Donnerstag, 23. Februar 2012

Questions for the Notorious Clown

While we have been going through all the FB stuff we stumbled across the name we have been missing for years in skateboarding. So we wrote up this truly legendary icon to see what would happen. Some two days later this e-mail interview was done. 

We are really stoked on the kindness and honesty he put into his answers.

Who is it ?
Simon Woodstock

Who is Simon Woodstock (age, roots, current place of resistance)?

I am almost 42 years old. I was born and raised in Campbell, California (near San Jose). currently reside back in San Jose.

When did you start skating?

I think I was like 6 or 7 years old.

What was your 1st real board set up?

Powell Peralta Ray "Bones" Rodriguez with Tracker 6 Tracks and Bones Cubic wheels.

What was the 1st video that really stoked you and what are your 3 all time favorite vids and why?

Actually, it was a very old movie called "Skateboard Madness" that was very old school late 70s skating that really stoked me out when I was a very young kid. Then it was the Bones Brigade Video Show. That was probably the first well made skate video that came out during my grom era. I used to watch a lot of those old NSA competition videos which were cool. Those all got me into watching a lot of skating on video.

I would say some of the later videos were the ones that got me super stoked. If I had to pick 3

1. The Search for Animal Chin. They did a special in theater release in my area and it was sooo good. I just remember tripping hard on the whole mega animal chin vert ramp. No one had done anything like that before. The quadruple runs that they took on the ramp were insane.

2. Blind "Video Days". I remember watching it and the skating was so advanced. I recently watched Gonz' part again a few times and I realized that back when I saw it for the first time I didn't even understand the technical difficulty of what he was doing. Lots of switch stance before anyone was doing it. First darkside slide I ever saw. Amazing!

3. Probably the first Plan B video. Pat Duffy was doing things on handrails that were inconceivable at the time.

Who was Your 1st sponsor?

Technically, my parents were my first sponsors as we owned a family skate shop called Winchester Skate Shop (1986-90). My first free deck that I got outside of the skate shop was given to me by Allen Losi. But, my first factory sponsors were Thunder Trucks and Spitfire Wheels. The first ad I ever had in a magazine was a Spitfire Wheels ad.

You were riding for Black Label back then, why did you jump ships and boarded Sonic Skateboards?

Well, that's a bit of a long story. I was supposed to turn pro for Black Label but Lucero changed his mind at the last minute for some reason. I rode for two other smaller companies before I was on Sonic.

When did You turn pro and for which company?

Ha, right after I left Black Label I turned pro for a very short lived company called Koklieb in 1992. It was a local company out of the San Jose Skatepark with me and JJ Rogers as the pros. The company never really went anywhere but it was a fun time. I basically had all access to the skatepark which was very helpful in the development of my skill set. I then rode for a company called New School for a while and then Sonic.

The SJ posse like Jason Adams, Salman Agah, Tim Brauch (deeply missed), Ed Devera etc. had a super reputation back in the days and all were on rock solid sponsors, did it help to be tight with those guys. 

The whole San Jose scene was amazing! It still is with the Enjoi guys and stuff. Hanging and skating with those guys was always rad. We pushed each other to be better riders and we always seemed to be having fun doing whatevs.
Simon Woodstock: "I submitted this photo to Vans for an ad in 1996 because a similar ad got a great response for CCS mailorder. The Vans ad department didn't like it due to "low skill level" or something like that. They may have had a point, but I tried to explain to them that having my hair and pants match my ltd edition colorway signature Vans was the focal point of the shot. Nevertheless, the photo never ran as an ad. They did use it for this trading card, but cropped about 8 inches off the height of the flatbar thus lowering the "skill level" of the shot even further. I LOVED riding for Vans, but often the communication between core and corporate was rather difficult."

What was the 1st contest you entered and how was it to rip there?

The first pro contest I entered was in 1992 at a skatepark called Transitions in Southern California. It was cool because I got 6th place and Lucero congratulated me. I think he had doubts about my skill level that were part of the reason he didn't turn me pro so it was cool to be able to have validation by doing good in my first contest.
Sonic ad- Bs Kickflip in the old Powell Skatezone

Is skating still fun when you make a living out of it, event hough it always looked like you had tons of fun?

Yeah, it is really fun getting to travel everywhere and skate. Because I had a lot of creative freedom with my advertisements it was always pretty fun. It can be a drag when you get to the point where you only skate to film or shoot photos but even then it is lame to complain. I can't think of a better job or whatever you would call being a pro skater. It was one of the greatest times of my life.

