Andrew Cannon interview by Kevin Marks


Andrew Cannon Vegan Skateboarder vegetable shredder Kevin Biram

photo: Kevin Biram

Andrew first came onto my radar in the year 2000 at Tampa AM. My first impression was that of a young, confident, jovial, and well rounded skater. We soon started flowing him Killing Machine hardware. And from there I would see him around the country at skate events where he always had a smile on his face. More recently we don’t see each other as often, but it’s been a pleasure to stay in touch and watch him grow into a man in the industry; even doubly rewarding to watch him find veganism and the straightedge.

– Kevin Marks

Where did you grow up?  Glen Mills, Pennsylvania

What year did you start skating?  1996-ish

How did you fall into being a skater?   Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They skated and it made me want to skate.

First board?   First board I bought was a Paul Zitzer Germ Birdhouse board, Grind King trucks, Birdhouse wheels, probably generic bearings and Jessup grip.

Do you recall the first skate mag you saw? I do not. Magazines were never my thing growing up, although I used to LOVE reading all the Big Brother articles. I was more into videos. I got a bunch at the same time; Best of 411 Volume 4, Thrill of it all, Mouse and Sheep Shoes “Life of Leisure”.

Your favorite part from the SHEEP video? Brian Anderson. Those lines at Hubba Hideout were beyond awesome. I remember being so stoked on the Smith pop out and the way he winds up for the nosegrind. He has always had one of the coolest styles because he looks like he is about to crush whatever he’s going toward but then when he gets on he’s light-footed. It’s awesome.

Your favorite part from the MOUSE? Guy Mariano. That part, the song. Then he vanished and as a kid I had no idea what happened to him and would get so stoked seeing even just one trick from him. So when he got sober and had a comeback I was so stoked. I’m a fan of Mouse era Guy and modern day Guy. He’s super inspiring.

First sponsor? Board Stiff Skate Shop

Run down a list of all the sponsors you’ve had over the years? Ha, that’s like telling me to list all my teachers – it’s more about the ones that had an impact than listing them all. Fairman’s has been there for me through thick and thin. Thanks to everyone there and Dave for always taking care of me.

Which board sponsor treated you the best or do you have the fondest memories of…..? World Industries was great. Rp Bess and Charlie Thomas took great care of me. I got way more out of skateboarding than I ever deserved on the skate career side. I owe those guys  forever.

How many video parts have you put out and when was the last one?  Probably around 5 or 6 parts. I used to love filming. The lastest was a part for Theeve trucks, but they took it down and since they paid for none of the footage and I edited it with a friend of mine, I just put it up on Youtube because I was semi proud of that part.

Favorite terrain to shred?   At this point, a park that has good flat-ground, a ledge, a rail, and a nice long quarterpipe. That’s the dream for me.

How did you deal with the harsh Pennsylvania winters? I was lucky. I grew up on a farm with a barn so I used to skate in that during the winter.

Favorite skater from the 80’s?  90’s?  lately? Jerry Hsu always

fs boardslide Photo: Matt Price

What sort of jobs did you work before your present position at NHS? I had worked odd jobs – karaoke host in college. Worked in a vending machine warehouse. I had been a graveyard shift server at Ihop near ASU. Worked at Fairmans. Nothing super insane, but it all helped me realize I didn’t want to do that forever.

I think I’m most impressed with your karaoke job. One of my best memories of NYC was singing karaoke with Josh Stewart and Jack SabbackWhat is your go to song to sing? “I touch myself” or “I would do anything for love”. But I don’t do much karaoke these days because I’m rarely out at a bar that late anymore.

Any good stories from the karaoke job?
There was this guy who would come in and bring his Metallica karaoke CD at one of the places I worked and sing “Seek and Destroy.” He was not good at all, but he gave it everything he had. Always wore all black, chubby little fella. The one time I saw him driving around in a yellow Ford Focus. It was just such a funny juxtaposition.

