chrome ball interview #62: marc johnson

chops and mj sit down for conversation. 

As many will agree, I gotta say that your Pretty Sweet part is probably my all-time favorite part of yours. But with regard to your epic Fully Flared part, like Will Arnett said, it had to be a tough act to follow. Did you even get a break between those two vids or did you go right into Pretty Sweet? I know PS originally started out as a “quick video” for Chocolate, when did you realize that it was slowly becoming another epic production?

First off, I just want to say thank you. If anyone likes my video part at all, I'm grateful and relieved. I was really nervous about how I was going to pull off another part, especially after Fully Flared. I had so much footage to choose from for Fully Flared but it’s not like I could use any of those leftovers for Pretty Sweet. We always have to start completely over everytime… it’s such a mindfuck. And after Fully Flared, getting any amount of footage seemed like pushing a boulder up a mountain. After a 12-minute part, I didn't think it was possible to put something together that would seem like any kind of logical progression.
The team meeting and announcement that we were about to start working on another video was just 30 days after the Fully Flared premiere. I remember sitting on the couch in Rick's office just laughing at how fried I was. The Lakai video really took its toll on me on so many levels and to start talking about going right into another video that soon after Fully Flared... I couldn't wrap my brain around that.
I was just a head case at that point. I wasn't skating; I was just drinking every day and hanging out at my house in the mountains, attempting to decompress. I wanted to get away from the tension and bad vibes of Fully Flared and skating didn't sound even remotely appealing. I just ended up vanishing for a couple of years.
There was talk of putting it out within a year but videos only come out when they're ready and we definitely weren't ready by the end of that year. I think by the third year, we all kind of knew that the video was going to be another epic saga and that we had to really step it up. 
You gave everything for Fully Flared to the point where literally everything else fell by the wayside. Did you utilize anything this time around that you learned during that previous pressure cooker scenario? It didn’t seem like you traveled nearly as much for PS
I tried to be more mellow about everything this time. After Fully Flared, I knew what kind of situations were red flags for me and just did my own thing, a little at a time. Honestly, it felt like I was being lazy because toward the end of filming, I couldn't even remember what footage I had. I didn't travel at all and everything became a blur. I honestly figured that I wouldn't have a part in Pretty Sweet but it ended up working out. I scraped some footage together that wasn't super gnarly but made me really happy. This is one of my favorite parts, for sure. I honestly prefer it to Fully Flared.

I always had the mistakes I made during Fully Flared in my mind. Constantly. My behaviors, my trick selection, situations that could potentially set me off… I really made a conscious effort to avoid doing anything like how we put Fully Flared together. The constant traveling, the drinking, the tricks that took 7 hours to land… I wanted something different. An entirely different experience for Pretty Sweet. But I had to make that for myself. 

Did you ever feel forced to try and one-up your Fully Flared part?

In the very beginning, I definitely felt like I had to start where I left off with Fully Flared. Trying to expand on those ideas to outdo that part. We actually caught a lot of flack from certain people regarding the ledge tricks in Fully Flared. There was a backlash of sorts, but what those people didn't take into consideration was that we were genuinely trying to push some different ideas. A lot of skaters just do what they see in magazines and videos but our dudes were definitely messing around with some unusual and totally new tricks. The video honestly did create a new trend, which is hard to do with anything nowadays. Some people weren't stoked on some of the stuff, and that's okay, but at least we were doing our own thing. Not just nosegrinding rail A or B. We can all talk shit -- that's easy. It's easy to be a bitchy little skater. What's difficult is to do something new on a skateboard. That's what a lot of us were trying to do: just open some new doors.

With that being said, when I got back into filming, I tried to start back up right where I was two years prior but it didn't feel right. I had a crazy list of tricks to film but I was over all of that stuff by 2010. I wanted to do more solid stuff. It was difficult to transition from always focusing on technical skating to just being okay with something classic. We all want to progress, that's part of what drives us. But I felt like my trick selection had gotten to a place where the next logical step would have been really absurd tricks. I wanted to go back to the basics and build on some of that; keeping everything in a reasonably classic realm. Some people might see that as regression, but I just choose to do what feels better now.

