chrome ball interview #114: shiloh greathouse

Doped Out Children and the New World Order.  

So in doing my research for this, I’ve put together that your Dad is a bodybuilder who built his own church, studies Egyptology, owns a time machine and wrote songs for Cameo? Is that all true? Didn’t he foil a robbery, too? Incredible!

Yeah, man, that’s all true. It’s crazy that so much stuff about my Dad is out there like that. But yeah, he’s quite the individual. And to add to it, I don’t think that I ever said this in an interview before, but he was a L.R.R.P. in the Army in Vietnam. The L.R.R.P.s, which stands for Long-Rang Reconnaissance Patrol, are what eventually became the Army Rangers and the Green Berets. So he’s got that going for him, too. He was one of the original Green Berets. We can add even more craziness to his legend.

Is he still with us?

Oh yeah, are you kidding me? He’s gonna outlive us all.

Is it true he had a special room in the house to meditate in and the whole place would vibrate?

Yeah, there was some weird stuff going on, man. We had a house in Studio City for a few years and he had a converted apartment upstairs in the attic that had all his stuff in it. I don’t know exactly how it all worked but he had this chair that was hooked up with all these magnets and crystals. He would sit in it to meditate and you’d hear all kinds of crazy stuff. You could actually feel the whole house shake sometimes.

It wasn’t just me, either. One time, Steven Cales hit his dome really hard while out skating. He definitely had a concussion. But my Dad put him in the chair for an hour and he was healed. Another time, my younger brother took too much acid at Disneyland and freaked out. My Dad had to go pick him up and I guess it was so bad that people were worried if he’d ever come back.  Same thing, my Dad put him in the chair for pretty much an entire night. The next day, he was better.

That’s incredible. Did you ever sit in the chair?

Yeah, but never for any type of ailment or anything. I was just sitting in it.

Not that I’m vouching for any of this, but that’s what I witnessed. And I do believe in the power of magnets and crystals. I believe we’ve been lied to about the power of so many things, just to deter us from the truth.

Where are you from in L.A.? Because in looking back over everything, it seems like you were all over the city.  

Yeah, I was born in Culver City and lived out in West L.A. for a bit before my family moved to Frogtown, near Los Feliz. After that, my parents got divorced and my Dad moved to Hollywood while my Mom went to Eagle Rock.

My Dad lived right off Hollywood Blvd., so I basically grew up skating Hollywood every weekend. Because of that, I got to meet a lot of people who were coming up from that area as well, like Billy Valdes, Paulo Diaz and Gabriel. I knew all those dudes back before any of us were sponsored.

Guy and I also started skating together after my Mom moved to Glendale. Guy’s from Burbank, which was right there, too. That’s how I started hanging with him.

We all just hit it off. We were all around the same age and the same level, trying to come up. It just made sense. It’s funny to think about how much talent was all over the city back then… how we all linked up and did our thing. Eventually, we all rode for a lot of the same companies, too. Pretty crazy.

Were you one of those kids in the background of Ban This?

I was around for a little of that, but by that time, I was skating more on the westside. I had some friends in Santa Monica and was skating around the beach a bunch. That’s where I met Kareem, Daniel Castillo and Uhuru. That was their zone.

Venice was gnarly back in the day. Did you ever have any crazy run-ins with the V-13 or whatever?

Oh yeah, shit was always going down in Venice. I don’t think people even realize how gnarly the Pit could get back in the day. They just saw those ledges and thought it was all good but that place was nasty. People would always be down there shooting up or smoking crack. For decades, man. Because the cops would barely come around, especially back in the 80s but still into the 90s, too. Just needles and shit everywhere.

We actually got jumped while filming down there once, pre-Love Child. It was me, Daewon, Socrates, Jed and Daniel at the 3rd Street Bump-to-Bump. Some cracked-out V-13 dudes came at us with kitchen knives. They jumped us and stole Soc’s camera before he was even filming for World, so it was his own camera. Nothing we could really do about it, either.

Is that Venice connection how you originally got on Alva? Was that your first sponsor?

No, Alva came about through skating at this park in East L.A. called Lipslides. The owner was an old friend of mine who used to work at Hot Skates, my first shop sponsor. I’d go to Lipslides all the time because he’d let me skate for free.

Anthony Oglesby was skating for Alva back then and saw me skating there all the time. He basically got me on.

Were you actively looking for sponsors yet? I can’t imagine Alva being your first choice.

Eh, I don’t know. At that point, I was all-in on wanting to get sponsored and be a pro skater. And it’s funny because my dream was always to ride for World… I think most kids felt that way. But I wasn’t going to say no to Alva. They hooked me up pretty good and it still felt special, like getting one step closer to my dream.

Alva actually had an amazing team at the time. It wasn’t the old dreadlock days anymore. Ronnie Bertino, Pat Brennan, Mario Rubalcaba, Adam McNatt… Kelly Bird, too, back when he worked in the warehouse. That’s a pretty solid team, man.

I didn’t ride for them very long, though. I’d only been on there a few months when they started changing things, like becoming “New School” and all that. That shit was wack.

It was also around this time that Rocco asked me to ride for World, which like I said, was my dream back then. So yeah, I was definitely out after that.

Didn’t you get on World through Kareem?

Well, there’s conflicting stories.

