Chapter 53: Diamond Life - Christ Air

From Chapter 53: Diamond Life (Fall 2013)

Interview: Max Perlich
Photos: James Perry

In 1985 Christian Hosoi made the cover of Thrasher magazine, holding his first ever Hammerhead board that he had cut himself. One of the top vert skaters at the time, the creator of the Christ Air and Rocket Air seemed to be an unstoppable force. Fast-forward 15 years and things had changed for the stylistic prodigy—a few bad decisions landed Hosoi in prison, but he used the time to reset the course of his life. Hosoi emerged as a born-again Christian, became a pastor, and now in addition to skating, makes time to help others sidestep the mistakes he made.

A person more familiar than most with the legendary skater’s story is childhood friend and actor Max Perlich. The two sat down at Hosoi’s Huntington Beach home to reminisce about old times and talk about things to come.

How long have we known each other?
Since we were like four or five years old, going to pre-school. It was not your traditional school; it was a private LA art scene off of La Cienega and Washington Blvd. Play Mountain Place.

Very progressive.
But we reconnected back in the whole club scene in ’84 I believe—yeah, right around there I was riding for Alva. We connected and talked about hanging when we were five and running around in cowboy boots. Now we’re basically gun-slinging, hanging out as 15-year-olds in the clubs. We pretty much bonded right away and the first thing we did was go to the club. I think it was like Funky Reggae Osco’s…

It was Greg’s Blue Dot and Lunch—y’know, Lunch Club on Highland? Funky Reggae wasn’t even around till then.
Lunch is ’86 probably. Lunch and Second Grade, Seventh Grade, and all those. Those were the underground clubs that came out right after Power Tools.

He’s the brain, I’m the brawn. So skating for so many decades now, what was fashion like back then when you first started out, as opposed to this Fairfax streetwear scene now?
Well, I remember going back to Fairfax High back in 1982. I was already cutting up my own shirts, doing my own style.

You were a breakdancer, right?
This was pre-breakdancing. I was cutting up my shirt, having my own little style, and going out to the Beverly Center when it was first built. Skating around West Hollywood, going from my school, which was Hamilton High, to Beverly Hills High just to go hang with friends and then Uni High School. So this was pre-skateboard fashion filtering into brands. There were no brands that really did it. We were wearing Gotchas and Quicksilver and this is after OP, this is more like Catchit and those surfer brands that were offering Bermuda shorts for the first time.

I was now 14, kind of trying to be a grown up. I wanted to be cool. I had the Vuarnet shades with the matching polo shirt and the matching color Quicksilver with the Cole Haan shoes or the Vans with my Levi’s, and then I would peg my Levis or I’d go to the thrift store. I’d get pointed thrift-shop shoes. I wore Capezios. I mean obviously the whole punk rock scene in the late-’70s was pretty influential on like the wingtips. Creepers came in and monkey boots and all that stuff was a huge influence on skateboarding. And skateboarding almost made that style cool in California, because prior to that, it wasn’t a style. It was more of a punk rock European thing that came over here. It was more of an attitude that came with fashion.

I remember listening to Bob Marley, Sade, hip-hop, and funk. But the skate industry’s idea at that time was punk, white bread, homogenized angst.
I grew up seeing Bob Marley twice. My dad played blues guitar and bluegrass slide guitar. So I grew up in a blues culture—soul and R&B. And then I was listening to Gregory Isaacs, the B52s, the Go Go’s, and the Cars.

Pretenders, The Clash.
Yeah, and Madonna! The Clash and those were like the Meteors and all those like punk rock skate, punk rock-influenced bands. And I went to the Circle Jerks…

To read the whole article, cop Chapter 53: Diamond Life.

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