Jason Brown could be the best snowboarder in the world-if he wanted to be. Jason Brown could be the best lawn-dart thrower in the world-if he wanted to be. Jason Brown could even be the best chimney cleaner in the world-if he wanted to be. Please excuse the dramatics of my first three sentences, but the point I’m trying to make is that in the nine years I’ve known Jason, there isn’t much of anything I have seen him try and not eventually conquer. Everything seems to come so easily for him, but this in turn could be his problem. He never seems to stick with any one thing long enough to prove any of my opening claims. Instead, he’s off chasing some new fixation or fascination. Whether you call it obsessive-compulsive behavior, or a classic case of attention deficit disorder, there is no denying that this kid’s got problems.

I first met Jason at the local skatepark, where even at age fifteen he could skate with the best of what Salt Lake had to offer. It wasn’t long after that he started showing up at the local snowboarding contests along with his skateboarding style. Because this was in the height of the “food trick” era, his particular way of sliding on the snow wasn’t appreciated until a few years later. By then, all that the rest of us could do was try to catch up.

Since that time I’ve witnessed Jason rise to international snowboarding superstar; start several bands; learn to use a computer and launch an incredible Web site; buy a house; continue to progress in skateboarding; fall in love, fall out of love, and fall in love again; learn to play point guard; record, edit, and produce his own full-length albums (playing every instrument); collect nearly every conceivable Star Wars figure; invent several tricks that changed snowboarding (including the misty flip); start his own clothing company; move to a foreign country; and blow a hell of a lot of money on things he probably could have lived without.

I thought I knew him pretty well-that was until the other night, when we sat down to do this interview. We were barely into my list of questions when it became obvious things weren’t working out. Perhaps we knew each other too well or perhaps neither of us could talk comfortably with a microphone between us. In either case, before we had a chance to work out the kinks and give it another round, Jason’s compulsiveness forced him to take matters into his own hands. What follows is an interview performed by the only person qualified to interview someone as unique a character as Jason Brown-himself, of course.

 

What made you decide to interview yourself? Doesn’t that seem a little self-centered?

There were certain things I wanted do discuss, so rather than telling someone else what to ask me, I thought I would just do it myself. It’s more important to me that people know the truth. I don’t care if they think I’m self-centered.

Last night when Andy tried to interview you, he asked if you were a control freak. Now that you’ve taken over this interview, it seems he was on to something?

Totally. I tend to take charge of situations when I see room for improvement. It wasn’t Andy’s fault. The interview wasn’t going where I wanted. I’m a bit of a perfectionist.

Besides no one knows you better than you, right?

Exactly.

Sounds logical.

I’m glad you agree.

You’re a dork.

I know.

So give us some background info.

Do I have to?

Yes.

But I’d rather talk about Michelle, and the quiet life, and skateboarding.

Settle down, just tell us a little history.

Okay. I was born and raised in Layton, Utah. It’s a pretty-small town north of Salt Lake City. My family moved there from California just before I was born and have lived in the same house my father built ever since.

Are you bummed you can’t say you’re from Cali?

I used to be. I remember telling my dad he should have stayed in California, because the skateboarding is way better there. at was before I invented snowboarding.

You didn’t invent snowboarding.

Yeah, me and all my skater buddies used to take the trucks off our skateboards and ride around in our backyards.

That doesn’t mean you invented snowboarding.

Dude, we had no idea other people were making boards with edges and bungee straps-we were just doing what came naturally. We invented baseless bindings, too.

You mean you screwed your Airwalks to your skate decks?

How did you know?

I’m you, stupid.

Oh yeah.

How many times has the Earth revolved around the sun with you on board?

Twenty-four.

And you’ve been snowboarding for how many of those revolutions?

About eleven.

Have you always been a Brighton loc?

No. I grew up riding Powder Mountain and Snowbasin, then migrated to Brighton. I’ve found that Brighton has more terrain, easier access to the backcountry, and way more kickers. Plus the Brighton locs are some of the best riders in the world. We all push each other without ever getting too serious.

Are you a skater at heart?

Yes. When I snowboard, I pretend I’m skateboarding.

Were your parents supportive of your sideways lifestyle?

Like a lot of parents, they just thought that snowboarding was a fad. But once I got sponsored and started getting free stuff, they came around. I owe a lot to them. They are wonderful people. My father really wanted me to go to college, but after he saw how much it meant to me, he let me use my college money to go to Craig Kelly’s Camp. That helped my career tremendously.

