Sunday, November 21, 2010

This week's NDN Insight belongs to another long-time homie of mine. We take a trip to Wisconsin to visit Jeff Scanlon.

1. Jeff Scanlon in a nutshell:

Optimistic, encouraging, weird, misunderstood, film-maker, poet, father, random

2. What does The NDN mean to you?

People that choose creativity as a lifestyle.

3. How long have you been blading? How'd you get into it?

I've been blading almost as long as you are old. 17 years. I got into it in Chicago. I just learned how to ice skate and when it started warming up and I needed something to fill that void. In come the rollerblades. Little did I know how much they would define me. I saw a couple guys trying to grind these long skinny square rails that are actually kind of famous. They're shitty rails, but have been skated a lot. Well there really aren't many good rails in downtown Chicago. Anyway, that's how I got into it.

4. Explain the whole being homeless, blading with TJ Webber, Portland thing.

I was trying to live in Portland on my own, and without a job or any real friends to fall back on, I was forced to live outdoors for a little while. I have to say the fresh air was amazing. It's interesting, when you're homeless you don't count money like, "I have a dollar fifty". You say, "I have six quarters". For some reason money doesn't seem as hard to obtain if you think of it as a number rather than an amount.

Skating with TJ was a humbling experience. He was the nicest guy, so fun to roll with, hilarious, and totally on the same page any time we went out. He never carried himself like he was above anyone, which could be said for most of the Portland skaters back then. It was a community of friends encouraging each other through skating, and always talking shit to keep you humble. It wasn't about being cool, in fact it was the opposite. It was about embracing the odd and letting it shine. That somehow created the cool. TJ just happened to be so fucking amazing at skating that you knew he was special. Then he became the best rollerblader in the world after winning NISS in 95. I can always say I knew him when, and wish he still played some role in our community of rolling.

5. After living in several states, which scene do you consider most suiting to you? Why?

Portland for sure, it molded the rollerblader I am today. Boise is a close second and that's due mostly to you E.Bill, your motivation, motivates. In P-town there was an energy that made us feel like we were a family. A family that owned the city. We would skate wherever we wanted and just kill everything standing. Everybody was always so juiced to skate and get fired up from watching each other land trick after trick. It would get to the point where everyone was dropping hammers every time they tried. Perfect energy for any session.

6. All-time top 5 favorite Radiohead tracks?

All of them

7. What are 5 things that you've learned through blading?

1. That if I totally trust myself, I will land the trick first try
2. With age comes fear, and the courage to face it
3. Stretching and fish oil will keep you young
4. Some of the greatest minds in the world rollerblade
5. Being sweaty and dirty at the end of a good skate is almost better than sex

8. You taught me quite a bit about skating over the years we spent out and about. I wanted to thank you for that and also ask how you could put up with a young E.Bill?

The first time I pulled up to Glory and heard you say "Whoaa" when I tossed my skates out of the car was when I knew I could put up with you. I didn't need help putting up with you, it's who you are that helped. I knew you had more than those clowns you were rolling with at the time (like Nick). So far you haven't proven me wrong. Thank you for taking whatever advice I've given you, and learned something from it. Knowing that I have some responsibility for who you are now really means a lot to me. Glad I could help. I know you've helped me.

9. What are some similarities and differences between your skating 10+ years ago and now? Where did you draw inspiration from then and where do you now?

Well I'm not the crazy, go-for-broke skater that I use to be. I remember skating with two sprained ankles and just skating lower stuff so I didn't have to jump too high. Now I can still skate with a little pain, but I know that it's better to rest when I need to. One thing that has really changed for me is that I think about getting hurt more than landing the trick. Like I will look at a rail and know that I can grind it no problem, but for some reason I start to think of every bad thing that could happen and start to doubt my own ability. Really have to meditate through shit sometimes.

My inspiration has never changed. Just going out and skating is always what gets me going. It's always fun, even when it isn't.

10. Any interesting stories you'd care to share?

I have many interesting stories I could share. I could talk about the gentleman with racquetball breath. Or the man sitting at Rhodes with his special playing card. Yes, I could talk about a lot of things... but I won't.

Thank you Erik Bill for asking me to do your interview. This is truly an honor. The new Dayshapes trailer is fucking amazing.

This is a section that I made of Jeff about 4 years ago in Boise, ID.

Don't Forget Section

Jeff | Myspace Video


  1. i wish we could still skate mountain view and damn that soul to topsoul was perfect

  2. come visit, jeff.

    thanks for doing the interview.

  3. I know exactly what he meant by over thinking the worst possible result of blading rails now...just gotta force yourself through it as you get older.

  4. I guess I was one of those clowns.....

    Need to put up his Disapproval section.

  5. i didn't really know jeff too well. but definitely fun to skate with the little we did.