Pass~Port’s ‘Kitsch’ full video & an interview with Geoff Campbell
‘I want to interview Geoff and Callum together,’ I told Trent (Evans) this past December when we were discussing what would accompany the release of Callum Paul’s Kitsch part. Well, as you may remember, Callum’s Pass~Port part dropped with a Callum only interview. I did interview Geoff separately back then about his long time mate ‘Slaw’, filming Kitsch and more but it went really long so we had to shelve it. Well freshly dusted off for your pleasure is that Geoff interview to coincide with the release of Kitsch online. And like the kind human he is Geoff has also uploaded all his old videos to YouTube. Legend alert! Time to put the kettle on and feast your eyes…
Interview by Will Harmon
How long have you known Callum (Paul) and how did you guys meet?
Geoff Campbell: I probably met him soon after I moved to Melbourne, which was in 2006. But definitely for the first year or two years he was just a guy I would see in passing. We hung with different crews for the most part, but I would see him at events like a skate premiere or something.
You moved from Dunedin, New Zealand right?
So when you first moved to Melbourne it wasn’t this big crew you rolled with like in the Secky Presh days?
Basically, I moved to Melbourne after some my other NZ friends moved over: Arthur Kay, Sam Wood and William Jackson. We skated with each other first, as we didn’t know anyone. Then, pretty soon once I moved I met Jack Kirk (Kirksy). So then over time I met Kirksy’s friends. Jack didn’t really hang out with Callum either at that point. So, this went on for like two years, I’d just see Callum in passing and then I remember a few of us were going back to NZ for a six-month stint or something…when we left Kirksy just slipped into Callum’s crew and started skating with all that lot. When I got back they were all mates so naturally I just started hanging out with Callum all the time.
So how many parts do you think you’ve filmed with Callum now?
I don’t know… Well Callum was filming that Glory Ride part with Syd (Britten Andrews), and so I was starting to hang out with Callum a bunch at that time and I would film Callum when Syd wasn’t there… This was about the same time as Secky Presh, oh no wait… Before that, I had this little HandyCam and I filmed a part with him called Larking. I really like the part; it’s with a Sony HandyCam and a duct taped on fisheye. He skates to Big Pun and Nina Simone in it.
So I think that was during the time he was filming for Glory Ride. He was pretty productive; we would film so much stuff each day. He had just finished school and didn’t have a job. I was only working two days a week in a nightclub with Kirksy, so those days we would spend so much time skating – especially me, Kirksy, Callum and Bryce (Golder) as well. None of us really had proper jobs then.
Everyone else had full-time jobs.
We worked on Friday and Saturday nights in the club, so if anything the weekdays were more of our skate days.
So because of that did you guys end up skating different types of spots? Like ones you can skate during the week?
I think those three dudes (Bryce, Callum and Kirksy) just really loved combing the city streets, which I’m sure you can kind of see in the videos. We never had a car, we’d just meet up somewhere like Lincoln or something and it was just like whatever happens, happens – and I fell in love with that. Those three dudes were so good at making something out of nothing with spots. I mean there were all the Melbourne spots, the actual spots, but then we would film on all of the crap in between. It wasn’t even a conscious ‘oh we’re gonna be cutty guys’ or anything, just those guys loved sessioning crap spots as well. And I kind of came to love filming that… This is a bold claim, but I would say those three dudes (Bryce, Callum and Kirksy) have done the most shit out of anyone around Melbourne city, period. I mean there have been good skaters that have done crazy tricks at different spots, but you can’t walk 10 metres in the city without seeing something that one of those dudes has done something on … As I’m sitting here talking to you, to my left is a Kirsky line, to my right is some Callum stuff from the Pass~Port video, you look behind me and there’s a rail Callum skated once and I’m barely even trying to do this, this just happens to be where I’m sitting right now. That’s pretty cool.
It is! OK so tell me about the Kitsch premiere at the Sydney Opera House…
The premiere was really sick! So it was obviously at the Opera House and about a month before, or maybe even well before Trent (Evans) was saying, ‘I want everyone to wear suits to it,’ and I was so off that. Because people have worn suits before to premieres and things and I find it the most pretentious thing… Like, ‘we’re in the video, look at our suits, check out our parts!’ So I was pushing back on it and it got to about three weeks before the premiere and I was still like, ‘fuck that I’m not doing that.’ But then Trent finally convinced me. I had to suck it up and try to wear some nice clothes… Try and look the part.