In what way?

At that time Terje was a camp coach. He and Craig both told the team manager at Burton that I could ride. Having two of the greatest snowboarders in the world put in a good word for me prompted Burton to send me on some film shoots, and the rest is history.

How did you get sponsored?

I sent a “sponsor me” video to five or six companies-two called back.

Burton and …

Sessions. Joel Gomez was the team manager of Santa Cruz snowboards and owner of Sessions. He said he wanted to get me on Sessions for sure and maybe Santa Cruz. Burton called about a week later. I rode Sessions clothing for about three years. Joel helped me out so much, hooking me up with Dave Seaone, who was filming for RPM, and Mack Dawg, too. I owe him one.

Thanks, Joel.

Yeah, thanks.

What’s up with Burton?

What do you mean?

Do you like them or are you just there ’cause they pay you fat cash?

I like them. In a building in Burlington, Vermont sits some of the smartest, most experienced, and most educated engineers and designers in the industry, and they still call me and ask for my opinion. Plus they all snowboard.

And Jake?

I wish I knew him better. Every time I see him I feel good about who I work for. I think it must have been great for Craig and Keith and those guys when Jake was much more involved in the team on a one-on-one basis.

Why did you move to Vancouver?

It’s one of the coolest cities I’ve ever seen and definitely the most scenic. The skating there is insane, and the people are super cool.

So why did you really move there?

For a girl.

Atta boy, so who is she?

Only the most amazing person I’ve met in my entire life.

I know, isn’t it rad the way she complements you perfectly and always says just the right thing to keep you on track, and when she enters a room everyone turns to see, and …

Hey, I thought this was my interview.

You’re right, sorry. Go ahead.

What I wanted to say was that I got the girl.

What do you mean?

I mean, I got the girl. The girl that every other guy missed out on. I won. She loves me, and nothing is more important to me than that.

You must really be in love with each other.

It goes far beyond that. We communicate in ways I never thought possible, and she’s taken me places I never knew existed.

You mean heaven?

Yep.

But you don’t believe in god or any of that stuff?

I’ve always considered myself to be atheist. But because of Michelle and everything she’s given me, I don’t feel soulless anymore. I know there’s something more to my existence than simply existing. I’ve been looking for her for 24 years, and she’s been looking for me, too.

Not quite as long though, eh?

Not quite.

What are you afraid of?

Institutionalized religion. Masses of people blindly following ancient myths meant for times long gone.

Heavy, what else?

I’m afraid that the human race won’t make it. I’m afraid that, instead of people-myself included-waking up and seeing what’s happening around them, we’ll just continue to hide from the truth behind material possessions and stereotypical responses. If every person in every country on every continent gave something, any type of skill or effort, to better humanity, we as a people could accomplish anything. If parents stopped thinking of their careers and really tried to teach their children the importance of honesty, integrity, a good work ethic, and loving their fellow man, we might be able to pull it off.

Pull what off exactly?

Gene Roddenbery’s vision of the future.

You mean …

Star Trek.

You are a dork!

So are you.

No I’m not!

You think that just ’cause your words are printed in bold that you’re not a dork?

You’ve got a point there; sometimes I get a little weird. It’s nothing major, just a bit of healthy insanity.

Would it help if I ask you some questions? Took the pressure off?

Yeah Maybe.

Okay, why are you so weird?

I think it has a little to do with growing up in Utah and not being Mormon.

So you think Mormons are wack?

No, no, they’re actually really nice people, it’s just that when I was a kid I was always the last to be chosen for the team, or to be invited to the family picnic, stuff like that.

Do you want everyone to feel sorry for you?

No man, I like what I’ve become. Those experiences help shape who I am today, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Not even your lack of social grace that usually screws up someone else’s otherwise pleasant first impression of you?

I’m working on that one.

Good.

Can I ask the questions now? There’s a lot more I want to cover.

I know what you’re going to say; let’s get it over with.

Right. Everyone keeps coming up to me and asking why you shied away from the snowboarding scene these last few years. Even though I know you’re completely sick of it, can you tell us one last time what happened?

I’d be glad to. I simply needed a break. I’d been riding hard for so long, even before it became my job, that I was ready to try other things. I felt that my riding wasn’t living up to my expectations, and I refused to be out there if I wasn’t changing the face of snowboarding for the better. I had a negative outlook because I was eighteen and all these companies were offering me money-the kind of money that Burton had no obligation to pay me, because of my existing contract. Instead of working harder to attain my goals, I backed down and tried to come at it from a different angle.

