Back smith. Photo: Giuseppe Ventrella
I met Cameron Starke on April 20, or 420 if you’re into that stoner kind of thing. Thanks to all the stoners in the world, it makes it easy to remember our Bro-Anniversary. I remember I was helping a friend take some photos for Blindside’s Layton store and Starke came along to help direct people. He was recovering from an injury so he wasn’t skateboarding that day. The most memorable part of the day, however, was watching a young couple on fixed gear bicycles run into each other while riding and crash in the middle of the road near Trolley Square. Basically, if you spend the whole time laughing the first time you meet someone, you know you’re going to be great friends.
That was two years ago, and I’ve learned a lot of things about Starke since then. One of the things I know is that when he’s not injured, he’s an amazing skateboarder. Most of the time when you skate with him, he just mills around and has fun. Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, he’ll do a hardflip—not one of those wacky sideways hardflips either—a real, proper Mike Carroll-flick style hardflip.
Starke is a classic skate rat who can skate pretty much everything. He’s underrated as shit. Starke will silently kill it for years just because he loves to skate. He’s a skater’s skater if I ever met one. He skates because he wants to, not because he’s competitive or wants an energy drink sponsor. So, I’d like to introduce you, ladies and gentlemen, to Mr. Cameron Starke.
SLUG: How did you “discover” skateboarding?
Starke: I discovered it twice. The first was when I was seven years old and my older cousin Levi was always skating around. I just thought it was the coolest thing ever and I really looked up to him. Then when I moved from SLC to Layton, I met two cool dudes named Scott Pulley and Josh Gailey. Josh was my neighbor and had rails and ramps and the whole nine yards. So I asked for a skateboard for my next birthday. Got it from the very first Blindside ever in Kaysville and was hooked.
SLUG: I’ve noticed the rest of Utah seems kind of oblivious to the amount of amazing skateboarders in Davis/Weber Counties. Who are some people from that area that rip, known and unknown?
Starke: Omar Budge, Jay Mendez, Issac Raymond and Colton Woods. Those dudes always blow my mind and keep it real. Watch out for these guys, they are terrorizers.
SLUG: What are the three best cities outside of Utah you have skateboarded in and what makes them amazing?
Starke: Buffalo, New York is the best, hands down. Just the East Coast’s rough, sketchy spots are a blast. You have to be very creative and know how to have fun on your board, and that’s what I am all about. Not to mention the best homies ever. San Diego, Calif. is always a good time—awesome weather, the beach, great skate scene and a lot of fun spots. Also Washington Street Park rules. DIY or DIE! Evanston, Wyo. for one reason and that one reason is THE HELL HOLE.
SLUG: Share, if you will, the story of what happened at the Motörhead concert recently?
Starke: OK, so [at] the end of January, a ton of homies, my lady friend and myself all head down to Vegas to see Motörhead. Keep in mind that I have been waiting and trying to see them for five years and something has always been in the way, but not this time. I mean, Lemmy is 66 so come on—got to see him while he is still rockin’. So we get to Vegas and do Vegas right: 99-cent margaritas all day just having a blast. Do the whole Vegas night thing: roulette tables and slots. Next day, we get feeling crunchy and we head to the show. Right off the bat, I run into Lemmy, slap him a high five and then it’s on! Valient Thorr started the show off. About the fourth song in, which was “Heatseeker” (one of my favorite songs), shit starts getting wild. Then I guess I pissed the wrong dude off because BAM! I woke up in a wheelchair outside having no clue what was happening. So from what I have heard, because I can’t remember, I got punched in the jaw which knocked me out cold. Then the story is unclear because I have been told I just tripped over people and hit my head, but also I heard I got tossed head first by the same dude. Also, someone told me they heard the dude Donkey Kong-ed me, lifted me up and slammed me down like a barrel. So, unclear of that, I woke up talking to bouncers and EMTs. I cannot remember anything, had no idea where I was or what was happening. Finally, after time passed by I was able to talk them into letting me back in to see Motörhead. I had to sit up in the seats, but that was alright with me because I was not missing this for anything. Omar and Kasey (Cloward) both sat with me and Motörhead killed it. They even played “Overkill” for the encore: the one song I was screaming at them to play the entire show.
