Jamie Thomas Interview – 20.1

Jamie, when was the last time you went on tour with Chad?

We went on a trip to South Africa three or four years ago for our shoe sponsor at that time.

When were you last on a team together?

We weren’t on the same team in South Africa. It was a distributor tour for both shoe brands. Before that was in 1995-a Toy Machine tour in America. It’s been a long time.

What happened after ’95?

We definitely skated a lot together for the next couple years, but then we just went in different directions for a while. We chose really different paths in some ways, and similar paths in other ways. We were both maturing at about the same pace. Chad was really young at that time-I’m older, and I’d been in the industry for a couple years more than him. He had to get his own thing going, and that’s what he did. He went off to Shorty’s and started getting that going.

For a while, we didn’t really talk that much. It was always cool when we’d see each other, but we didn’t go out of our way to skate and hang out together.

Over time, it got more and more fun and exciting to hook up because we started respecting each other for what we did on our own.

Is that because you had a history?

Yeah-we had some roots. Although we chose different paths, we pretty much did similar things. We tried to create something we were stoked to be involved with.

Because we’re so different, it took us maturing and respecting each other for what we do before we could come back and have a solid friendship. We listen to different music-different everything-so we had to mature a lot. And that’s what happened over time.

Do you remember the first time you met Chad?

I fully remember the night I met Chad. He was such a unique person even at that time. He was unique in a different way from the way he is now, but he’s always been the same person. He’s definitely developed, but he’s the same guy. When I first met him, I couldn’t believe how good he was. It seemed like his ability didn’t really fit his personality. I was amazed.

How did you meet him?

I knew some guys from Arizona-I don’t know how I met them-and Chad was staying with them in San Diego. I went over to their house, and he was there, super-faded with his hat pulled real low. We talked a little bit. He was really young, and the way he talked was kinda crazy. I’d never really met anyone like him. He was into graffiti at the time, and I didn’t really know many people like that.

It seemed to me Chad was into so many other things that skating wasn’t important to him. But when he went down the street to the store, the other guys were like, “That guy’s amazing.”

I was like, “You gotta be kidding.” They threw on a video of Chad, which his homeys had filmed. The footage was so ghetto and gnarly-I was amazed. After that, we started skating together. The company he was riding for wasn’t working out, and he was basically living at my house. We skated a lot.

Do you think your bond comes from the fact that you have similar backgrounds-you both came out to California with nothing?

I think we have a lot in common even though we’ve taken different routes. The odds were definitely against us both, although we didn’t grow up in the exact same way-everybody’s environment growing up is different. But we both persevered and got past everything in our way in order to do what we wanted. We never compromised.

In that respect, we really do have something in common. We appreciate and respect each other because we know where we came from and what we had to do to get where we are.

How did you end up getting on Circa?

Chad started Circa on his own. I saw him in Vancouver a couple years ago, and I was intrigued by what he told me about it. Circa was new, and there wasn’t anyone else ballsy enough to create a rival shoe company at that time. He said we should kkeep in touch. It was weird, and I was taken aback because we’d never really sat down and had a heart-to-heart about what he thought of my skating. You never really know what someone thinks about you unless they say it in an interview or something.

I was really stoked. I told my wife Chad had talked to me a little bit about Circa, and she was like, “Oh, that would be so amazing if you and Chad could get back on the same team someday.” My mind starting reeling, thinking how sick it was. I respected his video parts and everything he’d done. It was cool to hear he was even considering having me involved in Circa even though we’re so different.

Some time passed, and I didn’t really sweat it too much. Then he and the owner started going out of their way to contact me to see where my head was at with my current shoe sponsor and figure out what my plans were.

Did you ever think you’d be on the same team again, touring together?

I didn’t really think about it. You get in your own environment, get your own posse together, and hang out with those dudes. I just did what I was doing. I loved seeing him, though-it was always sick to see him.

How much do you skate with him now?

We don’t really skate much together because we still have our own posses; we’re filming for our own videos and have our own friends. But we have this business relationship now, so we have a common interest.

We really want to make it good, and we talk once a week or once every couple weeks. We meet at Circa, have lunch, and hang out. And we go to dinner at least once a month. So even though we’re not skating together, we’re still spending time together. We talk about what we’ve been up to and where we’re headed. It’s sick.

Once in a while we get lucky enough to skate together. Right before this Europe trip, I went to New York with my wife for a week, and during the day Chad and I went skating. That was the first time we’d been skating together in a long time-Chad and I on the street.