03.04.2007 / Alva interviewet der forsvandt
Af: Per And
Da Lords of Dogtown udkom, var Wunderbaum på pletten, for at få vristet nogle sandheder ud af Tony Alva himself. Nu har interviewet modnet et år på vores arkiver, og i modsætning til H.I.M. interviewet der forsvandt, dukkede dette op igen.
WDBM: For all the kids out there who have no idea who you are, could you break it down for us?
T.A. : I am Tony Alva. I am from Santa Monica, born and raised, and I have been a professional skateboarder since I was 16. I'm an antrepreneur and now I am 48 years old. I am here in Copenhagen, Denmark. Not only to promote The Lords of Dogtown, but also to just be around the skateboardscene here. I am going to help judge the event (Vans Bowlmasters '06) later on today, and I just wanted to visit and give props to all my homeboys from Denmark like Nicky Guerrero and all the boys.
WDBM: Why did you start Alva Skateboards?
T.A. : I started it when I was 19 years old, because I was a surfer and a skateboarder and I won one of the biggest professional skateboard titles at the time Mens Overall Professional Skateboard Championship. It was like being a decathelon winner of skateboarding, because it was alot of different events and I placed higher than anybody else in that competition. I figured, I had been riding for alot of other teams, and making them alot of money, because I was promoting their products. So I started thinking about things like "why should I be making these guys all this money, when I can make it for myself?". So I ended up hooking up with a guy named Mark Monson and another guy. And we started running these crazy kind of fashion-based advertisements in skateboarding magazines and started manufacturing skateboards in the late seventies. We started doing laminated boards, a little bit wider (boards) and we obviously incorporated a modern kicktail, we started doing urethane wheels with cores and all kinds of state of the art products, trying to push it to the next level. I think that is what Alva represented, that we were always one step ahead of what everyone else was doing in the skateboard industry.
WDBM: So were you the first to make a skateboardcompany, run by skateboarders?
T.A : of the first! I think Stacy Peralta was doing it right about the same time, and George Powell too. So even though we were really good friends, we always kind of competed. You can see that in the movie where he goes "Oh yeah it's you and me T.A.", and I look at him and I go "No it's not, it's me!".
WDBM: It did seem like you had some beef going on ...
T.A. : Not really beef, I think it was more that we both wanted the same things. And in order to get to that point in our lives, we had to go head to head with each other quite a few times. When it got to the big contest, I had to basically shut down my own homeboy. It was a bitter-sweet moment, but that was part of my personality where I kind of had an edge on Stacy. I still have a very agressive attitude towards life, and in skateboarding that kind of helps you, because then you don't have any fears that you might fall and fail. That is just a good attitude to have towards life and skateboarding. It's a tough and exciting way to make a living, and you just have to meet things head-on. It's a challenge!
WDBM: Why do you think the industry is mostly run by freestylers?
T.A : (laughs) That's a good question! I think the reason why is that alot of freestylers, especially guys like Steve Rocco are thinkers. Those guys where more on the technical edge of skateboarding at a very early time. And I think that they had the ability to think things out, and the assertiveness to run a succesfull bussiness. To promote and create and design and skate as well. Because the validity comes from being a skater-run company. We don't want to ride products that somebody else designed for us, we want to design our own products, and we want it to be done for the right reasons. And the right reason is that you love skateboarding, and that you are not doing it for the money. You are doing it because you believe in what it represents. Skateboarding is an international phenomenon now, because it is huge because of the media and all this shit. I can see why there are no rules and stuff. You do it on your own terms. It's like abstract art, and it is really a sense of freedom and individuality.
WDBM: We've got these two movies Dowtown and the Z-boys ...
T.A. : That's the documentary yeah, the original...
WDBM: ... and The Lords of Dogtown.
T.A. : The Lords of Dogtown just came out, that is the feature film, a period film.
WDBM: More of a Hollywood portrait?
T.A. : A little bit more, but it is not too fictional. It's not this full-on B-movie cheasy kind of version of skateboarding either. Because alot of the stunts that were done in the movie, where done by professional skateboarders. The actors that we employed were not really skateboarders, but they were good enough actors, and we trained them from day one to be able to do alot of their own stunts. It was hard work. I was authenticity consultant for the director, but I also worked directly with the actors, the stunt doubles and the stunt coordinator to make sure the stunts were done a hundred percent and that nobody got hurt.
WDBM: Speaking of stunts Tony, there is a street ollie in the movie somewhere when one of the guys is carving down a backstreet. (Dette foregår længe før Allan "Ollie" Gelfand lavede den første ollie på vert i 1977. Den første street ollie blev først lavet i 80'erne af Rodney Mullen)
T.A. : Actually, it is more of like a little pop. He doesn't really ollie, he kind of pops. We made some make-shift little ramps and stuff. And he kind of no-hand flies off of this one bump. We kept a pretty strict eye on anything, especially with modern equipment and stuff like that. Alot of times the guys had the modern boards, but eventually we made a rule, that there shouldn?t be anybody riding anything but the oldschool boards with the little trucks and no concave. In the beginning of the movie, where my character bombs a hill, he is riding a super primitive board right there. Also the part where Jay goes down the roof and off the car with the wetsuit on and surfboard under his arm, that stuff was all done on super primitive boards. It made it really dangerous. But sometimes things slip by like that. But basically we made sure that nothing was out of context. It was hard to do, and it is easy for things to slip through the cracks. So if you saw something like that, it would have slipped through the cracks, but I don't know how. We kept it clean based on how it was in the mid to late seventies.
WDBM: What made you decide to come to Denmark of all places, to promote the movie?
T.A. :Well, I've got alot of friends here that are skateboarders and when Camilla (Jane Lea /Red.) came over to California, she expressed the thought that she wanted to run an event in conjunction with the release of The Lords of Dogtown. I hadn't been to scandinavia for 25 years so it was overdue. I have always done european tours and I have been to France, England and alot of the other countries in the european continent, but I never really ventured this far east and north. So I am doing Denmark, Stockholm and Oslo on this trip. I think that it is cool to see the way that everything started here and how it works right now. It is very exciting.
WDBM: What do you think of skateboarding today?
T.A. : I think it is amazing to see the shit that Paul Rodriguez and Ryan Schekler and all those kids are doing. And you turn around and see when Tony did the 900. That was very exciting! I was there when that happened. Also Bob Burnquist doing the stuff that he is doing, and last but not least, Danny Way flying over the Great Wall of China. That was pretty fucking amazing! You could die doing that shit! That is no joke! It just goes to show how skateboarders were never followers, but always leaders. We don't go for trends or gimmicks. We are straight out progressing. Skateboarders are the ones that anybody follows. Unfortunately, sometimes it comes down to trends and fashion and stuff, and to me that is the sleasy side of the whole deal. We set the direction for all boardsports. Even motocross and stuff. The stuff that skateboarders did first, all the innovative shit, now guys do it on snowboards, now they do it on surfboards. All the aggression came from skateboarding. People can argue with me about that stuff, but you know what? Fuck off! I know, because I have been there.
Her brændte min diktafon sammen, så resten må du tænke dig til. Hvis du ikke allerede har set Lords of Dogtown, så lej den eller køb den et sted, så du kan få din skatehistorie på plads (på nær det med ollien, den skal du bare ignorere).
Sammen med Andre Kondoch og selveste Nugga, var Tony Alva dommer til Bowlmasters i 2005. Her har du sammendraget.