Skateboarder Josh Kalis 6 of 7 - Epicly Later'd - VICE

Uploaded by vice on Nov 28, 2011


JOSH KALIS: I was living in Frisco at this point in time,
and my chick bounced.
Went back to Michigan.
And I'm following her.
So I moved to Chicago from Frisco, just to be a little
closer, to see if I can keep that fire going.
And I said, hey, why don't we go to Philly?
She's like, all right.
So her and her friend, we got in a car and we drove to
Me and a couple dudes went to go get some weed.
And so I told her to meet me at LOVE.
And when we got back to LOVE, her and her friend were like,
bugged out.
We were like, what's going on?
She's like, you see those fucking guys over there?
And there was like seven or eight dudes.
She's like, yeah, they were fucking pulling their dicks
out and giving us a hard time.
Her and her girlfriend.
So Stevie was like, what dudes?
STEVIE WILLIAMS: I had a lot of homies that would rob a lot
of people that came to LOVE Park.
So we chilling at LOVE Park one day, and my man was about
to rob Josh.
And I was like, no, no, he cool, he cool.
Don't worry about him.
He good.
When Josh came over and sat down, I
introduced him to everybody.
He was like, damn, where is everybody at?
I"m like, no, this is our park now.
JOSH KALIS: The dudes had knives in their backpack, and
Stevie and them fucking took their knives off them, and
like, get the fuck out of here.
So Olivia saw that, like, brotherhood.
You know what I mean?
She was like, damn, these are your dogs, man.
I'm like, yeah, I'm down to move back.
INTERVIEWER: And your daughter is with her?
Yeah, that's my baby mama.
Mommy and daughter, right there.

ANNOUNCER ON TV: Coming to theaters.
BILL STROBECK: He was a good dad.
They lived up the street from LOVE.
They lived like six, seven blocks away.
So Olivia would come down with Jaelen every now and then.
There's tons of footage of her down there.

RYAN GEE: Of course, brings her right to LOVE.
She was probably like a few months old here, if that, and
now she's like 11, now.
So I think she was born in '99.
JOSH KALIS: She fell in love with it because I fell
in love with it.
I mean, I used to skate Philly before then, but this time it
was like, wow.
I mean, not very many people are skating.
I ran into Stevie, who was like fucked up in a bus stop.
And I was like, man, this is where I want to be.
STEVIE WILLIAMS: I was in the train station, drinking a 40
with my man on the corner.
And Josh pops up, like basically, yo, I got a
apartment here.
I want you to live with me.
I'm like, yeah, right.
But he was serious.
He was like, damn, I wish you skated a little bit more.
And I was like, I don't.
I'm here every day.
But I don't skate no more, really.
INTERVIEWER: So you had already quit Profile
and all that shit?
STEVIE WILLIAMS: I have shit, yo.
I quit everything.
INTERVIEWER: So you quit--
STEVIE WILLIAMS: No, I got kicked
off everything, basically.
'Cause I was wildin'.
I was just some street nigga that just didn't really take
my skill serious.
And it took Josh to like, smack me in
the head, like, yo.
And I'm staying with him.
He getting big-ass boxes of DCs and free shit.
He got all this money.
Every time I turn around he's buying a new car.
And I didn't even have a license.
And he knew that.
But he just wanted to make sure that I was situated and I
maximized the potential that I had.
That's why I love him.
That's my heart right there.
MALE SPEAKER: Ah, yeah, Stevie.
Go, go, go.
STEVIE WILLIAMS: And he helped me get back skating by
battling me.
And like I said, it's somebody that knows you that can pull
your skill out of you and actually see you shine.
And I give Josh a lot of credit for the
rebirth of my career.
JIMMY GORECKI: Growing up there, that's who any kid in
that area looked up to, you know what I mean?
Like I would go skating and I wouldn't have
any laces in my shoes.
And tongues would be out, and we were all--
anybody that's there that was from that area and that said
they weren't a huge Stevie Williams fan
is a goddamn liar.
And he was so Philadelphia.
You know what I mean?
You could see it just pouring out of him, you know?
RB UMALI: Oh, Josh at LOVE Park and Stevie at LOVE Park?
Yeah, those are the days.
I remember, like, rolling up with Josh and being cool with
Stevie right away, and like-- yeah, seeing that whole era go
down was definitely one of the best scenes in
skateboarding ever.
Just like, plaza in the city, locals everywhere,
super fun to skate.
Like the best stuff you can imagine to skate.
And these two kids just ruling it.

