Q&A: Ragdoll Coughs It Up


SINK OR SWIM

It’s not always about where you’ve been, sometimes it’s where you’re at. The last year or so, not many people knew where Anthony Scalamere was, himself included. Well, Ragdoll is now firmly planted in his hometown of Las Vegas and he’s well overdue for his chance to set the record straight. You’re going to read a candid conversation with a man ready to bare his soul. In the shark-infested waters of the skateboard industry, Ragdoll’s been out to sea too long. It’s time to sink or swim.

The world wants to know where you been?
I’ve been recovering from life as a professional skateboarder and someone with free access to be anything they want. And I ended up back in Vegas to recover from the lifestyle of being something that is free and easy-you can either succeed or blow your whole life up with it. I’ve been in Vegas trying to recover.
Clear the air about your weight.
That started out because I developed ulcers, because I’m a 50-year old Italian man in a seventeen-year-old guy’s body. I had ulcers when I was young and would always get gnarly heartburn and puke every once in a while after I ate. Then it became a routine. Every skateboarder’s got the OCD, and the puking just became that. I would eat, get heartburn, and puke, and that became a daily matter to where I would eat. I don’t have heartburn, but now I’m not doing the process of eat, get heartburn, and now I gotta puke. In my mind it was just like the spin your board, tap your wheels, whatever. It was obsessive.
Was it more OCD than bulimia?
Yeah, ’cause I was never concerned with my weight. I would rage and eat pizza at the end of the night, but that would get me, I’d get heartburn and puke. Then some nights I would just drink and be hungry and eat something little, and be like, “F-k, well I didn’t do my whole routine of puke, rinse my mouth out, all right, heartburn’s gone.” OCD led up to it. I went to a nutritionalist and they said it was all the steps of a bulimic and asked me why I was concerned about my weight. I was like, it was never a weight issue, it was a routine issue and it all stems from skateboarding.
So where are you at now with it?
I’m engaged to a girl named Karli who saved my life. She lives in Vegas, she’s gonna be a teacher. If it wasn’t for her, this interview wouldn’t be happening, because I’d probably be 60 pounds of bones in a casket.
So you’re at a point now where you’re eating and gaining the weight back?
Yeah, Transworld just bought me some sashimi that was off the hook!
And he hasn’t puked!
And I will not puke! F-k OCD. I got it under control.
At what point did you realize you were losing a lot of weight?
When you live with someone, it can go either way. You can be on the outside looking in. When I was losing weight, I didn’t know. I saw myself every day. The people around me saw me every day, so it wasn’t a shocker. But when I went to the trade show everyone was like, “You’re fucking skinny!” And I was like, “What are you talking about?” It wasn’t what I was eating and binging and purging-like bulimics will eat a bunch of shit knowing they’re going to puke it up. I’m strict on what I eat. I eat really healthy. But to be a bulimic on that diet, my nutritionalist said I should’ve been dead by now. All I eat is fruits and vegetables, and fish every once in a while. At my worst point I weighed 98 pounds. That’s when my girl took me in.
How’d you break the cycle?
She basically told me, “You’re gonna die.” She eats what she wants, I don’t care what she looks like. I don’t care what I look like. But she was like, “You could be 500 pounds and I’ll still love you. Get it out of your head that you don’t need to do that.” She had a lot of OCDs too. She hated the color red. She would flick the light switch on and off. She helped me through it. She started wearing red T-shirts every day. She said, “This makes me crawl out of my skin, but I’m going to do it for you. If you can hava meal with me right now and not have to go to the bathroom and make me sit here and twiddle my thumbs and be a piece of sh-t while you go puke the food out that is a f-king carrot and a piece of broccoli, I will wear red T-shirts, I will stop flicking the lights.” She got me through it.
Because then you had to help her as well.
Exactly. It was a cycle of help me help you. It’s been … I think the last time I puked was on my birthday, but that was from way too much booze intake. But it’s been a good three or four months since I’ve even thought about it. When you’re at a point of 98 pounds and you can barely push on your skateboard-it killed me. It hurt to skate down the street, but I knew what I was capable of. I f-king jumped down El Toro. I wanna jump down El Toro. Right now if I did it, I’d be f-king vamoosed. So it just comes to a point where you gotta live your life and not let the easy life lead you. Because skateboarding is really easy to … you see the flash in the pans, you see the Jim Grecos, you can just get into heroin or get into something like bulimia-it’s f-ked. A lot of people think it’s only chicks that get it, but it’s a serious f-king thing and it’s not good.
