I’m pretty sure Dan Jensen did the first zero spin at the ‘95 Am Jam in Dayton Ohio, true?
Sounds right to me. When I made that list of “firsts” from Minnesota I was pretty sure that some of my Minnesota friends would tell me of the other “firsts” I was missing. It exemplifies the endless innovation that comes out of Minnesota. Presently, the stuff Chris Farmer and Kevin Yee (Minnesota native) are doing is progressing the sport with each section they put out.
How’s the scene in Minnesota these days any different?
The scene in Minnesota is solid. From my vantage point, everyone has fun skating. As simplistic as that sounds, some Minnesota guys who’ve relocated to other parts of the country talk about the competitive nature of their city — how some skaters don’t talk to other skaters who aren’t in their clique. If that exists in Minnesota they do a good job at hiding it from me, because everywhere I go the vibe is still super positive. That vibe is a result from each generation doing their part to help out the next one coming up. John Schmidt was a prime example of always hooking kids up with stuff and being down to skate with anyone. That vibe filtered down to the John Glynns and O’Brien brothers, and then to the Jeph Howards and Chris Farmers of today. On the business end of things, the scene is solid as well. From Con Artist (now on the East Coast), Vibralux, and the comeback of Scribe (also now on the East Coast), to Michael Garlinghouse and Shane McClay always pumped to go film, and photographers like John Haynes and Andrew Murray all do a great job of keeping things on the up in Minnesota, and in the industry as a whole.
What was it like going to NISS and ASA comps?
ASA Tour and then B3 Tour were some of the best experiences of rollerblading for me. Whether it be smoking Pablo in the back of a bread truck with Ryan Jacklone while driving through Universal Studios, slamming Boone’s Farm bottles with Chris Edwards in South Padre Island, throwing wheels out of a 20th story window in San Diego with John Schmit, or skateboarding through South Chicago with Chad Grout and B Hardin, the stories never ended in every city we went to.
How did Scribe start and did you have a part of it?
Scribe started as a grind-plate company with Steve Thomas, Shannon Grendahl and Jason Roy at the helm. It was done out of this one-bedroom apartment in South Minneapolis where I would go when I was 16 to smoke cigarettes. I had a small part in it by helping meet with one of our original investors, testing different types of plastic, and actually making and packaging the grind-plates. (I used to carry a beeper in high school and have to take bathroom breaks to call back our investor to plan meetings and pick-ups.)
What was it like skating for Rollerblade back in the day?
First let me start off — I love Tom Hyser and all that he is doing at/for Rollerblade. Back in the day, however, it was exactly what you’d think skating for a big company would be like. We had a team manager who wasn’t a skater booking our flights and sending us the tickets. He’d show up at contests with performance-enhancing test products. We had to sign non-disclosure agreements before we’d go into meetings with engineers and big-dogs that I’m sure made twice what I make now. And by the way — these meetings were more of a “here’s what we’re doing” than “what should we do?” sort of thing. And a corporate sponsorship wouldn’t be complete without doing shows of 540s to a background of fireworks at a Palm Springs golf resort. Surprisingly, I did enjoy skating for Rollerblade. Everyone was always nice and positive to me. The team was awesome: John Schmit, Chris Edwards, Bryan Bell, Chad Grout, Chris Garret, Cory Miller, Mike Giacinti and Dana Giordano. I’m sure the reason I got on the team was Chris Edwards — who by the way has always been a hero of mine.
MANUEL BILLIRIS AUSTRALIAN VERT SKATER. Definitely one of the earlier dudes of Australian power house vert skaters back i nthe day. He was sponsored by Oxygen and had a pro whell/shirt with Cozmo…back when crowds cheered for vert skaters…oh man this has got me thinking about Crank Straps heel straps. Anyways he had a pro skate with Oxygen-pretty much the Argons with a green buckles etc…