chrome ball interview #151: louie barletta

"Hey Chrome Ball."
"Hey Louie."

Do you believe in “illegal” tricks? 

No, but I do believe in “suspect activities”.

What’s a trick we will never see you do?

Oh man, you will never see me do a pressure flip. Those things razor tail your board so bad. I know they’re coming back but I was around for all that the first time. No thanks. 

Also, darkslide tricks… at least, not until I’m about to set up a new board.

Basically, I don’t like any trick that’ll destroy my board beyond the normal wear-and-tear. And as far as darkslide tricks go, crappy griptape freaks me out so bad. My griptape is sacred, dude! I’ll ride a board that’s as soggy as can be, but the second there’s a weird divot in my grip, I gotta change it. That kills me. 

Honestly, I only learned darkslides because I saw Jerry do them. Of course, he made them look cool, so then I had to go out and try them, too. And mess up my griptape. 

Yeah, I forgot about him doing that one at the LA River. 

Oh, he was doing those back when he was 14! I feel like he kinda knew they were illegal so he never pulled them out, but he always had them. 

What’s funny is we went to that LA River spot shortly after he did it and I actually started throwing that out there, too. Because I didn’t know! Somebody had to break the news to me, like, “Hey, Jerry just did that here.”

“Of course he did! Dammit!”

He must’ve had those in his back pocket for decades… and only decided to pull them out after I finally found a place that I wanted to do one, too! That guy, man. (laughs)

What’s your process with tricks? How much of this stuff is improvised at the spot versus going there with a plan? 

People always comment on the dorky stuff, but honestly, whenever you see me doing those types of tricks, it’s because somebody else is there really trying something. 

Honest to God, I’ve done this exactly one time with a dork trick. We were filming for Bag of Suck and Avery was out doing something else that day, so I called up Jesse Erickson to go film. 

“Hey dude, I want to go to Chavez and try this trick down the 3-Block.”

I failed to mention what the trick was, but he was into it.

“Yeah, man. I’ll be right over.”

So we ride our bikes over to the 3-Block. I start trying my trick, which was where I throw my board upside down and it flops over down the thing. I try it a couple of times and it starts to go around. 

“Hey dude, I think I got this. Can you set up and try to film this?”

He just looks at me, completely stone-faced. Like, “Are you fucking joking? That’s really what you want to try here?”

I felt so stupid, dude. 

And that was it. After that, I never took anybody to a spot for me to try anything even remotely out of the norm. Everything else that’s followed just came from somebody else trying to do something for real at the spot. I’m just hyper, I guess. I just want to skate.

photo: Chami

I can also imagine you possibly getting mad sometimes and trying something wild instead. 

Yeah, that happens, too. But most of the time, especially back then, it was Chris Avery and Matt Eversole throwing out ideas.  

“Hey, why don’t you just grab your board and do this instead?”

“I can probably do that… Sure! That sounds way more fun than what I was trying!”

But for my sins, that’s the stuff those guys would always put in my video parts.

“Aw man! I wanted to look like Mike Carroll! I want to be sick at skating, not this clown dude!” (laughs)

You must’ve gotten some gnarly feedback over the years. Because the 90’s were not the most open-minded era and you hung out with a pretty harsh crew.

Oh yeah, there were haters, for sure.

The thing was, I was already living on my own back then. Almost everybody else was still living with their parents. I had a job, I was going to school. So when I had skateboard time, nothing was gonna stop me.  People could talk all sorts of shit but I didn’t care.

“Dude, you guys get to do this every day and get paid for it. I’m doing this because I love doing it. This is my day off. I’m gonna have fun.”

That was my whole way of thinking back then. My real life is boring. I make coffee for people eight hours a day, every day. It sucks. Riding this toy is fun.

photo: Sharp

Yeah, didn’t you have a job for the majority of your career? 

I basically had jobs until I moved to Finland during Bag of Suck. So yeah, I was still working a day job for the first five years I was pro. 

And yeah, it sucked at times, but it’s not like I was constantly bummed about it. It’s funny to think about now, but at the time, I thought I had a really kickass job. I was manager at this coffee shop… and there was no way I was about to let that job go. 

I always had it in my mind that this skateboarding stuff was probably going to end for me next week. Because coming from the nineties, you were pro for three years and then you were gone. Like, I don’t know what happened to Rick Jaramillo but he was just gone one day. I already have a pretty decent job. I guess I’ll just do this skateboard thing for a couple years and when it’s gone, it’s gone. 

I think that’s why I never took skateboarding so seriously, because I was working a normal job still. It kept me grounded. 

photo: Whiteley

Skating has gotten more “creative” in recent years, for better or worse. When do you feel like this sort of thing starts to venture into corniness? 

That’s the thing, I remember going out to film cab kickflips down stairs, back when nobody was doing those. I had tricks I wanted to do. Switch backtail a rail. Switch backsmith a rail. I always wanted to balance my dorky tricks with ones I felt were on the level of my peers at the time. 

It also didn’t hurt that I was hanging out with MJ and Jerry every day. Granted, the stuff I was doing was never on their level, but it did push me… and that’s the unfortunate thing about today. There’s such an emphasis on “creative” skateboarding, people forget that you’re being put on a pedestal because you’re better at skating than other people. You need to demonstrate why that is and that you deserve that place. There always needs to be that balance of good skateboarding along with all the other fun stuff. 

Well, your fun stuff is always pretty hard, too. 

Oh, you’re making me blush!

(laughs) But are there clips you look back on that feel maybe a bit too circus-y?

Oh, for sure. And honestly, I used to get kinda upset by all that… until I finally just had to embrace it. Because even if I landed a trick really good, Matt Eversole was still going to put the sketchy, pretzel-y one in there. I had to accept that this was going to be my role in skateboarding, that Matt was going to use the funnier ones out of everything. And that’s cool. 

Give us an example.

Well, in Bag of Suck, I do this thing… I don’t even know what I’m actually doing there. But I go up to boardslide a rail and kick the board out, run down the rail after it and jump back on. 

The only reason we even went to that spot was because I wanted to do a “collect call”, which is a boardslide where you pop up to 5-0 grind. That was the entire reason we were there. 

Well, my best friend Warren was there and he wanted to boardslide that rail, which was the biggest rail he’d ever even thought about skating. So that clip of me doing the running-after-the-board thing was just to show him how safe it was. Because it was wide on top, relatively low and super mellow. Totally safe. And that’s why I was doing that shit, just messing around for Warren. 

And not only did I end up filming the boardslide 5-0 grind, I also did a boardslide no-comply, too. But that stupid boardslide run-down-the-rail thing is the only thing that ended up in the video, dude!

Because I feel like Mike Maldonado was the only dude to do a boardslide no-comply off a rail back then. And nobody was really doing boardslide to 5-0s on handrails, either. I felt like I had some progressive tricks going there, but instead, I got this weird whatever trick in my part. 

