Clive Dixon Interview

Clive Dixon isn’t the quiet type. Anyone who’s been around him can’t help but notice the projection and volume at which he normally speaks. Typically that’s a negative trait, but as long as your skating is louder than your voice you can yell all you want. Ain’t nobody telling Clive to shut up. —Joe Hammeke

Click images to enlarge.

Hi, Clive. How’s it going?
Good. I’m hangin’ at a little BBQ on the beach. My buddy’s boss bought a pig and roasted it. It’s pretty tight. I just ate an eyeball.

Holy shit! You just ate a pig’s eyeball? Is that the sketchiest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Nah, I ate a live scorpion at Jaws’ house one time. That fucker stung me so I ate his ass!

Wait, you didn’t kill it first? How did it not sting your tounge?
It was alive. I held it by the stinger and ate the torso.

High speed crooks on Capital Hill, Clive outruns the rain. Photo: Vaughn

Do you prefer Clive or Clyde?

Where does Clyde come from?
Clyde would be my alter ego when I’m on a hot one, acting all crazy.

Where are you right now?
I’m in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Are you from there?
Yeah, born and raised.

Feeble transfer into a bank with a missing link. Photo: Hammeke

What’s there to skate in Cocoa Beach?
You gotta get creative. There’s not a ton of spots. We got a little concrete park and Orlando is 40 minutes inland.

A couple years ago you guys were living in an RV. What was that like?
The RV trip was fuckin’ awesome. There were definitely a lot of struggles living in an RV as opposed to an apartment. But dealing with those not-normal things is what made it most fun. We showered out in the rain, found places to wash clothes. We would meet girls and use their laundry and showers. We met tons of people all over the States. That was the best part—tons of people down to help out. All the great friends we made was probably the best part.

How long did you do that?
We did it for about a year, off and on between trips. I think we found out three months into the RV trip that we were going on KOTR. We also took a couple trips with Ty for the Brainfarm thing. Various Birdhouse trips. There were times that the RV was on hold but we always came back to it. I’d say it was the best year of my life.

How the hell did he think of this one? Sequence: Vaughn

How long before it really started to smell in there?
Well, there were a few times that the RV got a little hectic. One time we were coming from Nashville to Florida. It was hot outside and we hadn’t been using the RV generator to run the fridge, so it was barricaded shut. There was an ant infestation going on in the RV as well, so you couldn’t sleep without getting eaten by ants. It was insane. We finally got to Florida and my mom has a big warehouse with a trailer in back that she set up for us to stay in while we cleaned up the RV. When we finally opened the fridge it was probably the worst smelling thing I’ve ever smelled in my entire life. Asparagus baking in there for weeks along with chunky milk and God knows what else. That smell was bad but I’d say the ants were worse. The ants crawling all over you while you were sleeping—that’s bad. That’s not very fun.

Who’s the greatest skater from Florida to ride for Birdhouse?
Andrew Reynolds, for sure. I’m actually trying to go to Lakeland to get some last tricks for my part. That’s where Reynolds is from.

Who’s your Florida skate crew?
It’s kinda broken up right now. Honestly, in Cocoa Beach there’s not that many dudes left that I used to skate with. My good friend Dave Morefield, we grew up on the same street. He still rips it when he’s got time. Tyson Stripling, he gets it in for being an old man. Corey Cowherd, too. Some dudes out in Orlando. Orlando has a big skate scene and then the Shaqueefa homies in Tampa. I always like skating with those fools, too. Always a fun time.

Soon after this frontside flip you could find Clive celebrating with a Braums bacon cheeseburger. Photo: Vaughn

The old crew pretty much grew up and got real jobs and responsibilities?
Yeah, like, all the guys I grew up with in Cocoa Beach. I wouldn’t say there is much of a skate scene here. All the younger kids get stuck in the idea that there isn’t anything to skate. There is a high level of laziness. I guess that is just the beach culture, though.

Speaking of beach culture, do you ever surf? Like, is it an extension of your skating or is it two different worlds?
I skated before I surfed. I got a surfboard when I was little. I surfed now and again but wasn’t super crazy about it. But now I like to go out with my buddies because it’s so challenging for me to paddle out and try to get a wave. But if I can actually get up it’s so rewarding. I’ve been going skurfing. You stand up behind the boat with no rope. It’s pretty fun because it’s like an endless wave you are riding. Pretty awesome.
Isn’t Florida known for wakeboarding? Did you ever get into that?
Dude, I’ve never wakeboarded. Well, I tried it one time but something about being strapped in or something, I couldn’t even stand up. I only tried it that one time but didn’t succeed.

The only reason Clive landed this frontside feeble is that Bison t-shirt he’s wearing. Photo: Vaughn

You rode for 5Boro before Birdhouse, right?
Yeah, those are my dogs.

How many other skaters rode for 5Boro before riding for Birdhouse?
I don’t think I can name them all. I feel like there’s tons. Westgate was one. Suski. Maybe Shetler?

And Hale.

