Josh Zickert for Chapter 63 – New York Skate of Mind
MM: I’m Maximilian Mueller and I’m sitting here with JZ Zickert. I’m stoked to sit down with you and chat because we’ve worked with each other a bunch in the industry, but I feel like I don’t know your whole story, so let’s delve into everything!
JZ: I’m stoked to be here. This is rad!
MM: Oh yeah! So, you’re originally from the Midwest right? From Wisconsin?
JZ: Yes. Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
JZ: Outside of Milwaukee.
MM: So how was the skate scene there growing up?
JZ: Skate scene was rad. We had a little crew of neighborhood rippers.
MM: Like backyard ramps? What was the scene?
JZ: Yeah, we built backyard ramp.
JZ: It was six foot tall, you had to have vert, because in order to do air, you had to have vert on a ramp. It’s so funny looking back. Built a mini ramp, had little quarter pipes in front of my house.
JZ: My parents had built launch ramps and shit too
MM: In the driveway, a driveway skate scene?
JZ: Full on 1987, just learning how to Ollie, doing early grabs, riding BMX bikes.
MM: Alright! So did you ever get sponsored while you were in Wisconsin or…?
JZ: Hell No. No.
JZ: No, I was going to bike shops.
MM: BMX or like-
JZ: Skateboard stuff.
MM: Oh sure, sure.
JZ: But also I was going to the Turf, which was a really famous spot in Milwaukee. A lot of legendary skating went down there. So I was able to see some older dudes really shred and that was a huge inspiration. But yeah, I was definitely not sponsored or anything. My skill level wasn’t even at that point.
MM: So pros came in and did demos?
JZ: Yes. Santa Cruz team came through. I remember that was sick. Actually when I was 12 years old, I ended up in the film, which was wild… Streets On Fire
MM: Streets on Fire!
JZ: ... or Wheels Of Fire, whatever, they came to the Turf. And there was a place called Rad Sports. And you know Labor Skateshop? James is from my zone.
MM: Oh Okay!
JZ: So it’s cool to see him out here just killing it in New York.
MM: Yeah, one of the biggest skate shops here, I feel like.
JZ: Yeah. So Milwaukee was good. I got to see a lot of awesome skating.
MM: Awesome. So you moved here, you said 2002, early 2000s?
JZ: I moved to New York in 2002. But I left Wisconsin when I was 19, to go to San Diego. I had a full world there to be around.
MM: The skate scene?
JZ: ... skating, yeah. That’s where a lot of stuff happened for me with getting sponsored and just opportunities to travel and be around a little bit more of the scene.
MM: So was Natural Koncept your first sponsor?
MM: First official sponsor?
JZ: Yep. The guys at Natural Koncept hooked it up and then that, basically Catch One and Sean. Actually, I was in Boulder for a stint and that’s where I met them.
MM: Oh cool!
JZ: I was back and forth between California and Boulder, Colorado.
MM: Right on.
JZ: So much to say, but basically Sammy Baptista’s family had a skate shop in Boulder, Sammy’s Shorty’s…
MM: When Shorty’s was still like ...
JZ: Going off!
MM: Yeah Shorty’s was huge!
JZ: Muska was coming through, like smaller people were coming through the shop and the tours were insane and it was all because of Sammy and his family. They invited me to be involved in the shop called Brother’s Boards. So I was spending time in Colorado, and I was spending time in San Diego, and Natural Koncept came in ‘94. So ’94 was when I got picked up. Then I started working with them and helping them out with running the company and bringing on other skaters and shit.
MM: Wow, early on… in ’94!
JZ: In ‘96 we put on Dave Davis and then Adrian McElhenney, Bob Gnarly ... I basically started assembling what would be the real team... well, Chalky Omega was already on the team. He’s the man! Pauly Sanders was the man. So those guys in Hawaii knew what they were doing for sure. But I kind of was the mainland connection.
MM: So were any of them from Shorty’s, or they just were from Boulder?
JZ: I’m probably kind of skipping around here a little bit.
MM: Yeah, Yeah…
JZ: The Brother’s Boards opportunity gave me so much of a connection to the industry.
MM: Right. That’s the first skate shop that you kind of had a home at.
JZ: Yeah, so that allowed me to make some moves and see all this badass skateboarding going on. So… Natural Koncept has been the base of everything that I’m just… (clears throat) It’s emotional how much I love Natural Koncept!
MM: Yeah because you’re still there and you’re also even behind the scenes, or it seems like you’ve been behind the scenes from the beginning.
