Talking story with Jason Adams…

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First off, we’re super hyped your joining the RP Athletics Club, how did you first hear about Richer Poorer?
HHMMMM not sure? I noticed RP awhile back, probably when you started with them, ha ha ha…
Favorite thing about the brand? 
Proper quality, design and style…and a great group of peoples to be surrounded by!
You’re also back at The Label (@blacklableskates)! Third time’s a charm! Tell us about it…
It just makes sense. Its where I belong, and I could go into this and that… but who fucking cares? Shit happens, economies die, company sales fluctuate, companies have their bottom line, and as a skateboarder with a family to support, you have bottom lines too.
There is pressure to keep it all going on both ends, not to mention keeping the family happy as well. I always felt so much pressure from every direction, and I can tell you looking back that I made some weird decisions here and there. I guess I never realized how emo I really was, and am! ha ha ha!! And I’m not gonna talk for Lucero, but I’m sure he can look back at some decisions as well that he may like to take back.  We all can I’m sure!
It’s always been hard for me to make a living at something you are extremely idealistic about! It clashes on so many levels. I’m not so idealistic any more. To wrap it up, I love the Label…I spent the best years of my so called ‘skate career’ there. I was a huge fan before I was a part of it and I was a fan of Lucero before that. Even though people view me as a ‘Pro’ still, I have washed myself from all that shit, I have no major expectations and I feel no expectations from companies really.
Jason’s part from the “Label Kills” video, 2001: https://vimeo.com/62947607 
How did that go down, did you make the call or did John (Lucero of Black Label)? 
John had put it out there very subtly a few times…..
How and why did you quit the first and second time? Being that you guys are such good friends…was it hard to talk to John on that level?
It has never been hard to talk to John throughout all the shit…Somehow we both have been able to keep skateboarding friendship and skateboard biz separate.
You also had a stint with Enjoi; I was stoked on that…why was it so short lived? 
It wasn’t that short! Enjoi was great as far as Matt Eversole’s direction and the amazing team of guys!! There were also some amazing people at Dwindle.
Our crew was tight, we were all mostly from SJ, but there was definitely a disconnect between the Enjoi crew and Dwindle at least in my eyes.
When we went out on tour for The Label we all made less money, the tour budgets were less money and all that, and we didn’t care! We all loved John and The Label, it was all for one and one for all. The dynamic of Dwindle didn’t have that so it was weird for me, but that was no big deal because I was there for the crew and Matt as the captain. But Matt would get into these blowouts with Dwindle and threaten to quit. Well, this one time I thought it was for real, and like the next day I end up hanging at the bar with Lucero and one thing led to another! Ha ha…then I already had a foot out the door and Matt worked things out with Dwindle………… ???? so???
Jason Adams from Enjoi’s “Bag of Suck” video, 2009: https://vimeo.com/25691409
 
