I try and learn something new from each person I have interviewed and to channel the things that I take from them into my life. When approaching someone like Adam Green, who has been skateboarding for more years than I have been alive for, I knew I was going to value a few things from what he had to say. However, I did not know I was literally going to see skateboarding in our community on an entirely different level. Adam is someone who has skated every spot, witnessed every legendary story first hand, and has helped to support many people progress into who they are now from a young age. If I were to ever write a book about what skateboarding was like in Montreal the last 20 years, Adam would be the first person I would have help me. He was born, raised, and is still living in Montreal, so you can only imagine all the things he has witnessed within the history of skateboarding in our community.
We went to Adams crib to interview him and chill with his dog Jazz. When you enter Adams place, your eyes will instantly begin to race around the walls, scoping out all the rad shit he has collected over the years. Its truly like a skate museum in there, starting from the original Indestructible Vans ad from 1966 to the collection of ash trays modeled after famous skate bowls. You could spend hours just going through all the sick stuff he has (which we kinda did).
And beyond his insane collection of pieces that are valuable to the industry as a whole, Adam could literally make a full length picture book with the amount of files he has on his computer documenting the last 20 years in Montreal skating.
We wanted to do a retrospective interview with Adam to commemorate all the key contributions he has made within himself as a person, as a member of our community, and as a true hard core skateboarder. He talks about the fall and rise of Le Dep skateshop, his battle with fighting off drugs, Project 45, and his current job working at TRH-BAR. We are stoked to be able to share some very rare images he had saved from being published in magazines over the last 13 years. His sponsors include AntiHero, Thunder, Spitfire, Vans, Volcom, Nixon, Jessup, Electric Eyewear, Primitive Headwear, Diamond Supply Co.
GB: How did your passion for skateboarding progress into something you knew you wanted to pursue?
AG: I would say that when it started to happen, is when I started to pursue it. I grew up skating with my buddy John. John and I would take his fucking Dad’s camera and we’d go filming. At the time (1993), if you did frontside flips, you had to flip the board through the legs instead of flipping it, catching it 90 and turning it like Reynolds and all those guys. You had to do it like Muska and pop it through the legs, so we would record our frontside flips to see if we could get them through the legs. And then I actually went to Ottawa for about 3 years and did the end of highschool there. But when I came back (to Montreal), everything just fell into place. I went to my first real contest and this guy Jean with Volcom was like, “We want you to ride for Volcom” and that was my first contest.
GB: So Volcom was the first real company you skated for?
AG: Yep, and I still do.
GB: How long has it been?
AG: Since 2001, so 13 years. That’s crazy, eh? Hahahaha.
GB: What was your first published photo?
AG: First published photo probably had to be with Shane Hutton. He used to do EQ, the skateshop, En Equilibre, it was a pretty good East Coast shop for a while and went to shit, just like everything, haha. I know my first double-page was by Shane Hutton: it was a backsmith in St. Henri, probably in 2004/5.
GB: Was there ever a time when you lost your motivation to skate?
AG: The most recent one was that my ambition, you know, is to always skate, but the drugs definitely took a lot away from skating. Homies would meet up with me at 4am fuckin railed out of my mind to go shoot a photo but even then it gets old, you know, people talk and then its like you're fucking over it. That started about a year and half ago to a year ago, it was like a 6 month period.
GB: Do you want to talk about how you've seen skateboarding progress since you started skating? An overview of what the skate industry has gone through?
AG: Skating is like a rollercoaster. One year 52 millimetres are in with 7.25 boards and that goes away for five years and then everyones riding 8.5, 8.25 56 millimetres and then the next year people are riding 7.5s with 42 millimetres and then baggy pants and you know it's fucking retarded cause its like I remember I would take people to the shittiest spots. I skated all of these alleys from Saint-Denis to Papineau fucking train tracks all the way down to, lets say, Ontario—all that square blockage. I skated those alleys and I loved it. You know that’s where "Cig Alley" [his nickname] comes from. But I would take these kids there and they would be like, “These are the shittiest spots ever,” and now that's the coolest thing to skate and I’m like fuck this. Sometimes I feel like everyone has their own different vibe that they're into and sometimes your shit is in, sometimes your shit is out, you know? I like it when it's out. Its the best when its out. When you start skating its to not be on the hockey team. You start skating to be on the other side getting kicked out of the fucking rink. And now skating is like you’re on the team, your friends at school think it's cool and your mom brings you to K-Mart and buys you a fucking skateboard, fuck that.
GB: How in all of that bullshit do you keep what you're doing honest?
AG: Kids quit skating because they did it to be cool or accepted. I’m just being a dick, but when you’re not doing it to be accepted and you’re doing it because you like it, you see something different. When you pick up a piece of wood just to hear the sound effects of it at 32 years old? Why do I do that? Because I fucking love it. I’m not gonna hide that, you know. It doesn’t get old, it doesn’t.
GB: So what is it about skateboarding that attracts you to it?
AG: The actual skateboarding, the physical hard work of it. And also the liberty of it; I don’t have to pay a ticket, I don’t have to do anything. I can walk outside of my house and go skate for free. It might cost me life damage but it wont cost me anything directly out of my pocket. It's free to go and do. You can do anything once you get that piece of wood. I skated a wall at work [TRH-BAR] for two hours and I learned three tricks on a wall. Like, its just a wall and theres no angles either—you have to go straight at it. Its the liberty of that and for someone who's fucked up like I am, it calms you down. It gives you something to preoccupy your mind with.
