Where are you from, what are you about, and where do you live? And why?
The classic question. I'm from Oxford, England, and what am I about? I guess skating, living and having a good time. Where do I live now? Huntington Beach, California. I like to schralp with the homies. I guess that answers it.
Question number one, B: When was your first pro model?
I have no idea.
Come on, how old were you?
I can't remember. Fifteen or 16?
Clifford Unsworth: Now it's ages ago, '91?
Yeah, but that was a UK pro model; it wasn't a worldwide pro model.
You trying to make him look good?
Clifford: Yeah. He's been pro for 15 years, that's ...
... What are you talking about? I'm still 21.
Where do you get all those fucked up tricks from? Do you think of them in bed or over a smooth Heineken?
Well, half of them were probably late night in bed when I was younger, but some of them these days are definitely over a smooth Heineken.
How's living in the US changed your outlook on life or skateboarding?
Whoa, that's a good one, eh? It's obviously changed my outlook on life a little bit as in the fact that I don't really want to live in England again, right at this moment in time.
It didn't change my outlook on skating at all. I still skate mainly for me and because I do what I want to do, really.
Was it easier just going to town back home and skating spots, as opposed to sitting in the car here?
Well, it was a lot different back then, because you just went out skating for a laugh. Now you go out skating for that as well as trying to get stuff done for interviews and videos and stuff. You'd film a video part in four days back then. But obviously the tricks you were doing back then weren't as harsh on the body.
Well, times change for the worse and better.
Where do you see yourself in five years' time? Or do you see yourself?
I don't, really. I mostly live for the moment, and a few years ago I didn't even think I was going to be able to skate for much longer because I had a serious back problem. But that all turned around. I guess I live for the moment. I'm not much of a big planner: I just hope in the back of my mind that things will go right and I'll still be skating. If not seriously, I'll still be skating to the shops and back for a laugh.
Clifford: If you never would have started skateboarding, where do you think you'd be now?
I'd be sick I mean, who knows?
No, 'cause I tried BMXing for a bit but I was too small I didn't have the body weight or body strength to lift the bike up that well, so I certainly wouldn't be doing that. But I'd probably be in a job doing the normal rat-race bullshit.
Clifford: Selling fish and chips.
Yeah, like that. Thank God I got into skateboarding.
Clifford: And skateboarding thanks you. Before you moved to Southern California you were heavy into the drum and bass scene, DJing and the like, and were really well known for it in the UK. Is that still a part of your life?
Totally, dude. It's fully a part of my lifestyle still. I have a lot of my friends who produce drum and bass in England as well as over here, and I still do a bit of DJing up in LA. I'm still working on tracks every now and then when I have a bit of free time ... which is a lot of the time. Yes, it's still completely part of my life; music will be forever. It won't ever stop.
The Piss Drunks/Warner Ave will go down as one of the heaviest times in skateboarding. Do you have any good Boulala moments?
Yeah, plenty of moments, but Boulala definitely took the cake on this one. Flip had gotten us an apartment on Warner and we were living together, and this is just when he was starting to go off the rails a bit. I remember I'd spent the night away for some reason and I'd come back in the morning. I opened the door and I noticed that the whole carpet was glistening like a river in the sun. But basically the whole carpet was covered in glass; the entire place was smashed up. He was still asleep; there were seven girls from Arizona fluttering around, saying, "Oh, we've cleaned up most of it. We've cleaned it all up." And I was like, "Really? Well, what the hell happened?" I went into my room and my room was all right, luckily. I went over to Ali, and I was like, "Hey, what's going on?" He was still asleep, by the way. He was like, "We had the best party here last night! In your own house you missed the best party!"
I said, "That's awesome, but there's glass all over the shop ..." There was a dent in the cooker, right on the corner of the cooker--like the hardest place to dent something. There's no doubt in that--it was dented in deep. Then I pulled the sheet off of his door, and he's like, "You might not want to do that." And I pulled it off and there was basically a door frame there and nothing else I was like, "What happened?" And he said, "Oh, we had the biggest party here and we were basically diving through the closet door. It was pretty carnage crazy!"
"Uh, anyone die?"
"No one died, but someone got smacked in the face over it."
Did he have a leather jacket on?
No, but he had a PD sign carved in his chest with a razor blade.
