The Follow Up: Clive Dixon


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Good morning, Clive. How’s Tampa treating you?
It’s good. My sleep schedule’s all fuckin’ dickered. I kept it mellow last night, just got some dinner with some homies and then passed out.

That three-hour time change will do it to you sometimes. Now I know you have a My War feature coming out soon, but for those that haven’t seen it, can you give me a brief rundown of your insane water-tower cover spot?
Mills was coming home from camping and he saw the silos first, and then saw the railing. He totally thought that it could be skateable. When he got home, he told me about it. He said it was pretty fucking far away but worth it. I said, “Fuck it,” and decided to go check it. So I got in my car and we just drove out there. When we got there, it was a whole ordeal even getting up there. We checked it that time and ended up going back two more separate times just to scope it. I wanted to get my confidence up and just kinda prep it to make it skateable. So on the fourth time I went there, I skated it.

What were some of the challenges with the spot?
The integrity of the structure was really fucking me up. I didn’t know how sound that roof was. I didn’t know if I would go through it or not on the first try, because it was just quarter-inch sheet metal welded together. I didn’t really know how sturdy it would be coming down from a 16-stair rail. It felt like I could’ve just gone through that fucking roof on any of the tries. And then also, it’s an uphill landing. Even just walking on it makes the whole thing move. Each step you take, it caves in and you feel it move. Everything about it is creepy and it’s made even more creepy by the wind blowing. The whole spot is just scary. You can hear it in the audio of the clip. Then the landing is far from good. There’s a huge gnarly steel vent at the bottom that’s only a foot or so to the right of the rail. That means you gotta land perfectly straight. Then to the left, there is a huge jagged piece of steel that we had to put a sign over.

So you put your fair share of work into this thing. Do you think it was the hardest trick you had to film for your part?
Well, there were two that got away that I’m still working on. In terms of the number of tries, no it wasn’t. It only took like 15 tries, but it was more of about the mental battle. Going up to it, I was having fucking nightmares about it. Just getting myself mentally ready to do that and preparing myself definitely made it the hardest trick I’ve ever done.

Amazing. You also had your fair share of luck on UCI hubba despite the knobs.
Yeah, I got lucky. We were cruising one day out in Irvine, checking out some spots and we just ended up going to the hubba. We just went to look at it for the skate history, you know? I ended up fucking around on the stairs, then ollied over the Hubba one time. Even though I never did one, I thought I would try and do the JT Aultz ollie over noseblunt slide. Next thing you know, we had the clip. It ended up being just like a noseblunt, so it was pretty familiar territory for me. Then we came up with the idea to take the knobs off so I could kickflip crook it. We went there late at night, like midnight, and just did the damn thing. After getting the kickflip crook, I went on a session with Tim Cisilino and some of the Tum Yeto dudes and we ended up there again. I said, “Fuck it,” and started trying nollie crook and was able to get that too. The spot just really worked in my favor every time.

Did you tell HK you were skating his spot?
Oh yeah, I just told him I was biting his shit. He thought so too.

LOW CliveDixon overNoseBlunt photoPAPKE DZ900 750pxKnobs? No problem. Whether it’s biting or inspiration, Clive takes a JT Aultz move to HK’s territory with an ollie over to noseblunt     Photo: Papke

You should’ve gotten a trick in all white. What was the filming for Beautiful Mutants like in comparison to Saturdays?
So we filmed this for about a year and I did have an injury in between which kinda slowed me down. I blew my heel out really bad and kinda just stretched my knee out a little bit. The knee actually healed really quick, but it was just my heel that really took a long time to get better. For this video, it was a lot of skating around LA. We went on a lot of LA missions. I went to Philly and stayed with Ed Duff to film for it and then also got some random clips from here and there—also went to Albuquerque. We kinda had an idea of the tricks I wanted to do so I had a timeline that I had to piece together, like a puzzle almost.

Did you see a lot of the video before it came out or did Mills keep you in the dark with so you’d be surprised?
Oh, Mills and I were working hand-in-hand the whole time. I had seen the whole video four or five times before the premiere. We had a few things we wanted to do for it. The whole smashing of the TV thing was an ordeal in itself to get done. That whole idea didn’t come out of nowhere, everything happens for a reason. At first it was such a big bummer because one of my clips did get lost. But we had the footage of it from filming the camera screen with a phone. So, to be able to save that clip and incorporate it, we were going to try and put these filters on it to make it blend in with everything else. Mills ended up coming up with the idea to get an old TV screen and play the cell phone clip on the TV. That’s where the clips with the filters came from. Those are actually clips playing on an old glass screen TV that he filmed with his camera. I think it came out really cool. It ended up tying the whole vibe together, making it feel like an old-school horror film. It saved my clip, and we were able to fit in Ed’s kickflip boardslide, because that clip was filmed VX. I think that fit in perfect with everything and you would never know.