Here’s an example of a trick I was playing with up at my house but never filmed: frontside nosegrind nollie half heelflip darkslide. Can you kind of see what I mean? I was doing those but never filmed one. I was crossing a line into an area of stuff that didn't feel good to me.

How was it working with Ty this time? I know at the end of filming for the Lakai video the two of you weren’t even talking…

I didn't really work with Ty on Pretty Sweet. I went out with him maybe ten times after Fully Flared. But coming off that video, there was just an unspoken rift between us and our interactions felt superficial to me. We are always cordial to one another but it wasn't like how we were friends a long time ago. I had to understand how he must have felt; I ruined our friendship. He was trying to help us make the most of our potential while I went off the deep end with alcohol abuse. He just got tired of watching me drink myself sick and crazy. I can't blame him. But at the same time, I did apologize to Ty numerous times afterwards for my behavior while we were filming that video. I really wanted him to know how sorry I was for all of that, and that I finally saw how difficult it must have been to watch a friend do that to himself and cause so many problems.

I made a lot of mistakes during those years and a lot of them were because I wasn't in my right mind for a long time. After I got sober, I could really see what Kelly, Rick and Ty were trying to tell me about my drinking. I spent a lot of time really owning all of that shit and coming to terms with the person that I had become. It hurt in so many ways. That kind of regret really broke something in me and I've just kept to myself since then. I didn't really bump into Ty much during Pretty Sweet. He had a lot on his plate with an injury he was dealing with and he had a whole new group of guys to film with. But I'm always cheerful when I see him. He's always been friendly to me so I take that and just be glad that it's not something much worse like it could be.

One thing I have to ask about, which I’m not sure if you’re even aware of, is the MJ post-trick elbow bend, one in the front and one behind you. This really became prominent in Fully Flared only for it to completely disappear in Pretty Sweet. Was this a conscious thing on your part to stop doing it? Did you even realize that this was something you did?

I know what you're talking about and I have no idea when or where that came from. I had a different body language when I was drinking a lot. I got used to skating while I was pretty boozy and maybe that's how I adapted or something. Who knows? As soon as I was able to really skate again after I stopped drinking, that whole thing disappeared. It wasn't even a conscious thing; my body just responded in a different way to changes in direction or speed, closer to what it was when I was younger. If you look at footage of me when I was younger, I didn't do that then either.

I used to joke that I was hanging on for dear life and that's just the way my arms would go. Maybe there's a bit of truth in that. 

One of the things I really enjoyed about your Fully Flared part where the homage tricks. Can we get an official list? And were there any of those in Pretty Sweet?

I think there were five tricks in Fully Flared dedicated to certain people. I think it was Henry Sanchez, Danny Way, Mark Gonzales, Daewon Song… and maybe a couple more. I haven't seen that video in years so it's kind of fuzzy.

There wasn't any stuff like that in Pretty Sweet. Some of those older tricks were just nods to my childhood, done in a way that I couldn't do them then. The late shove-it 5-0 on the bench was something I always wanted to see someone do and the casper on the bricks definitely reminded me of Mark Gonzales and Rodney Mullen. 

What goes into your trick selection anyway? Ultra-tech ledge combinations are one thing but backfoot flips and late-shuvs used to be really big “no-no”s…  what was your inspiration to revisit that stuff?

I just did what I wanted to do this time around. I struggled for a long time with feeling like I had to do certain things or invent a bunch of new tricks in order to prove that I was still relevant. It became a situation that resembled Fully Flared again so I just stopped doing that to myself. I resigned myself to doing what felt right and stopped comparing what I was doing to what other people were doing.

Certain older tricks from the 90's are really fun. I guess it's a way to connect with a time in skating that was a lot more carefree.

Feeling like you suck at skateboarding is such a shitty thing and it's so prevalent these days. The standard is ridiculously high in all areas of skating: giant handrails, flippity-flip flap tricks and spinny turny flips down steps, tricks popped up onto really tall benches, even flipping over tables… that's really hard to do off flat ground. But it's normal for most people now. Everything is at an insane level and there’s too much pressure now. Too much competition and comparison. I just want to be as good as I think I should be. I want to do what feels right to me on a skateboard now.