There is a lot more to being a professional snowboarder than just getting paid. It was difficult to take something I loved so much and turn it into a job. I can’t ride if I’m not stoked. That’s just how I am, and I think that’s why people like the way I ride. I make snowboarding look fun because I am having fun. And Burton understands this. They’ve been very supportive in that they let me be myself, and in return, I’ve learned what it takes to be a professional, which will prove advantageous for everyone involved.

This means a lot to you doesn’t it?

I feel like shit for not living up to my full potential when I first busted onto the scene. I don’t think I had any idea how good everyoneted.

You mean heaven?

Yep.

But you don’t believe in god or any of that stuff?

I’ve always considered myself to be atheist. But because of Michelle and everything she’s given me, I don’t feel soulless anymore. I know there’s something more to my existence than simply existing. I’ve been looking for her for 24 years, and she’s been looking for me, too.

Not quite as long though, eh?

Not quite.

What are you afraid of?

Institutionalized religion. Masses of people blindly following ancient myths meant for times long gone.

Heavy, what else?

I’m afraid that the human race won’t make it. I’m afraid that, instead of people-myself included-waking up and seeing what’s happening around them, we’ll just continue to hide from the truth behind material possessions and stereotypical responses. If every person in every country on every continent gave something, any type of skill or effort, to better humanity, we as a people could accomplish anything. If parents stopped thinking of their careers and really tried to teach their children the importance of honesty, integrity, a good work ethic, and loving their fellow man, we might be able to pull it off.

Pull what off exactly?

Gene Roddenbery’s vision of the future.

You mean …

Star Trek.

You are a dork!

So are you.

No I’m not!

You think that just ’cause your words are printed in bold that you’re not a dork?

You’ve got a point there; sometimes I get a little weird. It’s nothing major, just a bit of healthy insanity.

Would it help if I ask you some questions? Took the pressure off?

Yeah Maybe.

Okay, why are you so weird?

I think it has a little to do with growing up in Utah and not being Mormon.

So you think Mormons are wack?

No, no, they’re actually really nice people, it’s just that when I was a kid I was always the last to be chosen for the team, or to be invited to the family picnic, stuff like that.

Do you want everyone to feel sorry for you?

No man, I like what I’ve become. Those experiences help shape who I am today, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Not even your lack of social grace that usually screws up someone else’s otherwise pleasant first impression of you?

I’m working on that one.

Good.

Can I ask the questions now? There’s a lot more I want to cover.

I know what you’re going to say; let’s get it over with.

Right. Everyone keeps coming up to me and asking why you shied away from the snowboarding scene these last few years. Even though I know you’re completely sick of it, can you tell us one last time what happened?

I’d be glad to. I simply needed a break. I’d been riding hard for so long, even before it became my job, that I was ready to try other things. I felt that my riding wasn’t living up to my expectations, and I refused to be out there if I wasn’t changing the face of snowboarding for the better. I had a negative outlook because I was eighteen and all these companies were offering me money-the kind of money that Burton had no obligation to pay me, because of my existing contract. Instead of working harder to attain my goals, I backed down and tried to come at it from a different angle.

There is a lot more to being a professional snowboarder than just getting paid. It was difficult to take something I loved so much and turn it into a job. I can’t ride if I’m not stoked. That’s just how I am, and I think that’s why people like the way I ride. I make snowboarding look fun because I am having fun. And Burton understands this. They’ve been very supportive in that they let me be myself, and in return, I’ve learned what it takes to be a professional, which will prove advantageous for everyone involved.

This means a lot to you doesn’t it?

I feel like shit for not living up to my full potential when I first busted onto the scene. I don’t think I had any idea how good everyone thought I was. And I hate the thought of letting down people who believed in me. But I’m not done yet. In fact, the way I see it, I’m just getting started.

Rally round the family …

Pocket full of shells.

Do you like music?

Duh.

What band changed your life?

Dinosaur Jr.

What band taught you to write music?

The Beatles.

Dude, are you like, in a band?

Yeah, but only so I can have a side project. That is, after all, the only reason to have a band. Bobby Meeks and I are in an indie rock band called Forget the Swan. He writes some of the sickest guitar parts, very Sebadoh-ish, but lacks direction. I usually end up helping with the arrangement and melodies. His lyrics are so lovey-dovey, which I think rules, but he doesn’t live that lifestyle at all. It’s very confusing.

