Jim Gagne, 20 Questions

The time is now! No time for games? This is where we separate the men from the boys. This is single malt, over the top, unchained American iron. This is where one’s not enough, and it only counts when you feel the burn. This is old-world neighborhood muscle. This is leather worn wicked and lean. This is where we work hard, play hard, and never let ’em grind ya down! This is a two pot o’ coffee minimum. A caffeinated discipline. Wrapped in a wife-beater--white with just a hint of gold ... this is Jimo’s 20 Questions! Now go listen to “Bad To The Bone.--Jeff Grosso, 8/8/03, 1:18 a.m.

What’s one thing you’re reluctant to admit?

That I own a Foreigner live CD and listen to it regularly.

What’s something you find strange that most people find normal?

Why chicks feel as though men should watch lame TV shows like Will And Grace and Sex And The City.

List a few of your pet peeves.

Guys who wear girls’ pants--seeing the cheeks of some guy’s rear end fly through the air during my session is the last thing I want. I don’t know where these guys came from, but where I’m from, that’s not cool. We call that something else.
Rap and techno music.
White guys who act black can take a hike.

If you could be any color, what color would you be?

I’d be leopard print. Anything made of it looks cool to me.

What year was your worst haircut, and why?

In 1984 I had a tail that was bleached blond. I guess I thought it would make more chicks want to make out with me.

In six words describe how you think people see you.

Forward, sporadic, judgmental, articulate, spun, and stubborn.

Where is the strangest place you’ve ever woken up?

I used to be a heavy drinker. I must’ve had a little too much one time and woke up in the bushes down the street from my house.

Who or what inspires you?

People like Lance Mountain. He’s been riding hard since the 70s nonstop. He always rips and has given back to skateboarding ten-fold what he has taken. I hope when I’m his age, I’m able to rip half as hard.

You recently quit smoking and drinking, opting to work out more often, even enrolled in school working toward a degree in computer-aided drafting. What’s up with that?

I looked in the mirror one too many times and didn’t like what I saw or where I was going. I was self-destructive and had nothing to look forward to except my next beer and butt. Life is what you make of it. I felt as though my chemical addictions were interfering with the quality of my life and the people around me. So I kind of did a 180 and traded some bad habits for some good ones. I think a healthy mind and body equal a good spirit.

Why skateboarding?

The challenge. It has never disappointed me unless I didn’t give my best. If that is the case, then I’m the only one to blame. I’m not sure, but it could also be a control issue. Just to see how far I can push it until I’m out of it.

What’s your favorite item in your house?

I own a vintage Farrah Fawcett poster. I have it hung up over my weight bench.

If you were me for a day, what would you do?

Lien airs, madonnas, and sad plants all day.

Enough about me, let’s talk about you. How do you feel about me?

I think you rock, when you’re not being a whiny bitch.

Why do you think I’m a whiny bitch?

I’m not a psychiatrist, but that might have something to do with all the Morrisey CDs or when the 80s ended.

You sink an awful lot of money into your IROC. What’s the deal with your car?

That was the coolest car you could get the year I got my license. My brother also had one of those cars back then. It’s funny, because when you cruise around in it, some people look at you like you don’t know what’s up. I do, I just don’t care, and yes, I’m serious. That car is a symbol of everything I stand for.

You’ve ridden for the Label for some twelve-odd years, opting not to team jump like so many other pros. What’s so great about Black Label?

I’m lucky enough to get to ride the coolest skateboards made. John Lucero knows how to make a sled. The years I was coming up, there was no one else who stood for the same thing we did. Label is the alternative and still is. I’m proud to be a part of it.

Briefly explain your rather bizarre philosophies on women.

I think I gave myself away too easily, too many times, to be neglected and taken advantage of. Any woman who wants this has to earn it. Any woman who’s had me should just consider herself lucky she got to sleep with me.

What drives you to skate as hard as you do for as long as you have?

Some people feel skateboarding owes them something. I feel the opposite. As a professional, I feel like the least I can do is skate hard for the kids at the demo in return for the support they’ve given me. I remember when I was a kid got to see Eric Dressen skate, and I was amazed. As long as I’m living off of skateboarding, I owe it with my blood. If you are one of those pros who show up at the demo thinking you’re cool because you’re wearing girls’ pants or a doorag, smoking butts and drinking beer in the parking lot instead of skating, think again. What’s cool is showing other people how cool skateboards are in front of their face. If you don’t skate for anyone but yourself, that’s cool, just don’t complain about having to be a pro skateboarder. Piss or get off the pot, because other people gotta go.

What’s different about skating now as an adult in comparison to when you were a kid?

Back in the day I did tricks I thought everyone wanted to see. Now I do tricks that feel good to me, regardless of what’s in fashion this week. Lately, I’m into a lot of the scoop airs instead of snapping.

What the most important lesson you’ve learned from life so far?

It’s better to wipe out than not to go at all. At least you can say you went for it.
I want to thank my sponsors: Black Label and Split--I owe you guys big. And all the kids who’ve been buying my boards, thank you.