THE JACK CROOK INTERVIEW
11 November 2011 • 1763 Views
Jack Crook has twinkle toes of the next level. Hands for feet so to speak. With a delicate flowful touch he manipulates his shred platform in any which way he desires. We caught up with Crooksy and gasbagged about recent travels in his belt, sponsor changes and his band Facetime - Morgan Campbell
MC: You just came back from a trip to Europe. How was that? Was it your first time there?
JC: It was unbelievable. It was my first time and it was so boss. I went for two months all up: skated flat stick for a month and then had a bit of a holiday for a month.
Which cities did you visit?
We went to Berlin, then Barcelona and lastly Paris with the boys Leigh Bolton, Marty Girotto, Bjorn Johnston and Josh Pall. After they left I went back and just cruised between all those joints again, meeting up with other mates who were over there and down to hang. I did very little skating once the guys left. I spent a few days in Frankfurt on the way home and I also stopped in Shanghai for a twelve-hour layover, which was fucked. To cut a long story short, I got conned by these locals into following them up seven floors in a lift for some drinks then they charged me $1500 Aus for a bunch of watered down Jamo’s, some cantelope and nuts. Because you obviously can’t make a run for it down the elevator and the dudes they send out on the streets to pick people up are working for the people at the bar charge you whatever they please. I ended up having to pay $400 bucks, which was all I had. It sucked ’cause I was just following them ’cause I figured I had no one else to hang out with really and they seemed cool.
Give me a sentence on each city that you visited, giving your general impression of each.
Berlin: The people are amazingly friendly and you can never run out of dope things to do, whether it be skating amazing spots where you don’t get moved on, or going to glow in the dark mini golf before going to mental nightclubs that don’t seem to close. Berlin was my definitely my favourite.
Frankfurt: Frankfurt was kind of like Canberra in a sense where it was kind of like a ghost town in the city and didn’t have much in the way of nightlife. Not to say that I don’t like Canberra; you’d need to either skate everyday or live for watching porn to keep your head straight I reckon.
Barcelona: This is hands down the best place for skateboarding ever. Period. Well as far as I’ve seen anyways. Bjorn made the awesome mistake of booking us a hotel in Sabadell for three days instead of next to MACBA where we thought he’d booked us in. We were still over an hour out of the city and the spots were probably better and still literally everywhere. A mate Yason took us into this Olympic pool that overlooks the whole of Barcelona city off a cliff face at night. It is one of the sickest things you can do after a night out in Barca.
Paris: Every time I was in Paris I was lugging around literally all my possessions and nobody seemed very helpful with directions to people who don’t speak French. We stayed in this rough as hood in Port De La Chappelle so we couldn’t really go out and get home on the Metro too late ’cause the area was just too skitz. I’d love to properly experience the place one day.
Shanghai: There are literally too many people in this fucking joint. There are as many people that living in Shanghai as there are in NZ. In the paper there is a pollution rating for the morning and afternoon next to the weather report. The skate spots are incredible though, I think that is the only thing that would ever attract me back to China, especially after getting rolled.
What do you reckon Australian city planners could learn from the Europeans?
Oh man, depends if the city planners want to have a skateboarding infestation on their hands ha-ha. Barcelona is literally like an EA skate level. We didn’t have a guide so we’d just catch the metro to the furthest point and have no trouble finding famous spots, untouched spots: the works. I think we have sick spots here in Aus, they just aren’t as polished and security is way more intense.
You grew up in Geelong right? What is it like there?
Geelong/Barwon Heads was such a good place to grow up in. All the people are a lot more laid back than in the city I find. It has its sketchy features, but you can literally avoid all that by never going to the main bus station, the club Homehouse, or into Corio or Whittington. I’ve never really run into any trouble. We also have this bar called the Nash which gets the most epic live music and you would really have to try your hardest to get kicked out of the joint. It’s amazing.
What kind of spots did you have to skate when you were growing up? Before the waterfront plaza was there much else to skate?
There was no more to skate than there is now. We used to skate the waterfront and the Deakin ledges (which used to be a lot better when they were actually skated). We rarely skated skateparks and skated absolutely everywhere as transport. Those were the times of my life with the old crew just rat seshin’ around all the suburbs and spots, causin’ mischief in Dimmys and hangin’ out on the eight stair at the beachfront.
You skated in the Shocklands comp a few months back. What seemed different about this comp?
I guess it was different in the way that I’ve never skated a course that looked like collapsed Jenga blocks. Ha-ha. Nah, I don’t really enjoy skate comps, but I had a blast there. Such a good crew of skaters and the setup was dope for just cruisin’ around and not having to jump off a building to get a good score was good. Kurt’s accidental textbook kickflip Willy grind on the kicker to up-jenga-block was definitely the highlight of my day.
