Jason Adams - RUN
Interview Kevin Wilkins
Photography Kyle Camarillo
Just when he thought he was out, they pull him back in.
Seven years since his last full video part and a few years removed from helping bump start the slappy revival we’re currently enjoying, Jason Adams has partnered up with media extraordinaire Kyle Camarillo to release a part with a more crusty shade of soul: RUN.
And now that he’s got his wind back, we sat down with The Kid to ask how it went, how it’s going, and the best way to go about escaping the cages we build for our rusty selves.
When was your last video part?
I mean, me and Matt [Eversole] made a slappy video for OJ a couple years ago. And we also did a slappy video for Elephant, which I think is what sparked the whole curb madness. Mike [Vallely] asked me to do an Elephant clip and I just said, “Well, I just want to go skate curbs to the Faction’s ‘Let’s Go Get Cokes.’” [laughs] So I brought Cokes and we just spent a whole day doing slappies. I don’t think there’d been a slappy video part before that. That’s was like three years ago. But to actually go film a video part, I haven’t done that since God Save The Label. That was like 2009 or something.
What was your first video part?
Think, Partners In Crime .
"I was 21 years old until a year and a half ago."
Do you watch many videos or did you ever?
I used to. But as I got older it kind of became fewer and farther between. These days, I don’t pay attention to anything unless it’s like some welcome thing, a friend, or anything that has to do with old dudes … or like the pool party, the Vans Pool Party.
Why, though? It’s just too much noise?
I just don’t care. [laughs]
Here’s what happened: The moment I couldn’t figure out what was good or not, the moment I couldn’t put myself in the scenario, I started to lose interest. Before, I’d watch stuff and go, “Oh, I understand why that’s gnarly.” Now everything’s just psychotic. And I don’t even care about the new Billy on the block. Only thing I care about is Lance Mountain, Jeff Grosso, or guys like Steve Caballero. Maybe some of my peers, like if Dan Drehobl has a part come out, then I’m interested, but other than that, I don’t even care. You get into watching skate videos because it amps you up and it inspires you to go skateboarding. So when you’re watching little Timmy break his neck on some fucking crazy thing you’re like, “That’s fucked.” [laughs]
What was your reaction when Kyle Camarillo approached you about doing his RUN project?
My first reaction was, “Fuck yeah! Let’s do this.”
You know, due to my schedule and my mental state [laughs] or Kyle’s schedule or whatever, it took a while. And I didn’t realize, the year prior to me starting to film, not only had I not been skating a lot, my metabolism had totally changed and I gained weight. Before it was like, “Oh yeah, it’s harder, but I can still frontside air on anything. I can still backside tailslide anything. I can still Miller Flip anything.” So I figured I would just go out and start this project, not thinking that my body had changed.
I was 21 years old until a year and a half ago. [laughs] I didn’t realize that and I was so bummed when reality punched my face. But the moment I said, “You know what? Who cares?” it was fun and then we just finished it. I realized it didn’t even matter. Go out and have fun. I’m old. [laughs] It was a really great learning experience to just look forward, accept my place and age, not compare the past, and just ride.
Was filming for RUN harder than you thought it would be?
Even though it should have been the simplest thing ever, RUN was the hardest thing I’ve ever fucking done. But it was all because of my mind and body.
Right off the bat, Kyle said, “There’s no pressure. Just do whatever.” But that doesn’t mean shit to me. It’s all about what’s in your head. It’s all about personal expectations, and my expectations were way higher than my ability. It was frustrating at first. But it was just me putting it on myself. Even if I had skated better for RUN, I don’t think it would have changed the outcome of the video. But I’ve always had this thing: As long as you fucking try your hardest, it shows. Even if you can’t compete with everyone else out there, but you give it your all, it shows. Still, I was expecting too much and I was about ready to stab myself in the eyeball with an ice pick over it. [laughs]
When we started, we took a road trip—just me and Kyle—down to like Kernside. It was like, “I don’t fucking need to do this.” That’s too much pressure. Or it was like, “Oh, let’s go to Tijuana.” So we go all the way to Tijuana and I’m like, “Now I have to try to do something.” Before we would leave, I’d just be like, “Fuck. I’m supposed to be able to skate and I fucking suck. I’m old. I’m out of shape.” I would ruin it before I even left. [laughs]
I finally told Kyle, “We just gotta stay home. We gotta do it around here.” Because then it was just going out and skating and not some crazy production. If we didn’t get anything, it didn’t matter, ’cause we only drove an hour. We drove a half an hour. We drove across town, you know? We just kept it low key and it all clicked at the same time. Have fun. Keep it local. Done deal. Should have done that in the first place.