We were skating at one of those Powell Quartermaster Cup contests when Kareem rolls over to me, like, “Hey, do you want to ride for World? Rocco wants to talk to you.”

All these years, I thought Kareem had put in the good word for me, because of how he came up to me like that. I thought that for a long time… until I happened to be talking to someone about it all one day when Kareem was around. I was halfway through my little story when dude looks over at me, straight-up like, “Nope.” (laughs)

Turns out that it wasn’t even like that. Kareem says all he knew was Rocco telling him to go get me. He hadn’t said a single thing at all about me to Steve, that he already knew who I was on his own. 

Thanks a lot, Kareem.

(laughs) Yeah, but at least he was being honest. He could’ve lied to me about this for the rest of my life and I would’ve never known… like, “Yeah, I got you on!”

Not Kareem. “Nope.”

Were you told by Rocco that he was looking for this crazy new crop of amateurs at the time?

That’s just how it all worked out, but he had to know. If you look at World back then, it was all pros. He didn’t have any ams.  And you need ams to keep the whole thing going.

But Kareem, Daewon and Daniel had all got on a few months before I did and the rest of the Love Child crew got on shortly after, with Chico, Spencer, Mike York and Karl Watson. That’s a whole lot of amateurs to be picking up in such a short period of time. It was pretty easy to figure out what he was doing after a while, but it was never explicitly stated to us.

How did the older riders feel about all these new guys?

Oh, they were pissed!

I remember going to 7th Street with Daewon right after I got on, Mike V was there and he wouldn’t even acknowledge us. And we were his teammates! Not that he was outright vibing us or being mean, but we could definitely tell something was going on there. It was like he didn’t want to meet us.

Honestly, I didn’t even meet Mike until 2004 or so.  But what’s funny is as I’ve gotten to know him over the years and formed a pretty good relationship; I brought this all up to him, years later. But Mike was cool about it, man. He admitted the whole thing to me. He even remembered that day and everything.

“Yeah, I was pissed. I figured you guys were there to replace me. A lot of guys felt that way.”

Out with the old, in with the new.

Exactly. I guess he’d been told by various people at World about all of this footage we had and how easy it was for us. No wonder he didn’t like us! (laughs)

A lot of those OG riders left soon after you guys got on…

I think they all had some kind of agreement with Rocco. It wasn’t necessarily in any contract, but because they’d gotten on World so early on, Rocco had enticed them into joining with money. But after World blew up, I don’t think Rocco felt the need to keep that same arrangement going anymore. For example, I think Mike was making more money than literally anybody else at World Industries at the time, because his getting on was so big for the company in those early days. But a few years later, he wasn’t going to be getting that same deal anymore, so he bailed. You’d have to ask him for sure, but that’s what I’ve heard over the years. I’m just saying that those guys didn’t all leave for something as simple as a bunch of new ams… though, I can see Jeremy being like, “Fuck these new kids.”

I actually hang out with Ron Chatman all the time. He’s my boy and he has told me about an agreement he used to have with Rocco for a certain amount of money every check, like a guarantee. This is something they implemented with us later on, but it probably wasn’t as common back in 1990.

I guess when Ron went in to talk with Rocco about renewing his contract, World wasn’t down with that guarantee anymore. And because of that, Ron felt like they didn’t care about him being on the team anymore. Because if they did, they’d still be hooking him up.

All I know is that us new kids at World, we stuck together. We were all tight anyway, so it just made sense. But even more so under those circumstances.

You mentioned skating with Guy a lot back then, what influence do you feel he had on you and your skating?

I wouldn’t say Guy influenced me as much as he motivated me. He pushed my skating because he was so good. If anything, I was envious. I wanted to be that good, too.

Like, you know that switch tre flip he did in the beginning of Pack of Lies? The one that people say is the first switch tre flip… which I think it is. Well, I was there that day. That was at the high school right by his house. In Love Child, I do a switch big spin flip down those same stairs. That was the same day. Even though I didn’t do mine all perfect like he did, I think that still shows my mindset. If he’s gonna do a switch tre flip, I’m gonna do a switch big spin flip. Not that I was trying to take him out, I just wanted to do it for myself. I wanted to be Guy’s equal.  

So Guy’s switch tre was before Jed’s in Love Child?

Yeah, Love Child just came out first.  

Were you skating with J. Lee and Gonz back then, too?

Yeah, I skated with those dudes a lot, right around the time I got on World. My Dad had moved to North Hollywood around the same time that Jason moved up here, too. I was skating with Guy and Jed all the time and we were all on the same companies, it just went from there.

In fact, Mark even asked me to ride for Blind. I still remember going in to talk to Rodney about switching over from World. I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal.

“No, you can’t. You cannot ride for Blind.”

Why not?

I don’t know! But I’ve never seen him that stern or serious to this day.

Those had to be some amazing sessions, though. You’d always hear about these crazy late night sessions they’d have at Ralph’s. 

Yeah, we used to go do that, skating the Ralph’s curbs at 3 in the morning. So much fun. That was also down the block from Guy’s house.

I always heard Gonz could be kinda mean to Jason.

Sometimes, I guess. But nothing too gnarly.

I hate to say it but Jason did kind of peak with Video Days. He didn’t really progress too much after that. Maybe Mark saw that coming and felt like he had to push him a little, trying to get a little more out of him.

