Alex Olson AM Spotlight

Alex Olson is 21. Girl anointed him am on 6/6/06. Elle Girl magazine declared him the 26th hottest skater dude, or something like that. He doesn’t like 16-year-olds with pentagrams tatted on their wrists. Most of his friends are over 30. He doesn’t like counting stairs. And he used to buy ramen at Food-4-Less. Yeah, there’s a lot that doesn’t add up about Alex Olson: he just hit drinking age, but considering what he’s experienced in life so far, those might as well be dog years, which would make him 147 years old. And everything you’ve ever wanted to know, hate on, or demystify about this 147-year-old kid has been answered in this Am Spotlight-a sweeping, not-by-the-numbers biography assembled by one of his bested friends, Kevin “Spanky” Long. Enjoy.-Carleton Curtis

All right, first things first. Did you decide on a last name?
Is it Parker or Olson?
It’s obviously Olson.

But didn’t you have some ads where some said Parker and some said Olson?
No, it’s been Olson for a while-at least a solid two years.

All right. I just wanna know what to call you. Okay, so you grew up in Santa Monica, California and you went to high school in Malibu. What was it like going to high school with all the rich kids?
There weren’t too many famous kids, but there were a lot of rich kids. They’re real f-kin’ lame. They basically just take everything for granted.

Did you grow up with a lot of money?
No, no. Not at all. My mom had one job, and my dad wasn’t really around when I was living with her. Then I moved to Malibu with him when I was eleven and started going to high school later on there. We lived in a little loft thing with no rooms-I just had my own space, and the rent was only 500 dollars a month. It was basically a storage space, but it was rad because we lived next to a creek and a forest and you could go back there and just f-k around.

When did you start skating?
I started skating when I moved to Malibu, because skating was cool at that time. It was an easy way to make friends, basically. It was awkward because I was the new kid at school, but all I had to say was “my dad is pro” and that made me cool, I guess.

So it was cool to have a professional skateboarder as a dad?
Yeah, but they all thought it was the mushroom guy. The Shorty’s shroomer.

Wait, so your dad’s not the one from Fulfill The Dream?
Shut the f-k up, dude! Come on.

How often do you get that?
Never. I mean, I used to get it when I was little, but not anymore.

How do you feel about that Steve Olson?
I didn’t care. I didn’t even know who the f-k the guy was for the longest time.

But what about now?
I don’t know. Where is he?
F-kin’ Animal Chin.

(Laughs) Fair enough. When you started skating, how much of it came from your dad being a pro skateboarder?
None at all. He never pushed it on me ever. It was my own decision. I think one time when I was little, I was like, “I gotta keep the family name!” But that was just little kid talk.

All right. And you live with your pops now, right?
It’s cool. I don’t stay there that much anymore. Usually I stay at my girl’s house or I’ll be out of town. But it’s fun, you know?
He’s more of a good friend than a dad, if anything.

Yeah, I can see that. He’s pretty bro. Explain your currently living situation. It’s kinda like the one in Malibu: it’s just a little studio with no rooms except a bathroom. It’s too small for two people. I should move out, but whatever, I’m not going to.

Do you guys have bunk beds?
No. Well, he’s got a top bunk, but I sleep on the couch. It’s pretty mellow.

What about when one of you has to bring home a lady?
I’ll try to go to her house if anything.

What about your dad?
Because he’s kind of a lady’s man… Uhh, he won’t bring her home if I’m there. He’ll probably go to her house too if he knows I’m home. It’s pretty simple.

So you’ve been traveling a lot. What was it like going to London with t Gonz for his art show?
That was random, like waking up hung over and having Mark call me at nine in the morning and saying, “Hey, you wanna go to London tomorrow?
” I was like, “Yeah, sure, I’d love to. But that’s probably not gonna happen.” Then he was like, “Okay, I’ll get everything arranged.” And I was like, “Uhhh, all right.” Then he said, “Just be ready.” Then I guess his people talked to my people (laughs), and we flew out the next day.

And what were you two doing out there?
It was for his art show, but then he had that video Gnar Gnar. At the time, I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I didn’t know he was filming for the video, filming all that random sh-t.

How does it feel to be a part of that video?
Because it’s definitely an odd video, but I also think it’s one of the best videos I’ve seen in years. And you don’t ride for Krooked. No, Krooked’s weird. They’re random. It’s just cool to be a part of something good.

