We talk jumping off Niagara Falls, getting haunted and political disillusionment with one of the USA's inimitable skateboarders
As part of our States of Independence summer takeover, 50 American indie icons have volunteered to take the Dazed Pop Quiz; a quick-fire Q&A about what they love and loathe about life in the USA. Check back here every day for more from the series.
Asking Chad Muska what’s in his bag might seem like an odd question to most people. But those familiar with the inimitable skateboarder will know he is rarely seen pulling tricks without his backpack and boom box. “I guess it would be my phone, an extra pair of socks and boxers, markers, spray paint and headphones,” says Muska, currently in London as part of SUPRA UK ‘s Residency tour. Featuring on Transworld SKATEboarding magazine’s '30 Most Influential Skaters of All Time’ list, Muska, who spent some of his childhood in Phoenix, Arizona, actually started out as a BMXer, until luckily, his bike got stolen. He then got picked up by Toy Machine – and pretty much went on to rule the '90s with some mad weird fashion sense and a game-changing section in Fulfill The Dream on Shorty’s Skateboards.
Which living American do you most admire and why?
Chad Muska: That’s a hard question, I don’t really idolise people really that much you know. I always like dead people more than I like living people. They disappoint you less. This is a hard one…living American I admire the most…I would say...my mom.
Which living American do you most despise and why?
Chad Muska: George Bush.
Whose face should be on the $100 bill?
Chad Muska: Mine.
What is your favourite quote about America?
Chad Muska: Fat, sick and nearly dead. I don’t know if that’s a quote, that’s the name of a movie, does that count? Actually, that’s a little harsh. Land of the free, home of the brave.
Which 3 words define the states today?
Chad Muska: Pivotal, iconic, proud.
Who gave you your first break?
Chad Muska: One person that really helped me out in skateboarding was Jamie Thomas. He really gave me a chance to get on my first good team and saw something in me. There were others before that and I was sponsored but I feel like that was one of the pivotal moments in my career, when Jamie Thomas put me on Toy Machine.
When and where were you happiest?
Chad Muska: When I left home and was homeless in San Diego, pursuing my dreams, sleeping on a beach, and had no idea what was gonna happen, and had no money, and nothing in front of me except opportunity and passion. I was 16, maybe 15 actually.
What high school clique were you in?
Chad Muska: I only went to high school for a few months but if anything I would have been with the skaters. But actually in my high school there were only two so we were a pretty small clique.
What’s the best road trip you’ve ever been on?
Chad Muska: When I got on Toy Machine, it was the first time I’d got in a van and gone on a skateboard tour across America. And that really opened up my mind. I got to see all of America in pretty much one three month trip. When we visited Niagara Falls I jumped like a five foot gap onto a little rock, that was on the edge of the fall... and with a bottle of vodka... and survived. Oh and I got haunted at the Chelsea Motel, I saw a ghost. I saw crazy stuff I cant even talk about.
What would make you leave American forever?
Chad Muska: I guess nothing, because the only reason I would leave forever was if I had no friends and family there.
What’s your favourite American building?
Chad Muska: That’s one thing I dislike about America, that we raise our culture so fast, we always want something new, and I don’t understand that as much you know. I’ll say the Empire State Building.
What’s your favourite American film?
Chad Muska: Easy Rider.
And ultimate American album?
Chad Muska: Bruce Springsteen…whatever album…. Is it Born in America? Isn’t that the name of it? Born in the USA? As cliché as it is I have to answer that one.
Most overrated tourist attraction?
Chad Muska: What’s something stupid people come and look at? The Statue of Liberty?
Most underrate tourist attraction?
Chad Muska: Sedona Arizona. It’s amazingly beautiful landscape with naturally coloured canyons and rocks and within this 5 mile radius there’s so many different styles of landscapes, you go from these vibrant orange colours to green lush forests.
What’s your favourite slang phrase?
Chad Muska: My favourite would be yo.
What law would you change or invent?
Chad Muska: I would make a law against racial profiling.
Where in America would you ride out the apocalpyse?
Chad Muska: Probably Sedona, back in the desert. I like the desert a lot.
When was your last run in with the cops and what happened?
Chad Muska: It was a couple years ago and it was for graffiti. And it wasn’t a good situation, it was one of my low points in life. I just came from Berlin and they’re a lot more open to displays of art and graffiti and I was on a mission of doing a lot of it out there. Then I got back to LA and I had a few drinks and I think I thought I was in Berlin still.
If you could change one thing about America what would it be?
Chad Muska: That people would be willing to work hard again and become the industrial revolution that we once were.
Which fictional American do you most identify with?
Chad Muska: Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Because he’s going mad with his creations and looking for solitude that he can’t find.
If you could vote for Obama again, would you?
Chad Muska: I’ve never voted in my life and I never will, because I don’t believe in our system, I don’t believe in the political system, it’s all a front.
If you lost it all tomorrow what would you do the day after?
Chad Muska: I would smile, pick up, brush my shoulders off, and keep moving straight forward, because that’s what I do.
What will America look like in 2050?
Chad Muska: I believe it will no longer be America, by that point I believe we will be one world.
Does the American dream still exist?
Chad Muska: The American dream exists in the people that want it to exist. I’m a prime example of it.