JZ: I have been behind the scenes from the beginning, but the guys in Hawaii, God bless them, they’re not skating as much, so I just recently bought out the whole company. And it’s like I’m able to make moves and just do whatever right now so it’s so fun. So we’ve got a killer team… Let’s talk about it, We’ve got Bone Stalone, who’s the all time the greatest!
MM: And is there ...like an AM team? Is everyone Pro in it? I’ve never really known. I know the whole team, but I don’t know who’s officially Pro or AM.
JZ: Let’s talk!
JZ: I’ll lay it out. Bone Stallone’s Pro.
JZ: He’s a G.
JZ: Bone Stalone is the ghost riding king and also very well known for Ollie-ing the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C.
JZ: Which some say is the biggest air set in the world.
MM: I used to watch people try that when I was a little kid, because I grew up in D.C. and that was the craziest spot!
JZ: A lot of people have done it.
MM: Bobby Worrest was the only person that came close at that time.
JZ: I think there’s a few people that landed right on their board, Bobby Worrest for sure. And if you’re landing on your board at that and almost making it you’re basically-
MM: I mean its like, what is that like? It’s close to 20 something stairs.
JZ: It’s 25.
JZ: I think it’s 25.
JZ: But it’s just a massive Ollie-
MM: So Bone Stallone did that?!
JZ: So Bone Stallone did that, and that was like a big deal. But shout out to everybody who tried that, that’s insane.
MM: It’s crazy for sure.
JZ: Jose Velez is from Medellin in Columbia, he’s Pro. His brother Juan Pablo Velez, I call him Little Escobar, he’s Pro. Dave Davis, out of Denver, Colorado, legendary skater on the squad.
MM: Since like, since you’ve been on, right?
JZ: Since like, literally mid 90s. Yeah.
MM: Wow. Like two decades basically.
JZ: One time I left Dave… he got in a fight with somebody in the van and we left him in El Paso, made him take a Greyhound home. I remember that being ... I’m sorry about that Dave.
MM: Oh my God.
JZ: I love Dave, he’s great. Adrian McElhaney out of San Diego. He’s still technically Pro but he’s flying planes now and he’s not really skating as much, but I still throw him boards.
MM: It happens.
JZ: One more on board…
JZ: We have Sean Reilly and Chris Kays from Hawaii. Those guys are killing it. So we have a good squad.
MM: So there’s like, about 10?
JZ: Yeah. But the main guys that I’m working with are Jose, Juan Pablo and Boner.
MM: And they come up for the Pop Up Tour? They’re always on the tour!
JZ: They’re on all the tours.
JZ: Everybody else can hop on the tours when it works with their schedule or whatnot, because they’re all doing other things in life. And then, Carlos Serozono is our newest AM from Santo Domingo. Lives in New York now, and he is filmin his new part, it’s going to be amazing!
MM: So Natural Koncept… we’ll be looking for a new video? All right!
JZ: Yeah, probably drop like February next year.
MM: Awesome. Early 2019!
JZ: Natural Koncept means everything to me. And then, Arizona Iced Tea gave us the opportunity to build a team, so I just told my boss, I was like, “Dude, we already got the team.”
MM: So everyone that rides for Natural Koncept…?
JZ: Slide them over to the Arizona Team. Let’s do it!
MM: Yeah, I’ve seen that.
JZ: Have them pay for all the tours.
JZ: It’s been epic!
MM: It makes sense though, because the type of style that Brandon “Bone Stalone” has for example, has the style for both brands, so it just makes sense, They both kind of jive together!
JZ: As I get to know the guys on the Arizona Iced Tea Team, they’re doing all kinds of cool staff, fashion, like all their stuff’s edgy and pretty rad. But I didn’t think of it as anything more than they gave us an opportunity.
MM: Supporting, yeah.
JZ: They supported the Natural Koncept kids back in the day, and now they let us build our own team!
MM: Yeah forsure.
JZ: I was on the phone yesterday with my boss and he’s like, “Hey. Maybe we should take the whole team to Paris.” And I was like, “Yeah, let’s do it.”
MM: That’s Awesome!
JZ: We just went to Mexico City a few months ago. And the fact that he’s hyped on what we’re doing! like Transworld, we do a lot of cool stuff!
MM: Yeah, because all the videos... So you also edited all those videos too that go up on Transworld?
JZ: I do!
MM: So basically, you’ve done all the films?
JZ: Every Natural Koncept movie that we’ve ever made, I’ve made. Like, Catch One and I made them, and then now I just make them.
MM: Yeah, because Catch doesn’t do any art anymore, like for NK?
JZ: He’s done a ton of art, but he’s just in Hawaii doing his thing now.
MM: Got it.
JZ: Him and his family are… Sorry, it’s emotional to even talk about. No, him and his family, I give him shout outs, they’re awesome. I’m in New York. I got to move faster.
