«Previous: Archived Interviews
James Ritter - LOJ / Collector / Skater
-- Tuesday, July 26, 2005
What you are about to read, I will attempt to pass off as an interview. In reality, it's just me asking Ritter a bunch of random questions, us going off on a skateboarding tangent for quite some time and a serious lack of interest worthy reading material. Despite all of that, I think this interview was pretty interesting. Also, if you don't know who Ritter is, get ready. He's coming for your crucial t-shirts and old decks. You won't see him coming, and you won't see him leave, but your closets and garage will be a little emptier afterwards.
b. murphy: Ok, let's do this.
b. murphy: How's your edge, dude?
j. ritter: Dull as fuck man...i sold out when i was 19...bad move, but theres nothing really i can do about it now..i drank and got high for a little while and then realized you know this isn't really my scene...i don't believe in round two edge really and i hate to take away from people that have stuck by it so i don't call myself edge...although i cant imagine ill ever go back to those things again
j. ritter: The interview is done.
b. murphy: Haha, perfect. Best interview ever.
j. ritter: You think?
b. murphy: Haha, nah, let's keep going.
b. murphy: Dude, if it wasn't for crucial shirts (ie green hi-impact turning point shirts), would you still be involved in hardcore?
j. ritter: yeah obviously...i mean this is what i know and love..i got into hardcore/punk when i was 13...i mean this is what i do...i skateboard and i love hardcore...i mean there have been periods where i have kind of been bored with hardcore but there is always something that reminds me why i love it...shirts are fun to collect and trade but they aren't the essence of punk to me...they're like pokemon cards....and i don't have a green tp hi impact...i do have three blue ones that i would be willing to trade for a green one though.
b. murphy: Why not records? What do you have against vinyl?
b. murphy: What makes shirts cooler?
j. ritter: i was into vinyl when i was a young buck just like every hardcore dude...but i lived in a basement and it flooded...came down stairs and saw my start today float past my feet...kinda bummed me out...plus its hard to rock an lp in a car
j. ritter: shirts you can wear...i like that
j. ritter: plus i'm real visual
b. murphy: That could explain some of the fantastic images that LOJ uses. Who's the mastermind behind the graphics?
j. ritter: well i usually come up with ideas that are just to stupid and gene has to bring me back down to earth...ie tell me i'm stupid...but we all have input on the ideas...then i call up my friend and he paints em for us...hes a cool dude...and has nothing else to do when he's smoking pot
b. murphy: So the same dude did the demo cover as the Soul Power cover?
j. ritter: yeah
j. ritter: he's a tattoo artist in frederick maryland...i've known him since i was probably 14...used to go to a lot of shows with him and stuff...just an all around cool dude
b. murphy: Kids take note. When it becomes time to hang from LOJ's nuts, go to this guy for all your LOJ related tattoos.
j. ritter: hah
j. ritter: yeah if he isn't to high
j. ritter: nah he's an amazing dude and always does stuff for us on short notice...we really appreciate everything hes done for us
b. murphy: Makes sense. Speaking of LOJ. Does the band have some goals in mind, or is it just "rip until it is ripped?"
j. ritter: well we def have plans to do a full length on youngblood this winter probably...and we are def recording at inner ear again...we'd also like to do a week in the UK this winter...maybe do a little touring around home...we just wanna make music we love and have as much fun as we can until it has run its course
b. murphy: True, true. Any reason why you want to hit up the UK?
j. ritter: well we sell a lot of merchandise to the UK...so i guess they like us over there or they are playing a trick on us...like the ultimate prank...but a lot of bands don't get to go overseas and play and its something we really want to do...gene and i are going to be finishing school soon and we'll be able to put a lot more into the band
b. murphy: So who gives you more love? The UK scene or your home town crowd?
j. ritter: well we have only played "DC' once and Baltimore once... our last show on tour was in the outskirts of DC and it wasn't the best show, but I had fun and it was cool...we played with Fired Up an awesome band and totally awesome dudes...I don't think the UK gives us more love or anything..but none of us have ever been to Europe with a band..so why not go now...just seems like something fun to do...i mean these dudes are some of my closest friends so if i'm gonna go with anyone id want it to be them
b. murphy: Posi Numbers is this weekend. Do you or the band have any expectations for it?