Do you think it was the first time for most of the skaters there to be inside the Opera House?
Yeah, for a lot of people I think it was their first time. I will say that being dressed up was actually kinda sick; I had to eat my words. It was cool because of where it was at, and the fact that everyone did it. It wasn’t like just people that were in the video got involved, it really was everyone… It added an extra element to the night.
And what did you say on stage? Something like, ‘this isn’t the best video’ or something?
You would have seen that on Instagram. OK, so one of our mates (John Cruickshank) is a professional comedian so he did a 10-minute routine to warm the crowd up. It was really good; it’s something I’ve never seen at a skate premiere. He had good jokes and obviously he rinsed a couple of us and then at the end he claimed that it was ‘the best skate video ever made’. And so I really didn’t have any plans to speak; I’m not into public speaking, especially in front of 400 people. So basically he gave the mic to Trent and Trent, who I would have thought would have belted out some heartfelt speech, he basically just said’ ‘hey thanks everyone for coming. Geoff wants to say a few words…’ and he handed the mic to me.
Yeah it was gnarly! So I just said like, well here we are and I said a few things I guess, and then I said, ‘I certainly wouldn’t say it’s the best skate video ever made at all, but I hope you like it.’ And then some dude on Insta cut my speech up and cut out ‘I certainly wouldn’t say it’s’ so it just says on repeat ‘the best skate video ever made’.
That’s what happens with Instagram though.
I thought it was interesting that you guys went to Baltimore filming for Kitsch. Why did you decide to go there and are there any good stories from that?
Ah I’m glad you noticed that. So I went on that Nike trip to North Carolina with Mike (Sinclair) and we skated all the spots there for two weeks, so I’m there and so is (Jason) Rainbird and Jack (O’Grady)… Josh (Pall) lives in LA and Callum was going to be up in Canada for the Dime Glory thing so…
Ah so you just extended your stay and did a little Pass~Port trip?
Yeah I planned it way before. So when the Nike trip was over we rented a van and Callum and Josh met us in Durham. We started there and I basically just made this itinerary. I had been in DC a few years back and the guys there just kept taking us to Baltimore and I just loved it. It was so interesting; like nothing I’d ever been around. So from North Carolina we made our way up to Richmond, skated there, and then went to DC. We stayed in DC for a week and went to Baltimore some of those days. We ended up driving there three out of the six days just because it was good and productive. After DC we went to Philly for a couple of days… That pole thing that Callum bluntslides to fakie and Josh noseslide transfers… We were just driving down the road and saw that like, ‘holy shit!’ That was just in Philly kinda near that bank spot where Freddy G (Fred Gall) rolls in and carves the circle then ollies the gap?
Yeah that spot was just around the corner and it was just a nice little find. It’s so cheap to get airBnBs in places like Philly so we chose to skate there and not really in New York. It’s too hard to get stuff done in NYC if you’re just there for a couple of days especially. We had two days in Philly and we actually got stuff. Our last day in Philly we woke up early, Rainbird got a trick, Josh and Callum got trick’s and then we just hit the road driving to NY and I mean this story has kind of been told, but it’s fucking good… So we’re driving to New York, we had an airBnB in NYC that night and then our flights back home were the next day. So on the drive Callum spots on Fred Gall’s Instagram that he’s selling those beers you know? (Limited edition Fred Gall Dirty Jersey Devil beers)
So Callum’s all, ‘I’ll just DM him and we can buy some of these beers.’ Because we’re literally driving through New Jersey at that moment, so Callum DMs him and he doesn’t get back to us. So we’re like ‘fuck, what are we gonna do?’ Then I’m thinking… ‘Mike (Sinclair) will have Freddy G’s number for sure!’ So we hit him up and he gave it to us. We call Freddy like, ‘Yo, we’re driving past New Jersey, we saw your post Instagram and we really wanna come get some beers… ‘Yeah yeah, where are you?’ And we told him and we’d gone 20 minutes too far so we turned around and headed back to Freddy’s. He sent us a pin to his house and as were driving there we were all giddy like, ‘fucking hell! We’re driving to Freddy Gall’s house to get beer. This is great!’ And it had already been a good day with the clips that morning…
What a great last day of the trip!
