Peter Talks: Chicken wings with Johnnie Paxson
Interview & photo by Peter Line
One night in 1964 Teressa Bellisimo was working late at her restaurant, The Anchor Bar, when her son and his friends came in for an evening snack. With the kitchen closed, all she had on hand were some leftover chicken wings and a pantry of condiments. She heated up the wings, covered them in a butter and hot sauce concoction and served them with a side of celery sticks and blue cheese dressing. Her son, and his friends loved the dish and Buffalo chicken wings were born. In 1977 the city of Chicago appointed July 29th as the official “Chicken Wing Day.” 3,432 days later Johnnie Paxson was born. Johnnie would later grow up to be a good-looking and talented force in professional snowboarding…POWERED BY CHICKEN WINGS!
Peter: O.k., Johnnie Paxton interview.
J: Paxson. P-a-x-s-o-n. Paxson.
J: Paxson. It’s no big deal.
P: Alright, Johnnie Pax-son interview. So, how was your year?
J: It went well, I had a lot of fun.
P: Who did you end up filming with?
J: I filmed with you for a little bit on the Peddie Files. I filmed with Finger on the Trigger again, and I filmed with Absinthe.
P: Damn, a lot of projects this year. I remember, we were out in Minneapolis earlier this year filming with you, and I kind of noticed you had a favorite meal you ended up eating every single day, Buffalo chicken wings.
J: Yeah, I like the wings… wings and milk.
P: What’s your wing preference? Spicy? Mild? Hickory BBQ?
J: I usually go with the original. Tangy and spicy.
P: Nice. Now, what’s up with your milk/orange juice combo drink?
J: It’s a good drink for the streets, when you’re up all night or day snowboarding with not a whole lotta time for food. You get your calcium and vitamin C all in one. It’s kinda like Orange Julius. Everyone should try it, it’s awesome.
P: I hear you also have a second job.
J: Sort of.
P: I hear you’re a male model.
J: (laughs) I guess I have modeled before, but I’m not sure where that’s going in the future. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
P: You’re only going to get more gorgeous, ha! But you actually did shoot for Ralph Lauren?
J: Yeah, I did a Ralph Lauren shoot on Hood and then….
P: Was that the shoot where you had the broken arm and cast?
J: No, it was the first [shoot I did], and it was totally random. They pulled me off the snow pretty much. I talked to the photographer Bruce Weber for a bit, and he told me if he had anything else I could do he might give me a call. Then he called me that summer and told me they had some Abercrombie thing, which was kinda unexpected. I went and did that. It was pretty mellow, like a nine-day vacation in Boston, and I only worked two days. I don’t know what ever happened with that. I could be on the side of a bag somewhere.
P: Did you put on your Blue Steel?
J: I did.
P: But that’s cool, your snowboarding career got you into male modeling.
J: Yeah, it totally did. If I wasn’t on the hill that day, they never would have seen me or asked me to do it.
P: I think that gives it a bit more credibility. You were a snowboarder first, then a male model. Not a male model who’s good at snowboarding.
P: I think if anyone got pulled off the hill to do some shoot like that for money, they totally would do it.
J: For sure, if I wasn’t doing what I loved, I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity. Then, the last one I did was the Polo fragrance Big Pony shoot. That was the big time one I guess. It was a pretty big production, crazy.
P: Are they as cool a photographer as I am?
J: Um, no. No one’s as cool a photographer as you Peter.
P: “Yez zoo go zit ova der, and take yo pantz off.” (Peter trying to imitate a fashion photographer).
J: Nah, they’re pretty mellow, it’s not as weird as everybody thinks it is. It’s definitely different. But, there are a lot of people in the industry who are really cool and nice people… and there’s some weird ones.
P: What’s your plan for next year?
J: Next year I want to do just one video project, just to simplify everything. I kinda put too much on my plate this season. I knew I was but kinda wanted to see if I could handle it. [I wanted] to be able to jump around with different crews to figure out who I work well with, and where I’d get the most done.
P: Are you just trying to get one banger part?
J: Yeah. Next year I’ll just try to focus on one video part and making it the best I can. I think Nike has been talking about doing a project, but that’s just talk for now. I don’t know exactly what’s going on with that. If that doesn’t go down, hopefully I can do the Absinthe thing again cause it was really fun riding with Bode [Miller] and [Dan] Brisse and shooting with Shane Charlebois.
P: I’d be scared to ride with Brisse.
J: Yeah, he’s intense.
P: Yeah, he’s gnarly, though I’ve seen you do some gnarly stuff, so I can’t talk for you. I’m sure you’ll be hitting those crazy urban roof gaps right along side him. Any double cork roof gaps coming this next season?
J: (laughs) Can’t say. No plans for it, but if the set up asks for it and it looks fun anything can happen.