Lurker Lou ruined skateboarding. When he snapped Matt Militano’s board during Slap’s One in a Million show (not even first try!), he singlehandedly took away all the fun there was to be had in riding a skateboard. We sat down with Lou to discuss why he is so hell-bent on destroying skateboarding, and why he hates America’s children.
Where are you from, and how did you get into skating?
I’m from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The actual town is Dennisport, which is a small town, kinda white trash, dead all year, crazy in the summertime. My dad used to own a liquor store, and it had a drive-thru, and all these kids used to skate in there. My older brother had two friends who skated, and they sold me a used board for super cheap, so I started going out with them. I was turning 11, and they were 16.
How’d you end up moving to New York?
That was all Zered.
When did you originally meet him?
I met him when I was in 8th grade, he was the talk of Cape Cod. I never got out of my town to skate much, but as I got older, I’d go to other towns and link up with different dudes to skate. I met Zered at a contest. He won, and I think I got 3rd place. He lived two towns away, and after that, I just started going to his skatepark. He got on Zoo, and they got him an apartment here with Billy [Rohan] and Brian Brown. I’d just crash on an air bed, then Billy got kicked off and I took over his room. As soon as I moved here, we started filming Vicious Cycle.
Was there ever a point where you were supposed to be the next dude to get on Zoo?
The reason I never wanted to fuck with Zoo was because I didn’t want it to be like, “That dude got put on because he’s Zered’s boy.” There was never any time when I was the next dude to be fully on, how [Kevin] Tierney or Black Dave are now. It might’ve been cool, but I was a little young, and wasn’t psyched on Zoo. Still not really psyched on Zoo, so…
When you moved here, were you like “I’m gonna try and do the pro skater thing,” or was it just move and see what happens?
I’d go to New York for three weeks at a time, then go back to Cape Cod and work my ass off for a month. Sometimes I’d go to Union Square and hustle product, and I’d get money like that. But I’d piss my money away at the Fish like an idiot at 18, 19. I just wanted to skate. I wanted to go to Flushing, I wanted to do tricks that had never been done. I’d know Steven Cales did a nollie flip [over the grate] in Keenan’s [Chocolate Tour] part, but I’d want to nollie flip it in a line. I wanted to go pro, I didn’t know who I’d want to skate for.
Did you just get over it after a while?
I got a job building sets for $150 a day. It was moving around furniture and light carpentry. Then I got a raise, and realized I would never make that type of money off skating. I was like, “I’m 21, I got a good job, my mom is psyched,” so I did that for years and didn’t skate for anyone. I just got boards through Zered or Robbie Gangemi at Vehicle. There were always small companies I could’ve got on, like with Official, I said I didn’t want to skate for a website, and Rodney [Torres] got bummed. Then he quit, so I’m glad I never did that. I thought about maybe getting on Instant Winner. They kinda gave me a loose offer.
How’d the Coda thing end up happening?
I was living with this kid, and he skated for Coda. That dude took four months rent money from me. I was about to go home for Christmas and I check the mail. There’s a full-on warning letter from the realty company about how no rent has been paid in months. I called that dude up, he was in Vermont, and say, “Yo, I’m gonna fucking kill you, dude. You took $2,800 from me. Do not come back to New York.” I took all of his shit, sold it to Beacon’s Closet, and pawned off some of it. His girl came by to pick up some of his shit, and I just threw it all in the hallway. Pat Smith was so psyched that I was like “Fuck this dude,” that he kicked him off Coda and offered to put me on. I waited a month or so, and told him I’m down. I got on because of a cokehead roommate. Then I filmed for that Coda video for the next six months.
Were you still working full-time, and just focused on skating during the weekends?
My job would be maybefive days of straight work, then maybe a few days in the next week, and then I wouldn’t work for a week-and-a-half. That job has always been beneficial to skaters. That’s why all the skaters work there.
What made you want to start your own company instead of skating for someone?
