Now’s the time for number five in our ongoing series of Emerica Blab interviews in which you, the ever-loyal Kids in Emerica, get to ask your favorite Emerica team rider that burning question you’ve always wanted to know.
This month’s subject is Emerica pro Ed Templeton—skater, artist and human extraordinaire. Without further ado, here are Ed’s answers to some of your questions.
PissDrunxSD: Do you ever think about how many people in the world know who you are, but you don’t know them?
Sometimes! I get kids coming up to me on the street saying they saw me in this or that video, or saw an art show I did. I feel honored that people even care.
3M3RIKAN: What inspired you to start making artwork? Did any other artists influence you?
I was always into drawing. I like to look at art books, too. I wondered, "What separates me from the people in these books?" I realized that it was nothing! The people in the books just did what they did, and got noticed along the way. So, I decided to just start doing what I loved. Around 1990, after my first skate trip to Europe, I really got inspired enough to start painting. I was inspired by a couple of artists when I was younger, like Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt. I was really into those guys. I was also very stoked that Mark Gonzales did his own graphics, and decided to do the same when I got the chance to go pro.
Punk_clown: Helping to run a ’zine myself, I know that’s a lot of fun and rewarding. What’s your favorite part about making and producing a ’zine?
I love the fact that you are taking it into your own hands when you make a ’zine. You are exerting creative energy toward a project that possibly only a few friends will see! Plus, there are no rules...anything goes. You are the Editor, the Art Department, and the artist or photographer!
Edashcash: Do you feel that Good & Evil has lived up to the standards of all the other Toy Machine videos?
I feel that it does. Welcome to Hell is a hard video to live up to, because of the team at that time, and that period in skating. People were not taking rails to the point that our team did at that time, so when the video hit, it was perfectly timed to make a big splash. I feel that Good & Evil is way better than Jump Off a Building, Heavy Metal, and Live. And I feel that for the time we’re living in right now, that Good & Evil is as good as Welcome to Hell, but things are different. I guess time will tell where it stands in history, but I feel like this video has the same feeling.
Edashcash: Did you really spray-paint all the gold Templeton shoes? I read that you just sat there and watched other people spray-paint them. Ha-ha.
Emerica wanted me to come and shoot the "photo-op" for the magazines. So, I went there, but only after demanding to get paid extra for my trouble. Then I held the spray can and posed for a few photos before getting whisked over to a grassy area, where they had set up a nice umbrella for me to sit under, with a table and some cold drinks—fresh Orange Juice, to be exact. I had a personal slave there, too, to fan me and keep me cool in the harsh Southern California heat. From there, I directed the worker drones from behind my newspaper, while talking on my cell phone. Actually, I don’t have a cell phone. Really, I spray-painted a hell of a lot of them. But the people at Emerica set up a big sheet with all of the shoes on it, and had an industrial strength jet-sprayer that could do, like, 10 pairs at a time. They had a bunch of the people who work there helping. I think Tosh even painted a few pairs!
Kirk: Do you still skate Huntington skatepark? If so, how often? You really can’t get tired of it.
I skated it yesterday! I have been skating it with our filmer, Kevin, and Austin Stephens. I don’t go there as much as I used to. When I am around, I go there about once a week. RVCA has a ramp in their warehouse, and Volcom has a skatepark in theirs, and they are right next to each other, so I skate those places a lot instead of the HB park.
Edashcash: Who has inspired you the most in skateboarding, and why?
When I was just starting out, I was super-amped on this vert skater named Chris Miller. He went super fast and did all of his tricks really long and with awesome style. He was the one person who I really wanted to skate like, but on street. The Gonz was very inspiring, too. He lived in Huntington Beach, so I would see him skating here and there. Every time I saw him, he did something that I didn’t even know was possible on a skateboard. I remember my friend coming to school and telling me a story about seeing the Gonz at a spot the night before, doing a nose blunt slide on a curb, but there was no name for it yet. My friend couldn’t even explain it! He was saying, "Gonz ollied up and did a nose slide on the INSIDE of the curb, The VERT side! Then just rode away!" We couldn’t even imagine it. But of course, we all tried it that night!
