The John Cattle Sessions Part 2
The shit goes on!!! Part two of the “John Cattle Sessions”.
Two blokes having a drink and a chat about our favourite subject: Skateboarding! Nonsense talk about: Videos, old Plan B, big pants, Münster Monster Mastership and some more stuff.
John Cattle: What are you drinking?
F.F.L: A massive jug of white wine and you?
John Cattle: I've got gin and tonic!
F.F.L: Oh, the classic drink.
John Cattle: If I could get ahold of some Warsteiner beer, which is one of your finest exports, I would be gratefully drinking that. But gin and tonic is working too (laughter).
F.F.L: It will do the job (laughter). So: Cheers!!!
John Cattle: Cheers!!!
F.F.L: Sometimes I miss those days when you were skating and a car passed by and they yelled, “Fucking skateboarders! Grow up!”
John Cattle: Man, you got that too? I think that was common worldwide, people didn't get it or were jealous. It is a whole freedom, that they don't have any idea of. You can just take a chuck of wood with some wheels on it and roll down the street. On land there is nothing like it.
F.F.L: (Laughing) I just remember what Alex said in his interview and I didn't use it.
John Cattle: What did he say?
F.F.L: He said something like, “All you little kids out there, you're gonna regret all those stairs and handrails you've been jumping down. You're gonna suffer!!”
John Cattle: That's true though!!! This is the 1st generation of kids that ever gone through that abuse. 20 stair handrails! Come on!! Those hammers gonna catch up on you sooner than you want. Seriously!
F.F.L: In their late twenties they're gonna be fucked!!
John Cattle: I would like to see how many will be in wheelchairs. I mean I'm suffering from the stuff I did and I didn't do anything like those guys do. Let's get to some subject, man. What was the 1st skateboard video that you saw?
F.F.L: Ahh, you are doing the interview now. It was “Animal Chin” (released 1987). Man, I was so hyped. I still like it and I still love “JOHNNY RAD” (Check him out on YouTube- best Skate band ever!!)
John Cattle: Ahh yeah, “McTwist and Shout”!!!
John Cattle: Hmm, I think I even have to quote more. The 1st one was even before “Animal Chin” That was “Wheels on Fire” where Natas ollied over a dustbin and that blew my mind. I was used to seeing people ollie up a kerb, but ollie over a dustbin?!! That was a mountain back in the day.
Then the Plan B video “Questionable” (released 1992). That was the 1st video I showed to my parents, 'cause I was so stoked with it. It was beyond anything so I tried to stoke them out too. The Pat Duffy opening section was so far beyond, it was too much stuff to take in.
F.F.L: Oh yeah and the midsection was Mike Carroll with all those crazy fucking lines at EMB with his style and the music. BOY I was so stoked!!!
John Cattle: There was no-one to catch up with those guys back then - Danny Way, Mike Carroll, Pat Duffy, Rick Howard…!
F.F.L: Rick Howard - his part was so good as well.
John Cattle: The way the whole video was. They had old-school Adidas, Puma and big trousers. That was the start of something completely new. That progressed further to all those crazy New Deal jeans.
F.F.L: I reckon New Deal made a fortune out of those Big Deal jeans.
John Cattle: I think that is where they made a lot of their money. Everybody had those jeans.
|That was the logo you wanted to have on your pants|
F.F.L: I'll now have a sip of my drink and confess I had black, blue and red wine coloured ones - I too was wearing these ugly pieces of shit. The blue ones were kind of OK, if you forgot about the size. They were a bit oversized (laughs).
John Cattle: My memory of those days was going to Harrow skatepark when the New Deal team came and I think the Real team as well, 'cause Salman Agah was there. We all had those crazy jeans on and there was this one kid and it seriously looked like he was wearing a dress. His trousers were the widest thing I've ever seen in my life. That was the time when you had to have the biggest trousers and he, without doubt, had the biggest. Fortunately it calmed down (laughs).
|A blonde Mike Carroll bs heelflips through SF with the fresh fashion of 1992.|
F.F.L: It calmed down in 1993. I remember I went to the Münster Mastership in Germany and all the American pros were wearing Levi's 501s and everybody in the crowd was sitting there in their clown trousers. Fucking hell it was hilarious. Everyone was like, “What the Fuck is going on?! When the contest is over and I am home, I'll get some 501s”
John Cattle: Huge thanks to the 501s!
F.F.L: But now they are wearing all this really, really skin tight Spandex trousers.
John Cattle: Yeah dude we got them here too.
F.F.L: And then they are wearing either a punk rock belt or a fucking shoelace as a belt. What for? Those trousers are so fucking skin tight, they will never fall down. No way on fucking earth.
John Cattle: (Laughs very hard) I can't even imagine skateboarding in something so restricting. You know Corey Duffel? How can he can skate in something so skin tight? He can do the biggest stuff in his video parts in that kind of clothing. There must be a secret about it!