Yeah so we’re driving there all psyched, ‘this is insane! I wonder if it’s the same house as in his Epicly Later’d with his curb and everything?’ And sure enough we pull up and it’s the house, you know where he blows up the TV on the train tracks in the back. So when we pull up he comes out the front, ‘Oh Aussies! What’s up! Come in, come in!’ So he takes us around the side and first thing he says, ‘Check this out, I’ll give you a tour…’ and he shows us the curb and he’s like, ‘this curb, I stole this in 1987’ or something and then he takes us inside and his mum is cooking. ‘I’m cooking Jalapeno poppers, you want some?’ We politely decline as it was all happening so fast/was hard to take in… so then we follow Freddy and he has a stack of Nikes and a stack of adidas he’s trying to sling us, but then someone broke it to him that we’re good for shoes and that most of us were on the Nike Australian team. And then he’s like, ‘Oh damn, what’s your names?’ And then Josh was like, ‘Josh Pall’ and Freddy was like. ‘Hey I watched your part actually! That was fucking sick!’ So that was pretty cool that he’d seen Josh’s old part; so then we go to his room and he’s got all these beers. He sells us a 24-pack of these tall cans… We were just like, ‘Fuck yeah!’ You have to do it you know! When in Rome… And then he’s got all these boards… We bought a couple of boards off him and then he’s telling us he’s got these reissue Workshop boards and he’s been selling them on sites and saying they’re the originals ha ha…
Ha ha, sick…
Yeah that’s pretty funny. He had photos on his dresser from when he was 13 and shit, like why is this sitting here? He’s just giving us a tour of his house…
Yeah I just saw a skatehoarders of his room.
Yeah that’s it; there were just seven of us standing in his room. And then he had hats hanging on his mirror… ‘You guys want a hat?’ And it’s this sweated out hat that he’s been wearing for like 20 years and he’s like, ‘Yeah you have a hat and you have a hat too…’ etc, ‘yeah cheers’. I got mine home to Australia and it was in my house… And I was like, ‘I’m actually gonna get rid of this. This hat is disgusting.’ It this toxic hat that was brown when it should be beige or something you know what I mean? It’s cool that it was Freddy Gall’s, but you gotta draw the line aye… This is my house you know!
Him and Callum skated the curb for 10 minutes and then we had to get back on the road. Yeah and that was it, ‘Fuck, thanks so much for dropping by!’ He was stoked, he probably made 150 bucks cash off of us. The whole experience was just so good. Such an awesome dude. We headed on to New York and met up with some mates at a bar. It was just such a sick day.
Sounds like it.
It’s just a small part of the Pass~Port video, but still such a great day.
OK and what’s the story with the mental dude chasing after you in the video?
Oh fuck here we go… This is good that it’ll be told, because people just don’t understand what is happening. So I was skating this letterbox thing. This guy came home and he was real off it.
And where was this?
In Sydney. So I was trying a trick and then he rocked up and was fucking fuming. I just decided to keep trying; I don’t give a shit if some guy is pissed off. And then he grabbed the camera off the dude shooting photos and he just started grabbing our shit and called the cops. It got real hectic real quick and there was this big wrestle for the camera, and at that stage I was like, ‘Ah fuck we need to just get out of here. This dude is going nuts.’ So we start collecting our shit and packing up and then I see Rowan (Davis), this tiny dude, just wrestling with him for a bag. So at that stage he’d already called the cops, he was grabbing all our shit, it was getting real heated, ‘Man, I just wanna get our gear and get out’. So Rowan’s still wrestling this dude, ‘Fuck this, I’ll get his bag back.’ You know he’s obviously stolen Rowan’s bag, so I wrestle him for a second, there was a tussle all over the ground, I’m yelling, ‘film this, film this!’ Brendan the dude filming was just standing there watching it. Shit like this… you might as well film it. It’s either gonna be funny or gnarly.
So anyway, he just starts filming and that’s when I break free. I basically break free, run, and the dude chases me and I’m like, ‘whose bag is this, whose bag is this? Let’s get the fuck out of here!… Someone grab it!” because I had my own shit. And then no one pipes up… ’Oh crap… Is it your bag?