Something that can’t help but be noticed when watching Pretty Sweet is almost a feeling of a “changing of the guard” with the younger generation. Did you know during the making of that thing that a lot of the older heads were only going to be sharing parts? And no Rickk part at all was definitely a bummer… 

No, I didn't know that the video would end up edited the way it was, featuring mainly new guys. The OG's had full parts ready to go and I’m not sure why their footage wasn't in there. It definitely could have had a completely different vibe if Chico, Gino and Kenny were given full parts, for example. It's not like people weren't filming. And not having Rickk in the video just didn't feel right at all.

The vibe was way different on this one. I like Spike's stuff, like the Mouse skits and the Paco cowboy stuff… that looked so fun. I hope we get to do some stuff along those lines in the future. 

You’ve always been an outspoken fan of that early 90’s Rocco-era… has that served as extra motivation in later years now that you’ve found yourself on the same team as many of these dudes?

That definitely motivates me still. The childhood hero thing didn't ever really go away for me. When we're out skating sometimes, I’ll trip out at the crew I'm surrounded by. There are those magical sessions where I can look around and feel like I'm in the middle of Virtual Reality or a 101 video. I trip out on how the hell I actually ended up here. Inside, I'll always be a kid from North Carolina watching these dudes on VHS tapes, skating a curb at a gas station and trying to do the tricks that they invented. 

So going back a bit, how’d you hook up with Maple? I know those were some pretty desperate times for you, having just moved cross-country with only 50 bucks… Maple was a good company but honestly, could you afford to be all that selective in your situation?

I guess it just depends on how you look at it but it didn't feel desperate to me, for some reason. I was changing my life. It felt so rad, despite having almost no money. And it wasn't a case of being selective or not, I never thought I would ever get sponsored for skating. It just wasn't something I thought would ever happen so I wasn't skating for that reason. I honestly wasn't that good and being sponsored didn't seem like a possibility.

But I had just moved to California and was so psyched to be skating all these spots I saw in videos. This was early 1994. My roommates and I were always skating and filming stuff with this camera they got from a thrift store. Our friend Jack Barnett, who ended up being the first team manager for Maple, somehow saw my footage and started giving me boards. 

It wasn't a situation where I even thought about riding for other companies. Maple was my sponsor and I gave them everything I could. And yeah, talk about poverty. Money was real tight back then. I worked at a deli making sandwiches a couple days a week and had something like 15 bucks left over each month after rent and utilities. I lived on ramen noodles and generic soda… which was cheaper than water actually. I used to drink so much root beer.

But to get 2 free boards a month was so insane. I was so stoked, man, that none of that other stuff even mattered. It was just skate, skate, skate. I didn't even know what I was doing. I was just going for it. I look back now at that mindset and realize that's the secret to a lot of things: don't think too much about the bad stuff, just go for it.

Talk a little about riding for Maple. I’m sure it was a great way to cut your teeth in the industry but it did seem from an outsider’s perspective that you outgrew that company pretty quickly… When A-Team came about, did you have any reservations leaving them out of potential loyalty to the brand?

Maple went through a lot of weird teamrider try-outs before settling on the group that was in Seven Steps To Heaven. I didn't have much of a 'team experience' on Maple until Ed Dominick came aboard as team manager and brought Dave Mayhew and Chad Knight. We were all the same age so those were my dudes back then.

In San Jose, I was always with the Tiltmode dudes and when I went to San Diego for Maple stuff, I stayed with Ed or Mayhew and skated with all the San Diego heads from that era. Didn't see Donger or Carney that much… those guys seemed like grown men back then while we were these little kids just raging. Skating every day, filming, shooting photos… just getting it done. It was awesome. I had a little crew in both places and it felt solid. It's only in hindsight that you can compare two contrasting experiences. One thing defines another by contrast.

Maple was a really fun company to skate for. Ed Dominick was the best damn dude to have as a team manager. It wasn't all so serious... just kind of winging it, really. There was never any outside pressure from those dudes. We were basically out fucking around all the time and some really great skateboarding came out of it. I know that I said something in Epicly Laterd about Maple having no direction… with a clear head now, I can say for sure that it was a really good experience. I was blessed to even be sponsored.

