chrome ball interview #15: mike carroll

chrome ball sits down with the young mc for conversation. 

Ok, so everyone has heard talk about this thing for years... but I haven't met one person that actually knows what the hell it is. Once and for all, what is the Apple Trick?

First rule of the apple trick is don’t talk about the apple trick. Can’t have everyone start biting that shit.

Damn. Well… I gave it a shot. Alright, so how’d you discover skateboarding and what was the first real board you ever had?

My cousin was fully into skating and my bro was kinda starting so… My cuz had a board that I would make him let me ride when he’d come visit us at our Grandparents' house. They’d push me down the street into garbage cans cause I couldn’t control myself yet… I guess I still can’t.

My first “real” board was a Powell Mini Ripper.

Who were some of your favorite pros growing up?

Tommy G, Gonz, Allen Losi, Hosoi, Cab, Julien, Hensley and Jason Jessee.

What were some of your earliest experiences with the O.G. SF set… CBS, TG and all that. I know you were on Concrete Jungle at a really young age. Were you intimidated at all or were you still too young to realize how gnarly those dudes were?

I guess the first experience was on my 11th birthday. We went to Fogtown or so it was called that at that time and Tommy happened to be there. I had just found a $5 bill on the ground so I bought a Per Welinder shirt so I could get Tommy’s autograph. His friend Orb, that I think was in CBS but was in Animal Chin, vibed us for asking Tommy for his autograph.

Now we all know that H-Street came first but most see Questionable as your real breakout part… how long did you film for that one? Was there a noticeable difference between filming for Plan B and filming for H-Street? Maybe more focus and attention with Plan B since it was such a smaller, more elite team? I remember the hype around that video being pretty gnarly

I don’t think there was a specific time that it took to film Questionable. It just happened organically... I went skating and we filmed it. It was kinda natural.

H-Street was different cause we weren’t filming for an individual part so it was kinda just going out with Sal or whoever and skating. I never felt pressure or knew there was hype for any Plan B video except for Virtual Reality. I felt pressure and I hated it. It was the first gross feeling I ever had for skating.

I guess in the long run it helped me understand it as a “job”. And as much as I’ve denied it, it is… but the best one I could ever ask for. To have your passion as a job has it’s ups-and-downs... Boo-hoo, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Did you know going into Questionable that you were gonna include so many cameos from EMB heads in your part? Such a nice touch...

I didn’t think anything about that at all. We all skated together so whatever friends were in the footage of the session that we were looking at, we’d be like, “Damn! Put that shit in my part, that was sick!”

Plus, they were my friends and that’s what the vibe was: we’re skating together so let’s be in this together.

Now do you think Girl would’ve been created if it wasn’t for having to make Virtual Reality so quickly after Questionable? I remember Rosenberg saying that in an interview once. And is that Virtual Reality clip a hard part for you to watch because of all the circumstances surrounding it?

Who knows how things happen. They just do… but it definitely had nothing to do with the videos being so close together.

It’s no harder to watch Virtual Reality than any of my other parts. There’s maybe two I can look at without tensing up.

How were you approached to get on Plan B anyway? That was quite the coup at the time. Always wondered, why wasn’t Rickk on the original list of 10 to join?

I’m not sure if Ternasky and Danny talked about it before but at Woodward skatecamp… the year that was in Questionable… Ternasky, Danny, and I talked about doing it. A brainstorm basically with ideas, wood for boards, and other random shit. I didn’t think much of it except for, “fuck, that would be sick”.

After Woodward, we flew to Nashville and I guess it was a serious brainstorm that they had done before without me cause Ternasky called Rocco. At that time, we wanted Henry on too but when he called Rocco, we found out he had gotten on blind that weekend. Random!

I threw out Rick’s name at Woodward. Rick had almost gotten on H-Street a bit before that. I think I was trying to have Rick get me on Blockhead cause Jovontae was getting on. I think he was on for a day. Fun fact.

Speaking of which, how did you meet Jovontae? And what happened with him? Did he just get burned-out? The style was impeccable and dude had such a bright future ahead of him…

I met him and a few other young SF heads around the same time. They were the sickest lil' crew of skaters then. I think they were all from the same neighborhood. Anyway, they ripped and skated like sponsored skaters and had sick styles… Stuart Way, Scot Thompson, Phil Chen... he was sponsored by Fogtown.

We all used to just skate all over the city together after that. Jovontae just had so many different interests besides skating and never got super focused on it, meaning he just did it when he wanted and when he did, he did it fucking beautiful. With the exception being the Planet Earth video which Ternasky made him come down south to film. He filmed 98% of that in one weekend.

One weekend!?! That's just crazy. Ok, so what’s the one SF spot you wish would come back? And what’s the one spot people still talk fondly about that you think actually kinda sucked?

I never really liked Pier 7 but that’s probably cause I sucked dick compared to how heads skated it. And I would obviously want back Embarcadero without the bricks. Call me predictable but….

What comes to mind upon hearing the name James Kelch?

He’s my brother from a different mother.

Which has gotten thrown in your face more over the years… people asking about the Kris Kross braids or a random geezer yelling out “Carroll Brothers, fuurresh!!”

Neither actually. It’s more about how I got my board off of the roof when my brother threw it up there in an H-Street vid.

