12.13.2013

a serious tea drinker.


The following question had to unfortunately be edited out of Lance Mountain’s CBI Interview back in July simply because the piece was already running a bit long... and I've regretted cutting it ever since. It’s being presented now simply because it has to be. Enjoy.

Alright Lance, what’s your favorite Neil Blender story?

So many things, man. He’s just one of those guys, ya know?

But I think I know what it is. I know exactly what it is. I was with my girlfriend then who is my wife now… it was right when Transworld started and they wanted me to work for them. This is what I remember anyway. A perfect Neil day… this was around ’83.

He called up just to see about me working for the magazine. Telling me that I had to get a camera to take some photos for an article.

“Ok, whatever.”

“Come to my house and we’ll go down to the magazine so you can meet the guys.”

So my girlfriend/future-wife and I hop into the car and drive down to Neil’s house. He’s actually renting an apartment at this point, living on his own. We pull in and the first thing that I remember is that he lives across the street from a Ralph’s. There’s a loading dock in the back adjacent to Neil’s apartment and he had totally gone out there and spraypainted this gigantic weird character on the wall. That was the first thing we saw where it was like, “Oh my goodness…”

I mean, I’d seen graffiti my entire life in LA but the way Neil had painted this giant rocking horse guy over at Ralph’s. Woah… I just remember telling Yvette, even though she’d met him before, but just reiterating that Neil is just… nuts.

So we go into his apartment and the cat is dyed pink. Pink food coloring cat comes to the door. We walk through the door and the living room is completely empty. There is one TV set by the wall and opposite that wall is a giant box. A 4’x8’ plywood box. Four feet tall, eight foot long box... with a couch on top of it. And he’s sitting on this couch that's on top of this box, watching tv with his head touching the ceiling. I ask him what the box is all about and he opens it up to show a mattress inside.

“Oh, that’s John’s room.”

“Ok.”

So I turn to the kitchen and Yvette is just standing there.

“What is that?”

There is a hole smashed through the kitchen wall. A hole, not a door, though it’s about the same height as a door and everything. But the studs and everything are there from where it had been smashed through.

“That’s the garage. I got sick of going around.”

So we get into his car… and it’s a hot car. I think it was a Dodge Dart or maybe a Volvo but it’s all painted weird. We hop inside and go driving down PCH to go to San Diego and Transworld. We're on this little bridge going over Newport… and everytime my wife and I go by this bridge, we think of this story just because we remember it so clearly, but a cop pulls us over. We pull over on the bridge… which is kinda sketchy. The cop comes to the window and asks Neil to turn off the car because it was still running.

“It will be off in a minute, sir.”

He’s totally trying to turn it off with pliers. I'm just thinking to myself, "Oh man, what is going on?"

He finally gets the car to turn off. The cop sees all of this and totally thinks it's super sketchy so he makes us get out of the car and sit on the curb.

We’re out there and my wife and I are being as quiet as we can because we don’t like to get in trouble. But Neil is just being normal Neil. Finally the cop looks at Neil and goes, “What’s that?”

We hadn't noticed it before but Neil has a tea cup hanging on a little chain clipped to a loop on his pants. It’s one of those pyrex drinking tea cups.

Neil lifts it up, looks at the cop and says, “I’m a serious tea drinker.”

So funny. And that was our day. That was it for us. And everytime we drive by that bridge, my wife and I will both say, “I’m a serious tea drinker.”

How rad is that? You just want to be like that but you can’t. You can’t be like that because there’s nobody in the world that can survive being like that. And it’s just the raddest. The raddest dude ever… by far. That story makes me so happy to this day.

Thanks Lance. 

9 comments:

Paul said...

hahaha! Gold!

Anonymous said...

so glad to see you continuing with a few random posts here and there. please keep it up.

Keith said...

lol

Skateboarding's finest are always "different"

Johan said...

Like a real life skateboarding Cosmo Kramer...

bradtheraddad said...

So good, Chops, thanks for sharing!

eric l said...

I love that story.

When I was a kid, there were guys who were really into Hosoi. For some reason, my friends and I liked Blender- spray painting the wall in Streetstyle at Tempe, cruising around in Ohio Skateout, etc... we thought that was so cool. It sounds like he was everything I imagined when I was 12 years old.

dan77 said...

The skaters of today who are perceived as being eccentric can't really hold a candle to that can they? There is something about this time, with all the social media and internet/smart phones/etc. where being an original is sort of a muddled thing. I think it may have been been Jake Phelps (?) who said "the internet will kill all spirit of originality" and he may have been right in a way. Original characters like that, from that era, are a great thing. Awesome story and the random posts here and there is a great thing, keep it up chops!

Clint Williams said...

Chops so glad you give us a little more. I can imagine how much work this is; but, you sir, have a gift and need to provide this to the world. Thank you so much! The pink cat would be so funny and the box, sounds so nuts to live through that for a whole afternoon. . .

Brendan said...

Beautiful,man.