When A-Team started, all I could think about was that it was a World company with Rodney Mullen. I had met Rodney at a contest in San Diego in 1996 and he told me that if I ever left Maple to call him first. He actually offered to work me onto the Blind team at that time but I felt like that would’ve been really uncomfortable. I didn't know anyone on Blind at that time. Later on, when Rocco decided to start another brand, Rodney called me again and I jumped at the chance to ride for the same team as him, especially on a completely new brand. All I could think about were the original World Industries days with Blind and 101, and I really wanted to be a part of something like that.

Leaving Maple was really awkward. Those guys were all so fucking awesome and they were my friends, too. I felt like an ungrateful asshole. But I grew up being obsessed with everything that came out of World Industries and I actually had the opportunity to be a part of that.

As it turned out, A-Team ended up being a really strange brand. I got along with the other riders and it was a great time for me, but I was really idealistic about what the brand could be… which was awesome but also stupid for me in that age in that place. Marketing-wise, I eventually realized that A-Team was a stab at recreating another Plan B, but poorly done. Very poorly done. Devilman and Flameboy were in full-swing and the marketing of A-Team was terrible. It looked so bad and no one cared at all. Maybe it was naive of me to expect really amazing graphics and ads but that's what they were constantly pumping out when I was starting out so that's what I had imagined as soon as Rodney told me about the new brand.

That’s something that really freaked me out after awhile. I had this idea of what I thought World Industries was growing up and it was nothing like that at all. Big Brother was gone, Plan B was gone and most of the iconic dudes I loved had left, too. Rocco disappeared and our graphics were other artists' sidework, literally. No one was at the helm of our thing. No one gave a shit about A-Team inside the World Industries company and it was frustrating.

It didn't take long for some of us to start thinking about the next step and three of us ended up separately quitting the same week. 

How would you describe your relationship with Rodney back then? And what influence do you think he’s had on you both personally as well as in skateboarding?

Oh man, I loved Rodney so much. I felt validated to even know him, let alone ride for the same team as Rodney. He was like an older brother to me and I felt safe around him. I don't know if you've ever talked to him but he's got to be the single most fascinating person I've ever talked to… and he's a rotten goofball. He's humble but he sees things for what they are and knows what's going on around him. He would often tell me something and not sugar-coat just so I could really understand what I was dealing with. He gave me so many opportunities and I learned a lot from him. If I was frustrated or possibly being overly idealistic, he would help me see the bigger picture. “Emmmm Jayyyyyyyy, Looooooook. It doesn’t matter. THIS is what matters…”

I left enjoi without telling him. He was the one person I just couldn't face. That may not make sense but that's how I had to go. I've spoken to Rodney a few times since then and he knows what I went through. I think just talking to him kind of patched it up. It's always so good to talk to him.

10 years after leaving what was once considered to be your baby, is enjoi still in-line with how you pictured it when first starting the company? I have to imagine that gaining a sense of detachment had to be difficult at first after leaving.

I think initially I was relieved to just sit around and do nothing for a while. Like a vacation. I always had my opinions on what came out of enjoi but I knew it wasn't my place to say anything whatsoever. I didn't want to hear, "Well fuck you! Maybe you shouldn't have left, asshole! Fuckin' opinions… pffffft."

I actually helped with a few ads afterwards. Not often, just whenever Matt would ask for help with text or something. I still felt a little protective over it for a while. Those dudes were still all my friends and I naturally wanted to see enjoi do well. It was my baby and I poured my heart into that brand. The drinking and carousing just started fucking with me and I couldn't hold it together. I didn't see what my problem actually was until much later.
The Jerry Hsu Board with Daewon’s face! Holy shit. That was incredible. But honestly, I need to pay more attention to what's going on in skateboarding. I don't have a sense of anything in particular anymore. I've had my head down filming for so long that I forgot to look up and check out what's going on out there. I’ve had blinders on for a long time. Constantly traveling and filming, always being on the grind: trick, trick, trick, trick. It makes no sense but in doing all that, I lost touch with skateboarding. It's lame. I woke up one day and there were three McClungs, Heath Kirchart had retired, it was Battle at the Berrics 12, Element had a pro team of people I’d never heard of and there were all these new companies around while a bunch of other companies were now gone. It's surreal.

Do you ever miss doing your own ads and graphics or were you completely over it by the time you left?

