He skates on the trees.
He skates on the trees.
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a chromeball excerpt with mike frazier

I remember appearing on what was basically the German version of Good Morning, America back in the ’90s with Tony [Hawk]. The most watched morning talk show in Germany. They invited Tony and I to come on and skate this ramp that they’d built in a park. We were supposed to shoot it all the next morning, and in our heads, we thought that we’d be able to get there early and skate the ramp a little bit first before the show. No, we get there that morning and they’re like, “No, you can’t skate the ramp because it’s the backdrop of our set.”

This image has nothing whatsoever to do with the surrounding story. Does that matter? Probably not, but one man's tale from Germany is not another's lien to tail in Tarpon Springs. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Photo: Steve Sherman

Their news desk was literally ten-feet away from the ramp, so if we were skating, it’s gonna fuck up the show. So they basically made us wait until we were ready to shoot… on the first drop-in! And it’s live!

The guy tells us, “Okay guys, just so you know, this is the most watched show in Germany. When we go live, 50 million people will be watching you skate. Oh yeah, and you can’t fall.”

Oh, man. A totally new ramp that we’ve never skated before, but also, you’re in front of 50 million people and you can’t fall? Great.

So, Tony drops in and immediately goes into a 18-trick run. All of these banger tricks that he always did on every ramp ever. I can still tell you the entire run, I saw it so many times. He had it down perfect, and it ends with a 540. Boom, he pops out.

The TV guy now looks at me and gives me the cue. “Okay, go!”

I drop in, and I’m thinking that I’m just gonna blast a frontside air on the first wall. You got this, but whatever you do, don’t bail. Unfortunately, just as I start to pop my board, the whole thing starts playing out in slow motion… like “Nooooooo!!!.”

My board starts floating away from my feet, and there I flail on the first fucking wall in front of 50 million viewers. Fuck.

Tony’s still breathing heavy from his first 18-trick run, but what’s he gonna do? The TV guy is now screaming at him, “Go! Go! Go! Go!”

No problem, he drops in and does another 14 walls. Two full contest runs, back-to-back. Meanwhile, I’m running back up the stairs to hopefully save myself from total embarrassment with a little redemption after that first nightmare of a run. It was the worst. (laughs)

And that’s how it was skating with Tony on tour. Still, to this day, he’s the best. —Mike Frazier


What you have just read is an exclusive excerpt from a full-blown Chromeball interview with Mike Frazier conducted by Eric Swisher. To read the historical discourse in full, please go here: The Chromeball Incident 

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