Somethingrathercool: Which trick do you like to do better: nose blunt, blunt, or impossible? Or do you have a different favorite trick? Those seem to be the ones you do most.
I need to get some new tricks! I would have to say nose blunts. I love doing them! They feel so rad when you are cooking across a ledge! I have been doing lots of backside tail slides. That trick feels great, too. I need to get my nose grinds back on point, and do more flip tricks. I have been working on bringing my backside 180 heel flips up to par. I used to heel flip front board rails back in the day, but totally lost it!
emerica11: What are you going to be doing after you retire from skateboarding? Will you still work in the skateboard business?
I never want to be a pro that is milking it. I feel like as long as I am contributing something, then I am okay to keep at it. So, if I ever "retire", I will just retire my pro model from being sold. Aside from that, I will still be doing Toy Machine, and working with RVCA and Emerica and skating the demos and everything! I will have even more time to paint and print photos. Basically, my job will be doing art shows and Toy Machine forever, hopefully.
emerica11: Do you actually like the Templeton 3s?
Yes! I tried something a little different, and I guess it didn’t sell. The Templeton 4 will be sort of a cross between the 1 and the 2, so people will like it better, hopefully. I want Emerica to re-release the Templeton 1, but they wont do it! The worst part about making shoes is how long they take to come out. You design the shoe a whole year before it hits the stores. If styles change in that time, you are screwed!
xEmericaxBakerx: Any new tricks that you are trying?
I have been trying heel flip to front side nose blunt slides, but only on curbs. And every time I get into one good, I’m not sliding! Daewon, watch out! Mainly, I am trying to re-learn tricks that I haven’t done in a while, like regular backside flips. I never do those! They are fun. And trying really long backside tail slides, instead of short ones.
Solid Sessions: You seem to be a really good role model for skateboarding, with the art, running your own company and even the veggie deal. What is the most rewarding part of that?
Thanks! I’m just trying to survive without fucking people and animals over! Everything is rewarding in its own way. Through Toy Machine, I get the reward of helping the kids on my team become radical professionals, and upstanding people. Making the ads each month is hard work, but then I get the reward of hearing kids laugh at them. Through art, I get the reward of visual and mental engagement with tons of other human beings. I get to make images that people look at and think about. As far as being a animal-friendly goes, it is rewarding for the lives of the animals I am not eating, and for my personal health! If I can influence any kids into making art, eating veggie, or going skateboarding, then in my opinion, I have helped make their lives better, and that thought is the most rewarding of all.
rye: Is there anything better than a bank and a sunny day?
Yes, a bank with a hip—and possibly a ledge on top of it—on a sunny day!
rye: Which is your favorite skate park?
It is still the HB park! There are some parks around here that are pretty good, though. The Santa Ana and Chino parks are fun when there are no pad Nazi’s hanging out.
Nollie Flip: If Toy Machine went out of business, which other company would you go to?
Pretty much at this point, if Toy went under, I would retire or just be a pro without a board sponsor! I’m sure Lance Mountain or Geoff Rowley would flow me some boards from the Firm or Flip! Or maybe I would just start buying Anti-Hero boards from the local shop!
<3v!n: What means skateboarding to you?
It is the starting point of everything in my life, so it means almost everything to me. Freedom man! Freeeeedom!
Lildogwu: Hey Ed, first off, I just want to let you know how much of an influence you’ve been to me as a skateboarder and an artist. Oh, and Toy Machine kicks arse! With such a long (great) career and being on such amazing teams, which one of your own video parts do you like the best?
It would have to be either Welcome to Hell or This is Skateboarding. No one has ever seen my part in the Sheep video! I think my old parts from the New Deal videos are my favorite from my early skate life, and then Welcome to Hell for the middle part. For the later part, I will say that my Good & Evil part is my favorite. If I had to name just one, I’ll say Welcome to Hell. That was a really fun time to live through.
