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Cacti widders: "back in the day, corporate America would never have even gone near skaters or punk.".

TOM KNOX? WHAT IS MODERN MAN? Good punk rock records? Get it all here. Knox, you know the dude: Shaved head, pegged army fatigues, ShooGoo'ed Vans--you know the dude---whose legend has it ground a new pair of Indys to the axle in one day. Cacti Widders...music? Or a tarantula-infested cactus?

How long have Cacti Widders been together, and who is in the line up?

Tom: Cacti Widders hove been together since 1998, so about five years. The line-up has been the same since the beginning--JD Goodwin on guitar and vocals, Ryan Hum on upright bass, and myself, Tom Knox, on drums.

Who or what influences your music?

Tom: I'm into everything from Slayer to Frankie Lane. As far as drumming goes I like Chuck Biscuits, Scott Churilla, John Bonham... My two favorite skaters of all time are ,Jason Jessee and Christian Hosoi.

JD: Reverend Horton Heat, Brian Setzer, Dick Dale, Junior Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Los Strait Jackets, The Ventures.

Ryan: Stray Cats, Reverend Herren Heat, The Quakes

What's been Cacti Widders' biggest show thus far?

Tom: Most of our shows are at small clubs or all-ages hags, but we have done some big shows with big names--Reverend Horton Heat, Sum 41, Weezer. Those shows are cool because of the exposure, but no one's there to see you. At least at a small club people are there to see your band

Do you guys have day jobs?

Tom: I work on airplanes.

Ryan: I'm a college student at Fresno State and I clean pools.

Both Cacti Widders albums were recorded at the award-winning Westbeach Recorders in Hollywood by Donnell Cameron. What's the biggest difference between A Strange Life and the new CD, Take A Ride With...?

Tom: Strange Life was recorded live in the studio in one day. We just set up and played, like it was a show. Take a Ride was a studio record--we all recorded at different times. Donnell Cameron's done some great stuff, like Rancid and Bad Religion.

How's it been working with Fallen Angel Records?

Tom: Fallen Angel has been very supportive. It's a small label and we've all been friends for a long time. It is sort of like riding for a small skate company; it's more fun than business right now.

You live in Visalia, but so much of the music scene and industry is in LA and SF. How's that?

Tom: We travel a lot, but at the same time we play all the same places bands that live in those cities play. We play Southern California so often that people think we live there Living in Visalia affords us the opportunity to practice a lot for cheap--$150 a month for a lockout practice room.

Do you feel that the band gets some extra recognition because of your pro skating career?

Tom: Until recently nobody really put the two together. But now that there are CDs and compilations out and we've been getting press, people have started to say stuff like "Tom Knox's band." I just play in the band. Its our band. I need these other two guys just like they need me.

Anybody else in the band skate?

Tom: We all grew up skating and were into punk.

What's different about the music scene now, compared to when you were skateboarding for a living?

Tom: This whole pup-punk skate generation has made the music and skating mainstream. Back in the day corporate America would never have even gone hear skaters or punk.

What's your take on all of the "new" bands that pro skateboard figures are putting together?

Tom: Everyone has a right to create music. As long as it's the music that makes the band popular, not who's in the band. Our music stands alone. It just kicks ass without me being a famous skater.

Do you still have any relationships with people you knew in the skatebording industry from years back?

Tom: I keep in touch with friends I made; sometimes not enough. Santa Cruz called me the other day and told me they want to reissue my first three boards. I said that would be cool.

So, did you ever imagine that one day you'd see a Tom Knox deck on eBay for nearly $200?

Tom: No, but people love to collect

Why did you stop skating professionally when you were such a top competitor for so many years?

Tom: I got burnt out People thought I was old at 24 but it was because I'd been around since I was 17. I was still at a level where I thought I could complete but the sponsors had other ideas. I needed to make a living so I went to college and retired from pro skating at 25.

Looking back now, do you regret any of it or would you have done anything different?

Tom: I don't regret anything I would have done some things different though Like I Would have saved every cent I made from skating so I wouldn't have had to work later on.

What are Tom Knox's future plans? And those of Cacti Widders?

Tom: Continue on doing our music until it's just blowing up. Right new we are just going to continue playing shows and making a]bums. We'll play anywhere anytime. If Someone out there wants us to do show, let us know.

Closing comments? Any thanks?

Tom: Thanks to all the people and friends who haw supported us. I'd like to thank my wife Margie for her unconditional support, no matter what I'm doing.

--Seth Hum
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Author:Tsocheff, Karma
Publication:Thrasher
Date:Nov 1, 2003
Words:930
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