Flossing with Rusty Toothbrush
Rusty Toothbrush are a collective of boarders and camera guys that make badass films and have a lot of fun in the process. They’re also the nicest guys you could hope to meet. We caught up with Alex and JJ from the crew.
So tell me about the Man & Wolf Tour?
Alex Stewart: We’ve been shooting for the next film ‘Highjinks’ and checking out the parks in Les Arcs, La Ros and here obviously. This trip has been supported by Man & Wolf and Northwave & Drake who both sponsor us. It’s been pretty epic- a lot of pow!
How did the collaboration come about?
A: We were actually in a bar in Morzine and Gumby spotted Tyler and some of the boys and we got chatting. He was giving us shit about not being gnarly enough in our edits. But he liked our vibe and was keen to support us. And if you watch our recent edit, beer barrels make for excellent jibbing material!
Are you based in Europe full time now?
JJ: Nah, I’m still based back in NZ. I was actually supposed to fly back yesterday but I’ve been having too much fun, so I delayed it.
A: Me and Chiara (my girlfriend) just bought a van in Europe so we’re going to be here a while. She only cost us a couple a grand but she’s struggling a bit. Everything keeps breaking.
So you might end up carrying her rather than the other way round. And Alex, you’re fluent in Italian right? How did that happen?
A: I lived there with an ex girlfriend for a while and in Italy, you really have to speak Italian. Especially where we were, they just didn’t speak English. Which is probably the best way to learn, just be fully immersed. Our last film, “Poveroi Noi”, is Italian for “Poor Us”.
Yeah I was wondering about that. It’s very tongue in cheek and a lot of what you guys do is absolutely hilarious. Where do your ideas for stuff like the human snowboard and 4 legs on one board come from?
A: It’s all pretty organic to be honest. We set out to do a line and it often just descends into mayhem. I think when you put a bunch of guys together that are all eating, sleeping and riding 24/7, it’s inevitable that some antics are going to occur. I was really inspired by Robot Food, a crew that were making films in the 00s and who were incredible boarders, but made it look so fun.
With the 4 legs, people from the chairlift actually didn’t think it was funny at all!
JJ: Yeah, most of them seemed to think you had a serious abnormality.
And what are the rules of Rugby-on-Snow?
Chiara: Short shorts!
Alex, you’re involved in both the filming and riding side of things? Which came first, love of boarding or filming?
A: Definitely boarding although I was actually a very late starter. I only began snowboarding age 17 but immediately was infatuated and have pretty much done back to back seasons since then. I was riding for DC and they were doing some filming but I didn’t like the edit. So I figured, if I want this done in line with my vision, I’m going to have to do it myself- how hard can it be? It turns out, very hard and my first one was awful. But by then it was in my mind that this was something I needed to learn. For a long time after we started Rusty Toothbrush, I did the editing but no filming, but that’s something I’ve gradually picked up as well. Although we have a couple of amazing camera guys.
What are you trying to nail on a board this season?
A: I stopped trying to learn new tricks about 5 years ago. At a certain point you have to take what you do in the park and apply it to the backcountry and the street. Because that’s where it all originated from. Rails are supposed to represent something you’d actually find in a town. So the focus now for me is on nailing new lines as opposed to specific tricks in the air.
JJ: Yeah, that’s pretty much the same for me. Obviously it’s fun to play in the park. Like we had a blast on the black kicker today and the Val Park guys built us a powder jump yesterday which we were playing around on. But for filming, we tend to be in more obscure places.
Have you ever got in trouble whilst filming?
A: Yes is the short answer. Usually, we just get moved along if we’re in a town. But one resort in Australia, who we were actually being paid by to be there, got really arsey and told us if they saw us with a camera somewhere again, we’d face thousands of dollars in fines. We don’t go to Oz anymore.
How many boards do you get through a season?
A: Probably about 7 or 8
JJ: Maybe 2 or 3
Damn Alex, what are you doing wrong?!
A: Yeah not sure. Luckily we’re working with Northwave and Drake boards now, who hook us all up with some very sweet gear. I’m actually working for them as International Team Manager, organising video projects, which is great because I get to choose the crew.
Who has the best nickname?
A: Lately, we’ve just been filling in JJ’s name with any other two words or names beginning with J. Janis Joplin is probably my favourite.
JJ: And Alex is Peppino? Where did that come from?
A: Peppino is a name that I was gifted in Italy and really tried to shake off. More recently I embraced it but it’s not sticking as well. It’s like a standard greasy pizza guy name in Italy.
A: I don’t know what’s happening next year let alone several down the line! We have two brothers riding for us at the moment who also do filming, so they’re going to take on more with the project, which will be good. But nah, I’m not stopping any time soon. Not whilst I’m able to make a living from doing what I love.
And the obligatory question that you probably get asked every time- why Rusty Toothbrush?
A: JJ, why don’t you take this one?
JJ: Well, Alex was backpacking through India and he’d lost his bags so he needed a toothbrush. Some locals offered him this wire toothbrush that was all rusty and told him to clean his teeth with that and some oil and he was like “Nahhh, that’s a rusty toothbrush”.
I’ll believe you. To close the show, which is your favourite Man & Wolf Beer?
A: Which is the black one? Oh yeah the Social Lubricant IPA. That’s tasty.
JJ: I’d go with that too
Find Man & Wolf beer in a bar near you! https://www.facebook.com/manandwolf/