Evan Smith Interview
Where are you at right now?
I’m in Central Pennsylvania.
Are you around a bunch of Amish people?
Yes, there are so many Amish people out here, it’s insane. And I love them because they don’t use electricity. Dude, they’re crazy. They’re freakin’ candle-lit homies.
Since you’ve had your surgery, what have you been doing to kill time?
For about the first three months after the surgery I couldn’t do much so I was kind of bedridden. Once I got mobility I started cruising around Pittsburgh. I’d do some walking; I’d walk a mile. When they did the surgery they severed one of my nerves and I still can’t feel my big toe. It’s crazy. So I’ve been trying to get the feeling back in my big toe because that’s your pop spot, you know? But while I was bedridden I did a little bit of art. I actually ended up writing seven albums but I’m never gonna put any of them out.
’Cause it’s just practice. Once I get a band together for Starheadbody that I think would sound cool to skating and stuff like that then I’m down. I’m taking baby steps with music. I’m trying to keep skating. First thing’s first.
I heard that you’d been painting.
Dude, I actually did a painting right when I got hurt. It was a pretty big painting. I’m pretty stoked. I never thought I would be doing that type of stuff. But, honestly, I had nothing else to do with my life so I got a four-by-seven-foot canvas from DC and I painted this piece on it. I wanted to send it back to DC and have them cut it up and manufacture it into four pairs of shoes which I would then hide around the planet in different locations and geocache them so kids could find them. It would be like the golden ticket. So maybe if the kid finds it we can take them on a trip.
That sounds rad. Were you pleased with yourself?
I was actually pretty stoked on it. I’m not really very good at art or anything. I just like practicing. Obviously I like colors and all that and just getting used to the medium of acrylic and canvas was a good experience. I hope to continue in the future but I ain’t no Mark Gonzales, that’s for sure.
You’ll get there, bud.
Do you think you’re ever gonna move to California?
I don’t know. I want to have kids one day and I want to live near the beach. I really like your hometown a whole bunch. It’s really close to Long Beach and SF. I mean, I can’t say no, but I can’t say yes right now. I want to move to a different place every year for, like, ten years. I don’t want to get stuck too much. I want to just keep bouncing around then eventually settle.
Taking baby steps with music and giant leaps on the ’board—gap to boardslide Photo: Broach
What do you think of the name Peace for the Element video?
I like it. It doesn’t have that hippie peace vibe to it, like how hippies are all peace and crystals, you know? The hippie vibe isn’t there, which I like. It resembles the inner peace that a skater has to go through when battling tricks. You’ll try for days and hours and then there’s this one moment where a million things could be going on and inside yourself you kind of see through it. Your adrenaline and the endorphins that your brain are firing allow you to work through it. Just how the fight or flight mode comes out of you and that is a part of the inner peace. I think that’s what Jon wanted to really focus on for the vid. Dude, the intro really says it all. I can’t wait for you to see it.
Most people only see skateboarders trying tricks. They never see them landing tricks. But then when you see skate videos it’s only landing tricks. There’s not a lot of grey area in between and so I’m hoping that this video and videos moving forward can find a balance of letting people know how difficult it really is be a professional skateboarder—what goes into it.
Yeah, there’s so much that people just don’t understand. Like you said, people don’t know that we go back to those spots, like, four times sometimes just to get one clip for a video part that’s four minutes long. That’s a crazy concept. People go to their deaths and they type stuff into a computer and somebody else gives them a thumbs up and that’s the extent of their life. Skateboarding is an insane lifestyle that’s unlike anything else and it has a crazy tight family vibe. I’ve got your back to the fuckin’ grave, Cole. Anything that happens between me and you in our lives, I’d jump in front of a bus for you. Coworkers, they don’t say that shit to each other, but I mean that to you. I think skating is the only industry that I’ve seen that has that.
Do you think there’s any comparable things to skateboarding in that way?
Dude, no. All the other action sports, Olympic bullshit, all that stuff, it’s so logo’d out that it lost that. When snowboarding got accepted into the Olympics it lost that. Luckily, skateboarding is not in for another two years so I just hope that isn’t the demise of our community. I hope that we can bring our adolescent flags to that table so that the whole world can understand how much of a family we are. People without parents, we’ll accept them into our family if they’re a good person. There’s nothing else in the world like that. The closest thing is like people who go to AA. They don’t have any family left and the people there are on the same page as them. But it’s not comparable, honestly. Nothing is comparable to skating. It’s a drug; it’s a lifestyle; it’s everything.
’Til he moves to the beach, Evan’s going to have to experience his hurricanes in the city Photo: Broach
So you’re not gonna try to get in the Olympics?