F.F.L: I've seen his video parts as well, but I keep on skipping them 'cause I can't watch those skinny legs flying through the air. Fuck it, looks shit, can't watch it! I'd rather stick in “Trilogy” (released in 1996) and watch the “Menace” boys. True skate style. No fucking gay ass lame wanna be punk rock girly legged style.
John Cattle: That is another one in my arsenal of favourite videos that blew my mind.
F.F.L: Yesss Gino (Iannucci)…
John Cattle: Oh yes Gino, Jason Dill, Marcus McBride and Clyde Singleton. Ahh man that is a super good line up
F.F.L: Yeah it's a “no worries” package - you'll be satisfied with style and tricks from just those four. You don't need 20 riders. Those boys can do the whole thing - easy!
John Cattle: They skate effortlessly and with style. Especially Gino who has a style which has been not matched with anyone I have seen since.
F.F.L: I would love to see him skate in person, but have never had the chance. His style is already so good in a video, so imagine how good it must be live!
John Cattle: I feel the same, actually I would even pay money for that. Hey that's a good idea. You are selling tickets to see your favourite skater skate (laughs).
F.F.L: Would make sense nowadays where skateboarding is a whore business (laughs). Seriously, I would like to skate and then rock some beers with them.
John Cattle: Sounds good - or do both at once!
F.F.L: That's even more fun.
John Cattle: Back to the subject of videos. The 3rd video? A recent influential video for me is called “Mornin' Mr Magpie” which you may not be aware of.
F.F.L: No, never heard of it.
John Cattle: It's by a friend of mine, Jesse James, who I sponsor. I saw this video before I hooked him up, and in my eyes, it is the most creative British video out there. I love the way it looks and the feel of it. Jesse's got such a rad imagination on him and it's all very weird. He doesn't smoke and he doesn't drink, but he still has this incredibly strange artistic imagination which is beyond me. This video makes you want to go out, skate and have fun. It's about doing whatever.
F.F.L: I would drop for the 3rd video: “Eastern Exposure 3- Underachievers” (released 1996) That's one of the most beautiful videos ever.
John Cattle: Yeah Dan Wolfe. That's some raw skating. I mean those guys in New York really know how to skate. They skate when it's freezing cold. I respect that. I think if California had their kind of weather conditions, they wouldn't be skating too much.
John Cattle: Ricky Oyola has lines for days.
F.F.L: I've seen him in the Münster contest 1995 and he was ripping shit up, not in the contest, but after the eliminations Saturday night. Everybody was drinking and partying and he was shredding the city like there would be no tomorrow. Pure street skating, fucking raw. Killing it the whole fucking night - surrounded by pissdrunk skaters. High speed skating and tech. What a man.
John Cattle: I would have loved to see that.
F.F.L: Have you been to one of the Münster contests?
John Cattle: No, that was the time I had no money. I think that was time I was sponsored by Panic Skateboards over here and there was no money to go to contests. I basically bunked trains to go to contests and unfortunately I couldn't do that with planes or ferries to come to you guys. I had to use all my blagging ability to go around here all the time. That was a different time in skateboarding. There was no money. I got a package once a month and I was told to be here or there and I had to get there on my own. No money, no tickets, maybe an extra board that you could sell.
F.F.L: Listen kids it's not all glory!!!
John Cattle: It wasn't all about a sponsorship back then. I get the impression kids nowadays do it for the sponsorship - which to me is totally wrong.
F.F.L: I think we grew up skating in the most interesting time. The death of vert and the birth of street skating. The invention of switch skating aka the “Questionable” era.
John Cattle: Right, and the invention of the modern day tricks. For example: fs feebles and overcrooks - I had no idea what it was back in the day. It was the “Golden Age” when skateboarding was evolving to what we see today.
F.F.L: It's always an up and down. Look at all those combo tricks we used to do in the early 90s. Like crooked to noseslide to overcrooked etc.. or some weird flip in flip out stuff. It's all back now. Now they are doing all this “Ledge dancing” as well.
John Cattle: Yeah like tailslide to shove it to tailslide to crooks to whatever (laughs). But we were doing it on curbs.
F.F.L: It was a 2” curb, but the combo is still the same - just the obstacle is higher.
John Cattle: A lot higher! Like Torey Pudwill in his “Big Bang” part. It's like video game stuff what he does and if someone would have told you back then what he is doing now, you wouldn't have believed it. What is he doing?! Bs tailslide on a 6 ft high ledge?!
F.F.L: I went to the States for 2 months in 2009 and you can get World Industries gear at “Target” (massive supermarket chain). I knew magic America is a different level, but that was even surprising for me.
John Cattle: Yeah they got sold recently and you get World stuff everywhere. Shit boards, shit shoes.