You gotta remember, this is around the time when noseblunt slides were the craze. And Mark invented those! But I don’t think Jason even took the time to learn them!

Would you see those guys invent tricks often?

Yeah, I saw Mark invent the noseslide. He just told Guy and I one day, “I want to slide on my nose.”

So he went out and tried a bunch of them. He started doing little ones at first, and not too long after that, he was doing them legit far. I watched that progression firsthand.

Were you around for any Video Days stuff?

Yeah, I was at Christian’s ramp for some of that. Both Mark and Jason killed that thing.

I loved watching Jason skate tranny. He had the loudest ollie to boards and ollie to tails I’ve ever heard.

That’s the thing, man. Jason ripped. Everything he did was so beautiful. He just didn’t have the drive to progress any further… and he totally had the ability! I don’t even think his Video Days captured how good he really was. Not at all.

So how was filming Love Child? Was that largely a crew of dudes filming together at spots around L.A.?

Yeah, it was almost always a crew of us out there filming together. I think there might’ve been a few solo missions but those were pretty rare. My 270 lip on the rail was a solo mission.

I want to say that we probably filmed for over a year on that but a lot of our early footage didn’t get used. We had a ton of 7th Street footage early on that never came out. With how quickly tricks were going in and out, it was probably too old.

We basically began filming for real on this tour we went on with Soc. That’s why you have stuff of me skating a flat rail in New Orleans in there. But again, all filming together. And once we got back home, I’m pretty sure every trick or line I have in LA was filmed with Daewon and Daniel there, too. So much of that stuff was all on the same day, you can tell by our clothes

5 World dudes filming down at the Santa Monica Manual Pad for hours at a time.

Yeah, I feel like we used to hang out there forever. I hated it, too, because I hate manuals. I’ll do them when there’s nothing else to do… I have a few in my parts. I just don’t have the patience. But Daewon would be down there killing it so I’d be stuck there because Soc obviously wanted to film all that.

What about your song? I know a lot of heads were pissed about the music.

Oh, I was super pissed. Because I felt like they were making a big deal over the fact that I’m mixed. That’s wack. That song is wack, too. I will say that It does get better, towards the end… right when my part cuts off. (laughs)

I wanted Jovontae’s song, man! I wanted something with soul.

Was there ever any sense competition amongst the World squad back then? Everyone was so young and new to the scene…

Kareem and I. Always. To this day.

He’s always been a big brother to me so there’s always been a strong feeling of competition there, too. Even back when I skated for Alva, we’d skate contests together and beating Kareem was always a big deal to me. Beating Kareem specifically, and then came everybody else. And it was the same with him. That’s how it typically is with brothers, not that it was ever too serious.

But what about the dudes you didn’t share that same bond with? Like Karl or York, coming down from SF?

Nah, I loved those dudes. I’d actually met Mike and Karl while I was filming up in SF with Jed for Love Child, prior to them getting on World. I think I had a part in getting those guys on, just from coming back and telling everyone how good they were.

What’s crazy is that you know the term “T-Dog”, right? I think it actually comes from this filmer we brought to Embarcadero with us on that trip. I think that’s where it began. Because Jed and I had gone to San Francisco and stayed at with the Carroll brothers. For some reason, World had hired this random filmer for us that nobody even knew… and he filmed on rollerblades. T-Dog was this dude. He was actually a cool guy and I kinda felt bad for him. But filming at Embarcadero on rollerblades was not going to go over well.

Is that the stuff in Love Child?

Yeah, my noseslide 360 shove-it and all of Jed’s EMB footage. T-Dog filmed all that.

How’d he get the name T-Dog?

I forget his name but it started with a T, so he became “T-Dog”. Simple at that. I want to say Mike York invented it.

I knew people were looking at us crazy at the time, but it took a couple of days to get back to me. You could feel it, though. I knew I was probably looking a little crazy, too, just for filming with this guy. It was so embarrassing, you have no idea. I’d never even been there before.

We’ve all seen the part but how good was Jed Walters, for real?

Oh, he was really good, I just don’t think Love Child did him justice as far as how he really skated. Because at that point, we were getting all tech, Jed was trying to conform. Jed didn’t really skate like that. He was more like Huf, before Huf. He could ollie super high and kickflip over anything.

On his own, he was blasting over handrails. The first time Guy and I ever met the dude, he was blasting lien 180 melons over a handrail, wearing an elbow pad and a chain wallet like Matt Hensley. It’s just that stuff wasn’t cool at the time.

(laughs) Honestly, and this sucks to say, but one of the main reasons Guy and I hung out with him is because he was old enough to drive and had a car.

Homeboy was pretty crazy, though, if you think about it. Because one day, he was just like, “I’m going to make it in skateboarding!” and drove to California from South Dakota. He had nowhere to stay, hardly any money to eat. Nothing.  We just met him out skating one day and by that point, he’d only been in LA a few days, was living out of his car. I think Guy hooked him up with a place to stay at our friend Francois’ house.

I didn’t realize that was his story.  

Yeah, but he was cool, man. He and I were really close back then. And he was a good guy, too. He didn’t talk shit on anybody. He came from a wholesome Christian upbringing, which I didn’t know of anybody else like him back then.

Were you surprised to see him walk away from everything?

Totally. I never saw that coming. I don’t even remember how it happened to where he stopped hanging out, he just kinda faded away. Next thing I know, I go to World and he’s in the back, packing boxes.

