Powder and Rails: Shawn Farmer

Uploaded by vice on 12.12.2012

-Tom Burt.
Where's Tom?
Is he still here?
He had to catch a flight.
[INAUDIBLE] you out there?
Shawn, you want to--
Yeah, come on up, Shawn.
Shawn, you were out there taking runs, getting in
people's ways and stuff.
You should have two shirts.
Shawn Farmer-- two shirts for being out there.
Wasn't in the competition, but he was in the pipe.
DAVE SEOANE: Farmer definitely goes through stages where he,
like, takes care of himself.
And he--
this is kind of a hard one-- but today, he's like, I would
totally quit drinking if I had a reason to.
Like, if I had a girl that I was totally in love with, I
would probably quit drinking, but I don't really have a
reason to quit drinking.
That was pretty heavy.
Because when he drinks, he is not afraid.
And it's actually kind of scary.
He turns into this caveman.
And you can't, you can't--
you're like, Farm.
And he's like a dog.
And you have to say, Farmer-- you can't talk to him and be
You have to say, Farmer, sit, now.
And he'll, like, OK.
Definitely got to be careful about crossing the line.
SHAWN FARMER: These [INAUDIBLE] wool pants from
the army store.
A pair of Sorels, right?
You know when your feet hurt too bad from the pair of
Sorels If you could get a pair [INAUDIBLE] liners, you were
like, Jesus Christ on a fucking popsicle stick.
That's why we're here, man, today, because we were here
back then, man.
-Back then?
SHAUN WHITE: Dude, one of the first times I met Farmer was
at the "My Way" premiere video.
It was Arnette's video.
And he showed up with, like, fur boots and some bondage
weird gear like this, with a leash on his girlfriend in the
same sort of getup.
And I'm just like who is this guy?
Like, he's so unreal, and he's never been afraid to go the
distance for anything.
And he's a great guy.
He's just, like, way into snowboarding, way into the
back country.
SHAWN FARMER: My house is super trashed, man.
Because I've just been on the go lately.

I've got shit everywhere.

Let me scoop some of this up.

I have one plastic cup-- probably because I don't have
any glasses.

I had one glass.
I have one plastic cup.
I've got that going for me.
If someone wants to stay with me, they can stay with me.
I've told people all winter come up and stay, and, like,
nobody came and stayed with me, dude, except for the guys
I work with.
It's like an emergency thing for the guys that I work with.
Because we plow snow and sometimes if it snows really
bad, then they don't have to drive home to Reno.
They can, like, stay up here.
And so I'm just like a house man--
house mom, I guess.
I'm not a very good house mom, but yeah.
But I've been telling my friends, man, come up.
I have a room.
The beds are all made and ready for you.

JERRY DUGAN: You know, Sean Farmer's an interesting
individual on so many levels.
He's super high-functioning intelligent and a total idiot
at the same time.
I love the guy with my whole heart.
And he's super creative, super talented, and is completely
ADD, as I am.
So he's just all over the board.
SHAWN FARMER: The boot drier.
The boot drier I made.
It goes together like this so you can, like,
transport it, you know?
You put this blow dryer on here like this.

It's rad.
Sick, huh?
Then you put your boots in.
You put your boots in there.

You put this in your boots, you know, and then your gloves
on top of here.
It totally kicks out the heat, man, like in 10 minutes.
10 minutes, you're good.
-You should patent that.
SHAWN FARMER: It's so bad ass.
It's probably a fire hazard and everything.
I want to get a timer for it so you can just set it for,
like, 10 minutes or 20 minutes.
Because, you know, have you ever seen those boot dryers
that don't do anything?
Like, what is this?
It blows, like, room temperature air on there?
And you're like, what the fuck is that?
What you want is, like, when you come out-- when you get
your boots out of your car because you forgot and left
them in and they're frozen solid?
You put that thing on there.
And I swear to god in 10 minutes, 15 minutes
tops, it's bone dry.
Shit is just steaming hot.