So, I have a huge swollen face, black eye, several lumps on the side of my head, bummer right? Well, it gets worse. I go to sleep that night, we all wake up and drive back to Utah, get home and crash out. I wake up that Monday for work, the whole day feeling like shit. I had a bad headache and was feeling like I had to ralph all day. I called my mom and she told me to go to the hospital. I said OK and went and got some CAT scans. They had to drain three cc of blood from my knee. I somehow hurt that during all of it, too. Then they told me the news: I had bleeding in my head and had to go to an emergency room. The neurologist told me I had a twelve-hour window of living and they were going to watch over me until eight in the morning. Then, I would get surgery because I had fractured my skull and that caused the bleeding and blood clots. They had to cut a hole in my skull and drain the blood and zap the arteries closed. So, around six in the morning, they came and got me ready for surgery and it went awesome. I now have a hole in my skull and the only thing protecting it is my jaw muscle. I had seven staples in the side of my head for four weeks. I just got them out. It was crazy, man, a total bummer.
SLUG: Tell us about your experiences with Gonz. You used to call him, right? Who did he think you were?
Starke: Oh yeah, so that’s a good story. One of my homies from Buffalo had his number and gave it to me. We also had Johnny Layton’s number and some other pros, but the only dude that never got pissed was The Gonz. So it turned from a bunch of prank calls to actually talking and having conversations here and there. At first he thought when I would say, “Hey it’s Cameron Starke,” that I was David Clark and would keep asking me questions and talking about stuff I had no idea about and seeing if I was skating and if I got my product boxes. After a while, it turned into Brooks Hall and myself having nicknames from him. Brooks was Powerslide and I was Frontside Guy. Then, the sad day came when he got a new number. Oh man, I almost forgot the best part! Brooks and myself asked him to come to Utah and chill for a little while. His response was that he had family that drove a minivan filled with children and we would have to meet the demands of finding him a long board and a pair of Timberlands if he was to come out here. Oh, and Johnny Layton sucks to prank call.
SLUG: Tell us your best Brian Brown story.
Starke: That’s a hard one, but I think the creation of Stackers is the best beause stacking rules! So Brian and myself started having bar night every Thursday back when I first moved to Salt Lake. We would try and go to a couple different bars every Thursday night to see what was out there and where it was the illest to drink. On one of those Thursday nights we ended up at Cheers To You. Last call came up and we still wanted to party, so we made our way out to the front of the bar and out of drunken boredom decided to start stacking crap chairs on top of tables on top of ledges. We had made this huge tower in front of the bar and had tons of people just watching in amazement. At the time I lived two blocks from the U so we had a long journey ahead of us. So with that journey back home we decided to stack all of fourth south, which included Beto’s, Chuck-O-Rama, Coffee Break, Spoon Me and many more businesses until arrival at my house around five in the morning. The best stack of the night was at Little Caeser’s. I dragged a Christmas tree three blocks and stacked it on top of that place. Man, what a night.
SLUG: Who in Utah is currently killing it on a skateboard?
Starke: Sean Hadley. That dude can shred it all. Omar Budge is always killing it on and off his board. Dirk Hogan, Oliver Buchanan and of course, everyone’s favorite wimpy deer, John Willardsen aka Bambi.
SLUG: Who is killing it at life right now?
Starke: My Family, my amazing lady friend Lindsay Evans, Todd Leaver, Red Beast, David Weaver, Max Cloward, Brittany Evans, Ian Elliot, Blindside, Mike Lowder and Nate Love at DC, Rabobo, Young Guns, Brian Brown, hefeweizens, Matt Coles, Swainston, Merlin’s Beard, Sunny Brooks, the Gonz for keeping it real and everyone else that is out there doing what they want and having a blast with it. This is thanks for killing it at life and staying on.