“Dude, what are you doing? Let’s go skate!”

He just wasn’t into it anymore. I don’t know what happened, but it was definitely surprising.

Give us your best Chris Branaugh tale of torture.

Well, I didn’t have anything to do with this but I saw it happen… but one time on tour, they took all his clothes off, tied him up and put him in the elevator naked, pressing every floor.

(laughs) Why did Rocco turn him pro and not someone like Jed?

I don’t know… because he could? But we knew it was a joke. Everyone would just laugh about it.

World actually did try to turn Jed pro, I still remember Rocco telling me about it. Evidently Steve asked him and Jed told him no. He said he didn’t want to. 

How was your relationship with Rocco?

Rocco was such a cool guy, man. He immediately made you feel comfortable, just by joking around and his overall demeanor… plus, he had that high, squeaky voice. It’s funny because as gnarly as he could get with other brands, he was never once threatening to us in the slightest. He always took care of us, like a family.

The best was when he’d came on tours because he’d spoil us. It was never like that with Rodney as our chaperone, he was a tight wad. But not Steve… shopping sprees, gambling with you on tricks. $100 bucks for whoever got the trick first. He was always trying to make things fun.

Looking back, I honestly think Rocco would get psyched on bumming out Rodney. That Steve would encourage us to do bad shit, just to fuck with Rodney. I think he felt that Rodney was way too uptight and took shit way too seriously. I guess we were Rocco’s way of trying to get Rodney to loosen up a little.

Talk about the X-Large scene on Vermont that was going off at this time.

Oh, that was a great scene we had going back then. X-Large was one of the first streetwear spots, Mike D from the Beastie Boys owned it. They had all the weird Adidas and stuff. It was cool. Billy worked there, back when he was riding for Real. A friend of ours, Paul T, ran the place. He was the manager, which meant he’d let us take pretty much whatever we wanted. I mean, we technically skated for them but Paul would just let us take anything. He didn’t care, that place was making a killing.

But that was the hangout for everyone. Paulo, Fabian, Joey… Guy would be there all the time. John Deago and Mike Daher ended up moving right across the street. You had Lockwood down the block. There was a Bank of America right there on the corner that we all used to hang out at, drinking and smoking weed.

I think that was in a Menace ad.

Yeah, Los Feliz was right there, too. That’s when a lot of tricks went down over the table, the hip was still skateable. That was the era.

Would you ever have sketchy run-ins at Lockwood?

Never, because I grew up over there. I wasn’t tripping. I mean, it could definitely get gnarly. I saw people get their boards taken, cameras snatched. But I was never worried about it, because I knew most of the gangsters around that area. They recognized me from over the years. Typically, they’d just want to sit down and smoke a cigarette.

The local dudes had a much different experience at Lockwood than the guys who would show up out of nowhere. Because predators can smell fear. If you’re walking around, looking afraid, they’re going to come after you. I hate to say it, but a lot of it was white kids. They stuck out. People living in that neighborhood know who isn’t from around there. They knew there weren’t any white skaters from that neighborhood. And after Lockwood got that reputation of getting a little wild, those same white kids got shook, making matters worse. That’s just how it was.

You filmed there a bunch for New World Order, I always thought that part got slept on.

Stoked to hear you say that, man. I always kinda thought people slept on that one, too. I always felt that one was much better than my Love Child part.

Were you just more comfortable with the filming process by then?

I’d already been filming with Soc for years so that wasn’t an issue. I just had more ideas for New World Order. I had trick lists going and everything. There was stuff that I wanted for that part, whereas in Love Child, everything just happened while we were out. The 270 lip at the end was the only thing I specifically went after, nothing else. New World Order had more of a plan. Almost every clip was something I wanted. It was my first time actually building a part, instead of just skating and being filmed. I had more of a point of view. I was starting to skate where I wanted to skate, filming what I wanted to get. Not so much at the mercy of everybody else.

Would you just set up shop at the Hewlitt-Packard rail?

Well, Hewlitt-Packard was a bust, so it was actually kind of hard skating there. It either had to be a holiday or the weekend, but there would still be security guards there. You still had to dodge them. You could only go so far back, runway-wise, or they’d see you. But it was right up the street from my house, so in that respect, it was easier for me.

But you had both of your first two enders there.

Yeah, but almost every clip I got there was Soc and I on a covert mission.

The back 270 lip was actually pretty quick, within 5 tries. It wasn’t that hard, for some reason. And that wasn’t the only time I did that there, either. I just had those somehow.

What about the switch frontside big spin boardslide?

That one was a battle because we kept getting kicked out. I think that was our 3rd visit there for that when I finally got it… even though you’d only get 5 or so tries each visit before getting the boot. But that one was definitely a battle. Soc and I knew we had to be quick so we’d have to plan everything out.

How’d you get so into graff? Were those your pieces in New World Order?

Not all of them. There’s one of them with a bomb, that’s mine. That little drainage ditch we’re walking around in there is at the end of my block. We had our own little piecing yard there that we’d hit up all the time.

I got into graffiti early on, back in the 80s. I only tagged back then, just scribbling stuff in class, but once the 90s hit, I got way more into it. I started hanging out with people who were more about graffiti art, as opposed to just skateboarding.

What about the Doped Out Children?

