Holy Crap! – An interview with Ed Templeton!
First pro skater interview in Racket and who do we land? That’s right, Ed F’ing Templeton. Introductions are unnecessary. We all know Ed and if you don’t then that’s okay, you obviously don’t deserve to. Commence brainwashing…
Wesley: Okay Ed, what is your least favorite interview question?
Ed: Let me think about this one.
Wesley: Do it.
Ed: There are two tiers. There’s the informal interview of a kid asking for your board at every demo you show up at. That’s not officially an interview but that’s one question that gets a little crazy. Then…you know, honestly, for the interviews, the ones that I get asked a lot I don’t really mind.
Wesley: It’s mainly when people ask for your stuff, huh?
Ed: It’s mainly when kids ask for stuff – that can get crazy. If you give them your board then the demo’s essentially over.
Wesley: Yeah, that makes sense, how do you skate without a board.
Ed: They don’t realize they’re shooting themselves in the foot.
Wesley: Well, on the other side of the coin what’s the one question you’ve always wanted to be asked, but never have?
Wesley: You can just make something up if you want to, that’s fine.
Ed: (laughs) I was thinking, “Well, Ed, how come you’re such a genius?”
Wesley: So, Koston says he’s gonna name his cat – sorry, not his cat, his kid – I get those two confused all the time. Anyways, he’s gonna name his kid Rupert. Do you have any names picked out for your children?
Ed: I thought you were gonna say something like “name his kid Kobe” or something. I know that his cats are named Kobe and … Shaq, I think.
Wesley: I did not know that.
Ed: Well, after Rupert Everett?
Wesley: I don’t know. That’s what he said, but that was in a Chris Nieratko interview so it may have been a lie.
Ed: We go back and forth on having kids or not. We always fight about the guy‘s name – but the girl name, for me, would be Constance after my grand-grandma. Connie. Like Constantly a Templeton. Or her middle name would be Lee so it would be like Constant-Lee Templeton.
Wesley: Could you please pronounce your cats name (Ptah) for me? Is it like “pttth” or is it one of those sounds that Batman makes when he hits somebody?
Ed: (laughs) No, the “p” and the “h” are silent so it’s just “Pa.”
Wesley: Where does that come from?
Ed: It’s an Egyptian deity.
Wesley: They didn’t mess around when it came to cats, those Egyptians, they were pretty serious.
Ed: Yeah, so when I got it back in the day, ‘90 or something, I was really interested in that stuff. We had two cats actually, one of them was Osiris, which is also an Egyptian deity but then that got kinda tainted by the shoe company.
Wesley: I’m telling Diego you said that.
Ed: Oh, he knows.
Wesley: Matt Bennett. The guy’s got a trick named after him. Is that not enough for a pro model?
Ed: He has to do a little more. He’s getting his Fallen part together right now. We’re gonna see how that looks. Jamie’s real secretive with it so we don’t even know exactly what’s happening right now. He needs to do more. We take it slow. I know it’s kind of excruciating sometimes, probably for him and for some of his bigger fans. We don’t wanna make a move on him too prematurely.
Wesley: Yeah, I’m with you. I think that people turn pro way too quick. The one that actually bothers me most is the pro model shoe. People get those things like there’s no tomorrow.
Ed: Well, that’s what I mean. On Toy Machine we wanna try to make sure that it’s a hands down no-brainer when someone goes pro. No one can complain about it. I want it to be a “yeah, for sure, that guy deserves to be pro” kind of thing. It’s hard sometimes, but I feel that it’s worth doing.
Wesley: Favorite Toy Machine rider? Every parent’s secretly got their favorite kid. Who’s your favorite rider?
Ed: It depends. Usually I would say Billy because he’s really funny and he’s really talented. Sometimes you have to egg him on to do stuff but it’s always in a fun way.
Wesley: You know, that’s amazing. I actually didn’t expect you to give me an answer. I expected you to dodge that one. I’m pretty stoked on that.
Ed: It’s funny because I don’t see him most often. I know I probably skate with Austin and Josh more.
Wesley: By the by, I saw this interview with that guy on Powell, Jordan Hoffart, and there was talk of Billy breaking up with his girlfriend and asking for one of her breasts back. Is that true?
Ed: (laughs) No. I don’t even know what the real story is anymore. I thought he went in halves with her mom to get a breast enlargement. So, we always joke with him like, “oh, you paid for half the boob job.” So, that’s probably how that joke came up. I don’t think that’s real though.
