Photo Ryan Hughes
Lots of snowboarders are from unlikely locations, but what set Andrew Mutty apart in the early days of his career was than he continued to live in Boston. Back then might as have been an extra in Good Will Hunting, coming complete with an accent and salty East Coast attitude. While he was making his mark as an incredible jibber and perpetual easterner, he was never one to limit himself by what people thought was cool or “possible.” Mutty could make magic with mountains, rails, or equipment others would turn their noses at. So if anyone could take a brand like FLOW and make it “cool” it was Andrew Mutty. Over the past few years at Team Manager for the brand, he has done just that, assembling and incredible team and never letting anyone get away with being close minded about “those bindings.” Even though he now lives in the OC, a conversation with Mutty is sure to include plenty of dropped r’s and of course, a hearty helping of witty backtalk. For that reason, we decided to hump him.
YB: Alright, Andrew Mutty, how did you end up working for Flow?
AM: Kind of fell in my lap. This industry has a lot of “connections.”
AM: When I started snowboarding back in 89, I wanted to become pro get “sponsed” and all that good hype. My first hook up was when I was 15 by a shop in MA called EZ Rider. Through the years the owner (Anthony Scaturro) and I became close friends. He later sold his shop, I graduated to bigger support avenues like RIDE and eventually landed with Dynastar Corp and Original Sin. A couple serious injuries later and a phone call for Mr scautrro in 2002. He says… “I got a new job and I am the GM at FLOW, and I am looking for a TM” A series of conversations later, I understood I didn’t want to fight to be Johnny Pro Shred Head any more, and I was happy to help the younger generation gain exposure and blow up. FLOW had a lot of potential. They had a variety of issues with product, but I knew Anthony had a bright future for the brand, and I was wiling to help out.
YB: So did you have apprehensions starting to work for a company with weird bindings and a kooky reputation then?
AM: When I signed on, FLOW’s reputation was not very good. Yes I had apprehensions, but I did know that with the right foundation., which, they had, and the right nurturing, which we could provide, that this brand had potential to be a big player and to really stand out as a category with in a mostly stale snowboard two strap market. Just look at all the people trying to copy our Speed Entry system today…
YB: Speaking of that, is it hard to convince riders to join the team knowing they have to ride those bindings?
AM: No, funny. It’s not hard at all. Actually people are interested. They see the team destroying the contest scene on FLOW and actually mindsets and opinions have shifted from, “I dont know about those bindings?” to, “how can I get a pair to try.” Riders see Lago and Antti killing it and know it works. Most people are too naive and stuck in the traditional two strap world to even try something different. What’s especially amazing to me that the people who teach the community about the industry, whether it be magazines, websites, shops, or even snowboard instructors, this group of people are far more reluctant to give FLOW a try than anyone. That is not only a true set back for snowboarding in general, but a huge obstacle we face in bringing awareness to our brand and the community. Right now it’s mostly team and our core FLOW followers that spread our message and get new people to become believers.
Always making shit work. Photo: Rami Hanafi
YB: Be honest, Scotty and/or Aunti must have been a little hard to convince?
AM: Being honest, my answer is no, I don’t believe there was much convincing needed… And to elaborate and even more truthful, I actually can’t say, because they were both riding FLOW when I got the job. On the contrary, I have spoken to both of them about the subject over the years. Scotty was a little hesitant, but he was willing to give it a go. And he was pumped about the brand and its employees, and he saw the vision and the brand direction and believed in it. Antti on the other hand, loved it from day one. Him and core group of Finnish riders really supported the brand because they knew it was better than the rest of the product on the market. There is a reason some things come and go in snowboarding, for example baseless bindings, and step-ins, but FLOW has paved a path and opened a new category in snowboarding that is here to stay and has proven itself over the past 14 years. It simply works and people love it.
YB: Ok, well are either of them bummed there is a girl on the team that is better than they are?
AM: I have a question for you…are you smoking crack? What / Who / WTF?
YB: No more than normal, but that Sarka chick is really good.
AM: Is the pipe still hot?
YB: Ok, it may have been an exaggeration, but she is really good. Where did you find her?
AM: She was a National team rider for Czech Republic. Our distributor found her and suggested her for our International Team. After I saw her ride last year in Tahoe, I knew she was the “NEXT” big thing in women’s snowboarding. She’s going to give girls a run for their money.
Still getting covers. No Big Deal.
YB: Speaking skills, you are not so shabby at boarding yourself. Do you ever make the team participate in any sort of feats of strength competition with yourself, just to make sure they are not slacking?
AM: Thanks for that. Funny but yes, in many ways I try to lead by example. A couple examples would be, the first or second year as TM I entered the US Open slope as a competitor along with 3-6 other kids going through semi finals. It motivated a lot of the young and old team riders to perform. I ended up scoring higher than half the group I competed against, and after a series of poor performances later, they lost their spot on the team. Another was when we were shooting photos with girls last year at Boreal. Some of the girls, whom I “pay,” were bitching about shooting and crying about the QP I asked them to do handplants on. One of them said something snide like “why don’t you try it,” so I did, and I showed them it was not easy, and it was not perfect, but with a little effort and determination, anything was possible, even for this “shabby” old school snowboarder. Lastly, I was in NH last week at Waterville, and Tim (Humphries) was hurt, and Scotty (Lago) was unavailable. We needed to have 3 people to represent FLOW as a team at Pat Moore’s “Back to the Boneyard” event, so Sarka and I rode all day. It was almost one year to the day that I last hit a jump of any kind, due to a sprained “shabby” ankle at Loon last year. But again, for Sarka to be able to see that I don’t just sit around and type emails / organize shoots / talk to mags, means something. She knows I understand what it takes to ride. The team understands that they are managed by someone who is a “been there, done that” type of role model. Lead by example, motivate with actions, and accomplish goals as a TEAM.
