8.05.2014

chrome ball interview #76: todd congelliere

 Chops and Cubby go out for Icees. 


Introduction by Jeremy Klein
   
The first time I heard about Todd C, I was at Beryl School and some kids were talking about this guy doing all kinds of tricks on ramps that no one had ever done before. But then I didn’t hear about him for a few years after that until one day when I met him while taking product at World Industries. 

Somehow, we instantly became friends. Our love of horror movies and candy was enough, but then there was skating, too. 

I would be at his house everyday and he had a vert ramp there but it wasn't being skated. We would just go street skating. He'd talk about a trick that he wanted to do on vert, try it on a curb, and then instantly know how to do it on a 12-foot ramp the next day. It was incredible and really rad for me personally to see street-type tricks taken to vert like that... 

Not to mention, he was one of the few vert dudes to wear pants. 

Todd is one the best skaters of all-time. 


Jeremy Klein's Unseen Todd C Street Footage. So sick.

So Todd, this is almost cliché now but you really are seen as one of the first vert riders to have an obvious street influence in your tricks. Let’s face it, bigspin back 5-0s to fakie are a totally different animal compared to the almighty McTwist. Was this street direction a conscious decision on your part or was that just kinda how it worked out?

I think that approach was more of just how things naturally worked out for me back then. I was hanging out with mostly street skaters anyway. There weren’t very many people who were still riding vert at that point. Basically by the time I turned pro, in order to actually go skating with anybody, I had to go street skating.

The thing was that I didn’t enjoy street skating as much. And by skating street with people like Jeremy Klein, it also made it clear that I wasn’t very good at it.

I think I had more of a creative bone to pick. I was trying to bring something new to vert skating and I was using things that were accessible to me. I was seeing all of these new tricks going down on street and nobody had even thought to try them on vert yet.

So I started messing around with a few and once I actually pulled something off, I knew I should probably keep going in this direction. It was cool trying different things and making stuff up. Combining different tricks. It was all so much fun.

It actually got to a point where I was probably starting to take it too far. I remember coming up with this thing I called “the Congellarial”, which was an Indy Fastplant to Nosepick. It was a total joke trick that I used to do on curbs but I found myself doing them on vert… which was probably the dumbest thing ever. Once I actually did one, I felt so stupid. I mean I knew that nobody else had ever done it before but there was probably a reason for that. The whole thing was a total embarrassment and I definitely didn’t want word getting out about that one... but looking back on it, it really was just an example of that fun sense of creativity.


I realize street skating was still in its infancy back then but it was still so much more accessible than the lumber-intensive route of backyard ramps, right?

Ramps were just more fun. There’s something about transitions that I liked. Not even pool skating, it was wood transitions, specifically. I can’t even explain it but I’m sure tons of other people know what I’m talking about. There was no fear at all for me with Masonite and 2x4s. If I was going to try something on a handrail, that was a totally different experience. The fear was there. I knew something bad was going to happen. But I was comfortable and fearless on wooden transitions.

I skated street when I was younger but it was totally different compared to what it became. Back then, my friends and I would just roll down a hill on our asses and try to push each other over. We called it “Bash ‘em” and the guy who made it to the bottom without getting toppled over was declared the winner. That’s what street skating was to me.

When it started to evolve in those early Word Industries days, I thought it was so amazing but I already felt like I was too far behind. I’d be out there watching Jeremy or Mark Gonzales do these awesome things but I thought it was too late for me to learn. Even though I was only 16-years-old. There was just something in me that felt so awkward whenever I would really try to skate street. It didn’t speak to me the way vert did.

Was there ever a particular instance where you learned a trick on a 10-foot halfpipe that you couldn’t do on a curb?

I’d usually try them on my mini-ramp first but yes, a few things did go down like that.

It’s hard for me to remember trick names now but one trick that I definitely took that approach with were those “toothpick grinds”…

Fakie nosegrinds.

Yeah, I learned those on my mini-ramp and then on vert after not being able to initially do them on curbs.

I actually remember trying to do fakie 360 shove-its into those things on curbs and overshooting into fakie nose manuals… for about 5 seconds, I thought that it would be a good idea to try those on vert with the fakie nose manual part on the deck of the ramp! (laughs)

That was just a dumb idea. It’s probably not impossible, but at the time, I sure thought it was. But that turned into me trying to grind the coping instead of manualing and I even pulled off a couple of those. That’s definitely from a street idea.