MM: You, yourself also have recently become a Dad, Congrats!
JZ: Yeah, Thanks. Shout out to my daughter, Lucy Jean, and of course, my wife, Grace.
MM: So you also do Adidas here in NY. We have to bring up Adidas!
JZ: Yeah, Shit’s going off!
MM: I mean, doing a lot of stuff lately, yeah!
JZ: And it all kind of compliments one another because Adidas allows me to do a lot of stuff in New York and make sure I hook up people like yourself and all the skaters I like, just people that I think are influential. So, that’s cool. They give me a lot of freedom. And then that kind of led to the “Show Case”, which you’ve shown in as well.
MM: The second one ever actually, even at a stellar place like the original SoHo Arts Club! That was April 2016.
JZ: And that was at the Andy Warhol space!
MM: Yeah it was!
JZ: Shout out to Harif Guzman and SoHo Arts Club!
MM: After that show, I’m pretty sure that’s when it moved to its new location.
JZ: On the Bowery.
JZ: For everybody that maybe doesn’t know what the “Show Case” is… it’s a group art show that basically, my boss and I from Adidas, Cullen Poythress, started to give skateboarders and skate artists shine!
MM: Globally too, not just in the states.
JZ: Now it’s global, but it started in New York and we just wanted to show all the cool stuff that our friends that are in the skateboard world are doing. And not just a photo show, or not just like a skate deck show.
MM: Like all decks yeah, too many people do that. Like, I’ve seen that. Yeah, it’s like all mediums, not your average skate show.
JZ: You know sculptors, illustrators, graphic designers…
MM: Painters, yeah.
JZ: Videographers. people making films.
MM: Yeah, makers all around.
JZ: It’s been three years and it’s all over the world now! We did Art Basel last year. That was really cool. I just did a show in Sacramento this past weekend. So many killer artists!
MM: Yeah it was awesome to be featured in the Basel show too!
JZ: Juxtapoz was behind it, yeah!
MM: Shout out to Evan Pricco, Mike Stalter, Eben Benson and many more!
JZ: So, you know what though, I was rapping with these guys earlier. If you’re in the city, and you’re making moves, going out, partying you’re going to know everyone somehow.
MM: Yeah, it’s inevitable.
JZ: You’ve got to do a little bit of it all and you got to come out on top somehow. And but yeah, the city’s been good to me, and I’m really stoked to have Adidas’ support, Arizona Iced Tea Team’s support, and Natural Koncept obviously. It’s like just using all that momentum... A lot of my friends are in bands and they play at my video premiers and shit. And just everyone sort of helps each other out if you’re doing something authentic, you know.
MM: For sure! So with the “Show Case”, what else is coming up? What other locations are you guys looking to go do?
JZ: Good question MM! 2019, we just locked in six cities in the U.S. that we will be having shows!
MM: New cities that you guys haven’t shown in yet?
JZ: New cities, yeah, we haven’t touched. And then there’s a new thing called “Showcase X”, and that is the one we did with Mark Gonzales.
MM: And Shepard Fairey right?
JZ: Yup and Shepard Fairey curated one too!
JZ: So yeah, they’re basically in Los Angeles and New York, they chose someone extremely respected in the game. So in L.A., Shepard Fairey curated the show. So we kind of like, fed him a bunch of artists and he sort of like curated from there.
MM: Was it out of his space? Subliminal Projects?
JZ: It was out of The Seventh Letter Gallery.
MM: Oh Okay, Wow!
JZ: Such an honor to work and hang stuff in that gallery. Those guys are epic.
MM: For sure. Yeah I was at the Gonz one here in NY!
JZ: I cried. I literally had a tears in my eyes when the music started and Gonz stepped out. I was like, this is so insane. Add MILK!
MM: I mean, also to see what was originally performed in 1998! At a museum in Germany. I wouldn’t be able to pronounce it right now.
JZ: Well said. That’s good. Outside of Cologne, Germany yeah.
MM: Yeah, yeah… it was wild to see that live. I don’t think a lot of younger people knew that it was actually done before by him on film, you know. That it was a very famous reenactment…
JZ: Well, they better do their homework because the Gonz has been out there since way before ‘98... But yeah to do that in a gallery at that time was pretty incredible. And one thing I learned from curating that show at MILK this year, was that in ‘98 he was wearing a white outfit, apparently a fencing outfit. But the status of the white is not as a high as black, apparently black is a master fencing color. So he basically …
MM: Elevated himself!
JZ: Yup! Elevated his performance. Exactly
MM: Yeah, I can totally see that. Even the wall rides he was doing were that much higher haha.
