Yeah it has been a minute. My interweb life is a never-ending apology at this point. Actual new stuff coming out soon, most notably silk screen art prints by Sean Cliver and Todd Francis… More info soon. In the meantime:
Ben Schroeder‘s Monrovia house is still the stuff of legends. Until recently, the whole last floor was his and, well, he made it his, big time. Weird skateboards of all sizes all over. Paperwork, memorabilia, skatepark plans, shoes in various states of usage, sculpted or carved skatepark models. A true Ali Baba’s cave, from which he could extract virtually dozens of different skateboards from any given corner. Each one being interesting and having a story to tell. So no, isolating only five wasn’t an easy task but eventually, it did happen. After much debate, “the guy who does eggplants like nobody else” unfolded his carcass of locomotivesque proportions to talk about his five picks, among other souvenirs including how he got kicked out of Dogtown in 1991 (he sent them a letter saying they were turning the company into H Street and that they should rename it H-Town or Dog-Street) and how he earned the nickname “Ben10” after perfect 10 runs at some 1986 contest. Listen carefully.
I first turned pro for Dogtown in 1987, and around here my local friends were Jeff Grosso, Eric Nash and Lance Mountain, and they were talking, “what should his graphics be?” And Grosso, I think, came up with the idea of the Big Ben clock with the Dogtown feathers behind it. So Lance drew the graphic and Wes Humpston fixed it up. You can’t see much of it now but why I like this one board in particular is because it reminds me of my first trip to Japan, early ’88.
It has the Ascot Park sticker on it, it was one of these amusement parks/skateparks set in crazy forest mountains, they’d give you an ATV and send you up through the forest and all these pros were getting crazy and almost running over each other. Anyway, great trip, I was 18. It’s always brought up in interviews because the 17-hour plane flight there was wild, the Japanese stewardesses couldn’t control us, they were pretty much crying and abandonned this area of the plane. I remember Craig Johnson runing down the aisle, from top of seat to top of seat. A lot of ragers on that trip.
So this is my first model with Lucero, and it was kind of a cooler thing when it was me, Ricky, Grosso and Lucero, just the four of us skaters and making a company, and Lucero did good art. So I was really happy about that. I was known for taking the hardest slams and keeping skating like nothing, hence the crash test dummy.
But I didn’t take that many then, I slam more nowadays than I used to. I try to do all the stuff without practicing and I’m out of shape, so I still try to pretend that I can do everything that I used to do, but it doesn’t always work out.
What I need to do is swim and stay in shape and skate a lot more. But we’ll see how that works.
So first, I fractured my right forearm really bad, my bone popped out and I couldn’t skate for six months, so Lucero did a graphic with a handicapped sign. It had nothing to do with the car accident I had, that was another scandalous story, as Black Label kicked me out when I almost died in car accident. Imagine if Antihero kicked out Cardiel, that’s what they did to me. And I had to fight to come back to skateboarding for several years, I’ve been on a hard road.
Anyway yeah, so, following on the public sign thing John made a bathroom sign were instead of “Men” it said “Ben”. Then when I saw the original Girl skateboards logo it made me laugh, I never talked to them about it, I only hung out with them on one of the King Of The Road tours, we had lunch once but that never came up. I think people even forgot about this board. A bunch of these decks said, “BTVC 1991” on them, me and Grosso had this joke going, “Big Time Vertical Comeback”.
My girl Giovanna graduated fine arts from USC and she’s a great artist and does all sorts of great web designs. She did this graphic cause the locomotive is my image now, so this is kind of a modern painting of a train coming right at you.
Cardiel first called me a locomotive in an article he wrote about the Protec Pool Party 2005.
Also, I think they used to call me a trainwreck , I don’t know how to describe my skating but yeah, it is kinda like trainwreck waiting to happen, it’s not that much the slams it’s just so out of control I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just going pushing ahead.
We were seven kids in my family, six boys, and my older brothers Alec and Ted used to go downhill right behind the house we grew up in, that hill is where we all learned skating. They got into luging in the early 90s. And then I built my own luge out of wood for 16 dollars at Home Depot, before getting into aluminium channeling.
All that stuff is out of Home Depot except for the metal. It’s great to have two of these, so me and my friends were able to go out and race each other on weekends. We’d find some good mountain roads with no traffic and hit them at 2 in the morning after going to the clubs.
I mostly like to do roads that have a lot of turns and chicanes and stuff, so you’re sliding around the corners doing 35 instead of going straith and 60 mph. You’re low to the ground so you’re pretty in control. I don’t do it anymore that much but I got a17, 18 years old kids at the local skatepark that I show the ropes to. I wanna get them out to the mountain.