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Black Label

Black Label Skates

35 years in the can, curbs and coping since 1988! To celebrate Black Label's 35th anniversary, the company is letting you choose your favorite shape and size! 14 shapes and sizes to choose from! Make it how you want it. Individually transferred by John Lucero here at Label HQ. Featuring original artwork by Riky Barnes, our first Lucero, Ltd team rider. The limited Beercan designs are not available at However, everything that has come to Germany from Black Label is also available in our ConcreteWave skateshop.

Black Label forever!

Black Label Skateboards is a manufacturer of skateboards, wheels and similar products. The company was founded in 1988 by 80's pro, artist, current owner and lifelong skateboarder John Lucero. Over the past 20 years, Black Label has represented some of the best skateboarders including John Cardiel, Gino Iannucci, Jason Adams, Matt Hensley, Salman Agah, Wade Speyer, Ragdoll, Duane Peters, Jeff Grosso, Mike Vallely, and the list goes on. As a brand, Black Label hasn't lost sight of what it really is and what it wants to be in skateboarding. "Never be bought, never be sold".

Classic black label skateboard designs include:

  • Barcode
  • Eric Nash "DARKHORSE"
  • John Lucero "STREET THING"
  • Lucero "CROSS"
  • "WELCOME TO 1988"
  • Brad Bowman Black Beauty

John Lucero via jenkemmag:

Black Label has never been funded by anyone other than my wallet, and my wallet is pretty empty. And when we made money, I put it back into the company. Tours, videos, things like that... When we have money, I try to give, and when I'm broke, I try to give what else I have, which is either my encouragement or my knowledge. The last few years have been tough, I've lost a lot of team riders because of financial problems. And I'm proud to say that all those guys are still my friends today. They know I love them, and they still say that some of the best times in their lives were skating for Black Label.

I want these guys to know how much I appreciate their efforts, and I'm glad they appreciate what I've done for them, too. But in this day and age where everyone is losing their paychecks, no one is getting paid like they used to. Except for a few who are doing well with a Nike sponsor or a Mountain Dew sponsor or something like that. And you know what, that's not a bad thing. That's a great thing. If you're having that big of an impact on skating that Nike is paying you that kind of money, that's great because that means you've done something great in skateboarding. Nobody gets fat paychecks for doing nothing or gets paid who doesn't deserve it.

You are known for not stealing riders from other skate companies in the form of a "cold call". Why not? Exactly. That's the one thing I can't stand about the skateboard industry, the cold call. I was the first one to sponsor Gino [Iannucci] from Long Island, New York. We started sending him boards, then we sent him to California. He was happy to be sponsored, you know? Gino Iannucci rides for Black Label. As soon as word got out, he started getting calls.

Instead of people being excited about him riding for Black Label, like, "Wow, Black Label has this awesome guy," people were just like, "Hey, you should ride for us." I don't do that. I don't cold call people and I haven't done it. Another former driver of ours was at a competition, and a company owner somehow got a hold of him on his cell phone and said, "What's Black Label paying you? We're paying you double." Holy shit. It's that kind of shit.... there's a new hot guy and everybody can't just be happy with what they have, they have to have yours. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying these guys can't get better opportunities, and they have. Geno made the right decision. But there are so many great skaters, especially these days. I get it... It's just disheartening sometimes.

It's been so long that it's not a big deal anymore, but it's just something that's very close to my heart. I always try to build a team from the ground up, that's why I brought Gino in. We've sponsored both Gino and Dill from a young age. John Cardiel, we made his first pro boards. I'm proud to take a guy on, give him a chance and give him his first pro board. That's what I really like to do. It makes me feel like I've given something back to skateboarding.

Your "Bondage Chick" graphic from 1984 was pretty naughty. Do you think you designed the first ever "controversial" or offensive skateboard graphic? It looks like it... My boards were only produced in very small numbers because skateboarding was pretty dead at the time, and apparently a lot of people sent the boards back to Variflex because the graphics were too offensive, vulgar and disgusting. I remember Variflex calling me and telling me that people were sending them back, and I thought, "Oh, damn, that's great!" I think there were only 200 of those panels made on Variflex. It was a great first graphic. Then when I quit Variflex to ride somewhere else, they reissued the graphic and just changed the name from John Lucero to Grim Ripper. I remember being pissed off when I was younger, but looking back now, the board meant enough to them to reissue it and keep it going because it had some value.

