Interview by Nick Shields. Photos by Eduardo Sanchez
Mikey Morris is a hell of a skateboarder but also a truly unique one at the same time. The Pennsylvania native moved west several years ago and started showing up at my local park everyday and destroying every obstacle and seemingly himself at the same time. Mikey’s style is best described as no-holds-barred, he sends it at all times, always boosting off any ramp or hucking down any gap you set in front of him. I think Steven “Lefty” Breeding put it best, “Mookle skates like he’s mad at the concrete.” You can catch him flying off anything in the park, landing to tail smack, disaster, or even to flat, my personal favorite is his kickflip body jar. When Mikey started coming around the skatepark more and more often baring his PA tatt on his sleeve, I would jokingly taunt him with a sarcastic “locals only bro!” I knew I could say that to him jokingly because he was so obviously welcomed by the park locs almost instantaneously for being such a gnarly skater.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this interview with Mikey because most of these Dropping In interviews are more on the serious side and I never imagined this one going that route. Throw Ivery Turner into the mix and the duo did not disappoint. Enjoy some of their banter and catch a glimpse into their world. Also learn a bit about Mikey, where he’s from, his favorite skaters and tricks, and a little of what’s in store for his skating.
Let’s start this off man! How are you doing, what are you up to?
MM: Fixin’ to be a lot better.
Voice from the background: Blowing it.
Is that Ivery Turner in the background?
MM: Yeah. [Laughs]
What’s up?! Legend. Let’s get into some of the basics, how old are you?
MM: Old enough. I’m turning 28.
Where’d you grow up?
IT: Lancaster, amish country!
MM: In the Netherlands of Lancaster.
IT: I was right. See, in fuckin’ nunsville dude. No. Quakers!
MM: Amish people have nothing to do with quakers dude!
IT: They look like the Quaker Oats dude! They wear the same hats and shit dude!
MM: [Laughs] Yeah dude I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and then my dad moved us to Ephrata, Pennsylvania, that’s where I grew up. Sure enough I was around that stupid ginger kid who is fucking really good at skating [DJ Martin]. We grew up together on the same street, it’s called Duke Street.
When did you start skating?
MM: 1999, second grade. I was seven years old. We had skateboards but I straight destroyed them with a hammer, we didn’t know what we were doing. Then I got a Hobie Cat at Wal-mart, it was like a wildcat wakeboarding, that was my first skateboard. My brother’s was a Nash board and it was the fingers touching like the Jesus picture, but it was all lizard hands. So he got the Nash I got the Hobie Cat and we were like, ‘Okay we gotta go use these things for what they’re supposed to be!’
“We had skateboards but I straight destroyed them with a hammer, we didn’t know what we were doing.”
Tight, did you just immediately start jumping off shit or what?
MM: Well, the guy I [eventually] moved out to California with, he specifically told me to stand on my board in primo and he was like, ‘jump up, do a body varial and just land back in primo.’ And I just did it first try, and while I was standing back in position I was like, ‘What’s next?!’ He said, ‘Dude, go buy a skateboard.’ I was like, sick. I skated with him a lot, the crew was there, we had fun.
Nice, so you said your brother got a skateboard too?
MM: Yeah he wasn’t into it like I was.
Yeah? You just got hooked immediately?
MM: Yeah it just made sense. He could throw up a mean kickflip but he would never land it. He would throw it up so high! I was like, ‘Oh my god you’ve got so much pop on your kickflips!’ He would laugh about it to this day, he wouldn’t even get offended he’d be like, ‘yeah I know!’
IT: Did he ever make one?
IT: Three? Three kickflips! That’s all he ever made?
MM: I’ve seen them.
IT: Fuck, I‘ve made more than that! I used to kickflip like a mother fucker dude.
MM: You can switch heel!
IT: I had heelflips too, up like a two stair or a three stair. It’s the weirdest thing, I can’t heelflip down something but I can heelflip up something.
MM: Well heelflips are a forward throwing trick, you jump up with them.
IT: What’s your favorite trick?
MM: Switch flip.
IT: Switch flip? But you’ve got a better switch frontside flip than you do switch flip.
MM: [Sigh] There’s no argument there.
That’s a good trick to have! Who’s hooking you up nowadays?
MM: The Grimple Stix man, DC Shoes, Pacific Drive. The homies are holding it down. For some reason they’re okay with me.
Are you still working at Pacific Drive and Hodad’s?
Why do you think Pacific Drive has done so well all these years?
MM: Because, at one point they were the shit and if you just keep shit going right and the crew’s holding it down, we keep a pretty tight crew, but…I don’t know how to explain it.
How did you get in with the PD crew and working at that shop?
MM: Well Spencer [Prati], switch god, quit and I took over his position.
You were skating with Remillard a lot when you moved here right?
MM: Shoutout to Tom Grom! He’s helped me a lot in skateboarding.
IT: He clothed, shoed you, drove you around to spots, he’s fucking done everything for you.