Maybe I should get a different shirt.
-I just wanted to know how you got into snowboarding, because
where are you from, originally?
-Where at?
Jefferson City.
Some people say Missoura.
Some people say Missouri, you know?
No, it's Jefferson City, Missoura.
I just got on a thing-- you know, whatever.
It's just a stunt.
It's something to do for, like, first for the actual--
yeah, I got on what we call the snowboard at the time.
One of my buddies even had one of those Sims ones.
It's like a plastic tray kind of thing.
You bolt your skateboard deck to it.
But I mean, we just did that because it was wintertime and
you couldn't really skateboard.
And we thought it was cool.
At one point, I graduated from high school.
I went to college for one semester, and I was just like
pretty much not into it.
I mean, I got OK grades, and I was like, I want to go ski.
The idea was skiing.
It wasn't even snowboarding.
I was like, I was going to ski out in Colorado.
I was like, I'll take a semester off, or a year off,
and go mess around out there and ski.
And then I went out there.
And then I saw a snowboard video.
I think it was called "One Track Mind," or something.
It was an old Burton one.
Once I saw that, I was just like, I skateboard.
I'm getting one of those.
Me and my buddy, Joey [INAUDIBLE], we went to Wave
Rave in Boulder.
And we had like our whole paychecks for the week.
And we bought the only two snowboards they had in that
store, which was two Burton Elite--
yeah, Performer Elites with no high backs.
That was '85, '86.
And so by the end of season-- well, no ski
areas allowed it, really.
We had to go to Berthoud Pass so that we could snowboard.
That was the only place.
Berthoud Pass would allow snowboarding.
Not Summit County, not Breckenridge, no nothing,
until like halfway through the season.
Then they converted it.
Then they had the world championships in the spring.
They did a complete 180.
So then I started riding at Breckenridge.
And by the time it was time for like the world
championships, I was pretty decent.
Because everyone no one around there could like--
you couldn't ride unless you hiked or
went to Berthoud Pass.
So I was in the mix pretty quick.
My name's Shawn Farmer.
I've been snowboarding about five or 10 years.
And it's pretty much all I do.
Farmer's always been pretty much Farm.
He's a really amazing guy.
He's got a really unique personality.
And if he's on your good side--
I mean if you're on his good side, it's a good thing.
And we pretty much clicked right off the bat, my brother
and I and Shawn.
And he's been my friend ever since.
And some people would say he's kind of crazy in certain ways,
and on a snowboard, definitely.
SHAWN FARMER: I was living in Colorado at the time.
And I was doing a little contest circuit a little bit.
And I was not really into it, because we'd go in the
backcountry and kind of take pictures.
And we always looked cool.
And then I'd go to these events and they had such a--
the stuff was not that cool.
The half pipes were horrible.
And once and a while, I could throw a backflip or do
something pretty rad, but I was never
consistent in a half pipe.
And I just wasn't into the contest scene.
And then I went to the Mount Baker Bank Slalom is what it
was in Washington.
I got second place in the event the first time I ever
went, and then--
behind Craig Kelly.
Anyway, I got from Colorado to Washington.
And snowed like 5 feet.
I don't know.
It just snows and snows and snows up there.
And I was riding with Craig Kelly.
And I was like, is this how it is all the time up here?
And he's like, yeah, pretty much.
And I was like, rad.
So next year I moved there.
Baker's got just crazy steeps, and it dumps there.
MIKE HATCHETT: He was living in Baker at one point.
And he just was one of the first guys to really nail
[INAUDIBLE] lines and just charge the steeps.
And he was super, super gutsy on a snowboard.
He would just go huge.
PAT BRIDGES: Yeah, Shawn Farmer came in and--