‘Yes!!’ he says and he grabs it from me. ‘Here you go, have it.’ Now I know that; I’m outta here… he was livid.
It was the crazy dude’s bag!
Yeah! So now it’s as if I’m an idiot, but at the same time he was grabbing everything. It all happened so quick and Rowan was wrestling him for it. So essentially Rowan was just wrestling him for his own bag to fuck with him I guess. Ha ha…
Yeah and we were wrestling kind of hard. I was putting my all into it and when I broke free he was chasing me and you can see it in the footage: he’s out for blood.
He has a look in his eyes…
Yeah and now it makes sense because he thought I was stealing his bag, but I gave it back to him, ‘Have your bag. I’m so sorry, I thought it was one of our bags. I have no intention of stealing your bag you know…’ And basically that happened and we just left.
Did he cool down a bit at the end when you apologised?
Not really. I think he was just so stressed from the last ten minutes. He was fuming.
It’s a good thing your mate filmed some of it.
Yeah I was stoked because I basically injured my knee after that and I never got to film for the vid so I had like a couple tricks and then I had that. It’s kind of like a good trick in a way… It’s one more clip for me… I’ll take it.
Yep! So you hurt your knee pretty bad…
Yeah I tore my ACL two years ago. I wasn’t trying to have a massive section in the video anyway, I was just happy to be in there. Obviously if I would have been able to film for those two years I would have been stoked to have more than two tricks… But in the end it probably worked out better for the greater good of the video, ha ha.
Can you tell us about the time Callum didn’t speak to you for months because you deleted a clip of yourself from his digicam?
The banning, oh man! OK so Callum always makes the Guy Stokes Channel edits, and so one day we were filming at Lincoln and I did a tre flip in a line, and I’m pretty shit at tre flips anyway, but I literally did the worst tre flip of all time. So you know with Callum if you mess up he’s gonna let you know about it; he’s gonna rewind that tre flip like 40 times and slow-mo it. And I was feeling sensitive that day and not in the mood; I wanted to delete it and never be reminded of it again.
So I snatched the camera off him and made a run for it and he starts chasing me up the street, like as far as both of us could run until we both got too tired and collapsed. Then he wrestled me on the ground for ages and I just didn’t let it go. It was gnarly: we were outside KFC near Lincoln wrestling on the ground and people were looking at us like one of us had stolen the camera as he was on top of me trying to get it. So we wrestled and I wouldn’t give up, after a bit I broke free and deleted the clip straight away. So then I walked back to Lincoln where he was, gave him the camera back. ‘Sorry Slaw, I had to do that.’ As I handed him the camera he just chucked it on the ground and smashed it to bits. From that moment on he just didn’t speak to me. He didn’t speak to me for four months, which was gnarly! The day to day crew was me, Callum, Kirksy and Bryce, so Callum would come out but he wouldn’t speak to me.
So it just got real shitty. It was funny for a day, but then it got really shit. It’s not fun at all hanging around with your friends and having this tench in the crew. I actually got pissed off with him from it, ‘man, it’s no fun hanging around with the lads and not sitting around joking.’ He would talk to Kirksy, and Kirksy would talk to me, but it wasn’t like we could have a group convo.
So this went on for four months! How did it finally end?
Well one day we went to this party in the city and… Well I would always talk to Callum anyway, I’d say shit to him, but he would just sit there and ignore me. He just wouldn’t reply and then one day Trent (Evans) hit me up, ‘We’re going to Japan. We’re doing the Japan Pass~Port trip, I’ve got the tickets; they’re booked.’ So we’re at this party, and then, same deal, I would talk to/at Callum: ‘Callum, how sick! We’re going to Japan!’ and then he just goes, ‘I know, that’s good.’ And I was just like holy shit! It was such an emotional moment. ‘What the hell, you talked to me!’ and he might have said something like, ‘it’s been long enough’. From then on we were just totally normal like it never happened you know… Until the next ban of course.
Oh man… Wow.
It basically just sums up his stubbornness. He’s banned Bryce before as well. He banned Andrew Mapstone too. I’ve been banned twice, the first one wasn’t as long and I can’t think it was for. That 4-month one was from way back in 2014. We’ve had a good run since.