What do you write songs about?

Michelle. That’s what my side project is all about. It’s called citizens of earth.

And all the songs are about Michelle?

Yeah. Bobby was getting sick of my obsession, so I went solo. Every note I play is for her.

What else are you into? Don’t you like computers?

Not computers, Macintosh computers.

What’s the difference?

The difference is people use Macs because they want to, and people use PCs because they have to. They’ve been beaten at their own game. A sneaky little bastard named Bill slithered in when no one was looking and took the beauty out of personal computing. He then continued to break the law until his monopoly had grown so powerful so fast that even the U.S. government had no choice but to comply. There are laws in this country, laws that are meant to prevent companies like Microsoft from slowing the progression of a thing, in this case, the personal-computer operating system, by being the sole beneficiary of its worth. Those laws were not upheld. Microsoft took away our freedom to choose. Change the world, choose Macintosh.

Dude, are you looking to get sponsored by Apple or something?

I tried, but they wouldn’t talk to me. I just love my Mac. It’s allowed me to join the new age of the human race. I’ve learned more on my Mac in one year than I learned in six years of public school.

So you’re a geek and a dork?

And proud of it. I’ve decide to completely embrace the technical revolution brought on by the invention of the microprocessor. It was either that or move to the ocean and learn to surf.

That doesn’t sound so bad.

I’m just not a surfer-I like wearing shoes too much.

Who’s influenced your life?

Looking back on it now, I’m amazed at how much I emulate my father. And moreover, how proud I am of that. He is a great man. Growing up we never had a mechanic touch one of our cars, or a repair man step foot in our home. He can do anything.

Except frontside Indys.

There is no such thing as a frontside Indy! It’s an oxymoron. Indy means backside.

Why does that piss you off so bad?

It’s like the difference between black and white. If someone was looking at a white piece of paper and thought it was black, I would correct their error. Frontside airs were invented years before Indys, and I think it’s important that snowboarders show respect to the sport that has given them so many tricks.

You mean skateboarding?

Yeah, I mean skateboarding. Lord help us when snowboarders start taking tricks from Rollerblading.

What sucks about snowboarding?

What sucks is that those of us who helped shape snowboarding into what it is today are being forced out by corporations that didn’t give a ounce of respect to our sport until they realized there was money to be made. And some of the people who should care about this the most, the riders, are not standing up for what’s right. Instead they’re strapping on boards made by ski companies and basketball-shoe companies for cash in a feeble attempt to fool the kids out there into thinking that it’s cool to ride a Nike snoowboard.

What’s you favorite part about snowboarding?

The session. It’s all about riding with your friends in a smoke-free environment, learning from each other. That’s the best.

Do you smoke?

I hate smoking. It’s further proof the human race is in its infancy.

Which snowboarders do you look up to?

Right now I don’t really look up to any riders per se. I’m proud that some of the Utah boys are starting to blow up-J.P. Walker, Jeremy Jones (‘sup F-dudes), Erik Leines, and B.J. Leines. Terje is the best snowboarder in the world. He is so strong mentally that he sees no obstacles physically. And I think that Brad Scheuffele is one of the most talented snowboarders I’ve ever ridden with. His commitment to the trick, from start to finish, is unparalleled. I can honestly say I stole my style from three riders, Brad Scheuffele, Kevin Young, and Noah Brandon.

But after all is said and done, Craig Kelly is still the king, right?

Without a doubt.

After reading the intro Andy wrote for this interview, you seemed deeply moved. What has it, among other things, helped you decide to do?

Become the best snowboarder in the world.ought I was. And I hate the thought of letting down people who believed in me. But I’m not done yet. In fact, the way I see it, I’m just getting started.

Rally round the family …

Pocket full of shells.

Do you like music?

Duh.

What band changed your life?

Dinosaur Jr.

What band taught you to write music?

The Beatles.

Dude, are you like, in a band?

Yeah, but only so I can have a side project. That is, after all, the only reason to have a band. Bobby Meeks and I are in an indie rock band called Forget the Swan. He writes some of the sickest guitar parts, very Sebadoh-ish, but lacks direction. I usually end up helping with the arrangement and melodies. His lyrics are so lovey-dovey, which I think rules, but he doesn’t live that lifestyle at all. It’s very confusing.

What do you write songs about?

Michelle. That’s what my side project is all about. It’s called citizens of earth.

And all the songs are about Michelle?