Meaton: Ed, you are an influence to everyone. Just knowing that it is possible to skate street for as long as you have without ending up in a wheelchair is great. In order to help everyone’s skateboarding longevity, can you tell us one factor that helped keep you on a skateboard this long?
Chance! Really, I just feel fortunate to have not encountered any real damaging injuries to my knees or ankles yet. Those two really hurt your chances of skating for a long time. My hips are screwed and my shins look completely fucked. My wrists are constantly in pain. I think I always knew what my limits were. When I did something scary, I knew I could do it and how to fall out of it, if I needed to. It’s weird, because I never stretch like I should. It’s just unexplainable. I was gonna say it’s the food I eat, but I really don’t think that eating right is gonna stop you from breaking your arm. I think it boils down to genes, knowing how to fall, and knowing when or when not to go for something. Some people break easier than others. I’m not saying I’m super-tough, but my family is solid. My grandparents are both in their mid-80s and still have hair and travel around the world. They exercise every morning.
Meaton: What’s more rewarding for you, completing a painting just as you wanted it to look, or landing a trick bolts on film?
Well, it depends on which trick that is. Usually, the trick is better, because it is physical and you work hard for it with sweat. At night, when you are necking with your girlfriend, you know that you deserve it because you clocked some footy.
mcalmes86: How come you never do anything switch?
Because I am still perfecting regular! Really, I was never that into it. I remember when Salman Agah started doing a lot of switch back in the day, and everyone was trying things switch. I always thought, "Why?" I do understand that it makes things much harder. I just never had any fun doing things switch. And I don’t skate to keep up with everyone else. I do an occasional switch heel, or switch big spin, but not a lot. So, basically, I never learned anything switch.
BrianHerman3Flip: Which piece of art that you have done are you most proud of?
The last painting I made of Deanna is so far my favorite painting ever. Maybe they will post it with the interview, although it shows her buns!
Misfits in Ellington’s: What are the chances that you would adopt me?
How old are you? I’m looking for a kid to start doing all the computer work for Toy Machine, because I am sick of doing it. I also need a kid who can skate with me every day and teach me how to skate switch.
Double-E: Do you miss riding for Sheep?
Not at all. I’m surprised any kids even know about it! Emerica is WAY better.
BeautifulSkateboarding: Do you feel like you’ve accomplished everything you wanted to in life?
Hell no! If this was all there is, I would be pissed! There is still so much to do and see! I am very happy to have had a fun and long skate life. There is a new life waiting for me in the art world, and there are plenty of accomplishments and failures to come. I’m only 32! I’ve got a good 60 years left to complete my world domination.
Spenser: Do you ever just start drawing without ideas, and then it just kind of "happens"? Whenever I do that, I always end up with weird things doing weird stuff in weird places.
That is the key to drawing. When you have no idea, then you can’t be disappointed with the results. I do that all the time.
BeautifulSkateboarding: What have been the best and worst things that have happened to you so far in life?
Finding a life partner has been the best, and breaking my neck and getting six concussions has to be the worst. Finding Deanna when I was 14 years old helped me get through all the high school years. And now I have someone who is there to clean my barf when I am sick. That is priceless. The neck and head injuries are proving to be long-lasting. I get a lot of epic headaches now.
ToshSK8: Ed, I’ve seen your ass in a couple different magazines and in videos like This is Skateboarding, and usually it’s a beat-up, black and blue mess. What’s up with that, man?
Well, I don’t go out of my way to hide my ass. Like, if we are changing into our swim trunks to go swimming on tour, there is no use freaking out about hiding myself. I’ve got nothing to hide. I don’t just let my wiener hang out, but my ass? Who cares? My ass if fucking thrashed from the years of slamming on it. I always get these monumental bruises on that beast. So, of course I have to show off my battle wounds. Inevitably, someone snaps a picture, and the next thing you know, my ass is in a magazine. It’s just for fun.
popwarbm: I noticed you don’t do many flip tricks down gaps or stairs. I was wondering if there is a reason, or if that’s just not your terrain?