JZ: No, I mean, I don’t want to say it was better, it was just amazing as always with Gonz.
JZ: We were watching him do his practice runs. We were there and I was setting up the art and stuff. And dude, he’s going so big on the wall right away. Skin Phillips was there shooting photos. He was also shooting photos in Germany. It was epic. So, that was just like ... To be in New York and have it all, as you know, it was super invite only for like 150 people that could fit. And you just looked around and everybody was like in aw.
MM: Lucky I got there on time, because most people didn’t get to see the first performance. They had to watch either from the hallway or outside.
JZ: Yeah, even I think from outside, it was a magical moment.
MM: For sure!
JZ: But it was really cool just to look around and see everybody just enjoy that moment and the Gonz.
MM: Gonz in his element!
JZ: Yeah, just dancing around on a skateboard just doing cool stuff.
MM: I’ve joked to people that only Gonz could skate the walls and floors of MILK Gallery, because I feel like any other shows I’ve seen there, besides maybe Trouble Andrew, have been very white wall gallery, pristine show.
JZ: Trouble had a big show there, yeah. He was allowed to mess around a little bit.
MM: But for other people, it’s usually like a high end space, very red carpet.
JZ: Yeah I called Rossi and he said I got something to share with you, so I went into the office and he said, it’s Mark Gonzales. He was like done deal. But yeah, you’re in a gallery space. Not many people are known to you. So yeah, that was incredible, that was probably the pinnacle of the Adidas “Show Case” for sure.
MM: Amazing! So six or seven cities next year?
JZ: Yeah, seven, no, six new cities and then we’re going to do New York again and L.A. again. And they just did Shanghai last weekend.
MM: Yeah, I saw Cullen and a lot of the Adidas team were out there for the last two, three weeks.
MM: And seeing all that. Looks crazy.
JZ: Yeah, so that like turned into ... well a separate thing called “Das Days”, 10 days of activities and then they include the “Show Case”.
MM: Yeah, like the demos they’re doing, right, all of the pop-ups. It’s great, man.
JZ: So yeah, Adidas is crushing it. I’m just happy to be part of this like, this group of guys.
MM: Yeah, I mean all the time.
JZ: Guys and girls working for the brand.
MM: Everyone always asks me, like what’s going / who’s taking off in New York? What are people wearing? I’m always like, “Well, you’re going to see all types of different brands, but skate-wise, you look around at like MM Fish, or The Flower Shop, or any kind of skate bar, you’re going to look around and see that every legitimate skater out there is in Adidas. It’s wild how Adidas saw it and took the opportunity to kind of take over.
JZ: There’s just some masterminds behind that.
JZ: I’m just thrilled to be in New York doing my thing and working.
MM: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying! But it’s not just like Converse or Nike or like any of these other brands could have came in and done that. Like, I think there’s just so much history at Adidas, I think people could never deny the legacy… from hip hop to rock…
JZ: Yeah we were talking about the Beastie Boys earlier and their upcoming show, and they were saying in their book, it’s like authentic, they’re just rocking adidas.
MM: like think about LL Cool J, or even RUN DMC.
JZ: It’s pretty sick.
MM: Yeah, it’s awesome. So you’re also a stunt man, right? Are you still doing that full time?
MM: Like you still performance stunts - stunt double things?
JZ: I still do stunts in films and shit.
MM: That’s amazing. What kind of projects?
JZ: I got lucky to ... My reel is pretty wild, I got to say. I sent in a reel to some heads and it was me falling down a 20 story handrail and stuff.
MM: That was your audition? Kind of like getting into that.
MM: So when did you actually start performing stunts? What era is this?
JZ: I became part of Screen Actors Guild in 2006.
MM: Oh, right on!
JZ: And I just like bum rushed a set at Union Square. Some kid was trying to jump down the stairs and he didn’t make it, so we were making fun of him and shit.
MM: You’re like, “I can do that.”
JZ: Yeah. So we just jumped over a barrel, or whatever they were trying to do. And they were like, “Hey, you guys want to be in the movie?” And I was like, “For sure.” And then, I got some real stunt work gigs for like Law & Order and stuff.
MM: Oh, okay. So you are a stunt double, or an extra? Are you ever in the background? I’ve seen Grace in the background of some stuff actually coming out.
JZ: A lot. Anyone that lives in New York, it’s kind of a nice way to try and make some extra cash.
MM: Yeah, definitely.
JZ: Sometimes being in the background, sometimes they’ll pull you up and it’ll be your shot. But the real money, for me, has been in stunts.