But Warren did end up boardsliding it, though. The biggest handrail he ever skated. So in the end, it was worth it. 

photo: Jai

I know you came up obsessed with World and Girl, and all of your early coverage was pretty straightforward… Like, your “Welcome to Sonic” ad was a hurricane down Hubba, right? Was that your first sponsor? 

Well, here’s a funny one that I’ve never actually told anybody, but since you brought up World Industries… When I was younger, I sent a sponsor-me video to World Industries. And I doubt he even remembers this, but Mark Oblow sent me a package. 

(laughs) For Prime!?

For fucking Prime, dude! 

I remember being like, “Uh, it’s not quite World… but it’s still kinda World!” 

It never really went anywhere but that’s about as close as I got. I was in the building! It wasn’t Menace, but it was something! (laughs)

That’s amazing! 

But Sonic was Corey O’Brien’s company. And living in San Jose, I’d always see Corey at the bar with Tim Brauch and Mike Crabtree. They were always the cool guys. Crabtree’s actually the one who started giving me Sonic boards, but not through Sonic. He worked at a skateshop and whenever I’d go in there, he’d let me take Sonic boards…but only Sonic boards.

It was this weird thing where I wasn’t even sure if I was actually on the team or if it was Mike and I basically stealing boards. Like, what’s really going on here? 

Somehow, Nanda Zipp ended up seeing my sponsor-me video. And on my tape, I hurricane Hubba Hideout. I guess that impressed him enough to where he wanted me to do it again. 

“Hey Louie, you’re on the team if you can get a photo of that.”

So, literally the next day, Jai and I drove up to Hubba and I did it again. That’s how Sonic came about. 

Was Simon Woodstock still on the team? 

Oh yeah, Simon was on Sonic.

I remember going to skate with him sometimes and he’d always have to go back to his house in order to drive anywhere. Total fact, dude. Like, his brain could never recalculate his position. It was just this funny little thing that we all had to go through. We’d be at one spot and decide to hit up some other spot across town, he’d have to drive almost entirely back to his house in Campbell and start all over again in order to get there. 

But how was skating with Simon? Could it be annoying at times? 

I always thought he was rad, dude! Whatever he did was always pretty epic to me. 

Don’t you have his penny board? 

(laughs) No way, dude! 

Oh, we’re gonna jump into that in a second, for sure!

But first off, let me just say that I didn’t really hang out with Simon all that much. But Wee Man and I would always skate together back then and he and Simon were buddies. That was the connection. Because Wee Man was at my house one day when Simon showed up to skate in a fucking sniper ghillie suit!

He just walks up to us like, “Hey, dudes… Wee Man, let’s shoot a Sonic ad!”

And we’re all like, “What the hell is that!?!”

The ad ended up being a photo of Simon hiding in some bushes, wearing that sniper suit, while Wee Man skated the bank in front of my house. It was incredible. 

But honestly, that kinda stuff made me realize it didn’t always have to be these hardcore missions with MJ. That you didn’t always have to stress out over a getting a photo for the ad. It was a really nice opposing force to what ads typically were back then. 

I think Simon might’ve been the only pro having fun in the 90s. 

Oh yeah, he definitely marched to the beat of his own drum, as they say. 

But no, I don’t have that penny board. That’s not mine. We all just happened to be skating Sunnyvale one day when Jai showed up with that board. And the thing is, we all rode that board! We were all blown away because it was Simon’s board, so everybody was trying it out… and that thing probably weighs 40 pounds!

But for some reason, I was the only one who got a clip on the penny board, so now I’m the penny board guy. I skated that thing once in my entire life for maybe 15 minutes! That’s it! 

I figured it was in your garage, right by your moped…

(laughs) Not at all, but everyone thinks that!

Like, I remember Paul Schmitt hitting me up one day. 

“I want to pick your brain about board shapes.”

“Dude, I’ve been riding the exact same shape since 1999!”

I am not a wacky board shape guy. I ride a 1993 Guy Mariano board. That’s the board I ride. When we started Enjoi, I gave MJ a Girl board and just told him to copy it for me. That’s the board I’ve ridden since. This whole time. But I get one clip on a penny board and suddenly, I’m the guy with all the wacky boards!

How’d you get hooked up with Sketchers? 

That was just through a guy I knew.  

You know, I always kinda laugh at people who try to dog it a little… because I was working three jobs at the time. I wasn’t getting paid by Emerica or Sonic back then. So getting a paycheck from those guys really helped me get out of that day-to-day rat race. Granted, the “work ethic” side of it helped make me who I am today, but still... I was stoked on Sketchers, dude. It paid my rent. It paid my car insurance. And it allowed me to skate a little more during the week. 

How did those skate? 

They were okay. That was a weird era for shoes anyway. Everything was getting all big and puffy. But Sketchers had these ones that were basically Simple Shoes rip-offs. I wore those the most. They were the most skateboardable ones. 

It’s funny because Sketchers has commercials on TV now. And every time he sees one, my Dad will always say, “You should’ve stuck it out with those guys! You could’ve been a millionaire!”

“They did plenty for me back then, Dad. It’s all good.”

photo: Old

How’d Maple get into the picture? 

Sonic got bought out by NHS, and eventually, they didn’t want Sonic to have a team anymore. They just wanted to sell it as a board brand, which was just starting to happen, so they clipped the whole team. 

At the time, I basically hung out with two crews. There was Jason Adams, Tim Brauch and Crabtree, who were kinda like the older dudes. It was all curbs, banks and transition with those guys. And then I’d go out and skate with MJ and Jerry, which meant gaps, handrails and ledge spots. 

So I was out skating with Jason and those guys one day, right after Sonic had ended. Jason had been on Sonic, too, but he’d just gotten on Black Label. And he ends up bringing up Black Label to me. 

“Dude, John’s down. Let me talk to him and get you on Black Label.”

Because, obviously, John Lucero is one of my heroes on so many levels, man. He would definitely be part of my Mt. Rushmore, for sure.

But then, a day or two later, I’m out skating with MJ and Jerry. I start talking to those guys about everything, when out of the blue, Jerry goes, “Oh, do you want to skate for Maple? I can talk to those guys, if you want?”

And I’m like, “What!?! Yes! Of course, dude! Duh!”

Because I knew the Maple guys pretty well. They were always coming up to San Jose back then because of Jerry and all the history with Marc. But after MJ left for the A-Team, they were always hanging out at my house because Jerry was still a little kid. It’s not like they could all go out for beers with Jerry back then. So they’d always end up over at my place, wyling out. 

Was Donger still there at that point? 

Donger was still there but he was about to go do Dynasty with Satva. But I’d still see those dudes around. 

Actually, I remember going down to San Diego one time and Ed Dominick’s like, “Hey, we’re gonna meet up with Donger at this school!”

And I was all hyped, because I always loved that dude from the old H-Street videos. 

We get there and it’s Donger and Sheffey on the roof of this school, howling at us. I will never forget that moment. 

Howling at you? 

Yeah, man. They were literally howling up on this roof like wolves. Like, “Owwwwwww!”