I hate jumping down steps. That is the most un-fun thing I can think of, just hucking myself down some steps. I love to watch people who are talented in that department, but it’s not me. I would rather find something a little more different than your average set of stairs. That is why rails are fun, because they kind of glide you right down the steps all smooth.
suIly: If you could take one skateboarder’s skills and make them yours, whose would it be?
Geoff Rowley. He is hands down the most stylish and talented dude out there.
foreverskating: Ed, you’ve been on the Toy team practically forever, and you’ve seen guys like Bam Margera, Brian Anderson, and Ethan Fowler come and go. Of all the guys that you have seen leave the team, are there any that you wish had never left?
I’ve been with Toy Machine forever because I started it! All the people who were ever on Toy are still my friends, and yes, it’s sad when they decide to move on, but that means there are new people coming in. Let’s break it down: Chad Muska: At the time, he was super hard to deal with. He was bumming everyone out, so I kicked him off. Within a year, he became the hugest dude out there, getting every cover, all over the mags and videos. On the business side, that was a very bad choice. Toy could have capitalized on how big Chad got. But in real life, Chad needed that. He needed to get kicked off to get his life figured out. He got to start Shorty’s and be successful for himself. That is good. We found another rad kid, Jamie Thomas, and gave him his start. He had too much ambition to stay on a team where I was calling the shots, so it was inevitable that he would go off to start his own empire. I would never want to stand in his way. We are still friends because of that. He is more successful than I could ever have imagined! Bam Margera: Bam left over a fight with Tod Swank, the owner of Tum-Yeto. I had no control. Of course, right after Bam left, he got on Jackass and blew up. Now, this one is hard. I would never want Toy to be as corporate and mainstream as Element, but can you imagine how much money they make off of him? I’m glad that money is not the reason I do Toy Machine, or I would be killing myself over that one. Brian Anderson: He is probably the one that I am most sad about. We are still homies, but I think Toy would still be great for him.
distorted3191: How did you ever come up with the name Toy Machine?
I was talking with Ethan Fowler, who rode for us at the beginning. I wanted to call it Toy Skateboards or Machine Skateboards and he just said, "Why don’t you call it Toy Machine?" and I said, "You’re right!" And that was it.
matt martin: Are you ever gonna make that book that everyone wants you to make about animal-friendly restaurants around the world?
I didn’t know anyone wanted me to make it! I might do something like that! But really, the Web has already taken care of that. You can go to HappyCow and get info about veggie restaurants in every country! Whenever I am going to a new country, I look it up and print out all the places I’m gonna eat before I even get there.
Foreverskating: In your Welcome to Hell video part, when you front feeble down a handrail with a little kink at the bottom, I noticed you had some fucked-up Vanilla Ice haircut. Ha-ha! What was going on with that? I know it was the early ’90s and all, but still.
I have no idea what you’re talking about! I never had a Vanilla Ice haircut. You need to get your haircuts straight. There is a big difference between a Morrissey hairdo and a Vanilla Ice hairdo. Which side do you think I’m on?
DR.GONZO: What do you think of Raymond Pettibon and Thurston Moore?
I love what both of them do. I met Raymond recently, and he is totally out there. I shot some photos of him for a magazine. He was telling me stories about being the stunt double for Tony Alva in the upcoming Lords of Dogtown movie, and I knew he was totally lying. Raymond is 100% into warping people. He and Thurston actually worked together before! Pettibon did the cover for Sonic Youth’s Goo album.
-(emerica)-: If you were given one wish, what would you wish for? P.S. I love your style.
Thanks! I never feel "stylish." I would wish that nobody could ever tell a lie, that it would be physically impossible to do it. Think of how the president’s speeches would be! Your relationships with everybody would drastically change, advertising would change, everything would be super different.