j. ritter: Yeah i expect to have a lot of fun and to see people i haven't seen in a while...that is all
j. ritter: oh and to see awesome bands
b. murphy: No expectations on the posi number reaction to LOJ?
j. ritter: Man, i have no idea...i hope its awesome..there is nothing better than knowing people are into what you are doing...but we do tend to get a mixed reaction...sometimes people stare at us and sometimes people go crazy...you never know... i mean we play early friday so i don't even know if everyone will be there yet...id hope so since every band playing this year is amazing...if i had it my way people would just groove when we play and do weird things that they don't quit understand...you know weird dances and shit...and jump up and down a lot
b. murphy: That sounds like the mid 90s.
j. ritter: yeah i wish
j. ritter: i mean no kickboxing
j. ritter: nothing like that
j. ritter: but just let the music move you man
b. murphy: But grooving with giant stussy striped shirts.
j. ritter: dude
j. ritter: stussy rules
j. ritter: but yeah i mean sounds alright to me
j. ritter: i expect you front and center with jncos and beads
b. murphy: [note: despite wanting jnco's, I could never afford them. I pose. I've never worn JNCOs]
j. ritter: yeah i never owned jncos either...i had some Sears knock offs..and they weren't even that baggy...i guess i was a poser
b. murphy: dude, I never rocked Sears knockoffs. I didn't even know such things existed. One time I tried for 4 summers to skate. At the end of the 4th summer, my ollie was all of an inch and a half. Please tell me you are better than that.
b. murphy: All right. So you are all about skating too. How's the skateboard collection looking these days?
j. ritter: i mean its good...i'm working a deal for a jason lee burger...i need one of those for my collection...and i just landed a jason lee cat in the hat mini a while back...so its looking good...i'm trying but the scene is blowing up its hard to land stuff these days...but i'm at it and hopefully i turn up some stuff i need...on a side note i will trade any hardcore related stuffs for skateboards, etc....
j. ritter: yeah i was shop sponsored for a while...one of my best friends rode for airwalk...another kid i came up with rode for some good companies and still does...to be honest i had potential but i fell off when i did the whole college thing...i mean i still skate but there aren't as many people to do it with and the spots are dwindling where i live...sometimes i wish i had never gone to college and just skated everyday all day
b. murphy: haha, that's a positive message for all your high school aged fans.
j. ritter: yeah really it is
b. murphy: Dude, if your friend has pics of the black/cement/neon green airwalk vic, hook me up
j. ritter: man i haven't talked to that dude in years
j. ritter: cool dude kinda weird though
j. ritter: i miss those days
j. ritter: hah
j. ritter: yeah if you are any good at skateboarding and college is a thought...don't do it
j. ritter: skateboarding is way more fun and if your old you can go to college for free..if you end up sucking at skating and all
b. murphy: But becoming a pro skateboarder seems to be getting harder and harder. Especially with the scene being blown up on ESPN2 daily.
j. ritter: yeah agreed
j. ritter: but who cares about going pro
j. ritter: i wasted prime years i could of been pushing around on wood
j. ritter: i mean i wasted my first two years at college anyway
b. murphy: Yeah, but you still have to pay the bills
j. ritter: i could of been skating instead of getting shitty grades
j. ritter: yeah i know
j. ritter: wishful thinking i guess
b. murphy: Coming out of school, do you think it would have been more worth your time to skate, or are you just waiting for that cushy, white collar job?
j. ritter: i dunno...i'm a confused dude when it comes to that stuff...id rather skate all day and not care...but that isn't the real world...and i dunno if i'm the kinda guy that could swing a desk job...id go crazy
b. murphy: yeah, you don't really seem like a 9 to 5 dude. So how you going to swing a professional life? Or are you getting a degree in something like philosophy where there is no real world use? haha
j. ritter: hah i have an AA in philosophy
j. ritter: nah my bachelors is in marketing with a minor in merchandising
j. ritter: i dunno
j. ritter: maybe ill win the lottery
b. murphy: Dude, that is my goal too
j. ritter: hmmm
j. ritter: maybe we'll have to work a deal
b. murphy: How about this? I'll work on a LOJ website to spread your word and you can hook me up with half your winnings. Everyone wins.
