Alex Knost is famous in our eyes for three things. A, he's in a rad band calkd the Japanese Motors, B, he's hip to fashion and art and, C, he's a reformed longboarder- Alex now shreds the piers around Newport on a fruity quad fin.
He lives in Costa Mesa, 45 minutes south of LA, in a house with three friends with whom he splits the $US2395 a month rent and where the photo shoot for Stab took place.
But, despite living in a southern Californian suburb, his influence reaches across the seas and across continents.
Hence his elevation to Stab Style Icon.
Stab: Tell me about your style. Ob- viously, all style is contrived, but is there a business plan beneath yours? A way of increasing your worth as a sponsored surfer?
Alex: Oh, you can't think too much about lashion, you know whal I mean, (facetiously) I spent many hours watching Zoolander, thinking about fashion and things of that nature.
I'm kidding! I'm totally kidding. I'm trying to be funny. I'm trying to ap- peal to the people. Oh fuck, clothes are killer, y'know, it's fan. Clothes are awesome.
From what well do your Influences spring from?
I'm really inspired by Benicio Del Toro, Surier Eludes, Chicks - you can wear girls' pants if you like or blouses. ,, cold weather is inspiring for fashion because the colder it is, the more clothes you can wear.
Not bad. May I expand? For fashion, cold climates rule su- preme. Ugly people can beautify themselves with their garments whereas in a hot climate eg. LA, Gold Coast, only the truly physi- cally beautiful have a chance; uglies are fucked because they can't hide their hideousness. Thus the question is, can clothes make ugly people beautiful? (Laughter] It can make ugly people beautiful (Laughter)? Yeahl That's right! If you're ugly, move some- where cold. That's what the world will come to. They'll send every ugly person to Alaska. Tell me, Alex, when you look In the minor - and I'm guessing that this occurs a lot - what do you see? Man, that's tweaked, I look in the mirror and I usually see zits on my face and sweaters on my teeth. Tell me about your gang, the consciousness of your style... (Embarrassed silence. . .)
Hey. I know what you're feeling, brother, and I understand. A man openly discussing his style choices invites ridicule.
This is sooo tweaked, this is sooo fucked (laughter). TTie conscious- ness of our slyfe and our gang's sfyle. Well, you know, man, that's just lucked, that's just the consciousness of the style going down in Costa Mesa, like you said, it's clothes that help ugly people become beautiful. So we figure the more help we get from clothes the more beautiful we can be. The end result is people give us free things, they send us on vacations, girls come over, people buy us nice shoes. The more clothes we wear, the more we're able to accentuate our features. It's a very conscious thing, of course.
Is style a dirty topic? Ate surf ers anti-fashion?
Mmmmm. I think, the guys who get the heat, the guys who dress in something other than Quiksilver, are the weakest link. You have your longboarders and your artists and your musicians - they dress like that to compensate for whal they 're lacking eg. WCT skills. They try to pick up their slack in other ways. It's not the fact the surfing world is anti-style. They give them heat be- cause they're not as good at surfing and they're getting more than they deserve. That's why they bag on the people that dress good. I mean, they probably like their outfits.
I'd like to her about some of your personal philosophies on a range of topics... (Silence, a giggle) Do you have any? Yeahl Yeah! Why not? Personal philosophies, huh? This is getting deep...
See, I just surfed, I'm tired. haven't eaten, haven't had a beer yet...
You baby! It's barely light here. I'm just an ordinary working slug try- Ing to earn his pay packet and this is what I hear! I'm tired...wah...I needabeer...wah!
(Laughter) You're asking me very in tense questions. You were prepared for this. I was caught off guard.
That's the beauty of egotistic journalism, the sort I prefer to engage in. The sort where the journalist is the star and who comes across as a genius with a rapid-fire wit while his subject or victim, stumbles...
So what's our next topic?
Personal philosophies? What do you want to know about? Surfing, first, because we are ostensibly a surfing magazine. followed by girls, followed by drugs...
