Words by Blair Alley, Photos by Jason Hainault
It’s casual. This interview took place over a few games of pool at John’s local watering hole in the San Diego suburb of Rancho Penasquitos. John has been laying low at his folks’ recovering from a compound fracture in his leg that he sustained just two days before Christmas. Just a short four months later, John is already back working on the Sound Agent video, and well, just working. Read on for a view into the laid back life and times of Johnny Lups.
Would you say your leg is 100-percent?
I’d say it’s 80-percent, but it’s definitely there. I can film and everything.
What did you do to pass the time for the last four months?
Started working again about 30 hours a week, Monday through Friday.
What kind of work?
Production work on circuit boards for the company my dad owns. Testing and assembling, and then shipping them out. Random boards that can go to the medical industry, to the military—printed circuit boards.
has working made you appreciate the times when you didn’t have to?
Absolutely. It’s made me more of a realist [laughs]. Skateboarding ain’t gonna last forever, you gotta get a 9 to 5. Do not get it twisted.
What do you think of the young skaters that get sponsored and have never worked a day in their lives?
I can see how they could get jaded, like, “I’m doing this now, I’m never gonna have to work.” But it’s just fact, at the end of everyone’s skate career, you’re gonna have to work some kind of job. There’s maybe the one-percent that won’t have to work again, but the 99-percent—we’re all gonna have to get jobs.
What did your girlfriend get you for your birthday?
[Laughs] Probably the best thing ever. She had an old board and she sent it out to a tattoo artist and got all this artwork done on it. It’s a picture of her and it says “Love Lulu” on it. It’s pretty genius, I wasn’t expecting that.
Was it one of your old boards?
I don’t know who’s board it was. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing!
If you guys break up, are you going to skate it?
I’m going to focus it immediately [laughs].
When is the Stereo vid coming out?
We’ve been having some footage meetings lately, checking out where everyone’s at. There’s been quite a few in the injured camp, myself included—that obviously affects things. It’s looking good, I’d say by the end of the year we’ll have a pretty solid thing going.
Our next issue is the Am Issue, so what does it take nowadays for an am to go pro?
I don’t even know the answer to that. Company-wise, they want your name to sell. If you’re getting enough coverage to where people are going to buy the shit with your name on it, then they’re going to turn you pro.
Is Danny Renaud still on Stereo?
No he’s not, but I’m hoping that once he makes a comeback, he can get back on, because that dude is definitely one of the best skaters out there, and everyone knows it.
How does all the skateboarding on the internet compare to the full-length DVDs that are coming out? Do you still look forward to a proper video?
I hope people will always have the same anticipation for an actual video that’s coming out. The internet is definitely a part of skateboarding now—it’s definitely saturated now. Someone can come out with an amazing part, and the next day it’s off the front page of whatever site it was on and no one ever sees it again. Something coming out on DVD—going to the premiere—is always better.
What’s the last DVD you bought?
I heard you went to Jason Lee’s housewarming party a while back. What was the scene like there?
It was I guess what you would expect. Hollywood heads, a couple people from the Earl show. That Giovanni [Ribisi] guy. It was real cool.
Anyone from Video Days?
Nah, not a lot of O.G. skaters. But yeah, I got to hang out and kick it with Jason—I was one of the last men standing, just smoking cigarettes, drinking beers, shooting the shit.
Does he have a new show coming out?
Apparently he does, but I dont know exactly what it is or when.
What’s Benny Fairfax up to? I like that guy.
I just hung out with Benny last weekend. He’s been filming for your guys’ Skate & Create, um, he lost his passport so he’s gotta figure out a way to get back to England to get a new one. So he’s pretty much limited to two bars in L.A. where they know him [laughs]. He’s got no ID, but he’s killin’ it.