Adam Johnson / Wichita, KS / Photo by John Haynes
Adam, let’s talk briefly about “Charg!ng.” The video, after so many months and miles, is in the can and in DVD players. Was it hard completing the project? I got the impression from your Tweets that you were thinking about going rogue and just staying on tour forever.
I am going rogue and going on tour forever. We raffled off the van so I had to come back to Lawrence to sell my car and get a camera and party van to charge on. Can’t rely on others my whole life.
As for completing the project, it was horrible. I went to California to wrap it up with 45 minutes already edited and the team decided to dump all their footage into it. Originally we planned on releasing two videos before Bitter Cold. “Charg!ng” and the “GOAT.” The “Goat” was going to be full profiles on the pros that skate for Straight Jacket. Just the rawest 30 minute video ever. We were going to do two more tours and drop it on people at BCSD. When watching the original “Charg!ng” some of the dudes were bummed that they didn’t have a bunch of footage, so they said to scrap the second video and put all their tricks in. This forced me to basically re-edit the entire video in five weeks and ice out a lot of the am riders and non-Straight Jacket dudes, like Stockwell and PJ’s footage, in favor of people who actually skate for the brands. Terrible.
What did you learn about your friends and our country while out there exploring the urban wilderness?
I learned that my friends aren’t my friends, they are my fucking family. The people I get to so casually call my riders are my brothers, the kind of people you do anything for, and without expecting anything, know they will do the same for you. As far as America goes, it is one of the most ignorant places in the world. Turns out we were skateboarders and rockstars all along. There was no comprehending that we were inliners. Hell, the iPhone I’m typing on doesn’t even recognize that as a word.
Tell us a quick story about something that happened on tour that you didn’t think about until right NOW.
It just dawned on me that despite my best attempts I didn’t kill any of my friends or myself. It wasn’t a conscious thing, but a big part of me thought this was going to be the last deal, you know, the big one. KC says what’s up. All the dumb shit, the reckless shit, we should have died.
Worst passenger in the van? Best?
Worst, Adam Exline. Great guy, just wasn’t looking to have someone with me the last 60 days of production. He didn’t do anything wrong at all, and was great company, I just always felt bad for him being there since I was just editing. Of course Farmer was the best, he was a trooper through his four major injuries and never once asked me to send him home.
How stupid was it of us to miss the premiere after BCSD? Took forever to get Haynes’ fucking lights out of the rafters, and all the dudes he helped set up ditched him!
Almost as stupid as me blacking out at what everyone told me was the best premiere they had ever attended. Wish you could have been there for my speech.
Okay Adam, I can’t lie, I was just reading the message board thread about “Charg!ng” and there seems to be a grip of people who feel like the video let them down. I know that’s really just the vocal minority of the internet, but besides “FUCK YOU” what do you think about that? How badly do expectations ruin bladers’ experiences?
There are six kids who don’t like it. Two of them are from Florida and just hate it ’cause I made it. The ones who are disappointed are the types of kids who will never be happy. I don’t go on messageboards regularly anymore for a reason. My eyes are in the front of my head for a reason. I’m looking forward. I’m not in this to make haters magically like us. I’m still around because I love my family and can’t imagine a world in which I don’t work closely with them and take blade vacations with them. That life isn’t worth living. So for the kids who don’t like it, that’s fine, watch something else ’cause we like it a lot.
Want to take a second to describe the creative process of making the video; the collaboration of the van full of dudes? Like, how many spots in the video were destinations vs. shit you just rolled up on?
We only had destinations in cities where people lived, and even then we would find random shit because all these guys have ‘the eye’ and most of them look at things differently. I really enjoyed working with Sean and Colin, and even in the later stages PJ, from a production filming standpoint. As far as skating, you would be hard pressed to find a better group of skaters that care about how they look and what they skate and are conscious of all aspects of how they are portrayed. These guys aren’t half-stepping. Most things were decided by committee. Even the editing and song choices. We worked to create something we were proud of as a family, and since we are, popular opinion doesn’t affect how we feel about the final project.
Anything else worth adding?
I’m drunk at a bar.
See “Charg!ng” from even more angles in ONE #18, out now.
Interview by the Talking Rectum With Glasses
Great read! AJ never ceases to inspire.
awesome interview Charging is one of the best videos of all times has the illest tricks from the illest riders AJ is a pure mastermind