Okay, surfing, you know, the thing that I like about surfing isn't so much the contests and the animosities. Why I got into surfing was because it was more than a sport. I did basketball, I did hockey and all that stuff, and then I got into surfing because I didn't have to wear a jersey. I didn't have to answer to a coach. So my philosophy on surfing is that maybe it might be good to think about that coming first. Especially where I live. It's so crowded and it makes people so angry. But if you think about why you're doing it and not the competitive side, like, how many waves you can catch, you just think about enjoying being out there. That's the salvation for people who love surfing, just going surfing. But what bums me out is there's a bunch of little kids who surf around here and they're all sponsored because the area is right next to the surf industry and some of the kids can't even go skateboarding, can't even go to the skate park, their par-ents won't let em, because they have NSSA Nationals coming up. Man, they're fucking 12-year-old little kids! Let em skate! Let em get scrapes and bruises! Don't be tyring to prep them for this championship. It's too young. When surfers start out for the wrong reasons, it's a bummer.
I definitely look at girls as people who need to be respected as much as men. I try to acknowledge that as much as possible.
Fffffft. platitudes, of course men should respect women. That's a given unless you're living under the yolk of sharia law. Tell me the tricks that allows a man like yourself, physically nothing spectacular but laden with style, to gain entry to the forbidden fissures of New York models... Tricks of the trade? I don't have any...
Yes, you do.
That goes back to the dressing good thing. If you wear a lot of clothes, it makes you more appealing to the girls. That's a key element. The little sweaters on the teeth, that can work against you...
What's your game plan?
Oh... my... god! (laughter) This is so fucked.
Are you crazy Alex? Or brooding Alex? What kind of Alex do you serve women you meet in bars?
It's important to be yourself because if you' re yourself, you 're comfortable. Honesty pays off. If you're too drunk, it won't work unless they're as or more drunk. Like, you know, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. That's what you've gotta know. Perfect example. I tried telling this girl that she looked pretty and I said the wrong thing. But let me go back, briefly. I dated this one girl and she was so cute, she was the best, and then we broke up and I didn't see her for 10 months. And then I met up with her again and she looked good - but something had changed. The girl had gotten a nose job and I was totally bummed on it. A 20-year-old girl getting a nose job. Now, let's fast forward to the other night. And I'm at this party. And I see this girl and she looks like the girl who'd had the nose job. And she didn't have a big nose or anything, but she didn't have that swoop in it. She had a little double bridge. But she was still cute. And I walk up to this girl and instead of going. Hey, what's going on, would you like to hang out some time? The first words out of my mouth, were: You know what? You should never get a nose job. And you can imagine this girl, she had a bigger nose, and I tell her she should never get a nose job. Oh man, she looked at me in the worst way. And that goes back to them being as drunk as you or more drunk. She was as sober as could be and she didn't know what I was talking about. She was so bummed. She started walking away and I was, like. Whoa, whoa, I didn't mean it. You're real pretty and I know a girl like you who was really pretty and she went and got a nose job and her nose looked worse so just keep your nose the way it is! But, then, there's triumphs,. , you're hanging out and you meet a girl who's really cool and you end up staying up all night talking about life and your passions. . .kinda like the conversation you and I are having right now...
Don't start pulling lines on me...
Only kidding. What are your passions? Or is this another platitude? Like, when all you really want to do with the "staying up all night tallking thing" Is to fuck the shit out of the chick... oh, sorry. was I being politically incorrect? I meant to say, when all you want to do is connect with your lover in a physical manner... (Laughter)
Well, my passion is being passionate. If you're not being passionate about something, if you're not caring about something. if you're not putting in enough time and emotion into what you're doing, you shouldn't be doing it. I try to think about that every time I do something to be passionate. You jusi can't half-ass all the time. Doing the dishes? Be passionate about it. You have to care about the dishes. next time you're going out and you wanna do a cutback? Be passionate about that cutback!
That's a superb quote...
Yeah! Well, you've gotta be passionate.
