Why did the A-Team disband? What’s the story?
From the beginning it was supposed to be just a team of really good skateboarders. We were all friends and we thought, “Why don’t we just get together,” because it seemed all the riders were out in left field. Everybody was in their own deal at the time, and so we thought, “Let’s just get these guys in here and start something new.”
From the beginning, although it had a lot of potential, it just never took off.
What do you think the reason was?
It didn’t have anyone working for it. Some companies have a graphic artist or a team manager¿some sort of backbone to the team¿but A-Team had none of that. When the t-shirts arrived in the mail, it wasn’t like: “Oh wow, check out the new logo, who the hell did this?” You couldn’t call anybody to bitch about it, or say, “Let’s peace this out because it’s completely ugly.” This was because A-Team was everyone else’s side work. Whoever laid the ads out every month, had to do it when he was done with his other work, and the graphics got done in the same way by random people. The effort just wasn’t there.
Did it end because the products weren’t selling?
No, the funny thing is, for some unknown reason, it was doing better than it had ever done towards the end. I used to go to the warehouse and I’d get my boards and wheels, and I seriously would never get shirts, pants, or anything like that. I spray-painted my boards and put stickers on them. I was riding for them, but I really wasn’t. Rarely did you see me rockin’ some A-team gear, right?
I went on tour to Australia in April with Emerica. I don’t really go on a lot of tours like other pros living up in San Jose, but the fifteen guys on the tour were all down for their sponsors. Ed was with Toy Machine, there were some Element guys, Justin Strubbing was with Foundation, and they were all wearing their shirts, and sporting stickers. At that point, I thought, “Dude, this is lame. All I do is collect a check from A-Team¿this is not right.”
I started feeling lame about it, and realized I hadn’t been stoked for years, but hadn’t done anything about. I called Rodney (Mullen) from Australia, and asked to talk about it. When I got back to San Jose, I called him. I told him I wasn’t happy anymore and that I wanted out. Instead of him being shocked, he said, “Wow, that’s crazy, no one is into it.”
He asked me what I was going to do and I told him I was going to talk to some people about starting something new. Rodney said he had the same idea, and it all sort of fell together. The only problem was getting a name for it. I had so many ideas.
How did you come up with the name?
We were stressing, and I worked for a month on a name, coming up with all kinds of ideas on initial board graphics. Then we went to the lawyers, and it turned out there was a problem with the name, so we couldn’t use it after all. It was coming up to a deadline¿we had to get stuff out in time for the trade show. One night, I was stressing¿it was really coming down to the wire¿that night, I had a dream. It sounds kind of fruity, but in my dream I was talking to someone about the name. I was asking him, “Dude, what are we gonna do, what am I gonna call this thing?” The person in my dream¿the random dream entity¿said, “Hey man, why don’t you call it Enjoy but take the “y” off and put an “i” in it’s place. What are we supposed to be skating for? We’re supposed to be enjoying it, right?”
I woke up and thought, “That’s it, holy shit” I got on the computer and starting screwing around with the word “enjoy” and changing it to “enjoi”. It went through.
When the A-team disbanded, were plans for the team already arranged? Did you all sit down and talk about it?
So many things were going down when I got back from Australia. The wheels were already turning before I had anything to do with it. The guys at Dwwindle were saying, “A-Team is selling but nothing’s there¿there’s no team feeling.”
After talking to Rodney, he had said, “We’re thinking about doing something new¿Chet’s going ahead with his board company Darkstar, and will ride for that.” Rodney was just stoked on my idea¿he said he’d help me however he could. We were wondering whether Dave (Mayhew) and Gershon (Mosely) would want to join us. So I talked to Dave and he was stoked, but dealing with Gershon was a different story. He’s very specific about what he wants and likes, and doesn’t bullshit around. We thought about having a meeting with Gershon about our plans, but he told us he wanted to ride for Blind before we had a chance to ask him. Everything fell in to place.
So there were no bad feelings?
No, there were none. Chet was doing his own thing. Gershon was on Blind before we even told him our plans. He was worrying about us being bummed at him. So me, Dave, and Rodney were the first guys on Enjoi.
What about Jerry?
Yeah, Jerry was the fourth.
Did you get Jerry on Maple at the start?
I was the guy who started telling them about Jerry; telling them how amazing he is. I told them that although he was really young, he’d be crazy in five years time. At first, they weren’t keen, asking me who else he rode for. At the time, he was unknown. I was like, “How’s the guy supposed to get a start if no one will give him a chance?” Finally, they saw some footage of him, and Ed, the team manager started meeting up with us. After a while, they realized that he was amazing. So, in a way, I did just start knocking on the door for him to get in.
Who are the two am kids you have riding for you?
Jose Rojo, and Louie Barletta.
How old are they?
Jose is seventeen, and let’s just say Louie is seventeen-ish.
How did you get to know them?
I’ve known Louie for a long time just from skating in San Jose. Louie’s another guy I used to tell Maple about back in the day, and they would ask me who else he rode for. I’d say “Come on, do this.” But it took a while for them to help him out. I’ve been friends with him for five or six years, and witnessed the most unique insanity I’ve ever seen in skateboarding from him. Louie is a special guy.
I don’t really know Jose all that well because he hasn’t been in our circle of friends for too long, but he’s been coming up lately. He’s like a cross between Jovantae Turner and Brian Lotti. He’s the butteriest kid I’ve seen in a long time. He’s tall and lanky, with a laid-back, super smooth, and graceful style. Everything he does looks effortless. That kid soaks his feet in butter before he skates. Give him a few more years to get used to it all, and everything will work out.