Can you have a Guest Am board?
Yeah, I guess. I heard I was gonna get a Guest Am board, once. But I don’t know. I think Girl devo’d that.

Does that even make sense?
No, it doesn’t at all. An am board?
I think that’s why Girl denied it… which is kinda wack, but whatever.

You used to live with Gonz for a bit in New York, right?
Yeah, for a solid two months. I had my own room there, and I’d feed the cats.

Living with someone so eccentric, did you start to feel a little crazy after a while?
(Laughs) Oooh, I’d definitely have to get outta the house a lot. He’d go through a mood swing sometimes where I’d just have to leave-like go skating or eating, just to let him be himself and frazzle out for a good three hours. Then I’d come back and he’d be all normal again. A lot of highs and lows, but he’s fun. He makes me laugh all the time.

Do you have a favorite story when you lived with Mark Gonzales?
I don’t really have a favorite story, but when you stay with him, he just comes up with the craziest ideas. Like the most random sh-t will come out of his mouth. One time he was showing me this drawing that he was gonna give to Danny Way. It was a ramp, a corkscrew, and a rail on the ceiling. So he wanted Danny Way to do the corkscrew, then grind the rail upside down, then come back down and land it. He had all these drawings and it was all figured out-it was pretty ridiculous.

Do you think he sent it to him?
Yeah, he sent it to him. He said that Danny Way wanted to make it. It’s pretty insane.

I wouldn’t. He also took this big old-school board, sanded it down, then I left and finally came back to find a huge swastika on it that he painted. He was like, “Look at it! It’s cool. It’s mellow.” I’m like, “Dude, you can’t skate around New York City with a huge swastika painted on your board. People are not gonna be psyched on it.” That was like a bad moment in life, like history-no one’s gonna be amped on that. Then he was like, “What?
I like it. I don’t care what other people think.”

All right, I’m kinda going out of order here: one last question about your pops. At a young age, did you see a lot of the industry that most kids couldn’t?
And did it jade your viewpoint?
Yeah, for sure it did. And hanging out with Dawes when you’re like sixteen… I mean, Dawes is like the bitterest dude, but he’s great.

You’re kinda the most bitter dude also (laughs). No, I’m not. Well, maybe growing up with bitter dudes rubs off on you.

Tell me about that, because I feel like out of anyone I know, you’re the person who hates the most amount of things.

I don’t really though. Whatever. Just a lot of things bug me.

Name some things that bug you. Well, like that Phoenix Am contest I was just at-everyone had to wear f-king sunglasses. It was so annoying.

What else?
F-kin’ everything. A lot of things in skateboarding bother me. People with their f-king images… that bothers me.

With their images?
I don’t wanna say anything. Let’s think of a good one to pinpoint. Who’s got an obnoxious image?
Terry’s kinda bad. I’m over that whole Ice Cream thing.

(Laughs) Oh but Terry’s so awesome. Man, I love Terry, but that whole Ice Cream “comin’ up” thing… I don’t know. Who’s a prime example of sh-t style?
All the kids care more about what skaters are wearing rather than what they’re doing. It’s about looks instead of actually doing sh-t.

What about outside of skateboarding?
What bugs you the most?
People. People that bullsh-t other people. People giving compliments when they’re just ass-kissers.

You see a lot of that here in Hollywood. Well, on that note, when did you become a Hollywood club-scene celebrity?
F-k you, dude! I’m not that guy.

Well, for your twenty-first birthday… Yo, I didn’t do any of that! That was everyone else! You’re trying to put bad thoughts into people’s minds right now.

No, I was pretty surprised to be at one of Hollywood’s most exclusive clubs with the owner comping you tables and bottles. My dad has known her since forever.

I saw Paris Hilton, and she looked a little upset that you were getting all of the attention. Bullsh-t! You’re an asshole, you’re so stupid (laughs). Braydon’s the club dude, you know that too.

I think you’re giving him a run for his money though. Riiiiiiight.

I was pretty impressed. What’d you have, like three birthday parties?
Yeah, but I didn’t ask for them. I wasn’t like, “Yo, come to my other parties.”

How does it feel to be 21 now?
You just get to use your real I.D. instead of your fake one. You don’t have to worry about places sweating you.

You’ve had some pretty sh-tty fake I.D.s. Weren’t you a black guy once?
Yeah, I tried to be a black guy once. Well, more of a mulatto. That’s racist, right?
I don’t know what the right term is to use. Mixed. Anyway, the guy’s name was Dre or something, and the bouncer just started laughing at me.