If I had the opportunity to try to go to the Olympics it would be to go there and fuck shit up. I’d try to rip out all the cables, take down all the teleprompters. I’d try to put in secret messages on the broadcast systems. If that were the case, yeah, I’m going in there and I’m gonna hold that flag high for the last ones standing.
What kind of flag?
A fuckin’ super dope one with a bunch of rad colors that resemble aggressive skateboarding and freedom. Then I’d probably do a Benihana.
What if President Trump hit you up, like, “Hey, bro, I’m trying to let you go to the Olympics this next year.” Would you hang up or would you entertain it?
If President Trump said, “Hey, Evan, you want to be in the Olympics?” I’d probably be, like, “Fuck you, President Trump. But if you buy me a brew then I’m down.”
Are you gonna start working on
another video project as soon as you’re healed up?
Yes. The moment I can skate I’m definitely gonna be working on a new video project and I’m very excited because we had been working on this video for a while and, dude, a new era is coming.
I’ve never come across anybody that you’ve hated in skateboarding. Do you hate anybody?
Dude, I don’t think I hate anyone. If there’s anyone I possibly hate I would probably not tell them I hated them and I’d tell them I like them but secretly hate them.
I think it’s a good thing to hate some people. Not everybody is supposed to be friends but it seems like in skateboarding everybody at least pretends to be friends.
Exactly. A lot of people do pretend to be friends but a lot of people are actually really good friends. So I kind of try to keep my enemies close. To be the antithesis of what you’re saying, if you immediately sever a tie then it could just fuck everything up. You don’t have to be completely vocal about hating someone unless they do something directly to piss you off. If somebody pisses me off, hell yeah I’ll pull them aside and I’ll just have a conversation with them directly in a mature fashion rather than playing some bullshit game. But most of the time I’d probably just not say anything, let them be a piece of shit and I’ll just sit there and do my thing.
Freak-flag-flying frontside flip while warming up for a Benihana in Tokyo Photo: Darwen
So in that same breath you could possibly hate me because you keep me pretty close and we’re bros. Do you hate me?
No, Cole, it’s not possible for me to hate you. You’re like my brother, dude. And you’re like an oracle for skating and for your friends. You’re like an alien basically, bro.
Do you actually believe in aliens?
Dude, I think I do. I mean, obviously if you want to talk about aliens here on planet Earth, we’re just floating. The closest star is, like, a billion light years away. If there was to be contact with an alien in our lifetime I think it could show society that there’s an intergalactic federation out there that planet Earth should be a part of. Then maybe everyone would stop shooting dumb missiles at each other and killing babies all over the place and the world could be a place of pure creation. Humans are only using ten percent of their brain. If we know that there’s an alien out there it’s gonna change the course of our technological advances and maybe we would destroy our artificial intelligence and kind of bring it back to the earth and see what it actually has to offer. Maybe we would use different parts of our brain. Human beings are the most fascinating species on the planet by far. The human body is like an entire universe in itself. If aliens show up I’m gonna lose my shit.
But that’s not what I’m asking. Why do you believe there are aliens?
I think the reason is-—one, I want there to be proof of extra-terrestrial activities as well as I want peace on Earth. I think of war for monetization. It’s just so dumb. I totally understand when it comes to governments and democracy and stuff like that how a war can benefit it. But, dude, are you kidding me? We’re floating around on a rock in the middle of the fucking universe. Like, get the fuck out of my face, honestly. Take your rocket and shove it up your own ass. I’m over it like a lot of people are. I’m scared to have kids because of fuckin’ war. You just had a baby so I know you have feelings about that, too. It’s crazy out there.
Evan snuck in a switch frontside wallride before being run over by an Amish buggy Photo: Broach
Shit’s pretty hectic right now. How do you think that skateboarding is handling real issues?
We’re not, dude. I think the only way we’re handling real issues as a small industry is giving kids that don’t have any hope in their lives a family and a place in something. That’s what we do as a family: we invite people to be a part of it and we help them stay grounded and we give them street smarts. It’s like everyone else has got some weird shit going on and there’s usually dollar signs involved. There is in a small sense in skating, but if we had nothing I think we’d all still be friends and that’s one of the craziest things about it. Just like I said, I’d jump in front of a bus for your ass right now if I had to.
Well, good thing you don’t have to.
Nah, nah, we’re good. Evan jumped in front of an Amish buggy for Cole last night. He didn’t even die.
So with all the stuff going on in your life, what are looking forward to now?
Waking up every day from here on out living every moment like it’s the last: skateboarding, conversing, learning, expanding, growing, expressing all forms of life and consciousness, tapping into music, enjoying love with Hayley, together exploring the world and each other, filming and the fine arts. This planet is our home and I want to experience every piece of it. Take steps gently in a progressive manner, no matter the form!
With a nod to Blender, Evan launches a lien. Peace out, dude Photo: Gaberman
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