Zero Club | Jan 2022 | James Freeman

1. Name?
James Freeman
2. Age?
3. Where are you from?
Atlanta Georgia
4. How long have you been skating? Started as a kid in 1985, quit around 1999 (but always had a board around for store runs), started back seriously 7 years ago.
5. What’s your set-up?
I’m one of those lame people that like 80s boards. Haha! Skated only reissue Powell-Peralta’s for a while, currently I skate pretty much only Punk Stix shapes (way cheaper and easier to find), Indy 169s on every board, 58-60 mm Formula Four OGs, Powell Rib Bones are also a must. 
6. What terrain do you like to skate? My first 5 years back at skating I only skated bowls. About 2 years ago I started back doing curbs and simple street and it’s all I think about anymore. 
7. What stokes you out in skating? When I’m skating is the only time my head is quiet, it’s therapy where the only payment is in pain. Pretty much every time I step on a board it’s like time doesn’t exist, and it takes me back to the most carefree times of my life. But skating isn’t nostalgia to me (even though I love nostalgic skateboarding). I’m stoked anytime I see anyone conquer a fear in their head and land a trick, from a kick turn to a switch tail down a 10-stair set. 
8. What could be better in skateboarding?
That’s a tough one. Today is the absolute best time period to be skating on some levels. I do hate the jock aspect and mentality that have taken over some parts of skating though. When I was a kid, skating was for misfits and punks, and some of the people doing it now are the same kind of people that used to beat me up and make my life a living hell. Of course, mainstream acceptance has some perks like not getting arrested and an overabundance of skate parks (at least where I’m from). I think also people could lose some of the holier than thou “I’m better than you” mentality because of skill level or taking a hiatus. Life happens, responsibilities (or in my case irresponsibility) sometimes lead to quitting. My reason for quitting was girls, cars, and especially drugs and touring in bands. I wish I could take that back and spend that decade and a half on a board, but I’m making up for it now... Everyone I know skates because it’s fun regardless of their skill level. Anyone stealing the fun out of skateboarding is a kook, I don’t care how many tricks that they know. 
9. What bands/music do you like? I’ve been an instrumental surf guitar player since 1994, so that’s always been a favorite. Also punk like the Dead Kennedys (East Bay Ray was absolutely a surf player), Subhumans, Black Flag, The Queers, The Dicks, Descendants, Agent Orange, Fear, etc. I’m a huge Tom Waits fan, and also love 60s soul, beat music, garage rock, early country, and jazz. One of my biggest musical influences is Django Reinhardt.
10. What makes you laugh?
My kiddo. She’s my world. 
11. Favorite books/movies?
Tough one. I’m a voracious reader, particularly non-fiction that pertains to my business. Houdini in particular. Movies that’s a tough one. I majored in film briefly, but honestly as the world has gotten more serious and terrible I’m a huge fan of escapism. Ghostbusters, Big Trouble in Little China, Jaws, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and classic horror, just too much to list. 
12. Skating as a kid vs. skating as adult over 40…talk about the differences and similarities.
The difference is I can afford to buy whatever I want now! Haha. Acceptance is huge, I don’t see myself getting arrested for skateboarding now like I did as a kid. Parks everywhere (I have no fewer than a dozen in any direction an hour from my house), every shape imaginable is out there, just so much is rad about skating now. Honestly, I’m far more stoked on skating at 41 than I have been in my entire life. The similarities are every time I step on a board it’s like the past 30 plus years never happened. I’m that kid again sitting down riding a plastic Variflex down the hill in 1985. It’s a timeless stoke. 
13. Favorite skate videos?
411 Videos were God-like when I was in my skating prime in the early 90s, along with anything Alien Workshop put out. Now I tend to watch more 80s videos, not for nostalgia but for trick inspiration. Sick Boys, Future Primitive (or any and everything Bones Brigade), Street of Fire, Vision skate rock, etc. 
14. Favorite skaters?
Mark Gonzales, Erich Winkowski, Christopher Hiett, AJ Nelson, Lance Mountain, Tommy Guerrero, Grosso, Dressen, Omar Hassan, Danforth, Saint Tony (for being skateboarding’s biggest cheerleaders and all the parks), and anyone out there grinding a curb or coping and being a positive person to anyone on a board regardless if skill level. 
15. You have a weird job. Talk about that, and how you got into it.
I’m the owner of Freeman and Fugate Oddities Company, specializing in morbid antiques. I started my business after winning full custody of my daughter years ago, because I had a corporate job and wanted to be available for her as much as possible. We specialize in the occult, antique circus sideshow items particularly from the 19th century, satanic antiques, medical antiques, true crime and more. It’s a fun job, we have one of the largest antique and rare Ouija board collections in the world in our personal collection, along with dozens of human skulls and skeletons, signed and personally owned items from Harry Houdini, sideshow banners, freak animal taxidermy and much more. I get paid to lecture on history pertaining to our business and collection, and hope to one day open a museum. That would be the ultimate non-skateboarding related stoke!