So that one didn’t work. But when you were living in New York, you had one that looked like you just made it at Kinko’s. It was some dude from Connecticut. Big Dan from Max Fish gave it to me. He was like, “Here, here’s an I.D. I’ll try to find you a better one, but use this one for now.”

So who’s the Slut Brigade?
No, those are my friends and I’m not blasting on them. You wanna blast on them.

No, I just think it’s incredible that a Slut Brigade exists. So you’re filming for the new Lakai video. There’s like a hundred nailers on that team-is that gonna be a three-hour-long video?
I really don’t know anything about the video. I just know I’m supposed to film for it.

How does it feel to be next to so many nailers in one video?
This is your first real video part right?
Yeah. F-k, I don’t know because it hasn’t happened yet. It’s super nerve-racking though. Half the time I’m over it because I’m so damn stressed that I can’t land a trick-or a trick that I wanna be happy about. I’m sure for somebody like Nick Trapasso that it’s easy to film a good video part-like ten good video parts.

I’ve noticed that you’re into trick selection when you skate-and the spots you skate. You’re not just the run-of-the-mill ten-stair handrail kid. I can’t even do that stuff. It’s harder for me to just jump down something.

So you’re not skating different stuff just to be different?
No, I think that sh-t’s boring because everybody already does it. I’d rather see something different and innovative, like Marc Johnson doing sh-t on ledges. Stuff that stands out is way better than a nollie flip down ten. Everyone can do that now… besides me.

Do you ever feel pressure to conform?
Well, I’ll try jumping down ten stairs. I’m just no good at it. And the tricks that I can do down stairs are worthless.

I don’t know about that. Okay, where did all these older women come from that take care of you?
I remember before you had a cell phone, which wasn’t that thing. Let’s think of a good one to pinpoint. Who’s got an obnoxious image?
Terry’s kinda bad. I’m over that whole Ice Cream thing.

(Laughs) Oh but Terry’s so awesome. Man, I love Terry, but that whole Ice Cream “comin’ up” thing… I don’t know. Who’s a prime example of sh-t style?
All the kids care more about what skaters are wearing rather than what they’re doing. It’s about looks instead of actually doing sh-t.

What about outside of skateboarding?
What bugs you the most?
People. People that bullsh-t other people. People giving compliments when they’re just ass-kissers.

You see a lot of that here in Hollywood. Well, on that note, when did you become a Hollywood club-scene celebrity?
F-k you, dude! I’m not that guy.

Well, for your twenty-first birthday… Yo, I didn’t do any of that! That was everyone else! You’re trying to put bad thoughts into people’s minds right now.

No, I was pretty surprised to be at one of Hollywood’s most exclusive clubs with the owner comping you tables and bottles. My dad has known her since forever.

I saw Paris Hilton, and she looked a little upset that you were getting all of the attention. Bullsh-t! You’re an asshole, you’re so stupid (laughs). Braydon’s the club dude, you know that too.

I think you’re giving him a run for his money though. Riiiiiiight.

I was pretty impressed. What’d you have, like three birthday parties?
Yeah, but I didn’t ask for them. I wasn’t like, “Yo, come to my other parties.”

How does it feel to be 21 now?
You just get to use your real I.D. instead of your fake one. You don’t have to worry about places sweating you.

You’ve had some pretty sh-tty fake I.D.s. Weren’t you a black guy once?
Yeah, I tried to be a black guy once. Well, more of a mulatto. That’s racist, right?
I don’t know what the right term is to use. Mixed. Anyway, the guy’s name was Dre or something, and the bouncer just started laughing at me.

So that one didn’t work. But when you were living in New York, you had one that looked like you just made it at Kinko’s. It was some dude from Connecticut. Big Dan from Max Fish gave it to me. He was like, “Here, here’s an I.D. I’ll try to find you a better one, but use this one for now.”

So who’s the Slut Brigade?
No, those are my friends and I’m not blasting on them. You wanna blast on them.

No, I just think it’s incredible that a Slut Brigade exists. So you’re filming for the new Lakai video. There’s like a hundred nailers on that team-is that gonna be a three-hour-long video?
I really don’t know anything about the video. I just know I’m supposed to film for it.