MM: Tom Remillard and Peter Hewitt have taken so much care of me and Ivery Fucking Turner! Like I just so happened to have the right sized shoe, and it made everything work. Ivery has given me so many of his done shoes he’s like, ‘I’m over these! There’s like a stain on ‘em!’
The Homie hook-up, bro flow!
IT: Stephen Lawyer.
MM: [Laughs] You wanna hear a funny one? We’re in the van, right? I’m in the back of the van sitting with Ivery [laughs], Stephen Lawyer’s in front of the van and he goes, ‘I will never be 23 years old and like, just accept flow, I could never do that to myself!’
IT: He’s like, ‘If I’m 23 and still flow fucking kill me!’
MM: He basically said what I was aiming for! I’m in the back of the van just like hoping for flow and he’s like, ‘I could never do that to myself, but I’ll put Timberlands on and skate in ‘em!’
Damn dude, fucking called out right there!
MM: Dude, he fully called me out. And then I filmed him eat shit, Ivery saw it all.
[Laughs] Damn, so it came back to him. Let’s bring it back, how did you end up in San Diego?
MM: Fuck dude, skateboarding!
So you came out specifically for skateboarding?
MM: Yeah, like that was just what had to happen.
Did you move straight to Voltaire Street when you moved out?
MM: Yeah I got lucky, the spot was fuckin’ tight! I was in a studio on the floor with four other dudes. I was just selling a bunch of weed and just skating, it was fun. It was the shit!
How old were you when you first moved out?
MM: I was 20. I figured if I turned 21 in Pennsylvania it would be bad, I’ll never leave. So I was like, ‘Fuck I’m gonna turn 21 in fuckin’ SoCal!’
“I was just selling a bunch of weed and just skating, it was fun.”
Who did you first start skating with when you moved out?
MM: Me and DJ, that was my dawg. We barely skate together anymore, but he knew a couple people but he doesn’t really have social skills so like people thought he was kind of a dick at first and then all of a sudden my dumbass shows up and was like, ‘Yo let’s all smoke some weed!’ And then we all fuckin’ ended up skating together.
That was basically kind of how it all started. I was slamming on a spot and my shoes were so blown out Ivery was like, “Dawg, I know a dude who has a size 8 shoe.” And fucking Peter Hewitt comes into play and I get all his Nikes when he left. So I got all his used Nikes and then all of a sudden I’m getting all these Vans and we’re just doing the damn thing, just constant rotation.
How did you meet Ivery?
MM: He noticed I liked his green jacket. It’s army green and I was like, ‘Dawg, you got steez.’ And he was like, ‘Yo, you wanna sell my weed?’ I was like, ‘Word? Kinda, if it’ll make me money.’ He basically showed me a way to hustle and we just clicked.
IT: Mother fucker is a broke-ass! I was like the first one to see him roll up to the skatepark, and then he was DJ’s friend, he was cooler than DJ so we like adopted him pretty fuckin’ quick and then we had to bring DJ in because he’s his boy, DJ’s cool though.
MM: [Laughs] That’s my dawg.
Who were some of your favorite skaters as a kid?
MM: Mike Maldonado, easy. Kerry Fuckin’ Getz.
IT: Why Maldonado?
MM: Because he loves ollies! Favorite trick are ollies and he does the biggest ollie ever.
IT: He does frontside wallies too, not many people do frontside wallies.
MM: Dude, he saw me do a heelflip over this rail once. And he was like, ‘Dude! That heelflip was fuckin’ dope!’ And I was like ‘What?! Coming from you!’ And it was in his hometown, Coatesville, Pennsylvania. Stu Miller was there, I think he actually back three’d over the rail, like he was the gnarly guy, he was fuckin’ shredding. He had his Pink Floyd shirt on, and Maldonado said to him specifically, ‘Hey you got that Pink Floyd shirt on, that thing’s tight!’ and Stu muttered to himself, ‘You’re the reason that I listen to Pink Floyd, cause you skated to them in that part. You made me listen to this band.’ [Laughs]
Who are some local rippers from your hometown?
MM: Kyle Nicholson, he’s one of the best rippers in the world.
Didn’t he ride for Jereme Rogers’ company?
MM: Yeah, fully did.
Is that his claim to fame?
MM: You know what Jereme Rogers said about it? ‘The best amateur out there right now is Kyle Nicholson. I know he spray paints over my boards.’ [Laughs]
IT: He’s saying he’s a legend, dude. He has many claims to fame, not just riding for Jereme Rogers’ company, he’s a legend!
MM: And Austin Kanfoush will vouch for that.
IT: Not a bad person to have be from your spot dude.
MM: So Kyle Nicholson. Sean Cochran, easily my best friend. He literally is so steezy it’s insane, if you see the dude skate you’d be like, ‘Wow!’ Like he casually does back noseblunts. Switch back tail god is Brian Douglas, he’s fuckin’ the shit. I don’t know him personally, we never kicked it but I really like his switch back tail.
Do you have any good Neil Blender stories?
MM: I think the fact that we’ve done a bunch of music together is pretty rad. He’d be bummed if I talked about him like he was a fuckin’ legend or something you know?