I remember Ed saying, “Damn, man… I think they’re on acid!” 

It was amazing! They never even came down… and we skated for a while! They just stayed up there, making animal noises. Grunting like gorillas, dude. It was so rad. Because I was starstruck by those guys anyway, and now to finally meet them and they’re up on the roof making animal noises? It was the best. 

I’ve never really lost the starstruck thing with guys like that. Regardless of all my years in skateboarding, I’m still kind of a tourist, you know? I still fan out. I mean, I was just in Copenhagen and saw Wes Kramer… I totally freaked out on him! Like, “Yeah, Wes!” Screaming in his face, doing the Skate Mafia thing with him. 

Some things are just so awesome, you have to embrace them.

Your Black Cat part features a switch crooks down Hubba, a Riffty-fifty, picnic table lines and handrails galore. How do you look back on this? Because it’s like a completely different guy! Is this straight Louie going for his?

Well, so much of my career is due to Matt Eversole’s editing. It really is. He really knew how to present my skating… whereas with Maple, I didn’t have that same filter yet.

Because you have to remember that I was filming for Black Cat and the first Tiltmode video at the same time. So I was always going out to try those more serious tricks, it’s just that all of the fun stuff comes along with it. I was still doing all of that fun stuff during Black Cat, it just so happened that Ed Dominick edited the Maple video and Matt edited the Tiltmode videos. And that’s what’s so crazy, people don’t realize how intimate the editor is in somebody’s part. They can make you look like however they want to portray you, which is kinda scary. 

That’s an excellent point. 

I was stoked on my Maple part, it just didn’t have any of the fun stuff in there. And I remember thinking as we were editing everything that it did feel pretty serious. I even asked if we could put a few more fun clips in there to lighten it up.

Ed goes, “Why don’t you save that stuff for your Tiltmode buddies!” (laughs)

He wanted that video to be really straightforward, man. He didn’t want hardly any fun stuff in there at all. 

I don’t think there are any transition clips in there. And one footplant. 

Yeah, that’s how it went down. It was kind of a life lesson for me. Because after I saw what Matt put together for the Tiltmode video, I wanted him to edit everything of mine after that. Matt totally understood the tone I wanted to put out there. 

Because I want to say the Maple video came out in March and the first Tiltmode video came out in April. So that was all filmed at the same time… a lot of it was the same day, actually. We gave all the footage to Ed first and he used whatever he wanted, then whatever leftovers I had became my Tiltmode part. That’s how it worked.

I remember even having a hard time picking songs for my Maple part because Ed wasn’t feeling them. We ended up on that Heavenly song, which was good, but it was a process getting there. 

Not that Ed was trying to be malicious. Not at all. It was just that era where the fun aspect of skating wasn’t such a thing. He wanted to make a Zero video or whatever… and I totally get that. 

But that frontside flip lateflip on the bank passed the Dominick test. Is that like your version of the storm flip? 

(laughs) Dude, what’s funny is that after Jerry figured out the storm flip, again, I had to figure it out, too! I guess that’s gonna be a running theme in this, huh? But yeah, I’ve actually done a couple storm flips, too. 

Jerry and I were always on the road together back then. And I gotta say, the storm flip would come in pretty handy at demos. We’d joke about it. Because when it got towards the end of the demo and things were winding down, we’d always have to give Jerry the signal. 

“Alright Jerr, break out the storm flip.”

It was always the demo ender, which was super funny to us... Jerry’s signature move. But it was a good one to have in our back pockets because kids would always go nuts over that thing, every time. 

I never really got hit up for the frontside flip lateflip. I can still do them… I did one maybe two years ago? But those take a lot of energy. I’m 21 now, I’ve got different priorities. I’m too busy being hungover these days. (laughs)

photo: Brook

When’s the last time you did a kickflip frontboard on a handrail?

Oh my goodness… it’s been a while on that one, dude! It really has. (laughs)

Do you feel like Matt’s editing style made you embrace the fun side of your skating and really start going for that style even more? 

I don’t think that I started doing it more personally… because like I said, I was always doing that stuff anyway. 

Honestly, I was just trying to make the homies laugh. Marc is so serious and Jerry’s almost killing himself out there. I want to make sure everyone is still having fun. So yeah, I’ll dork around and try whatever crazy ideas get thrown out there.

The tailgrab caveman to nosegrind you did in Tilt Mode, had you seen that one before? And was it weird for you to start seeing that trick pop up years later in people’s parts?  

That’s a good question! I don’t know if I’ve ever even thought about that before... I’m definitely not the dude to be like, “I made that up.” That’s not me at all. I don’t make up anything, dude. 

I’m a huge history buff anyway, I probably saw it in some Savannah Slamma video from 1984... Rob Roskopp might’ve done it on a PVC slider or something. There’s no way I made that up. I was just riding my skateboard. Whatever it was doing, I was just trying to stay on top of it. 

Andrew Allen and a few other guys started running those a few years ago.

Oh wow… I guess so. That’s pretty funny. But I really don’t think I was the dude to do those first. Those guys weren’t doing that trick because of me. (laughs)

(laughs) This guy’s a trendsetter!

I’ll have to get this interview printed out so I can frame it. Show it off to the kids. 

It’ll look great on your mantel.

 “Look at this, kids. Your Dad invented a trick!”

“Go to bed, old man!”

They had no idea their Dad invented things on this little toy he plays with. 

“Real cool, Dad.” 

(laughs) But talk about your Man Down period. Because I feel like this is where we see our first glimpse of “modern Louie”. With the bowl cut and the sweaters and all that… 

Life can be kinda funny that way. Because you’ll often find yourself in a holding pattern for so long, trying to figure everything out. And then, all of a sudden, things start to happen super fast. You can’t really plan it out that way.

When I was filming for Black Cat and Tilt Mode!, I was living in a skate house with, like, 8 other dudes. And we all looked the same. I walked around in Sonic gear and NC Clothing from head-to-toe. Doug Shoemaker walked around in all Creature gear from head-to-toe. We all looked like cardboard cutouts of our sponsors. Because we were all a bunch of poor kids just trying to get by, we wore free clothes. 

Once Maple started to happen, I actually moved out of that house and into this tiny one-bedroom house that was across the street from a thrift store. The rad thing about thrift stores is that they have cool clothes, and what’s even radder about thrift stores is that they close early but people still drop off clothes and shit afterwards. So I’d just go over there every day after skating and dig around. That’s how I found all those sweaters and shit.

I actually found myself making the conscious decision to not look like everybody else. I didn’t want to be just another guy with a shaved head and a hoodie on. It really was like an epiphany for me. I just didn’t want to look like that dude anymore. I’m getting all of this cool clothing from the thrift store, I’m gonna start running this stuff instead. 

And the bowl cut? My hair just naturally wants to do that. No matter what. I actually tried to get a nice haircut whenever I got married and I couldn’t escape it. I combed the shit out of it and my hair still went right back into a bowl. 

Kids always ask me, “How do you get it to go so perfect?”

