Words & Interview by Zach Baker
Photos by Colin Sussingham & Max Hull
We’ve all heard more than a few skateboarders use the term “family” to describe their group of friends, mutually-funded acquaintances, or more broadly, everyone who has ever owned a skateboard, whether or not they’ve even met. But I think I speak for all of us when I say that it has always been a source of fascination when you hear of people that skate together who are, well, actually siblings. Guys like Jonas and Jeremy Wray, Mike and Quim Cardona, Dustin and Tristan Henry — it always seemed so nice to grow up with a brother or sister who also skated.
Courtesy of Max Hull’s owl-like awareness, it was brought to our attention that a number of Slap commenters are a bit confused about the genealogy of contemporary skateboarding’s most popular brothers: the Wilsons. Mitchell Wilson, a.k.a. Crazy Mitch From Philly, is Andrew and Johnny’s oldest brother. As you maybe know, and in keeping with the higher-publicized talents of the his bloodline, Mitch is anomalously fucked at skating. What separates Mitch is that, unlike his brothers who are very much a part of the multi-billion-dollar skate industry, Mitch has always been untethered by the throes of brand affiliation and marketing teams, which has granted him the liberty to say, post an Instagram story of himself scribbling on his teeth with Crayons, dive headfirst into a pile of garbage, or say generally whatever he wants with minimal repercussion save maybe a black eye.
While many of his compatriots have migrated north in search of art-handling gigs and diamondplated metal, Mitchell has been downright stubborn in his affinity for Philadelphia, so much so that he allegedly gives his whole family Philadelphia t-shirts and souvenirs for Christmas every year.
So, to clarify, Mitchell, the guy who does wallie kickflips, slappy switch smith grinds, and that really, really long winding slappy in Paych, is the oldest brother of Andrew and John Wilson. Josh Wilson is not at all related.
Who’s your favorite skateboarder?
I didn’t have one for years because I never even thought about it, but when I started working at Woodward, every kid would ask me that, so, I guess, Tony Trujillo.
What’s up with wallie kickflips?
I was trying frontside wallie backside 180s, and it flipped one time. I figured out how to make it flip and just tried to land on it. I can’t really do it anymore, it was just a passing thing. But I’ve tried heelflip ones and I’ve tried them switch.
What’s the last trick you learned?
Backside layback 5-0 on tranny.
Is the earth round?
That’s a highly-debated topic. I think it is a spherical hollow round earth with a civilization living on the inside that dictates what happens on the outside. There’s the terrestrial humans and then there’s the sub-terrestrial humans. We’re the terrestrial, we’re on the outside. Sub-terrestrial is inside the surface of the Earth.
Do the two ever intersect?
Yeah, that’s how all major decisions get made on the outside of the Earth. People think they’re reptiles, but that’s just because they don’t see the light of day, so their skin is different.
Tell me about your upbringing, where were you born?
Me, Johnny, and Andrew were born in Florida. I was born and then we moved to Buffalo. I lived there until I was two and then came back to Florida. Johnny and Andrew were born, we lived there until I was in middle school, then we moved to New Jersey for nine months, then back to Florida and we were there for like a year-and-a-half. None of us really skated hard at that time, we mostly just went to the beach. After that we moved to Pennsylvania. There was nothing to do out there, so we skated a lot more.
How old were you when you moved to Pennsylvania?
It was the middle of freshman year of high school, so I was fifteen. We all started skating in like 1999 in Florida.
Who decided to start? Or did you all start skating at the same time?
Yeah, my mom found a skateboard behind Wal-Mart. It was a Rick McCrank Girl board with Independents and little wheels. We ended up all sharing it until we each got our own. We all got them within a year of that first one.
Why did you move around so much?
My dad would constantly be doing different jobs. He’d get into something then switch up to something else and if he had a job opportunity that made us move, he was totally okay with that. It was cool, we got to see different places.
Did I hear that you and your whole family were models?
Everyone was a model except for me. It would be like a “model family” and I wasn’t allowed to be in the photos because I made my parents look too old. But there was this one stock photo that the dude kept. I was in middle school, Johnny and Andrew were probably in elementary school, and it ended up being on the cover of a brochure in Wal-Mart. I never saw it, but people in my high school would bring it up to me.
Did you guys all get along? I’ve met brothers who skate who are best friends, then I’ve also met brothers who skate but can’t stand each other.
Definitely all of the above. Johnny always got along with everybody. Me and Andrew used to not get along that well. Then I went off to college and he kind of mellowed out. Some of the teen angst went away, not all of it, clearly. But Johnny always got along with everybody because he’s the baby. Andrew had something to prove and I was the first-born child.
Up until now, who has won the most games of S.K.A.T.E?
Johnny and Andrew both know they’re trash at flatground. Andrew’s getting better…Johnny still can’t do shit on flat. Ask Johnny to try a nollie heel or nollie flip. It’ll be funny.
How long have you been in Philly?
I went to Temple in 2008, so almost ten years.
Were you much of a Love Park guy?