RICKY OYOLA: You know, that was right around the time my
back was out.
I couldn't skate for a long time.
And that's when those two started blowing up LOVE on
their level.
It was around that time period.

JIMMY GORECKI: After the Eastern Exposure, Ricky's
movement and that whole crew of people, it was fading out.
And then Josh just revamped the whole
thing, him and Stevie.
And then that brought more light to the O'Connors and the
Pluhowskis and the Pappalardos and Wennings and stuff.
He really brought together this movement.
They were all teammates, whether it
was DC or the Workshop.
And Josh was always just so prominent there, you know?
It was always filming something super hard.
Always just--
he was killing it, man.
Dude skated really fast and did really hard tricks and was
super unique.

And it was always super consistent, you know?
The same way he skates now is just as hard as he
shredded back then.

At the time there wasn't a skateboarder or pro at the
time that me, being like a little hip-hop honky, was more
identifiable with than Josh Kalis, you know?
The raddest thing was, there wasn't a kid that came
downtown that didn't have some DCs on with swooshy pants and
a fucking DC jersey or a Workshop t-shirt.
Every kid, you know?
BILL STROBECK: It turned into a thing when Josh started
skating real hard and wanted to film all the time, take
photos all the time.
And then a lot of people started wanting to come to--
a lot of people wanted to come to Philly.
There was just so many people.
It went from not many at all to so many that it was like, I
was filming all day long and then go out
at night with Generate.
But I wanted to.
I liked it.
Everyone wanted to do it.
We knew that something was going on, and we wanted to
keep it going.
And we wanted to make it bigger.
JOSH KALIS: Come on, put the board on.
BRIAN WENNING: You gotta give me shit?
You broke--
JOSH KALIS: This is Brian Wenning, a new am.
How many boards you got at the house, Brian?
JOSH KALIS: You got some.
JOSH KALIS: He's got three--
he sat on three boards.
Welcome to the team.
MALE SPEAKER: This mug can never break the
board when he tries--
MALE SPEAKER: That was so good.
JOSH KALIS: I looked like a sucker 'cause I fucked up.
But I'ma get 'em, though.
BILL STROBECK: Brian and Anthony were here every day
doing stuff.
So I was like--
everyone was doing stuff.
If I wasn't filming somebody do something here, I was
filming somebody do something over there.
I was here every single day.
Every single day.
Skate down here and I would just hang out with everyone.
It was wild.
There was a lot of people that were there that no one will
ever know, that were like the staples.
MAN IN PARK: I'd rather see them skateboards than running
around trying to stab somebody, trying to take
something from somebody.
BILL STROBECK: There's a whole cast of characters that made
up that place.
MAN IN PARK: Beatnik.
Hey, man.
I used to skate.
You remember, you used to see me out here.
I used to skate hard as shit before.
That's when I know--
I used to do acid.
Hey, look.
Hey, was you out here when I tried to 5-0 that?
I swear I had that shit swarking.
I could never land it.
BILL STROBECK: Like you've seen Stevie and Josh, and all
these guys.
There was a crew of hoodlums and there was a crew of--
RYAN GEE: Derelicts.
BILL STROBECK: Like bums that bone.
And there was also the cops were part of it.
And we--
Josh knew all the undercovers.
He was so boys with them.
He would give them his shoes--
RYAN GEE: He would give them shoes.
POLICE ON LOUDSPEAKER: This is the Philadelphia Police.
Leave the area immediately.
Leave the area immediately.
Get out of here, skateboarders.
JIMMY GORECKI: You would hear stories like, Josh ran into
the undercovers on South Street and he went and took
them all to Elite and put DCs on all of their feet.
So they would run in and he'd be, like--
I remember sitting there one day, like, why is this guy not
even running?
I'm freaking out, like here he had all the
undercovers in his pocket.
They all had his shoes on.
RYAN GEE: These are the shoes I skated in
with Chomp On This.
So-- remember these?
I was just so proud of that video part.
I'm like, dude, I'm going to keep these shoes.
Like Josh's shoes are so sick.
I think these were Stevie's.
STEVIE WILLIAMS: That was that arrow, the Josh and Stevie.
It was a black/white combo.
Everybody know he looked out for me.
And me and him had DC, that made us,
put us on that pedestal.
MIKE BLABAC: This is right when Kalis and Stevie were
both getting their shoes out for DC.
And so at the time, they both lived in Philly, so I
would go out there.
In '99 and 2000, pretty much the whole summer I
spent at LOVE Park.
So this is just a photo from the first summer I really
spent a lot of time out there, was in '99.
JOSH KALIS: Should we go to LOVE Park?
BILL STROBECK: And the thing is, Josh and Stevie, they
combined their skill with that symbol and made something I
don't think I'll ever see again in skating, for a long
time at least.
But like, it was everything.
It was like the board had the LOVE sign on it.
And then there was a photo with everyone in
front of the LOVE sign.
It's like, you do that, and then people from all over the
world-- all of a sudden, people from Germany are
showing up to skate there, from all over.
It was like an attractive spot.
JIMMY GORECKI: And at that time, I was going to New York
every weekend to skate with RB, because the weekend
warriors would come to LOVE and it'd be a hundred kids.

