JIM GAGNE INTERVIEW

Just go do what ever the hell you want. Just get on the thing and just start fucking riding.

You are from the East Coast right?
I am from Massachusetts.

When did you move from the East Coast?
2000.

Jim Gagne rocknroll

Rock n’Roll in a deep and over vert Blue Haven

What led you to move out here?
Just skateboarding. I just wanted to get out of Massachusetts. I grew up in the woods.

Were you already pro?
Yea.


Backside grabber in the Desert Dog Bowl Bash

How did you turn pro on the East Coast? I know it’s a whole different ball game.
I don’t know. It just kinda a happened. It was just one of those things that just happens. Next thing you know, I was outta place cuz all my friends had jobs and all this stuff. I had nothing to do on Tuesdays, no place to skate, get hammered all week, so we were just like screw this. I was over it. I was up to no good out there anyway. I just kinda straightened myself up, sobered up and went to California.

So is that when you went sober?
Yea.

Who were you riding pro for back then?
Black Label.

Was that your first pro deal?
Yea. That was the only company I ever really rode for.


The Hesh Fish on the extension in OC – Lohrmans mini

When you moved out here did you move straight to Orange County?
Yup.

You’ve been there ever since?
Uh Huh!

Do you feel like a misfit there?
Oh for sure. CA. is kind of a trip compared to where I am from. A little town where everybody knows everybody and you wave to each other. No one cuts anyone off, Everyone knows how to drive. Everybody respects each other. Out here there is no unity. You want to go out on a date with a chick you gotta hand her a resume and stuff like that.

So where in OC do you live?
Midway City, it’s like Huntington Beach. I bought a house from Salman Agah. It was actually Sal’s house, I bought it from him. It’s pretty much where I am staying. I can’t afford to buy another one.

Are you home improving that house?
It has to be improved or it’s going to fall down and be condemned. [laughing]. It’s definitely not a mansion that’s for sure.

Do you live with anybody?
Yea, I got my old lady. She lives there and Sal still lives with me.


Gagne making sure not to clip the pool blocks on this FS Rock in Santa Monica CA.

How did you come into driving around in your Camaro and rocker van?
Just being a pro skateboarder, you get free money all the time, your get bored with nothing to do and you get these great ideas and you just end up with way too much creative free time to think about stupid shit you know. ‘Hey let’s build a retarded car, lets go to the tattoo parlor, or let’s get a hesher van and rebuild that so we can go party in that’. Those are the two coolest things you can have anyway’s for a hesher. You can either have a Camaro or a bitchen Rocker Van you can go camping in.

How often do you get to go out on camping/road trips?
I’ve only been on like two. Coming up I am going to have some free time. One time I went up to Mt Hood. It was pretty rad. I went to that skate camp and I slept in it for like 5 days. It was sick.

How long ago was that?
Maybe a year and a half ago or two years ago.

gagne-pedlowsmith

Backside Smith grinds are always a favorite, here’s one at Pedlow Skatepark

Did you get to tour around a lot of the Oregon stuff?
Yea, it’s killer. I went to that High Cascade Camp. The reason I went there is because they called me up to go to the camp and they have a skatepark day where everyone gets in a bus and they just go hit like 5 skateparks. Basically they would pay me to go up there so they could drive me around to all these skateparks. I was just like ‘Are you kidding me?’ I’ll be there!!! It was pretty rad!

What is your favorite type of terrain?
The honest to god truth is my favorite stuff to skate is a brand new skatepark that I haven’t skated yet. Either that or pools. I like pools and stuff but you go there and you can only hit 2 walls. I like the Oregon type skateparks. My favorite OR park is …Klammath Falls. That is the one! The one where you go down the hill and its got that big huge monster vert wall.

That’s my favorite too.
That’s the best place I ever skated. It’s weird, I skate the other stuff and there aint one handrail in the whole freaking park. All I know is Ben Gilly went there and all he does is skate handrails and he said it was like the raddest place he’s ever been to.

