Co-founder and owner of the iconic, Vancouver-based Skull Skates brand of skateboards, the “PD” in Kitsilano’s PD’s Hotshop, the curator of the Skateboarding In Vancouver exhibit at the MOV from a few years back, PD is a living legend within skateboarding. He has been an influence and an inspiration for a good 30 years, growing and evolving his business without sacrificing quality, integrity or his vision on how things should be run. He’s also in love with life in Vancouver, and we’re fortunate to have him share his thoughts with us…
What makes Vancouver so awesome?
The layout of our city is such that you can easily skate, bike, walk or take the bus to get around town, this is important to me after having lived in a city like Los Angeles where you are dead without a car. The people are rad, there are all kinds in Vancouver.
Who’s your favourite Vancouverite of all time?
That’s a trick question… they all have the potential to be the the most and the least favorite depending on situation and context, off the top of my head though…David Suzuki, Joey Shithead, Sluggo and the homeless guy that offered to give me his walking stick when I commented that I thought it was a nice stick.
Won’t tell you my favorite as I don’t want to blow it out, my second favorite is the Lavender Lotus Cafe on 10th near Alma, kick ass vegetarian all hand prepared with quality ingredients by nice hard working people…best muffins in the city too.
What’s your favourite new band from Vancouver? “New” being from, like, the past 5 years.
Sorcerers hands down…they are so good that we formed Skull Skates Recordings and released their debut album on vinyl. Seriously though, amazing rhythm section with crazed vocalist and bugged out guitar, very innovative arrangements and amazing live shows. The best kept secret in Vancouver…i you get a chance see them.
What’s your favourite Vancouver band of all time?
Hmmm tough one, I’d say a solid tie between DOA and the Subhumans…with honorable mention to the Pointed Sticks and the Modernettes, DOA is just so inspiring because of their tenacity and the Subhumans, Pointed Sticks and Modernettes all had very original sounds. In the late 70s and early 80s you could see all of these and many more great and not so great local bands playing at the Smillin Buddha on Hastings or at various hall gigs around the city.
For those who might not have been around to experience it, what was the Nappy Dugout and how long did it last?
The Nappy Dugout was our all ages club in downtown Vancouver which was open for 13 months around 1992-93…it was right across the street from Luvafair with a back alley entrance, the cops knew what we were doing and let us run without a license cause they new it was a good thing for the youth [ we didn’t serve or allow booze in the place]. It was a great spot where we hosted live bands and hip hop acts etc. We had linoleum on the floor for kids to break, there was a great show once with Low Damage Posse out of Osaka Japan. Crazy as it seems now, the hip hop and skate communities were separate at the time and the Dugout is the spot were everyone met for the first time.
What was your favourite show there?
Green Day played there once for about 200 screaming kids, that’s when they were still touring in their beat up little Econoline van. Good people and a great show. The SNFU shows there were also amazing. A couple of times Mr. Chi Pig packed out our venue and played for $100 allowing us to cover the rent for a couple of months and stay open for more shows. A lot of the local bands, like Strain and Sparkmarker, were very supportive in booking and promoting shows there.
Any plans on putting together another venue in the future?
Honestly, I’d say it’s not very likely. Generating enough income to cover overhead in Vancouver is a difficult task and I already have a full-time job.
In the history of skateboarding in Vancouver, who have been your favourite skateboarders decade to decade?
There has been a lot of amazing skating talent to come out of Vancouver, but to put it in a nutshell:
70’s Cory Campbell
80’s Carlos Longo
90’s Moses Itkonen
00’s Geoff Dermer
All of these skaters have had the specific ability to fuse technical know how with style and flow.
Aside from the logo, do you have a favourite Skull Skates graphic of all time?
Yup, that is a toss up between the Hackett Street Sicle and the Dead Guys design.
What’s been your favourite Hot Shop location thus far?
The favorite has got to be our current location in Kitsilano. It’s much like our 80’s location that was in South Vancouver in that it’s a tiny space packed full of stuff. It’s in one of the best neighborhoods in the city, close to what may be the best flatland skimboard spot in the world (Spanish Banks). After a little over 13 years, it feels like we’re starting to achieve “local status”.
Favourite winter activity?
It used to be snowboarding from ’81 – ’98 now it’s leaving town to go somewhere warm.
Favourite summer activity?
Skateboarding, skimboarding, bike riding – all in one day!
Best neighborhood in the city?
After living in every neighborhood in the city (really EVERY neighborhood), I’ll have to tell you that there is no ‘best’ neighborhood in Vancouver.
What’s new with Skull Skates?
The newest thing on the go is Skull Skates Recordings, which is a project we’ve talked about for a couple of decades and just now managed to get off the ground with the release of our first vinyl LP for a band called Sorcerers. I suppose the other big news is that after 15 years or so Skull Skates products are now available in U.S. skate shops as a result of a new distribution agreement with Blitz in Huntington Beach, CA.
What are you working on right now?
2010 skimboard shapes and graphics also thinking we might take a look at designing some snowboards again.
If I gave you 100 bucks right now, what would you go spend it on?
I’d go to the dollar store and buy a bunch of pocket size toiletries and give them to people who need them.