grew up skating. There are so many mini ramps around here. There are gnarly 5.9 mini ramps. There are over vert mini ramps. It’s great. I’d rather skate that then skate a park. Anything that’s gnarly that you can get hurt on is great. That’s why we’re going to the Hanger.
Do you have a lot of friends at school?
I don’t know. I skate with a lot of people.
Are you popular at school?
Are you ever going to run for school president?
Dude, I’m failing math.
You’re a pretty smart kid. Why can’t you pass math?
That’s my last class. That’s when I’m thinking about skating, and what I’m going to skate that day.
Did you ever think about switching gym class with math class?
That’s a good idea. I’m getting better, though. My parents grounded me from skating until I can pass. I’m only allowed to skate on the weekends.
You’re a weekend warrior.
Tell me about your band, The Forks. What can we expect from The Forks in the future?
You can expect a lot. We’ve got a lot going for us right now. It’s pretty heavy.
How many people are in the band?
It’s just me right now, but it’s going to be big. I see good things. I went to one of those voodoo people on the side of the road to get our fortune told for the Forks, and it’s looking pretty good. We’re going to be superstars.
Are you going to do cover tunes or are you going to do your own thing?
We’re going to do everything. We’re even going to do ‘gosspop’.
It’s a mix of gossip and pop. It’s a new sound. It’s going to be big.
What instruments do you play?
I have a cowbell right now. I haven’t really found my instrument. I’m too busy skating, but I can play a mean cowbell.
Did you ever play the cowbell for Mr. Chicken?
Sometimes. He liked it. He could do a little dance. He could bust a little Satan Rocks move with the devil horns. Lakai footwear.
A little self-promotion? Mr. Chicken wore Lakais?
Yeah. John hooked him up.
Tell me how you first got sponsored.
My first year, I got sponsored by the Skate Barn.
What’d they give you?
They gave me a discount on stuff. Then Pride Surf Shop offered me $500 a year.
How old were you?
I was 11. It was like Christmas every week. It was store credit, so I got new stuff all the time.
Your brother skated. Was he sponsored?
He was on Pride from the beginning. We were warriors at the time. We were battling each other. I got on Pride to say, ‘I’m coming up to beat you and be better than you.’ Then we were just skating and chilling out together.
Who’s your favorite skater?
My favorite skater is Andrew Reynolds.
Do you think he skates pools and stuff?
Maybe. He kills stairs.
What do you think is the best team in skating?
I think the Flip team is the best, because they’ve been together for so long, and they’ve got the best skaters.
How many pools have you skated?
I’ve skated five or six actual pools and lots of park pools. I’ve skated five pools that were not made to skate. It was pretty sick.
It’s addicting, huh?
Yeah. I love pools. It wasn’t too long ago that I skated some really good ones. There were three of them right beside each other. Those pools in OBX. I was like, ‘I don’t want to leave.’ We’re renting that house out this summer. That house has the pool, the hot tub and the tiki bar. It’s got everything. It’s going to be sick. We’re staying there for two weeks. I’m going to skate the pool everyday. I can’t wait.
Do you like doing demos?
Yeah. They’re cool. You have to skate as hard as possible. I don’t want to let those kids down. It’s cool. The good part is that I get to skate with all the crazy East Coast riders like Trey Winslow, Jay Moody and all those sick guys. It’s fun.
Would you rather be known for pool skating, or street skating or all around skating?
What’s it like in the winter and stuff here?
It’s mild. Sometimes it’s really cold, but, most of the time, it’s really good.
You can skate all year round?
Yeah. There’s no snow. It’s cool.
What’s your favorite skate video of all time?
I like the Emerica ‘This is Skateboarding’ video.
I haven’t seen that one yet.
It’s pretty good. It’s more laid back. It’s got a bunch of pool skating in it. I like that ‘Beer Helmet’ video. It’s pretty sick. It’s all bowl and pool skating. Yeah, that video is in the top three.
When do you turn 16?
Then you’re getting a pimp ass ride?
Yeah. I’m going to get one of those VW buses and pimp that out. I should be getting it pretty soon.
Then you’re going to start road tripping every day?
Yeah, I’ll be skating different backyard mini ramps, bowls and pools every day.
Do you want to be a pro skater? Is that your dream?
When I was little, I thought being pro was the life. Now, it’s like, I just want to get out of Hampstead and have fun skating other stuff. I just want to skate more stuff, more real pools and real spots. I’m tired of the skatepark bullshit. I want to hit new spots.
What else do you do besides skateboarding and your band?
Nothing. I talk to girls.
Do you have girlfriends?
They mess up your skating. The last time I had a girlfriend, I didn’t skate too well. It takes your mind off of skating. I like girls, but I don’t like girlfriends. They ruin skateboarding for all men.