And Ali boxer shorts on, if that gives it away.
You're a proud owner of an American pitbull. Do you see the tentacle of surf-bro lifestyle extending any further, or is it all just a crazy coincidence?
Well, cheers to that one. That's completely fucked, but no, I don't see it going any further. And besides, I raise my pitbull the English way. Did you ever notice that pitbull owners are usually dumb like their dogs?
You're a solid exception to this, I might add. I have noticed that. What do you think about that?
The majority of the time I'm pretty dumb so I'll bow down to that one, but my dog's been brought up pretty well, thanks.
You're English--you have a lot of poor taste in movies. What's your favorite Hugh Grant movie?
Bastards! I don't know, there's a couple. I'm kind of a sucker for them. Possibly Notting Hill or Love Actually, you bastard. You sad bastard!
Great, now the whole world knows. Brilliant. I know you grew up being stoked on Santa Cruz and all the amazing riders they had back in the day; where do you see it going now? Is there a video in the works?
I don't know of any such thing Yes, I believe there is a video in the works. I'm still super stoked on Santa Cruz; they've been really good to me. Where I see it going in the future, I don't know. We've got some rad rippers coming up. Emmanuel and Sid, Nester--they're pretty rad kids and they're pretty good at skating. And Stacey--Clint Eastwood. I think it's going to be sick. It's going to be a riot; they're going to do some rad stuff.
Who can't you beat apart from PJ Ladd in a game of SKATE with your wacky bag of tricks?
I've never played PJ a game of SKATE. Rodney Mullen could easily beat me. There are so many people: it all depends on how lucky you are in the moment. Anyone can be a game-of-SKATE king; it's just a matter of the day and the hour
What happened to the football mustache you were sporting?
I was keeping it for when me mum come out. She hadn't seen me with a full manly 'stache before. She's just been out and didn't approve too much, so it swiftly got shaved off that night, there and then.
But didn't you grow that mustache so that you looked 50 and older?
No, but it did stop me from having to use me ID as much for that month. I love it. Bring it back.
Skateboarding has changed a lot in the past five years or so. Are you comfortable with it as it stands?
Yeah, I'm quite comfortable with it as it stands. As I said before, I still treat it quite similarly to the way I did when I first started. Usually, if we're going on a mission, it's one of your missions and I tag along. If I get something then I'm stoked, and if not its not too much pressure on me. It's a lot gnarlier now, and obviously these kiddies are coming up and they're not afraid to lob themselves down the 58-stair handrail while stabbing themselves in the neck for the next video part.
Well, that's never changed. You'd like to think it changes something but it doesn't; it's still the same. But I know a while ago, in the early '90s, you didn't skate for a year or two because I don't think you were too comfortable with the way skateboarding was at that time--it was a lot different from when you first started. I hear a lot of negative things about skateboarding these days, and I really personally don't think it's that bad; I think it's rad. I just wondered what you thought about that?
It's great. It's one of the best things that happened to me in my life--obviously--so I'll always think that. But yeah, skateboarding back then was nackered, it was fucked up. I suppose I was more in the limelight in my field back then than I am now, so people would just make up stories about people; it was a big Chinese whisper community. Anyone does anything and someone else hears about it, then someone else hears about it, and then along the line it gets twisted and fucked up in the some way. It basically had to reinvest itself for it to start getting amazing again.
That's why you were a little turned off by it for awhile, because you're a purest at heart.
It certainly wasn't tickling me balls back then. Then I came out here and I saw it was a bit more casual and you could look how you wanted to, I guess, or wear what you wanted to wear. It wasn't about that; it wasn't about the fashion thing--uh, well, I suppose it is getting about that, isn't it? All these skinny-skinny, tight-pants wearing bastards everywhere. Fuckin' bullshit.
Clifford: We could give you a makeover if you wanted.
You recently had some footage in the Volcom video, skating a mini-ramp in the woods, which looked like a lot of fun as opposed to hurting yourself jumping down something stupid.
Yeah, well it was brilliant fun. It was a good, mellow vibe. We just went up there, you know, Vulture had built the mini-ramp for Geoff and he invited me up there--luckily, nice man--and we just skated and we thought about what hasn't been done on mini-ramp since the H-Street video days. If any of you kids haven't even seen any of them H-Street videos, you should. There hasn't been any coverage of mini-ramp for donkey's years and it was Geoff's idea. We went up there. we had a brilliant time skating it, and we tried to think of some things that just weren't done.
