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Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Amateur Hour: Jimmy McDonald

On a recent trip with ÚS Footwear, McDonald locked into a lengthy bluntslide at one of Kansas City's go-to spots: Energy Park.

Jimmy McDonald is one of the more exciting skaters to emerge from the Northeast skate scenes in a little while. The Maryland native, current Philadelphia resident and frequent NYC visitor carved a name for himself with a distinctly East Coast style combining tech ability with speed, pop and rugged spot selection. Riding for Fiveboro skateboards and producing two solid video parts for his friend, Chris Mulhern's indie gems, "Few and Far Between" and "This Time Tomorrow," McDonald caught the attention of true street skating fans some time ago. Only recently, however, have the accolades for McDonald really begun to catch up to his hype. Just added to the official squad of the ÚS Footwear team and filming for the upcoming Fiveboro video, McDonald is on a tear.

First and foremost, you're living off of skateboarding now correct?

What were you doing for money before you made money from skateboarding?
In New York I was bar backing at a bar called Lit in the East village where I had to clean toilets, pick up dirty cups, and kick out people using illegal substances. I'd go into work at eleven o'clock at night and get home at five in the morning. I did that for a little bit and then started making a little money from skating and I wasn't working as much and I was sort of just broke for a while.

Now you're living with your lady back in Philadelphia?
Yeah, I live with my girlfriend and my other friend Pat, and we live on 15th and South in Philly. It's right next to downtown and way cheaper than living in New York. And I still go up to New York all the time, too so it's cool.

Isn't Philadelphia where you went to college?
Yeah, I went to Temple University in Philly.

What did you study?
I studied Visual Anthropology.

When did you finish and what did you think of college overall?
I graduated in '08 and it was a great experience. I met some of my closest friends there. Anthropology was an interesting subject to study.

That's rad. I love when awesome skateboarders go to college, too. Now tell us a bit about how everything with ÚS Footwear came about and how it's going so far being the new am.
It's going really well so far. I started getting shoes when Jay Maldonado was Team Manager about four years ago. He was just giving me shoes and then Scuba Steve kept giving them to me once he became the Team Manager. Then they randomly asked me to go on a trip with them last year during the summer. We did a cross-country trip with a bunch of flow guys and some guys on the team. It was really fun and we got some footage and from there I just started going on more trips with them and it just kind of worked out from there.

Do you have any trips planned with them coming up?
I'm sure there will be something going on early next year, but for now I'm just going to stay on the East before it gets too cold. Right now I'm in Pittsburgh for a week trying to get some photos and some footage then I'll be back in Philly and New York working on the Fiveboro video until it's done.

Ah, a perfect segue! Tell us a bit about the new Fiveboro video. How is your part coming along?
It's coming along really well. My part is almost done. Everybody is pretty close to done with their parts and it's looking like it's going to be really good. We don't have a name yet but over the next month we should have a promo for the video and a title coming out. I want to say it comes out around March of 2011.

Jimmy McDonald is ready for his closeup.

So you were doing double duty for a while now with filming for "This Time Tomorrow" and the new Fiveboro video?
Yeah, pretty much. Both videos have been a long time filming. Everything that I filmed with Chris Mulhern went to "This Time Tomorrow." We did a bunch of trips and skated around Philly. Everything that I'm filming with Tombo (Fiveboro's Team Mananger/Filmer) is going toward the new Fiveboro video.

I'm excited to see it. I love Fiveboro. Now, I have been told that you take things to heart when they're said to you. You take things kind of serious. Is that true?
[Laughs] What, did Tombo tell you that?

I don't know what you're talking about. I'm just asking you a question, man.
No, I don't take things seriously. Those guys just like to mess with me. I used to live with Tombo and [Fiveboro rider] Joe Tookmanian. We all make fun of each other. I guess they think I'm a sissy. [Laughs]

But I heard you read the message boards.
Huh? Wait ... what?! I was just talking to Tombo the other week because my friend told me about somebody who was talking crap on me and I thought it was funny, but I guess now Tombo is saying that I'm insecure.

So what you're trying to say is that you're not insecure?
No, I'm very insecure. I think everybody is. What I'm trying to say is that Tombo is insecure, too.

Are we going to see any frontside tailslide 270's in your next part?
Nah, I laid that one to rest a few years ago. I'm not too into that move, but I used to be when I was younger.

What happened to it?
I don't know, I used to do a lot of them when I was younger. But I'm trying not to do so many front tails and bigspins which, I'm sure Tombo told you I do too many of. But hey I'm just trying to work with what I've got here! [Laughs]

How about you tell us what's up with Mabasi, your European tool sponsor.
That's my friend Luigi who does Fiveboro International and is from Paris. He works for them. They're Swiss-made tools; they kind of look like Swiss Army knives. They're pretty cool. Mabasi gives me tools and stuff. They have a great team of Euro guys and I love to skate in Europe so it's pretty sick.

Jimmy pulls a 180 over the wall to switch crooked grind popping out into the slant of the driveway.

Being such a traveler though, one would think you would have an iPod in hand at all times. What's your iPod situation?
When we were in Peru, like three years ago, we were staying at our friends' house that was kind of a weird house in a sketchy neighborhood in Lima. They were organizing the room for us, because there were going to be 10 of us staying in this one room and me and my two other friends got there early. So they re-organized the room for everyone else to come and when they were done my iPod was gone. I guess they had some random homie from the street help organize the room. Not very exciting but ...

Have you gotten another one since?
Yeah, my friend Chris from Philly let me borrow his.

He let you borrow it?
Well, I guess ... if he reads this interview he knows that I owe him thirty bucks or something because he let me borrow it and then he moved to France. He said I only had to give him thirty bucks but I should probably give him more.

Tombo claims you're cheap, but would you say you're cheap or thrifty? Well I guess I'm pretty cheap. But it might just be that I'm good with money and he is terrible with money.

I also hear you're a big eater, how many Chipotle burritos have you taken down in one sitting?
Yeah, I like to eat. I took down two one time. It was kind of a bet. I was told if I could eat the entire second burrito I would get it bought for me. So I ate a chicken one and a veggie one. It wasn't that big of a deal.

But I was told you ate the two and then helped somebody else handle the rest of yours.
[Laughs] I probably did.