RB UMALI: Came to visit me in New York one time, and I
remember people were like clowning me for
meeting up with Josh.
Like, why are you filming him, man?
You should be filming the guys from New York.
I'm like, dude, that's Josh.
He's my boy from Texas.
I'm gonna film him.
It was really easy to film with Josh.
He always just did something good and never really took
that long of a time for me, you know?
Because I was used to filming certain skaters for a long
time, like lucky to get--
going back every day for a trick and luckily getting like
one trick a week with this guy.
But with Josh, it was super organic.
We'd just go to a spot and be like oh, I'm gonna try this.
I gonna try that.
And it always came out dope.
And then I think--
I don't know if it was in Heads or if it was in--
I think it might have been in Photosynthesis, maybe.
But he did a line at Newport with just a
fakie flip on flat.
And I just remember this fakie flip he did on flat was--
I was like, yeah, that's how you fakie flip.
You gotta fakie flip like you mean it.
BILL STROBECK: This one time I went to Josh's--
I went to his mother's house out in-- where is it out in
Is it in Pennsylvania?
RYAN GEE: Yeah, near Sesame Place, or--
BILL STROBECK: I went out there, and he was skating on--
he had a board on a trampoline.
Have you ever seen him do that?
INTERVIEWER: Yeah, yeah.
That trampoline.
BILL STROBECK: Have you have ever seen him do the board on
the trampoline?
BILL STROBECK: It's psycho.
He can do every trick variation.
It's one of the coolest things I've ever seen.
And I feel like when he skates, he does those tricks
like he's bouncing off the trampoline.
It's like, he ollies and then taps it in the littlest parts,
and it would flip the right way.
Like the bump over the trash cans, the tricks that he did
over them were unfathomable.
Like how do you even pop your board over that
thing, first of all?
If you fall, those trash cans aren't giving at all.
Speaking of Rick, I remember one day saying to Josh, like,
dude, you own those trash cans.
And he goes, nah, Jimmy.
That's not me.
Rick set that off, and I just followed suit.