YB: A lot of team mangers definitely can’t ride well. Who do you think is the worst at snowboarding out of all the ones you know?
AM: Sorry but I live in the OC, but I am not going to play that game. Most of the TM’s for every brand are my friends. Some choose not to ride at all, but that’s a personal choice. And some do. They know who they are.
YB: Fine, well then who is the best TM at snowboarding, besides of course, yourself?
AM: Peter Line… well if he is a TM, not sure. Other than that, Moran, Leach, Dalton, Driscoll, Creepy, Max Henault, Runke, Ricky Bower. I know there is more, but that’s off the top of my head.
YB: What about Todd Richards?
AM: Duh, yeah. See forgot him and probably plenty more. He would kick my butt for sure. I have no problem admitting where I stand in the chain.
YB: I will ask him who is the worst. He will tell me. So ok, lets go back to your glory days. Remember when you jumped off a parking garage and got on the cover of Snowboarder? Why did you think that was a good idea?
AM: It’s all I had. And to be clear I didn’t think it was a good idea. It was more of a test. A test that worked. I grew up in the city. I did not come from a family of money in any way, so my options for snowboarding were limited to the hill across the street, the Arnold Arboretum, and local small hills like Nashoba Valley, Wachusett, and Blue Hills. That being said, I explored options and found parking garages offered a unique “urban cliff” like environment. Bored one day, Gary Land called me up and asked if I had anything to shoot that was city like and different for a new interesting shot. He almost lost it and couldn’t believe I was gonna do it. Funny side note, my good buddy at the time, who has passed away now (motorcycle accident), actually was Gary’s assistant for that day. He pulled the trigger that Gary had set up and focused, kind of his “claim to fame” all the way ‘til his last day. So in the end it was a good idea.
Future’s so bright…Photo: Hanafi
YB: How do you knees feel from doing that stuff? Any recurring pain?
AM: Nope. Healthy diet and exercize. Actually a lot of Pros could learn from that. It’s amazing what you put into your body is what you get out of it.
YB: So what’s your fitness regiment these days?
AM: Email marathons, desk jockey races, things of that nature. For real… running, surfing, Iron Gym at home.
YB: Wait, so you bought a Bowflex or something?
AM: (laughs) No even better, The Iron Gym. It’s that funny set up that goes on your door and works as a pull up bar. 20 bucks, can’t beat that. They sell it all over, Rite Aid, CVS, Longs Drugs, Lowes, Home Depot… now tell me that’s not the 100 million dollar invention!
YB: You are really good at selling shit. I now want to buy one of those, and a set of FLOW bindings. It’s amazing.
AM: Not a sales man at all.
YB: You ever think about trying to sell something that would actually make you money?
AM: Well actually I just joined forces with a business partner and we started a brand called NXTZ. Check it www.nxtz.com.
YB: So the big money is in neck bandanas? I will let Obama know that’s how to fix the economy.
AM: Big money… please. You asked about money in general, not big money… Actually the new administration is backing small USA-run businesses as well as supporting businesses that practice Green initiatives. So your little quirky poke fun of “neck wear” companies is actually round-about true.
YB: Touche! We were talking about the old days, and got distracted. What happened to the rainbow rail car?
AM: Transmission blew out and it was sent to the junk yard and donated as a tax write off. Saw its most glorious days though. Funny story, that car was bought by my friend’s family, (the Nelsons, whom I must thank) and went through 3 of their kids before I acquired it. The older sister Keri, the older brother Eric, and the middle child Brett (my buddy), all destroyed that 92 Ford Escort, and I had the final touches. The car became more of a liability than an asset.
The fabled car. Photo: Geery
YB: That thing was amazing. Ever think about finding another car to make into the ultimate jib machine?
AM: No, not really. Myself, Mr Basich, and the Smith Limo pretty much played our JIB cars. I did however manage to build a roof rack/drop in system, which I attached to my Audi A6.
YB: Sounds high tech. tell me more.
AM: OK. So after the Rainbow Jib car was gone, I was still shredding and having a need for quicker set up and break down. My friend Ready was the welder for the rainbow car, so he helped me get this one rolling as well. It was pretty simple; Large platform that rested in the two main bars of the Tulle rack. It was capable of sliding on and off and the actual drop in ramp was able to fit in the Tulle snowboard rack component. So with the platform in place and the drop in ramp detachable, you can drive around with a whole drop in set up, and be jibing in minutes of the driving up to a rail. This worked out really well for Chris Rotax and I one day in Worchester MA. We got this rail all set up in Downtown area…HUGE bust potential pretty close to the Police station, and right when we pulled the car up, we set it up, fired the generator, and got 20-30 hit each before we got busted.
Damn, revolutionary! So as a revolutionary, how is snowboarding going to survive this “worst financial crisis since the depression?”
AM: With neck warmers! NXTZ! Seriously, who knows if it will. Global Warming, no money in the pockets of snowboard fanatics, and no good end in site, I think we are in for some serious tough times. Resorts are down huge in ticket sales, snowboard product is better and better thee days, causing more “hand me downs,” and with shorter winters, there will be many small brands falling off the map this year and with in years to come. Could be 5-10 brands in the next 10 years. Maybe we should all get in the sunscreen business?
YB: Perhaps. Well, I think we killed it. Any other thoughts?
AM: That was a good hump. Can’t say I have ever been done like that before.
Showing the kids how it’s done. Photo: Brooke Geery