Oh fuck yeah, I miss doing that. I had so much fun making that stuff. Just being able to come up with ideas and seeing them become reality was so amazing. I felt like I was good at that side of things, too. Not exactly the graphics but just the fun stuff… funny ideas and magazine ads. I was never a super good computer artist but I loved the hell out of trying. I'd love to be able to do stuff like that again.

When I left, I wasn't over doing the creative stuff or the fun ideas, I was just going through some weird personal shit. I've tried to explain a few times why I left and nothing ever came across right. It was just my reaction to a set of situations… that's all it was. I was starting to react to things in a negative way and at some point, I got too fucking serious. Like I said, I didn’t even put the whole thing together until years later but the partying was starting to get to me. I finally figured out later that I had a couple episodes of delirium tremens from drinking too much around that time and I thought I was going crazy. I didn't know what was happening to me. I got really scared and didn't know what to do. It was just a really bad time for me on a personal level and it obviously carried over into my work at enjoi.

I have a lot of regrets about a lot of things, but enjoi was one of the best things I've ever done in my life.

Do you think you'll ever try a brand of your own again?

I definitely will. That's a yes

Nice. What would you say is your all-time favorite enjoi ad?

(laughs) Oh my god. There were so many goddamn good times that led to those ads. I can't even pick one. Maybe the 'Duped' ad with Jerry and Louie getting the box of enjoi product, full of total bullshit like cowboy boots and pink rollerskates. Or the ad with that fucked up photo of Louie that said, "Man-Wine Vendor: Paroled, Single, and Fiending for Work." There's also that ad of Clark Hassler leaning back in a hot tub that says, "Your sister sure can hold her breath a long time"… that was a good one.

There should’ve been a book of those things. Most productive three years of my life. And look at me now, I don't do jack shit anymore. What a waste. I mow the lawn.  

How did Chocolate enter the picture?

Mike and Rick knew all about World Industries during a certain time period and I'm sure I mentioned a few times my frustration with things back then. Dwindle was transitioning into this sort of uptight corporate thing. They ended up selling the whole thing to Globe without telling anyone and everything changed after that. Hell, they moved to a new building and fired almost everyone I knew. When I went to work at the new building, I didn't know anyone except Socrates and Luis. It was just really strange. I was so turned off at that point. I simply stopped going into Dwindle and called the GM one day to tell him that I wanted to leave.

After I left enjoi, I floated for a while. I wasn't really doing much. Definitely not skating. I think I got my wisdom teeth pulled, took vicodin for longer than I needed to and started playing Zelda on the Nintendo 64 a lot. My girlfriend at the time moved out and I started drinking a little more often which is the opposite of what I should have done. I didn't really know what to do.

The switch to Chocolate came from talking to Rick and Meg about doing a brand at Girl. I suggested bringing most of the enjoi dudes over with me and doing a new board thing there. They talked about it but figured that was probably a little too hectic so Mike threw out there me possibly riding for Chocolate. I said absolutely yes. One thing that I was super stoked on in particular was that Kenny had gotten on a little earlier. I had actually tried to get him on enjoi way back when it first started.

I still wish I could've done that board brand there, though. That would've been such a rad home for those dudes and all the ideas we had. I'm not even sure that the enjoi guys all knew that’s how it all went down, but I tried to make it work. I think it might've been too abrupt to just pull most of the homies from enjoi and give them all another company name instantly… maybe it was too weird given the history of everything. It was kind of tricky, I guess. Sometimes the raddest things you could imagine just don't jive.

That’s the first I’ve heard of this brand. How far along in the process did this thing get? Were you approaching those other dudes about it yet? Did it even have a name?

It never got past one or two meetings but I had two possible names for it.

I asked a couple of guys on enjoi how they'd feel about doing that and they were down for it. Sticking together was the main thing. But not everyone would've been able to come over and that was the tough part.

Looking back, having almost the same group of guys with the same voice would have been just a minor transition. Just change the name and go. It was our voice anyway, not the voice of the distribution. The ideas would've still been our ideas and the graphics would've only gotten better, for sure.

I think in the long run, it could've been amazing because of the way that Girl works; they're involved with skateboarding on a personal level, not just sales and marketing. Something so seemingly small makes all the difference. Where the decisions come from in a skateboard company means everything. And when a brand changes on the outside, something fishy is going down on the inside. That's something to always keep in mind.