MM: For sure. So as a skateboarder, I feel like it makes you that much better of a stuntman, because we’re used to getting hurt, and we’re actually in some ways masochists in the way that we like getting hurt. You’re going to get back up and keep doing it. You know what I mean?
JZ: Definitely. I heard you had a face plant recently?
MM: Just over a week ago yeah, haha.
JZ: Yeah, so you’re a stuntman as well.
MM: Yeah, well I think every skateboarder is a stuntman in some ways, you know.
JZ: Tell us what happened out there.
MM: It’s tenacity…
JZ: I think I see still a black and blue eye.
MM: Yeah, I had a pretty swollen eye too, I slammed my face pretty hard on the pavement, but I think the bruising and all that’s gone down.
JZ: In Baltimore?
MM: No, I actually did it in New York last week before I had to do a show in Baltimore, which sucked with the whole face situation. The first thing anyone said was “What happened?!”
JZ: Yeah, well.
MM: But they already knew it was from skating.
JZ: I brought you a beverage…
MM: Oh yeah!
JZ: It’s cold if you want to put it on your black and blue eye! ha
MM: True, haha Thanks man!
JZ: Yeah. I figured, you know, can’t go through the show without a Arizona Iced Tea.
MM: For sure. Gotta get cracking. Oh, look at that steam.
JZ: I still love it. I do. I drink tons of Arizona Iced Tea.
MM: That’s funny.
JZ: In my house all day, in my underwear, at the movies, slamming tea.
MM: You’ve probably got stacks of them.
JZ: I love sugar.
MM: Yeah, yeah. I grew up skating local spots like loading docks and random strip malls and stuff like that in Maryland, and when we didn’t really have money, just some random pocket change, we’d get an Arizona every time, so it’s funny that it’s still 99 cents?
JZ: Oh yeah, for sure. My mind just got tripped out for a second. Bone Stalone just made a rap and sent it over.
MM: Oh yeah, so are you going to play it?
JZ: We’re going to play it. It’s only like a minute. It’s awesome. It’s so good.
MM: Good enough that we can show the cameras?
JZ: Well, just for a second.
JZ: (Plays Rap) Anyway. I was like, Boner, I need a strong rap for this last episode, and he was like, literally 30 minutes later sends it over. I was like, skilled. He’s like 99 pennies. I was like, “Dude, you’re killing me.”
MM: I can’t.
JZ: Shout out to Bone Stalone. He’s just incredible.
MM: For sure. So he lives in Virginia. He’s like in the middle of nowhere right?
JZ: Yeah, he lives in the sticks, dude. He lives in the middle of nowhere. Fredericksburg, Virginia.
MM: ... that skate park. I always see him skating that… The most DIY spot in the woods sheet metal…
JZ: Yeah, that’s his training ground.
MM: That’s funny, I was actually just skating ...You said Fredericksburg or Frederick?
JZ: Fredericksburg, Virginia. It’s like a historical town from like the civil war.
MM: Oh ok because I was just skating Frederick, Maryland, but that’s Maryland.
JZ: No, separate place.
MM: Close though. All the people from the DMV (DC Maryland Virginia for the readers) all know each other in some way. Like all the skaters that came from there. Because I feel like in some ways, there weren’t a ton of people that came out of the DMV… I mean, D.C. people for sure. I mean, there’s huge names like Andy Stone, Pepe Martinez, Darren Harper, I would see Darren Harper all the time going to Pulaski (Freedom Plaza) as a kid, and that was so wild. To us, he was like the Stevie Williams of D.C.
JZ: Of course.
MM: So those are the people that I got to skate with in D.C. as a kid. It was always a huge thing for me. In Maryland, you’re like just going to spots and there’s no one there. You know what I mean? Getting kicked out by some security guard, but D.C. is where all the real stuff happened, running from cops and all haha.
JZ: Going to a big city as a kid, is always the best. That’s how you grow up. For people that grew up in New York though, didn’t even seem like real as a kid. You know, I was in the farmland just wishing I could live in California or somewhere. It’s crazy and I’m 44 years old, and it all happened.
MM: Yeah, you’re here. You’re doing it!
JZ: Now, being here in New York, I’m already starting to think like, wow, that was a good run.
MM: Maybe you wouldn’t still be in New York though if you grew up here.
JZ: Perhaps, but I’m just saying, I just think it’s s o authentic to like born and raised here... these guys, the Frank dudes, left the East Village / LES in ’95. It’s insane. We showed up in 2000s and it felt so real and so awesome, but like, I couldn’t even imagine being a young gun like, in the LES, or just like, just all over, even Brooklyn. I just have so much respect. It must make them so strong, growing up here to be able to get through all this.
MM: We got Alex Corporan coming in later today, so I’m going to talk with him about those days!