“Dude, it just grows like this.” 

I didn’t go out looking for this haircut, it found me... I can’t get rid of this damn thing, dude. It’s like the weeds in my front yard. 

photo: Jai

Something I noticed over the course of my research, do you have a gnarly hat collection or something? 

(laughs) The thing with hats, it’s kind of amazing. Because once you have one or two wacky hats, people just start giving you hats. Like that Russian hat? I didn’t buy that. My buddy’s dad bought it for me!

“Hey Louie, I was in China when I happened to see this Russian hat and I thought of you!”

He bought it and brought all the way back home from China, dude! It was so rad!

It just became this thing. Anybody who happened to have a weird hat in their closet that they didn’t know what to do with, they usually ended up giving it to me. 

Jumping a little bit ahead, because we were all living together in a house during Man Down. But right after that video came out, we all got evicted. So I ended up moving into a house with Warren and Avery. This house was huge, too. We called it “The Mansion”.  And there was this random closet in the middle of the house that somehow ended up becoming “The Costume Closet”.  

We were always having parties back then. Like one night, we’d have a pirate party where everybody had to come dressed as a pirate. So the next day, there’d be all these random swords and pirate shit lying around… just throw that shit in the costume closet. 

So after a while, the costume closet was full of all these weird-ass hats and crazy shit. I mean, we had a full gorilla suit in there! And this started leading to nights where’d we go on random digs through the costume closet… because sometimes you gotta dress up if you’re gonna drink Captain Morgan, you know? 

A lot of those hats came from that, too. Random fruit from the costume closet. And we still had all that shit up until a few years ago. I finally had to grow up and throw it all away. It was a real heartbreaker. 

That had to be a tough day, man. 

It really was. We had to get a dumpster and everything. I’d pull out a really good one and weaken a little…

“We gotta keep this one!”

But my wife would have to be like, “No, we’re getting rid of all this.”

You gotta keep the gorilla suit!

Right!?! Those things are expensive, man! Plus, you never know when you’re gonna need one!

But honestly, that thing really had to go. It’d never been washed and just reeked of beer. It was pretty bad, dude.

What’s the story with that backyard set-up in Man Down with your nosegrind and kickflip front board? What was all that stuff? 

That was our house, man! Me, Marc, Jerry, Evs and Avery… we all lived there. 

What sucks about that is I’m literally rolling on Marc’s art in that clip. Somebody had given me a mini-ramp, so we had all of this wood in our backyard because we were gonna to rebuild this ramp someday… even though we never did. But this is back when MJ was painting all the time, and he was actually painting on a lot of that wood. So whenever I watch that footage, I honestly can’t believe that we would just be out there skating on Marc’s paintings like that. (laughs)

I did keep a lot of that stuff, though.

photo: Whiteley

Was he bummed you were skating on it?

No, he didn’t care at all. He was always painting shit… but still, it’s kinda funny to think about. And the fact that we built this little obstacle course through our backyard. That house was so insane, dude. There was always cool stuff happening there every day.

There’s an amazing photo of Avery doing a crooked grind inside our den. We did the four-man kickflip in there, too. And that’s where Marc came up with the idea for Enjoi, while we were living in that house. It was pretty incredible because he would come up with all these ideas of what the brand should be. We’d just sit around, listening to him. We were all so enamored by it.

“I’m gonna start a company and everybody’s gonna have health insurance!”

 “What!?! No way! That would be so cool!”

Do you remember how Enjoi went from being a fantasy over beers to an actual thing?

Well, he was on A-Team back then. And he was getting a real paycheck, too. But as they decided to dissolve that brand, Marc came in with his ideas. 

Maple was awesome. Not to say that it wasn’t legit, it just wasn’t a World Industries-type of company. Marc would go on A-Team tours and come back with all these stories of being out on the road with Rocco. That Rocco bought some slingshot-type of thing and was shooting kids in the face with t-shirts. 

We never did anything like that on Maple tours. Our last trip was to Vegas where we were grinding it out until four in the morning, lighting up spots. That wasn’t fun. We wanted to be where Marc was at. 

You just wanted to be around Marc, in general. He has so much creativity, so many ideas. I’d just sit there, listening to him rant about everything. Eating it all up. I look back on that period as this amazing moment in time. I can’t really explain it… 

Like, when Chris Avery moved out of my house, he moved to England. And as he left, he gave Matt Eversole all of his hi-8 tapes, all of his DV tapes. Everything he ever filmed. And we had to ask him, “What are you doing? Why are you giving us all this stuff?”

He goes, “I’m done, man. I’ve spent all this time watching MJ invent everything. I don’t need to film ever again.”

And the thing is, we understood what he was saying. It really sums up that particular era of hanging out with Marc. He was so creative and inventive. There was no way we weren’t going to follow him on whatever project he wanted to do. 


What about the early Enjoi team? Looking back, it feels pretty random with guys like Rodney, Mayhew and Dobstaff... Even Chris Cole was in the mix.  

Well, after they dissolved the A-Team, Gershon went to Blind and Chet started Darkstar Boards, but that still left Rodney and Mayhew. So they just slid those guys on over to Enjoi… which, I think it’s a good formula to have Rodney Mullen on whatever brand you’re starting. Dwindle’s done that a couple times. You always need that one draw on the team, like a ringer. 

And they’d had Chris Cole as a World Industries dude. They ended up selling World and Rodney said that Chris had to go somewhere, so he came to Enjoi. Marc didn’t really have a choice on that one. No offense to Chris Cole at all, that dude’s a total ripper. We were just such a tight-knit crew that it never really worked out. We were like the cool kids in high school and he was the new kid who just moved into town from a different school. It wasn’t an intimidation-type of thing, he was just an outsider. 

It’s funny, though, because I always think about these types of things. Like, what if I did ride for Black Label back in the day? What if Chris Cole stayed on Enjoi? There are always these weird moments in time where you could’ve gone through a completely different door. Where would that have led? It’s pretty wild to think about. 

But those first Enjoi tours were crazy, man. It would be Marc and Rodney in the front listening to Stephen Hawking Time-Space Continuum shit, with the rest of us in the back, just wyling out. 

And Rodney was just the raddest. He’d be like, “Marc, I think that a black hole can only exist on three planes... You guys want to stop for more beer?”

The genius about Rodney is not only that he can speak on a level I could never understand, but he can also turn around and dumb down his whole deal to speak on our level. That would always blow me away, dude. 

True story: We’re driving to a demo on the East Coast and Marc asked Rodney how he was able to do those crooked grind nollie varial heels. Rodney broke down his boards into quadrants and explained the whole thing to him… like, move your front foot from quadrant 2 to q4 with all your pressure on the big toe. It was insane. He basically taught Marc the fucking trick while we were all sitting in the car. And once we finally got out, Marc ended up doing one on, like, third try! Just by having Rodney explain his process to him in the van. We couldn’t believe it. 

I had to ask him, “Hey Rodney, how do you do a McTwist? Can you please break that one down for me? That’s my dream trick.” 