Haha!!! Now that is a damn good story. 
When we last talked you had thought about making Slappy Hour a brand, what’s going on with that?
I have decided to keep it fun and loose. It seemed to me that that’s what slappies and curb skating is all about. The thought of trying to capitalize off of it was already making me not want to go skate curbs, so now I just make some stuff when I can here and there. Not for the gain but to do something cool and hype people up! I don’t want to ruin a good thing. I appreciate the people that are into it and I think the magic of it is keeping it underground, and not try and force feed it down peoples throats like everything else. I like it as one of those ‘if you know you know’ sort of things..so ya. I just make stuff here and there and offer it on my site.
I heard that! And I agree with you on your point of view. To watch the curb craze hit, must be pretty funny for you…because you’ve had curbs in every video part for the last 20 years. So beyond the perspective of people trying to capitalize on a new trend, what do you think drew people to curb skating recently?
Skateboarding is progressing so far and so fast that it is becoming overwhelming. The majority of fun and style is getting left out from a viewer’s standpoint. There is so much money to be made these days for ‘The Top Competitors’, it’s getting all serious, and thats cool!!! Whatever! Radical!! Pro skaters are making careers that they have always deserved. But then there is still us: those young and old who want something else! And curbs don’t limit skill or age…you don’t have to travel or jump a fence, risk jailtime or feel like you have to video it!  There is no trick list when you go skate a curb, there is no “whats been done here” bullshit!!! Its stripped down to the root of it all! The root of street skating! And they are everywhere…it’s a beautiful thing and always has been! For me, it always will be, and I’m sure that’s not the case for the majority.
Agreed!!
What’s up with the Tiltmode crew (tiltmode.com)? 
We are old now, no one has taken the torch, but us old farts are still trying!
Why San Jose? Have you always lived there…?
It’s where I’m from I have lived since I was two. Now that I have a family, they are all here, that’s what’s important. It’s hard sometimes because for an old skateboarder with no education there is no opportunity job-wise like there is in LA or Orange County. But I love Nor Cal, it’s in my blood! I have always held alot of SJ pride, but these days I feel like the Bay area hates me. It’s so expensive and I am not a computer engineer so its getting weird honestly.
That must be a trip, even Santa Cruz has been Dot-commed. 
Tell us about getting nicknamed “The Kid”… 
When I moved to downtown SJ when I was 19 I started hanging with the big boys. The guys I grew up watching took me under their wing. snuck me into bars and that sort of stuff. So one day Corey O’brien made a comment on how “ we have to bring the kid” and it just stuck. I have been “The Kid” ever since 1994 or so.
When did you first turn Pro for skateboarding? And how were things different then in your mind?
My first board came out for Think Skateboards in 1992, and yes it was worlds different. There was no money, street skating was still new, and me… a nobody (in my mind) was some how taking the place of my heroes?? It was right before the ‘video age’, so you would just skate every day to skate, and every once in a while a photo or video guy would come to town and you would just go skating and do the shit at the spots you would always do. You knew like when you would see a Tom Knox video part, he did that shit all day long every day. There was a beauty in skateboard folklore…there was no internet or YouTube. You would just hear glorious stories of what guys were rumored to do…like, “I heard Caballero frontboard slid the kinked rail at mecca!” did he?? Who knows…? But you savored anything you get to hear or get your eyes on. It was cool…now there is so much info we are all beaten with you can know everything about skateboarding and you never even have to leave your house or even ride a skateboard.
I’m not knocking anything! I’m not that old guy pulling the whole (back in my day) bullshit. I’m just trying to give a feel of how it was. There are so many benefits with the modern day too…Magazines do not dictate what skateboarding is anymore, the people decide. If not for social media and YouTube you would not even be giving me this interview. The magazines would have deemed me old and irrelevant years ago…
I disagree! You’re totally relevant! And you still get coverage because everyone loves you and your skateboarding. 
 
Well thanks! I’m just trying to make a point…social media gives any one an opportunity to put out what they do. Pretty much all the skating I put out or gets spread through media channels would never be deemed as ‘good enough’ to make it into magazine pages, or at least a very minimal amount, but I can put out whatever I want and there is an audience. Yes, you are right people still want to see me ride….but my old man moves would not make it in the mags if that was the only forum.  So my point is social media keeps guys like me relevant. Especially through slumps of not being attached to brands that advertise.
“I get it, you and me both! Let’s face it Kid, we ain’t getting that Transworld cover anytime soon. That’s just fine, though. Thank you social media, our followers and the interwebs for saving us old guys!
 
Your artwork has really developed since I’ve been hanging out with you…what are some of your influences with your work?
Well every pro I looked up to skateboarding happened to be an artist as well, for the most part, so I always longed to be someone like that, The Gonz, Lance mountain, Grigley, GSD, Lucero…I could go on and on. Not to mention all the amazing board graphics! I would study and stare for hours, so that’s where it all started. Then I got into music…Punk! Records and zines and shit like that! All that had huge influence on me! Then when i started messing around with stencils and aerosol…  I got into some stencil guys like Chris Stain, Logan Hicks and Shepard Fairey. That was like 14 years ago now. Other than that, as a kid I was always attracted to Andy Warhol…years later that led to me getting into the whole late 50s -60s pop movement.
How much time do you spend on making stuff each week?
It depends…When my skateboard gig ended like 5 years ago (or at least it felt like it to me then), I went full bore into making art. It was my priority. Over the last year or two it’s more random, off and on, and lately thats all I have been doing because i have a show coming up. I can’t multitask. Family, art, skateboarding and all the biz that goes with all that. I have to go one project to the next and try not to loose my mind…but I usually do… but lately it seems like a have a place again in skateboarding….working with multiple brands again and that sort of things. I haven’t been in “production mode’ pro skater style in years!……I’m trying to get back into it and somewhat change my mind set. Go out more, try to shoot and video more and go on trips. Stuff like that.
Any new projects in the works and what’s the upcoming show?
I just did a poster for the San Jose Sharks and I am working on a show @ ATAK in San Francisco Called ‘Walk a Mile in My Shoes” that opens First saturday in November.
Awesome, can’t wait. And once again we are super hyped you’re joining the RP Fam my man…
 
And does this mean I can hijack you and get you down to Southern California more often?
PLEASE DO!!!
THANKS JASON, we’re stoked! 
Learn more about Jason Adams and see more of his work at Lost Highway: 
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Images by Jai Tanju and from various sources courtesy of Jason Adams and friends.

 


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