Phil Mackie Interview. Introduction by Tim Liu. Interview by Yeoh and Facebook fans.
The first time I saw Phil skate was at a Bondi Comp around '93. I didn't know who he was, but he stood out during the practice sessions to me. Maybe it was because he skated the way a lot of people in the videos did at the time. Tech with power and speed with style, which if you were around at the time would know, often didn't go hand in hand. I was already rolling with Mick Yuen and Davo a fair bit, so it was only a matter of time before I met Phil. We eventually met skating with a good mate of mine, Ian 'Chalkfist' Howson a year or so later. My first impressions from the Bondi comp must have stuck though, because I felt intimidated by him. He had a big personality on and off the board, and didn't mix it up with the younger crew much, which painted a slightly stuck up air about him at first. Looking back though, my need to feel accepted by someone from an elite crew was just a way to gauge my own progress. If you got props from Phil for a trick, then you knew you were doin' shit right. I quit skating in '98, but recently got back on board this year at the age of 34. At a PIT veterans reunion drink this year, Phil said to me "Mate, I reckon you're skating better now than you were back then!" I know it was a tongue in cheek comment, but nearly 15 years on, I still know if I get props from Phil Mackie I'm doin' my shit right. Tim Liu.
Phil, so what's the background on how you got into skating? Was it through watching Back to the Future?
I think it is that old cliché huh. The first time I actually seen someone skate was on a family day in Manly and I saw some dudes skating the vert ramp. Must of been about 10 and we went straight home and my mates uncle built us a board from scratch......
How did you end up meeting and skating with the other guys on CLS?
I met Ben Miller up in Hornsby around the time of H Street's Next Gen video and he had this absolute nut bag of a mate named Mike O'Meally who I loved being around due to his incredible enthusiasm and unpredictability. We also used to skate Friday nights in Manly at a spot called Clearway with Wade Burkitt. A couple years passed and Mike started to shoot skate pics and I think that's how most of us actually all became friends.
Who were your main influences in skating growing up?
There has been so many different influences and styles that I've been hyped on and tried to emulate over the years. From the gnarly Frankie Hill days to the stylish Jason Lee in Video Days to the Jeremy Wray trying to kick flip off a house in 3 try's or less..... Too many to list really but as a group we were all about the Girl team from the boards down to the shoe laces. I'd say they influenced us the most as we were progressing in the mags and videos.
What did you do with that Nike jacket from Denim Soup? (Michael Davidson via Facebook)
Hahahaha, I have no idea but my guess would be I sold it in Melbourne Surf on commission. Or do you have it in your random collectables?
It seems you were very focused and had a simple, no nonsense attitude. you were one of the first Aussies to get gnarly , and go big when the norm was to stick close to the ground. What was your personal approach to skateboarding?
I'm not sure I ever really thought about it but between hearing through grape vines what Sydney's whiz kid Davo had done and skating with one of the best hype men to have ever done it, O'Meally. I think I had little to no choice but chuck myself down shit or be left behind!
Do you regret the braided hair do you rocked in 97. (Anthony Whittingham via Facebook)
Tones bringing out that old chestnut! No anything I've done in my life has brought me to the amazing place I am right now so no!
Despite the fact that any of the CLS crew had the potential to, you were the only one to actively pursue skateboarding in the states. You had some awesome sponsors and amazing video parts. How did it all end?
Thanks!! I injured my ankle one day in LA doing a trick I'd already done a few times and wasn't really into it but as fate would have it Atiba was hyping it up like go on it'll be amazing! Anyway I ended up double dislocating my ankle and tearing some tendons and ligaments, and long story short it took 2 years to get to the point where I could skate again and by that time I had the fear...
Did "the industry" ever leave a bitter taste in your mouth?
At the time it did a little but looking back I had an amazing journey around the world and met some incredible people along the way so I wouldn't change a thing :-)
You were on the same team as The Gonz. Did you skate with him? Any Gonz stories?
A couple times but I was injured the year before they put out that vid so I missed a bunch of the trips. But just skating with that dude around downtown SF was rad and as fun as most could imagine it would be. He's just a little kid in a man costume.
Favourite CLS rider and why?
Can't answer that. We all skated so differently and what came natural to one was impossible for the next so we all benefitted from trying shit we normally wouldn't. But as friends we forged an amazing bond that still exists today even though we have all spent so many years apart post skating. I skyped with Davo the other week and it really seemed like we were 15 years ago minus the lame adult issues we're dealing with these days.......
What are you up to these days? Do you still get a roll in?
I am about to get back on the board and start hitting Hyde up more with the Pit Vets so we can finally finish up this full length CLS vid! Hahahahaha
Not much to say really but thanks Chris for doing this for us it's been fun reading the other boys interviews as well as digging through the archives for pics. It's brought back a lot of cool memories! I'm also looking forward to our first skate at Hyde with all 5 of us on our CLS decks which should be happening sometime in March this year..... Cheers.