It really was incredible to watch that go down. Meanwhile, we’re in the back, drawing dick pics and trying to glue them onto each other’s faces. (laughs)

What did Rodney think of your trick selection? 

Hmm… that’s a good question. 

Because he’s pretty serious. 

Yeah, he’s a serious guy and takes skateboarding very seriously. I don’t think he enjoyed the fact that I was taking all of the tricks he invented and was making fun of them. (laughs)

No, Rodney’s a sweetheart. I don’t think he tripped out on that at all. 

You have to realize that Rodney was president of Dwindle at the time, so a lot of this had to be tough for him. I didn’t understand that back then, but I do now. Because he was the boss, you know? It must’ve been hard for him to be on tours with us and see dudes just piling out, going crazy… then going home and cutting them checks. Like, job well done.

I know that feeling now and it’s not awesome. I commend Rodney for that.

A heady mix of improvisation, inside jokes and high concepts, how do Enjoi ads typically come to exist? What’s the process and has that evolved at all over the years?  

No, it’s still pretty much the same way we’ve always done them. 

A lot of the early ones were kinda poking fun at the whole skateboard industry machine… because honestly, skateboarding needs that. At the end of the day, we’re a bunch of grown men playing with a toy. How could you ever be that serous about it, you know? There has to be a bit of a poke in all this, making fun of what it is we’re actually doing here. 

Not that we always had to be critical like that… because it can’t be all that same note. You always have to switch it up and dudes will come up with different ideas they want to explore. But on the flipside of that, we’d also run into the situation where an ad was due and we didn’t have anything. Matt would hit us all up, like, “Hey dudes, ad is due. Everyone send me whatever photos you have.” And honestly, that’s where a lot of the best ones came from. Basically pulling something out of thin air.

You guys would just send over random photos and Matt would try to come up with a line for one? 

Yeah, a lot of times it starts out as a photo first and then the tagline would come after the fact… like a lot of the party ones. Sometimes Matt would just rifle one off the top of his head that was instantly perfect. But other times, we’d have to go around the horn, throwing out ideas of what it should say.

The one I always think about… Weiger was staying with us when we turned Jose pro. And for his first graphic, all it said was “Jose” on it, but Weiger got super hyped when he saw that for some reason. 

“Dude, I want a board with my name on it!”

Matt says, “Well, it would have to be a longboard because your name is so long.”

And as soon as he said that, we all just kinda looked at each other. That was it. We have to make this board and that’s the ad. Him doing a backtail on this giant board. I actually shot the photos for that one. And it’s funny because originally, he’s just holding the board, which was cool but him actually skating it would be so much better. So I remember him trying to do a 5-0 grind first and he couldn’t do it. The board was too heavy! He would stand on the tail and the board would just droop down. He couldn’t even hold it up. (laughs)

People used to always ask us if our ads were photoshopped, and they really weren’t back then. Not in that era. That Weiger ad was the only one because Matt had to hold the end of the board up. Like I said, it was too heavy, so we had to photoshop his hand out of it. But that was the only one back then. All the other ones were real, dude. We really did all that stuff. 

I also like the one when Manfre and Caswell both got on the team. Matt wanted it to be “the young guns”, so I made that paper mache gun for it. That was cool.

Would you run a lot of those older ads as Enjoi brand manager today? Did you always agree with the more controversial ones at the time?

No, absolutely not. There were quite a few ads from back then that I was really upset about. 

Like what? 

One that comes to mind is the Ryan Sheckler one. Just making fun of him…

I’m all for making fun of things and making fun of yourself. But I’ve never been one to bully people or make fun of other people. So that kinda stuff would always bum me out, whenever I felt like we were making fun of someone. 

There were definitely a few ads that I never saw beforehand, but they went out and I felt like they were pretty harsh. I didn’t like my name associated with those. 

I was looking over a lot of your Enjoi ads for this and I think my top three of yours have to be the brash Moz one, Djork, and the Dorf 50-50.

(laughs) My favorite thing about the Djork one is that piece of toast I’m walking around with that’s completely burnt to a crisp. Like, what the heck? Where did I even get that toast from? And I’m eating it!?! 

I feel like I had a lot of ads, dude. I guess it just came from always being in the mix? Matt did live with me at one point and we were always getting into some shenanigans… 

Sharing a part with Jerry for Subject to Change, could you tell that he was about to blow up like he did? 

Well, yes. Because Marc had left Enjoi by that point…

Which had to be the worst-case scenario at the time.

Oh my God, dude. That was insane. I actually remember sitting down with everybody, trying to figure out what we were going to do. And honestly, I didn’t think the company was going to continue. I figured that I would end up going to Black Label. Jerry had actually been talking to Ed about Toy Machine. It literally came down to Jose… like, what’s he going to do? 

…Well, I guess we better keep this thing going then! (laughs)

So we flew down to LA and penciled in a deal to keep the thing going, for what it’s worth. And it was pretty rough in the beginning. We didn’t know what the hell we were doing. But that automatically made Jerry our number one guy. We were already putting him on a pedestal, but once Marc left, all of that focus immediately went to Jerry. And those are some pretty big shoes to fill, but I feel like he was able to take it all in stride. Because it just so happened that there were some changes happening at Osiris around that time as well, and they made Jerry their big guy, too.  

We all pretty much knew that Jerry was going to have last part in Subject to Change. But at some point, Shockus thought it would be cool for us to share a part. Because Lil B and Smolik shared a part in The Storm, they wanted to keep that tradition going. 

I always wondered why they put their two most popular riders in one part like that. 

Yeah, that was a Shockus call. But I was always stoked on that. Because at the time, I was hanging out with Jerry every day. And all jokes aside, besides him being one of my best friends, he’s also one of my all-time favorite skaters. I was hyped, dude. 

The thing that sucks, and I always feel bad about this, we kinda forced the Osiris dudes to have Matt edit our part. Because of the Maple thing and it being edited to look different than how I thought it would… both Jerry and I were pretty adamant about Matt editing our part. 

Looking back, that’s kind of a dick move. To take a project away from somebody else like that… but at the same time, Matt nailed it. He’s an editing genius, dude. 

Tell me about the manual front shuv late flip at Pier 7. 

Dude, I forget that I have a clip at Pier 7! But you know what stokes me out about that one? Henry Sanchez was there that day and he clapped for me when I landed that. That’s what stokes me out the most, dude. 

photo: Burnett

That’s sick! Because you could’ve easily gotten cool guy’d on that one. 

Oh, for sure. Pier 7 sessions were heavy, man. All the heads were there. But honestly, Karl Watson and Mike York were always cool to me. Marcus McBride, too. I guess because I was non-threatening, they let me slide. They knew I wasn’t going to take away any of their cool tricks so they let me do my thing. (laughs)

What about your pink-phase180 ollie line in there, with the switch 360 kickflip to jump on the wall thing? I love that line… even though it’s barely even a line.  

(laughs) Oh yeah! That’s a funny one. 