“Oh, I can try this on vert and it will be much easier and way more fun!”


We talk about all these groundbreaking early tech tricks you were trying but your Liberty counterpart was a true old school great. Was Mike Smith a big influence on your skating growing up?

The thing with Mike Smith was that he was local. He lived in Hermosa and I lived in Torrance. I’d always see him in magazines and all of a sudden, he’s coming over to my ramp and we’re skating together. He played music, too, so he was right up my alley. So yeah, he was a big influence in that regard.

Correct me if I’m wrong but weren’t you on Powell for a little bit prior to Liberty?

They were doing a “B-Team” kind of deal and I was trying to get on that for a bit. Chris Borst was trying to get me on there. It was one of those things where he kept promising to get me on but whenever I’d go stay with him in Bakersfield, he’d be with his girl and I’d feel super awkward and stupid. He’d be in there with a lady and I’m hanging around, trying to get on a skate team.

There actually was a session that I went to with some of the Powell dudes. I was gonna skate and hopefully get sponsored that day… until a young Danny Way showed up.

(laughs) Of all the people!

Yeah, he dropped in and immediately everyone there was like, “This kid is amazing!”

Here’s this wonderchild who’s like the second coming of Hawk and they’re not even looking in my general direction. I might as well not even been up there. Half of me couldn’t even believe all the shit this kid was doing while the other half was like, “Fuck you! Why are you doing this to me!?! Holy shit!”

It all worked out for the best, though. I grew to love Liberty way more than I ever did Powell, even though Liberty wasn’t anywhere near as successful. I always felt like Liberty was where I belonged.


How’d you end up riding for Liberty?

Liberty was presented to me by Mike Smith shortly after that session as, “Hey, if you’re not gonna be riding for this Powell thing, ride for me!”

That’s just how Mike works.

“Hey, you ride for me now. Okay? Cool. Here’s a board.”

It never felt official or anything. I was honestly never sure if I was really even sponsored half of the time. Even when I turned pro for him and had a board out, I still didn’t feel like I was really pro. It really wasn’t until I started getting into contests that it felt legit. I still don’t know how he got around to signing the entry forms for me but he did.

But sponsorship just worked naturally for me with Mike. I was never going to be Danny Way so I’m going to do this thing with my friend. In retrospect, I probably didn’t appreciate it as much as I should’ve until it was almost over.

What was the structure and inner workings like at Liberty? Was it just you and Mike?

(laughs) The structure of Liberty was that there was no structure whatsoever. It was a hair-brained idea at first and the next think we knew, it was really happening.

It was just me and him but we had distribution through World so that got us some promotion and a bit of the spotlight. My board was selling pretty well there for a while but then it got to the point where people stopped buying vert pros’ boards almost completely.


Was Rocco’s involvement just distribution? Did you have much interaction with him?

Rocco actually hated Liberty. It was this crazy situation. Mike and Steve had been friends for a long time but Rocco didn’t respect Mike whatsoever. That was obvious. I remember not being able to figure out why Mike would go talk to this dude everyday just to get abused like he did.

It eventually led to one day where Rocco tried to talk to me that same way and I flipped out on him. I’m not even sure what I said to him… I probably just told him to fuck off. But I didn’t care. I wasn’t friends with him the way Mike was and I wasn’t going to take that. I could sense he walked on eggshells around me after that day, being overly nice.

But yeah, Liberty was the red-headed stepchild of World Industries. Every time we would go in there, Mike would tell him about this idea… which most were admittedly pretty crazy, but Rocco would just laugh at him. He had this weird fucking laugh, too.

“You’ve got to be kidding me! Hey everybody, come in and listen to this stupid thing Mike wants to do! You gotta hear this!”

It was so embarrassing and terrible. All he had to do was be cool. We were selling boards and he was making money off of us. But Mike thought Rocco was our golden ticket or something so he put up with it. He’d already been putting up with it for years anyway.

It’s not that I didn’t respect Rocco, especially in retrospect with all he was able to do with that company. There was just some inner stuff there that was hard to swallow.


