Introduction & Interview by Mackenzie Eisenhour
I love where skateboarding is at today. The culture itself is liquid cement; able to constantly reinvent itself, on a whim, then harden—by incorporating shifts in its progressive arc, stylistic or terrain preferences, and increasingly—by recycling and updating trends, products, and philosophies from within its own past. This is also being done more and more frequently by a new generation of skaters whether or not they lived through the era, products, and philosophies being sampled. So as Auby Taylor (born circa 1990) opts for Jeff Phillips '80s vert, John Shanahan (born 1995) has firmly grasped the mantle of the late '90s/'00s Kalis/Stevie DC swishy shants hey day.
Initially hunting down NOS (New Old Stock) DCs on eBay and in thrift stores, Shanahan's interest (and the resulting interest in his interest) now has DC themselves on course to re-release even more of their classic, puffier turn of the millennium barnburners. Shifting skateboarding's entire aesthetic (when shoes get bigger, pants must follow) as it does so. Fresh off his curtains in their Street Sweeper video last year (after which every kid at Stoner Plaza immediately started skating the re-issued DC Lynx) we checked in with John to get an update on his quest and the road from future past.
What have you been up to since the Street Sweeper part?
After the Street Sweeper project I was filming for the Bronze video It's Time and I'm currently working on this DGK project Thoro, which is about to drop this month.
You've already had a few interviews covering the throwback DCs and late '90s/early '00s kits. What's new on that front?
Yeah DC has been killing it with the reissues as far as shoes and apparel. It's crazy to be able to skate all these throwback models and not have to worry about them falling apart from being old and dry-rotted. I'm hyped on the direction DC is heading. A lot of cool shit in the works for the next couple years and I'm glad to be a part of it.
Just for the record, what year were you born?
Any new grails you’ve found?
Recently got my hands on the DC x Supreme collab from 1999, brand new in box. Also got two pairs of the DC x KAWS artist series shoes. The grey pair and the black, both new in box from 2002. Got a few original Droors pieces too.
Any new old models you have gotten into? Ever find Stevie's first DC shoe, The Williams?
I have a bunch of the older models. I got Stevie's first shoe recently actually. Someone hit me up on Instagram saying they found 'em at a thrift store. They were kind of dirty and beat up looking so he hooked it up for cheap but I cleaned them up pretty well. I also got Stevie's second shoe "the Reason" in white and red. That shoe inspired me to pick white and red when DC gave me a colorway.
You mentioned you originally got into the bigger shoes for more cushion. Is that still driving a lot of your choices or more aesthetic preferences?
It's a bit of both. I like how they skate and how they look. My feet feel significantly better after switching to a bulkier shoe. Definitely a lot of influence from all the iconic footage and photos as well.
DC must be loving all the new interest in their classics. Any plans for more reissues?
Definitely more plans for some reissues. Got the OG Kalis shoe coming back along with his new shoe. There are a few things in the works but I can't spill the beans just yet. A lot of dope collaborations as well.
Are you still sewing a bunch and doing One Off John?
Yeah, I kinda slowed down for a minute because I've been busy traveling and skating but I'm trying to keep up with it. It's a lot of work and takes a good amount of time but I'm getting back into it. I just ordered my first run of tags today actually.
First video you saw?
Hmm, the first footage I remember is like those clips you would unlock in Tony Hawk's Underground ('03). My stepbrother at the time had it and I remember seeing some Muska clips or some shit. He would download a bunch of videos off Limewire too. I remember waiting forever for the thing to download because we had a dial-up modem (56K). I feel like Baker 3 ('05) could have been like the first actual video I watched or at least remembered and watched repeatedly. The first video I bought was iThink ('05).
First pair of skate shoes you bought?
Damn I don't even know. Maybe those etnies with the "E" on the side—fresh out the mall.
I think it's rad that people are choosing to relive certain eras. Like Auby Taylor went to Jeff Phillips '80s vert and you went year 2000 Welsh/Kalis. Do you think it matters if you lived through the phase at the time?
Nah it doesn't matter. You can draw inspiration from anywhere and if that's what gets you hyped then run it up.
Robbie McKinley recently told me the DC Manteca in all black was the best late 90s/early 00s model. Thoughts on the Manteca?
I love the Mantecas! Yeah, I've bought and skated a few old ones. DC actually still makes the Manteca. You can go on their website and buy those right now. Another one of my favorites is the Avatar. It's basically a Manteca with a strap. The Air Force 1 of skate shoes.
Are you also into music from parts that came out back then?
Yeah, I like music from back then and current stuff too.
Favorite tracks from classic videos?
Kalis' song in Photosynthesis (Black Rob "Woah!") and the Habitat section (Mr. Dibbs "Primitive Tracks")
Guy Mariano in Mouse (Herbie Hancock "Watermelon Man")
Stevie's song in The DC Video (Beanie Sigel "Don't Realize")
Marcus McBride in Got Gold (Shyne "Bonnie & Shyne")
Jake Johnson In Mind Field (Animal Collective "My Girls")
There's a bunch more but these come to mind. It's crazy how a video part can make you love a song you wouldn't normally be down for.
What's up with snow skating? Are you still heavy into that? How does it compare to being on the streets?
Haha, snow skating is mad fun! If it's snowing I'm always down to go out and fuck around on that thing. There are two kinds of snowskates though and they're completely different. There's a flat deck, which is better for tricks and street skating. And then there's the bi-level, which is like a board with trucks and a ski under it. That one is sick for riding at mountains and bombing hills and hitting jumps. It's mad hard but so much fun.
Favorite 411VM or On Video?
On Video Love Park (Winter 2004) and the 411 with the Alien Workshop Industry Section (Issue 30).
Best part in The DC Video ('03)?
Damn! Why you gotta do that!? Stevie, Kalis, and Wenning. I don't really think one is better than the other— all three are classics and get me hyped to skate every time!