That was our crew. It still exists. Fabian, Joey… basically all of us ended up being in it after a while, but those guys were in it first. It originated around the East Hollywood area. But yeah... everybody, man. Kareem, Guy, Rudy, Gabriel were all down.  

Name a pro we’d know that had a great handstyle?

Eh… nobody, really. No.

Amazing. Breakdown that Hyst graphic for us, who’s all in there?

I didn’t actually make that graphic. Snow, an artist at World did all that. None of those tags are actually ours, either. He did all those, too. Everybody’s in there… Billy, Kareem, Fabian, Joey, all the homies. It’s their names, just not their tags. I was bummed on that, man. All those tags were wack, too. I’d rather have done it myself with everyone doing their own tags.

You were rumored to be early on in that Chocolate mix but did you know about the Girl plan prior to that?

I knew about Girl, I just didn’t say anything about it because they are my homies. I wasn’t asked to be on Girl, though, they wanted Kareem and I to do another new company with them. This was the original plan, way back at the beginning before Girl had even started. Girl had such a huge team already, they didn’t have room for two more pros so Chocolate was going to be me and Kareem’s company alongside Girl, originally called “Sister”.

It’s funny because I was the one who orchestrated everyone quitting World to ride for Chocolate. Richard Mulder, Shamil, Daniel… I told them all to quit so we could start this new company over Girl. And look at what happened? Those dudes all left while Kareem and I ended up staying.

Why’d you change your mind?

There were a few reasons. But we actually did go into Rodney’s office to quit. He already knew why we were there so he started guilt tripping us and making promises. It turned out that Kareem wasn’t really down anyway. So we both ended up getting raises and were supposed to start our own company through World.

… and I had heard that Jovontae was talking shit about me. Evidently, he didn’t want me on Sister/Chocolate, not that it really held any bearing on my decision, but I knew. I remember Kareem telling me that.

What were his reasons?

I don’t know... jealousy.

But is that conversation with Rodney how World found out about the name Sister before Girl could use it?

Oh, like how Rocco was able to trademark it before those guys?

Yeah, did you guys let Rodney in on the plan, including the name?

Maybe… I don’t remember exactly.

But did you feel any animosity as a World rider towards the Girl crew as time went on?

I couldn’t be pissed because it was my decision. I got asked to be part of it, I just chose not to.

But looking back on it, I will tell you what I am pissed about their reasoning behind it all. Because it’s one thing just to leave but Girl and Chocolate were formed on the premise of straight-up lies. That never felt right to me.

Yeah, Kareem and I were thinking about going over there… but we just wanted to start something new. We weren’t buying into all that stuff about Rocco.

You don’t think Rocco was ripping them off?

No. Not at all. And those guys accusing him of all that… that was bullshit. None of them knew anything. They had no evidence whatsoever. It was all Rick telling them lies.

That shit really hurt Rocco, man. He truly felt betrayed by those guys. Here he’d taken such good care of them over the years and now they’re all accusing him of stealing? He was hurt! Like Guy? He loved Guy! He was the Golden Child! We all knew early on that Blind was Rocco’s favorite, and more than that, Guy was Rocco’s favorite. He could do no wrong.

That’s why Rocco got out. After everybody left for Girl and those accusations started flying, he wanted out. And that’s why I had to deal with the whole Wet Willy/Flameboy shit… because Rocco was looking to sell out. It’s all connected. And that’s what ultimately ruined World Industries.

Were those Goldfish/Paco interludes in Trilogy meant to be disses?

No, because even after all that, those guys were still our homies. I still skated with those dudes on a regular basis.

Kareem says in his letter to me, “I wish you were here so we could do western videos like Chocolate.”

There’s a little bit of sarcasm in there but it’s not a total diss. It was more like a “Hey, we see you” type of thing.

Weren’t you supposed to be on Menace as well?

Menace was the new company Kareem and I were promised for staying at World and not going with Sister. But Kareem being “Mr. Businessman” went off and took over everything. That’s just what Kareem does.

But again, I was the one who actually got those guys to quit their sponsors for it. Because Kareem didn’t really know Joey, Fabian and Billy. Those are my boys. And once again, they all quit and neither Kareem or I end up riding for it. I don’t think Kareem ever rode for it until City Stars.

How come you guys had to stay on World?

Because World Industries needed us at the time. Daewon had broken his ankle and was out for a while. Kareem and I had to stay put as we were the other pros there at that time.

That was before all my legal drama, too, which only made things worse.

What was your Trilogy process like? I know you were incarcerated for 16 months prior, is that part essentially you learning how to skate again?

Not really, because after I got out, I could just skate again. I guess because I was still so young, it wasn’t a problem somehow.  

Damn… Wasn’t that first clip in your part filmed the day you got out?

The backside noseblunt slide? Yup, that was the first time I skated in a year and a half.

I filmed that whole part in 6 months, living in a halfway house.

Were you pleased with how it came out, considering the circumstances? A year and a half is a long time.

Eh, it could’ve been better if I had more time. There was a lot of stuff that went in that I didn’t necessarily want in there. Some stuff that I thought that was weaker and didn’t mean to get in there.

I liked the Mary J song, though. I was hyped on that. And those little skits were cool. Those were Rodney’s ideas.

It was a bunch of young shit… like fighting and stealing that you got in trouble for, right?