Any suggestions for any obstacles to be included in next year’s Shocklands comp?
Flat ledges? Ha-ha.
As you have gotten older you no doubt lost a lot of your skating friends to other pursuits? If so what are the top five reasons your former skate-buddies have for not skating anymore?
5. Just generally morphing into a dick.
So you are in a band right? What is the name of the band and how long have you been together for?
We are called Facetime. We’re basically called that because my friend who’s nicknamed Face put us down as that for what was supposed to be our first and only gig ha-ha. We’ve just never changed it. We’ve been playing for about five months now.
What do you play?
Guitar and sing a few tracks
Any major influences?
We have seven people in the band so everyone is pretty influenced by different shit even though we all are pretty happy with the conclusion. Which means all our songs have a pretty wide variety I guess ha-ha. I write my own stuff and have my own influences that I couldn’t really boil down to any bands in particular. I love Spacemen 3, The Black Ryder, MBV (My Bloody Valentine), BJM (Brian Jones Massacre) and love listening to all them. I mean it’s good to be influenced, but I think it’s also good we all listen to different shit ’cause then it sounds a lot different.
Where was your first gig?
First gig was at the Nash, my friend Chris (Face) signed us up for a gig after we’d been jamming at a mates joint for about three weeks, just for fun when we were drinkin’. So we had a week to actually write three songs, we didn’t have a singer and it was super rushed, but it kinda turned out OK.
What is it about music and skating that have you so transfixed? Are there any parallels for you?
Not really. It’s more the opposite. I mean, skating means everything to me, but I love that I’m getting satisfaction from another outlet that isn’t skating as well. Too much skating and talk of skating can tire me out mentally.
So I hear that the Jack Crook and Element chapter is over. What are your plans now that you are a free agent?
Yeah it’s all come to an end. On good terms as well might I add. I’m very tight with Troy, Rome and the boys who ride for the team and respect and appreciate everything they ever did for me and all the boss times I had with the past and previous teams. I just felt like I was going through the motions with skateboarding and started to not care much about filming etc. and just needed a fresh start, which sounds pretty gay I guess, but it has definitely worked. I’ve been lucky enough to get thrown Cliché boards from OG Aussie battler Anthony Mapstone and funny man Steele Saunder’s is putting HUF shirts on my back. As much as I loved all the people at Element and the good times I’m so stoked I’m repping shit that feels more like me and makes me really wanna skate bro.
What is your favourite thing about skating Australia right now?
My favourite thing is definitely the crew around. All the guys who I’ve got to skate with are so rad. Skateboarding can come with such an ego sometimes, which I can’t stand. Having mates like J Mac, Jimmy Wright etc. in town is rad ’cause its sick having good, modest dudes to chill with who also get you psyched to skate ’cause they’re just amazing to watch skate. J Mac has been shutting shit down off the board as well ha-ha.
What a corker: fakie shuv to fakie manual to half cab flip.
This is the kind of question some bedraggled unit would ask you in a deserted mall, but just genuinely wondering what the hardest thing your have ever done on your skateboard was?
I find everything I’ve ever tried to do to keep up with the level that satisfies skating today has been really hard and takes me forever or I probably can’t land it. People are too good.
How are you so good at manual tricks? Were you particularly good at wheelies on a BMX when you were growing up?
I think it was a mix between reaching a point where I didn’t necessarily want to jump down stuff to get a trick, and when I was in Brisbane for a bit when I was younger. Sammy Winter was doing all these manual tricks that had a bit more thought put into them than some nollieflip manny treflip out shit. I love watching manual tricks that are a bit gnarly or tasteful and thought out, so I wouldn’t say I’m that great at it, but I started trying to rock it.
If you could steal five tricks and techniques off of five skaters in Australia what would you take?
1. Back tails from Jack Kirk.
2. Front Crooks from J Mac (And the flip in from Gusto Faith).
3. Tranny skills from James Wright and Marty Girotto.
4. Nollie Cabs from Sammy Winter (Or anyone who can do that trick)
5. Snapey’s Switch shit.
Having said that I’d like to snatch anything from T Fynn, Brass, Croker, Jefri Klasevski, Potter, Nugget, Mike Martin, Alex Campbell… I don’t know: everyone in Aus is so much doper to watch than all these handrail chompers in the states.
If you are keen to see Jack skate first hand then board a Sydney ferry to The Island come December 10th.
Photos: Jason Morey