Justin and Brad Anthony‘s recently ended Born Free tour is one of those few and valuable, life changing projects, that can be compared to some of rollerblading’s most classic tours like Hoax 2 Anarchy across America or Adam Johnson’s KFC tour that gave us The Generic tour Video. Tours that go to small towns, that try and connect to the local skaters are those that really count the most, because they create a sense of shared values, a sense of family and inspires others to do the same, helping build a stronger foundation for rollerblading. The tour that went twice across the US resulted in the video Sorry, America, that will premiere on New Year’s Day 2017. It will feature profiles from both Anthony brothers, Josh Braughton, Scott Hatton and Hunter Cooper, along with sections covering the Forecast Tradeshow, a Boschi Pope Skate Off section, a Ramp and Camp section, along with interviews and other footage, clocking in at over 90 minutes. Be-Mag spoke to Justin Chad Anthony about the tour, and also has a sweet photo gallery from it.
Words: Josip Jagić
So, when did you decide trying to tour the whole US in an old van was a good idea?
The concept to follow my heart has always been relevant. Doing tours like this has been a dream for a while now. As children, my pops would take us on youth retreats in a church van. We have always known it was the truth. Executing these urges was established around last March. My brother and I were advised by someone of much more intelligence to ‘run baby run’. I knew it was something I’ve wanted to do for so long, I was willing to ride in anything.
But was it hard, getting all your shit together, quitting jobs, saying good bye to girlfriends… whatever else it is that you have to do when committing to such a project?
Yes, it was very tough. We were all at a turning point within our lives. Leaving anything is never an easy thing to do. But, we were all aware that change was necessary.
So, this was something you needed to do for yourself.
Had to do, for myself. We had to do it for rollerblading.
How did you decide on the concept? Who to take with you, where to go, who to skate with at certain stops? Also, how did you plan the budget for it? On such a long tour, where did you sleep, how did you manage?
My twin brother bought a 1987 Ford Marco Polo Camper. Born Free Edition. He did some remodeling to lightly accommodate 5 people. There was a ton of chattering among our peers. But when we made our moves, Joshua Allen Broughton was the first to move in with us. Scott Hatton and Hunter Cooper flew into Phoenix. We scooped them on our first stretch through Arizona.
When it came to spots, we simply contacted our friends, or had an actual destination, event, contest, session, etc. to attend. Most of the sessions were developed organically. Locals would just attend. We were showed much love and support by many skaters.
There is no budget. When you chase life, money becomes a tool to build with, rather than something to depend on. All of the money spent on our travels came directly from each of our pockets. When we ran out, we came up with ways to make more. We slept in our beds, in the RV.
How do you make money on the road? I imagine it can look a bit like touring in a punk band.
Haha, however you have to. List unused personal items on the internet for sale. Sign up for paid focus studies. Pull a Starnes and donate some sort of fluid from the inside of your body. Roll the dice. Blow some leaves. Deliver goods on a bike. Do whatever you have to do. Make a t shirt or a magazine and attempt to sale it. Collect where you can, conserve what you have, and never stop sharing.
Punk rock is dead. We are only materialistic robots who desire the simplicity a life style as such would offer.
Every time I woke up in that bus, felt like a brand new challenge. A new opportunity. You peel your eyes open and you know it’s time to get it. Hit the ole’ parking lot shower, come up with a cup of coffee, find some wi fi and grind. Smoke some weed, skate something, and repeat this cycle until sanity is irrelevant.
Sounds like something everyone should do at a one point in life?
It might not be something everyone should do, but probably something we all need to do. Spread our wings, live off our ideas, verse walking the line drawn for us.
The first of us left on June 19th. I was the very last to return home, last weekend on December 22. We previously signed up to participate in different events. They more or less loosely guided our direction. The desire to seek out certain skaters to pull out and film with. Or we just headed towards opportunity.
Here is a detailed list of the major cities we stopped in that my brother just sent over.
Justin Chad Anthony
Justin Chad Anthony
New Orleans, LA
Los Angeles, CA
Grand Canyon, AZ
Kansas City, MO
Bowling Green, KY
New Philly, OH
New York City, New York
Santa Ana, CA
San Diego, CA
Over 20,000 miles in 6 months.
One of the highlights was experiencing a skate session turned hurricane in New Orleans. We were accompanied by a local G named Stu Baird. Though it was taken in stride, it was an intense experience. He helped us safely return to the RV. But the lightning storm above us will forever be remembered. The presence of those who were taken in a storm called Hurricane Katrina was very real that night.
That’s merely paper weight material. On our second visit to The Grand Canyon, the group of us got risky on a extra sketchy free standing tower of boulders. Brad & I got extra silly & hopped single most floating rock. Once we made it over, we were aware that the wind factor and size of the stone were not taken into complete consideration. High insight, sometimes we are still silly boys.
How did the experience change you? and how did it change your relationship with your brother?
That, my friend, is a heavy question. It changed everything. Literally, the siri on my phone talks to herself rapidly and randomly. So much was destroyed, lost, given, taken. It really helped me learn what I needed verse what I want.
Brad and I used to be the exact same thing, before the egg split. We are each others yin and yang.
We have been skating together and touring together for two decades now. Haha, oddly enough, nothing has changed between us. We are still each other’s best friend/mortal enemy. It’s a unique bond we are both determined to always live with.
When we would separate, alone or with various members of the lost boys. more than ever, we managed to find some sort of individuality through leadership and or survival.
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