Matt Pritchard started skateboarding at 15 in Cardiff, Wales. He was instantly hooked and all he wanted to do was skate. Hanging out with mates, skating and pranking each other turned into the skate video Pritchard vs Dainton. Jackass in America came out at the same time which lead to MTV reaching out to the boys to produce a British version and Dirty Sanchez was born.
Dirty Sanchez was so successful it spun into 3 series, a movie and a number of other TV shows for Lee Dainton and Matt. 15 years of absolute mayhem incurred after that taking the show on the road doing live gigs around the UK.
The years of partying took its toll and Matt had enough and in 2014 he left. With some money saved up he set up Sleep When You’re Dead Tattoo & Barbour shop in Cardiff. He came across the film Cowspiracy and instantly became vegan after watching it. Trained as a chef Matt was looking for vegan recipes and saw a gap in the market for a funny vegan cooking show. This turned into the Dirty Vegan cooking series which aired on the BBC.
At the same time he was running and started doing triathlons. Taking it from one extreme to another Matt took on gnarly endurance challenges such as 30 half Ironman events in 30 days and rowing across the Atlantic for 52 days.
Oli Russell-Cowan: How did you get into skateboarding?
Matt Pritchard: I was 15 hanging out on the streets. Doing nothing as you do when you’re younger, hanging on the streets with some friends. One of them had a skateboard and I started having a go on it and I really enjoyed it.
I wasn’t allowed to have a skateboard because my mother didn’t like it. She thought it was too dangerous. So it took me a while to constantly persuade her to let me have a board. At the time I was a milk boy and I had a paper round in the morning and evening. So quite a bit of work really, for somebody my age. A lot of kids don’t really work now. But life just changed.
It wasn’t as though I was making a fortune. I was making hardly anything. It was money and I learned then if you needed something you have to work. It took me weeks to save this money up to buy a board. I bought a vision psycho pink slammer. I didn’t look back.
Russell-Cowan: Would you try and skate as much as you could and go out every day.
Pritchard: Looking back my first love was definitely skateboard. I did not stop all I did day in day out. I’d wake up in the morning and I’d skate all day. You had so much energy then man, so much excitement and energy.
I had a board and that’s all I did until it got dark skate every spare moment of the day. That’s all I did and that’s all I was interested in. I did not care about anything else, just skateboarding.
Then when the summer holidays came on and it was raining I’d go and find an indoor area.
Russell-Cowan: When did you come up with the concept for Pritchard vs Dainton? You guys were always kind of messing around anyway.
Pritchard: That’s all we used to do mess about.
Camp Kill Yourself (CKY) with Bam Margera had just come out. We weren’t copying anything. Nobody was copying one another. I think it was just skateboard humour. Daint had a camera, Dykjie had a camera. We just wanted to make a skate video that had a lot of good skateboarding in it and at the same time a bit of fun in it, of what we’re getting up to.
So that’s what we did. Pancho was in it always falling asleep and we were messing with him. Me and Dainton just messing around with one another.
We made the video and then it just went crazy.
We use to take it to trade shows and show people the promo part of it just to get a little taste. And a lot of people really liked that taste. They really wanted to see the whole video. It was the most hyped skate video of it’s time, I think. Then when it did come out we sold quite a few copies.
Then lo and behold, Jackass happened in America around the same time. A talent scout for MTV wanted to do the same kind of programme in the UK. So I think we just fitted the bill and that’s how it all happened.
Russell-Cowan: Did you imagine how that would blow up?
Pritchard: We were just just having fun. We didn’t expect that to happen. Even when we had the meeting with MTV, and they said, we’d like to do a show with you. We only thought there was going to be one show. We never knew that it was going to be second series, third series, the movie. Me and Dainton did another two seasons of other shows.
We did not expect that at all. But people seem to have liked it. And it just went absolutely crazy. 15 years of absolute mayhem after that.
Russell-Cowan: Looking back, what was the funniest time or the funniest season?
Pritchard: It was fun, man. It was just really good fun. It was a really good laugh. You get paid to go and have fun. When you’re that age and MTV says heres some money go and have a laugh with your mates. It’s hard not to like really.
That’s exactly what we did. They gave us money and we just went wild. It was just the dream. Literally living the dream.
But you know, we started off as mates and trust me man money, fame, and all that kind of stuff and what we were doing, the booze, the drugs. It is a recipe for disaster. It was the perfect rock and roll story.
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