By normal standards, Micah Hollinger is a weird dude. He used to have one of those hairless cats. His name was Nigel. It still is. He just doesn’t have it anymore. His old lady got custody in the breakup. He’s probably going to get another cat. Maybe name it Frasier. That’s not too weird though. Not like the time he allegedly got down with an armpit smothered in butter. Or the infamous initiation to become one of the Wetboyz.
A different sort of guy. That’s Mystro. Or Skins. I guess it depends on what era you know Micah from. He grew up in Anchorage, Alaska skating in The Circle – a makeshift skate park him and his homie Eron Belkie put together in their cul-de-sac. If you knew him back then, back when high schoolers would organize after school fights in the Circle, then you probably know him as Bones.
What have you been up to?
I’ve been mostly doing post-production stuff lately. It switches up here and there. I do a lot of shooting – video and photos. Mostly I just edit stuff. I edit music videos here and there. Right now I’m working on this stunt-based video with these dudes who are throwing blocks around and doing flips and stuff. It’s super labor intensive as far as post-production goes. I worked on a clip today that was three seconds long and it’s taken me eight hours so far and it’s not done yet. There are a lot of super heavy aftereffects. It’s fun, but it drains you after awhile because you’re going through tedious little motions.
I’ve also been working with my buddy Derek on this short series called Guy From Last Night. It’s about this guy, a drunken-asshole dude. It’s pretty fun.
When’s that coming out?
We just watched a rough cut of it tonight. It’ll probably be out in a week or two.
What’s going on with Bangarang?
We just kind of had to let it die. It was doing okay, but I think a lot of people were losing love for it. When it started, it was all about just having fun. “Never grow up” and blah blah blah and eventually we could all see the ship was just kind of sinking. So, we let it fade out. I apologize to the fuckin’ 30 people who have Bangarang tattoos... whoops.
How did you get the name Mystro?
(Laughs) Oh, man. Burtner gave it to me, I think. I think I might have written it on something at some point back in the day and Burtner thought it was stupid so he started calling me it.
Why did you nickname Robi Gonzalez “Rawbi”?
Oh, it’s way better than the way his parents spelled it. I mean, right?
What was it like growing up and skating in “The Circle”?
It was tight. I just learned how to skate there because there was no skate parks in Alaska at the time. So, we just had to make shit from random wood we would find or steal or whatever. Me and Eron Belkie [lived in the cul-de-sac] and other people would come over. It was so rad. There would be fights planned for after school there and shit.
Would people say shit like “meet me at the Circle”?
Yea, yea, people did. It was weird. It was like a known skate spot cause there was nothing to really skate around that time. There was like Hanshew [Middle School] and Abbot [Elementary] an shit, but we always had some new ramps or ledges or something to skate. So people would just come over there and bum out my neighbors.
Who created BTN?
I guess that was me (laughs). I guess, yea, it was more like me, Anthony [Black], and Adrian [Williams]. It was kind of like us three I think. There was a lot of people we hung out with, but they weren’t like sponsored by Boarderline and we wanted them to be affiliated with our crew. So we were like “Boarderline Thug Niggas!” We thought it was okay to use the n-word because Adrian was black. So, that was like our ‘in’ kinda.
So, Adrian pretty much made it legitimate for you guys to say it?
Yea, for sure. I mean, of course we didn’t have the ‘R’ in there, we had the ‘A,’ but even then you had to be pretty gnarly to run the ‘A’ if you’re not black. So, [Adrian] legitimized our fuckin’ crew I think.
I heard at one point BTN was on the Anchorage Police Department’s list of gangs.
No way. I mean, if anything, it was because I think people were writing it at skate spots. Maybe if [APD] was trying to track down some people for graffiti, maybe they figured it was a gang or something. I’ll have to ask Anthony [Black] about that. He’d probably know the answer.
Is or was there ever any footage of the butter and armpit incident?
Oh my God. No, there’s not. And it wasn’t butter.
What was it?
It was like lubrication or something. I don’t know. I don’t think it was filmed. I hope it wasn’t. Naw, it wasn’t. No, no, no. Damn, dude. Forgot about that one. I blame that one on Chris Norris by the way. It was at a party at his house or something and there was some fuckin’ porno on and the dude was like “I wanna fuck you” to the chick and she was like “where” and he’s all “in your armpit.” I remember thinking “this dude is so fucked” then I was like “well, might as well try it.” Somehow it turned into me using butter. I don’t know. Weird rumors.
What was the initiation to become one of the Wetboyz?
What the fuck (laughs). No comment.
What was going through your head when you tried cavemanning the Sullivan Arena handrail?
Just “don’t die” I guess. I don’t know. You know what, actually, funny thing, one time I told one of the homies that I was gonna try it, just to fuck with him, and then we went over there and all of a sudden there was a big ass crowd. I mean, not huge, but enough people to where I was like “now I have to try this.” So, I just kind of jumped on. Has anyone done that yet? Skaters are so gnarly now, I feel like someone has done that. I don’t know. Those kinks are pretty steep.
Ant said that you guys would have been fucked without Elmendorf Skate Park.