j. ritter: makes sense
j. ritter: but you already did our site
b. murphy: Damn it.
j. ritter: i know and i haven't won anything
j. ritter: are you gonna rip the skatepark at posi numbers? do some inch and a half ollies everywhere
b. murphy: Dude, I don't even have a setup anymore.
j. ritter: i got an old h street in my trunk
b. murphy: Dude, you'd be impressed. I've been doing a little sewing lately. A little project for Pike that involves celtic lows, stuffing and custom tags.
j. ritter: i mean shoes are whatever...but sewing is where its at
b. murphy: Wait a minute, "shoes are whatever??". I've seen you rocking some Nikes that have been gaining mucho hype lately. You got them under the radar before they were cool, but in a way, you must be partly sneaker head.
j. ritter: what nikes?
j. ritter: the nike converse?
b. murphy: Didn't I see you rocking the Futura SB at last years posi numbers?
j. ritter: yeah
j. ritter: i bought em at a skateshop by my house
b. murphy: So there is no sneaker head in you? Just a guy who wants to wear skateboarding shoes while he skates? Makes sense.
j. ritter: hah
j. ritter: i mean like i was into jordans and stuff when i was younger...i bought a lot of the retros when they came out a few years back....but i sold em...and i'm not above buying a pair of nikes i know i can sell on ebay for a lot more...i mean i gotta fly to mexico some how...and i gotta have money for when a jason lee pops up
b. murphy: Mexico? What the hell is in mexico besides "dank bud?"
b. murphy: Ok time for lists: top 5 eps/lps, top 5 boards, top 5 shirts.
j. ritter: whats an ep?
j. ritter: ok top five lps
j. ritter: Bad Brains- Rock for Light, Bad Brains Quickness, Four Walls Falling Culture Shock...now it gets hard..do i put Buzzcocks Times Up or TSOL Dance...or The first Christian Death LP...Actually fuck it...Number four Alice In Chains Dirt, five every misfits record ever (can i do that?)
j. ritter: eps
j. ritter: in no order: 108 curse of instinct, bad brains pay to cum, gut instinct disturbing the peace, burn, quicksand, and a lot of dc bands
j. ritter: shirts
j. ritter: oh and any misfits record
j. ritter: shirts
j. ritter: grey tp hi impact, green tp hi impact, bold join the fight, this white samhain initium shirt my boy has, any schism design, any wishingwell design
j. ritter: boards
j. ritter: 101 Gabriel Rodrigeuz Jesus H Christ, World Industries Mike Vallely Barnyard (the board that changed it all), H Street Matt Hensley Vista (such a classic)/Rays of Light..I cant decide both graphics rule, Blind Jason Lee American Icons (I love it American flags and guns whats better), Real Jim Thiebaud Hangman (amazing graphic of a klansman hanging from a tree, does it get any better and natas kaupus drew the original concept)
b. murphy: TSOL? Christian Death? What about Bringin It Down or Out of Step? Shouldn't you be supporting your DC boys by saying "Can I Say?"
j. ritter: can i say is good
b. murphy: But TSOL is better?
j. ritter: ok
j. ritter: the dead boys
j. ritter: no
j. ritter: iggy and the stooges
j. ritter: fuck i'm confused
b. murphy: Power (by the Stooges) is top notch
j. ritter: were not in this alone
b. murphy: Good choice. Not the first YOT album most people would pick, though.
j. ritter: are you kidding me?
j. ritter: no wait, the last 7"
b. murphy: Dude, your average core man would say, "Break Down the Walls" in a heart beat. Actually, they'd probably say "BDTW" to get it out faster.
j. ritter: idiots
b. murphy: Well, BDTW was a very straight edge album, where We're Not In This Alone and the last 7" are usually considered after their edge hay day. Personally, I love We're Not In This Alone. And the photos in the insert are priceless.
j. ritter: dude much better record
j. ritter: way better
j. ritter: best sxe of all time
b. murphy: So for the uninitiated, how did the Vallely Barnyard board "change everything?"
