13 Questions With Michael Niemann of Cockfight Skateboards
1) name rank and serial number
40 years old
My partner, Fat Kevin Lane, is 24 going on 40.
2) tell us about cockfight, how did it start,and why did you start it?
Kevin and I started it back in 2007. We just saw a bunch of generic shit out there. We wanted to make boards we liked to ride.....we wanted to hook up dudes that we were stoked on. We wanted to make some shit that would make people nervous! We started by making one T-shirt. We just sold shirts until we had enough for a run of boards.
3) tell us about the team! ya got some great vids out there! are these guys long time friends or people you picked up along the way?
Kind of a combination. Right now we have a pretty large team of dudes we couldn't be more stoked on. Our crew consists of Oliver Bradley from Derby, UK (lives in Dallas now). he's a sick artist, bad ass carpenter, and all terrain shredder. Jeremy Smith from Spring TX, 16 year old skate historian, power beyond his years. Adam Wiggins, another 16 year old ATV, super loose style, skates fast as shit. Billy Fortier from Hawaii, back yard pool shredder. Wes Meadows, and Peter Furnee are our East coast backyard vert hold outs, not that they don't rip other stuff too. 9 yr old Matthew Niemann, gnarliest 9 year old out there, no early grabs, just raw hard pool coping grinders. Chris Schlag is our resident redneck pool killer, he drinks screw-top wine and says first wall tricks don't count...I've seen him take his belt off and threaten to spank full grown men for dodging coping.
We also have a bro-pro team. First and foremost the infamous Brett Roper. Also known as "Texas Glitter", Brett was the first dude on Cockfight, he's the coolest dude in Austin, TX, and hasn't lived there in like 5 years! Next is Dave Donalson, his car can pop wheelies, he grills better than Bobby Flay, and is probably the techest miniramp skater over 40. We also have Outer Banks killer Jesse Davis, drinks more beer than anyone, and can still toss up a padless eggplant in a backyard pool. and the newest addition to our family is the one legged maniac, Jon Comer.
4)what's new for 2010?
Got a couple of new shapes coming out. New Wilkes and Comer decks coming real soon. Hopefully some good road trips and lots of pool coping.
5)who are some of the artist you are working with on the deck graphics
Paul Neumann and Jesse Davis do most of it. Both are killer in totally different ways. We have also had help from Tim Shawl, Gordon "Freaky G" Smith and Wiley Robertson on a couple of decks.
6)one thing I am trying to convey with shipyard is it's much "cooler" supporting the little guys. how do you get the kids to realize that skateboarding is about individuality and not about having the latest overpriced imported corporate logo popsicle..? I understand logo decks are necessary, but it is annoying as hell to see companies with great teams putting out logo after logo after logo...
We just do our thing and try to have fun all the time. It's hard though....the masses believe whatever the latest magazines and videos tell them. Corporate skateboarding has completely lost it's soul! It makes you bang your head against the wall when kids buy into that shit. There are some kids coming around. I see more and more of them riding small brands and representing.
7)let's get off the band wagon for a minute and tell me about any music coming out of Texas I may be missing out on?
I don't listen to much new music, but 4 of my current faves out of Texas are: The Sword, Amplified Heat, Molotov Compromise, and Scott H. Biram.
8)back to skating...Texas has produced historically had some of the most iconic skaters of all time...any up and comers we should be looking out for?
Jeremy Smith, Nick Parenti, Dirty Joe, and Adam Wiggins are 4 to watch out for. Jeremy and Adam look like a flashback to 1989...but just flat out rip everything. Nick is an ATV with the most natural style I have ever seen. Dirty Joe is the resident pool destroyer. There are alot more, but those are the ones that I get most hyped on.
9)concrete disciples put out a great little spot on Cockfight! like you said, the sarcasm is great! one thing that I thought hit the nail on the head was "What skateboard company in it's right mind would strive to put the highest quality, USA made decks under the feet of their riders while making nearly a zero percent profit?". To me this is one of the most important things people need to know! Why is it more important to you to put out American Made and make no profit then to sell out for the almighty dollar?
It's not even an option to not use USA wood.. That is one of the reasons we started this deal. We wanted good American made skateboards. They were getting harder and harder to find, so we started our own shit. FUCK CHINESE SKATEBOARDS! Our boards will always be pressed and printed in America, no matter what.
10) question on the artwork...Never Again and Shipyard have a specific image we want to portrait and luckily the artist and riders have been down with everything we wanted to do! the only rider model we have at this time is with Dan Tag (but I would love to do a Furnee guest model this year on Shipyard) so it was easy to work with him on the graphics and what he wanted us to do... how do you handle it? do you get involved or is it simply "send me what you want and I will run it?"
Kevin and I are pretty involved in the process.We give our input when we need to. Neither one of us is an artist, but we know what we like. Luckily our riders and artists are on the same program. Everyone has been really easy to work with. Paul and Jesse are both really good.
11) Going back to the Concrete Disciples article...14 decks last year?? that is amazing! the leg work in getting the art and shapes and all that goes into getting a board done is a decent amount of work,but for 14 decks...that is a shitload of work! How the hell do you find time to work, run cockfight, skate, and hang with the fam?
I think we counted up 15 different graphics so far. We got our first boards in December 2008. I am not really sure how we've done it. Everyone involved has a fulltime job and kids. I think we just all love doing it. There are some great people helping out. Paul and Jesse are always ready for a new art project. Our riders are all cool with trying and riding different shapes and concaves. I couldn't be more stoked on our crew.
12) Anyone you want to give props too? I am sure there are a tons of people over the years but if ya have something ya want the masses to know, now is your chance!
Jesse Davis is down to skate, drink beer, or do art anytime. Paul Neumann steps up everytime he is asked. Furnee is unbelievable.....he just kills it with the guerrilla marketing! All of our team riders rule. They will ride anything from curbs to vert ramps. "Freaky G" Smith always gets shit done for us. Joe McDonald puts up with all my calls and emails as well as making damn fine skateboards.
13) so we covered skateboarding and music... now the big question!!!...I have been known to fire up the smoker and dabble in some BBQ on the weekends... what is the best place in Texas for some real BBQ. I like it smokey and spicy so dont hold back on me!
Best BBQ in America is in Lockhart, Texas
Make sure you check out www.cockfightskateboards.com/ for more pics and vids!!
if you havn't read the Concrete Disciples article of Cockfight, you can read it now by clicking here
...This is not Corporate Skateboarding...