I went there, but certainly not every weekend. I went there a bunch of times, saw crazy stuff there. I was there when Antonio tried to switch tre it. I was there when Ishod switch flipped it — that was back when you couldn’t skate there as easily as you could at the end. You had to go and light it up at night.
I skated there a lot and had a bunch of good times. The levels ledges were easy, the big ledges were hard. People who skated there all the time could just do everything every single try on them, so that would help make you feel real good about yourself when you couldn’t do a 5050. Every person there could switch crook, nollie half cab crook and everything, and they would not be strangers in letting you know that they could do that first try right after you fell.
Do you have a favorite spot in Philly? Existent or non?
I only got to skate it one time, but there was this old spot at Front and Tasker, under a bridge in South Philly. When I was in high school and we used to visit, that spot was amazing. People made ledges, banks and pole jams…that was really fun. Every year after that, they tried to re-do it and the city would tear it down. There was this really cool barrier spot that my friend Sloan [Palder] built. He built at least two or three that are all gone now. The one spot that’s still there is 9th and Poplar. It keeps getting better. One of the best barriers I’ve ever skated is there. The ground is really bad, but you get past it.
What does it take to be truly from a place?
I don’t know. I like living here in Philly. I’m approaching living in the same place the longest I ever have. Like I said, we’ve always been moving around, so when people ask “where are you from?” It’s like I guess I’m half from Florida, half from Pennsylvania. So the longer I’ve lived somewhere, the more I can say that I’m from there. But is anyone really from anywhere? I’m definitely not from here, but I do like living here and will stay living here even though both my brothers and all my brothers’ friends try to get me to move to New York.
Do you hate Nik Stain and Marcus [from Skate Jawn] for leaving?
What are your thoughts on New York City?
It’s really fun but every time I visit, I’m sleeping on couches and all that. You get dragged into all kinds of things you don’t want to do. If you go up for the weekend, at best you’re up there for like three days. That’s one day tops of skating around without a backpack. Of course, that day it’s gonna rain, or someone’s going to try a super hard trick at a shit spot for three hours and ruin the whole day. There’s definitely more spots, better spots and hotter girls — it’s better in every way — but I don’t know. I really like it here and I like being away from the hustle and bustle concerning skateboarding that’s going on there. There’s a lot going on, a lot of people trying to progress their skate careers.
Do you like Instagram?
Well, maybe. If I find myself staring at girls for hours on end, then yeah, I love it. It’s the best but, I don’t know. Did you see my most recent post? Making fun of Johnny at Dom Travis’ expense? I hope he had a good laugh.
Do your brothers think it’s funny?
No. They definitely don’t think my sense of humor is funny. Maybe they do a little bit, or they like it when other people are around, but they definitely don’t like it.
Is that part of why you do it?
What’s your five-year plan?
I guess keep moving furniture in Philadelphia until my muscles or joints give out and then figure something else out.
You have an engineering degree, right?
Yeah, I do. I don’t know what to do with it. If I did, I probably wouldn’t be moving furniture.
What were your plans for it when you went to get it?
I think I was thinking what a lot of people think — the longer you go to school, you either get more hyped on actually doing something with it and getting a job, or you do the opposite and care less. You just want to be done. You don’t want to quit, but you don’t give a shit about what happens afterward. That’s why I know so many people with degrees who don’t use them.
What do you think about the industry of skateboarding? And what do you think about the involvement of both of your brothers in the industry of skateboarding?
I can’t help but think about all the people that I know who are super good at skating and still have to go to work. Any person that is extremely good at skateboarding shouldn’t to work while people who are boring get to go to expensive dinners with a bunch of people that they don’t know or care about. I like how Johnny went super far really quick, but it’s the kind of thing where it can just come out of nowhere and then end. Andrew has had success too. He maybe understands more that it can just come out of nowhere and end. I’m glad they’re both killing it. Johnny has been to more countries than I’ve been to states.
I definitely wish Nik [Stain] and Max Palmer got some, but even then, Max is getting more than Nik does. Nik shouldn’t have to work.
Is that something that you would have ever wanted? If someone offered that to you tomorrow, would you take it?
I think that it’s something that everyone thinks about and would love to have happen for them. If someone were to give it to me tomorrow, sure, I would take it. It might last a month or two. I can’t skate the same way I used to. Not talking about tricks or whatever, but my body hurts too bad to keep skating all the time. I know and have seen that time and time again going on trips with everybody. That’s where Andrew really pulls through — every single spot, every single day, multiple tricks. I know that if I were to go and do something like that I’d get like one trick a week. I don’t think about it that much, but I am excited that Johnny and Andrew get to explore that whole thing.
Every time I see this dude he has a giant hole in his shirt or a black eye
I agree with Meek Mill
Lil Snoozi Vert
Mitchell you are a sweetheart and a gift to skateboarding. Your brothers love you and are lucky to have you as an influence in their life.
hesh mitch poplar pole jam
hesh mitch poplar pole jamm
mitch is like the asian version of mayor nutter
The paradox endurance this site embraces is beautiful; ignorant rap along side literate minorities; genius
Mitch Wilson top goon outta Philly #coopermanning
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