I’ve always heard that somewhere in-between the transition between enjoi and Chocolate that there is an entire unreleased part of yours shelved somewhere? Possibly for Bag of Suck and skating to the Chemical Brothers? What’s the story on this? And is there any chance of it seeing the light of day?

Yeah man, that was a full part! That footage was from after Yeah Right. Newer stuff from skating with the enjoi dudes. Just fun footage, Tiltmode-style. A friend’s part in Bag of Suck… nothing super serious but really fun.

When Matt emailed the part to me and asked if he could put it in the video, I was so fucking stoked, man. I sent it to Rick just to make sure he was alright with that and he was psyched, too. I wanted to run it by him so he’d know and it wouldn’t be weird but he was into it.

It was actually Ty who squashed the whole thing. He wanted all of Matt's footage for Fully Flared, even though none of it was actually going to be used for Fully Flared. None of it. Like I said, it was all dorking around and cruising. But Ty found out about it and fucking shut that whole thing down. He wouldn't even talk to Matt about it. Rick said it was rad and had given me the thumbs up but it ended up becoming such a fucking huge drama.

Ty told me to tell Evs to literally delete the entire file. Delete the whole part. Everything. This wasn't even footage Ty had filmed so he actually didn't have a say in it whatsoever, but he made such a production out of it that Matt and I both were like, "Fine. Fuck it. Jesus Christ.”

So it never went into Bag of Suck. I was so fucking upset. It was just fun skateboarding… and my son was in that video part, too. It was so rad that he was in it and the song and vibe were so perfect together. It meant a lot to me. To be that happy about something and to have it shut down like that… man, that just burned me and I never looked at Ty the same.

It was weird how he turned on me like that… like he didn't even know me. I couldn't believe how angry he was and how he wouldn't support me doing something fun like that. It ruined the rest of my experience filming Fully Flared, that's for damn sure.

Matt should’ve put the fucking part in there anyway. I would've been stoked. That is the last goddamn time I'll ever ask anyone's 'permission' to do something I want to do with my skateboarding. Entire video part: deleted.

Damn dude… I'm pissed off now just remembering that whole thing. I think I blocked that shit out.

Sorry, man. So much has been made of Ty’s tenure and even though he’s now gone, I still have to wonder if there’s any truth to that Trunk Boyz video rumor? And I mean this as no disrespect to those dudes because they rip… but why? I know you can’t really answer that but why not a video-centered around those OGs that were missed in Pretty Sweet, especially while those guys are still capable of doing their thing?

I don't know anything about what's being planned. I’ve been kind of unplugged for a bit. But I mean, Pretty Sweet basically centered around the younger guys. I would imagine the young bucks would want to have some fun for a while before jumping immediately back into another video… but maybe they're psyched. That's a rad crew of dudes; maybe they're amped on getting it. 

But you're right, I feel like it would be a little strange if the older dudes were passed up again in the next video, too. Keep in mind that the video crew is a little different now so we'll see a definite change with the vibe of the next video project. I guess from the outside, it would look like the older guys are being pushed out or phased out but I don't want that to reflect badly on Girl and Chocolate because it really was a battle during the editing of Pretty Sweet. I don't know for sure but I feel like dudes who weren't filmed a certain way with certain cameras may have been left out just because they didn't fit that look. I heard there were a lot of gnarly arguments during the editing. Take that however you want.

I say it's best to move forward and create a positive future. It doesn't do any good to sit around griping about things that are over and done with. We all have to figure tomorrow out. 

Do you still get around to doing much art these days? I know you were taking photographs for a while there and I’ve always loved your paintings. I do hope you’re still pursuing that…

Yeah man, I hung out with a bunch of really good photographers and caught the bug. I used to have a bunch of cameras and a darkroom… always messing around with weird printing techniques. Polaroid Daylab stuff. But a lot of things changed once I became a father. It felt like my creative drive vanished overnight. I still don't know what happened.

Now I just mess around with random ideas. A lot of woodworking and making stuff in the woodshop. Occasionally I have some time to build something. I miss all of that stuff. Henry Miller has a book called To Paint is to Love Again. Maybe it's time… Brian Lotti just sent me a canvas so maybe the Universe is giving me a nudge.