How much weight do you have to gain back now?
They call me a Bruce Lee lean. For my age and weight, I’m under ten pounds. I’m at 131 last time I checked about a month ago, so I’m probably 140 by now. But it’s not weight you can see, I have more muscle than fat. I’m workin’ on it. From what I do, I eat fruits and vegetables all day every day and I skate, so then I’m burning off and building muscle so it’s not gonna be as noticeable. I’m rebuilding muscle, not just getting fat.
What do you have to say to all the people that said you were on drugs?
I think they’re boring and that’s what I weed out of my life. That’s why I went back to Vegas, because you get lumped into the, “He’s not skating because … ” I guess it’s good because people are talking about me. I really don’t care what anyone thinks because I keep a close-knit group of friends. I’ve done my share of partying, I’ve tried every drug in the book, but for yourself to get consumed and lose everything over a needle or a piece of pizza-it’s boring. So anyone that thinks I washed my career away with drugs is worthless. Boring people talk about boring things. If it ain’t true about me, that’s pretty f-king boring.
What does it take to be a pro skater nowadays?
I guess be born into a rich family and call up some MTV execs and get a f-kin’ TV show. I’m backin’ Rob And Big, though. All you need to do to become anything in life is to have a good personality and an etiquette about living, and you’ll succeed at life. That goes with skateboarding, if you wanna be a singer, an artist, anything-if you can back what you do with a good personality and the way you go about doing it, you’ll be successful. You may not be rich, but you’ll be successful. There’re too many rich skateboarders out there, there’s not too many successful skateboarders out there. Patrick Melcher, in my book, should be the richest man in skateboarding. He’s never done drugs, he’s never drank in his life, the dude is pure skateboarding, but no one else sees that. And then you got Ryan Sheckler. Your life is not that interesting for a film crew to follow you around, to cry on camera, to focus on winning the X Games and taking out opponents. There’s no opponents in skateboarding.
I just wanna be successful, I don’t wanna be rich. I want to be successful and happy.
You were saying you could apply “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” saying to the current state of skateboarding.
You should get what you put it, but you don’t necessarily. I’ve put out three parts that I’m really psyched on, and in my views, I’ve done shit that other people haven’t done, but then they catch on just to get in the same cycle and I see them prosper off it. The whole slip-on thing, like with Vans. That was just something I was comfortable skating in. People always said, “You’re wearing slip-ons? Doesn’t that hurt your feet?” I didn’t know any better. I feel comfortable wearing slip-ons. And then it went to the firecrackers. People would be like, “What the f-k?” Now I see people firecrackering. When I barrel-jumped the Hollywood sixteen, people were like, “That’s not a trick.” And now a kid’s got it in his sponsor-me video. I think before my part came out … I’m not bummed on the situation or even bent over getting looked over for incorporating free-minded skating, it’s more of the people that go into a situation thinking, “I can get this out of skateboarding, or I can get that.” Rich people tend to overthink everything. And that’s where my theory of the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The poor come up with the good ideas, the rich take it and go patent it. The poor are like, “That’s just something we do.” And the rich are like, “Oh, that’s something I can have!” So I’ll keep continuing to do what I do and the rich can take, and I’ll be happy. I’ll be successful and you can go be rich.
Where do you come up with those tricks, like the board-to-board hippie jump?
Feeling. Just fun. Coming up with shit like that is like doing something for the first time. Like, I’ve never waterskied, but maybe if I did I’d come up with something different that would be fun for me that nobody else ever thought of. I’ll look at a triangle and that’ll bore me. Then I’ll see circles inside the triangle. There’s ten different shapes you can fill up that triangle with. But a lot of people just go along the lines like, “We’re gonna go to Wilshire and crooked grind the rail.” Or, “I’m gonna go to Wilshire, and that rail looks boring, I’m gonna ride down the stairs, whatever.” And that’s how the barrel jump happened. Shad (Lambert) and I went to the Hollywood sixteen and I was looking at it like, “Well, I could switch 180 it. That wouldn’t be fun. Has anyone jumped off their board?” Shad was like, “That’s insane!” I’m like, “No it’s not. That sounds like fun. Do you have an extra board?” Because I wanted to do board-to-board. But he didn’t, so I just set my board down. I was like, “Do you think that’ll be cool?” He said, “That’s insane!” I’m like, “No, are you willing to run it in the magazine?” He’s like, “F-k yeah!” That’s me thinking like I just want to do something fun. I don’t know what he thinks about it. Just go with feeling and you’ll get a lot farther.