Liberty definitely had some amazing ads back in the day, though. Any personal favorites?

I always liked the one where we were fighting on top of that hill. Not really because of it being a stand-out but because it was an actual real-life situation. Mike and I would always get into these weird wrestling matches over ideas for the company. Not totally hurtful but we’d definitely get physical about shit. But those photos aren’t staged. That is actually us fighting and rolling down a hill. 

How did Liberty end up with a section in Rubbish Heap? Was that just a couple days with Spike?

That was about two hours with Spike. At least my part was. Mike shot his footage separately at another ramp and I filmed on my ramp so it’s basically two parts put together.

I don’t know how Liberty got in that video. It had to be Mike’s idea and he must’ve begged to get in there. I thought it’d be cool but I honestly didn’t think the video would be a big as it got. It was definitely good exposure, even if they spelled my name wrong. That was probably on purpose.

I know you were close with Jeremy Klein around this time. Any good stories come to mind from hanging out with that dude? Crank calls, perhaps?

Jeremy and I definitely did our share of crank phone calls back then. Our lives basically revolved around skateboarding, buying candy, and crank phone calls.

We crank called Gator once but I don’t even know if we should talk about that one cause it’s pretty sketchy…

Come on!

Okay, fuck it.

This is back when we used to go down to San Diego a lot and stay with friends. There was this one weekend where we went over to Tony Hawk’s house to skate his ramp and it happened to be during this weird point where Gator was going to possibly ride for Liberty.

Wow.

Yeah, it was weird. Actually, there was a point where Mike was trying to get both Gator and Josh Swindell to ride for Liberty. They both fell through, obviously.


Talent scouting!

Yeah, so this is back from before we found out that Gator wasn’t going to be riding for us. We didn’t know really what was going on with him at this point, but we ended up seeing him at Tony’s ramp. We weren’t the best of friends but I knew him well enough to go up and talk to him.

“Hey, are you going to ride for Liberty?”

“No, I skate for Jesus now.”

“Is that like a new company or something?”

(laughs) I guess it didn’t fully register what he said or maybe I thought he was joking but I honestly didn’t really know what he was talking about. He definitely took what I said as an insult, though. He started putting me down for the music I listen to… even though he used to listen to punk rock as well.

“You better ride for Jesus, too! You’re heading down a bad path!”

He’s obviously offended and at this point, I just want to get away from the guy.

“Okay, Gator. Let’s just skate, man.”

So it turns out to be the most super awkward session you can ever imagine. But all I can think about the whole time is that I totally know who our next victim will be when we go crank calling later on that night.

A few hours later, we go to crank call Gator but we end up getting his machine. I remember his outgoing message saying all this stuff about, “I can’t come to the phone right now. Praise the Lord, blah, blah blah…”

Whatever. The thing beeps and Jeremy and I, almost in unison, put on these evil-type voices:

“Hey Gator, this is Satan. I know what you’ve done!”

Keep in mind that we are saying this completely out of nowhere. We dumbfucks had no idea what was going on with him at the time… we had no idea he was about to go turn himself in for murder.

Oh my god.

No clue! I mean, why was he even skating!? He had just killed someone!

My memory is a little vague but I really think he turned himself in the next day. Jeremy thinks it was a little longer but regardless, it was so crazy. When I heard the news, I freaked the fuck out. Here we had left that message, totally not knowing about what was going on!

I’m even on this little expose that Hard Copy did about the whole thing! It has this voiceover like, “He was the world’s most rad skater with his entire life ahead of him…” while its showing all this classic Gator stuff.  

“And then one day…” and there’s a shot of me bailing!

I couldn’t believe it! How could I be connected this close? It freaked Jeremy and I out. We didn’t crank call anybody for a few days after that. We just hid and played video games.


Do you think your message is what made him turn himself in?

(laughs) Nah, I doubt it. But who knows! I’ve heard so many things… but that would be pretty fucking hilarious! If that kinda thing could ever be hilarious.

Absolutely insane. So moving on, how did the Icee Bear become your graphic alter-ego? Were you just in need of a rip-off graphic and that one fit?

It probably started out like that but I did used to always drink those. The place down the street had an Icee machine and I always loved that graphic on the cup.