Emericahatteam: I don’t see Ed clones. How come?
There used to be Ed clones, but that was a few years ago! Now all you see is Reynolds or Rowley clones. I’m too crusty to have clones now. What 14-year-old kid wants to be me? When Arto Saari first came over to the U.S., he was an Ed clone (although way better at skating!) He showed up dressed all Euro, then the next week, he was rocking Templeton 2s, Dickies, and a shaved head. Now he has his own clones, too. What is it with this clone thing? Why can’t kids just be themselves? I would love to be as good as Geoff Rowley, but I don’t need to dress like him.
Jake: How come you only eat vegetables? I read that you agree that "Everything does taste better with bacon."
I was probably joking about how every fast food restaurant has to slip bacon into their stuff. Every ad says, "NOW WITH BACON!" as if Americans are just dying to eat more products with bacon in them! I don’t eat only vegetables. I eat fruits, beans, rice, pasta, and nuts, too. Basically, I refuse to eat anything made with or from an animal. I don’t want to kill things so that I can eat. All I did was start reading up on it. One of my friends told me about vegetarianism. So, I looked into it and read some things that changed my mind about the entire meat and dairy industry. In my opinion, they are fucked. Information is readily available for you, if you are interested. Go to the links page on the Toy Machine Web site. It is healthier, too. Why not live longer?
bakerism_reynolds: Dear Mr. Ed, why do your pants always seem to be at least one inch too short?
Lately, my pants have been fitting pretty normal. I just liked high pants. It sucks when your pants go under your heel, so I just rocked high waters. I just remembered two numbers, 32W and 30L, 32 waist and 30 long. I used to only buy 32-30 Dickies. Now I ride for RVCA, and their pants are super good, so I am pretty normal again.
bakerism_reynolds: I like your hairdo. Soprano-style slick backs never go out of fashion. Name a fashion of your earlier days that you would like to see come back.
I would like to see nothing come back! I used to have super-long bangs, like a reverse mullet. Short in back and long in front, like Danzig. Before that, I had hair down to my shoulders. But fuck that hippie crap. If my head is not shaved, it is slicked-back, greaser-style. I’m down for a Morrissey pompadour, too. I used to wear fluorescent orange shorts, and an acid washed jean jacket!
bakerism_reynolds: Was the design for your Sheep shoe used as the basis for any of your Emerica models? They look a lot like the Templeton 1.
We did not use my Sheep shoe as a model for the Emerica one. It is probably just a coincidence that they look alike, or it’s because I designed both of them!
bakerism_reynolds: What happened to TV skateboards, and for that matter, Sheep? Are there any other companies you were involved with that didn’t continue?
Is New Deal still around? Sheep, TV, Television, 0-2 Shoes, Schmitt Stix—those are all companies I rode for that are no longer around. TV was a company that I did with Mike V. back in the day. It was at the worst time in skating, early ’90s, and there was no money at all. It was hard to keep a small company going. It inevitably fell apart. Sheep was a Sole Technology brand. They decided to pull the plug on it and put me on Emerica, where I’ve been ever since. My first and only truck sponsor was Thunder. I have been riding for them for over 15 years!
zapEmerican: What’s your favorite brand of animal-friendly cookies?
Uncle Eddie’s are probably the best. Deanna makes a mean one, too.
TheDoors: Do you and Deanna plan on having children some day?
I can’t say it’s a plan. But we have thought heavily about it. I think I need to practice more. We practice almost every night, but we still have not quite perfected this "having a baby" thing. I think both of us want to do that in the future.
skateordie: Who’s a better dancer; Spanky, Herman, or you?
Because those guys get drunk, they are down to dance away. Spanky gets really mellow when he is drunk, so I would have to say Herman. He is younger and more energetic and prone to spazz-out. I don’t drink, but I am down for a spazz-out. But even during my craziest spazz, I still rarely dance.