I think we went there because Jerry wanted to try a trick on those rails. I was just fucking around and happened to have really good switch 360 flips that day. 

“Dude! We gotta film one of these switch 360 flips while I can actually do them!”

I didn’t really have anything else at that spot and I couldn’t just film a flatground trick, so I had to make it work somehow! (laughs)

It’s funny because I’ve never actually filmed a regular 360 flip. 

No, you did one on that tiny board!

Okay, yeah, on that tiny little board but never on a normal board. It’s just a funny little fact. I don’t know why that is. But I do have a switch one.

How’d your Big Brother cover happen with the hippie jump through the hula hoop? What’s going on there?

Yeah, man… It’s a conceptual piece. (laughs)

I was making a statement on the duality of man, dude. That we’re always jumping through hoops to get ahead. 

But for real, handrails were so hot back then and I was already over them. I was kinda making fun of them there. That you really have to jump through a hula hoop to get a cover on a handrail these days. 

Would your Bag of Suck part have been the same if it wasn’t largely filmed in Finland and Italy? 

Well… how can I say this? 

In the beginning of Bag of Suck, we lied to Dwindle a lot. Here we’d told them that we were filming for this big video and all we were doing was traveling all over the world to party. Like, we’d gone to Hawaii for six weeks, dude… and filmed a total of two tricks. All of us! We just partied the entire time we were there. 

You can only do that for so long. And after a while, they started putting some pressure on us to finally come through with this video we were supposedly out there filming. 

I kinda lost my shit, dude. I was so worried about my part being good and the video being good... I mean, Caswell was supposed to be our hot new guy, but he’d just found out that you can get laid if you go to the bar! So that’s all he was focused on!

MJ had actually said this to me right before he left Enjoi, but it never really sunk in until that very moment. He said, “I’m tired of looking at my friends and seeing the dollar sign.”

Once I realized what he was talking about, it really sucked, dude. Because we were paying Caswell all this money and he’s not even skating? Suddenly, I knew exactly what he meant by that. 

Because here it was, the big video from Dwindle’s number one brand that was supposedly coming soon… will it live up to the hype? I started to freak out, dude. There was so much pressure, I finally had to say, “Fuck it, I’m moving to Finland, dude.”

I wanted to go where there were no filmers. None of the pressure. Away from all of that… Away from California and having to hear about who did what where. Some place where there was nothing going on. And honestly, Finland was the best thing ever. I just hung out with dudes who loved skating, and it got me back to where I could go out and skate for fun again. I’d gotten so wrapped up in the industry-side of skating that I almost lost touch of why I was doing it. I mean, it’s a toy! This is supposed to be fun. 

Finland got me back to my roots, dude. Because in the summer, the sun barely goes down. So a lot of those clips you see from over there look like daylight, but were actually filmed super late at night. Like that line where… I don’t even know what the fuck it is. We’re skating tables into a bank or something? That had to be around three in the morning, dude. And that’s an apartment complex! We had all these people yelling at us, screaming shit out their windows! They were super pissed!

But Italy was pretty incredible in how that all worked out. That whole thing came about because I wanted to get some tricks in Spain. There just happened to be a contest coming up in Italy and Dwindle was like, “You have to go to this contest. You have to be there.”

Why? I have no idea. Because I just went there and drank the whole time. But one night, some Italian dude gives me his email address and he’s like, “You need to come back. I will show you all around Italy!”

“Yeah! Whatever, dude! Cool!”

So I head to Spain and meet up with this filmer, Travis Adams. We skate around for a little while, and then I asked him, “Hey, do you want to go to Italy?”

“Okay, let’s go!”

So we head back to Italy and meet up with this dude at the Milan train station… which, I didn’t even remember what he looked like because I was blacked-out whenever I first met him. All we could think of to do is to just hold our boards up and hope he sees us. But it all ended up working out somehow. 

We stayed down there for a while, man. And it was so much fun, just skating around. We rode around Italy in his little Fiat, sleeping in churches. It was so budget, dude. Driving through all of these tiny little Italian towns, looking for literally anything to skate. Because we didn’t have any “spots” we wanted to go to… Half of what we hit weren’t even “spots” anyway. There were no rules. It was just whatever we happened to see off the side of the road. 

We just cruised, dude. Like that hubba I fakie 5-0 grinded? We just happened to pull off there to get gas. We looked over, like, “Woah! Look at that!”

I got out of the car and grabbed my board. I fakie 5-O’d it… I think I kickflip noseslid it, too. Then we just got back in the car and kept going. 

It just felt good to get away like that, dude. And as soon as I got back home from Finland, I was in a much better place. I was stoked on everything I filmed. It all felt like me and was stuff I wanted to put out there. My part was in a really good spot, and anything else I filmed after that just felt like a bonus. I was psyched. 

photo: Jai

Was Rod Stewart your choice?

No, that was all Matt. We actually got into it over that. Because I wanted to use a song called “Pop Goes the World” by Men Without Hats. Just this poppy 80’s song. Rod Stewart was all Matt’s idea... but it got pretty heated.

“Rod Stewart is like something my Dad would listen to, dude!”

“Alright, then you edit your part!” and he gave me the hard drive. 

“Okay, I will!”

And I did that thing where I tried to edit something for, like, 45 minutes. Trying to figure everything out until I finally had to give in.

“Fuck it! Rod Stewart’s good enough, dude!” (laughs)

Looking back on it, now that I understand how editing works because I’ve actually done it a few times since then, “Pop Goes the World” was not gonna work. There are no transitions. There’s really nothing special about the song, I was just stoked on the band. I understand now where Matt was coming from… and obviously, he was right because everybody was stoked on Rod Stewart. 

Video parts are funny, though. Because more than tricks, they really are just these little snapshots of my life. I don’t really think of them as “finished pieces”, you know? I can talk about tricks all day long but when I actually think about the part as a whole, I really had nothing to do with it. Beyond the clips, it’s really somebody else’s interpretation of how it should all fit together. And beyond that, it’s where dudes are when they first see it. So much of it is actually out of my control. 

It’s like when I was in high school and Animal Chin came out. I loved it! We photocopied the little flyer and posted it all over the town. But to talk to Lance Mountain about it, he’s just like, “Shit, man… I don’t know. We just filmed some tricks.”

I get that now. 

"Hey girls... Hey Louie."

Well, I’ve always been obsessed with that swerve-y axle grind thing in your part… and this is admittedly insane to ask, but did you have to tweak your set-up for that? (laughs)

(laughs) Not at all, dude. I think Jerry was filming a line there that day. I want to say that I was actually trying a different trick when I kinda swerved away and grinded like that. Of course, I fell… but by then, it had become a thing. It was a pretty good joke to roll up, pretending like I was going to try a trick, and then just slash to the side with one of those funny little grinds. 

That was definitely not planned.

Do you catch yourself getting mad when you can’t land these crazier tricks? Or is that missing the point?

Not with those kind of tricks, but with real tricks, for sure. I’m human. I get frustrated just like everybody else whenever I don’t do something first try. But not so much anymore… I think that comes with having half of your life on film. 

