Alex Schmidt Interview
Interview: Christian Senrud
Photos: Aaron Smith unless otherwise noted.
Stereo has a long history of riders who possess that extra little something that subtly sets them apart from the others. Ethan Fowler, Jason Lee, Pastras, Renaud, Raymond, Clint and on and on. They’re all different but because of their finesse, power and individual styles and takes on skateboarding, they all emanate that classic Stereo vibe that we’ve come to expect from the Sound Agency. So when last year Stereo announced some team additions I was curious who would be on board. Alex was one of them and sure enough his skating has that subtlety inherent to all the classic Stereo riders.
I met Alex in the van on the way out to Arizona for the first Stereo team trip in a few years. He was one of the more motivated people on the trip, skating every spot and getting something at pretty much every one of them whether it was for the cameras or not. After the trip he kept the ball rolling, going out with Aaron and various photographers to shoot, so we decided to do an interview with him to get to know him a little better. Enjoy. :
Who are you, where are you from and who do you ride for?
My name’s Alex Schmidt, I’m from Leucadia, California and I skate for Stereo, Theeve Trucks, Insight clothing and I actually just got my first Nike box yesterday so I’m pretty stoked on that.
You were on Dekline flow for a minute, how did you switch to the Swoosh?
Well Raymond [Molinar] knows Scuba and pretty much just put in a good word. I sent him some footage and I just got my first box. I’m psyched. I guess I didn’t kill it hard enough or something to get on Dekline fully, I don’t know, haha. Maybe I didn’t keep in good enough contact with Sinclair or didn’t hit him up too often. I’d kind of just get shoes and do my own thing which I’m starting to learn isn’t the best thing if you want to be out there skateboarding in the sponsored world, you know?
How did you get on Stereo?
Jake Loban hooked it up. He hit me up when he was working there and was like, “Dude you should get some Stereo boards,” which I was down to do. Then Stereo had this little thing at the Transworld park, so I went and met the dudes and skated the park with them and the next thing I knew they called me a week later saying they were going to have some new additions to the team. I didn’t expect my name
to be one of them but they added me after Joe Pease and Leeper. I was so hyped.
I thought I was dreaming at first. That was about a year ago I think.
What’s been going on in that year that you’ve been on the team?
We’ve gone on a few trips. We got that Arizona article done. That was pretty cool, hanging out with Ray Barbee. I never thought I’d go on a trip with that guy. Then I’ve just been filming a bunch and trying to get photos. We actually just got back from a trip to Jersey and New York and J Lee was on that one so that was pretty awesome.
Did you get the gold status upgrades since he came along?
Dude, we were supposed to drop him off at JFK and we hit mad traffic and he ended up missing his flight so he got us a super nice hotel and stayed an extra night. We ended up skating through Lower East Side at nighttime, filming a Stereo vinyl commercial with him. He was doing like nose wheelies and shit like that, just cruising around with us.
Did he draw a lot of gawkers or are New Yorkers pretty immune to randomly seeing actors and celebs?
Well we were skating flatground outside our hotel for like an hour when we first got there and there was a restaurant next door. You could definitely tell people were like, “Holy shit, it’s that actor skateboarding right now!” It was pretty mellow for the most part but there were definitely some people who would notice. We’d be like at a sandwich place and people would like come up with their kids and be like, “Can we get a photo with you. My son loves ‘My Name is Earl’ or Alvin in the Chipmunks” or whatever they were into.
Did you trip out meeting him for the first time?
That wasn’t the first time I’d met him, but it was the first time I hung out with him for a few days in a row.
Did you grow up knowing who he was, watching Mallrats or whatever?
Yeah. I always mention Vanilla Sky because his role in that was pretty rad. He played that character, the best friend who’s the struggling actor, I thought that was awesome. Mallrats, too definitely.
Has he tried to get you to join his science club?
Nah, haha, nothing like that. I haven’t really brought it up and neither has he so we just sort of let sleeping dogs lie.
How’d you get the nickname “Scorpo”?
Man, I got to dig for that one. I think I was in high school and we were skating a handrail and I fell and did the classic scorpion. Then my friend who was filming started laughing and was just like, “Haha, Scorpo!” It sort of stuck after that. Since I’ve moved to LA, people don’t really call me that too often, but if someone’s around and they say that, the people who don’t know are like, “Who the fuck is Scorpo?” I don’t think I do it all the time, but I definitely do fall like that and kind of do the stomach slide which always gets people laughing.
What sparked the move to LA from Leucadia?
I had the opportunity to move into a room up here and my friend told me if I was going to move in then I needed to do it within two weeks, so I jumped on that. I told my friends back home what I was doing and no one believed me. Then I was just gone. That place eventually fell through. There was a bunch of drama going on with him and his girlfriend, but I found another spot so I stayed. I’m liking it a lot. I’m meeting a lot of new people and living somewhere else, there’s just cool new shit to do and it easier to skate up here, at least for me. I’m not as burnt out on spots.
Are you still living in your sex dungeon?
Yeah. I guess it could be a sex dungeon given the right circumstance. It’s like an old laundry room. I pay really cheap rent and the walls are wooden and there’s rafters for the ceiling. There’s only one window. The place as a whole is rad. There’s a really big back yard and everyone I live with is pretty much on the same level, no awkward vibes or anything.
Doesn’t Raymond live there too?
No, he was staying with Clint for a while but he just moved into a new awesome place with some friends in Highland Park.
Is there a big difference between San Diego and Los Angeles Counties?
I think so. San Diego’s just a smaller scene. Like I said, it might just be that way for me because I’m not from here. It’s easier for me to be productive. I’m not familiar with all the surroundings so it’s almost refreshing. Anyone can relate to that, I think. Just new people, skateparks are pretty rad.
Are you working right now or is living in the dungeon allowing you to not have a job?
I’m just skating but I do some side stuff. I actually just did a return for a friend of mine. She’s a stylist and I’m not even exactly sure how it works, but after you shoot you have to return the clothes and it’s the part of the job they hate doing so I do that and they give me some cash for it. I just do stuff like that. Friday my friend is doing a shoot with one of the girls from The Hills, that TV show, and I’m going to photo assist. I just pick up the odd jobs here and there.
Could J Lee help out with some work as an extra or stuntman if it involved skating?
Maybe, who knows? In LA you could definitely find some random gigs like that if you tried hard enough.
That fall’s got a lot of views.
The car crash one? Dude, that day sucked. I got a ticket for skating flatground right before that happened. We were pretty much just messing around and I manualed down the hill. The sidewalk was like a long manual pad. My friend was there and wanted me to do it again so he could film it. It all happened so quickly but I remember there was a mom driving and her son was sitting in the passenger seat. So I try the manual and the next thing I knew I got hit by the car and had popped up and was shocked, not really realizing what happene to me because it was so quick. Then the first thing the guy said to me was, “Don’t try to sue us, man!”
Didn’t that clip end up on some TV shows?
It might have. This lady hit me up about it for one of those shows, almost like a real TV type of thing and seemed pretty psyched about it. I made a little extra cash off that so that was pretty cool.
Wasn’t Dyrdek’s show trying to get a hold of you for that too?
I think they were. I haven’t watched TV in so long. I think I might have denied it because they weren’t going to pay me enough or something.
How much would be enough?
Well since it was a life-threatening experience let’s say like a G.
Got to have your standards. So what else do you have going on for the rest of the year?
Just keep skating and being productive. Take more photos and learn more about that and maybe get my foot in the door for something later down the line.