For sure. It was like the only skate park in Alaska at the time. [Ant’s] mom would take off of work and come pick us up, get us onto base, and drop us off at the skate park. That was the only reason we were able to skate most winters. I think that’s where we kind of found ourselves. As far as talent. Like Anthony and myself and Adrian and Lobster (Jerry Smyth) we kind of started to come into ourselves. We honed a lot of our skills there, I guess you could say. That’s where I started noticing things, like “damn, Anthony’s fuckin’ good. He could make something out of this someday.” All because his mom was so selfless. Like “yea, I’ll take you guys [to the skate park].” And she never bitched at us. Well, she bitched at me a few times for eating gross food in the car. She’s awesome though. It was amazing that we had that. Otherwise we would have probably just sucked at skating still. Not that we’re great, but we’ve gotten okay at it.
Yea, Ant’s mom is rad
She’s the shit. She would come to Hanshew and pass out popsicles to everyone. She’s like the ill soccer mom.
How do you skate when you look like a bag lady’s shopping cart?
A bag lady’s shopping cart?
Like a bum’s shopping cart…
Like a bum or the actual shopping cart? This question is fucking amazing. How do I skate like that? I don’t know, it’s easier cause the bums don’t fuck with you because they think you’re one of them and the cops feel bad for you. It’s pretty tight… I don’t know how to answer that (laughs).
How do you function in the motocross circuit?
I see where you’re going with this, but most of the people are super rad actually. There’s definitely some bros or whatever, but that goes for everything. There’s bro skateboarders, bro snowboarders, you know what I mean. There’s a lot of good people in motocross. I was pretty fortunate to have met a lot of rad people through that.
How did you get hooked up with that job?
I knew a guy, a good buddy of mine, his son was sponsored and stuff and he needed a film crew, to travel around [with him] and document everything. Then I just kind of fell into it. I ended up doing it for a long time. I haven't done it in awhile. I think I’m gonna go do it next week though. It’s super fun. It’s kind of gnarly. You get like right out on the track and you’re super close to these bikes that are going like 60 miles per hour. It’s kind of scary sometimes. So, yea, if you’re cool to people, they’re gonna be cool back. Most of the time.
When are you going to start tattooing pro?
Oh, man, I fuckin’ suck at tattooing. I don’t know what it is about tattooing. I’ve seriously been doing it for like over 10 years now and I still fucking suck at it. It’s hella weird. I feel like I could be good at anything if I just practice, but somehow I can never get good at it and it pisses me off. So, respect to all the tattoo artists out there. Respect to Cory [Jordan].
You still do tattoos, right? What do you practice on?
I do it here and there. I mean, it’s kind of slowing down, but there’s no shortage of homies I have that are down to get tattooed. Or I just do it on myself. My legs look like a fuckin’ 10-year-old kid scribbled all over them with permanent marker.
What’s your most recent one?
The most recent one I got on myself I didn’t do myself. It’s a pizza slice with the word “Belgium” underneath. I was hanging out with some Belgians and they were all syched on this pizza joint and one of them was like “I’m gonna get a pizza slice [tattooed on me] for this place” and I was like “if you do it, I do it.” Next day he shows up with this pizza slice tattoo on his hip – the weirdest spot. So, I had to get it. Fuckin’ sucked.
You don’t like it?
No, not really. I mean, I don’t hate it. I just definitely didn’t want to pay $200 for some fuckin’ slice because my tattoo gun is in my car, just chillin’ in Phoenix. So, I had to go buy this fuckin’ tattoo.
What’s your favorite tattoo?
I’ve never been asked that. I’m always asked like which ones do I regret. Favorite? I guess this “Love and Be Loved” fuckin’ emo tattoo on my wrist. I remember I put a picture of it on Myspace or Facebook or somethin’ and Borgstede commented, “I wish my grass was as emo as you so it would cut itself” (laughs). I don’t even remember doing the tattoo, I think I was wasted, but that’s what comes to mind when I think of it – [Borgstede] just hating on it. Shout out to Borgy.
How late are they open?
Oh, fuck. You can’t get me with that one. That’s a good one though. Shout out to Mitch [Edmonson] and fuckin’ Lobster for that one.
That one never gets old
No, dude. I still use that one all the time. It’s timeless, but it sucks when people who don’t really get it are around and no one laughs and you’re just cracking up. They're like “what does that even mean?” I’m like “shut the fuck up” and I just keep laughing.
Do you still get those weird panic attacks while your driving?
Yea I do (laughs). Mostly just random freak outs when I'm in traffic, which in [Los Angeles] is pretty often.
Mitch [Edmonson] said that when you'd get drunk you would always take a shower or a bath with your clothes on.
I still do that shit. Afterwards, you just take off your clothes and hang dry em. Boom! Clean clothes with no washer n dryer time. Multitasking. Try it sometime. It's so good.
Mitch also said that when you would all go camping you would wear two pairs of socks just in case you had to shit. Why wouldn't you just bring toilet paper?
What the fuck? I have no recollection of that. That is freaking weird though.
Be rad to your fellow man and they’ll be rad back.
This interview was written and conducted by Cody Liska. He called on some homies and one of his brothers to contribute questions. Thanks to Anthony Black, Deez Liska, Sam Lewis, Cory Jordan, Mitch Edmonson and Robi Gonzalez.