Did you try the Funnel Tunnel or Cradles?
Yea, we went to West Linn, it’s got a couple of cradles. We went to Newberg, it’s kinda weird, it’s like the only park you have to wear a helmet and there’s rules. You know, it’s still good and I aint complaining. I am glad I got to skate it. I went to a ton of them. I even forget the names there’s so many of them now. I know we didn’t go to Burnside.


Styles for Miles @ Lyles

When did you start getting your tattoos?
A few years back. You know what it is , it’s like I knew people that just skated that gave tattoos. That’s how I ended up with them. I didn’t really pay for them. I just traded stuff like boards. I knew Tim Hendrix, he’s just an amazing tattoo artist. Then this other guy Cormack he was always around and always needed boards or what ever. Those guys would give me a deal even if they didn’t need any stuff. I ended up getting all my scratch work done and I got too many too fast is what my problem was.

How many do you got?
15. I’d probably get 15 more too, that’s why I just stopped. I got to a point where it was just like ‘dude I am getting too many, I’m going to change my mind’ or get into something else and I wont have any more space. The only thing I am not going to do is get any on my neck. In case I ever need to go fill out a job application. Those don’t look good if you got a big gnarly one right here[ Points to his neck]

What do you like to do outside of skateboarding?
Lately I don’t have any time to do anything. I just work on the house, hang out with the old lady, play with the dogs. I build stuff. But I collected skateboards for a little while.

Like Vintage? 80’s or 90’s?
80’s. I’ve been making display cases too for my old boards.

So you turned into a craftsmen?
Yea sort of. I’ve been doing wood floors with my neighbor. It turned into my getting my contractors license and trying to start a business.

Did you get into floors with Grosso?
No, but when Grosso got out of it I bought all his tools off him for dirt cheap. Like half of what they were worth and he used them like 3 times. So I got 2 or 3 thousand dollars worth of tools for like $800 bucks.

What are some of the craziest endorsements deals that have come at you that you have turned down?
Just like gay commercials and stuff. But those are like you gotta go to a casting call… I’d never do that. I aint going to go for no Right Gaurd Commercial. Those companies don’t want guys like me anyway’s. You’d have to be on tv winning a championship title and that’s what they want. They just look at it for an aspect of what they can do with there logo and they think it might sell. Would some old dude sitting on the side of the road chain smoking cigarettes in some beat up car with a Lego Sticker do anything for them? No one is going to want to be like that.


Coming out of retirement to compete in Phoenix – Desert Stalefish

What’s your take on the competitive side of skateboarding?
If that’s what your into, Go Win! if that’s what does it for you [laughing]

When’s the last time you competed?
I went out to the desert dog Bowl contest in Nov. with Jeff and Jerry. This next year I’m going to a ton contests. I just go to make make my sponsors happy. If you ask me Contests are what is wrong with skatboarding. Everyone skates different and that’s what is cool about it. It is not about being better. It’s about having fun. Contests just get me out of town and on fun trips. Thats why I go. For the adventure.

Did you come up in competition on the East Coast at all to get noticed? Or did you just send a sponsor me tape to Lucero or did someone hook you up or what?
Tim Upson skated for Black Label, and I knew John Cardiel when Cardiel rode for him too. I pretty much just got out of skateboarding. Well not out of skateboarding, but I was sponsored by REAL in like 91 or 92 and I was just over it and moved home. I wasn’t skating that much. I started working like everyone else. Skateboarding wasn’t paying at the time. That was when wheels got to be like this big [making a small round shape in his hand]. It was just like skateboarding is gay now. I don’t think I wanna do that. I would rather go put on my big wheels and skate my curb. All the skateparks closed because there was no business cuz everyone was just trying to do triple flips of the curb.