BTW fun. Please write down what are your memories about following boards  and how did you come up with the idea for each? Which one was the hardest to ride and which the funnest?
Formula One ad

I really liked that set up. I just had the idea that if you put trucks and wheels on both sides of your board you could do 1 1/2 kickflips and 360 1 1/2 flips and so forth. It just happened to work so I took it around to some contests and did some filming with it. In fact, my first Sonic ad was on that board. I think I used to call it "double trouble"


That came out of just being board working at a boardshop called Go-Skate up in Sacramento. We had a bunch of skimboards for sale in the shop and I just set one up with trucks and wheels and took it to the Sacramento skatepark. Everyone tripped out on it and I was actually surprised that I could do tricks on it.  

Various screen grabs of the Skim Board footage. Must be out of 411# fuck knows!!!

Bowling board:

I was riding for Airwalk at the time and they made a "Bowling shoe" that was a skate shoe styled after the shoes you rent at bowling lanes. .The concept of the bowling ball board was for an ad for those shoes. I drilled the trucks and wheels right into the bowling ball, found a set of pins, and shot the ad with Lance Dalgart. I busted it out at a Vancouver Canada pro contest too. pretty fun!

The Bowling Board- Airwalk ad.

Carpet board:

A kid had one at a demo once and I borrowed it and took off my shoes and started riding it. I was able to do barefoot tre flips and such so the kid just gave it to me. I made a new one and rode it in a pro contest at the Powell skate zone in 1994. I got 9th place on it.

Bullseye board:

Big Brother Magazine was having an advertisement contest so that was just a concept board specifically for the photo shoot for the ad we submitted from Sonic. It wasn't very functional for every day riding. The ad got second place in the contest.

Double nosed board noseslide and the Bullseye board oliie to fakie at Derby

Fish tank board:

Photographer, Mike Ballard, suggested that we try to do something that might be a guarantee for a Big Brother cover so I came up with the idea. I put trucks and wheels under the tank and water and live fish in it. It was the only cover of a magazine that I ever got. Dan Cates from England just recreated the board for a Sidewalk Magazine cover.

Big Brother Magazin Cover- The Fishtank ride

Just screwing around with that one. It wasn't that fun to ride, actually. I learned how to kickflip on it but it was kind of useless beyond that.

Spring Board Indy

Together with the unique boards came the outfits. Looking back wich costume was the funnest which one was the most ridiculous one?

I would have to say that the stuffed animal suit was both! I sewed about 250 stuffed animals to a pair of coveralls and it would get people stoked and laughing wherever I wore it. I would wear it to trade shows and stuff. It wasn't my favorite one, though. The penny suit was my favorite.

You have been to the World Cup in Münster Germany in 1995. I remember that you had everyday a new hair colour. Like one day red then blue and then green. Pretty vicious thing to do, to your hair.
How did you like europe back then and what were your impressions on skating here and the what you like and dislike?

Europe was always cool. Munster and North Hampton (England) were always my favorites. I can't remember anything bad about about them. The fans there always seemed pumped and the vibes were cool.

To which countries has skating brought you?

All throughout Europe, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Japan, Venezuela, and probably some that I have forgotten.

Craziest tour story please (Don`t hold back on this one)

Ha, okay... I had to think for a minute. I was with the Sonic guys traveling on the bullet train out of England and I had fallen asleep. We got to our stop and the guys on the team thought it would be funny if they didn't wake me up. When they were off the train they all started yelling my name and I woke up. But, my legs had fallen asleep so I had to crawl on my hands and knees with my bags and stuff to get off the train before it pulled away again. I literally fell down the steps of the train onto the train station floor. Everyone had a good laugh that day at my expense. I think it was on the same trip that we were on another train into Portugal and the whole mountain surrounding the train was on fire. The train car began to heat up really hot and we all thought we might die. That was pretty crazy now that I think of it.

What was anarchy eyewear???

It was a division of some larger mainstream sunglass company trying to break into the core market. They offered me a signature sunglass and a good paycheck so I went for it. I didn't have a whole lot of creative control with the ads so they aren't my favorite. It was cool, though. Free shades and free money basically.
Anarchy eyewear ad

How did you start Woodstock Skateboards and how was the company doing, due to the fact that you were really prominent those days?

I dunno, this was all towards the end of my career. I started doing wheels with Metiver and then he made me a good financial offer to licence my name to do decks. I probably should have just stayed with Sonic. But, Metiver treated me fair so it is not a big regret or anything. I never knew how well the boards did because I never saw the numbers but I saw them in a lot of shops so they must have done pretty good.

The company was together with Rich Metivier. Who was on the team besides you and which woodshop, distribution you guys used?

I think Rich had his own distribution. I want to say that the boards were made at Watson Laminates but I don't really remember. There were no team riders besides myself on the deck company.


How Woodstock Skateboards ended?

After we got sued by Rocco I was just starting to get over the whole skate scene in general. I had a lot of injuries and was burned out. Shortly after the lawsuit Rich and I had a mutual agreement to disband my company.

Woodstock skateboards ad, that led to the lawsuit.

