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The Original *Useless Wooden Toys



Muck Mouth x New Deal Interview: Ron Knigge

Where are you living today and what is your current job?

New Jersey, USA. I’m a cake baker, move faker, and love maker.

When was your favorite era in skateboarding?
· Mike V turns pro for Powell Peralta
· H-Street boys
· Sean Sheffey and the whole SHUT posse sets the east coast on fire
· The New Deal kicks corporate in the nuts
· Gonz leaves Vision to form Blind
· EMB and the whole SF scene explodes
· Plan B redefines what is possible
These 4 years were magic.

Who was your first sponsor, and how did you get hooked up?
Blockhead flow team. Alyasha Owerka-Moore rode for them and hooked me up. He was my friend, and would always encourage me to skate and create.

Who is your favorite skater of all time?
Hands down, John Cardiel. I have never seen anyone ride a skateboard like him. No fear, pedal to the floor, absolute hell on wheels. He is also one of the nicest people you could ever meet. I have such vivid memories of him flying around cement parks in Australia at dizzying speed. Tweaked indy-airs while screaming like a banshee. He was so fucking rad.

How much, if at all, are you still skating?
A bit of flat ground trickery here and there. I try to get a touch in when I can.

Do you still follow skateboarding – even if it is just browsing YouTube/Instagram?
Yes. It is amazing what people are up to. The girls are ripping. Some of the hammers people are laying down are outrageous. It is so cool to watch current footage of people that I’ve skated with like Chris Pastras, Kris Markovich, Ed Devera, James Kelch, Alex Moul, etc.


How did you get on New Deal? How long were you on, and were you pro or amateur?
Ed Templeton got me onto The New Deal flow team after a demo in Edison, NJ in 1990. He was there with Mike Vallely and Felix Arguelles. After the demo, I was skating around the course with my friends. Felix called me over and introduced me to Ed. I was on the team from 1990-1995. I turned pro in 1992.

Which of the videos were you in?
Useless Wooden Toys, 1281, Da Deal is Dead, Whatever, and Children of the Sun.

What was your favorite video part of yours, and what was your favorite part of someone else?
I don’t know! Either Da Deal is Dead because I turned pro that year, or 1281 because of the memories I have of the incredible scene in SF. I always loved that footage of Andy Howell, Ali Mills and Chris Hall skating that indoor spot. I remember the first time I saw it and wanting to get in on that session. I don’t know what video that is… perhaps UWT? Andy Howell was always coming up with the craziest tricks.

Best thing about riding for New Deal?
Skater owned and operated. Everyone was super cool and the products were amazing.

Worst thing about riding for New Deal?
There was no place to skate inside the warehouse. It would’ve been awesome to have a little skate park in there.

Who was your favorite skater on the team and why?
I never met the entire team, but I am going to go with….. Professor DouglasSargentHowellTempletonMontesiMorrisonMillsGomezMilliganBrauchVallelyBobergHendrixIbasetaFriedbergOlandeBarajasDuffMathyssenGirardDelacruzFisselGreniHazzeDurenHall. It always felt like family when I was hanging with this dude.

Tell us something about New Deal that most people do not know?
After hours the team would dress up in colourful robes made from Big Deal jeans. We would chant and perform various ceremonies. Board sacrifices were reserved for the summer and winter solstices.

What do you think of the New Deal coming back?
I think it is fantastic. The vibe of this company was always positive. Certainly not a typical re-issue or some money grab. Those who love skateboarding can appreciate how much courage and work went into trying to make an idea like The New Deal a reality. It could easily have failed. It seems commonplace now, but back then it was unheard of to have company run exclusively by skateboarders. Not only drawing the graphics, but making the boards, promoting the products, developing clothing, advertising, making videos and still somehow finding time to skate. I hope everyone will support and celebrate these amazing people for putting themselves in a vulnerable position in order to push things ahead. Someone had to do it. I feel blessed to be a small part of such a big story.

Ok, so can you clarify once and for all how to pronounce your surname please? Every single one of my friends said it slightly differently growing up.
I feel your pain, Muckmouth. Let’s try Ka-Knee-Ghee….or perhaps Ka-Nig-Ghee is better. The first one works if you say it fast but slowed down it starts to come off like Carnegie. And once you start seeing it that way you’ve fallen down a rabbit hole. Like saying Gojira multiple times and then trying to get back to Godzilla. Apparently, I cannot explain how to say my own name. To make matters worse there is the German pronunciation Ka-Nay-Gah. It is much easier to say, but I may not respond if you bust that one out because my family never used it. Probably best to throw in the towel and go with Ron, Ron K, Gojira, or Godzilla. Call Steve Douglas, he knows how to say it.