It was the day before Christmas, and my plans were to sit around, pile out and drink – that is until I got a text from Jamie Thomas. And this wasn’t just any text from the Chief, it was a photo of Forrest Edwards, holding up a signed ZERO board depicting Forrest as the Lord Jesus Christ. Usually, a new board or product wouldn’t mean much to me, but something about the awesomeness of the art, the religious poke (unusual coming from evangelical Jamie) and the fact that anything with Forrest is always comedy, caught my interest. I called Jamie right back and tried to get some backstory on the board and why it never hit shelves, and pumped it out before the holidays made me too slow and doughy.
You know you fucked up Forrest’s name on the board right?
Haha, yeah we noticed. Since it was silk screened and time was tight, we didn’t get to see a sample; it went straight into production. Bratrud [the artist] spelled it wrong and we didn’t catch it on screen.
Did Forrest even notice his name was misspelled?
Forrest didn’t see the boards till last week and I think he heard about it before hand, so he noticed, but didn’t seem to care.
What would you tell people that might say you are taking advantage of Forrest’s image with this board?
People are always gonna think what they want, I can’t really worry about that. I told Forrest we’d pay him $10 a board rather than the regular $2 royalty regardless of what they sold for and he was down.
I thought Forrest Edwards was on Zero flow but then got kicked off a year ago? What’s with this board?
We were scheduled to introduce Forrest and drop this board last October with a video part and an interview and ad in Thrasher. I knew what I was getting myself into with Forrest, and in the beginning it seemed like we could work with him, but in the months leading up to when the part was scheduled to drop he got harder and harder to deal with.
Our crew tried to connect with him to film and shoot photos for his interview and the ad, but he’d always flake, and the few times they did hook up with him, it was a nightmare.
His footage was all over the place and with a bunch of different people. When we finally got it all together, some of it had been used, he had tons of repeats and a lot of HD fisheye, so we didn’t really have a part. He also only had one sequence for his interview and after 3 months of reminding him, we still didn’t have an ad, so I sat down with him to try and discuss a plan, but he just shut down; it was too much pressure. I felt like it was going to be a never-ending headache, so I pulled the plug and told him it wasn’t going to work out. It was tense for a few weeks, but after a bit, I think Forrest understood the situation. We’re cool now.
This board seems out of character for you, do you feel awkward producing it or think other Christians would say it’s a mockery of the religion?
When I first gave my life to Christ, I felt it was my duty to profess my faith with a loudspeaker, but the truth is that I constantly question my faith. I go to church when possible, which helps keep me in the word, but I’m not legalistic about my views because I know I’m flawed.
My nature is to want to enjoy the world and all the bad stuff in it, but I try my best to walk the straight and narrow because I know it’s the right thing to do and because I’m a role model for my kids and fans. I’m conflicted cause I wanna not care about stuff, but I realize I’ve made a statement of who I am and what I’m about and I do think it’s important to be a positive influence.
That said, I think this board is funny because it’s so far-fetched in the sense that no one is really trying to say that Forrest is the son of God.
Are you just trying to be edgy? What do you think of Fucking Awesome’s 9/11 board?
I don’t really think about being edgy, I just think of ideas that I feel are cool or compelling and sometimes I find myself asking is that too controversial, maybe I shouldn’t do it, then I feel like a puss and wanna do it more. Maybe that’s the devil on my shoulder, but like in skating, always doing the safe thing is lame and boring.
I hadn’t seen that FA board, but I don’t really feel like their goal is to disrespect anyone, seems like they’re just putting together cool looking stuff and putting it out there. People are always going to come to their own conclusions about what it means. I think their stuff’s always great and rad looking. That’s the point, right.
Who came up with the idea for the graphic? And was Forrest psyched on it?
It was my idea. Forrest is such a character, I think you could put him in place of any iconic figure and it would be funny. He also seemed to hold himself in really high regard, so it was kinda sarcastically implying that he felt he was ‘holier than thou’. He seemed like he didn’t really care what graphic it was. This was before I knew Cliche was going to reissue the Gabriel Rodriguez board, so I thought it would be an amazing first board to have Bratrud do the graphic line for line to the original graphic and we got Marc Mckee, the original artist’s permission. Since the Gabriel board was silk screened, we had Forrest’s silk screened as well, and because the silk screen process takes longer, we had to get the board in the works 4 months before the part was scheduled to drop. That’s why they even got made. When it didn’t work out, I just put ’em in storage.
You mentioned to me that he wanted to 360 flip 50-50 Hollywood 16 and do something on the 12 for his part?
Yeah, he tried to switch flip switch back lip the 12 but didn’t make it and he always talked about trying the 360 flip grind, so when we were on crunch time for his part I offered to give him a $1000 each if he did ’em. I figured if he already wanted to do it, it might give him the extra incentive to make it happen, but he waited until the end and the pressure was too much, so he couldn’t even talk about it.
What’s the most amount of money you have bribed a rider with to land a trick?
Usually, I throw it out as an incentive when someone’s been trying a trick for a long time and starting to doubt themselves to the point of giving up. It seems to distract them from the repetitiveness of the trick and give them something else to focus on.
I offered Rattray I think like $500 to hippy jump the bar and kickflip the Washington stairs in San Diego and when Cole was battling the 360 flip down Wallenberg, he was too beat to keep going, but I know how bad he wanted it, so as a last ditch effort to get him fired up, I offered to fly his then girlfriend ‘Red’ out to the premiere, which was only a few days away and I think it was almost $1,000. Those are the 2 that come to mind. Sometimes it’s just fun to put a dollar amount on a ridiculous trick. Dane [Burman] used to always talk about hard flipping El Toro and I told him I’d give him a $1000 if he did it. He tried it, but didn’t make it.
When you went on SLAP and wrote about how Zero is going independent, people started to post some pics of girls pooping. Do you have some poo fetish I don’t know about?
Haha, no that had nothing to do with me; the thread was getting stale and whenever that happens on the SLAP boards, things seem to go sideways to keep it interesting.
What do you like the most about Forrest? What do you dislike the most about him?
First off, I think it goes without saying that Forrest is an amazing skateboarder, but I like that he’s eccentric, interesting and socially awkward. I don’t really dislike anything about him now.
When we were working with him he was a dick and hard to work with. Some of that could be me, but he would just do lame shit. Like if he needed boards, he would text Kurt the Zero TM: “boards”.
Just one word, no intro, no please no explanation, just “boards”. We’d all laugh, but it was clear that he had no respect for Kurt or what it took to get him the shape he wanted with the graphic or whatever. Then if we sent him 6 or 8 boards, he’d text back and say, “send me 10 next time”. No thanks or nothing. His roommates say he’s the complete opposite now; like he’s overwhelmingly gracious and respectful. Maybe he’s been eating humble pie for the last year or maybe he’s grown up a bit.