BILL STROBECK: I think that he was so stoked on Ricky's thing
that he's like, dude, I want to do some
stuff over those things.
BILL STROBECK: I mean, that is one of the things about LOVE.
You would have to pry those fucking tiles up--
RYAN GEE: Yeah, they were so hard--
BILL STROBECK: And you would have three, four, kids
sticking their boards in the crack on each side and prying
it, and then it would get up.
And as soon as it got up, kids would sit down and wait, and
just watch to see who'd go over it.

JOSH KALIS: This is LOVE Park.

This is some funny-ass shit, this story.
So when LOVE got the fence put around it and they shut the
fucking place down, this crackhead used to come in
front of my house, and he'd knock on the door and be like
hey, you need your fucking sidewalk swept
for a buck or something?
I was like, I'll tell you what, man.
I'll give you $1,000 if you go over there and get me one of
them tiles.
It's got to be an original.
Either the maroon or the grey.
And he was like, ppphbt.
Consider it done.
Three days later, fucking--
Dude had it in a shopping cart.
I was like, what?
How A fuck did you get that?
He's like, that's my problem.
Fucking drove him to the bank, took out a G, boom.
INTERVIEWER: Whose signatures are those?
JOSH KALIS: Those are like, probably Rasul or Jason or
something like that.

MALE SPEAKER: He told me never to come back in here, even
though this is a public park.

MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, Kalis.
JIMMY GORECKI: They were always stiff on skating
downtown, but they kind of tolerated it.
And then it got so bad and then when they put the fences
up and remodeled and everything, it was like, they
just stuck a knife right into the lung of
the skateboard community.
Shit just deflated, you know?
You could just walk in that place and you tingled, you
know what I mean?
It just made you skate better, being there.
I remember being there a couple years afterwards and
being, like, fuck, man.
This is difficult.
What happened?
We used to have so much life down here and now it's super
I remember being young, being bummed, like oh, man, these
guys just come to the city and then they fucking move.
And then when I got older, I understood.
Like yeah, you got to keep it moving, you know?
You got to go to another--
that's why Pluhowski and Pappalardo, these guys took
off and went to other cities, you know?
JOSH KALIS: The downtown-style culture seems dead.
Like nobody gives a shit about going downtown, 'cause they
don't wanna--
I don't know if it's they don't want to deal with it, or
there just isn't as many inner city kids?
I don't know what the deal is, but in Barcelona,
it's still city vibe.

The first time I went to Sants-- because Macba is cool,
but it's the tourist spot.
Sants was more, like the--
they had their squat.
And when I got there, it was spray-painted on the wall, it
said, "Go Home."
And I knew the story behind Go Home.
And it was talking about Americans.
Like fucking quit coming here and filming.
So I went there and I fucking introduced myself and they
were all sitting on their table.
I was like, hey, what's up?
I'm Josh, man.
You don't give a shit if I skate around for a little
while, do you?
Maybe film some shit?
And they were like--
Raoul, he says in some super broken English, he was like,
Josh, you are a plaza skater and we are plaza skaters.
Like, feel free.
And I was like, get the fuck out of here.
You know what I mean?
So I felt welcome.
And they welcomed me in like that.
Coolest dudes, man.
Coolest dudes.
And Ruben Garcia, he's like the fucking man over there.

The vibe is like late '90s US vibe.
Plaza vibe.
City vibe.
You hang out all day in one spot.
And the reason why you filmed it is because--
or the reason why I filmed it is because I
just loved the day.
I loved being with my friends.
I loved the spot.
I'm gonna film on it.

It's kind of hard to explain.
It's more of just the feeling, and that's the kind of feeling
that I like to skate with.
I like to film--
the more the merrier.
If I go to the spot with 10 dudes and get kicked out in
five minutes, I'd rather do that than go on secret
missions just so I can try to get this trick.
I don't really dig that.
And that's kind of how, at least in the pro skating
world, it's gone.
It's been like that for a few years.
And Spain is just to get away from that.
I don't give a shit if my footage doesn't look as good.
I don't care if it's not with the best A-list filmer
and all that shit.
I really don't care.
If I'm with my homies, we're having a good time, and
everyone's skating, that's what I want to film.
I want to be a part of that shit, you know?