As a company owner and artist, do you feel morally responsible for your artwork? As a father, I now definitely have a different view of what can and should be published. I now understand both sides of the coin. For example, I feel that anything to do with weed has already been done to death. It's gotten to the point where I don't give a shit. That's the kind of mentality the skateboard community has fallen into: how can we be any more outrageous? But nothing is really outrageous anymore... I still think it's great to put beer and cigarettes and stuff on the boards, but not so much that every board is covered in weed plants and shit.

As far as I know, your first modern skate part was Label Kills (2001). Why did you have so few video parts? I'm probably the least documented skater from my time. I just hung out with my friends. Neil [Blender] and Lance [Mountain] were always on photo shoots with top magazine photographers while I was at home skating curbs and doing whatever with my other friends - I just kind of missed out on those opportunities. Looking back now, I should have taken advantage of that because there are no good photos from that time. There's hardly anything, no documentation of me and my early street skating because we just did it. It's just based on memories and stories. I'm grateful for how things turned out. I still feel like the skate world has been more than kind to me in terms of recognition.

You developed the Slappy, right? Everyone credits me for that, and I accept that - it's just a lot to make a cut for something like that.... it's just curb grinding. You can ride in the street, carve onto a curb and grind it. But a real slappy is when you grind your ass forward and don't lift your trucks. The front trucks hit first, and with enough momentum on the back end, you swing inward and use your heel to push it up, and boom, it pops over the edge. That's the slappy, and that's Lance Mountain's and my technique. I don't want to take all the credit, there were a lot of people doing it.

You're also responsible for the No Comply, aren't you? The No Comply was created right after the Boneless came out. The Boneless was a trick that, once you'd learned it, you could adapt to anything, from vertical to street skating. This trick really opened up street skating. When you do a boneless, of course your front foot is on the ground and you're flying through the air, but I figured out how to do it from a curb without holding onto the board. I learned how to do a boneless bonk off a parking garage block, and I kind of made fun of that - the boneless with no hands. We were doing these no-grab bonelesses off this parking lot block and Neil [Blender] was with me and we were laughing and he was like, "I don't get it, I don't get it, it's stupid. No Comply", that's how the name came about, we called it No Comply for No Understanding, that's all it means. No comply means "nobody understands, no comprende". It didn't make sense how it worked. I also called them curb crushers. It started as a joke, and then Neil was in a commercial doing one, and it took off from there.

In the original No Comply, you hit the board against a parking block. When did it become a game where you hit the board with your knee instead, causing it to burst? That somehow came later. It started with banging the board against a parking block or a crack in the sidewalk and that was it. We used to do pressure ollies and crack ollies - it's all been around for so long that sometimes a crack ollie is just the funniest thing you can do in skateboarding. If you can get a perfect ollie just a few centimeters off the ground, it's fucking awesome. All of that came about when we were sitting on a curb playing around, like I told you. That's all we were doing, sitting on the curb, drinking Coke and talking shit, you know what I mean? And kicking the board around. Always kicking the board around. Sometimes I'm thankful there weren't movies or videos or an overabundance of them back then, because seriously, it would have just been a bunch of idiots grinding curbs. It's not that fucking cool. It was just a great time in your life. Today, everything is so overdone that you basically don't have to have memories anymore because everything is just documented every time you go out.

Jeff Grosso via juicemag:

Where were you? In Huntington Beach, where I've always been. How could someone have heard of you? I used to be a professional skateboarder. Who are your sponsors? I ride for John Lucero's Black Label Skateboards, the best skateboard company in the business. Who were some of your other sponsors? My very first sponsor was Variflex Skateboards, who signed talent like the mighty Allen Losi, Eddie Elguera, Eric Grisham, the Hirsch Brothers, Lance Mountain, John Lucero and myself. My second sponsor was Santa Cruz, then I quit Santa Cruz to skate for Powell, but Powell was too weak for me.

