Thrasher Interview by D. Zaslavsky
‘Sup, Cody? Whatcha' doing now?
Just driving to Austin.
Where are you driving from?
I’m driving from Belton, my hometown. I came out here to Texas to try to finish up this part. I’ve been driving every single day; it’s been really, really gnarly, actually. The day after I flew back from Chicago to Long Beach, I took one day to chill and then I drove from California to Texas. Then got to Belton and drove to Houston the next day, got the flu, drove back to Belton and then powered up that night so I could try and kick it. Drove to San Antonio the next day, got there and some guy had poured motor oil all over the skate spot so it wasn’t even skateable. Then drove to back to Houston, skated, drove home. Now I’m driving to Austin again and then I’m driving to Dallas later on tonight.
Damn! So that’s been your last week right there.
Yeah, that’s been my past four or five days. I’ve just been trying to fit all of these spots in to finish up the part, so it’s been rough, man. But whatever. It’s better than going to a nine-to-five, right?
That’s for damn sure. How many more days do you got left to film?
My filmer Shane has to fly back to California on Monday so pretty much ‘till Sunday, which is my birthday.
So your filmer lives in California and he came out to Texas to get the last-minute tricks?
Yeah, Shane Darnell. He’s been working with me on this project from pretty much day one.
So what’s the story behind this project? You’re doing a solo part collaboration with Blind and it’s for Thrasher?
Yeah, Bill Weiss approached me about it and he was just, like, “Hey, do you want to do a part?” And nowadays, video parts are so quick to come and quick to go—just kind of spit out—but at least it being with Thrasher it will have some sort of substance behind it. And it will live in infamy on the Thrasher YouTube, so hopefully all this hard work isn’t for nothing. But we’ll see, man. That’s just the era we’re in with skateboarding. You know that better than anybody.
Yep. You’ll get those views. You’ll get more views on the Internet than you probably would have when it was VHS and DVDs only.
Oh yeah, I know. I totally agree. It’s just there’s something nostalgic to have that tangible substance that’s in your hand to where you pop it in the DVD player, like the old Static videos. Stuff that you can put in a VHS player. I feel like there’s just something that resonates with our inner-child skateboarder that a lot of the younger kids maybe don’t realize, because they have everything at their fingertips nowadays.
Everything’s so accessible. Back in the day if you wanted a video, you actually had to go out of your way to go get it.
Yeah, you were kind of on a hunt for skate videos. Nowadays, it’s like skate videos have to break through to the kids ‘cause they’re so bombarded with massive amounts of skateboarding.
What do you think’s next after this, technology-wise?
I think social media is obviously the huge powerhouse. I think there’s a positive and a negative to that. It’s kind of like a double-edged sword, you know? The positive aspect of it is that we get to connect with kids that like our skateboarding. I can literally interact with my fans. Back in the day, if I wrote Chad Muska a letter and he wrote back, that would have been the most awe-inspiring thing I could imagine. So that’s obviously where the positive comes into play. I think the negative is that sometimes kids will take a jab at you because they have a sense of entitlement. It’s like a free for all. There’s no filter on the Internet.
They automatically have clout because they’re on the same level as you, you know?
Well, by no means am I trying to say that kids are jerks. It’s not like that all. What I’m getting at—I think that the Internet’s awesome—is that it’s funny as shit to watch kids talk shit. Dude, I have kids talk shit to me all the time. I think it’s amazing. If I compel a kid to write about how he thinks my haircut looks stupid, then I’m doing my job. I’m relevant to that kid. The funny thing is, half the time I’ll comment back to those kids and by the end of the day they’ll be, like, “Maybe you just look like an idiot, but you’re a nice guy.” Before the Internet, if a kid thought you were an idiot, they always thought you were. But now you can give a kid a rebuttal and be, like, hey, man, maybe you don’t like the jeans I wear and maybe I have stupid tattoos, but hey, I’m a nice guy. I’m human and I’m a skateboarder. We’re all skateboarders. We’ve got to remember that we’re a family. We’re all just skateboarders until skateboarding meets its demise.
So you kinda gave yourself a clean bill of health lately. You quit drinking and you’re kind of on a health kick, correct?
Yeah, I’ve been trying to just treat my body right and give it some slack after all the abuse I put on it as a young, dumb kid, you know?
So not just physical abuse but substance abuse, too?
No, no, not at all. I never did any drugs or shit like that. All I ever did was drink and smoke cigarettes. But two years ago I had an epiphany. I literally woke up New Year’s Day and went out on my patio to smoke a cigarette. I just looked at it and kind of looked at myself, like, forget this, man. I’m done. I just put the cigarette out and just started eating healthy and that kind of snowballed into working out a little bit and that snowballed into, like, hey, why drink anymore? So it was kind of like a domino effect. It’s kind of like when you first start skateboarding and you get that taste of, like, holy shit. I did an ollie. And you just want more and more. That’s kind of how it was with working out and being healthy. I went to the skatepark and I wasn’t stopping for a smoke and I was able to skate longer. And then I just started working out and started feeling better and I would go to spots and slam and it wouldn’t hurt as bad. My skateboarding started getting better. I started feeling more powerful and it was just like when I started skateboarding; I wanted more and more and more. I just felt so compelled to really help my body. Honestly, man, I don’t really care about how I look. I don’t care what people think about me. This is all for skateboarding.