F.F.L: I have to admit I have been out of skating for almost 6 years, like from 2002 until 2008. So I haven't been following the industry news, just kept rolling around every now and then. When I got really heavily into it again in 2008 I was kind of shocked what happened in those years.
John Cattle: That was the thing - World Industries was fighting against that supermarket stuff, but now they are there. I'm embarrassed, I got my friend some World Industries shoes from a distributor the other day and they sucked. They broke within a couple days. Really poor quality, it is not what they stood for. We are talking about “Trilogy” and when World's products and videos were at the forefront. I have respect for the Steve Rocco days (founder of World Industries), but I guess he sold out.
F.F.L: I think he saw so many zeros on the cheque when they made the offer for World Industries and then he just sold his baby. Just take it and do whatever - I got the money, I couldn't care less now.
John Cattle: Dude, he lost himself from the skateboard world. Giving up his baby and seeing his stuff being sold at Target?! Arggg!
F.F.L: Totally fucked up.
John Cattle: I mean when they got sold, they dropped all the good riders with style and creativity. Instead they replaced them with those generic young puppet skateboarders who were just good at winning contests. This is against what World Industries was known for and that was sick videos with creative people all around. That went completely out the window.
F.F.L: My tape and drink is almost gone and I need a cigarette. Let's have a break and then we can continue in 10 mins. Is that ok for ya?
John Cattle: Yes, no problem. See you at 20 past.....................
F.F.L: Ok, Im back
John Cattle: That was a quick smoke!
F.F.L: It's fucking freezing outside, not a pleasure even with a ciggy.
John Cattle: Just remembering something about the early World Industries - try to find out what happened to Ron Chatman. That would be awesome!
F.F.L: Yes, that would be a good one. Remember in 1990-91 everyone had his board. This Jimi Hendrix rip off graphic - something like “The Ron Chatman Experience.” Do you remember that one?
John Cattle: I do remember, those were the boards you could snap with a light single sweep of your foot. They were shittest quality, but we loved them! You would snap one and buy another one. That was the amazing marketing Rocco had back in the day. The Jimi Hendrix board was one of those you had to have - it was so good.
F.F.L: I had a used one and I scratched off the graphic, 'cause that was the shit to do back then (laughs). Those were happy days!
John Cattle: Unfortunately those days are gone.
F.F.L: Have you guys in England done the same? When you saw a video that they were riding blanks, that you scratched off the graphic on your board with a knife or sandpaper?
John Cattle: That no, but I have done so many similar like: I cut down my Vans….
John Cattle: I cut off my trousers, so I had shorts….
John Cattle: I must have done everything those dudes had in the videos.
F.F.L: Chain wallet?
John Cattle: Mate, I still got my Dogtown chain wallet. Matt Hensley! Dude, I skated with Matt Hensley for a month in 1990. That was the best time in my skateboarding life. You know a month is a long time - if people stay with me for a couple of days, that is a big effort. Me and a friend of mine, Scott Wilson, who was sponsored by H-Street at that time, went out to Vista, California to stay with Matt. I cleaned his car and house. We went to skate a bowl with him and Danny Way. Sal Barbier took us to a mall, skating with Donger and John Reeves...all this fucked up rad stuff! I wish I would have taken photos and videos, 'cause I didn't take any. Nowadays I would have blitzed that. The only proof I have is that I am in the background of an A-1 Meats (former wheel company) video, where this guy Sean Begg does a manual to kickflip at the old San Diego block stages. It's like different sized blocks, where you watch a football game on. It's Oceanside!!! That is the only proof I have, that I was ever there. I feel devastated that I didn't take any pictures.
F.F.L: Totally different days man. Now you don't start skating seriously, if the camera isn't ready and recording. Skating with Donger must have been an experience, with his serious ollie skills.
John Cattle: We would just go out skating and produce with no camera. Donger is ridiculous, a short person with massive pop, massive dreads. Oh no it´s not dreads, it's like a samurai pony tail dread. The guy has a saying, “If you can ollie over something, you can kickflip over it!” That was his philosophy. He used to kickflip up and over the biggest stuff you can imagine.
F.F.L: Do you know the Planet Earth video. Can't remember the name. Donger has a part in that one and it's so massive what he does.
John Cattle: “Cat's Cradle.” Yeah that is fucked up. Check that out online. Jason Carney also has a part in that video. He's another guy I met when I was over there. Jason was so advanced for back then - he did a feeble grind kickflip out on a handrail when I was there (1990). He was in “This is Not the New H-street Video,” but his part doesn't do him justice. That guy's ability is so ridiculous. He was on Maple (skate company) for a bit with Donger. If you find anything of him online, check it out - he does some crazy lines like with fakie hardflip reverts in. I still have problems to understand how that works.
Look up Jason Carney, he is fucked up!!!
More to come up in part 3 of “The John Cattle Sessions”
John Cattle for destroying his liver
Fran Cattle for the review
The Chrome Ball Incident for the pictures