How does it feel to be next to so many nailers in one video?
This is your first real video part right?
Yeah. F-k, I don’t know because it hasn’t happened yet. It’s super nerve-racking though. Half the time I’m over it because I’m so damn stressed that I can’t land a trick-or a trick that I wanna be happy about. I’m sure for somebody like Nick Trapasso that it’s easy to film a good video part-like ten good video parts.

I’ve noticed that you’re into trick selection when you skate-and the spots you skate. You’re not just the run-of-the-mill ten-stair handrail kid. I can’t even do that stuff. It’s harder for me to just jump down something.

So you’re not skating different stuff just to be different?
No, I think that sh-t’s boring because everybody already does it. I’d rather see something different and innovative, like Marc Johnson doing sh-t on ledges. Stuff that stands out is way better than a nollie flip down ten. Everyone can do that now… besides me.

Do you ever feel pressure to conform?
Well, I’ll try jumping down ten stairs. I’m just no good at it. And the tricks that I can do down stairs are worthless.

I don’t know about that. Okay, where did all these older women come from that take care of you?
I remember before you had a cell phone, which wasn’t that long ago, I was always getting a call from a pretty 30-year-old lady wanting to give you money and making sure you were okay. I feel like you have a quality where people like taking care of you. They’re either my dad’s friends or my dad’s friend’s girlfriends. I don’t know dude. Like Ed?
I guess it looks weird from an outsider’s point of view.

Did Ed Templeton offer to have you live at his house if you got a job and went to school?
Yeah. When you’re seventeen and trying to “do it,” you don’t wanna hear that. It’s the wrong thing to hear. It’s more like, “Stay with me, go film, and do what you gotta do.” But Ed was just trying to be a good person.

So you chose to stay dropped out and do the skate thing?
Yeah. I don’t know where I’d be if that didn’t happen. I really don’t know what I’d be doing and I think about that all the time. If I never made it, would I just be a wastoid or a drifter?
I’m pretty fortunate.

I feel the same way. Did you have any other career interests besides skateboarding?
No, not really. I guess I would’ve figured it out. You know how Mikey Taylor has a group of friends?
I think I’d be in somebody’s entourage.

Would you let your kid drop out of high school to peruse something they loved?
Sure, if they had a goal in life. But not just to drop out to drop out. F-k no if he just doesn’t like school. How do you feel being a dropout?

I don’t know. This is your interview. I mean, I think it’s the best thing I ever did, but I’d like to go back one day for fun to get my G.E.D. We should do it. It’d be a fun experiment. Did you ever think about going to college?

I thought about it. Quit turning this around on me. Not really, I don’t much like school. I think when we lived at Andrew’s, I learned a lot more than I did when I was at school. That was fun. It was when you’d quit City Stars and were trying to figure out if you wanted to skate for Baker or Toy Machine. We’d just hang at Andrew’s and have water-gun fights, living like scumbags going to Toi and surviving off rice.

I was wondering about that too. There was a long time where we’d survive without money. We’d go buy tons of ramen at Food-4-Less. I mean, I was making money at the time, but I was secretly envious that you were scrounging for food. It’s more fun trying to figure out what you’re gonna have to eat, or if you have enough money. Like trying to find chow mein for two bucks. It’s fun, but it’s not great being a chickenhead looking for change.

How did you grow so fast?
You were Little Alex like a year ago. I was never Little Alex.

You used to be my f-king size. Then you left me in the dust. I’m sorry (laughs). I thought it was funny when you told me I was tall, ’cause I was only an inch taller than you. I’m still growing and it sucks, f-king puberty came late.

Maybe my blooming’s stunted. But you have armpit hair.

Would you sit in the suffering booth of little Tech Decks for one of those ads?
No, I’d rather have my knees blown off.

What if you could get Reese Forbes’ pop for a year?
No, forever?
No, I’d rather quit skating than have to do one of those f-king ads. Wasn’t it T-Eddy that said that’s where pros go to die?

Tell us about living with Jason Dill in New York?
That was a period of my life where I learned a lot. I met so many people and experienced so many new lifestyles. Jason was one of my favorite skaters, and he took me under his wing-I was so psyched to skate with Jason, but he never skated (laughs). He was over it. But I owe that guy a lot. He got really into MySpace with his roommate, and I was like, “I’m gonna go to Tompkins and meet up with O’Dell,” and Jason would be there all day, clocking seven hours. Then he got fired at his bartending job and he wasn’t even getting paid. Then he’d go home at four a.m. and clock another few hours. But then he got over it.

But you said you learned a lot. You learned a lot about MySpace?