That’s awesome. Have you been sore less? Are you learning tricks? Are your ollies higher? What are some of the positive side effects?
Pretty much everything you just named. I stretch every single day. I don’t get sore. I can skate better. I can take way harder slams and it doesn’t affect my body as much. When you’re coming off of a two-day bender and you take a gnarly slam down a 13 or a 14, it’s gonna rock you, man. But when you’re kind of built for it—I mean, think about it this way: think about if one of us were just to go step in the NFL and just get smoked by one of those linebackers. But those dudes literally just train their bodies to withstand that sort of abuse, and with skateboarders, whether we want to admit it or not, we’re getting smoked by the ground just like those dudes are by linebackers. Why go into a battle unprepared, you know what I mean? I’m trying to come in guns blazing, so I just want to be as ready for war as I possibly can be, man.
So you’re still doing contests and obviously you’re feeling better about them ‘cause your body’s just kicking ass more, right?
Yeah, man, I’m trying to be like Nolan Ryan. When he’s not pitching or beating the shit out of pitchers or beating the shit out of batters he’s getting ready for the next one.
So you’re still living in Long Beach right?
Yeah, I’m living in Long Beach right now.
Who are you living with?
Just by myself. Solo, man.
How’s that treating you?
It’s good. It’s nice. I can stay focused and it’s rad now to come home and know that everything’s going to be the way I left it.
No skate-house life any more, huh?
No, dude. I go to bed at, like, ten and then I’m calling Shane early in the morning to go skate. That’s all I want to do is just go skate. That’s all I want to do.
Do you skate by yourself a lot?
You know, I go to Cherry by myself pretty often. I’ll go there when I’m not out skating street. But I don’t mind it, man. Every time I step on my skateboard I just try to skate as hard as I can. I know sometimes it might not be the coolest to go to Cherry and try to skate as hard as you can but, I don’t know—why not? If I’m gonna skate I’ll skate as hard as I can.
How is being a Red Dragon?
It’s pretty cool. I haven’t done anything too Red Dragon-ish or anything. I’m not up there with those dudes all the time, but the team manager Matt MacLeod is a rad dude. He calls me and we’ll just chat about skateboarding. We don’t even talk about the company or anything; we just talk about skateboarding. It’s kind of cool when you have somebody like that that’s the team manager for a brand. That’s cool.
You’ve got a couple more days left filming for this part. What kind of spots are you trying to go to right now? You gonna let the cat out of the bag?
I’m going back to Houston to some of the older spots. Kind of reliving some of those old spots like Bayou gap and shit like that. I think there’ll be some good Texas spots. Up in SF we went to that black marble ten stair.
That thing’s awesome, huh?
Yeah, it’s sick, man. It was cool they actually had it chained up and I knew that I was going to have to cut the padlock, so just for my own sense of karma I went to Home Depot and bought a new padlock for them and we cut the lock and then I left it there for them afterwards. So it was like vandalism but at the same time still kind of hooked them back up.
Did you cut the lock in broad daylight?
Yeah, it was gnarly. There was a Giants game going on so not only was it during the daylight but there was a mob of cars sitting in traffic with people watching. I don’t know if that worked to our advantage or against it, ‘cause maybe we could sneak off if they came. But it was cool, man.
Yeah, cutting that shit’s gnarly because you’re right out in the open, and from my experience the people in that building take it pretty seriously.
Well, yeah, I mean you’re cutting a chain with a padlock.
Or even just skating there. They just trip on skating there. No one came out during the session?
Nah, we didn’t get any grief or anything. We just kind of chilled. It was pretty cool. We got the trick, got out and it was good. That’s all she wrote. An ode to Jeremy Holmes, man. Switch tré.
Are there any tricks that you’ve been really trying to scratch off the list?
Yeah, I got a trick about four or five months ago that was a personal vendetta, that I went out and got with some buddies. I mean, honestly, dude, I guess what I can say is this: when you see a painting that’s pretty much an artist’s heart and soul on a canvas, and whenever you see this video part, this is my heart and soul. This is me. This is everything I want in skateboarding. Obviously I’m never going to be fully satisfied with it. I’d need another year to get all the tricks that I wanted in this video part, but for the allotted amount of time and just the way I’ve been in the last year, this is everything I have. And don’t get me wrong, I want you guys at Thrasher to like it, I want kids to like it and I want my sponsors to like it. But at the end of the day that’s not what’s important. I like it and I know that I’ve put blood, sweat and tears and everything I have into this part and that’s what’s most important, man. This is me in a video part right here.
Yeah, Cody. Well I think we’ll all appreciate that ‘cause it’s gonna be the real talk and it’s gonna be your real colors.
Yeah, I hope so, man. I’ve definitely been busting my ass for this one. Also, just to get this out—I do appreciate you guys giving me the opportunity to have this part and I think that it’s really cool that we’re doing this interview and everything. Thanks to Tony V, thanks to Mike Burnett, thank all you guys. I’m definitely grateful for the opportunity that I’ve been given by y’all.
Is there anyone else that you want to thank?
I would definitely like to thank Bill Wiess at Blind for believing in me, seeing the inner light and the person that I was and helping me out. Obviously my mom and my dad, Shane for filming everything, all my sponsors, TITAN Skateboard Tools, everyone that’s given me these opportunities and been with me and not just a fair-weather friend. I really appreciate that. I respect all that from everybody. I just want to thank everyone that’s been along for the ride, man.