OK I wanna ask about the car boot session from Kitsch. Can you tell me about that?
That session was in Sydney and it started at 4am. It was Trent’s idea; he’d talked about it forever for the video. ‘I want to do this section at the Central kicker where everyone sessions the back of a car!’ It sounded good… ‘Yeah sure, we’d pull the car up and someone would crook it or something and then we’d get booted.’ Jack O’Grady’s brother has a couple of cars and this was his get about shit car you know, and I think we were all up in Sydney for the Pass~Port store opening. So Trent planned it for a Sunday night at like 4am, and it’s one of those things that when Sunday comes and you’ve been on the piss for a few nights already, you’re feeling pretty run down… ‘Man there’s no way we’re gonna skate at four in the morning!’
Ha Ha, yeah I bet.
It was just one of those days that we were out skating and having beers all day and into the evening and then all of a sudden you realise how late it is… ‘4am actually isn’t too far off.’ We end up sticking it out and headed to the kicker at around 3:30am. It’s a shame because Callum and Kirksy got too drunk to skate, but overall it went surprisingly well and we got 40 minutes or something. It felt like the session lasted forever; it was nuts.
And then finally the police came?
Yeah, how it went was… Mikey Mieruszynski’s girlfriend was driving the car, which was insane when you think about it. Can you imagine taking your girlfriend on a filming sesh… let alone driving a car, pulling an illegal U-turn…4am…sitting in the car while everyone skates the boot…It’s nuts!
Anyway, so at the start the light would go green and she’d hook a left, pull up the curb, put on the hazard lights and then drive off again when the light turned yellow. We did that for a while but then only like three of the crew would get to try a trick and they would go so close together in a train that it was impossible for me to film each trick properly. I had to slow everyone down and sometimes people wouldn’t get a go for like five minutes.
In the end she just pulled the car up, flipped the bonnet and put on the hazard lights and acted like it was broken down, people got to session it properly for a bit. Then cops pulled up and they were just watching from across the road so at that point we just decided we needed to bail.
Squish (Jack O’Grady) jumps in the car, and as he jumps in straight away the cop puts his siren on. In my hazy state I thought, ‘Ah he’s just fucked himself’ you know, thinking he’s drunk for sure! I was like, ‘fuck man! He’s an idiot! What’s he doing?’ I was stressing… Everyone’s tells me, ‘Nah man, he hasn’t touched a drop all night.’
Smart that Jack jumped in there then.
Yeah well Georgia (Mikey’s GF) was sober too of course, but since she had popped the bonnet she was just too stressed and had to bail. She had said, ‘I’ll leave the car here but I’m done.’ So Jack gets pulled over up the road and we’re all packing up our stuff watching him in the distance. He finally comes back after 15 minutes, ‘They’ve given me a charge for disrupting the flow of traffic’… or something like that. You can’t park your car in the middle of traffic lights with your hazards on and pretend it’s OK. It was a traffic infringement you know. And we asked Jack if it was demerits points on his licence and he said, ‘I don’t know something is supposed to come in the mail’. To this day nothing has shown up.
It worked out perfect! Trent said he’d pay for it, but then it’s just never come. Sweet! Awesome session and it worked out. That kicker is so perfect; every skater that has ever driven past it is thinking it… ‘Oh my god look at that kicker!’
But it goes straight into traffic…
It goes into five lanes of traffic. Well Morgan Campbell did actually skate it way back. He ollied a car out of it around the beginning of the millennium which is amazing, but that might have been when it was just built. You can get some goes to do an ollie I’m sure, but to have a full session: forget it. I can’t believe it worked out and we got so long. When we finished and it was five in the morning, we were all juiced and wanted to just go to a pub and celebrate but we couldn’t. You just can’t go to a pub at 5am on a Monday morning; dudes were driving in to start work. So we couldn’t celebrate, we just had to suck it up and go home.
Wow you guys got quite lucky then. Do you ever think about filming VX again?
I actually don’t to be honest. I’m not saying I wouldn’t, but my VX is pretty busted. Once I finally put that box set to rest I was kinda like: ‘I’m done.’
It’s just easier without it as well: I used to carry around HD cameras and a VX and it got to the point where no one actually needed VX footage… ‘Why am I carrying this around still?’