Is it really true that you had to step away from the skateindustry, otherwise you would have to pay a fine of $100,000? Is that really the truth?

That is the way Rocco explains it in his documentary but we actually did get sued and had to pay $50,000 dollars and we just coincidentally both got out of the industry shortly afterwards. I think Rocco just remembers it wrong or maybe said that to keep people from attacking his brands or something. I don't mind that version of the story. If people think that Rocco ran me out of the skateboard industry that is a more exciting story than me just fading off the scene.

When you think about the Powell Peralta and Blind “graphic wars”, can you understand Steve Roccos reaction towards Woodstock Skateboards? There were even rumors that he liked the ad and he would have run a similair one.

Yeah, in our settlement meeting he was cool. He just explained that he had worked hard to establish the World Industries brand and wanted to send a message to people not to mess with it. I understood. George Powell probably should have sued Rocco for doing the same thing before.

What would you do if you would meet him (Rocco) in a supermarket?

I'd say hello. See if he wanted to talk briefly. I have no beef with Rocco. I never did. Attacking his brand was just a publicity stunt that backfired. 

What have you been doing after Woodstock Skateboards? The moment that ended you kind of vanished.

 I was living in Huntington Beach towards the end and had signed all of these contract deals throughout the years but I was kind of done with skating at the pro level. I moved back to San Jose and just sort of hid out for a while. I lifted weights in my backyard and got a tan. After a while my sponsors were calling me wondering why I was in hiding and I just told them all in one week that I was done. We dissolved the contracts and I was free to go. That was it. It was in late 1999. I became a Christian shortly after and went to Bible College. The details of how all that went down are in this article that I recently wrote 

What are you up to nowadays and what are your plans for  2012?

I lead a very chill lifestyle now-a-days and I like that. I take care of my Mom full time and I do the Church thing and I am involved in ministry. I have a missions trip to Ethiopia that I am scheduled to go on with Christian Skaters International Ministry, working amongst the thousands of homeless teens there giving them Bibles and boards. I have some speaking engagements at Christian conferences and so forth. Basically, just staying out of trouble.

Are you still skating and into inventing new boards?

Yeah, I just started skating again last year. Having a great time sessioning with friends and hitting local curbs, banks, and skateparks. My friends are building a mini-ramp and we plan to session that all spring and summer. As far as special boards, not so much any more. I don't have the resources or the the designated time to spend on then that I did when I was a pro. But, we'll see.

Do you collect Skateboards?

I'm so ,old now that I collect dust. That's about it.

At the end of the day are there some things you would do differently now?

Well, the standard stuff. I would have tried to keep the partying under control. It would have been nice to have become a Christian sooner and avoided the party scene altogether. But, really, I pretty much accomplished more than I originally set out to do so it is cool to have been a part of it all and to look back on.

What do you think of  the Skateboarding scene 2012? Mega sponsor deals, big money from Nike, Mountain Dew, etc compared to the 90`s?

It is what it is. There are always corporations trying to break in to it. The thing with skateboarding is that it goes through long fazes where big companies can make money off of it. For me, I would just have to be honest... if Nike called me right now and offered me a million dollars to wear their shoes when I skate... well.. what do you think I would do? What would you do?

Are you still in touch with the mates from back in the days?

Yeah, actually a lot of them. Everybody and thier brother are on Facebook these days. I go to NC Boardshop in Los Gatos every couple of months just to see who's still peculating. 

A lot of people think that  Simon Woodstock was the Skateboarding- Clown. Do you wish they would remeber you aswell as the talented shredder that you have been. We still dig the mini ramp sequence of ya, where you did a bs kickflip lipslide down the extension to to rock to fakie into the ramp. That is still nuts!

Thanks! I don't really mind how people perceive me or my skating history. The reality is that it is flattering that people still remember me at all. All of that stuff pretty much went down over 15 years ago. I like to hear it when anything that I did stoked people out or had some kind of positive affect on them.

fs 5-O with the clown suit

Can you consider a comeback as a skater or in the skate bizz?

Well, I'm actually in the process of getting some skating back and have a deal with Reliance Skateboards (Brian Sumner) to do a re-issue of one of my old boards. I would like for that to turn into something more if the Lord wills. I'm going to try to enter a mini ramp competition in at the Whosoevers  conference in April. Small steps... see what happens.

F.F.L. zine has a campaign: The search for Aaron Deeter. Do you have any information of his where about?

Actually the photo and name look familiar. But, I have no idea where he is. It is funny you have that search going. I would always wonder if, while I was completely off the radar, if some crew searching for me would ever show up on my front door.

Thank You very much for your time and effort.

Lord bless. Peace!!

Thanks again to Simon WoodstocK to be the person he is: Super fun!!!!!

Cheers to: The Chromeball Incident and Skately for the pictures.


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