JZ: Yeah, I mean crazy days for sure.
MM: The whole Harold Hunter / KIDS days.
JZ: I love listening to stories from all those guys about NY then.
MM: Yeah, and it never gets old. There’s always new stories that haven’t been told, because you know, maybe there’s been a lot said about Supreme, but like, those days… there’s still so much more to all of them than just that, you know.
JZ: I mean, yeah, they were a part of all that. Everybody was hanging out there.
MM: Yeah, for sure. That’s what I’m saying. We got more stories to find out, you know!
JZ: ABC Skateshop was for sure popping.
MM: Adrian Lopez. Shout out to Adrian of Rock Star Bearings!
JZ: New York has been so epic for me. The wild nights and you know, that turned into next level situations.
MM: For sure. Staying up ‘till sunrise…So, do you ever go back to the Midwest and skate? Is it fun for you to go back?
JZ: On trips, we go through Milwaukee and Chicago, and I’m like, I’m pretty close with the scene there. I work with the skate shops. I sponsor. I flow some of the young guns of Sheboygan.
MM: Yeah, yeah, Sheboygan. That’s fun to say!
JZ: Yeah, I try to like, go through the Midwest when possible.
MM: So what other tours do you have going on, like coming up? Where is Arizona Iced Tea or Natural Koncept going to next?!
JZ: Yeah, Arizona, I think we’re planning like I said, a trip to Paris in the spring.
MM: Okay, so that’s coming up.
JZ: I wish it was sooner …
MM: Spring, ’19 though!
JZ: Yeah. We might do a trip down south in January. Try to go down to Colombia and see the guys, and do a little something down there.
MM: The Columbia trips always sound wild to me.
JZ: February, we’re doing a “Show Case” in Phoenix, and then in March, we’re doing one in New York. And then we’re doing Denver, Chicago, Austin, New Orleans.
MM: Nice! All right!
JZ: Yeah, so, get ready. It’s going to be a good year. And I was thinking I wanted to give you a shout out for all your work… You’ve been killing it!
MM: Thanks, man!
JZ: With all the art shows in the city and around, and we did Basel together!
MM: Yeah, we’ve done tons together. Actually, it’s crazy. So I was in two Show Cases!
JZ: You were. You got the double up.
MM: That Juxtapoz Clubhouse one…
JZ: Yeah, you see what everyone else was up to too from around the world from that.
MM: Oh yeah, and that was the coolest thing, was that we all met in Miami. These were people from all over the world, people from South America, Europe, Asia, Australia all over. I can’t remember the specific cities that everyone was from, but it was wild.
MM: 12 of us or something like that… It was really cool. It was only a weekend of knowing everyone and then, bam. I’m still connect with almost everyone.
JZ: You still stay in touch with Space Goth and Jason Keam?
MM: Space Goth, Yeah, and Jason Keam forsure!
JZ: I’m having a blast watching everybody’s careers. Their careers were already going places, but it’s cool just to know that we were helping sort of… to facilitate.
MM: That was a big boost I think, for all of us you know.
JZ: Working with Thrasher and Juxtapoz and that whole event was really cool.
MM: Yeah, High Speed, shout out to High Speed Productions!
JZ: Basically, MM’s work was off the hook!
MM: Thanks! Yeah that really got me a big connect at Juxtapoz.
JZ: You ended up on the back cover, dude!
MM: Yeah, back cover, man. That was huge.
JZ: Let’s talk about the back cover.
MM: I should have brought it.
JZ: Yeah. I had a back cover I think, it was Heckler or some shit.
MM: Any other mags? Have you ever gotten on the cover of any mags?
JZ: I got cover of Stepdad. Just my face, beat up from a Mexico City fall.
MM: I know Mike! Shout out to Stepdad. That’s the video you must have sent when you were trying out to be a stuntman, right?
JZ: No, I was already a stuntman.
MM: That was a gnarly fall though.
JZ: That was heavy. You know what’s funny about that trip is, you know, it’s always dangerous when you’re in South America, or anywhere outside of the US.
MM: What were you doing? I know it was a kinked rail.
JZ: Let me say this. When you’re in foreign land, you’re always thinking like… Let’s say you’re in Vietnam or something. You’re like, fuck, going to a hospital here is just going to be, just doesn’t work out. How’s that going to work?
MM: Twist your veins around when they give you surgery, yeah.
JZ: So, a little bit scary. And in Mexico City, when I Ollied into this steep bank, smashed my face, was out cold for like ... My friend was like, “Get in the van. We’re going to my friend’s house. His dad’s a doctor.” They open up a garage door, sitting there and it’s like, spazzing out, like so in pain, blood, teeth, and he just gives me a big shot of like-
MM: Like adrenaline or something?!
