Dude Looks Like a Skater

Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer lays down a different beat with a foray into Newbury Street retail.

In retail, as in life, it’s all about who you know. John Nichols, owner of Norwell skate-gear depot Technical, knows Jesse Kramer, the skateboard-loving son of Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer. So when Nichols decided to open a shop in Boston, he found a ready partner in the elder Kramer.

A bit of a departure from its somewhat more genteel neighbors on Newbury, the new Technical is chock-a-block with skateboards, sneakers, and T-shirts, and decorated with graffitilike paint drippings and mannequin torsos. On a recent day off from Aerosmith’s world tour, Kramer took some time to shoot the breeze with Boston.

So, do you skate? Um, not really. I’m just afraid to break my thumbs and my wrists, you know? Then I’d be in a fine how-do-you-do.

How’d you get involved in Technical? I met John four or five years back, after he started the store in Norwell. The thing that caught my eye was the passion he had about the skateboard culture. He was definitely a quality-before-quantity guy.

The South Shore store is kind of a hard-core skate shop. What’s the new location like? It’s geared toward the foot traffic on Newbury Street. There’s stuff in here that I would wear, that I do wear.

Such as? Well, in particular, a brand of watches called TW Steel that I found overseas. And another watch from Toy Watch with a skull and crossbones, and T-shirts from Upper Playground and Spacecraft.

Would you wear it onstage? To me, it’s definitely more everyday clothing.
Do you think the skater ethic is similar to the ’70s rock ethic? They’re both word-of-mouth, underground-culture-ish but spread quickly. In this world, you have to be cautious about advertising: If skaters think it’s for everybody, they won’t come.

Just like the music world—any hint of selling out, and it’s over. Yeah, once you become a commercial fiasco, the kids stop coming. Like with rock, we have to be sure we’re doing what we’re doing with integrity.

230 Newbury St., Boston, 617-262-0003, technicalshops.com.