After a few years, I was confused about Coda. Pat would say he wanted to give me a board, and I did two graphics for it. Then everyone kinda got sidetracked. He told me they wanted to do a “bridge” series, and I wanted to do the bridge that goes over the Cape Cod Canal. But some of the dudes weren’t psyched on their graphics, and I’d go “What’s going on with mine?” We were playing phone tag all the time.
I know saying that you’re not psyched on the graphics sounds super corny to kids in their teens, but once you’re grown up, you don’t want to look down at a skateboard that you hate the graphic of. Me and Pat are still cool, that’s my boy, but I just had to part ways. I was psyched on Hopps, and wanted to hit up Jahmal [Williams], but I got the feeling that Jahmal didn’t want to put me on or do a collabo.
I don’t know, I mean, I’ve known Jahmal since I was a kid. When I was 16, I got punched in the face by a bike messenger in Boston and Jahmal chased him down and punched him in the back of the head. He’s an inspiration behind Iron Claw. In his skate career, he skated for mad people, and then didn’t skate for anyone for a while, then did his own thing. We just never sat down, it was just kinda awkward.
How’d Iron Claw come together?
Billy Rohan was in a crazy stage a year ago, and he gave me Glenn Chapman’s number because I wanted to do some boards. Tyler Mate called me up telling me he wanted to start a skateboard company, and asked if I wanted to skate for it. He used to do this clothing company called Death Traitors. They used to sponsor me, and he had beef with the dude he did it with, so he deaded it. I was like, “That’s funny, because I was going to start my own shit too.” I just wanted to make boards that I could skate, and maybe make a little money off. I knew I could sell them at Autumn, Charles would hook it up at Supreme. Tyler wanted me and Watermelon [Alex] on the team. He told me the name was Iron Claw.
I wasn’t hyped on the name at first. I wanted to start a company called “95” — because it’s the east coast highway, the year I started skateboarding, and it was the best year in skateboarding. All of the footage that came out in ’96 was filmed in ’95. I did a little research on Iron Claw because he told me it was an old punk song. I found out it was a prison restraint device. It’s a thing that prisoners could whip their hand and get out of, it was only around for a few years. It made an “I C” to me, so I thought it was sick. We took our ideas and we smashed them together. We get along and I always liked the shit Death Traitors did, but our goal was to have none of our shit look similar to Death Traitors. We saved up to get a LLC and boards. It feeds itself for now.
How do you go about putting kids on the team? You seem to be looking for something really specific.
I wanted to put Shawn Powers on first. I knew he skated for Shut and I didn’t want to steal anyone. I liked Phil Rodriguez, but didn’t know him. Caviar had just come out, and all those kids’ style had matured. Billy McFeely couldn’t do it because he was skating for Jart. I hooked Derrick [Ziemkiewicz] up once, but since then, I haven’t seen him. Nobody ever sees him. He’s over there in Poland, Queens, yet Phil is coming out all the way from Rockaway all the time, so I put him on. With Kennedy [Cantrell], I saw the One in a Million footage, and thought he was sick. He did a lot of tricks that I really like — he wallrid nollied over a set of stairs, he has a good frontside flip, he did some sick street lines. After all that One in a Million shit was over, I asked him if he was down to get boards from me, so I mailed them out to him. Me getting psyched off watching a 20-year-old kid skate is pretty fucking rare. Him and Phil are working on all VX1000 parts for the end of this year.
I know you were psyched to do the One in a Million thing, and I was hyped they had you involved, so why did it turn into such a mess? What’s your version of the story?