Every time I’m there I trip out on the ledge out front that you grinded and gapped out passed the stairs. No one else has stepped to it since then.
I was thinking about that on the plane trip, like the questions you wanted to come up with. That, I think, is the gnarliest thing I have ever done. I watched my Blackout part, because with my weight, it’s like a confidence builder-I want to get to that point again. And no one’s stepped to it. And I get overlooked in skateboarding, like when I’m trying to get a shoe sponsor. I’m like, “Did someone see what I did and the work I put in to what I’m trying to do and what I’ve done?” I guess it’s just a pat on my own back and that’s better than a free pair of shoes or a blood paycheck. I’d rather be happy with what I’ve done. It’s crazy that you mention that because that’s the gnarliest thing.
Kids go to Hollywood High every day and probably don’t even think to skate it.
It’s a bench. Every time I drive by, I’m like, “Get off my spot!” They’re like, “What are you talking about, I’m just sitting on the seat.”
Tell us the Avril Lavigne story.
Oh, Jesus. I’ll just do a quick rundown. PB (Pacific Beach), height of my pro career, sex, drugs, she thought she was rock ‘n’ roll. I pounded her out because I was bored, and-f-k.
Was she any good?
Nah, she wasn’t any better than the music she puts out.
And I’ve heard the same thing from another pro that shall go nameless.
I know who he is.
Well, I know a couple.
Uh-huh.
Speaking of otas comfortable skating in. People always said, “You’re wearing slip-ons? Doesn’t that hurt your feet?” I didn’t know any better. I feel comfortable wearing slip-ons. And then it went to the firecrackers. People would be like, “What the f-k?” Now I see people firecrackering. When I barrel-jumped the Hollywood sixteen, people were like, “That’s not a trick.” And now a kid’s got it in his sponsor-me video. I think before my part came out … I’m not bummed on the situation or even bent over getting looked over for incorporating free-minded skating, it’s more of the people that go into a situation thinking, “I can get this out of skateboarding, or I can get that.” Rich people tend to overthink everything. And that’s where my theory of the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The poor come up with the good ideas, the rich take it and go patent it. The poor are like, “That’s just something we do.” And the rich are like, “Oh, that’s something I can have!” So I’ll keep continuing to do what I do and the rich can take, and I’ll be happy. I’ll be successful and you can go be rich.
Where do you come up with those tricks, like the board-to-board hippie jump?
Feeling. Just fun. Coming up with shit like that is like doing something for the first time. Like, I’ve never waterskied, but maybe if I did I’d come up with something different that would be fun for me that nobody else ever thought of. I’ll look at a triangle and that’ll bore me. Then I’ll see circles inside the triangle. There’s ten different shapes you can fill up that triangle with. But a lot of people just go along the lines like, “We’re gonna go to Wilshire and crooked grind the rail.” Or, “I’m gonna go to Wilshire, and that rail looks boring, I’m gonna ride down the stairs, whatever.” And that’s how the barrel jump happened. Shad (Lambert) and I went to the Hollywood sixteen and I was looking at it like, “Well, I could switch 180 it. That wouldn’t be fun. Has anyone jumped off their board?” Shad was like, “That’s insane!” I’m like, “No it’s not. That sounds like fun. Do you have an extra board?” Because I wanted to do board-to-board. But he didn’t, so I just set my board down. I was like, “Do you think that’ll be cool?” He said, “That’s insane!” I’m like, “No, are you willing to run it in the magazine?” He’s like, “F-k yeah!” That’s me thinking like I just want to do something fun. I don’t know what he thinks about it. Just go with feeling and you’ll get a lot farther.
Every time I’m there I trip out on the ledge out front that you grinded and gapped out passed the stairs. No one else has stepped to it since then.
I was thinking about that on the plane trip, like the questions you wanted to come up with. That, I think, is the gnarliest thing I have ever done. I watched my Blackout part, because with my weight, it’s like a confidence builder-I want to get to that point again. And no one’s stepped to it. And I get overlooked in skateboarding, like when I’m trying to get a shoe sponsor. I’m like, “Did someone see what I did and the work I put in to what I’m trying to do and what I’ve done?” I guess it’s just a pat on my own back and that’s better than a free pair of shoes or a blood paycheck. I’d rather be happy with what I’ve done. It’s crazy that you mention that because that’s the gnarliest thing.