Yeah, it wasn’t one big thing, just a bunch of little shit that added up. Like, it started after I beat this dude at his house after he came by my girlfriend’s house earlier that day and pulled a knife on me. He was my girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend and was trying to talk to her again. Little bitch came over and pulls a knife on me, and not even by himself, either. He had to have one of his big homies with him, too. 

But after that, I had Kareem drive me over to dude’s house because I wanted to catch him by himself and I did. Knocked him out, right there on his porch. But evidently, his mom ended up calling the police.

So I had an outstanding warrant for that when I got busted stealing some watches at a department store. At the time, I was stealing a lot for no reason, because I thought racking was part of graffiti culture, you know? So I got busted for stealing and that’s when I found out I had the other charge against me, too.

It’s funny, man… because if I would’ve had a real lawyer, or, and I hate to say it, but if I was white, I probably wouldn’t have gone to prison. Because I got 16 months, which was the absolute minimum sentence for prison. Anything less and I would’ve just gone to County.

World didn’t hook you up with a proper lawyer?

No, they didn’t. I guess I could’ve asked… I just didn’t think to.

Does part of you feel that you took skating for granted back then?

Oh, definitely. Looking back on it, I wish that I would’ve put more of my energy into skateboarding… even cultivating more of an industry presence for myself. Because I knew that there was never going to be anything else for me. I should’ve been smarter about it. Oh well.

But at the same time, all of your friends were also top pros and they were all doing the same shit, too. It’s not like you were doing things that everybody else in your crew wasn’t, right?  

That’s true. We were all racking shit and tagging. Running around all fucked up. Drunk and stoned. Taking acid and ecstasy. I was just the one who got caught.

But I can’t lie, though, I was probably the bad influence there. I gotta be honest.

What was your gnarliest experience in jail?

County Jail is where most of the gnarliest shit happened.

Like, I had to get in a fight once because the older dudes had literally pitted me against this other younger dude who was a full-on white supremacist. Swastika tattoos and all that shit. We were roughly the same age, so when he came into our dorm, they were immediately like, “You gotta fuck this dude up.”

If I hadn’t, there would’ve been more problems… but honestly, I had no problem in doing that. Fuck that dude.

I remember some dude getting raped, too. These white dudes raped this hippie guy that got busted for drugs or something. It was fucking disgusting… I could hear it. But that kinda stuff didn’t happen very often, that’s mostly some tv bullshit.

This other time, there was this mentally-ill dude… I don’t know if he died or what. This was in the old County Jail downtown. He was crazy, man.  The dorms were much smaller there, and the first thing they tell you is that you’re not supposed to walk out of your dorm. The door is open all the time, leading out to the hallway, but you’re not supposed to go out there. This dude went out there. All of a sudden, you heard the deputies screaming at him.

“Get the fuck back in!”

Dude was mentally ill. He didn’t know what was going on. But somebody was able to grab him and bring him back in. Unfortunately, later that night while everybody’s sleeping, he went out there again. I think they beat him to death. Because you could hear the flashlights. They have those mag lites with, like, 5 batteries in them. Super long. You could hear the batteries shaking inside those things as they beat the shit out of him with them. He was screaming and then, suddenly, he wasn’t. We never saw him again.

Prison is actually pretty chill in comparison to County. The food’s better. They let you smoke in there. You can go to the little store they have and buy different food. You had fucking cable tv… we used to watch HBO in our cell!

Premium channels.

It was a trip, man. Honestly, prison wasn’t that bad. It’s just a different mentality. People have already been sentenced and are just doing their time. Everyone is so anxious in jail because they don’t know what’s going to happen to them. They still have to go to court. Plus, you’re in there with murderers and all types of shit. They don’t segregate you in jail like they do in prison. It’s a completely different experience.

Well, it still didn’t stop you from gracing the cover of Black Entrepreneur magazine. How’d that Big Brother shoot come about?

(laughs) That was Jeff Tremaine’s idea. Just typical Big Brother, trying to be as outrageous as possible. Kosick and I went out and rented a tux before heading over to Century City to shoot some portraits. I knew it was for “Black Entrepreneur” but I had no idea what the rest of it was going to say. Every time you got involved with those dudes on a project, you knew that it was gonna be something crazy. That’s all they did was crazy shit. I didn’t care, I was down.

You brought it up earlier, but how much did the Flameboy phenomenon feed into the formation of Deca?

Daewon and I actually talked about quitting World because of those graphics. That’s how it got to that point. I remember us deciding to start meeting with other sponsors, just to see where we could possibly go. We were even thinking about starting another company outside of World, way before Deca. They caught wind of that, which is how Deca started. But that was 100% because of those graphics. We were just so bummed.

It sucks because it’s not McKee’s fault either. He’s an artist, man. He just wants to draw shit. And we honestly didn’t think too much about it at first. But it got out of control so quickly, almost overnight. That first deck did really well, so they made more of them… next thing you know, you had those guys showing up in our ads, too. It was too much.

How was filming in the Deca Warehouse? It seemed like you and Daewon would be going off in there at all hours of the night.

Yeah, it was almost always late at night. I remember leaving my house at 8, driving out to El Segundo and skating in there ‘til 2 in the morning. Sometimes I’d walk out and just sleep in my car, right there in the parking lot.