Clifford: It looked like a group of friends skating together rather than a list of things to be done at different spots.
Yeah. Obviously nowadays you get kicked out of everywhere so much that that was a pleasant thing to do--pleasant time because there was no one to kick you out, there was nothing planned. We just went there, skated had a good time. It was like the old days when you were growing up skating and had a laugh, and, "Oh, what about that? What about this?" And, "Has anyone ever done that? Uh ... we should have brought the bloody videos. We don't know!" Whatever happened happened, and I'm glad people liked what was in the video. It's getting a good response back.
Clifford: So do you think some kids should go steal some wood and make a mini-ramp?
Well, why not? I think kids should go and do whatever they want with skateboarding; it shouldn't be a set thing. I mean, if I could film a line on a red painted curb right now I would do that. In fact, I probably will for my video part, and like it or lump it that's what's happening because that's what skateboarding's about.
Clifford: That's how people skateboard. Kids are still going to skate crappy car parks until the end of time, because sometimes that's the only place you can skate.
Exactly. You have the best session when you're with your mates, and that's just it.
If you could be a king, which king would you be?
King of the money pit would be all right.
Wrong answer. You're supposed to say Henry VIII.
I never was good in history; I never took it.
Loads of wives, cut their heads off, massive piss ups. Perfect for you.
Actually, that might be all right.
Clifford: Alex could have his own church.
There you go; Church of England. Are there anymore questions?
I was going to ask you what your dream session was, but it was in the Volcom video.
Well that was one of them.
Apart from the Gonz not being there?
That's true. That would have been bad. Not just 'cause of the skating, but because of his crazy ways.
White Rasta movement or tight pants predicament?
Just be yourself. So, neither. The pants if you're all into that tapered look, then that's cool.
What's the capital of Holland?
No, you're supposed to say Heineken. Next question: what's your preferred cigarette of choice?
Embassy Number One. But you can't get them in America, so Camel Lights.
All right, you got that one right.
What do you mean I got that one "right?"
I already had an answer for you. Other than Heineken, who would you have your sponsor be?
That'd have to be Stella Artois, Belgium beer, or Kronenberg 1664. I should have said a fucking dentist. That would be the best sponsor.
Actually, that's wrong. You should have said the US Mint. Obviously being pro since the '70s you've seen skateboarding go through a lot of changes; do you think you'll see skateboarding die again?
Being pro since the '70s?
What, I was born pro?
You were born with golden feet.
Well that's obviously a matter of opinion.
Clifford: Have you learned three new tricks every time you skate? I would say that's golden feet.
No, I don't learn them I just luckily land a couple that I've never done before and then ...
... I like to do them all the time after that.
No, I don't like to do them all the time. If I could do them all the time after that then this wouldn't be an argument, it would be an interview.
Well, the question is, are you thinking of stopping skateboarding anytime soon?
The answer is no, I certainly don't see myself stopping anytime--I mean, fucking hell. What kind of question is that to ask a man? No, I'm certainly not thinking of stopping ever again. When I stopped before I seriously missed it and it was a bad time.
Now consider the act of skateboarding, the piece of wood with wheels, not necessarily doing stuff but just standing on a skateboard.
I answered that one before and I said I'll always just cruise to the shops as long as me leg hasn't fallen off.
That might happen. Who's your favorite Englishman?
That's a good answer. I would say D-Day vets, personally.
English who? D-Day vets?
D-Day veterans. If you ever had a conversation with a man who's been in the Second World War you'd know.
You two are way smarter than me so that doesn't count. I was just thinking about skateboarders. If not it would be Adski, Batesy and P Evans. Oh, and Baron the man.
That's a good answer.
And me mum and me dad and all that.
The boys back home, all of 'em.
Clifford: Do you have any particular skate rituals that set up or build up to tricks? Skate madness?
Oh, yeah. I don't know what it is, but I'm sure I've got it.
You've got old school madness. You don't have the new school style of problems.