What skate nerds have you sung with? Not with a ton of nerds but I’m seen some rad people sing. Clint Peterson did Sinatra and everything about it was amazing. Shortbus AKA Josh Johnson from Texas sang “Friends in Low Places” when he stayed with me one time at Phoenix Am. He was well under 21, not even sure if he was 18 and we ended up getting him into the bar so he could hang with everyone. Hammeke goes, “Alright Shortbus, just lay low and we will all be able to hang.” Joe and I turned to the bar to get beers and then before we could even pay you hear “Next up to the stage, Shortbus!” He sang it great and the moment it was over he was kicked out. That Phoenix Am was really rad.

What is your current job title and what sort of tasks do you work on routinely?    I’m the Brand Manager for Santa Cruz Skateboards. I’m in charge of marketing, product line management, and overseeing what we are doing. It’s rad. I basically make sure that our brand is something we are happy with from what you see on your social media down to the boards under your feet. Our art department is awesome and the guys are cranking.

Which team riders are the most fun to work with? They are all fun for different reasons. The ams are so hungry and pushing the envelope. The pros are so talented it’s crazy and sometimes you need to pinch yourself to remember how people can be so humble and so good at skating. Dressen is the nicest human in the world and Jason Jessee is a one of a kind. It’s awesome. All the guys rule.

Do you still announce contests?  I still do contest announcing. I do sidelines stuff for TV on Street League, I do Phoenix Am webcast, and then I do Tampa Am and Pro. It’s a really rad gig and I love the people I work with on that front.

Who is the best skateboard announcer in your opinion? You cannot get better than Tim O’Connor. He’s witty, he shows no mercy, and he’s such a great human being.

Boardslide UP the rail photo: Matt Price

When did you find veganism and what was your path to getting there?   I honestly think it started for me at a young age. Middle school is when I got into bands like Earth Crisis that had a message and felt strongly about animal liberation and stuff. That planted the seed. I lived in rural Pennsylvania though and it was before the internet was accessible and riddled with great information about it. I stopped eating meat about 6 years ago, I had been thinking about it for a while and I had just seen Slayer in Vegas and was eating chicken fingers at a TGIFridays and literally it just hit me while eating them. I remember saying to myself, Nope, I’m done. I didn’t even tell my wife, who has been vegetarian since she was in 7th grade.  I didn’t want her to think I was doing it for her, because I wasn’t. After that I had knee surgery for the second time and in my recovery I did a lot of research about health and eating better to help healing. I ate vegan throughout the majority of the recover and then when I started traveling again I would do vegan at home and vegetarian on the road. But I was on the road a lot and the cheese pizza was catching up to me again so I just said, “fuck it”, and went all in. It’s been almost 3 years now as a vegan and I love it.

I saw your FREE LUNCH  Do you truly see yourself as an alcoholic? Yes I do. I went to an AA meeting when I finally stopped just to be sure. I sat in the room and looked around at all the women (it was a closed women’s meeting but they took me in because they knew I needed the help) and listened to their stories. I could relate to so many of them and I just knew that the writing was on the wall. For the record, I never want to or will drink again, but I could have one if I wanted. I know that I could have a beer right now and be fine. But to me, the alcoholism isn’t just about the moment, it’s about the future. It’s about 3 months from now when I have been late to work and I smell like booze around my kids and I am wasting my money at the bar. It’s a slippery slope and one that I never want to mess with again. Anyone trying to stop drinking, hit me up on Instagram. It’s not easy but it’s the best thing you’ll ever do for yourself. I am thankful that I have been able to help some good friends of mine get off it.