I think it had something to do with a deadline. Everything would always sneak up on me. Mike’s like that where he’ll just come up and say, “Hey man, you’re pro now.”

“Oh, okay… Really? Shit!”

“Yeah, you gotta do a model. Get your graphics going. Let’s go!”

This would always be followed by Mike saying on the very next day, “Dude, it’s deadline. Where are your graphics?”

He’d never tell me about things until the very last minute and I’d always have to think of something real quick. I remember I originally wanted to use the sleepwalking bear that was on all those Travelodge commercials but that somehow ended up turning into the Icee Bear.

Such a classic board.

Yeah, I liked how it came out. Mark McKee always did great stuff. He always exaggerated everything you gave him with these really thick lines to where those rip-off things almost became like their own thing. They were so great. I mean, that first model was just a complete rip-off of the cup but by the time that second mug shot one came out, I remember thinking, “Hey, we’re not being total plagiarists! We’re only 90% plagiarists this time!”

The third one was Icee as the Rocco devil, right? How’d he take that with your guys’ relationship?

That was me being spiteful after our little blow-up or whatever. I heard he got pissed off about that graphic. He never said anything to me, though.

I remember my biggest concern was that I didn’t want him to take it as a form of flattery. I mean, he described himself as the devil so this was actually playing into his whole deal. But it worked, I liked it and he got pissed off.


How were you treated by the old vert guard as a new school pro for a Rocco affiliate? I imagine you got plenty of vibing, right? Anybody stand out as a real asshole?

Actually not at all and I totally expected that. Maybe being down with Mike Smith helped me through all of that. I always looked up to dudes like Jeff Grosso, Ben Schroeder and Jason Jessee and I ended up getting along with them really well.

I think it might’ve been my third or fourth pro contest and I hadn’t really met any of those guys yet but I remember them calling me out to the parking lot. I go out there and they’re all blasting my first FYP demo cassette out of their car. I was so stoked on that.

But yeah, I really felt like those dudes had my back. I was at this skate camp one time with Ben Schroeder really early on when I slammed on a trick and actually knocked myself out on the flatbottom. Blood was coming out of my nose and I just laid there unconscious.

While I was out, I remember having this dream where Tony Magnusson is skating around my body. I’m lying there in the middle of the flatbottom and he’s skating around me in a circle, doing grinds.

When I come to, I’d been carried off to my room and everyone’s now having this big meeting about how they all want to fuck up Tony Mag. Supposedly, when I was passed out, he was up on the platform complaining about me being hurt.

“Why doesn’t this kid move!?! My muscles are getting sore!”

As it turns out, he really was skating around me while I was knocked out. I guess he didn’t want his muscles getting cold.

Dick move.

Even now, I still think about what an asshole move that was. What if he bailed and shot his board into my head? I’m lying there completely unconscious.  

But yeah, this was early on, way before I might’ve deserved any sort of respect from those dudes but they had my back anyway. To this day, I still love those guys.


Always wondered as your career progressed, what kept you on Liberty? I have to imagine you got plenty of offers to go elsewhere, right?

Yeah, I got some offers but I guess I stayed with Liberty out of loyalty.  I liked Mike personally and I loved the company. I loved what it meant. Plus, I was always holding out because I thought things were gonna get better; both with Liberty and vert skating. I thought there was about to be this big vert explosion again... a lot of crazy dreams, I guess.

Do any of those offers stand out from back then?

Yeah, there were a few. Vision was interested at one point. Think wanted me to ride for them, too. Powell actually started talking to me again as well but I wasn’t interested in that anymore. Kinda stupid but it was basically out of pride since they wouldn’t give me the time of day back when I was right in front of them.

No Birdhouse?

I think by the time Birdhouse started, I was kinda over it. Jeremy would talk to me about it from time to time but I felt like we were better where we were at. Jeremy and I even talked about doing our own company at one point.

That would’ve been amazing.

Yeah, we talked about it but it never really got that far… basically just a pipe dream from some guys on a sugar high. It didn’t have a name or anything… mostly just, “That would be cool!”

But I don’t like playing the “what if” game. Starting a company back then just wasn’t feasible for us.


The stuff of legend: Didn’t you piss your pants in a pro contest run once?