Uh oh… what's that? Art show? Really? I'll show my work. The show can be called 'Hot Loaf'. Come for the free bread.

You once said that you’ve had a video deadline for the last 17 years. What are you currently working on now? Are you embarking on yet another 5-year video process?

I'm just making an effort to have fun with everything in my life now. My eyes are open to a lot of shit I didn't see before because I had blinders on; had my head down filming video part after video part after video part. I've had so many emotional ups-and-downs with all this video bullshit. I'm tired of my entire concept of my value as human being resting in whether or not I land a skateboard trick. So serious for too long. Goddamn, man, I just want to laugh for a while.

I'm just going to do what makes me happy. I've been taking care of what other people want from me for so long, I forgot to check in with myself and ask what it is that I really want. That's fucking important for us to do that. I've got a bunch of ideas for some new stuff and I'm gonna go out and have fun. 

thanks to aaron meza, mark whiteley and mj for taking the time. 


Anonymous said...

Amazing Interview

Brendan said...

Eric,I hope you know that the content on your humble blog has totally eclipsed the magazines?
Even though,or maybe even despite, 90% of it is created from those magazines!

Z said...

These interviews are so great. I get that there's only so many old photos to scan, but it would be nice if you could continue your work somehow. A sort of print Epicly Later'd?ChopsInterviewsPeople.com? I don't know, something.

hairfarmer said...

Chops - great job on this one, you definitely nailed the questions and it's amazing how up front Marc's answers are. I agree with you about Pretty Sweet being his best part - 7 Steps and Man Down tied for 2nd. Amazing, as always.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, this website, and especially the interviews, are the best thing (along with Epicly Laterd) that has emerged from skate media in my 20 years as a skater. Hat's off to you, sir.

Anonymous said...

people always forget about the original tiltmode video. man down was awesome, but i liked the first one more, and especially mj's part. the one where he skates to decor by yo l ten go. it sounds like he's gonna start filming looser parts like that and 7 steps again.

if you didn't already hate ty evans, know there's no choice. nothing ambiguous anymore. what a fucking piece of shit. on apparently a personal level to the teamriders, and to us the fans, fo doing his best in his kooky mind of making girl chocolate videos as bad you could.

Anonymous said...

Deleted a full MJ video part?
Are you fucking kidding me?

Dustin Umberger said...

Marc, if you read this I'm the guy who interviewed you for 48 blocks a few years back. I am stoked on this new era in your career because it seemed that you were due for some positive changes post-Flared and it seems that you've achieved that on many levels. Another thing to keep in mind is that you've already made such an incredible impact- both as a skater and as an individual- in this culture and I hope that idea will carry you forward to new creative opportunities without the pressure or expectations.

Chops, well done my friend. I've been on this site for several hours today, reading all these new interviews and revisiting some of my favorites. It's going to be sad when the activity dies down, but I'm loving this grand finale. Can't wait to see what's next!

Anonymous said...

thank you Chops & MJ and most of all thank you skateboarding!

word booty,

Questionable said...


the_notorious_bif said...

What an amazing interview Chops.
MJ is they best. I gotta say I'm pissed about Ty squashing Marc's "Bag Of Suck" part. What a dick move.

I got to meet Marc about a week ago at a signing during the KC stop of the Preety Sweet tour. Talk about a stand up dude. He's one of the nicest and most gracious people I've ever met (real talk).

I really hope he starts another board brand soon. Skateboarding needs more creative dudes like him running brands.

clew said...

God...that was so good.

Tuomas said...

Great interview.

vincent said...


from Daewon to TG to Puleo to MJ...

this has been a monumental release of interviews...


Anonymous said...

Holy shit you are going out in a blaze of glory Chops

Anonymous said...

like vincent and the last anonymous, you're going straight to glory chops.
you're directly reading in the 90's fans brains, that's incredible. daewon, pulleo, MJ wow wish it never end.
thanks again chops, you're the man and i wish you the best.

Keith said...

Second sister company for Girl!? That would've been sick.

Nice honest answers from MJ. Can't believe an entire fun part was deleted. Unedited pieces of it must exist somewhere!

Always been stoked on Marc's skating since those Maple ads in the first 411s.

LOL at the FF arm thing. Never even thought about that.

Shoulda lead into this interview with the Puleo comment about Marc asking him to quit enjoi at the same time and why he wanted that.