you got to understand, in, like, 1990, 1991, while
and I mean everybody--
who was making a living off of snowboarding was competing, a
small group of guys, as opposed to competing, they cut
down on their contest regimen.
Instead of doing one a month, they decided to do two a year.
And they started filming.
And they saw that this is a way to take a sport that's
cold, remote, and bring it to the masses.
SHAWN FARMER: But to rewind little bit, Nick Perata, I met
him when I was competing and touring around Colorado.
At one point a buddy of his-- they were from LA.
One of his buddies was from LA.
And he was into filming, 16 millimeter.
And they started making this movie.
And they were just like, hey, do you want
to be in this movie?
And I'm like, cool, let's do the movie.
So I mean, it's sort of a blur.
It was like the Hatchett brothers, Nick Perata, our
buddy Jeff--
this Jeff dude from--
I can't remember his last name right now.
We just started making this movie, man, "Totally Board 1."
MIKE HATCHETT: It was our first film.
And we really didn't have--
the concept wasn't out there of shooting dudes' segments on
this certain person.
There was no real set formula.
Those guys were our bros.
And they were available to shoot.
And we decided to commit a whole winter to it.
Basically was just Nick, Dave, and Shawn were the main stars
of that movie.
SHAWN FARMER: I mean I did some cool stuff.
I jumped the Mount Baker road gap--
that I'd heard talked about forever.
But I never saw any pictures of it.
So I was just like, right here, right here?
This is it?
Let's got up there and do that.
MIKE HATCHETT: He was definitely one of the
ballsiest snowboarders back in that day in '88, '89, '90.
We we're driving up to Baker to shoot.
And we were like, that looks like a place you
could jump the road.
We just built a kicker and Shawn jumped it and didn't
really think that much of it.
SHAWN FARMER: I almost got hurt on that a couple times,
just on the in run, coming in, like, fell down, like,
directly over the road.
The snow just dumped off, and I was like, oh my god, but did
it again and pulled that pretty clean.
MIKE RANQUET: I remember I was sitting on the road drinking
beers, just going, what a fucking nut bag.
And he kept coming over.
He was like, hey Ranquet, I'm going to do it
with my shirt off.
You know, peels his shirt off.
He's just cut.
I'm like, what are you doing?
And he pulled it, just did this sweet kicked out method
air and landed it.
Didn't even eat shit like I expected--
wanted him to.
SHAWN FARMER: Jeff Tulloch, he did it to.
I don't think anyone even knows that he did it.
But he did it too.
MIKE HATCHETT: Shawn had to duck under this tree branch
right before the in run, because it was low.
I'm sure someone hacked it off with a tree saw by now.
But it was just a small branch going across the in run.
But of course, back in the day, we didn't think about
doing stuff like that.
I would never cut a tree branch down either.
SHAWN FARMER: I think I was the first one to hit that.
Now guys--
I did a method over it.
Now guys are doing rodeos and who knows what over it.
Plus, they build a cheese wedge that's six feet high.
I mean, we built like-- for us a kicker was like,
OK, we got a kicker.
Stomp on that little bit.
That was it.
And then we got to go to Alaska.
I don't know.
All this stuff happened in a short period of time.
I was in Colorado.
I was riding Sims boards.
Then I was in Washington.
Next thing I knew, I was on G&S boards.
Because what happened was, I went from Washington to Tahoe
to film some more after we filmed all spring and winter.
And then we got sent that summer to Alaska with K2, just
because, hey, you want to be on K2?
We'll pay you.
And I go, OK.
The K2 thing was probably my best run.
And then we just started jumping off
stuff up there in Alaska.
They dropped us off on a glacier with an airplane.
We're flying in on the airplane
looking up at the mountain.
It's like you're down in here in the airplane.
Here's this face.
And you're going, [WHINING SOUND].
You're looking up at this rock wall, just going, damn.
And then we got dropped off with a bunch of, like, free
heel ski gear and a bunch of crampons and backpacks.
I didn't know nothing about any of that stuff-- a bunch of
dried food and stuff.
Luckily the people that were with us were organized enough
to get the good stuff.
And the North Face, we had all the North Face gear--
North Face tents, North Face bags.
And just started climbing this mountain, the Moose's Tooth,
which is 9,000.
Doesn't sound like a lot, but up there, 9,000 is like 9,000,
you know what I mean?
It's like 8,000 feet above the glaciers.
So you're up there.
We were definitely some of the first snowboarders to get
recognition for going up there, and certainly probably
one of only a handful of people from the lower 48, as
they call it, to go up there and do that stuff.
My other buddies were from Alaska, so they were dinking
around and getting in some hellies.
But we were some of the first guys, probably out of a
handful of five people--
maybe Zellers and Burt and me and Nick and Pappas were the
first guys to do it, really, for sure.
Well it was "Totally Board" and then Hatchett worked for
Fall Line Films one year.
JERRY DUGAN: Shawn Farmer came into the scene in "Critical
Condition," which would have been our third film.
And he had worked with--
it was the original "Totally Board." And it got a little
bit of play, and then kind of disappeared off the map.
And that year, Hatchett came to work for me.
Farmer, who was working with them, really had no film
company to go to.
So he called me and just was like pretty much the cockiest
asshole you ever would have met.
He was just like, dude, your film needs me.
I'm like, what do you mean my film need you?
He's like, dude, no one's doing the kind
of stuff I'm doing.
You need me in your film.
And he just wouldn't stop calling.
At some point, I'm just like, dude, come on.
I saw your film.
I saw you do some stuff in it.
Yeah, you're OK.
But you've kind of got this ape-like style.
And you're kind of Cro-Magnon.
And he just kept calling.
SHAWN FARMER: They called me, man.
That part is bullshit.
"Farmer called us." They called me, or they at least,
like, put the word out.
I was just like, OK, these guys want to do it.
I'm available.
Point the camera at me.
They wanted to put me on the map.
JERRY DUGAN: Finally that's where we
came up with the thing.
It was like, fine, dude.
Put up or shut up.
We sent him a bus ticket because he was stuck in Utah.
He couldn't get out to Tahoe.
He couldn't get himself here to film.
So I was like fine.
We sent him a bus ticket and said, put up or shut up.
You're talking all this smack.
Back it up.
SHAWN FARMER: You know, I think it's basically pretty
close to the truth.
I don't remember riding the bus.
I think I might have bought my own plane ticket.
I think they said they'd buy me a plane ticket.
And I was like, fuck you guys.
I'll just buy my own fucking plane ticket.
And so I came out.
And then we came out of the bus station or whatever.
Anyway, there was some argument.
There was definitely some argument or issue there.
JERRY DUGAN: And I think he pretty much lived with me on
off for two or three years after that point.
Sponsorship and him were a really tough animal to sort of
cohabitate together.
He was a very outspoken and not always
controllable commodity.
And he's got a million things and a million ideas and a
million things he wants to do.
And when he gets something in his head, he just doesn't
really let it rest until he gets it out and does it.
And that was kind of like his rap.
He wanted to be a rap star, not just a snowboard star.
He wanted to be a rap star too.
So we gave him a shot at it.

