Who was your first sponsor? Beacon Hill Skateshop?
Yeah... it was the best. You needed trucks, gottem, bearings... whatever I wanted!
You were one of the first, East Coast skaters to get hooked up proper by a West Coast company? How did all that transpire...how did things get started between you & T.V. skateboards?
Mike Vallely was talking to the owner of Beacon Hill Skate about the new company and all.. My name was brought up. Mike wanted to see some footy. I went out one day and filmed some stuff and sent it to him. That summer when T.V. came to Witmen Mass. for a tour stop I went there to skate and meet them all. After the demo I asked if I could come on tour with them. I called my Mom and begged her to let me go. I left right there on the spot with nothing. I was so dirty.. skating everyday with the same clothes. I would change my shirt, thats it. It was probably one of the most fun times of my life. Also, I met Matt Hensley that same summer when they dropped me off in Chicargo when they started heading back west.
Do you think your art/artist driven personality helped you get on TV?
Na.. I don't think so. I got influenced big time by those guys... They were painting there own boards, creating the image of the company. They were both really into hardcore music, art, politics and living a vegan life style. We were all young teenagers and would be in the tour van listening to Fugazi and listening to Templeton And Vallely talk about how messed up the food and drug industry is.
Are you still painting/drawing, or have you moved onto other types of art?
Yeah Im still painting and drawing. Not as much as I would like to. I got into doing sculpture work which I love. Lately I've been trying to teach myself photoshop and illustrator computer programs.
How did things get started with Toy Machine?
Well, T.V. was Vallely, Templeton, Steve Berra, Ethan Fowler, Jerry Fowler, and myself.. I forget who else. Then Vallely and Templeton had a major falling out because I think they were talking with Rocco about him taking on T.V. and I think Vallely thought about it for a while but ended up backing out. So that's when the split happened. I ended up staying with Valley while he continued to run Television on his own. It was Vallely, and myself and then we got Peter Bici. I think it was really tough for Vallely running the company on his own, plus he had his own family to take care of. Mike let Televisin go under and ended up going back to Powell. Ed Templeton gave me a call one day and told me he was starting a new company called Toy Machine and asked if I wanted to be apart of it. I said yes...It felt natural because it was pretty much the same team as T.V..
How did things end with Toy Machine?
I got hurt on tour and didn't know what was wrong with my foot. Everyday my foot would squirt out puss. Ed was bummed that I wasn't skating hard. I felt like he didn't believe that I was hurt. We started bumping heads. I started being a pain in the ass to him. I think I was being a bit cocky too, getting everyone wild up to get on his nerves. I was young and stupid. After that tour I ended up quitting, went to a foot doctor and watched him pull an inch long splinter out of my foot that looked like a match. The damn thing was in my foot for like a month! I wish I was more mature back then and handled things differently... you live and learn.
American Dream Inc. was such a unique company with a sick image, you seemed like a perfect fit. How would you sum up your experience with that company?
That was a badass company for its time. The team was sick, graphics, product and image... everything was so dope. I met Ali Osha Moore in Boston, He put me down with the program. I think I had just quit Powell. I thought Mike was going to start his own company under Powell. So when he asked If I wanted to get on Powell I was cool with it, I wasn't feeling it after a while though. American Dream Inc. felt so good to be apart of. The energy and the vibe was tight, everyone was mad cool. I felt really good when I would get boxes because it was product that I really was proud to represent. I felt like it spoke a realness from an east coast street skateboarding perspective.
Did you have a lot of input for your graphics while on ADunit?
Yeah I remeber being at Ali's house in Brooklyn and listening to all these old school records and watching him sketch out ideas, from clothing, graphics, everything. And He had a Black Book or aka a Graffitti Bible.. I was like 'yo you write too?' He is so talented I was just like wow... We just vibed out and came up with this idea for my board the "Black Jesus" He gave everyone on the team nick names and mine was Black Jesus.
Once ADunit went under you got hooked up with Infamous, it seemed like a natural progression, how did that go down?
Mike "The Hit Man Herns" Hernandez and I got really tight through ADunit. He was on Infamous already for a minute and had grown up skating with all the orignal heads on the team and he made it happen.
You always seemed like you'd be perfect for ZooYork, why do you think that never came about?
I always wanted to back in the day after ADunit cause it felt so good being on a east coast team. Zoo was the ill tight family. And they were always having so much fun. I still felt like i was apart of that family though.
Did you ever get flowed any product from world/blind/101 back in the day?
I got flowed boards from world/101. They were my favorite company at the time. I loved everything about 101. Rodney would hook me up with boards, I was so stoked. This was a little after Toy Machine and before I went to Powell. Rodney wanted me to come out to Cali and film. I had no money, no nothing. I was too scared to move out there with no security and try to live off selling boards. Its crazy to think, thats how alot of heads came up... sleeping in closets, on floors of skate houses, living off selling their boards and skating hard everyday.
You're a very iconic figure when it comes to Boston skateboarding, how is skateboarding in Boston different from everywhere else?
We had marble ledges and smooth ground everywhere. Within a five block radius you had everything and more. I didn't know how sick it was until I started to travel. Then I realized that the Boston streets were pretty unique. I think we have alot of great spots that are minutes away from each other, so when you want to really street skate you can just keep pushing around and around...
How has skateboarding in Boston changed from the early/mid 90's to present day?
Everything is a bust!!!
What do you feel are some of the biggest differences between skateboarding in general now compared to 1993?
There are a million kids doing it and are super good and it's way commercial. Back then it was so underground and people were inventing it....
Who, in your opinion is the best skateboarder to come out of Boston?
Do you know whatever happened to Mike Graham?
Na... We both skated for a company called Molotov.
Name your top five favorite styles in skateboarding?
Gonz, Julien Stranger, Guy, Carrol, Kareem
Eastern Exposure 3 has turned out to be one of the best skateboard videos ever made. When you were filming your part for Eastern Exposure 3 did you realize how big it was going to get?
Not at all...
What is one memory that stands out from filming your Eastern Exposure 3 part?
I dont have any one memory... I just remember we went street skating, it was all natural, no stress, no big production.
Looking back, what company that you rode for treated you the best? And which did you have the best time riding for?
It's hard to say... I enjoyed it all!!
What prompted you to move to NYC?
Skating the Streets..... I was in Miami for 3yrs?? and wanted a change of pace. Plus my girl at the time wanted to move to the city. And I thought about all the rare times in NYC I had, like watching Keenan and Gino play skate at Astor Place, and watching all the NYC OG heads skating in front of Supreme with brand new set ups right before a session.
What's up w/ Hopps? Who does all your design work, is it a one man operation?
HOPPS is a skateboard brand that I'm trying to develop that I hope will speak and represent the type of style of street skating I grew up with during the early to mid 90's. To me those were the golden days. And I'm just trying to relive them. I do everything myself, so if things are not moving fast enough... it's because it's just me.
"Battles being won by Swords Swung."
Any thoughts on starting up a team?
Yeah... it would be rad if HOPPS could someday support a team. It would be tight..
What's up with Jahmal Williams for 2008?
Im gonna try to make some skateboard graphics. Have some art shows. Document some street skating. Explore the streets of NYC and a billion other things....... Oh yeah, thanks for the interview. One Love!