Johnson2Owned: Ed, what ethnic background is your name?
100% white trash. I think it’s Scottish. Although I was born Ed Hering, we changed our name back to my mom’s maiden name after my dad took off with a 16-year-old babysitter. I am part German, part Scottish, but 100% trailer trash.
barenstank: What tricks have you never been able to do?
So many! Hardflips, almost every trick switch, frontside noseslides, I am really not very good.
Duffel clone: Have you ever met any Sonic Youth band members? P.S Sonic Youth kicks ass.
Yes, they do! And yes, I have! I’ve met Thurston, Kim, and Lee, but I have never met their drummer, Steve. I don’t know them super-good, but I can say, "What’s up?" and they will know who I am. Whenever I see them, I talk to them for a bit. I know one of their good friends, Chris Habib. He does their Web site and makes videos and documentaries with them.
Stamp: Have you ever thought of opening an art gallery of your own?
I have thought about it, but not in a serious way. I don’t think I will be doing that anytime soon. I’m too busy with Toy Machine and being a pro skater!
Robotskate: What kind of camera do you use for your photos?
See the question below! I use a Canon AE-1, a Leica M6, an Olympus XA, and a Contax point-and-shoot. I mostly use the first three.
Jackedcactus: What was your first camera set-up and what have you used since? Do you ever process your own prints at home? I’m stoked that you’re still doing the pro skateboarding thing and I hope you don’t stop any time soon. Your skating and art continues to be inspirational and solid.
I think my first camera was a Canon AE-1. It’s a common old student camera that you can get at used camera stores for around 200 bucks. I still use that same camera! I also have a Leica M6 that I use a lot. The Leica is kinda pricey, but it is super-quiet and smaller than the Canon. It’s a rangefinder camera, so there is no mirror flip when you shoot. It’s great for long exposures at night. I rarely use a flash, so this works out pretty good for me. I have a darkroom in my garage, and I make most of my black-and-white prints in there. There is also a rental darkroom nearby where I can do color.
Elementskateboards: Is the leopard skin colorway of your shoe supposed to be ironic because you’re a vegan? That’s funny, I think you are somewhat of a genius—very creative. Keep up the good work.
Yeah, it’s a little ironic. It is more ironic that leopard skin is so "punk," and I never dress punk, so it is kinda funny that we made those. They are fake leopard skin, of course. They were very popular! I want to make them again, but this time with fake endangered white rhinoceros leather, or fake dolphin skin.
jackedcactus: What’s with the no deodorant thing? I’ve always gone natural, too, but that’s because I’m lazy and don’t like fixing myself up to please other people. Is there some other magic remedy, or do you just stink?
Everybody has their natural smell. I just don’t want to stick some chemicals up my armpits and get cancer to stop body odor. I would rather smell. People are led by TV commercials that use fear to make them buy those products. The fear of being rejected by girls if you don’t smell perfect, have perfect skin, perfect abs, etc. I’m not saying let yourself go or anything, but I am saying that people need to stop putting chemicals on their body, or in their body. Oh! I have a headache! I better take a Tylenol! Why not figure out WHY you are getting a headache and change the cause of it, instead of just covering over the symptoms? Basically, I am a smelly hippie, except I hate hippies.
gunther_: I look at your artwork and think, "Either he has some complex meaning behind it and no one gets it, or he just thinks up the most random shit ever and laughs that everyone loves it." All the stuff that I do is random like that. Which of the two is yours?
Everything has some kind of meaning, but the meaning can be something different for each person who looks at it. I have reasons for doing it, which may be random, such as making something just for the beauty of it. My photographs mostly document something. So, they are exactly what the photo shows you. I may shoot something just because I think it looks cool, but it may not look cool to you. I may shoot something ugly, like a kid with a black eye, or something. But I also see that as beautiful. For paintings, it is not that immediate. I guess I would go with your first one just for fun, the secret meaning. But some people get it. Each piece of art I make is part of a big story. The story ends when I die.