Wesley: I was gonna ask about the Toy Machine flow program. I’ve heard some talk about this guy Grant Hatfield and Eric Fletcher too. Is there anybody exciting we should be on the lookout for?
Ed: Yeah, there’s a bunch of kids. We have this kid Jordan Taylor…
Wesley: Actually, I’ve heard a lot about that guy but I wasn’t sure if he was on Toy or not.
Ed: Yep, we’re flowin’ Jordan Taylor. We have Grant Hatfield on flow. We have a bunch of guys on flow. We’re coming down to it for this year’s tour – who we’re gonna bring to see if they can pull it off. That’s been our method of operation lately: we flow the guys for a while, then we bring them on a trip and see if they mesh with everybody. We took Grant on a tour last year, actually.
Wesley: Yeah, I saw him in the video.
Ed: He hasn’t done enough to put himself on serious flow yet. Sometimes it’s a long process. It’s very hard to pick a guy sometimes – sometimes they’re great in one instance, but they’re not in another. I have this track record that I wanna keep up of picking great people. You know, if you look through Toy Machine’s history there’s a lot of people that I brought up from a flow situation that are now household names in skateboarding. I wanna keep that tradition going and pick people who are gonna be long-term stars.
Wesley: If you could put one famous non-skateboarding person on Toy Machine, who would it be?
Ed: For some reason Brad Pitt pops into my head. I met Brad Pitt not that long ago at the photo lab we both go to and he was real nice. Then, for some reason, I thought that he seemed down to Earth enough to actually hang out with everybody and not be an asshole…but also huge enough to maybe make some board sales happen. (laughs)
Wesley: Okay, let’s get down to business. You’re in the ring and you’ve got one of these three as your tag team partner: the Transistor Sect, Turtle-Boy, or the Monster. You know, actually, I guess you could choose the one-eyed guy who solicit’s a prostitute in Good & Evil, but I think that he might already be dead.
Ed: Man, that’s hard. Traditionally the Transistor Sect are the meanest because all they do is kill each other and mess with each other. But the Monster’s kind of buff… Although the monster has traditionally been less violent in the comics and such. I don’t know. But I feel like if the Monster wanted to he could throw down – he’s got those horns. So I guess I’m gonna have to go with the Monster. The Sector are violent but they’re kinda wimpy.
Wesley: On the other side of the ring is your opponent, the Blind Reaper. How likely are you to take home the trophy on this one?
Ed: Oh, like 8000 percent.
Wesley: Even if he’s got naked Bill Weiss as his tag team partner?
Ed: Yeah, all those characters are weak. Giant head and small body. I think the Monster is way more badass than that.
Wesley: You think the enjoi panda’s got any tricks up his sleeve.
Wesley: Plus, I guess if you got medieval on a panda that might cause some problems with Peta.
Ed: That would definitely piss some people off.
Wesley: Favorite Toy Machine video? Welcome to Hell doesn’t count, that’s cheating and you know it.
Ed: Good & Evil. (pauses)
Good & Evil just felt like a modern day Welcome to Hell for us. All the guys came together to make something happen. It had a really good feeling. We’re actually starting to work on another one like that. Suffer the Joy was supposed to be a smaller project and then it kind of turned into a real video – but I don’t think that any of us put as much effort into it and it kinda showed overall. I mean, I still like Suffer the Joy but Good & Evil was definitely a full team effort, which was good.
Wesley: So, another Toy video?
Ed: Yeah, for sure, we’ve just been kinda waiting for Fallen – pushing our stuff back – and then we have Nick in the Transworld video coming out. I’m supposed to be filming for the Emerica video, but I haven’t been getting so much footage lately. So, after the Fallen video breaks, then we’ll start in earnest with a new Toy vid.
Wesley: Any prospective names?
Ed: Not really (pause) – well, yeah, we have a couple but they’re top secret.
Wesley: I wanted to ask you about Deformer (Ed‘s newest book). I’ve heard you talk about it a little bit here and there. Is it actually out?
Ed: Strangely enough, it’s been in progress for many, many years. But through no fault to me. The publisher that originally started it went out of business while we were working on it. It kind of stagnated for a year – I just had it pretty much sitting around.
Wesley: Oh, so it’s done?
