A Street Artist named Vibralux put in a Straight Jackit


SUAS: What’s up ADAM JOHNSON and welcome to ShutupandSKATE! (You have been a tremendous supporter & sponsor of what I have going on here and I would like to publicly thank you very much for that!) As a skater with 3 successful companies under your belt running simultaneously what do you do in your spare time to wind down?
AJ :
I drink whiskey to wind down, but as of late I don’t even have time for that. Between planning future productions, dealing with things in production, selling what I got in stock, blasting out retarded fun edits, filming, and being a full time cook I get to sleep 6 hours a night.

SUAS: Now that is a healthy schedule! I never knew you were into cooking. Did you attend Culinary  School or is it something that you just happen to be good at?
AJ: It actually came from wanting to get out of the house and have a fresh start with regular people. I call them regular because at first they didn’t know anything about me. Didn’t tell them what we did, where we go, etc. Just let them think I was Joe Blow the Cook. Funny how people treat you different if they don’t think you have anything to offer them. One day though one of the servers saw me on MTV, then for a few weeks I got lots of those “So you’re famous, right?” kinds of questions; to which I would respond, obviously I am not since I can be a chef for 3 months without you knowing anything about me.

SUAS: With the recent addition of John Bolino & Brian Shima into the Vibralux family will there be any more surprise rider announcements coming soon within the new year?
AJ: Hell no, lots of people support what we are doing at Vibralux, but putting more people on the team would be too ridiculous. We got Julio, the Kelsos, Fish, Aragon , Murda, Dre sometimes, Luda, Howie-Son, Stockwell, Bailey, Kevin Gillian, Randy Spizer, Name Drops, and a million other people skating in the jeans. Just telling a few people that there isn’t a spot for them is tough. Thanks to all the dudes who support and pay for the jeans, I know you could probably rock some broke ass CCS jeans or some other Wal-Mart jams, but your support helps us to move forward to bigger and better things for EVERYONE.

SUAS: I love the fact that you always seem to bring a fresh new theme to your DVD releases such as the Zombie theme in KFC: Members Only and the egotistical sarcasm in Ego. Is this something that is predetermined or just comes along when you begin editing?
AJ: Member’s Only it was predetermined as I was being sent to jail that this would be our last crew video. With people growing up, and me getting tired of making skate videos a Zombie theme seemed natural. It was weird though because I was actually calling the shots in a way from jail. Alex and Morris were helping with the filming and I was editing a few hours a week during my work release to go to school. When I was in lockdown mode though I drew out all the shots and scripted angles for the zombie scenes and cut them loose to make it. The final product was interesting to say the least. My only regret was HOW we had to make the video, because I think it had the potential to be my best video ever.

          With Ego I started to get a feeling for the vibe while I was touring with the dudes. It is all jokes and ribbing with them, and they were like a family, but the best is when they would tell each other how much better they were, or more attractive, or stronger, etc. Got me thinking of HOW pros were perceived and so I tried to put something together to magnify their Egos and baffle the audience. Unfortunate for me is that not that many people were down, I didn’t get half the audio I wanted, and they were all really good at putting off shooting their scenes (hence all the interviews being shot in a hotel room on the last day of filming). I got a lot of shit from my peers for having to go in and put my grill all over the video to fill in the holes, but that is what happens when you advertise something as EGO and then can’t get the shots to pull it off.

SUAS: I sense a hostile takeover brewing in your busy mind. I say that because ever since KFC1 dropped it has branched out into Straight Jackit Distribution, Vibralux & more recently Street Artist. What is next in the horizon?
AJ: Get money for all my friends, period. I was just approached by a distribution company wanting to put our DVD’s into mainstream stores and that is exciting. More exposure leads to more products purchased which leads to an ability to pay people what they deserve. Alex recently ran into Dave Temple and Dave has been making power deals as of late at the executive level. Really trying to hook back up with Dave and start talking to more corporate sponsors for things like tours, etc. that we have planned for the future. Other then that I have been talking to Kevin G. about the production side of things he does which is super interesting and talking to Daveeeeee Blair about sales rep type shit outside of the industry. Just picking peoples brains and absorbing information.

SUAS: I’m glad that you mentioned branching out for more exposure, that is important for rollerblading especially when it is done correctly. I think too many people get caught up in the popular phrase “selling-out”. Without increased exposure, rollerblading will begin to dwindle again. And on the topic of more exposure, which skater/skaters do you think will be a good candidate for representing our sport?
AJ: I’ve pitched the following producers to the CEO and he told me whomever I co-sign on is legit. Getting  Julio, Ivan Narez, and the Truth cats up in the spot. They are in my opinion the people pushing the forefront of where rollerblading should be heading from a production standpoint. As far as characters in the game I think the majority of the people who ride for STAR and Vibralux are whom I will be associating with, and it is up to the other guys to figure out whom they want to work with. I will offer one word of advice to everyone though, beware the people on the quick come up, I want to see the guys in the limelight that have either put in work, or WILL be putting in work. Need a weed whacker to find the snakes in the tall grass.

SUAS: I put in a good 16 years in the rolling game so I’ll be there cutting the grass with you my brother!…So what makes KFC the place to be?
AJ: Attitude. For the longest time we had a great attitude about where we were in rollerblading and where we planned to go. I guess you would call it swagger, except you wouldn’t have heard that out of any of our mouths 8 years ago. It is almost comparable to what FP, ATL, NYC, and Philly scenes had going; a young group of bladers hungry for exposure, a validated group of older bladers in Morris, Rockwell, and Belzeski, and killer moves being made out of KC by Dave Temple which all paved the way for us. Those other cities had the drive and the heart, and just because we were from Kansas doesn’t mean we can’t fuck with them.