Yeah. I asked this of filmers a lot that used to film VX. Would they ever go back? And some said they’d like to do just one trip, like a 10-day trip and film VX and then have that VX edit come out with the article for that trip…
Oh yeah for sure I’d do that. The only thing is I’d probably be shit at filming with it. At least the first three days…
Yeah, yeah, you’d be all far way and shit! Ha ha…
It’s just a whole different way of filming. Not so much the far awayness, just the way a skater comes in and swoops from one side to another with HD it’s a lot different. But I think that whole VX versus HD question is absolutely irrelevant. I’ve been asked that: ‘What’s your take on VX vs. HD?’ Man come on! That debate’s gotta be done… If you haven’t accepted HD by now then come on, you’re tripping.
Well in the past I think the early HD videos were kind of stale, but in the past couple of years they’ve gotten so much better.
I think it’s definitely harder to film HD and make it look exciting… That’s really another reason to ditch the VX though, ‘I should just use this (the HD camera) all the time and work on getting better with it.’ Everyone got so good at filming with VX in the end, but VXs had been around for two decades. Let’s face it…HD/16:9 is the format now: try and get better at that.
OK so I wanted to ask you what’s the dynamic been now that you work for Nike SB? Do you miss filming with the old crew?
Things have changed but I don’t think that has anything to do with me working for Nike SB. In reality I still film with Callum and Kirksy and whoever’s around. Callum has a job, Kirksy works a lot so that’s really what’s changed. We’re not all free at the same times anymore. I’m lucky that in my job I still get to spend a lot of time filming, it just may be that it’s with different dudes. A lot of the younger Nike dudes are at that age when they don’t have jobs yet. They’re the ones out all day so I’m out there filming as much as I can and thankfully that is ticking some of boxes at work for me too.
All those years where I made all my own videos, Secky Presh, Cunnies Box, $21.50, Callum’s pro part, all that stuff; that was my twenties. I can’t work at a nightclub two nights a week and survive nowadays you know.
Yeah maybe it was time to start making a bit more money…
Yeah, we’ve all got girlfriends… We don’t go skating Monday to Friday 11am until 10pm and then all day Saturday and Sunday anymore. We just can’t do it. That’s what’s changed. We’ll never have our twenties again unfortunately.
It’s the sad truth.
And it gets to that point as well that you work all day, you kind of just want to go have the fun skate.
Yeah you don’t necessarily want to go film…
Yeah you might not want to trawl the streets, because if you don’t get a trick it’s pretty much like the day wasn’t as fun. I haven’t really skated in the past two years, but once I can again I’m going to be going to work and spending an hour after work at the skatepark just skating, for myself. I guess it’s been a bit of blessing for me as far as filming since I’ve been injured. When I’m injured I put everything into filming, because it’s like my only way to be satisfied. Like when I go out and film a trick of someone, that’s as good as me going and having a fun skate. I feel some sort of accomplishment.
That’s sick. Well it really shows you put your all in when you watch Kitsch.
Thank-you. Yeah and since I’ve been injured for so long, my way of filming has probably changed a bit too… Well it also goes back to having a job, a girlfriend, etc., so if I’m going filming I kind of want to be like: ‘OK, what do you wanna go film?’ You need a plan. It’s not like when I was young where, ‘cool, we’ll meet up, we’ll hang out, I’ll skate all day, you’ll skate, and when you’re busting I’ll get the camera out.’ Because I can’t skate right now, ‘OK, I’m blowing off my girlfriend to come out and sit here… If that’s what you’re gonna do, then I’ll just go home… But if you wanna bust, of course I’m there.’ This is a bit of a dynamic some of the guys don’t really like, but this is just the reality. I can’t afford all that time like I used to. So that’s changed and it sucks of course. I try to tell the younger guys now: ‘Make use of your time when you’re young and take on opportunities while you can.’
Here I am sounding like I’m 70… I mean I’m only 32… But as time goes on you realise how special all the times that have passed were and I’m grateful now I made the effort to capture those free and easy times… and have those videos and memories with all my friends. All those memories and the people involved mean the world to me.
I’m so glad you documented the era. Thanks Geoff.
Sorry to blabber on so much, but thank you!