JZ: ... whatever in my ass. And I was like, “Thank you.” And then we were able to kind of like, focus and then went to the hospital. And they just like, checked my jaw actually. But yeah, so getting serious injuries, like obviously in skateboarding, that’s one of the things that you know, I like to party. I like to go for shit. I like to roll the dice, and it doesn’t always work out. And I paid the price for sure, but it’s ... You know, in the end it’s so fucking fun to be with your friends. And you know, I’m going to go for it. And they’re like, “Oh, should you?” And that’s when you should realize that maybe you shouldn’t go for it, but there’s so many times when you do go for it, and you make it, and then just party in the sun.
MM: That’s what makes it worth it.
MM: What’s been like your worst injury...I mean, have you ever broken an arm or a leg?
JZ: That’s what’s crazy. I’ve been overall, really lucky.
MM: You’re nimble.
JZ: I broke my nose seven times.
MM: Nose? Oh man.
JZ: Broke my teeth a pile of times, but as far as like, other things, nothing.
MM: No fingers?
MM: Fingers are weird, right. I’ve broken a lot of my fingers, yeah.
JZ: This was in San Diego. I was pushing towards a handrail and I was like, caught in between ready to grind the rail and not, and I stopped, grabbed the rail. It was like one of those flowery kind of thing.
MM: Oh, yeah.
JZ: But I just can’t say enough what it’s like to be... All true skaters, it’s like you know it. It’s like when you’re with your friends…
MM: Oh yeah!
JZ: ... you have that extra ability to do stuff. You just, you can do things that maybe you wouldn’t normally be able to do-
MM: Well, because they hype you up!
JZ: ... at that moment.
MM: I always love the feeling when I’m skating with people I’ve actually grown up skating with, because for some reason, I feel like I can learn new tricks when I’m with that person, because you end up just pushing each other inevitably, because you just grew up skating together, you know, and did that from the beginning.
JZ: So true.
MM: Is there anyone from like, where you grew up that live here now? Probably not many people made it out.
JZ: Not from my close friends. Yeah. I only had a few close friends in that era.
MM: True, true. And maybe they like, stopped skating.
JZ: But, I mean, like Paul Zitzer is from Wisconsin.
MM: Oh yah! I don’t know a lot about Wisconsin. I’ve probably just gone through there to go to Michigan.
JZ: Oh really? Okay.
MM: Yeah, because I grew up going to Detroit a lot. My parents were from Detroit, so I grew up going there a lot.
JZ: I mean, the Midwest scene is strong for sure. It’s all good. But as a kid, I just wanted to be like here or in Cali and stuff.
MM: That’s so interesting you wanted to move to New York in your era. Like for me, all I thought was California, because even, somehow in the 90s all the mags showed was California, at least I thought…the industry was just only there. Like now, you can kind of do it anywhere.
JZ: For sure, you can do it anywhere. You don’t have to be in Cali.
MM: Yeah, for sure.
JZ: Like, it’s still nice to do tricks in the city. And like we were talking about earlier, those hot spots where you only get one try kind of thing, I love those spots.
MM: The best.
JZ: I absolutely love them. That’s another thing that gets you amped. Like the spot…
MM: One try.
JZ: ... I guess I’m thinking about is that I grinded a handrail on 50th and Broadway. It was like probably one of my biggest tricks I’ve ever done in New York.
JZ: And the security, you have to like one try every time. Cause a ruckus over here, get the security over, and then I’m going to go for it. Count to 20 over here. And it was like, middle of the day. People are like, “Oh my God. You see that? He almost died.” I’m running back up and just like, God, I love those moments.
JZ: I don’t know if I ended up making that one. It took me six different... missions.
MM: Oh, wow.
JZ: It took me a year to get that trick.
MM: Oh, because every time you went, you’d just get kicked out after the first try?
JZ: I’d get one try, two tries and almost get it, and then be kicked out.
JZ: Like to the point where like, they would stand in front of the rail.
JZ: Six different tries over the course of a year. One time, I fell so hard on my hip so gnarly that I had water on my hip… Anyway, I got so wrecked and then I still went back out there and did it!
MM: That’s gnarly.
JZ: I’m proud of myself for that one.
MM: Hey, I mean it’s crazy today when you watch a video, it almost seems like people do everything first try… obviously because it’s all makes.
JZ: I think when you watch my stuff, you know, I didn’t do it first try. I think even the viewers know haha.
MM: People outside of skateboarding though…like they don’t understand how many tries things take…. especially today with things like Street League… skaters don’t fall.
