This interview was originally published in Hangup Zine Issue 13
I met Joxa in 2006 when he first moved to Coventry. I knew of him through Cov OG Mark “Frocker” Hewitt, and had only really spoken to him on the Sidewalk forum. Shortly after meeting Joxa, we ended up living in a student house during uni – he had a never ending supply of tea and always cooked square sausages for breakfast, and we spent a lot of that time watching skate videos and awful kung-fu films. Our paths have coincided on many occasions, not only through skateboarding and as housemates, but also as co-workers at the Odeon cinema, the place all Cov skateboarders seemed to end up working. He’s an amazing skateboarder, and one of the nicest people you could meet – I sat down with him to discuss how a boy from isolated Barrow In Furness ended up skateboarding in Japan. – Ade
Over the last 15 years you’ve moved from Barrow to Coventry, then to Bristol, back to Coventry, then to King’s Lynn, and back to Coventry again. What is it about Coventry that keeps pulling you back?
Necessity. And maybe my partner has something to do with it…
I think when we were housemates in uni, I got a really good idea of what your deal was. But, explain for me again, why did we have a dead pig’s head in our freezer?
Haha! Originally for a photo shoot that was deemed too offensive. Then I think I made stock or something out of it.
How did so many skateboarders in Coventry end up working at the same Odeon cinema, and why did we never skate the wallrides they have at the front of every screen?
Because you got everyone jobs there! I think we tried to skate them. I’m sure at one point I tried to drop in on one but carpet does not make a great skate surface.
You tend to be more of a transition skater, but I noticed you seemed adept at skating a lot of the street spots in Coventry – what is it about the street spots that you enjoyed?
A lot of the street spots in Cov were pretty close together and you rarely got any hassle. Plus it was all new when I first moved down. Lots of fun bank spots, wall rides and the like. Loads of these spots have gone now. Luckily the hospital fountain is still there! Recently I’ve been going on solo missions around Cov using my cruiser board and just bombing about. The main shopping bit is downhill with banked wall rides and you can blast around there. I tend to enjoy bombing around streets now rather than focusing and sticking at one spot for hours on end.
As well as moving around, you like to travel. You’ve done skate trips to Hamburg and Osaka before – What was your favourite skate trip?
Any trip you’re away with the dudes with no other care than ‘what we hitting up next’ is good. Japan, Hamburg, Belgium, France, the Isle of Man and more all have lasting memories!
At one point you were on Witchcraft, back when French was still running it. What led to you getting on the team?
My devotion to the Horned God I believe, or maybe it was that people actually thought I was a practising Pagan? Either way, I think it happened after a session at the Ideal mini ramp, and skating with French in Bristol. He contacted me about a year after the company started saying that the Team wanted me on board. The fact French said it was the team that had asked (who I think at the time was Sam Roberts, Jake Snelling, Tibs and Jamie Arghhhh) was really cool. Shortly after that, Marc Churchill and my beardy geggs brother Joe Habgood got on too.
I remember the Witchcraft team was really awesome when the brand first appeared – who were some of your favourite team mates?
Everyone was pretty mellow, despite having the gnarly image, and I got along with everyone which is always cool. I think I shared most of my time with Mr Habgood, he looked after me whilst I was in Bristol (Cheers Joe xx). It was cool meeting everyone that rode for Witchcraft, but I think everyone would vote Tibs as the favourite, quite simply because Tibs is the best!!!
Since Witchcraft shifted ownership, you’ve recently been involved with Dungeon (French’s new company). What’s your involvement there and how is it compared to Witchcraft?
He sends me T-shirts and I wear them! It’s rad French kept me involved with his latest company, it’s more or a ‘mates deal’ than anything else. Danke French!
The name “Joxa” carries a lot of good will in UK skateboarding – but how did you get that name?
The nickname came way before skateboarding! Back In Barrow, I was part of the D+D club (that’s Dungeons and Dragons to the muggles) and someone said I looked like Joxer the mighty from Xena Warrior Princess. So they called my character ‘Joxa’ then just referred to me as Joxa whenever we hung out. The nickname kind of stuck in school. I then used it on the Sidewalk forum, and that’s how people would refer to me when we’d meet up to skate.
You’re one of the members of the band Los Savages. How did the band start and are you willing to disclose the identities of the other members?
Los Savages started in the broom cupboard of Campus Skatepark in Bristol. It started with Myself on Vocals (if you can call my shrieks and screams vocals), Dave Plews on drums, Slasher Sam on Guitar, and Rick on bass, with Phil joining us with his brass skills. Like anything, it was just something we wanted to do. We’re all into punk/trash garage music, and we all skate, so we’re a skate rock band I guess, but we identify as Intergalactic skurf punk. We have gigs here and there, and always play the Dean Lane Funday. For a bit of a laugh we’ve managed to get a dedicated following, and Dave sorted out releasing a few vinyls. Recently one of our tracks was featured on a Heroin skateboards video, for Tom Day’s Section, and we were all pretty stoked on that! You can check us out at lossavages.bandcamp.com, and book us via our facebook page. We take payment in beer and cake.
I’ve filmed a lot of footage of you skating all manner of weird transitions, and you always seem to seek out the crustiest, gnarliest ramps around – what’s your favourite crusty spot you’ve skated?
I just appreciate the older stuff or the slightly odd, plus it’s always a stoke when you discover something that either wasn’t built for skating, or has been forgotten about and rediscovered. Stuff you have to work at a bit more, either getting to or skating. Insane terrain. Cov Fountain, Police Banks(RIP), the Isle of Man pool and the Crust Ramp are some of my favourites. Gotta give a major shout out to the Rote Flora in Hamburg too, that place is amazing.
How the hell do you rock fakie a wall?
Study the movements of Daniel Drehobl. And just hold on.
Anyone you want to thank?
I’ll be coming up to 20 years of skateboarding next year, and I’m lucky to have met a whole load of folk through doing this. Rather than name individuals: if you know who you are, thank you, and I’ll see you soon for a cuppa, and to skate some piece of shit in the middle of nowhere! Keep it fun x