It was fun, man. Daewon, Luis and I in there, stacking shit. Coming up with ideas. It was an empty building anyway. There was nothing in there. All the product had already been moved to a new building, it was just sitting there empty for a couple months... might as well film some shit. That’s why we could move all those racks around. Because who cares?

What are your thoughts on how 2nd to None came out? I know a lot of people criticized that warehouse stuff.

I love how it came out, man. I really don’t think that video got the recognition it deserved because everyone was too busy hating on how we built stuff to skate. Criticizing us for making obstacles, even though shortly after that, everybody started doing it, too! And their shit wasn’t as obvious as our shit in the warehouse. They had fake handrails and ledges. Easy handrails designed to look real. Man, fuck you. You guys hate on us for innovating and you go out and do the same shit but worse? Whatever. I thought that video was great.

Well said. But what happened after that? You were sponsorless there for a while and went underground, right? Why?

I basically got kicked off. Deca ended and I didn’t get picked up by any of the other Dwindle brands, so I just went without a sponsor for a while. But honestly, I was content with it. After a while, I actually felt like I didn’t even want a sponsor. I liked being out of the public eye, man. I didn’t have to worry about as much of the bullshit back then. And because of that, I probably skated the best I ever had at that point.

I did almost ride for Krooked for a minute back then. I ran into Mark one day at a skatepark and he asked me to ride for his new company. It didn’t even have a name when he initially asked me, but I was getting boards for over a year. I’m pretty much riding Krooked boards for my entire Skateboarding is Dead part… hell, I basically had an entire part in that first Krooked video, too. But it didn’t end up working out. When it came time for the decision to be made about me, Mark was going through some personal stuff and was M.I.A. He wasn’t even around to vouch for me getting on and I guess the rest of the dudes weren’t feeling it.

Oh well, I kept doing my thing.

What inspired you to make your own video, Skateboarding is Dead?

Everything was feeling good, man. I was feeling good and skating well… why not? I was inspired.

It took about a year or so. But I was just out having fun. It’s not like I was going for broke or anything. I feel like part of me was conforming to the tech handrail tricks that were starting to go down at that point. But I was also skating more with dudes who skated that kinda stuff, like Justin Eldridge. That made me start stepping up a little, too. I actually hadn’t been skating rails for a while prior to that and forgot how much I loved skating them. They’re so much fun.

That video came from going out and just having a good time. I never felt any pressure with anything, like I had to get this or that. In fact, I can’t think of a single thing in that part that was planned out ahead of time. Everything just went down at sessions.

And that project lead to First Love?

Not at all. I don’t think that any of those guys had never even seen Skateboarding is Dead before they asked me. A lot of people still haven’t to this day, actually. It’s not exactly easy to find.

Seu Trinh and Jason Hernandez were hanging out a lot together in Hollywood at the time. Evidently, Jason asked Seu one night who he thought should be in the next Transworld video and he recommended me. Seu had been seeing me skate around LA for a bit and thought I’d be a good choice. I wasn’t even looking for a project like that, but when Jason called me up, it sounded like fun.

Many people consider First Love a comeback part for you, but was that really the case?

I understand why people think that but it really wasn’t a comeback at all. I’d been skating the whole time. Skateboarding is Dead was only a couple of years before that, just not that many people saw it.

First Love is probably my personal favorite part. Trick-wise, it’s probably not my gnarliest, but I feel like that part has so much more soul to it. I feel like I’m really flowing in that one. I’m really street skating there, just like I say in the intro. I was enjoying myself and I think that shows. My style seems so much more relaxed, man. I look good on my board.

I was hyped on the song, too. I love “Killing Moon” and I thought it worked well. Plus, I liked the symbolism there, trying to continue that “death” theme from my last video. Like, I’m dead in skateboarding… but I’m not. I thought that was cool.

There’s stuff in that part that I’m really proud of, and probably not the stuff you expect. But if you go to those spots, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

I always felt like you had such a good thing going back then with Bueno and the Wizards of Radical. How’d you get hooked up with those guys?

I’ve known Stacy for years, man. He’s still one of my best friends. But yeah, he approached me about it one day. I was skating in Long Beach with my crew when Stacy rolled up and asked me.

“Hey, I’m starting a company. Would you be interested?”

It was that simple. He called me later with the details and it sounded cool. I was down.

Bueno was so good, too… Fuck. That was heartbreaking for me.

Yeah, what happened there?

Giant went out of business. That’s all it was. Other companies wanted to do it. Tum Yeto and a few other distributions wanted us, but only as Bueno. Unfortunately, the assholes at Giant wouldn’t let us take the name elsewhere. We would’ve had to start all over again with a new name and none of those companies wanted that. They just wanted Bueno. So that was it.

Why no Roger for you?

That was a little later… Roger took a while. And by that point, I wasn’t skating as much anymore. I wasn’t as competitive with it. And I thought that name was wack. I mean, Roger!? Come on!

I did have a board on there, one of my old Bueno graphics. But after Bueno, I was kinda bummed on everything.

Yeah, because it seemed like as soon as you emerged, you went back underground. Were you just over skating at that point?

Yeah, after Bueno, I wasn’t too hyped on skating. I had a few random offers to ride for weird shit but just wasn’t feeling it. None of them wanted to pay any decent money but even if they did, I wasn’t down for any wack shit.

Not that I quit skating but I definitely slowed down. I’d always been into fixed gear bikes, in addition to skating, and my bike accessories company was starting to blow up. So I just went with that.

