Words by Mackenzie Eisenhour
“Straightforward.” That’s how Kevin Taylor would sum himself up. It also happens to be true. If you’ve ever met KT, you know he’s not one to run off at the mouth with some excessive filler. He says little, but speaks only the truth. I wish more people were like that. Not only because it makes for less transcribing, but also because it makes for real people.
Zoo York has done some serious rebuilding over the past few years. In 2006, the team roster reads like an all-star draft pick of some of the East Coast’s biggest legends. Among those legends stands “The God.”
What was your first memory of skateboarding?
I remember looking at a Thrasher with Jeff Phillips doing a frontside air on some crazy red ramp. I guess it was Houston, or somewhere in Texas. My friend, who was in high school when I was in middle school, lent me the mag. He pretty much showed me skateboarding. I was into BMX at the time, but looking at those photos just got me psyched on skating. This was like the 80s-launch-ramp days, and my friend used to build all these little launchers. He hooked me up with a little board, too. It was like a Kryptonic Rip Grip or something. It had like this skull with the eyes hanging out-something crazy that seemed real cool at the time (laughs).
What did Zoo mean to you before you got on?
Well, you know, being from out East I always had respect for it. It was just always there growing up or whatever. It was cool. I’m glad it panned out to where it is now.
Who were some of the classic Zoo riders you saw around when you were coming up?
Like Jeff (Pang), Harold (Hunter)-all those guys. It’s funny, I always kind of knew of them, and they might have known of me, but I never really knew them personally. Now that I ride for Zoo, I got to know a lot of those dudes, especially Jeff, whether or not they still have affiliations with the company.
What’s new in Harold’s world?
Harold’s awesome. He comes on all our trips. He’s still involved with a lot of the team stuff. He’s seriously one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. He makes me smile and laugh, you know? He just brings a good vibe, man. I guess he’s Zoo for life. “Legends never die.” That’s what he would say about it.
Is it different to skate for a company based out East?
Nah. Really, it doesn’t really change that much. I get to go to New York more, which is good. And I don’t have to fly to Cali. That’s basically it.
When was the last time you talked to Kareem Campbell? What happened with Axion?
Last I saw him was at the last Tampa pro. We got it in pretty good. He ditched me and I didn’t get to skate in the contest, but I forgive him. People still ask me if Axion’s going. It’s crazy ’cause I still get that question all the time. Nobody really knows. It’s weird. It just kind of faded out. Basically, I think Kareem was kind of bitter about it, so he didn’t really talk to us or anybody else about it. Eventually we just got the call from Joey Suriel, and he kind of told us it was done.
What’s an average day for Kevin Taylor?
Pretty basic. Wake up. Head down to Nocturnal skate shop. Hang out. Shoot the shit. Eventually go skate, probably with Kerry (Getz), Pete Eldridge, Mike Maldonado-basically Philly heads.
How has Philly adapted to losing Love?
It’s funny, because lately we’ve really been venturing out a lot more into the suburbs. You can’t really skate anywhere downtown anymore. I mean, you could, but it’s more of a stealth mission now. So it’s been all about chillin’ in the cuts lately. All the kids from the suburbs used to come in and blow up downtown on the weekends. That’s kind of how it got so hectic. Now we’re blowin’ them up (laughs). It’s on some playback tip like, “Where’s your ledge again? We want to hit up your rail. Where’s your Love?”
Have you ever met Marc Ecko?
Nope. Never met him. I don’t think he even knows about us, to tell you the truth. I don’t even know who gives me money. But I get it, so that’s cool. I get to have a board. I don’t ask questions (laughs).
Do you have a favorite time or period in skating?
Shit, I don’t know. Hokus Pokus-the H-Street era was pretty sick. It’s all a cycle, man. It all comes around. Hell, Rob Welsh was just rockin’ a chain wallet the other day.
Who should kids look out for in ’06 from the East?
What was the best Sal Barbier moment back at Aesthetics?
All of ’em. I don’t know. He’s just the funniest dude. I just got off the phone with him, but I can’t even really think of one thing in particular. Everything about him is just hilarious.
Is skateboarding on the right track these days? Would you change anything?
Maybe the young kid thing, you know? That kind of f-ked it up for a little while, man. I feel like a lot of dudes lost respect over that. And a lot of them just gave up on it because of that. That’s kind of the way I saw it. Just so much attention on these kids, and nothing went to the guys that had put in all this work toward it and deserved it. And the kids that got it were all f-ked up like two years after it was given to them. Little kids need to earn that. But they give everything to them right away and then there’s nothing to work for. It just throws off the whole natural growth. This whole thing is built on a foundation, you know? They can’t just come in and take over the building. They had to learn it from somewhere, right? They learned it from us.
It seems like Zoo has a pretty established team right now that doesn’t really follow the little kid formula.
For sure. Like when dudes like Donny Barley or Kenny (Hughes) got on, I was just so psyched. I mean, they deserve their fame, and they built it.
You still a big Iverson fan?
Oh yeah. Still a big Iverson fan. Team is looking good this year (laughs). I’m psyched on our new center.
What’s the biggest perk to being a pro skater?
I don’t know. It makes me real happy just to have a board, man. I just focus on that. I think it’s an honor, you know? It means something.
Name three things that you couldn’t live without.
Oh man, it’s gonna be one of those. Uh … bros, hos, and chronic (laughs).
Name three things you could live without.
What was the last time you felt cheated?
That would have to be my shoe deal.
What’s the last rumor you heard about yourself?
That I was “The God.” Somehow somebody decided to call me “KT, The God.”
I could picture Welsh saying something like that.
Yep (laughs). That’s where it came from.
Who’s the last person who taught you a trick?
Little Lamar (Hemmings) taught me how to pop switch tre flips better.
Who’s the last person you taught a trick to?
I taught Lamar the new hot trick-switch frontside big spins.
All-time greatest skater?
Sean Sheffey, hands down.
“I don’t even know who gives me money. But I get it, so that’s cool.”
“It’s all a cycle, man … Hell, Rob Welsh was just rockin’ a chain wallet the other day.”