What do you mean kinda?
I don’t think he ever skated with the crew. But Steve R was sending him boards.

Half-Cab feeble pop-over just west of the Big D. Sequence: Vaughn

Who do you room with on Birdhouse tours? Clint? Jaws? Loy? Willie? Lizzie?
I usually room with Clint. He’s my road dog. On KOTR I roomed with Smolik. That was pretty crazy. That was a fun time.

Smolik is like you: when he gets drunk he gets louder; the volume goes up.
Yeah, we got a few things in common. I would wake him up every morning and be, like, “Come on! We gotta do this!” The moment he is awake he is hyped. It was so much fun hanging with him on KOTR.

Why do you think Birdhouse does so good on KOTR?
We have a diverse team. We all like to try hard, do our best and have as much fun as we possibly can. We are all down to get dirty, I guess.

What do you think of the challenges?
Some are more challenging, some are entertaining and some are just a complete pain in the ass. It’s all good fun. The last few days you’re pretty beat down and it’s trying. But when you look back, it’s so much fun, so many amazing times. It’s made us all stronger and a better knit crew because we all went through that hell together.

This gap was widely considered impossible until Monico Candelaria ollied it. Clive's kickflip is truly mind blowing. Photo: Roman

How did this Thrasher part that’s about to go up come about? Was there a plan to film a part or did you just realize at some point that you had a bunch of footage?
I’ve kinda been constantly filming with anyone and everyone wherever I end up. Mills and I have been on a mission to get tricks, too. It just kinda came about. I have all this footage from the RV trips. I’m obviously down with Thrasher and you guys were down to give me the part, so it seems like a perfect situation right there.

Is it a going-pro part?
No. It’s just a part. The footage I’ve gotten since Modern Art.

What happened with Modern Art and Ambig? The video was great.
Yeah, we worked our asses off and the video came out but the investor wasn’t down with skating. He just slowly cut it away. He said his piece and they weren’t going to do anything with skating.

Hang tight.  Photo: Hammeke

Let’s talk about you and Clint feeding off each other. I remember meeting up with you guys in Albuquerque while I was on an Emercia mission. Reynolds was watching you guys and he said it was pretty amazing how you guys hype each other up.
I’m sure it’s gotta be pretty crazy for someone to come across the session and see how we get hyped. It’s shocking. We get juiced. If Clint’s not making the trick we just start yelling, carrying on, talking shit. It’s a good time.

What are some of the things you guys yell? It’s kinda like Talladega Nights.
Dude, I don’t even know. You have to be there, straight up. It could be a song we just heard in the car or something dumb someone just said. It’s always different. Except when Clint brings up “the Dude,” and that mean’s it’s on! No bailing.

Where’s the craziest place skateboarding has taken you?
Dubai, baby! I was in Dubai for a month. It was insane, crazy, and—hold on. Dude, there’s a raccoon crawling out from the pavilion we are BBQing at, scavenging. They are all over this place. I guess they are so used to people feeding them that they don’t give a shit. They come straight up to you. Little rabies-infested animals. I know a girl who got bit by a raccoon and had to get a rabies shot. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a rabies shot but it’s intense: it’s a six-inch needle in your bellybutton. There’s a bunch of treacherous animals here in Florida that will get you. My buddy got stung by a stingray. He stepped on a stingray and the barb went around and got him on the top of his foot. He waited a day and when he went to the clinic they told him he was about to lose his foot. He ended up being bedridden for six months all because of a stingray.

He found the gnarliest spot in Nashville and handled it like a champ. FU Crüe approved! Photo: Vaughn

That’s sketchy.
Florida’s got some sketchy shit, man. I got another story: my buddies and I went to this natural spring the other day and were canoeing around. It looked like it was dirt, only six inches deep, so my friend Shaun thought it would be safe to get out and wade around. I stuck my paddle into the dirt first and it sunk all the way down, like, three feet down. I yelled at him, “Don’t do it!” but it was too late. He was already getting out of the boat and he sank down in the mud up to his chin. But we got him out. All kinds of sketchy adventures out here.

Summer 2015 is about to start. What’s in store for you?
Birdhouse European tour in July that’s gonna be, like, three to four weeks. Should be a good time. We are doing KOTR again, so we will see how that goes. Ty Evans’ We are Blood video is coming out. I should have a bunch of stuff in that; should be pretty cool. Hopefully going to go back to Columbia again. Mills and I went to Columbia last year and met some really cool people who want us to come back.

Do you know where you are going on the Europe trip? Where are you most excited to go?
We’re going to eight different countries. I don’t know them all. I don’t know the itinerary yet. I traveled Europe all the time as a kid. My dad was from England. I got dual citizenship, so when I was a kid we drove all over Europe and visited a lot of countries.

Any words of advice for other young men looking to make an escape from Florida?
Do it. Skate. Don’t get trapped. It’s easy to stay in your normal grind, but it’s a lot more fulfilling to step out of your comfort zone and live life, so do it!

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