It fell off the other side. So how long was it decided to start Girl before when you guys actually left? You’ve said yourself that you had several girl-characters in Plan B team series boards as inside jokes.

I’d say a little before editing Virtual Reality, we were talking about it.

Was Girl and Chocolate always to be a two-prong attack, with Chocolate starting up a year afterwards …or was the Chocolate plan decided upon later?

It was later. We left for a tour with most of the heads that were getting on Girl and we all knew… but when we left the parking lot, Chico was there with his bags packed and there was no room. It kinda hit us like “Damn, we want to be able to travel with him and….”

In my opinion, you’ve never had a bad video part. But I’ve read that Modus was the first part you really liked since Questionable… which is almost a 10-year gap with 8 parts in-between. What makes Modus stand out for you as superior to the rest in that lot? Of course its an amazing part… but they’re all amazing parts!

It’s cause I chose to do that part and Ty was down. I don’t know why I asked if I could do a part cause that to me is weird in itself: “Hey, can I be in your next video?”

I don’t know… but yeah, I just wanted to film and I hadn’t had a feeling like that in I don’t know how long. I liked it cause it was something I wanted to do.

What are some pet peeves you look for in your footage that turns what the world sees as amazing clips instantly into throwaways?

Ask Meza. I don’t know... I’d probably use anything nowadays… But you know what? How could I use something that doesn’t exist?

Interesting. Alright, if you didn’t have Girl… who would you ride for?

If they would sponsor me? Chocolate, Skate Mental, Anti-Hero…

For me, it’s all about being able to hang out at a dinner table, bar, picnic table, or just sitting on a board at a session with someone and laughing, talking shit or crying. If I can do that with someone, then we are ridin’ n dyin’ together.

Favorite Keenan Memory?

Every single one!!!! “Bunny hop son.”

With so much of your life in the spotlight, not to mention the daily coverage of events that Crailtap provides… what do you feel is the biggest misperception people have about you? Does it ever freak you out that complete strangers know so much about you?

I’m sure I don’t even know what the misperceptions are. I’m sure everything is true to some extent so I don’t care. I’m an open book and take what you will with whatever info you have or think you have. I know who I am and wouldn’t trade it for anything cause at the end of the day, its all because of skating.

Sick. Better party accessory… sunglasses or scarves?

Both unless it’s hella hot then just sunnies... maybe with some head accessory.

What Rickk prank stands out through the years as inflicting the most physical pain?

Hot butter knife to a friend’s cheek is the one I think could be the worst.

With so many things having changed in skating through the years, is Girl the same company now as when it started? What would you say was the company’s main goal and is it still focused on those same things today? What has been the most surprising thing you’ve found about owning a company?

The business side is the most surprising... Cause in all reality, it is a business and you have riders and employees that count on it for various reasons.

It’s still the same with the same idea/mentality/goal. And what is that? Don’t worry cause we know and that’s all that matters.

Alright Mike, anything else you’d like to add?

Really? Is there anything else that can be touched upon?

special thanks to mike, sam smyth, jon constantino and girl.


Anonymous said...

good ol' mc. what's not to like?

the dude knows how to have a good time.

Anonymous said...


Keith said...

Neat coincidence with the Sheffey shirt in the first pic. I just had one made.

Carroll will always be one of my favourites. Well done! So many good pics. Nose bonk with a Ron Allen shirt! bs tail!

Anonymous said...

Another great Chromeball interview. Thanks to the both of you.

some poser said...

Thanks, Chops!

Old School Sammy said...

Another excellent interview Chops! I think people sleep on his "Yeah Right!" part a bit too much, but maybe that's just me---that grind on the rail was a killer!

dj twit said...

always hyped on Carroll. good work!

rthdghuyfy said...

Great way to start a weekend, thank's!
Style's til' infinity, Mike Carroll got it!
SOTY cover with the FTC sticker, San Francisco shaped streetskaing in a major way. This blog is the best, thank's again!

Beerkiller said...

Carrol is the definition of skateboarding.

christmas carroll said...

the goal is to make money and look cool doing it. cal-i-forn-ia 4 life.

Anonymous said...

Damn that pesky Apple Trick!

Keith said...

@ anon^^

Carroll seems to like to use ... in his answers.

Keith said...

Also, imagine Blockhead if they had Howard, Carroll, Jovontae! That's a ton of good style!

Watson said...

Congratulations Chops!

You need to start getting paid, my man.

Anonymous said...

MC is rad! I will never skate in anything other than a Lakai Carroll select ever again! Word.

Anonymous said...

Probably the best Caroll interview I've ever read.

mikebythesun said...

Sick piece, Chops. Love that nose bump shot. One of the tricks of the 90s that actually had some style and was too short-lived.

Much respect to Mike. Tough home life, pushin' through.

Croupier said...

Who was his board sponsor when he was rocking that Stereo shirt?

rthdghuyfy said...

Don't forget the Mad Circle cap in that (stereo) photo, so sick!

rthdghuyfy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dedleg said...

I think I saw this answered on Crailtap a long time ago... pretty sure he was on Plan B at the time but said that he was into Stereo and Mad Circle's style and was friends with some of the riders, back when wearing another company's shirt wouldn't get you a lecture from the TM.