JZ: Are you going to go to the Olympics 2020?
MM: Not too sure yet, but I’m actually super excited to talk to Louis Tolentino later today about it!
JZ: Yeah, I’m not the Olympic guy to talk to haha.
MM: He’s going to the Olympics and I’m stoked to ask him all about it!
JZ: Good for him, man. Louis deserves it. I think Carlos Seratono might be going with him as well.
MM: Yeah, I mean, I actually may go out. I’m excited!
JZ: I think it’s great for everyone.
MM: There’s mixed messages within the industry… but it’s happening, so there’s no argument of it…So I think it’s just cool for the people to be in this first, you know, Skateboarding Olympics!
JZ: Yeah, it’s going to be awesome. I’m going to try to make it. I’m going to try to bring my family out there. Just because Tokyo is fun!
MM: Tokyo 2020! Yeah, I’ve never been to Tokyo, so, it seems like the right moment for me to go.
JZ: When you go, there’s a spot like 30 minutes outside of Tokyo. I feel like I was there almost like on a Frank sort of vibe. Some gangsters flew me out there that I was hanging out with. I got to go to Tokyo for a month for free! And ... No, it wasn’t directly Frank. It was kind of like an epic ... Like, you guys know Club Feria? It’s like the club in Tokyo and it’s like this very tough Mofo runs it. And anyway, I ended up getting to go on the club’s behalf. I got to go out there for a month and party.
MM: Club it up!
JZ: But I was skating every day!
MM: Yeah there’s a rad art scene out there too! Like this place Beams is always showing crazy artists out there.
JZ: Speaking of Asia and whatnot, I want to give a shout out to Patrik Wallner.
MM: Eurasia Project, right?
JZ: Yeah, he spent some time in New York and I was filming with him quite a bit in his senior year of high school here.
MM: Oh, wow. That’s huge that he’s worked on this project since then.
JZ: He was in the streets filming and I, through a sponsor I had at the time, called Drunken Monkey, basically I was like, “Let’s go to Asia and go skate all these spots in China and stuff.” And I brought Patrik, and a couple of other friends came. And since that moment, he basically came back and graduated high school and then spent the next 10 years of his life in Asia and in Europe, and we ended up making a book called The Eurasia Project. So check it out. It’s like every single country in Europe and Asia, like all Kazakhstan to Cambodia.
MM: Yeah, I saw that.
JZ: I went on a few missions with him, but check out the book! Without him, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. He was there filming me all over the world, and pushing me, and he’s just such like a driven artist and videographer and photographer. I got to give a big shout out to Patrik. I’m looking forward to actually doing a project with him for Arizona Iced Tea, just because I was telling my boss that this guy is like magic.
MM: Nice! Didn’t Adidas sponsor the book?
JZ: For sure. We did! The Eurasia Project! We got to do a tour together recently with Adidas to promote his book and his photos. That guy is on fire, so if you don’t know about Patrik, check him out. He’s a real inspiration.
MM: And he did a show for this at SoHo Arts Club right?!
JZ: Of course, yeah.
MM: That’s amazing.
JZ: He’s going to come to New York, the SoHo Arts Club… I mean Harif, Muska, they’ve all helped make that place what it is today. Sebo Walker, Lucas Beaufort had a show there recently too.
MM: Yeah, it’s a wild space.
JZ: Ari had a show there. And the old one on Wooster Street, Gonz would come through, and I remember being stoked on that, just having the Gonz in the gallery.
MM: What else was the legacy? So besides that being Warhol’s spot, someone had a restaurant there at some point. Do you know?
JZ: I don’t know too much about the restaurant. I just know that Gallan, his family owns a framing company called New York Framing and they used to frame Basquiat and Warhol’s work there.
JZ: Yeah, the place was like 25Gs a month.
MM: I can’t even imagine. I always wondered.
JZ: Harif and Gallan are ballers to hold that down for five years. Insane. Crazy parties took place in that space.
MM: Crazy spot forsure.
JZ: I’m glad you got to show there.
MM: Yeah, it was a special place to show!
JZ: Yeah, I can’t say thanks enough for having me today, been fun being around with Frank and the crew!
MM: Yeah, it’s been real!
JZ: It’s been real… lit! Thanks for asking me to be on the show, I’m stoked!
MM: You’ve done a lot for my career, so I feel like it made sense to talk with you!
JZ: Shout out to skateboarding. Thanks for everyone that’s been on trips with me, and helped hold the camera and inspired me, I appreciate all the epic moments that skateboarding brings to me.
MM: The whole global community.
JZ: Yeah, for real.
MM: Awesome, man!
JZ: Yeah, for sure. Thanks guys!