Yeah well he is a legend!
MM: Well, he gives me socks. I like that. The only thing to say about Blender is, ‘My man!’ So that’s all I can say about Blender.
Does he hook you up with polarizers?
MM: Yeah I’ve got three of ‘em.
IT: [Taunting] ‘Yeah it’s cool, I’ve got three polarizers, it’s pretty normal, ya know? Yeah totally super normal.’ It’s fucking not normal! You’ve got three fucking ridable works of art is what you’ve got! I was about to take that fucker!
MM: You didn’t even know how to ride it! [Speaking softer] He’s so mad at me right now, he’s about to punch me. He’s actually really good at skating.
IT: Oh yeah, I don’t know how to ride a skateboard. Mikey’s a fucking pro at everything! Fuck off!
MM: You know that was a joke.
IT: I can ride a fucking board, I can fall off the mother fuckers too dude.
MM: The first time I rode a polarizer was Ivery’s. I think it had clay wheels on it or something.
IT: Oh shut the fuck up.
MM: He told me not to go super fast on it. [Laughing] I fully brought it back to him just hill bombed and everything. I was like, ‘This isn’t even like a real skateboard!’ [Mimicking Ivery] ‘Don’t do a kickflip on it!’
IT: Yeah and what’d you do?
MM: I fuckin’, didn’t kickflip on it.
IT: You fucked up my griptape and ruined the board.
MM: Well he ruined himself on the board.
IT: And if you wanna call Hot Juices fuckin’ clay wheels go for it dude. They were Hot Juices! Come on man! That board was fucked, it ate me alive.
Are you guys filming a part?
MM: I got some footy in Kill Skateboarding.
IT: Sam [Hitz]’s homie video? You’ve got a little 30 second part right?
MM: Hey dude, he doesn’t need to know all this.
IT: He’s asking about video parts.
MM: Well there’s some footage of my dumbass, but goddammit, I just don’t like speaking about shit.
Are you trying to keep it under wraps?
MM: I guess but, not now. You’re gonna fuckin’ Shieldless Mag me.
Yeah dude, I’m trying to get people hyped for the Mikey part!
MM: My footage ain’t shit, it’s all garbage.
“My footage ain’t shit, it’s all garbage.”
Are you still skating Shockus Park everyday?
MM: It’s been like seven days, since I haven’t been there.
What do you like about that park?
MM: It’s a fuckin’ giant concrete mini-ramp. I love mini-ramps.
How did you end up riding Grimple Stix boards?
MM: Peter Fucking Hewitt.
You and Pete skate pretty often?
What’s it like skating with that guy?
MM: Really fucking challenging. Because Hewitt is untouchable. Like the way he skates is so hard to keep up with. So check it out, you show up to a pool right? You bring Pete to a fucking pool. He just blows your mind. He’s like, ‘Ahh nah, I don’t wanna do this.’ Then all of a sudden he does this crazy line, over the stairs and over everything and just grinds! It’s insane. So skating with him is fucking super hard.
Does he push you to skate as hard or do you just sit down and watch?
MM: We have this thing where we try and do the same thing. We do the same thing because it’s like we’re homies ya know? It’s like, ‘You think you got this with me?’ I’ll be like, ‘Yeah, I think I do.’ He loves challenges.
You mentioned playing music with Blender, how long have you been playing music?
MM: Dude, we barely even play music, we just scream at the wall.
“Dude, we barely even play music, we just scream at the wall.”
That’s tight too.
MM: It comes out okay.
Is that something you’ve been into for a while or do you guys just fuck around?
MM: It’s been going on for a little bit. But I don’t know, it’s just some shit. We jam out when we’re drinking beers or something and just get hyped.
What else do you got coming up? Just trying to be flow at 28?
MM: What, you think I’m gonna get a professional skateboard? Cause that’ll never happen.
You never know man! Any last words?
MM: This is all I’m gonna throw out: Peter Hewitt is the fucking man. Ivery Turner is my fucking dawg! Steven Breeding is fucking tight. And Stefon’s alright, he cool, only cause he’s in my vision right now, fucking bastard. Sure enough, San Diego has changed my life for the best. I can’t believe what I get to do every day, it’s unreal. OB park all day, every day.
“Sure enough, San Diego has changed my life for the best. I can’t believe what I get to do every day, it’s unreal.”
Hell yeah, I back that.
MM: Oh Lil’ Ry is fucking cool too. Shoutout to Lil’ Ry too, fuckin’ Picasso.
MM: My mom.
Yeah give Mom a shoutout.
MM: Alright dude. Did you get what you needed?
We’ll see. [Laughs] I’ve gotta listen to it back and see if I can get anything out of this.
IT: Good luck!
MM: Alright dawg. If you need a rebate let me know.
IT: He’s gonna call you back.
Keep up with Mikey on Instagram @michaelj23
Check out Mikey’s clips in The Larb’s KillSkateBoarding 4 HERE
See what Ivery is up to @percy619
Find more rad photos from Eduardo Sanchez on Instagram @eduartoe.