Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Out Here with Brad Johnson

Out Here with Brad Johnson

Where are you from?
I’m from St. Louis originally, logged plenty of hours downtown @ Kiener Plaza, Oakhill, Captain, The Fountain and numerous other spots around the city. Then I moved to San Francisco, that was around spring of 1994.

What made you move to San Francisco from St. Louis?
SKATEBOARDING, 100%! San Francisco just had that allure to it. New York is tight too, but I was over snow and cold weather and unlike in L.A., in San Francisco you don’t need a car. The city itself was like a giant skatepark. Hills, Stairs, banks, ledges, manny pads you name it, S.F. had it and all within’ skatings reach. There were so many spots to skate just downtown by itself. Black Rock, Brown Marble, Hubba Hideout, Mini Hubba and of course to top it all off Embarcadero. Pier 7 hadn’t even been built yet and nothing was skate stopped.

Obviously skateboarding has been a big part of your life...what are some of your most memorable times....and how do you think you would be if you never started Skateboarding?
Man, that’s a tough one to narrow down to a few memorable times. I’m going to say the whole process I went through to get where I am today was the most memorable. Everything from learning the basics from pushing to what tricks are possible today for me. All the homies I’ve met from all over the world and from all walks of life. The places I’ve gotten to travel to. If I never started skateboarding, I would probably have never left St. Louis, be married with a few kids and working some shitty job to makes ends meet. God bless skateboarding! Hahahaha

Name two people that have been the most inspiring in your life.....
My mom and my Grandma. My grandma was actually my first sponsor. She set it off, bought me one of those little blue plastic banana boards with yellow wheels from K-Mart. I think they both thought it was going to be a fad, maybe last a week or two and somethin’ else would come along. Little did they know 20+ years and still going strong!

What countries have you traveled to and what was the most favorite place you have been for Skateboarding?
The first real skate Tour trip I got to go on was a New Deal and Mad Circle month long road trip across the U.S. It was Me, Karl Watson, Rob Welsh, Scott Johnston, Bobby Puleo, Kenny Reed and Kris Markovich. That trip was soo much fun man, so many good memories. Later when I got on Western Edition we went to Japan, Paris and London a few times. I moved to Hawaii with Jason Wussler and a couple other heads in 2000. We got one way tickets, got off the plane caught a cab to downtown Waikiki and ended up renting an apartment and staying there for like 3 or 4 months. It was pretty crazy, none of us had jobs, didn’t really skate too much at all. Basically we all just hustled are asses off, sold skate product we’d get and party everyday. Thankfully chillin’ on the beach is pretty low budget. Amsterdamn, Thailand, I got to go to Costa Rica a couple months ago with my girlfriend. That was pretty rad, Zip linning through the jungle. Barcelona was probably hands down the best city in the world, besides San Francisco. I went there in 2001, rented an apartment and lived there for 4 months. This was years before it became the huge skate tourists spot it is now. I went back there 3 or 4 times after that for like a month at a time, that place is amazing man. It’s been a blessing, everywhere I’ve gotten to travel too, I’ve meet soo many cool ass people.

You now live in Puerto Rico, was it hard to make the decision to finally leave S.F.?
For sure, man I love S.F. but change is good. I had been there 16+ years. My girlfriend is from San Juan, Puerto Rico and she went back there to finish Medical school. I was in Culinary School in S.F. and transferred to one down here. I’m goin’ back to S.F. for a couple months this summer for a visit, bout to get my Rick James on “F#*k Yo’ Couch!” Hahhaha, Just playin’ I won’t disrespect no ones couch. Puerto Rico is pretty dope, nice weather and some good homies. Things are going good.

What advice would you give to the young skaters wanting to make that big move to the west?
If that’s what’s in your heart, do it. Even if I didn’t skate, S.F. has a lot to offer. It’s a great city to loose yourself in, hahaha. Maybe not the ideal spot to raise a family, but there are plenty of distractions to keep you entertained. Oh yeah, don’t burn your bridges. Be thankful of what ya got and who’s helpin’ ya out along the way.

Favorite book and why?
That’s a tough one? I’m tryin’ to start to read more this year, a new years resolution. One book that I’ve hung onto throughout the years is “The 48 Laws of Power”, Pepe Martinez gave it to me before he passed. God bless

Anybody you would like to thank?
Brad: I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me along the way. New Deal, Kelly Bird and Tim Gavin for hookin’ up the DVS back in the day, Dave Kang @ F.I.T Skateboards and Civilian clothes, FTC, Western Edition, Eli Soto @Gold Wheels, Joey Tershay @ Ace Trucks, Nick Tershay @ Diamond Supply Co., Kent @ FTC, Ando @ FTC, Ian @ Western Edition, All the In4mation homies, Sam Smythe @ Girl Skateboards, Leland @48blocks Lee Smith, Henry Sanchez, Jason Wussler, Jabari Pendleton,Rob Welsh, Karl Watson, this is gonna get too long so I’ll sum it up, All the EMB heads, Pier 7 locals, All the people I grew up skating with in St.Louis, San Francisco, Barcelona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico! Stay up, see ya’ll soon! Oh yeah and thanks to WATC for givin’ me the opportunity to do this little interview. Keep up the good work. Peace

What does the statement WATC mean to you?