Yes, I did. (laughs)

That was actually the same contest I mentioned before where those dudes were out front blasting the music. Those guys were so cool to do that and then I go out on the ramp and do that crap… they probably thought twice about playing my tape after that.

The thing about that day was, that contest was on my very last day of high school. I was just super stoked on everything! I remember thinking to myself throughout the whole day, “At 3 o’clock, my life starts!”

After school, I talk my friend into riding up to Visalia with me for the contest and we end up getting into this crazy car crash where we do a 540 on the freeway, rolling backwards full-speed into a ditch. It was so crazy but somehow, not only were we okay but the car was also perfectly fine! Not even a flat tire! So now we’re extra stoked! Not only is this the first day of my life, I also didn’t die in a wreck when I probably should’ve! The car’s okay… I’m gonna piss my pants in my run now!

(laughs)

That was my logic. I’m not exactly proud of that.


Too funny. So talk a bit about the Liberty Horror video. What all went into the making of that one? Was that Liberty’s big move to really go for it?

Liberty Horror was pretty much my own project. I had help from Spike and Jeremy but it was pretty much me. Basically, I love horror movies and I love skate videos so Horror was my attempt to combine them.

One thing about that video was that I had to literally sneak into World to use their editing equipment and hope Rocco didn’t walk into the room. It was a big deal if he caught me in there.

“Hey, you can’t be editing that movie here!”

I didn’t care, though. Let him catch me! I’m trying to promote our company to make him money! But people were really worried about him finding me in there.

“You don’t understand. He’s gonna get mad. He doesn’t want Liberty stuff in here!”

There was some strange thing going on between Rocco and Mike at the time. All of a sudden, Rocco didn’t want any Liberty stuff at World. It was weird.

But Mike really wanted to do a video. By then, Liberty was already pretty late in the game of putting out videos but we had to have a video to keep the company going.

“Okay then, well, instead of hiring someone and shelling out money for them to make it, why don’t I just make it?”

Anytime you could save Mike Smith money, he’d do it. So I basically took over the video early on. Horror was all my ideas. Mike never seemed that into it anyway. There were actually times I felt like he didn’t even want me to do it.

The mandatory thing for Liberty Horror was that it had to have more street skating in it than vert skating. Mike was obsessed with Liberty having street skaters at that point. I remember going to Mike’s house so he could check out footage and all he’d say is, “That’s not street skating. That’s you skating a ramp. Get some street skating in there.”

“Well… how about this guy getting killed? That’s cool, right?”

“Yeah, that’s awesome!”

(laughs) Did you do all the special effects yourself? The severed head looked amazing!

Yeah, that was the craziest thing ever. That was when I knew Mike was onboard for the video. Once he saw that scene, he was actually excited.

I forget where we got that head from, we must’ve had some kind of connection. But I remember walking into this room and it was full of different body parts lying around for movies. Severed hands, severed feet… all this stuff. We look around and in the corner, there’s this head. Mike just starts screaming, “Oh my God! This is you!” 

I don’t know how it happened but there was this severed head that looked exactly like me… if I got my head cut off. And I still think that particular scene is actually scary. We proved a point with that one.


What’s the story on Fred Brown?

I forget what the title was but Mike had this Hawaiian book with this character in it by the name of Fred Brown. I remember him bringing it up to me one day and he was so excited.

 “Look! We have an entire book full of graphics right here!”

“Well, we can’t do a ton of boards like this… maybe one.”

I’m telling you, it was such a struggle for us to get a street skater to help the sinking Liberty vert dinosaur company. We felt like we needed a street skater so bad but it just wasn’t working out. Fred Brown was Mike’s amazing idea to solve all those problems.

“This is Fred Brown from the Philippines! He’ll be our new street pro! Nobody will know who he is but we’ll say he’s really good! You can ask Jeremy to film a part with a wig on! He can be this amazing street skater but he’s a total mystery!”

I didn’t see it at the time but Fred Brown was one of Mike’s best ideas. It really is genius. And not only was Mike excited about now having a street pro, he was also stoked on not having to pay him.

“No $2 a board! He’s not real!”

That video part was kinda crazy because Jeremy didn’t really go full-throttle in it. He was just doing normal shit. Mike was expecting his full Jeremy Klein shit but in a wig. It didn’t work out that way.