Yeah. Bobby was getting sick of my obsession, so I went solo. Every note I play is for her.

What else are you into? Don’t you like computers?

Not computers, Macintosh computers.

What’s the difference?

The difference is people use Macs because they want to, and people use PCs because they have to. They’ve been beaten at their own game. A sneaky little bastard named Bill slithered in when no one was looking and took the beauty out of personal computing. He then continued to break the law until his monopoly had grown so powerful so fast that even the U.S. government had no choice but to comply. There are laws in this country, laws that are meant to prevent companies like Microsoft from slowing the progression of a thing, in this case, the personal-computer operating system, by being the sole beneficiary of its worth. Those laws were not upheld. Microsoft took away our freedom to choose. Change the world, choose Macintosh.

Dude, are you looking to get sponsored by Apple or something?

I tried, but they wouldn’t talk to me. I just love my Mac. It’s allowed me to join the new age of the human race. I’ve learned more on my Mac in one year than I learned in six years of public school.

So you’re a geek and a dork?

And proud of it. I’ve decide to completely embrace the technical revolution brought on by the invention of the microprocessor. It was either that or move to the ocean and learn to surf.

That doesn’t sound so bad.

I’m just not a surfer-I like wearing shoes too much.

Who’s influenced your life?

Looking back on it now, I’m amazed at how much I emulate my father. And moreover, how proud I am of that. He is a great man. Growing up we never had a mechanic touch one of our cars, or a repair man step foot in our home. He can do anything.

Except frontside Indys.

There is no such thing as a frontside Indy! It’s an oxymoron. Indy means backside.

Why does that piss you off so bad?

It’s like the difference between black and white. If someone was looking at a white piece of paper and thought it was black, I would correct their error. Frontside airs were invented years before Indys, and I think it’s important that snowboarders show respect to the sport that has given them so many tricks.

You mean skateboarding?

Yeah, I mean skateboarding. Lord help us when snowboarders start taking tricks from Rollerblading.

What sucks about snowboarding?

What sucks is that those of us who helped shape snowboarding into what it is today are being forced out by corporations that didn’t give a ounce of respect to our sport until they realized there was money to be made. And some of the people who should care about this the most, the riders, are not standing up for what’s right. Instead they’re strapping on boards made by ski companies and basketball-shoe companies for cash in a feeble attempt to fool the kids out there into thinking that it’s cool to ride a Nike snowboard.

What’s you favorite part about snowboarding?

The session. It’s all about riding with your friends in a smoke-free environment, learning from each other. That’s the best.

Do you smoke?

I hate smoking. It’s further proof the human race is in its infancy.

Which snowboarders do you look up to?

Right now I don’t really look up to any riders per se. I’m proud that some of the Utah boys are starting to blow up-J.P. Walker, Jeremy Jones (‘sup F-dudes), Erik Leines, and B.J. Leines. Terje is the best snowboarder in the world. He is so strong mentally that he sees no obstacles physically. And I think that Brad Scheuffele is one of the most talented snowboarders I’ve ever ridden with. His commitment to the trick, from start to finish, is unparalleled. I can honestly say I stole my style from three riders, Brad Scheuffele, Kevin Young, and Noah Brandon.

But after all is said and done, Craig Kelly is still the king, right?

Without a doubt.

After reading the intro Andy wrote for this interview, you seemed deeply moved. What has it, among other things, helped you decide to do?

Become the best snowboarder in the world.de a Nike snowboard.

What’s you favorite part about snowboarding?

The session. It’s all about riding with your friends in a smoke-free environment, learning from each other. That’s the best.

Do you smoke?

I hate smoking. It’s further proof the human race is in its infancy.

Which snowboarders do you look up to?

Right now I don’t really look up to any riders per se. I’m proud that some of the Utah boys are starting to blow up-J.P. Walker, Jeremy Jones (‘sup F-dudes), Erik Leines, and B.J. Leines. Terje is the best snowboarder in the world. He is so strong mentally that he sees no obstacles physically. And I think that Brad Scheuffele is one of the most talented snowboarders I’ve ever ridden with. His commitment to the trick, from start to finish, is unparalleled. I can honestly say I stole my style from three riders, Brad Scheuffele, Kevin Young, and Noah Brandon.

But after all is said and done, Craig Kelly is still the king, right?

Without a doubt.

After reading the intro Andy wrote for this interview, you seemed deeply moved. What has it, among other things, helped you decide to do?

Become the best snowboarder in the world.