j. ritter: it was the first board to have an "even" nose and tail
j. ritter: it was designed by rodney mullen and was extremely innovative
j. ritter: vallely was making insane amounts off of royalties for that board
b. murphy: So it was the board shape not the graphic that you are referring to ...
j. ritter: the graphic is amazing
j. ritter: plus he left powell
j. ritter: that was unheard of
j. ritter: especially to ride for world industries
b. murphy: A virtual no one at that point
j. ritter: exactly
b. murphy: How much would one of those boards run in DS condition? Never mounted, possibly still in the wrapping?
j. ritter: which one?
j. ritter: the vallely
b. murphy: yeah
j. ritter: at least 2gs
j. ritter: id say safely upwards of 3 depending on the day and whatnot
b. murphy: Hot shit. But certainly not the most valuable board going. Do you have any decks that are on par with that?
j. ritter: i mean the first hawk brought 6 gs
j. ritter: hmmm
j. ritter: i have a cat in the hat mini that would bring around 2 at least
j. ritter: my thiebaud hangman i got offered 1700 for
b. murphy: Oh word.
j. ritter: my lee schiffer brought 1300 last time
j. ritter: my gonz elephant people i'm working a deal for and valuing it at around a grand
b. murphy: So you actually own some of your top 5? That's always nice. Any grails out there still?
j. ritter: yeah
j. ritter: the 101 jesus
j. ritter: which ill never get
b. murphy: haha
j. ritter: a natas devilworshipper
j. ritter: jason lee cat in the hat full size and grinch
j. ritter: i'm getting the burger so that is done
b. murphy: One more skateboarding question before I change the subject. Who has the best part in Blind's Video Days?
j. ritter: hah
j. ritter: who doesn't?
j. ritter: why don't you ask an easier one?
j. ritter: yeah i'd agree shiloh greathouse does have the best part in world industries new world order
b. murphy: I only ask hard (or stupid) questions. You should know me
b. murphy: Good answer, good answer.
j. ritter: and it is a shame he served time and lost his skills
j. ritter: i'm impressed you brought that up
b. murphy: You know me dude. I have to keep up my skateboard rep. I don't want people coming down on my tremendous ollie skills
j. ritter: makes sense
b. murphy: Now for the "which would you rather portion ..."
j. ritter: ok shoot
b. murphy: a) be a 12 year old mariano gonz for the rest of your life or b) be a 45 year old Danzig for the rest of your life?
j. ritter: dude 12 year old guy mariano.
j. ritter: easily
j. ritter: man hold on peeps this video of reese forbes (dc native)
j. ritter: http://www.slapmagazine.com/million/vortex2.mov
j. ritter: i used to skate with this cat
b. murphy: Tell your boy to hook me up with some wheat forbes.
b. murphy: Size 12
j. ritter: no not him
j. ritter: the vortex
j. ritter: watch the clip dude, this dude rules
j. ritter: skates in a mexican wrestling outfit
j. ritter: he's from baltimore
b. murphy: Awesome. What's the difference between a mexican and other nationality wrestling outfits? a) 6 week LOJ tour of northern canada to 4 unappreciative audience members a night or b) 6 week 9-5 white collar office job?
j. ritter: 6 week tour
j. ritter: work sucks man
j. ritter: i can't get with that program
b. murphy: I hear that
j. ritter: no you don't your a slave to the man
b. murphy: Yeah, but I like my job. But feel free to take me as a roadie on your UK tour. I'd love to hit up London, et al. a) lose a mcgill nos deck on ebay by $1 or b) lose a hand screened misfits shirt by $1?
j. ritter: which mcgill?
b. murphy: skull and snake ...
j. ritter: you mean like that time casali outbid me on that samhain shirt so he could trade it to me?
b. murphy: yes, just like that
j. ritter: well i'm not to pressed on the skull and snake i mean if it was the jet fighter i'd go crazy
j. ritter: the skull and snake is nice though
b. murphy: What would you trade Casali if he beat you on it by $1? haha
j. ritter: he did beat me
j. ritter: and i had to trade him a four sided blast shirt
j. ritter: ww
j. ritter: i hate casali
b. murphy: If there was zero chance of retribution who's collection would you ransack first a) pusheads or b) skatemuseum.com guy.