Going out with a bang Eric!

karoumy said...

Holy shit. It's been a long time since I've felt that I didn't want an interview to end.

Great questions and honest answers.

I'd also like to know more about the back forty thing. In due time I guess.

dflip said...

Wow I feel I the same way as the rest of you.

Chops you kick ass, I wish I was friends with you.

And all these comments are just as good as chops interview. So Much Passion!

Loo Ganida said...


JayCee said...


El Diablo, fighting chicken said...

Ty Evans has said that Pretty Sweet spotlighted younger guys because the older guys didn't film as much. That's the complete opposite of what MJ says- the older guys had full parts ready to go. And then this bizarre "Delete your part" episode?
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

george said...

Ty Evans is a Kook, I'm friends with a few dudes from Pretty Sweet and all I heard from them was bad stuff that the team had to say about Ty. Glad he's gone now. Hopefully Meza edits the next one.

As for ChromeBall seeing its last days..I'm very sad..Its been the good media source for skateboarding for a long time now, and its depressing thinking that it will be no more.

If anything Chops you should get a job interviewing people for a mag (or start your own?!) Every interview I read these days in the mags are complete bullshit!


Anonymous said...

Deleted the part because Ty said so? That's fucked! Ty Evans is the Michael Bay of skate videos and I'm glad he's gone. MJ did his best to be cordial but it's obvious he's lost all respect for that dude. MJ is in my top five favorites for sure.

Amazing interview, AGAIN.

Anonymous said...

a deleted marc part. that just might cause a riot. the industry should be about promoting a big family mindset, beyond rigid sponsor constraints and awkwardly concocted teams.
the crail board montage in yeah right wasn't great because of the editing. it was great because you felt the family vibe watching ave, lance, tnt, and the rest skating together in the same part.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Thank u again for an entertaining bus ride
Rob from DE

ShredzShop said...

Amazing interview! Very insightful and none of the beating around the bush I usually have to go through in the skate mags! Mj is a hero of mine for sure and PS looked like he;s not slowing down at all!

Skately said...

You killed it with this one Chops. Favorite interview to date.

Anonymous said...

please publish these in a book.

Unknown said...

Dude, somehow you get the best interviews done. I still have my fingers crossed for a Rick Howard interview!

Anonymous said...

The first time I saw a clip of Marc was in the NC Montage video and I bugged...


Man, you have always been a major inspiration for skateboarding. Cheers to any new endeavors you begin and lost lasting health to you and your family.

Skateboarding would not be the same without MJ. Integral.

Anonymous said...

your blog has been fuckin amazing lately. it's always been great to check out some random surprises from time to time, but this back to back kickass interviews and guest posts has me hyped. this finale is killing it.

markboogie said...

This is one of the best interviews that I have ever read. CHOPS you are killing it and it is going to be sad to see you go. The skate blog game is lost without you. You came in here swinging and left undefeated. Thank you

Pep said...

Thanks Chops for everything, I love this blog. I have to repeat what everyone else has said because it's so true:
- great scans
- great interview questions
- better interviews than in the mags
- and sad to hear this is coming to an end, but what a way to go out!
Best of luck and looking forward to whatever you're up to next.

blair said...

july 12, blender interview?

Wray said...

Great read. Great dude.

banditcamp said...

I met Marc for the first time last Friday and it was so surreal. I've been looking up to the dude since I started skating back in the mid ninties. When I was talking to him I wanted to ask him about all of these things and I just I was 'star struck' I forgot everything I wanted say so it was nice to read this. He's the best dude. Thank you Marc.

Anonymous said...

Amazing interview! Best of luck to MJ in the future, everything he does is amazing.

Anonymous said...


Blue Dragon Enterprises said...

Incredible interview!

Anonymous said...

I was happy to read a comment that said what I have to also say that his part in the first tilt mode will always be my favorite. That run at the car sales lot with one of my favorite sw fs flips… he is the best interviewee. His interview in skateboarder when they started that large page format was so good and his mini interview somewhere where he talks about jumping el toro on a ten speed in high heels, what a legend. So funny . Bag of suck would have melted everyone’s brains if that part was in there I think the world would have exploded out of awesomeness so at least we get to go on wishing upon a star.