I got the e-mail from Alex Klein saying he wanted a Quartersnacks judge, and that wasn’t happening, so he got forwarded to me from you. I thought it was gonna be like last year. I signed on, a couple of weeks go by, I get a call giving me the outline two days before it started. He said they were staying at House of Vans, that there were gonna be eliminations, and asked if I wanted to focus kids’ boards when they get kicked off. I go, “Yeah, sure, I don’t care.” He asked if I was down to be the “mean guy” of the show because he had heard I was real opinionated. I showed up on Monday night, and I thought I was going to see some kid’s footage and talk about the tricks. Then I found out there was going to be a high ollie competition and thought that was a bit corny. So right there, Alex explained how the show was going to be, with eliminations and immunity, and nobody had any idea. I knew there were gonna be eliminations, but not the whole challenge thing. Then that Mandible Claw dude Colin Read goes, “This shit is wack” right away. A couple of people said it wasn’t a good idea, and I wasn’t backing it either. Once that dude Matt couldn’t do that high ollie thing, I was like, “Fuck, this kinda sucks.” None of the kids knew the boards were gonna be focused, so that was a big surprise.
It’s definitely funny, but I guess in a shitty way for them.
Yeah, people got all butt hurt, but he got tons of product regardless. I was already roped into it, but Alex said it was fully going to be a reality TV show, and I was kinda supposed to be the Simon Cowell.
My real friends know me, and they all said I wasn’t bad. Listen to me on the bench at Tompkins or listen to me yapping at Enid’s. I didn’t really hate. I liked all those kids. I’d smoke weed and drink with some of them. By the time we all figured what was going on, we kinda played into it. Alex would try to roust them up with drama, but those kids didn’t want to hate on anybody. He tried to make a reality show and bring drama out, but it backfired.
If One in a Million comes to fucking Denver tomorrow, and you got asked to do it, you wouldn’t do it because of how bad it went this year. But don’t say you wouldn’t take the job I took either. I didn’t know what was going on until the production meeting. I even tried to come up with challenges, but me and Colin Read would get shut down on all of them. All those kids were saying, “It’s dope we’re in New York, but this shit is corny.” I put in a week skating with them, and thought a few of them were getting sent to the finals. I went in there, sat down, and Steve Rodriguez says “Nobody wins, y’all go home tomorrow.” I had no clue. I was in as much awe as all the 14-year-olds commenting on the episodes. I felt like an asshole going, “Nobody wins, nobody did the challenges.” All the kids go haywire, break all of the boards, and get into Alex’s face. It was a revolt. They threw a huge party and got fucked up. We thought the whole thing wasn’t coming out.
Were you surprised at how sensitive people were to the episodes? You told me you got a death threat.
Dudes were sending shit to my YouTube page, and those messages go right to my Gmail inbox. I got an e-mail from this one kid saying, “I hope you fucking die. You fucking ruined skateboarding. If I ever see you, I’m going to kill you.” I’d just reply saying “Get fucked.”
That’s all you can say.
Yeah. I knew I was going to get mad haters because A) Who the fuck is Lurker Lou? B) Who the fuck is this crazy dude with a foot-long beard? According to some dudes, I’m “irrelevant” in skating. My word to all those people: Don’t get too attached to a reality TV show. It was a joke from the get-go. Last year’s looked a little reality tv show-ish as well, minus the challenges. There were still dudes getting eliminated at the end of it. There was drama. They didn’t have the drama this year because there was no Forrest Edwards. Alex told me I was going to be the “drama” this year.
People even got bummed that I didn’t break the board first try…I don’t know what Jamie Thomas is putting in those Zero boards. Let’s set up a line of ten Zero boards, and see how many you could focus. I found it insanely funny at first, but it sucked when I’d check my e-mail in the morning. Some of them weren’t even from kids, they’d be from people who were 22. Send your e-mails to Alex Klein, not me. Hate all you want — I’m fat, I have a beard, I’m sloppy. Keep it coming dude, I’m still skating, and I’m putting out another video part. I’ve been skateboarding in New York longer than any of those kids have been skateboarding altogether. And whoever made that “Mean Man” remix is a fucking genius. They definitely know me.
Has anyone said anything to you outside of the internet?
Nobody says anything to my face. I’ll go to Astoria, and I can tell kids want to say something, but they don’t. The only people that say shit are my friends, and they all say, “You weren’t even being a dick.” I didn’t even get to really hate.
Photo Credit: 30 Pack Pat