j. ritter: skateboardingmuseum.com obviously...oh and for you nerds he works for nike
b. murphy: So if you could only smuggle out what you could hold in your hands would you grab decks or weird sneaker samples?
j. ritter: decks i'm not an idiot
j. ritter: dude the 7 ply mcgill jet fighter in gold is sick
b. murphy: Yeah, true, true. Even with the recent insane price of sneakers, those decks still fetch way more.
j. ritter: and are cooler
j. ritter: what do you do with a shoe?
j. ritter: wear it and throw it away
j. ritter: art is timeless man
b. murphy: Some would put the shoe in a special glass case with four hundred silica packets and call it art ...
j. ritter: hmmm
j. ritter: i guess it is subjective
j. ritter: they are both functional
j. ritter: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7170361826&category=16263&rd=1
j. ritter: look at that though
j. ritter: would you rather have that...or a player edition jordan 10 with the 23 sewn in the back
b. murphy: I prefer my Jordans to be 7 or less.
j. ritter: obviously, just saying
j. ritter: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7168152748&category=16263&rd=1
j. ritter: thats the one i'm trading for
b. murphy: that's a quality deck
j. ritter: id like to think that was a shot at vallely over the barnyard since it was a pro veg board
j. ritter: you know "please don't eat my friends" and all
b. murphy: "Dude, I'll give you a hundred bucks and take you out to benihana's if you slide that 75 foot long handrail. I'll give you 600 tries"
b. murphy: "I'll be back next week"
j. ritter: hahaha
j. ritter: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7170519600&category=16263&rd=1
j. ritter: i wanted that
j. ritter: it is destroyed
b. murphy: That board is busted. You just want those DTS rails.
j. ritter: dude its NATAS
b. murphy: Wow. All right man. I'm going to change the subject back to hardcore. How was touring the country with Lights Out, Justice, all those bands?
b. murphy: Embarrassing stories?
j. ritter: it was cool
j. ritter: um big mosh got high a lot
b. murphy: Haha, that's not really an embarrassing story though
j. ritter: we just chilled in the sun
b. murphy: Yo any other embarrassing stories you can drop on us?
j. ritter: hmmm i'm trying to think
b. murphy: take your time
j. ritter: a woman threw an egg at us at a chinese restaurant
b. murphy: hard boiled, poached, scrambled, ...? Why?
j. ritter: hard boiled i think
j. ritter: well we went there to eat
j. ritter: and i ordered and never got my food
j. ritter: well it turns out they gave mine to someone else that was with us...he ordered something different
j. ritter: and she said that we always come in there and try and pull this trick
j. ritter: well even if he ate my food that means he never got his food
j. ritter: so i never ate
j. ritter: and i argued with them for like 10 minutes to get my money
j. ritter: and they kept screaming at us that we always come in there and do this
j. ritter: mind you its california and we're from the east coast
b. murphy: Dude, I heard "you were ALWAYS in there doing that shit."
b. murphy: haha
j. ritter: so as we leave she says something to someone and then hits big mosh with an egg
b. murphy: HAHA
j. ritter: yeah it ruled
j. ritter: i dunno if i am supposed to leak embarrassing stories
j. ritter: i mean i fall off the stage a lot
j. ritter: but that isn't to funny
b. murphy: Funny for us, not so funny for you.
b. murphy: Yo, let's wrap this up. Anybody you need to shout out? Any merch/band/stuff you push? ...
j. ritter: um
j. ritter: i need to shout out lockin out, youngblood, lights out (for taking us on tour), justice, mental, dennis, 85, big mosh, travis, Big Rick Dawg, and i'm sure i'm supposed to shout out others but whatever..oh yeah you dudes for helping us out all the time...everyone ever
j. ritter: set to explode, 86 mentality, fucked with a knife, dude love
j. ritter: some others
b. murphy: who is Set to Explode?
j. ritter: dave byrds new band with tad and jon m
b. murphy: Jon? Was that the dude from For The Living?
j. ritter: nope he was in the Aftermath
j. ritter: great band
j. ritter: and no justice for a while
b. murphy: gotcha
j. ritter: yeah
b. murphy: Ok, well, thanks dude. That's it.
j. ritter: tight
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