Exactly.
Then to end my part, I wanted to smash the TV with a baseball bat. That turned into a whole thing. We had two TVs. I smashed the first TV in the garage, but we didn’t have the lighting just right. So we thought we would just end up smashing the other one. We got the other one, which ended up being a bit smaller. I hit that fucker with the bat and the clip stopped playing on the TV but it didn’t shatter how I wanted it to. Then I just tapped it again lightly and it shattered to pieces. Neither of those were gonna work, so we had to get a third TV. It was a real big motherfucker. It felt like it weighed a few hundred pounds. The glass on that thing had to be at least an inch thick. So we’re playing the clip, and we have to time it just right so it works. I smashed the TV right when I’m rolling away in the clip, everything was set up, lighting, everything. I swung that bat as hard as I could. When I hit it, nothing happened to the TV. The clip kept playing and the wooden bat splintered. The TV was completely fine, so the day before the premiere we were trying to find more TV’s to smash. Mills ended up being able to work his movie magic and just used one of the old TV’s that I already broke, got the lighting right, and I just smashed it again. He tied it in with the clip where I swung and the TV didn’t break, I think it cuts just a split second before, and you would never know unless you read this interview. If you watch the clip it looks seamless. Mills killed it with that, for sure.

Clive Diptych 750pxMost would pick one or the other but Clive flexed his ambidexterity and flipped regular and switch into these lipslides. Must be nice…     Photo: Papke

I would have never guessed. It’s crazy you’re doing all of this while writing a book.
Yeah, well, I’m done writing it.

How much more work do you have to do to get it on the shelf?
Well, the whole story is there, everything is there. My friend who edited in college and has done a lot of work with grammar is helping me edit it right now. There is some work that needs to be done with sentence structure and that kinda of stuff—that’s all that is left. We’re doing that together and once we’re done with that final edit I’m gonna have to approach some publishers.

And I’m sure that’s a new thing for you.
Yeah, that will definitely be a thing. I did read some of Stephen Kings writing recently and it’s nice to look into what some really successful writers have to say about novels. He talks about getting your work published and that instead of trying to approach a publisher you should look up literary agents. You gotta send them emails and parts of your work, and if they believe in it, then they will help you get it published and make the deal for you. That was great information that I would have never known. So I took down information for six literary agents. There are a list of them online on a forum. I found a few that seem like they fit my genre and what my book is about. Once I finish this last editing process with my friend, I’m gonna hit those six people up and go from there.

Congrats, dude. That’s amazing. How many people have been able to read it so far?
Well, my girlfriend has read it, my buddy Larry and JP, one of the guys who worked on We Are Blood—he does the Shotover camera stuff. Lizzie has read a portion of it and my friend Sydney, who’s helping me edit it, has read it. I want to have it done by the end of the year.

Clive KickflipCrook UCI Karpinski DZ900 750pxKickflip crooks are better once the sun goes down—no cops in sight     Photo: Karpinski

Has it been difficult to juggle the skating and writing a book at the same time?
No, the biggest portion of writing and getting the material down was during the Saturdays video. Once I had gotten it down the first time, I thought I wrote a book and it was done. But, little did I know, it would be ten drafts later before I was comfortable showing it to anyone. It was a lot of going through it and adding stuff or taking things out. I was just trying to edit it to the best of my ability to get it to the point where I was proud of it and comfortable enough to show others. I showed Sydney, and she liked it, but there were a good amount of things I needed to change. Everything she was showing me made complete sense, but it’s a real learning curve for me, personally.

What was the inspiration to write your own book?
It came from my dad passing away and the whole release from that.

Well, it looks like you made something beautiful happen from a bad situation.
Time will tell.

lowCliveDixon WaterTowerBoardslide photoBURNETT DZ900 750pxFour trips back and 15 tries later, Clive makes the impossible look easy. J-Wray-approved death-defying boardslide. That’s how you get a cover!     Photo: Burnett

You’ve been on Birdhouse for six years now. Does it trip you out that you skate for Tony Hawk’s company?
Yeah, it honestly took a few years until I was actually comfortable talking to him. I was, like, Oh shit, this is Tony Hawk. Just even reaching out to him and texting him was crazy. I still lose it. He’s still a legend. But it’s sick, he’s just a real person like everyone else. Even now, I’ve been hanging with Heath a little bit more and it’s the same thing. These people are all real people.

Who’s your all time favorite Birdhouse rider?
Heath Kirchart, easy. Reynolds is a strong second. Florida love.

To wrap it up, I’m asking everyone on the team who on Birdhouse do you think fits the term Beautiful Mutant best?
Oh, Jaws, easy. Everyone probably gave the same answer, right? That name is perfect for Jaws. That dude can take so much impact; he’s such a wild dude. He just flies through the air and crushes the most insane spots. He does all of it while living the most insane lifestyle as a desert creature. But he’s also the most amazing, kind-hearted beautiful person. Jaws is as beautiful of a mutant that you can have.

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