Kids go to Hollywood High every day and probably don’t even think to skate it.
It’s a bench. Every time I drive by, I’m like, “Get off my spot!” They’re like, “What are you talking about, I’m just sitting on the seat.”
Tell us the Avril Lavigne story.
Oh, Jesus. I’ll just do a quick rundown. PB (Pacific Beach), height of my pro career, sex, drugs, she thought she was rock ‘n’ roll. I pounded her out because I was bored, and-f-k.
Was she any good?
Nah, she wasn’t any better than the music she puts out.
And I’ve heard the same thing from another pro that shall go nameless.
I know who he is.
Well, I know a couple.
Uh-huh.
Speaking of other pros, who do you like to watch skate?
I’m really psyched on Louie Barletta. He’s another successful skater. I don’t know what he’s pulling in money-wise, but every time he’s on a board, he looks happy. Markovich, always. That’s the fastest dude around. All the Hellrose dudes, that’s why I clique with them, like Nuge, and J. Roy-just the laziness about them. Richie Belton, looks like he fell asleep when he landed. Danny Scher, Michael Prince. The kids are gonna read this interview, if they do, and be like, “Who the f-k are all these kids?” Boulala is always a staple. I could watch that dude drink a beer or I could watch him ollie that 25 stair again. Just the way he carries himself. People with personality. Terry Kennedy, his shit’s pretty good, but he needs to lay off the gold teeth. Dude’s got a million-dollar grille, but KR3W made a Free TK shirt and all the benefits would go to his bail money or something? Why doesn’t he pawn off his gold grille or some of his rims or something? Throw me one of those rims, I’ll live off it for a good six months. Smolik’s new part-that guy is just rowdy. He’s just an afterparty on a skateboard. Jason Dill. Anthony Pappalardo, pure skateboard genius, does what he wants when he wants. Thank you for stepping on a skateboard. Salute.
Let’s break the news about your new board sponsor.
I am happy to say that Markovich and I are finally on the same board company. We tried to do it with Hollywood. We tried to ride for any same company. He sent me a smoke signal, Birdhouse was good while it was good, but I am now riding for Crimson Skateboards, and it will be the last skateboard company I ride for. I don’t see myself being happy anywhere else, and I just want to be happy in skateboarding. This is where I’m at. I’m happy and healthy on the choice of riding for Crimson.
When are we going to see your footage?
We’re doing a 411 thing. A Crimson section. I’m gonna put a lot of my heavy-hitting sh-t in that and then work on the Crimson video.
What’s the most random tattoo you have?
Oh, Shimizu’s idea. At Hellrose on Franklin and Argyle, the Hollywood Hellrose. I was getting my chest tattooed by Tat Pat. I got finished, and everybody else was pussying out, like getting light-footed, and couldn’t think of anything. I was thinking, “Well, he’s gonna be here for another hour, what should I get? I have blank spaces in the stars on my shoulders.” I was like, “We go to these bars every night, it’s hot out, I’ve been wearing a lot of tank tops. I want ‘fag’ with an arrow tattooed on my arm. So when I sit next to all these Hollywood douchebags, it’ll be a fag to the left of me.” And Shimizu’s all, “Well, if you’re going to get ‘fag’ to the left of you, why don’t you get ‘cunt’ to the right of you?” I was like, “All right.” So I had “fag” and “cunt” tattooed on my left and right arm with arrows so when I sat at the bar I was surrounded by fags and cunts in Hollywood. But then I went to jail shirtless for stealing Pete Townsend’s guitar in Vegas and the vatos and gangbangers didn’t think it was too funny when they were sitting next to “fag” and “cunt.” Within five hours of being released from jail in Vegas I went and got my fag and cunt tattoos covered up.
Whose idea was it to steal The Who guitar?
That was an epic night. That was just raging and one thing led to another. We got backstage at the Hard Rock and they let us loose. Smash, dash, grab that ass, outta there. Smashed it with my elbow and I remember getting in the cab, then complete blackout. We were at my friend Matt’s house and I feel someone kicking at me, and I’m laying on the floor. I’m like, “Chill out!” And I look up and it’s FBI, Metropolitan police standing over me, and I’m on the floor in a blanket. They’re like, “Where’s the guitar?” I’m like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” And they rip the blankets off and the guitar is laying right next to me. I was sleeping with it. The cab driver spilled the beans.
Did