SHAWN FARMER: I think I just kept hammering on Jerry and
going, man, I want to make a video.
I want to make a rap video.
I want to make a song.
I got this song, you know?
He's like, fine, let's do it.
And luckily, he had this buddy who could loop.
As soon as I heard that people were looping beats, I was like
man, you take a song that's already a hit
and sing on it again?
How can you go wrong, unless you're a total retard?
I was like, here's what I want to do.
I want to take this Doors lick.
And don't ask me how they got away with that or what the
hell they did, if they settled.
I have no idea.
JERRY DUGAN: My original partner in my first company
with Artie was this guy named Kendrick Wells.
And he was an old friend of mine I grew up with in Marin.
And he had a little recording studio and
recorded some rappers.
He was one of Tupac's really good friends.
And he worked with Farmer and myself to come up with that
first song.
SHAWN FARMER: I was loaded one day and dropped a 40 in the
studio and broke it all over all the wires and everything.
That was the kind of stuff I did.
But we got it done.
And then I think I did one take, I know
not more than two.
I was just like, man, I feel it right now.
But if you keep making me do this over
and over, I'll just--
I think we did one take and a couple overdubs, and that was
it, and a couple of punch tracks.
JERRY DUGAN: Those were the old days before we knew you
could attach cameras.
I think I just pretty much hung out on the hood.
It was back old school style before I knew about cool
mounts and fancy rigging and grips and gaffers.
You can get a lot more done in life sometimes before you know
how to do it.
You just do it, and it kind of works.
SHAWN FARMER: So I knew that would work.
And whether it's a hit or not, I don't care.
But people like it.
I dig it.
And I thought it came out pretty good.
They did a good job.
And I think they did pretty awesome production.
Back then, that year, that movie was the shit.
It was like, yeah, at the trade show or whatever.
JERRY DUGAN: There's very few people I've been as impressed
with as him.
He is one of the ballsiest technicians I've ever met.
We'll be on the ground.
We'll be back at the barbie angles.
We used to call it the barbecue angle.
And he'll look at a line-- he's like, I'm going to make
two turns, I'm going to pop off here, jump 20 feet, land
on that patch right there, you know, 15-foot patch of snow,
get it together and then pop off that 50-footer.
And I'm like, OK have fun.
I'll be down here.
I've got the angle.
You go.
And he'll go up there and he'll just fricking do it
every time.
It's just, his awareness of where he was in spatial
relationship to the mountains, the snow, and his ability to
get himself to where he said was hands down better than
almost everyone, except, I'd say, like, Tom Burt.
DAMIAN SANDERS: Farmer was bad ass.
He was like a bear.
He was almost like a biker.
He was a big guy.
He had all that crazy hair.
But he was just funny.
He was hilarious back in the days.
We had so much fun riding together-- a
hell of a lot of talent.
He could ride steep cliffs and big jumps
like nobody's business.
He was like a Tom Burt-style rider.
Those guys were kind of in the same world.
TOM BURT: Farmer was kind of a loose cannon rider.
He kind of did a little bit of everything, but
mostly he free rode.
So he rode kind of big mountains.
But he also did tricks and airs and
stupid stunts and things.
But he was actually real progressive.
He was doing back flips to fakie.
He was the first person I ever saw do anything with that.
Pretty early on, the only other kind of guy landing
fakie was Ranquet at that time.
But he brought another character to the sport.
SHAWN FARMER: I still think the "Critical Condition"
part's probably my best thing.
I had a lot of delusions of grandeur and stuff, and just
get sidetracked.
I like rapping.
Really, at the time, I was like, man, all I'm going to do
is I'm going to make this rhyme.
And I'm just going to walk.
I'm going to step right out of this whole thing and just
start doing hip hop.
And then, I don't know, man.
I love the mountains.
The city just fucks me up.
And that's where it seems like all that glamour boy shit goes
on, or even the production stuff.
If I have to actually drive around down there and try to
figure this shit out, I'll literally just turn around and
leave town.
I just freak out.
I freak out in Reno.
he's a buddy mine.
I met that guy in '85 or '86 or '87 when I
was still in Colorado.
He was always this crazy heavy metal dude.
The band we were in was called Soak.
But he just kind of brought me in.
He was like, we want to put rap with metal, which was
really a novel idea at the time.
I still don't think anyone is doing it right.
I mean, there's a couple guys.
There's Rage Against The Machine and Anthrax.
We were doing it right at the same time or maybe even before
some of those guys.
And he's just like, yeah, you can be the rapper.
And I'm like, OK, but we were always butting heads.
It's so hard to have two singers.
Played in that band for quite a few years off and on.
It's just so sort to balance.
You're trying to be a pro snowboarder and go whatever,
around the world, and then come back to this band.
Everybody's pissed at you because you were gone for
three weeks.
But it was still fun, man.
We rocked.
SHAWN FARMER: And that whole game is so crazy, but I still
am into it.
I still like rapping and stuff.
And I love snowboarding.
I still love snowboarding.
I don't care whether anyone's around or not.
I just dig it.
The thing that trips me out, man, is like if things
would've fell together differently, we'd probably be
sitting in my mansion by the pool or something.
But it didn't.
And I don't know--
sometimes I feel like you're just chasing that thing.
And for some people, it all happens, and when it is
happening, you better get it, and hang onto it as
tight as you can.
I steered.
I took a couple wrong turns, I think.
I'd rather fucking pound nails than deal with some of these
kooks that had nothing to do.
I could go crazy on this.
But I just saw a lot of this stuff coming.
And I was just like, man, you just want to be with people
that you trust or that you believe in.
And I just think a lot of these people are just like,
yo, what's the next big thing.
It's like, yo, fucking the slinky, man.
I don't fucking know.