SUAS: The KFC crew has definitely left a deep imprint in the rolling culture. And being that your generation has carried the torch passed down to you by  Temple , Belzeski, Morris & Rockwell, who do you see as the future of the KFC movement?
AJ: If I had to put my finger on it, I would say Michael Collins, Adam Exline, and a handful of shredders that are cutting their teeth everyday and impressing at Blade Night. We have a few younger prospects that come through, and hopefully they will keep with it over winter since it costs $$$ to skate our indoor park. Working on converting lil’ skateboarders to inline.

Speaking of converting skateboarders to inline, I’ve given out copies of “On Top” to boarders out here and after watching it they borrow skates from us to try it out. Slowly but surely they are respecting us skaters a lot more.

SUAS: You have another free online video about to drop. What made you take that route with your visual offerings?
AJ: I just started getting bummed that there isn’t much of a market for selling videos like there was in KFC 3 days. Now you lose money if you go out of your backyard to film. Instead of whining about it now I decided to start gathering CONTENT; it doesn’t need to be the best, but for free I believe in trying to entertain kids and keep them interested.  Also, it helps to show we haven’t fallen off the map. All too often you don’t hear or see anything from a company until it comes time to buy their products. You know what I’m talking about, all the posts “what happened to X company” or “where did what’s his face go, he had potential.” Thing that bugs me about a lot of companies is there lack of promoting their talent. Rollerblading isn’t going to look sweet if you don’t show anyone. I’m actually pretty pissed about Shred Til Your Dead because they are going next level on us while we are trying to keep a vibe reminiscent of old Medium shit. Damn you Ivan 😉  I feel like our videos are the LeBron James jumping around and dancing shit, and his are the Kobe doin’ business dropping 50+ in the Garden joints. Variety is the spice of life though.

SUAS: Let’s talk about Street Artist a little bit, what made you go the route of starting up a wheel company and what makes these wheels different from the next brand?
AJ: Touring with rollerbladers all the time I get to hear all the gossip and goings-on outside of Kansas. I was kind of sick of all these companies just BEING around (and please note we aren’t any better, yet..) and just not doing much to promote their team and the sport. Then there are the quality issues with other peoples wheels, which we are working continuously on getting better and I am sure they are as well. We recently just switched manufacturers to put out a better pour and better core so be on the look out for the next generation Street Artist jams. 

          I’m just of the mindset that I have people I would like to take care of in rollerblading, I have ideas for companies that I would like to make a reality, and the only way to take on more riders and try and make rollerblading a better place was to start a wheel company. I won’t get into all the things that have failed so far, but we know what works, and I am excited to start the new year with a team free of obligations (filming, etc.) and a new urethane pourer.

SUAS: Who is currently riding for Street Artist and is there a video in the works?
AJ: Mike Johnson, Don Bambrick, Billy O’Neill, Sean Kelso, Colin Kelso, Rachard Johnson, Brian Freeman, Demetrius Watson, Edwin Wieringh, Dan Ives (I think), Nick LaBarre, and some other international flow spots. Can’t really talk about a video right now, don’t like building up hype.

SUAS: Sounds good A.J., you are one of the ones that will help carry us in the right direction. Good luck with everything you are involved with. Any parting words or shouts?
AJ: I would like to thank all the people who helped me to get to where I am and help me utilize all the opportunities that have been put in front of me.  The list is too long so we will generalize it to anyone who rides for my companies, who has done work for my companies, who has been in our videos, who has let me sleep on their couch/ beds, no thanks to anyone who has held me back, and a special thanks to all the haters on Be-mag and Rollernews…pay some dues and get back to me.


7 Responses to “A Street Artist named Vibralux put in a Straight Jackit”

  1. Mad props to you AJ luv ya I totally agree about the “snakes in the grass” and second that advice; beware the people on the quick come up, I want to see the guys in the limelight that have either put in work, or WILL be putting in work. Need a weed whacker to find the snakes in the tall grass.

  2. hes got alot going on,and its all dope,but cant believe he didnt give much gratitude to Broskow cause he is the one who made AJ ,well thats wat me thinks

  3. Nice one AJ! A hero of blading as far as I’m concerned, and it always seemed to be true what he said about looking after certain people in blading. Keep it up please!

  4. good shit aj; and roller u might see it tha way but really thou it was proablly a 55/45 thing between alex and aj (leaning more towards broskow) because Aj’s vids of alex in kfc got him into the lime light but he use him to stay on top he made projects tha alex wasnt involved wit but that doesnt matter now AJ keep up the good work and Alex keep shreding

  5. i don’t get why everyone hates be-mag can someone clear it up? and i think aj and alex have dont so much together it sorta goes without saying doesnt it?

  6. I owe my whole life to Alex Broskow, don’t ever get that twisted, and owe a lot to everyone involved in my life… Alex doesn’t need to read it to know I got his back for life.

  7. Edwin Thomas Says:

    AJ your completely right i wish other companies had your philosophy. Fuck who ever says were selling out i wanna go into my skate shop again and see it stocked to the max, i want tours again were i get to see and chill with all pros, but more importantly i don’t want to wonder why people who sacrificed so much have to work three jobs just to support them selves and cant even get medical! i will be getting some jeans soon !

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