I was still skating almost every day, just not pushing it so much anymore. Gnarly missions basically got switched out for rolling around the park.

Are you still rolling around the park these days?

Still skating but more mini-ramp than anything else. I’m actually in the process of building a new ramp in my backyard right now, should be a lot of fun…  If Stacy would ever get his ass over here and help me, we’d probably be done by now. (laughs)

Stacy Lowery’s helping you build your new mini?

Yeah, but just because he wants to skate it all the time. But that’s my boy.

Something that has come up a few times over the course of this interview, do you feel like you ever got your full due in skateboarding?


Why do you think that is?

I didn’t play enough of that industry game… and I’m kind of a dick, too. Seriously, I don’t hold my tongue. I’ll call bullshit while all these other motherfuckers just go along with it, even though they know the shit is wrong. They’re afraid. Me, I’ve never given a shit. I’ve always tried to say it like it is, which probably held me back from certain things in the industry, for sure.

What would you say was your proudest moment of your career and what is your biggest regret?

That’s hard one but I’d say my proudest moment was probably the day I got on World. That was literally a dream come true and it changed my life. I truly felt like I had accomplished something when I got on.

As far as a regret goes, probably not sticking with Sister. I’m glad I didn’t go but had I gone, I wouldn’t have had to deal with all that Flameboy shit at World. Because that would’ve never happened at Chocolate. And let’s face it, after Girl, World was going down that Wet Willy track regardless of if I was there or not. Chocolate was always going to keep it cool and not sell-out their aesthetic for money…. If only Rocco would’ve just kept it like it was, the OG shit, I might still be at World to this day. It just wasn’t in him anymore.

big thanks to Shiloh for taking the time. 


Anonymous said...

The regularity of updates has been great. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Best interviews. Period.
Thank you for your service.

Anonymous said...

Damn. Legit.
Another great interview.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic interview. Nine club...this is how its done...

Anonymous said...

The story of Girl leaving World has turned into skateboard folklore. Seems to me Adam 'Spike Jones' Spiegel bought his buddies Rick and Mike a company so they would be best friends forever. Didn't Girl use X-Large for distribution right around the time Spike directed Sabotage? Just saying...

Anonymous said...

1) the D.O.C. was originally called the Devil's Only Children. A variety of names got attached to it and the name that it currently runs is Defending Our Culture. It was started by Fabian and Joey's good friend Juan who sessioned wilshire and midcity (where Gabriel Rodriguez lived, that is why he was a part of D.O.C.).

2) lockwood was sketchy. I got jacked there by a filipino gangsta who acted like a Latino gangsta. He pulled out his gun and literally took everyone's board. About 8-10 boards. He couldn't even carry them. JP Jadeed was there that day and he was crying because he got jacked. Tom Krauser came up to the gangsta and negotiated getting JP's board by giving him his board, the gangsta agreed and JP got his board back. My brother and I hung around and the gangsta tells us "we never jack rasa" and he gave my brother and I our boards back. He even offered us better boards but we just wanted our boards back. JP and I are of the same age so I understand why a young kid would cry but I guess the difference was Orange County and Los Angeles.

3) Shiloh is by far the most underated. I'm psyched that he explained his transworld part the way he did. Thanks Chops for the interview. It was cool to hear about his dad and personal life. I hope they found Shiloh's brother in good health.

Anonymous said...

I saw Jason Lee do a nose blunt slide back in 1991 at HB High.

Anonymous said...

thanks for all the recent updates - this one was amazing per usual. would love to hear Rodney's reasoning for denying Shiloh getting on Blind. happy to hear he's still out there rolling around, even if it's just his own backyard..

Anonymous said...

This was fucking great thank you to both you legends.

Anonymous said...

post links to those video parts please!!

Anonymous said...

Killed it. Big ups from Longview/Kelso, WA.

chops said...

I have to think the real Jovontae would spell his name right.

isidro said...

hahahaha,yeah,Chops,the real Tae would ve!

amazing interview even for the hi standards around here,holy shit,i had the best time reading it and re-watching the video parts.

Shiloh always looking great on the board. i remember that 270 lipslide ender on Love <child felt ridiculous back then.

thanks both of you!!!

Anonymous said...

Deca 2nd to none video is still to this day on of my favoruite videos off all time. I used to watch that video every f day. I dont know about everyone else, but me and my crew were hyped on Deca hella hard. I even have my old Siloh deck. Shiloh was always G and ahead of his time, I will always consider him as one of the best.

ODB said...

Great interview please keep them coming!

Brendan said...

Always been a fan, thanks for another incredible interview, Eric.
Shiloh's Dad is indeed a badass (check out 'Save The Hotties', the Framptonesque talkbox stuff is epic, too)

Anonymous said...

New world order was the first video that I ever saw as a twelve year old kid. Shiloh blew me away! I never understood why he wasn't celebrated as the best street skater ever until years later when I found out about his arrest. I still think to this day that if he wouldn't have been m.i.a for that time he would be remembered in the same group as Guy and Koston.

Anonymous said...

My day starts out with the chicken and the waffles

Anonymous said...

I was like 12 years old & dude pulled a strap on me so ya I was a little shook up. & I’m from Pomona but grew up skating around the IE, not OC-JP ✌🏽😂