Still one of my favorites. But speaking of full-throttle, how did that Union video part go down? Were you just taking the piss out of street skating?

Is that the one where I’m trying the noseslide-tailslide?

Yeah.

That was just how it was edited. The way it worked out with those Santa Cruz wheel videos, they always wanted you to do street. They knew I did both… even though I usually just went for comedy with street stuff.

Basically, I couldn’t pull that trick. I was really trying and I’d done it before but I just couldn’t get it that day and was being goofy. The thing was, I knew street was more popular by that time but I didn’t care. I honestly tried a few times to talk them out of having any street footage of me in there at all but they really wanted it.

I remember filming with this guy who I’d just met that day and telling him from the start, “This is going to be easy for you because I’m not going to do much. It’s not going to be impressive.”

I reiterated this over the course of the day but he’d always reply like, “No, this is working out great. Just keep skating!”

“How is this working out great? I can’t pull anything!”

Next thing I know, the video comes out and I’m just like, “Oh, so that’s what he meant by ‘working out great.’”

Honestly, I was starting to get a little bitter about the popularity of street skating over vert by this point, too.


You weren’t one of those vert guys considering a street transfer for the sake of career?

I never thought for one minute that anybody might take me seriously skating street. And honestly, if it would’ve came down to that, I told myself that I was going to quit because to me, it was the equivalent of selling out. I know that’s stupid but that’s the way I felt about it. I saw a bunch of skaters trying it all of a sudden and I thought they were sell-outs.

“What are you doing? Just wait it out. Still have fun!”

I love skating vert and that’s why I was sponsored and had a pro model. I’m okay at it. I’m not good with street at all. It’s fun that’s not who I am.

So what happened with you and Liberty? How did you end up on Milk?

It really comes back to trying to find a street skater for Liberty. Vert skaters’ boards just weren’t selling and without a street skater, Liberty wasn’t going to succeed.

Mike ended up finding this kid out in East LA, I honestly can’t remember his name, but at the time, I sorta felt like he dumped me for this kid. I remember they’d gone somewhere on a skate trip together, maybe to a contest or something, but they didn’t say anything to me about it. Shortly after that, Mike just stopped returning my phone calls. It was never really talked about but all of a sudden, I felt like I was out. It was so confusing.

It hurt though because I was loyal to him that entire time and now he’s doing something else and not calling me back. Betrayal is a strong word but that’s how I felt. I could see how this was going so I quit and went to Milk, something I hated doing but I felt there was still some life left in me.

Mike and I still talk to this day but it got a little weird back then.

Milk was weird. It didn’t feel right and I always felt totally out of place. At first, it was going to be alright because both Ron Chatman and Hosoi were going to be on the team. That sounded pretty good. It was Chatty who actually got me on there. But for whatever reason, the company didn’t end up getting started for a while and the next thing I know, Hosoi is no longer involved and Ron had gone to another company. I was fucking pissed. The owner was super cool but when my board finally came out, it just felt wrong.

The whole scenario turned me off from skateboarding. I hated going on trips with those guys and I just didn’t like being around it anymore. At the same time, my parents lost their house, which also meant that my ramp had to be torn down. The writing was on the wall.

I went on this European trip where I was supposed to do 12 demos and 3 contests; I didn’t do any of them. The guy I was with had sold all of my pro boards that I was supposed to be selling for tour support and was refusing to give me any of the money... that was it. I just bailed.

“I’m done. Don’t worry about paying me. I don’t really have to do this.”

Everyone was trying to hustle so much back then, especially vert skaters. It was like rats fighting over a piece of cheese. It was sad. Not being professional anymore wasn’t a sad thing for me at all. It would’ve been sadder had I kept on trying to do it. I can still skate and that’s all I care about. I had more fun skating before all this other stuff started anyway.


Do you think if you had a different sponsor at the time, you would’ve had the proper support to stay with skateboarding?

It probably would’ve made a difference. I was fine not being on Liberty anymore but I wasn’t okay being on a team that I wasn’t comfortable on and still not making money.