What if you found a girl that skated?
Then it’d be on.
What grade are you in?
9th grade. I’m supposed to be in 10th. I’m kind of retarded.
That’s good to admit.
Well, everyone can give me sympathy now. I’ll get more free shit.
Just walk around with your cup and your Mr. Chicken sign. You’ll be fine. If you have a lot of money would you buy a lot of chickens and a farm?
Yeah. If I had a lot of money that I could keep, and not spend immediately, chickens would be on for everybody.
You have a problem spending money fast?
I won $500 one day and spent it in one day. I probably just threw it down the drain. I need an accountant. I need someone to handle my money. I also need a secretary.
You make $2,000 a year. You don’t need an accountant. You just need some patience. You get free skateboard stuff. What do you spend money on?
I buy cameras, phones and little PSPs.
Do you like to play video games?
Not really. I just bought it because I thought it looked cool. It’s like a little TV.
So you buy into trends?
Well, I bought a PSP, and I’ve used it three times. I buy it and use it for a little bit and then try to sell it.
Maybe you should stick with the chickens.
Yeah. Obviously. You get a chicken to play with, to be your friend, and your loyal companion.
Are you trying to tell the kids out there that video games are evil?
They are, dude. I’ve seen people get fat and ugly. They don’t have a life. Be active. Go skate.
When you roll to a spot that you’ve never skated before, do you get nervous or stoked? What’s your vibe?
Right before I get to the spot, I feel like my stomach hurts. I don’t even want to skate. I don’t even feel well. Once I see something perfect and jagged and everything that it can be, I skate as much as possible, until I can’t skate anymore. In Nags Head, I skated until 2:30 that night. You can’t pass up a spot. You can’t not skate something that’s skateable. You have to skate as much as possible.
When you travel to skate, how does it work?
There are people that I know at the contests. I meet up with them. We travel, go places and meet new people. When you see other skaters that are just as motivated as you are to skate, it’s great. It’s not like a team sport, where you see the other dude and go, ‘Oh, it’s another competitor.’ It’s just someone else that wants to go skate as much as you do. Then you’re like, ‘Let’s hang out. Let’s go skate.’ That’s how it works.
Did you ever play organized sports?
I played baseball for a while. I was a pitcher.
Did you ever pitch a no-hitter?
No. I gave up baseball for skating.
Are your parents supportive of your skating?
Yeah. They let me go places on the weekends. They took me to Tampa twice. They’re stoked, especially when I win contests and win money. They’re stoked that I get stuff for free, so they don’t have to buy me clothes. They want me to finish school like every parent does.
What kind of music do you listen to?
ASG. We went to some concert at the Soapbox and saw The Needles and ASG. After I saw them live, I was addicted.
What other kinds of music do you like?
I listen to The Ramones, Black Flag, Anti-Flag and whatnot. I like punk rock and rock n’ roll.
Do you like hip hop?
I like hip hop some. I like music that has something to say. Don’t worry. The Forks will do some hip hop. We’ll do some Fat Albert blues.
Do you listen to music when you skate?
Yeah. Music goes hand in hand with skating. I can’t skate without music. I normally skate with my iPod or I find some old boom box that will play. You can’t think. You have to listen to the song and stop listening to your head. You’re not thinking of what could go wrong. You’re thinking, ‘This is a good song.’ Oh, there’s a gap. There’s a hip.
When can we see the first Forks concert?
We don’t know where we want to play yet. We were thinking the Apollo.
When you say we, it’s just you. Are you schizophrenic?
Who am I talking to now?
I thought you didn’t like hip hop.
That’s only when my hat is on straight.
When you’re rich and famous, will you get a guitar with Mr. Chicken’s portrait on it?
Probably. That’s my dog. Mr. Chicken. That will also be the name of our first CD. ‘That’s my dog. Mr. Chicken.’
Is there anyone you want to give props to for giving you free shit and putting up with your crappy attitude all these years?
I definitely want to thank Dan Levy, Ghosttown Wheels, Lakai Footwear, John Giller, Dan Clements, my brother. I want to thank Mr. Chicken for always being there for me. Thanks to my mom Wynona, Terri from ‘Juice’ magazine, Mark from Saltwater, and Dustin Charlton from Rockstar Bearings.
What board company do you ride for now?
I ride for Cape Fear Skateboards.
How long have you been riding for them?
I’ve been riding for them off and on for four years. I ride for Cape Fear because they’re local. Their boards are made in the USA, all the way. I like that.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Do you think you’re going to pass math?
I don’t know. I might need a tutor. Any hot girls out there want to tutor me?
What’s six times six?
I don’t know, dog. I don’t have my calculator on me.
What’s six times five?
Excellent. You’re doing great. You need to find that hot tutor right away.