You know what, though? I did get broke a few times trying to do this thing.
What was the longest you had to sit out?
I didn’t really have to sit out, but I don’t skate hard a lot, and I took slams in the beginning of this like I haven’t slammed in a while. But you know what, it felt fucking great. There’s nothing like coming home from a day of skating, you’re bleeding, you’re just so fucking tired and beat down, you go home, crack a beer, sit on the couch, and you’re just like, “This is the best thing in the fucking world.” I haven’t lived like that in a long time. I think that’s what I was missing, to be honest. It’s time to bleed.
At what point did you decide to use the Johnny Cash song?
Kyle had the whole thing before we started. Before we ever did anything, before I even said yes, he was like, “I want it to be this song, and I want to look like this, and I want to use this equipment. I want to shoot it this way. I want it all to be rough, crusty, rugged, that’s it.” It wasn’t about going out and getting tricks. It was always about the spot. And I just said, “Okay. Let’s go.” Kyle knew everything that he wanted. He only needed a monkey.
One day, I decided I was gonna paint a board. I thought it might be kind of cool like if Kyle did the shot, I was riding this board, and it’s Johnny Cash, and it says “RUN” on his forehead. So I just made it. I didn’t tell him.
We went out and skated and he was stoked on it. That turned into making more of ’em for The Berrics video launch. He was actually gonna call the film something else. He was gonna call it Rust or Crust, but then when I put the RUN on Johnny’s forehead, he’s like, “I want to call it RUN.”
"I’d have crazy anxiety before I went out."
Did you ever try to talk yourself out of doing it?
There were many times I was like, “Just tell Kyle you don’t even want to do it.” I’d have crazy anxiety before I went out. It was completely unnecessary, and all me putting it on myself because I was remembering the old Jason—even if it was still old sucky Jason—that wasn’t today. [laughs]
So you didn’t come out of this thing beaten, depressed, or with your will broken?
In the beginning it was depressing. It wasn’t the video project; it was just the first time I really felt my age on a skateboard. I mean, if I was still making skateboard money and out skating all the time, I’d be way more healthy and way more practiced, but that’s not my life now.... At least it wasn’t. I have put skateboarding on the high priority list. Operation: Kill Beer Belly!
I wanted to jump right into it, recreate it, and I told myself, “I can do it.” But I couldn’t. It was a little depressing at first, but it ended up being awesome, and now I’m just hyped to go skate. It did make me kind of want to get back into the practice, and after our last trip, I came home going, “I just want to be able to skate with Sid [Enck] and Israel [Forbes].” I want to be able to hang. [laughs]
How much of your struggle was due to your identity changing from pro skater who does other stuff, to this guy who mostly does other stuff, but who also loves skating?
I’d dropped the pro skater title, in my mind, five years ago. And I wouldn’t skate a ton, but I was still a little younger so when I did get in the mode of skating, things came back. I could do that little bag of tricks I’d always had. And so when I went into this RUN project, I thought, “I still have that bag of tricks.” But something happened in this last year, and it was like, “Dude, I can’t fucking do this.” [laughs] Partly because I was out of practice, partly because I’m like 25 pounds heavier, or whatever. But it was cool because now I just go skate. Have fun. Whatever happens, happens. No one gives a shit, anyway. [laughs]
And when I changed my point of view, we finished the video in like three days of filming. Before that, it was like, “No, I need it. I want it. It’s such a great opportunity.” But once I was like, “Nah. Fuck it. Doesn’t matter. Just go have fun.” It just happened … that and the fact Kyle said if it wasn’t done by this date, we couldn’t do it. [laughs] That might have helped, too. Basically, I’ve finally accepted the fact that I’m not 30 anymore. I’m only getting older and who cares? I can still roll and that's good enough!
This sounds cheesy, but this project did kind of break my cage. My rusty cage. I just hadn’t thought in those terms in a long time. I skated and I was doing little stints of skating, but now there’s a chain of events going on. For the last few years, I felt more like a dad and some fucking hustler than a pro skateboarder. But doing this project has kind made me rethink my position in the scheme of things. If I focused, I could have some kind of fucking veteran pro career. But I haven’t prioritized skateboarding in five years. You know what I mean? I didn’t think of video or photos at all. It’s been about when I can or if I’m gonna choose to do that. And now I’m like, “Fuck. Why can’t I line up more projects? Why can’t I do more video things? Why can’t I try to work with a shoe company?” Before I was like, “I don’t do that anymore.” I talked myself out of it years ago. RUN made me think, “Whoa. I can do this and I might as well keep doing it while I’m able to.”
So now it’s like, you know, “Get healthy, you fucking lushy old man.”