JERRY DUGAN: I think that he scared a lot of people,
because he was a little bit of a loose cannon.
He did kind of do his own thing.
And if you're trying to promote an image, and you're
trying to promote a wholesome image, or you're trying to
promote a healthy image, and all of a sudden, you've got
Farmer drunk, taking his clothes off, jumping off
something, or getting in a fight or yelling at someone.
Then that's a tough thing when you're a company that has to
justify results to a board--
people that don't understand the nature of the sport.
And I think that's where he got into some problems.
That said, he had a good run at it.
He did get paid.
He got paid well for a while.
So for sure, someone believed in him at some point.
But he had different ideas on things too.
He didn't want to make the board that was the all around
everything board.
He wanted to make a big board that he could fly 100-foot
cliffs off of.
And there's a small amount of the market
that rides that way.
SHAWN FARMER: I don't know what the reason was, but man,
boards were always breaking.
Those things broke too, but they just seemed have more
life than a lot of stuff that was out there.
I just always thought-- and I still like big boards.
They're great for certain things.
It's kind of a lot of work, is all, to ride one.
JERRY DUGAN: The Farmer--
the 185-centimeter Farmer board made by Summit was not a
board that everyone was riding.
That thing was great if you wanted to drop an 80-fot
cliff, and you had nice fresh powder on the way in and
powder on the way out, and you had enough balls and muscle to
turn the thing.
But in his sort of theory, it's like, no, no,
that's what I want.
He had a pretty good run with K2 for a while.
K2 had a bunch of boards under his name that encompassed a
broader riding style.
SHAWN FARMER: I had a pretty good run at it.
I look back, and I'm just like, I could've don this,
this, and this different, and maybe even
still be up in there.
But it's like, what are you going to do, man?
You're fricking snowboarding.
What do you want?