What's your favourite drug? Coffee because I do coffee ihe most. I wake up with a coffee, lunchtime have a coffee. . . you have it and you're stoked. And then there's the come down. You've been surfing for a couple of hours and you start to get dehydrated, you know, and you need another cup of coffee. And you string it along a bit and then you get another coffee and it makes you wanna go surf again, do it again and so on. You end up surfing a whole lot. Because of coffee. You can do so many things with coffee.
What is your least favourite drug?
Xanax or Valiums. But not for me. For girls. Have you ever hung out with a girl on pills? You ever done that? I was hanging out with this girl for a little bit and she was so cool when I met her, everything was totally rad, and I still love her, but she started doing those pills and it was crazy! Fucking crazy! Acting completely fucking nuts! They don't know what they're doing and you have to fucking deal with it all night! And the worst thing is, they don't remember what they did the night before. So they don't learn.
Talk me through your tricky surf lingo.., what are your favourite words?
Obviously, sick, I use sick the most. Dude, that's sick, that's so sick. You can apply it fashion, surfing, girls, to drugs. I could reply to all your questions with, Dude, that's so sick. You can apply it to pants. Oh, do you like tsubi pants? How would you explain the difference between RVCA pants and tsubi pants? Dude, one pair's got a sick in-seam and one pair has a sick wash. But they're both pretty sick. When you meet someone whose name you've forgotten, you're like. Heeeeey dude! You pull that card! Meeting a chick, if you forget her name you're screwed. But a guy? Hey, dude, what's up? Dude can get you out of any sticky situation. Dude is very important. Dude will get you in and out of any situation. Bitchin, that's bitchen, that's totally bitchen. It's kinda like sick, y'know, but you can throw sick out in way more situations. Bitchen you have to be really peppy, you have to be in a good mood, People who are hungover rarely say bitchen. The cafeteria lady at school never said bitchen. Your parents probably never said, Bitchen report card! when you got Cs and Ds. Bitchen, your spirit has to be up. When you're drinking a lot of coffee, you can say bitchen a lot.
I exercise the word hodad, but it's been around forever, Hodad's kinda like, Beat it, kook, beat it hodad! (Quoting from famous surfing 70s surf drama Big Wednesday) That's no hodad, squid lips?
(Picking up on the Big Wednesday theme) That's Matt Johnson! Give me your board!
(Continuing to quote) That's not some hodad - that's Matt Johnson!
Hey, I'm preaching to the choir here.
Any other tricky words?
You tell me. I can let you in on the new one. The new one we've been throwing out is Buster Douglas.
How do you use it in a sentence?
You know when you say, Oh shit, man. that's busted, your car is busted. Instead, you'd throw out, Damn, dude, that anil's footing B.Dug or that's looking Buster Douglas.
Tight. I like it.
So if something's bummed or whack or cheesy, that's kinda Buster. So you can throw out, Shit, that's so B.Dug, that's so buster.
That's why you're on the top of the style totem, b.dugging shit like that. Very, very good. You're also responsible for the great quote. WCT surfers are just football players in wetsuits. Discuss.
I did not say that!
Yes you did.
Fuck! I didn't!
You did, you told our style editor.
What, I didn't? I never said that.
Do you have a media persona and another, bolder persona that only friends have access to...
I can't understand what the hell you're saying, bro.
Are there any misconceptions about you that should be cleared up?
What misconceptions are there of me? Spill the beans...
That you're a little mincy long- boarder faggot size queen?
A camp faux homo...
Camp is when a man, usually gay. acts in an overly flamboyant and theatrical manner...
Overly theatrical surfing?
No, in the way they walk. talk. dress etc. A common trait among homosexuals. You might see a gay guy out at night and he's flouncing around and you might say. Fuck, that gay guy is soooo camp. because he's playing up to the old stereotype...
Uh, like flair?
But a very homo flair...
(Shrieks with laughter) Well, you know, I'm not gay, I'm definitely not gay. So maybe that's a misconception. Maybe one day I will be gay. But I'm not gay yet. Flamboyant? Maybe. That's cool. Flamboyancy, flair, whatever, who cares, it's a drag to take things seriously. You might as well have as much fun as you can. You're going io die anyway, so fuck it. Oh, and thanks for all the questions about surfing and rail design..