It’s hard to answer because at the same time, it could’ve made it worse. I used to see these guys that I really respected at contests and they always seemed to be whining about money but they were making way more than I ever was. They just sounded like a bunch of spoiled brats. Here they’re complaining about making over 100 grand a year and they’re skateboarding for a living. I felt embarrassed about the whole thing: embarrassed for them for complaining like that and embarrassed for myself for making so little in comparison. It was all so strange.

The whole situation seemed like a sign telling me to go on with my life.

Have to wonder, did any of your experience on the business side of things with Liberty inform your future role with Recess Records?

Oh yeah, for sure. I definitely put out records the same way Mike put out boards. I know exactly how much effort is involved to get a release out just like how he knew what it took to put a board out.

Everything is hands-on. I remember going with Mike over to the artist’s house and taking art over to the printer before hitting up Screaming Squeegees for boards. He did everything. And there was never a release date, it was whenever the manufacturer was done with the stuff.

That is a big reason why I never sweated being paid by Mike as I saw that I was learning how to do business… even though he is definitely a weird guy to learn business economics from, there were lessons there to learn. He didn’t want certain people to touch Liberty and I’m the same way with Recess. It’s like you only want certain people handling your baby, even if it’s slower or you look like a big flake.

Well put. So wrapping this up, does it trip you out on how many people still bring up your skating after all these years?

Definitely. I honestly didn’t think anybody really appreciated it that much as it was happening, let alone all this time later. I think there’s been a type of renaissance with a lot of people but for me, I can’t really explain it. I always figured you had to have some type of clout to get that status. But it’s cool. I like hearing people talk about doing certain tricks back then. That’s always good to hear.

…But no one has ever done a Congellariel still to this day!

(laughs) We’re gonna have to run a Trick Tip for it in this.

I’d break my back trying to do that stupid thing.


Big thanks to Jeremy Klein for the intro and footy 
...and to Todd for taking the time. 
 

11 comments:

Cris said...

Well this was an unexpected treat. Rode Todd's Liberty board back around '90/'91. Like Chad Vogt, he was one of those few guys who were so far ahead, you couldn't even mimic what he was doing half the time. Thanks for posting this!

Cris

Royce said...

Amen, 1up and thank you.

Alex said...

Thank you, Chops!

dear, said...

THE FRED BROWN BOOK IS CALLED 'PIDGIN TO DA MAX' AND DEPICTS RECENT FILIPINO TRANSPLANTS LIVING IN HAWAII AND THEIR CULTURAL COLLOQUIALISMS...
I THINK FRED BROWN COMES FROM 'FOB' OR 'FRESH OFF THE BOAT'.
(IT SAYS THAT ON THE BOARD AND THE BOOK ILLUSTRATION).
BUT THEN I HEARD THAT FRED BROWN WAS THE GUY THAT MIKE SMITH BOUGHT HIS BOAT FROM....
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE SOMEWHERE OFF THE COAST OF HERMOSA...

cousin harold said...

Brilliant as always. loved that.

stephen said...

that was rad... unexpected gator story!! holy shit!

bradtheraddad said...

Man, this was awesome! Todd and FYP stayed at my house once in MS where someone there had booked them for a show. Needless to say, the show did not happen but my parents were cool with them staying in our living room. I couldn't believe I had a PRO SKATER in my living room so I made him watch my dumb videos of me and my friends skating and they made fun of it the whole time. Ok by me, I knew we sucked but I had total respect for Todd growing up watching him in Rubbish Heap and Horror and still enjoy his video parts to this day. Great interview, thank you!

Curb Ritual said...

Great interview. TC was underrated for sure. Does he still skate?

theSkateboardMuseum said...

One of the best chrome balls yet. Thanks dude. Now get back to posting on Facebook.

max schaaf said...

this was a good read. todd was one of the guys i really looked up to, he was that good kind of weird, and liked punk music and didn't seem to wear the costume. some of these guys seemed more like 30 that 16yrs old, a lot to do with their confidence i think. skated b.k.'s vert ramp once with him, he looked like he felt out of place, which makes sense i guess cause i think greg carroll took him there.On a personal note the vogt comparison above, i think is odd, no disrespect to "cris", but Todd has a very powerful style and refined bag of tricks and not really circus style. But now i sound like a complete fucking nerd... Great interview good job, thanks.

ODG said...

Nice! Didn't know about the connection with Jeremy Klein.