I’ve realized that I can tell whenever I’m stressing in my old footage. I can see as I’m rolling away that I’m just relieved to not have to be trying something anymore. I became much more aware of this by Bonus Round. Because in the Bag of Suck era, I would try something until I either made it or I broke myself. But by the time I got to Bonus Round or Oververt, the second I started to feel like I wanted to be done with something, I’d stop trying. Because by that point, it wasn’t about landing the trick anymore. It had become about not wanting to try it any longer. And even if I do happen to make it after that, I don’t want my body language to look like I’m only relieved to be rolling away. Because that’s no fun. 

I think it’s a maturity thing. You don’t need every single trick. It’s not a trick count, you’re entertaining people. You want to show that you’re having fun. 

This is the part where I ask you about the frontside grab nose manual.

(laughs) Oh yeah, people always ask me about that one… like, “That’s one of my favorite tricks you’ve ever done!”

We were just at the spot, dude. MJ was trying that manual-360 shove-manual. And I remember his board kept bouncing off the ground whenever he’d do the 360 shuv. Marc’s always so precise in what he wants, so he was really battling that one. I just threw that one out there, messing around. Because I’m not just going to sit around. It was just an idea somebody came up with, something to try. And like most of those things, it ended up in my part somehow. 

But people love that trick! And I’m always like, “Dude! I can do hard manuals! I’ve done hard manual tricks!”

I was actually a little upset that a few of the harder manual tricks I filmed weren’t in there. Stuff that took me forever to get. But no, I can just grab my board and that makes it in the video! (laughs)

Why the Black Cat sticker on the beer? 

That was my homage to Maple. Because I honestly feel like Enjoi, especially in that era, was really just the Maple team. Enjoi is what Maple would have become if it had the chance to evolve like it should’ve. That was the idea behind me holding that beer. And that beer was actually one of the beers they gave out at the premiere of Black Cat. That’s not a sticker, that’s an actual beer from the event. 

I still have it, too.

photo: O'Meally

Who do you most wish had a part in Bag of Suck that didn’t?  

Come on, dude! That’s a loaded question! MJ! Of course!

Alright, MJ’s a given. But going back to those “what if” scenarios, if you think about who all could’ve had parts in that video but didn’t, it can get pretty wild. 

Beyond MJ, I’ve always felt like the one that got away is Bobby Puleo’s part. I know that footage went into his Static 2 part, but that would’ve been so incredible to have him in Bag of Suck. Because Bob on a skateboard is fucking gold, dude. It’s always so rad to see, and to have that in our video… aw, man. That always hurts a little. Again, the what-if. 

Was Bonus Round a lot of unused Suck footage for you? Because I know Jerry had quite the Bag of Suck hangover afterwards, did you go through the same thing? 

Oh, Jerry didn’t skate after Bag of Suck for, like, three years, dude. He was dusted. 

But me? I’m pretty sure I went out filming for Bonus Round two days after Bag of Suck premiered. I never stopped skating. And living with Matt and Avery at the time, I always had someone around to film, so I just kept going. 

I’ve never been that calculated with things. I don’t know how people can plan like that… like “Alright, I’m gonna come out with this part at this time. I’ve got a couple interviews lined up and then I’m gonna make my SOTY run!”

I’ve always just skated and thankfully, I’ve had the right people around who knew how to capture everything. 

What about that intro with the girl in the bathtub? I think it was an ad, too. Not bad, Louie!

(laughs) That was back at the Mansion in the hot tub Jacuzzi upstairs. 

That must’ve been around 1:45 in the morning… which was pretty typical for back then. I was actually asleep when one of the guys came home with this girl. They woke me up, like, “Hey, this girl wants to be in an Enjoi ad.”

She was just down to shoot photos. And I know it looks like quite a scene in the video, but all that stuff was totally faked. I hate to shatter the dream but it was not in Russia, there was no foul play. I was sleeping 20 minutes before that photo was shot and I’d never even seen that girl before. It was totally staged. And after it was over, everybody put their clothes back on and went to bed. (laughs)

I don’t think that I’d ever seen a fakie ollie airwalk before. How’d you end up doing one down a double-set? 

Mark Whiteley, dude!

We were fucking around one day and I did one on flat. He’s like, “Do you think you can do that down something?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never tried… Let’s go to that double-set.”

So we went over there and shot it. Just like that. And I think those are the only ones I’ve ever done. One on flat and another one down the double-set… which, looking back, doing dork tricks down double-sets is pretty crazy. I don’t think I’d be so eager to try that these days. (laughs)

Mark came up with the idea for the 360 boneless down that double-set as well. Again, just dorking around, Mark asks if I can do it down something… I guess we’ll find out! 

I got super lucky with all that shit, man. I think I even do a laser heel in that part, too. That was pure luck. 

photo: Whiteley

I love the Future Primitive downhill to fakie 360 flip.

Yeah, dude! I was watching Future Primitive with my friend Warren and we got super stoked on it.

“Let’s make some of those gloves and go downhilling, dude!”

So we got some of those gloves together and hit up Matt to go film us. I honestly don’t think he quite understood it at first, but once he saw what we were actually talking about, he was stoked. 

I had no idea there was such a downhilling culture! Because I was getting hit up by dudes all the time after that, wondering where I got those gloves. Asking how I made them. I don’t know, it had been raining for a week straight in San Jose and we were bored. We were trying to think of something to do and just happened to be watching Future Primitive. We saw those guys doing it in the video and thought it looked like fun so we gave it a try. 

What about the 540 front-foot impossible ender? All jokes aside, that’s really hard. 

I was skating some other spot just before that and cracked my nose... I forget what I was actually trying but I don’t think I got it. We ended up going to that bank spot next and that’s just what came to mind… And I think we actually went to another spot after that where I was skating around with no nose at all. 

Ocean Howell did one of those in an old H-Street video and I always thought they looked cool. I could kinda do them back then but skating with Jerry, he could actually do them really well on banks… which, I’d never really thought about. And, of course, if Jerry did it, I thought it was cool. So then I started doing them on banks, too. 

photo: Gaston

I read where you were hesitant about King of the Road because of the constant filming, that people would see the more serious side of Louie. Do you ever feel trapped by this image where everyone expects you to be the cheerful good times guy having fun 24/7?

I can only be that way because I’m so the other way also. It’s one of those things where if someone really gets to know me, they’re like, “Dang, you’re a really serious dude!”

Because I can be so serious about things in my normal life, I can shut all that off and just have fun whenever I go skating. That’s really what it comes down to. 

With the King of the Road stuff, I still had to do all of my day-to-day Enjoi stuff, too. I still had to do my job, and nobody wants to see that side of it. The business stuff that normal people might not think about, somebody has to do that and fix all of the problems that can come up… Getting all stressed out because our product container is being searched in the harbor. Dumb shit like that. And I’m totally fine with doing it, I just don’t want to be that dude on TV.