If it's a handrail or anything then I can't have anyone in the background flapping around. I remember when Brockman was around and I went to front board the drop down rail. He was doing cartwheels in the background. I nearly bloody killed him 'cause I was like, "You can't be doing that. I'm going nuts." He's lucky it went no further.
What's the highlight of your career been so far?
That's real difficult, because a lot of it has been highlights. If I was to look at it from an outsider's perspective, the whole thing's great. There's not any pinnacle for skateboarding I don't think. Every time you go out and you do something that you don't usually do, it's a highlight. The way you feel about it, you have good days, bad days, good days--but the whole thing is such a great experience that there's no win in the fucking lotto or win in the fucking massive race and then you're done. I've got a good highlight. It's when I was out for nearly a year with the back thing and me mate came out from England. He showed me a bunch of stretches and then the next thing I knew, in three weeks, I was jumping down stuff after I thought I was never going to be able to skate again. That's definitely a highlight, looking back.
So the fact that you still skateboard is a career highlight?
The act of skateboarding is a highlight in itself?
I know it's supposed to be a career and everything, but I never made any money out of it anyways ... not tons. So I'm a bit naive I guess on that one. I look at it like ...
... Pure skateboarder.
Well, I just like to have a skate and a laugh with me mates.
Last of the dying breed.
Clifford: What's the worst aspect of skateboarding?
I suppose the slams and the injuries and stuff like that. Sometimes the traveling can be a bit gnarly when you fly to another country and you get off the plane and you have to do a demo right away and you've had no sleep. It can be a bit disappointing to the kids sometimes.
You're from Oxford, England, home of Tom Penny. Any good, nostalgic stories about the young Torn Penny and Alex Moul combination?
That's a classic question! This is shout me, and every time I do an interview they always want to know about Tom.
Then tell us a good story about you. Tell us about Moul, something nobody knows. Ever stole anything?
Yes. I stole a Topic chocolate bar from a shop once, and I drought I got seen so when I got out I lobbed it down the alleyway and ran away.
Alex would have liked to have said: "A thousand girl's hearts." Let's get to the bones of the Moul.
Go ahead. I think we've covered a vast majority of the goodness.
I remember a young Moul, you were in a van driving around Europe, age 16, smoking and drinking.
No I weren't.
You weren't smoking and drinking?
When did you stop drinking?
Fourteen. Didn't start smoking 'til I was 15. If it weren't for skateboarding there's no way I probably would have survived in this life, because skateboarding makes you very independent at a young age when you're basically thrown out there into the world. You have to travel on your own ...
Tell us a story from the old Death Box days ... Death Box was originally a company from Europe. The Death Box company around right now didn't exist back then. They stole the name, basically; revamped it with a lot of old hags, but the original Death Box was owned by, basically, the owner of Flip that Alex rode for and was probably the most widely known professional skateboarder in Europe in the late '80s/ early '90s and so on.
After that, what was the question again?
Tell us a story about dirty Death Box days.
The first time I ever got drunk was with Wurzle. No one will ever know that name apart from maybe some old schoolers in England, maybe Germany, I'm not sure. We went to Eindhoven, Holland, for a contest and he gave me one can of elephant beer and it tasted like shit. I drank it and the next thing I know I was blasted. Then I was found at the end of the night dancing on the table with two birds in Holland somewhere. I had to come and get rescued by the older skaters.
There are so many stories from back then but right now I can't think off the top of me head. Basically driving Europe in a white Ford van labeled the Kit-Kat Floor. We'd just drive for hours and hours, do demos everywhere.
Jake Phelps has been known to be a bit of a bastard as he goes slightly off the chain. How do you think he would see you?
Well, I have no idea. With them massive glasses, probably quite large. I don't know if he likes me or if he doesn't. But if you do, cheers, if you don't, fuck you then.
Well, he does. I know that.
Oh, good lad, then. Good lad.
There are many people in the skateboard pack of righteousness. Who would you like to thank for motivating, helping, lifting, keeping you alive with pleasure?
This question's always a dangerous one, because you always get some wanker who calls up and goes, "You didn't thank me in your inter view."
You can't please everybody.
I know, you never can. I'm going to be a bit boring, as I probably have in this interview, and just say you know who you are. Because if listed them off I'd probably be even more boring.
Thanks, Alex. That was wicked.
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|Date:||Oct 1, 2004|
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