Question Authority | Steve Olson

How old were you when you got your first photo in Skateboarder?
I was 16 and it was insane. You’re, like, “No way, I’m in Skateboarder.”

What did the mag mean to you back then?
It gave me a life. Skateboarding gave me a life. Now I’m going to go die—just kidding!

Who were you shooting with back then?
Jim Cassimus, Ted Terrabone, and Craig Fiedman.

Did you know any of the edit staff?
I knew some of the editors. They must have liked me because I got some coverage in the mag.

What did you think about your interview in the July ’79 issue?
Oh, that was the worst thing ever. Come on, I thought we were going to be on the positive vibe here. I mean, it was bizarre to me. The layout was whack and the photos they used were terrible. I didn’t like one photograph in that thing.

What were your favorite things about the magazine back then?
They put pictures of me in it!

What other skateboard magazines were around at that time?
There was Transworld [laughs]. That’s so f**ked up. Ah, man, not Transworld. There was Skateboard World and Wide World of Skateboarding, but they didn’t even count really.

What were they like?
They were just kind of a lower-level magazine and Skateboarder was the magazine. Everything else was second rate.

What did you think when it turned into Action Now and started covering BMX and snowboarding?
Well, back then it was considered gay, but now it looks as though they were a little ahead of their time. Maybe they were predecessors of extreme. They were the X Games before the X Games. But they were the only magazine to cover anything in the music world as well. Skateboarder had a big influence on a lot of people at least.

How did you feel when Skateboarder went down? Especially since Transworld and Thrasher came along at that time.
Thrasher saw the opportunity to sell their products in it. That is that. That is all that was and ever will be. The same as Transworld. I mean, you had Thrasher, which was Indy, and Transworld, which was Tracker. Go figure. I mean, what happens when manufacturers make their own magazines? Thrasher’s the bible? What does that mean? The Bible’s a piece of shit, too. I had no shots in Thrasher and we’re the ones that made money for that magazine. Yeah, f**k them. And I don’t care about Transworld. They don’t count either.

Whoa, okay. What did you think when you heard Skateboarder was re-launching in 1997? Were you happy or indifferent?
I’m not really involved in that whole world, but my kid is and I love my kid. That’s all. He loves skateboarding and that’s totally cool.