I know you had Oververt and a few mini-ramp edits that you’ve said were your retirement parts. Is that official?

Yeah, I think so. Because I feel like I’ve had my time in the spotlight, it’s time to give these other dudes their moment.

Oververt felt like the last one to me. As I was filming, there was a side of me that knew this was probably gonna be it… But then again, I’ll go to Copenhagen and film some tricks, my mind immediately goes to “Dude, I should put out a part! I need to start filming again!”

The skate rat side of you never goes away, I just don’t want to jam everybody else up. The last thing I want to do is fly everyone over to Copenhagen and have them waiting around for me to get a trick. 

It’s their time to shine. It’s more about that than if I’m getting too old or whatever. I want these guys to have the same opportunities I got... To travel the world and have fun like I did.

photo: Chami

How did the Enjoi brand manager thing come about? 

Bod called me up one day to let me know that Matt had left. But the thing is, he’d already talked to everyone else on the team about it. 

“Hey Louie, I’ve already talked to all the dudes and they want to you to be the brand manager.” (laughs)

I’d been doing a lot of it already, it wasn’t like this entirely new and different thing for me. I basically already knew what to do, I just needed to meet all of the people who were doing everything else.

It was a relatively easy transition. When I was younger, I just wanted to skate. I didn’t really care about the business side of it. But as the years have gone on, it felt like the right time for me to step away from the skating aspect of it and check out this other side. 

This was basically right as we were filming for Oververt. We’d already been filming a bunch for it already, so I knew that I could put out this one last part and that would be it. 

You seemed to handle Jerry’s leaving Enjoi quite graciously, but how did you not take that personally? 

Well, you have to remember that for years, I was constantly on Jerry to do things.

“Jerry, you have to shoot this ad.”

“Jerry, you have to go on this trip.”

“Jerry, you have to do this other thing that you don’t want to do.”

It was constantly, “You have to, you have to, you have to…” 

Once he decided to leave, obviously, it was rough. But there was also a relief that I no longer had to team manage one of my best friends anymore. So, in a way, it kinda made things easier between us. 


It goes back to that same thing Marc was talking about. After Jerry left, we could just go back to being friends again. I wouldn’t have to stress over if he’s skating or not. Because at the time, he was killing himself for that Emerica video. I didn’t want him to burn himself out again. 

I want to skate with Jerry when we’re 50 years old. Don’t kill yourself over this shit, dude. 

Gotta ask, how was your My Lil Pony series received by that community? 

Well, this might come as a shock, but I don’t really know much about My Little Pony. I guess the ponies we used were generation two and the Ponies that are hot right now are generation five? I guess ours flew a little under the radar with those fans. 

Gotcha, but there’s the Bronies, too… which is a completely different beast. Did that ever get weird?

Oh, for sure. Bronies, dude. But no, it never really got weird with those guys. 

To be honest, we did this thing where we went to Bronycon with Jenkem, just to see if those guys were hyped on it. It kinda backfired on us and I actually ended up feeling really horrible about it. We kinda shitcanned the idea after that because it felt like we were making fun of them. Because those guys were just so serious about it. The way they talked about it, they said things like, “My Little Pony changed my life. It gave me hope and something to strive for.”

Hearing person after person say these things, it was like, “Fuck! I can totally say the same thing about my skateboard!”

It sounds weird but the more I thought about it, I get it. I know what you’re trying to say, bud. It’s cool. 

Damn… once you make the toy equivalent like that, it hits pretty close to home. 

Right? It was like “Fuck! You got me, dude! I wanted to make fun of you guys so bad! And now I can’t because we’re not that different! Fucking toys!”

What’s your favorite Ben Raemers memory? 

Oh, man… 

I can’t really tell you the best one. (laughs)

It’s okay… Nobody can ever tell me the real best one in these things.

(laughs) You get the PG versions. 

A good one that I always like to think about is this day we all went to get burritos. And Ben fucking hates cheese. I don’t know if he had some type of phobia or what. He wasn’t lactose intolerant or anything. There was just something weird about him and cheese. 

So yeah, we go get burritos. We’re all sitting down to eat and he goes to take a bite.


He was super upset. Like, upset to the point where he wants to leave. 

“You guys! We should get out of here. Let’s go get pizza instead!”

Uh… okay. So we leave the burrito spot, even though the rest of us are perfectly fine with our burritos. We end up going to this pizza spot... and Ben gets a fucking cheese pizza! Like, what is this guy doing!?! It was insane, man!

After all that, he’s sitting there eating a fucking cheese pizza. And he loved it, dude! We drank a pitcher of beer… It was all good. But that fucking burrito could not have cheese on it. No way! (laughs)

I just like to think about that and laugh about how all over the place that kid was.

As we wind this down, and I can’t thank you enough for doing this... What would you say is the proudest moment of your career and your biggest regret?

Woah… heavy-duty question at the end here! 

My biggest moment in skateboarding was probably turning Zack Wallin pro. Because he’s from San Jose and I’ve seen that guy around since he was a little kid. I’ve watched his entire career. He even lived with me for a little while. He’s shared his dreams and aspirations with me over the years, so it was a special moment to see him come full circle with it all. That’s something that I’ll always hold dear to me. 

And my biggest regret? Not riding for Black Label, dude! I’d be hanging with John right now, having cocktails!

Amazing. Alright Louie, last question... how old are you?

(laughs) Old enough to party.

Special thanks to Justin Goetz, Mark Whiteley and Louie.


Anonymous said...

Grew up watching this dude have more fun than anyone else, Man Down is still one of my favorite parts ever. Thanks to you both.

Alex said...

A+ , Chops. Thank you.

ias said...

You probably don't remember this, but on a whim I emailed you a while ago asking if a Louie chromeball was something considered or in the works. You have no idea how happy this made me, thank you Chops, thank you Louie.

Unknown said...

What a great read.

NeedzToHaveMoarFun said...

I Love Louie!

bautman said...

An absoluty bundle of joy as always with this interview 🦄💖🦄💖

Z to the Lee said...

Oh, man... This is great. "I wanna party with youuuu... I WANNA PARTY WITH YOUUU."

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
robin said...

been waiting my whole life for this one! dude is the best of the best.

Tuomas said...

Amazing interview ❤️

Anonymous said...

I thought Sonic was Rich Metiver's company?

Watson said...

Is that Louie in that Skechers ad?! I actually still have that ad in a shoebox as a backside of all the ads I used to cut out of magazines and put on my wall. I've looked at that ad and laughed at it many times. Can't believe it's Louie!

Justin said...

This was great. It was cool to hear the process behind how he does tricks since the funny business has been covered enough already. That's part of what I like about Bag of Suck - for as silly as enjoi is, it's a straight up pure skateboarding video.

Sorry I couldn't be of much help. I even went looking through some of my Thrashers one night while having a couple of beers, but never found the ad.

Humphrey Baldwin said...

How can someone hate cheese that much? I mean.... it's cheese! It's delicious! If you don't like cheese, we can't be friends.