How many years have you been a pro skateboarder?
Since 1994

When did you befriend Grosso?
I met him the first time I came out to CA in 94. It was just random. He’s like the only guy who is normal to me anyways. He’s just friendly, just like a normal dude. Like people in CA, if you call someone up and you ask them up to help you they wont. It’s weird. But they’ll call you when they are moving and you’ll be over there moving their shit for ’em. Grosso, he’s a cool dude.

Has he given you any long term professional advice?
Jeff is a wise old man due to having crashed and Burned somany times. Jeff has all sorts of first hand life knowledge of what not to do……

What do you think of him skating now?
He is RIPPING! He did the loop! He always has fun and he rides hard just for nothing.


Blunt @ Lyles

What other pro skaters do you hang out with from time to time?
I haven’t been skating with many pros, just my friends. Big Jerry and this guy Gregs [nearby listening in] house. It’s pretty rad. 7′ tall with pool coping and a light.

In the past Black Label let you and a bunch of guys go from the team is there any bitterness from that situation?
It aint about letting go it’s about Money, I am thirty three years old. What am I gonna do learn all new tricks? When someone sponsors you do what you can do then you’ve been in like 5 videos. When they are sponsoring you they just sponsor you so they can make money off you. And that is basically it. As soon as they are done making money off you they’ll keep you on and give you boards or whatever, but they can’t sell anything. That’s what the word company means, you try to make money. There’s no way I could ever be a Hot New Guy. Black Label, all the people that they kept are the people that haven’t had like 60 video parts yet you know. He’s trying to keep whatever he has fresh and new just for the future of the company to even exist. I knew that was coming years before that. That’s why I went to college and did all this other stuff. Who the hell wants to be a 35 year old professional skateboarder. Yea it’s funny, but come on. It’s not cool. You think your cool showing up like 35 years old at the park ripping… All the kids are bummed. [Laughing] You’re that lame old dude![Laughing]. It just got to the point where I was ashamed to be a part of it. I was told what to dress like and what tricks to do. It’s hard to go into a office of people who don’t skate and have them tell you about skateboarding. I guess If I drew a picture and dressed like a homo instead of learning to Ollie I would still have a board out…………

Do you ever hang out with Lucero Now?
Yea I see him around. John is my friend and I like him better now I don’t answer to him.

Who do you ride for now?
I ride for Creature and NSS Footwear

Do you ride for NSS Shoes?
Yea, I still got a pro show out too. We help design them. They are doing alright. Jeff’s got a pair too. NSS is making some great products. I’m glad to be part of it.

What has been your favorite move anytime anyplace?
What I’ve been trying lately, the bastard plant!


FS Air @ Old Star

Refresh my memory on that one…
The Backside Boneless to fakie. I’ve been trying that one for a while. I make them sometimes. I had a couple pretty nasty blowouts though. I try them at Gregs house every once in a while. I am too chicken shit to go fakie like that though. Think about how gnarly that is. It’s a scary trick. It’s like a Skreech trick. Except he does it like he’ll wait up there and do some weird stuff and then jump in. I want to do it like Alan Peterson or one of those dudes.

What’s the hardest thing you have done on a skateboard?
I don’t know. I’ve done some big fucking air transfers at parks and stuff, but I never pulled out he tape measure you know what I’m saying.

Overhead?
Oh yea overhead, but I could do distance ones too. Over platforms and shit like that. I like doing big 360’s over 6-8 foot box’s, tranny to tranny so there is no impact.

You don’t think you want to jump off a Mega Ramp?
Hell no! I aint going to suit up and show up with my hockey bag and all my equipment. Put on my suit and have my special skateboard. It’s too much work. I am lucky I keep my skateboard in my van so I don’t forget it. I just show up, and I am cool. I just like to ride anything where you don’t have to pay and there aint no rules. That’s why anyone would get into it in the first place. Just go do what ever the hell you want. Just get on the thing and just start fucking riding.

Got any closing words?
Keep on truckin!

gagne-pedlowair