HANNA TETER: I remember getting asked to do that
"First Descent" movie with Shawn Farmer and Terje and
Nick Perata.
I'd never met Nick or Shawn Farmer.
It was New Year's before we started filming that movie,
and I met him at a bar.
And I just thought he was a sketchy dude.
And I was like, I have to go on a trip with this crazy guy
for three weeks.
And I was all scared, but then when I actually got out to the
backcountry with them, and they were just super chill,
and made it, like, the best experience of my life.
I mean, Shawn is a crazy, crazy man.
And he can rap like no other.
But he's a hell of a snowboarder.
SHAUN WHITE: I was impressed.
I mean, I know he felt a little overwhelmed when we
built this massive jump out there in the mountains,
because it's not really his style.
But whatever myself and Travis were doing on the jump, he was
beating that tenfold on just getting down these crazy runs
on the mountain there.
I was impressed.
I was just blown away because he looked at it so differently
from the way I would look at it.
I'm like, oh, I want to jump off that.
He's like, no, I'm going to creep down this ridge, then
I'm going to cut over.
And it was impressive to see how he looks at it, because
everybody sees something but it's always different from
what everybody else sees.
SHAWN FARMER: I like big mountain stuff, man.
I really like slashes.
I like doing airs.
And I'm not super focused on tricks.
If I do a big grab or a big method or a big back or
something, and just a really sweet line, I like to try to
be relatively fluid.
And I like to haul ass.
I like speed a lot, like really carrying a lot of
speed, and just getting, like, to that point, where
I'm like, oh my god.
I can't even turn anymore.
I'm just not obsessed with tricks or anything so much as
I just like being out on the mountain, man.
I like snowboarding.
I don't have to try to do a lot of craziness.
I just take whatever's in front of me, do a couple
things, get out there, and keep going.

MIKE HATCHETT: Shawn's one of those guys I wish there was
more people like him today in
snowboarding, more like Farmer.
Not to say there's not great personalities out there.
But Farmer's just one of those guys that you just, you meet
him and he sticks in your head forever.
And he's the kind of guy that his personality and his
charisma, just everything about the guy,
you just know him.
And like I said, I wish there was more people like that in
snowboarding today.
It's almost like the marketability of someone like
that, just someone with that amazing of a--
he's an amazing person.
And there's not a lot of guys like that around.
He's amazing.

SHAWN FARMER: All right.

Like that.
-What's this shirt?
SHAWN FARMER: Jefferson City Correctional Facility.
That's where I'm from.
Jefferson City, Missouri.

It gets the job done.

All right.
That's enough of that.