Do you now identify as straightedge or just as someone who doesn’t drink or do drugs?   When I turned 30 I decided I could finally call myself Straight Edge. It’s been almost 7 years since I have had a drink and my straight edge friends assured me that as long as I didn’t claim it when I was younger it was all good to call myself that now. To me it is more about being able to tell my kids that. Santa Cruz is a weird place where kids get into drugs early (although I’m sure that’s most places in the world now) and I wanted them to know that it’s ok to not smoke weed and party. I don’t care if people do it, I just feel like there is a shitload of pressure on kids now to partake in that stuff through social media, movies, music, etc. So I’m proud to be what I am. What’s cool is, over the last year or so I’ve been able to geek out with a lot of people about hardcore and metal and straight edge and veganism and stuff via social media. It’s cool that there are people all over that share those ideals. Not to sound like a dick, but that whole, ‘you’re a skater, I’m a skater so we are bros’ thing doesn’t really apply anymore. So when I meet skaters that are into the same music and share the same ideals, I get super excited about the potential of new friends.

There are very few vegans in the skateboard world and even fewer who are willing to be vocal about it. I was psyched to see that you proudly proclaim your veganism & XXX on your instagram page @andrewcannon Are there other ways you are vocal about your choice to be vegan?   Not really. I am always happy to talk with people about it, but I don’t like when people give me shit about not eating meat so I try not to give people shit about eating it. I have spoken to my family about it from a health perspective but that’s it really.

Can you point to one film that you would recommend a person watch who is considering going veg or vegan?   Forks Over Knives and Cowspiracy. They don’t play the shock value game of just showing slaughter house footage. They give information that you can choose to accept or not. It’s really rad.

Other movie recommendations? Tony Robbins “I Am Not Your Guru” – The whole Tony Robbins thing is super interesting to me. His story is cool and I’m fascinated by people who just put their mind to something and do it. Making changes because you are in control of your life is rad. I’m really into all the self improvement/empowerment stuff. It’s been a driving force for me in life as I keep growing as a person in life and work. I am not the same person I was 5 years ago and in 5 years I hope to be different than I am now.

Favorite bands, current and past? Oh man, Slayer is my all time favorite but since this is all about vegan and straight edge I’m going to stick to hardcore stuff. But hit me up on Instagram and we can geek about metal and punk shit too.

All Time: Bane, Converge, Minor Threat, Embrace, Earth Crisis, Strife, Snapcase, Gorilla Biscuits,  Neurosis (throwing them in because it would be a crime not to)

Lately: Turnstile, Mizery, Give, Praise, Fury, Blistered, Malice At The Palace, The New Harmony, Oathbreaker, Judiciary… The list goes on and on and on. It’s all over the place and it’s nonstop.

If you are a fan of hardcore at all, check – It’s this guy Sunny who films hardcore shows all over the east coast as his passion project and it’s the raddest thing ever. I have watched so many epic shows thanks to him. The sound quality is great and he films really well.

Favorite Santa Cruz area vegan eats?  Saturn Café, Dharmas, Golden Fu Wah (they will make stuff vegan no problem) and Windmill Café for breakfast.

Best vegan eats in Pennsylvania? That’s a tough one; it’s been such a long time since I’ve lived there. But there is a really good place right next to Fairman’s in West Chester that makes vegan pizza, that I visit every time I’m home and I get to meet up with Dave. It rules.

Are you active in the local animal rights community? Any causes close to your heart?  This is the part that makes me sound like I’m not staying true to my conviction, no. I am crazy busy and just have not had a chance to go down that road. But I need to step my shit up and help out where I can.

Is it hard to find vegan shoes?   Not hard to find, just harder to get used to. It was the last thing that I held onto. I wore suede skate shoes up until about 6-8 months ago. But I finally just said no more. It was lame I didn’t switch earlier, but now that I have made the change it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.

What shoes are you wearing lately?    I have been wearing Converse CTS canvas and shoe-gooing them and they rule. Super comfy once broken in and they last. But I have Fred Flintstone feet so I have to stretch them. I skated some Janoski slip ons in canvas that were awesome too. I want to try some of the Etnies Marana’s since they have a synthetic. Chris Joslin rules and skates that shoe all the time. Plus, Ryan Lay is on the team. I am down to try whatever shoes, but when I find one I like, I want to be able to stick with it.

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