Ed: It’s been essentially done for three years now. I was ready to turn it in and then they went out of business and we kind of sat on it for a while – maybe even three years – and then the people that went out of business helped me find a new publisher. Then, with the new publisher, it came all the way down to lawyer stuff. They wanted model releases for every photo and I don’t really have that kind of stuff because it’s all street photography. So that kinda killed that. And now, finally, it’s set with an Italian publisher and it’s gonna be out in September.
Wesley: Oh, really?
Ed: Yeah, I actually finally just did the finishing touches to it and sent it this last week. It’s on a hard drive in transit to Italy.
Wesley: Is it a lot of photo stuff or is it your writing or…?
Ed: This is a photo book. It’s kind of two parts. The first part is a bunch of stuff about growing up in Orange County. It’s got a couple of old skate photos and letters from my grandfather. The second half is all photographs with a specific focus on living in suburbia and then traveling away from suburbia and realizing, on looking back, that suburbia’s kind of fucked up. It’s just a photo book basically. No skateboarding stuff in it at all except for the early stuff of me. I have another book project that involves all my years as a skateboarder.
Wesley: What’s that one called?
Ed: That one is called Wires Crossed.
Wesley: Where do you get this stuff? Can you get it online or is it usually available in bookstores?
Ed: Yeah. All of the books that I have out right now are small exhibition catalogs and things. They’re more rare and you can find them online if you search hard enough. This book is a regular release. It should be anywhere.
Wesley: You ever played Battletoads, Ed?
Wesley: Battletoads, you ever play that?
Ed: Battletoads? No.
Wesley: Battletoads. It’s an old Nintendo game. There’s this one part in the second level where all these little creatures fly up from the bottom of the screen and steal your health.
Wesley: Now, I want you to pretend here for a second that you’re a Battletoad, okay?
Wesley: And you’re in this very predicament. There’s these little creatures flying up from the bottom of the screen but instead of stealing health, they’re stealing tricks from you. These guys got away with two tricks and you can only kill one of them – to save one of these tricks – which one do you sacrifice, the impossible or the nosebluntslide?
Ed: (silence) Yikes. Those are my only two moves man. (laughs) You know, I don’t know which one I’d keep. (silence…brooding…deep Ed thoughts) I feel like I enjoy nose blunts even more than impossibles. So, maybe I’d kill the one that’s stealing the noseblunt.
Wesley: What’s your least favorite thing about the current state of the industry?
Ed: Well it’s said that the only thing that ever sucked about skateboarding has been the industry. It’s funny, I just looked at a bunch of stats the other day and the one thing that I really hate is blank boards. I’ve heard it’s about 50% of the whole market is blanks.
Wesley: That’s insane.
Ed: And so a company like Toy Machine is fighting for its sales from 50% of the whole market. You know, we’re not even that big so we’re probably fighting for just like the smallest little pie to keep in business. It’s kind of crazy. I mean, I don’t really fault kids for getting the cheaper boards – that’s essentially the thing. But it kind of sucks on our end for the business.
Wesley: Do you guys do any of those deals involving discounts for shops who don’t sell blanks?
Ed: Yeah, we’re part of all that. But it doesn’t really change the fact that if a kid walks into a shop he can buy almost two blanks for the price of one. So, it’s kind of rough, I mean – rougher for a smaller company like Toy Machine. If we were an Element or a Zero or the like then we probably wouldn’t be as bothered by it – but it will inevitably affect us much more. That’s my least favorite thing, I would say.
Wesley: Alright, I think that we’re about done here Ed. I was gonna ask you, by the by, do you happen to have a magazine sponsor?
Ed: No, I don’t have a magazine sponsor. (laughs)
Wesley: Well, just letting you know, we do, I think, have a spot opening up on our team.
Wesley: Within, like, the next few months. We did interview Fugazi?
Ed: Oh yeah?
Wesley: Well no, that actually didn’t happen.
Ed: Wait, how come the Fugazi interview didn’t happen?
Wesley: I was just making stuff up so that you would think that we’re cool.
Ed: Oh. (laughs) You know, The Evens are real approachable, you could probably do an interview with The Evens, for sure.
Ed: The Evens, they’re this new band.
Wesley: What’s their label?
Wesley: Dischord? Okay. We’ll look into it and if it happens I’ll shoot you an e-mail.
Ed: Alright, but also I don’t know if you want such an old guy on your team, I’m not gonna get that much coverage for you.
Wesley: (laughs) No, I know Ed, we’re a pretty high profile company but I think that we might be able to squeeze you in somewhere.
Ed: Alright, thank you.
By Wesley Miller