GB: Do you feel like you can isolate yourself with skateboarding? Or would you would rather than be in a group and skating with them and be doing that?
AG: I think it depends on the day of the week. I mean, theres times where it's awesome to be in a twenty-five person group, but then at times it's shit. For me, it can be sometimes inspiring if you go skate with a kid like Antoine [Asselin]. But its different, I've skated with Antoin and this other guy Thomas for a long time, so skating with Antoin is different for me. But let's say JS [Lapierre], he’s gonna do something that I’ve never seen before firsthand—he’s gonna, like, ollie heel feeble a rail. And its like, that’s a rail, that’s not a flat bar in the park, and you see him do it so you get motivated.
GB: Where do you see yourself going with skateboarding in the future?
AG: I'll just keep skating, just keep going to Project 45. It's gonna be part of my job like it is now with the bar [TRH-BAR]. I have worked in skate shops my whole life and usually skate shops don’t make money.
GB: What was the last skate shop you worked for? It was Le Dep right?
GB: How were you involved in that? Could you explain how that all started and how it ended?
AG: Started pretty gnarly basically Grant Patterson is friends with this guy Chris Rose. Chris wanted to open a skate shop in Montreal. He's from London, Ontario and the two of them came down and Grant was more or less like, “This is Adam. I think he can help you get connected.” So Chris obviously knew people, he wasn’t just some guy like, “I’ve got money.” Chris loves skateboarding. It's as simple as that, and he put all of his money in that. The way it started was like basically I was there for the missing pieces in Chris's story—I would fill in for him. If he needed to get a brand in or if we needed to skip steps with Volcom. There’s a fucking phonebook of paperwork to get an account [for companies]. There’s minimums, like with Nike, it's fucking bananas, you have to order this many shoes, but everyone has to make money, you know. We were able to bypass a lot of that. Chris was a little more mainstream fashion oriented, but I’m not close minded, having an open mind, I’m thinking, “If that’s what you dig that’s what you dig.” But when it came down to hard goods, Tone [Antoine Asselin], Joey [LaRock], and Chuck [Charles Rivard] were our kids that rode for the shop. We only sold hard goods that they rode for. We'd sell studio, we would sell Enjoi, and Deluxe boards cause Tone rode for Deluxe. It went well it was a lot of fun but i was starting to do a lot of drugs and then I was spending money and I needed more money cause and it was a tough thing, but the shop didn’t end up working out because of sales and location obviously.
Before that, I did the Underworld thing. We opened the bar there. We did videos and website work in the store. Then I did board graphics with them. I fucking designed the cabaret logo and worked with Alex, opened that up with him. While I did that there, I also did boards for all kinds of shops.
GB: How do you deal with investing so much time and energy into something and just watching it fail?
AG: Its horrible. Its like having your heart broken. Petrified. Its so funny that you say that cause my mom would love to hear me answer this question. She says, "You’re a smart person. You’re a good boy. You could do whatever you want". I’ve done university, I did well in school, I can fucking draw, I do whatever I need to do. But, there’s obviously things I can’t do. It has nothing to do with being successful financially either, its just more making ends meet comfortably. If I made something that was big, I would hate it, I would fucking hate it. If every kid on the street was riding my board I'd be like that’s shit. I would hate it not cause I’m a sell out, but because I wanna keep it to the people who think its really cool. Thats the drive now, I'm at the point where I have a job just as if I was working at a skateshop. I can skate, talk shit, throw knives, skate anytime in the building rain or shine, but in the end I am working at a bar. But thats how you manage to associate skating in your life no matter what
GB: So you’re working at TRH- BAR. What is the shit you’re involved with right now?
AG: I’m involved day to day everyday. Joe and Fred, they’re the two best people I’ve ever met. I wanna do anything I can for them and they wanna do the same for me. They genuinely wanna do the same for me if not more, you know. I had to go away for drugs and get better and when I came back I fucking called them from rehab and I asked, “Can I work for you guys?” and Joe was like, “Yeah of course”—no hesitation. First day in the office I have an idea called "Pool Block," its gonna be wednesday nights because wednesdays fucking suck. I was like “Lets do this” and 250 people showed up on the first Pool Block and now it is what it is. Pool block is my main focus.
GB: Could you explain what P45 is all about to our readers?
AG: It's a DIY skate spot. The montreal parks suck ass. Taz is the shame of a nation, going into that building, its shameful. I love Chris and I know he’s building ramps for the public, but I fucking hate skating there. There’s nothing even, when I try and find a little nook, it sucks and to wear pads and to pay to skate... I’m sorry, if you skated 10 years or over, you should be able to skate anywhere for free. I dont give a fuck, especially if the fucking city of montreal is paying for it.
GB: Other passions?
AG: It all derives from skateboarding. I think that before I found skateboarding, I was lost. I love my girlfriend, I’m devoted to her, and devoted to that life. I say to her, “Do as I say, not as I do. Do life right, don’t do it the way I did it.” The way I did it was fun for me, but it was hard for me creating obstacles for myself.
GB: Anything else?
AG: Thank you too Marianne, Mum, Jordan, Meaghan, Reilly, Keno, Bang, Grandma, Picard, Daoust, Fred, Joe, Burger, Matt, Tone, Pat, Gee, PL, Andre, Christina, Bobby, Baitshop crew, Forbes, Cigg, Raj, Sam, Clifford, Dan, Jordo, Bahbs, Nathan, Suggit, Lebeau, Frenchie, Lemay, Boubou, the P45 crew, and of course you girls for caring what a washed up skateboarder has to say. Thank you all.