Then I turned pro for Schmitt Stix, then went back to Santa Cruz, but then I got kicked out of Santa Cruz and Lucero started Black Label. Didn't you live with Lucero over on 7th Street? Yes, with Marty Jiminez, Pushead, Tony Keala and Tony Moffet. Where did you sleep there? I slept under a card table in the living room behind the couch. John had the back room because he had girls. I didn't have any girls, so I did coke and stayed up all night and used the cardboard table to keep the sun out of my eyes. I didn't go to bed until the morning because I had to listen to him fuck all night. It was so depressing. I'm glad it's over now.

Have you and Ross Goodman ever climbed fir trees together? No, God. First of all, let me say that Ross Goodman is one of the best vert skaters of all time, even though he doesn't ride anymore because he's a blue-collar guy who gets tattoos. The story goes like this... we were in a band with the O'Brien brothers and Jeff Kendall. Jason Jessee gave it the name, it was called Tree. And the guys from Wax Trax flew us out to Chicago to record us. The guy lived above a shampoo factory and you had to be locked in at night. Ross and I ate about eleven Darvocets apiece and drank a fifth of vodka and annoyed everyone in the house by playing basketball and wiping shaving cream over our heads so they couldn't see our faces. We wanted more alcohol, so we climbed out of the window at the top of the three-story building. We tried to find a way off the roof, but we couldn't.

The only thing we found were a few trees about three meters away from us. So Ross said, 'Jump through the trees like Rambo, they'll break your fall'. So I did it and did it well. Ross tries it and lands on top of me, hurting me. Then we had to walk through Breenie Green at 7 a.m., the worst neighborhood in Chicago; two white guys with shaving cream on their heads in an all-black neighborhood. The cops came up to us and we didn't even get any alcohol. You've lived in a lot of places. What about Hell House? You're talking about the Huntington Beach Hell House. That's Marty Jimenez's house. I should take this opportunity to apologize to Marty and his lovely wife Cindy for stressing them out for the four or five years they provided us with a place to live.

We weren't particularly cool tenants and I'm sure we gave them a lot of headaches. We did a lot of speed, didn't work, made collages out of porn magazines and generally behaved like idiots. Was there anywhere Ricky Barns liked to pee? Or that he peed? Oh yeah, I had a girlfriend who was involved with the sale of HB Brewing Company at the time, and she had to leave the state for various reasons. Anyway, I was all enamored with this girl because I thought I was a poet and was sitting around on drugs and writing really bad poetry, and she came over and let me hang on her fake tits. I thought she was really cool.

One night she came over with a couple of her friends and we were all on an LSD trip and Ricky got the idea that I was going to go off with these girls and shoot morphine, so he chased the girls off with a jackknife, then tried to fight me and threw the jackknife at me. I had to run into the street because he just lost it. I disappeared for a few days. Ricky went back in the house, trashed my room, took everything I owned, crumpled it up into a ball on my bed and then peed on my bed. He also liked to wank in my socks, which I didn't know for two years. He finally admitted to sneaking into my room, wanking in my socks and then putting them back in my drawer. What other sources of income have you had? Well, I dropped out of high school, which I don't recommend to anyone, but I did it because I thought I was cool. Then I was a pro skateboarder for about four years, which is a relatively short time to be a pro skateboarder, but then it all went on the road and I went straight into the booze bottle.

I was out of a job and unemployed for the next five years because I was too busy drinking and doing drugs. Then when I was living in Hell House, my roommate Brent got me a job at this stuffed animal factory, and you know those claw machines that you put a quarter in and they take the stuffed animals out. We were stocking these boxes with the little bears like the A35 bear and the F325 elephant with the ball and the bear with the heart for Valentine's Day, so we basically showed up to work all drugged up on meth and snorted speed all day and packed boxes of stuffed animals all day, and we'd bring the stuffed animals home and give them to Ricky for his kids, and he'd rip their limbs off and sew them back together in all kinds of fucked up configurations. Then we finally had to give up the job. We weren't getting enough sleep after staying up for 6 days straight. Then I got a job at Billabong and they put up with me for a while.

Then I worked at Black Label, with interruptions. I was fired there about five times. John gave me chance after chance. I'm sorry, John. Then Billabong fired me twice and had me come back, even though I lied to them about being sober, which I wasn't. I was a mess. Then I got a job at the wonderful Straight Edge Floor Coverings in Costa Mesa, California, a great bunch of people.

Happy Birthday Black Label Skates for 35 years of hardcore skateboarding!

We will always support you! Long live the label!

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