Vans Celebrates the Life of Skateboarding Legend Jeff Grosso Live on Vans’ YouTube on April 28.
The virtual memorial will look back on the icon’s life and devotion to skate culture.
Grosso leaves behind a prolific legacy of skateboarding history, having touched the lives of skaters—and skate nerds—of all ages and backgrounds with his cunning commentary, tenacious attitude, and enduring activism for preserving the core.
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The Jeff Grosso Interview
Courtesy of SESSION MAGAZINE
December 20, 2018
We need Grosso. We need the other side handed a mic or a platform to balance out this Olympic-X-Factor-Taurine-TV show that skateboarding so often is. For me, Grosso represents the fallible core of being a skateboarder. Like you find skateboarding and it inevitably saves your life. It probably saved mine, it definitely saved and continues to save his.
Without blowing too much smoke up anyone’s ass, I had a good time talking shit with Jeff a few months back. We spoke for hours more, some recorded, some not, and we covered kids, junk, why backside airs aren’t high enough, The Loveletters and Duane Peters.
INTRO & INTERVIEW:
I was talking to Eric [Dressen] now about the fact that the first skate video I ever saw was Speed Freaks – and I know you might hate that whole thing – but it was my first video living in South Africa. A VHS tape, taped to tape to tape…
I don’t hate it you know, I mean… It was a rough period, because those were the first skate films, and I’d been in Future Primitive, I’d been in Powell videos. So then riding for Santa Cruz, and it was a small group of us, Eric being one of them, that wanted Santa Cruz to be the alternative to what Powell was doing, and kind of live off of their old image of Duane Peters and Steve Alba and Steve Olson… they were the original punk company, and those were the punkest skateboarders, some would argue of all time in skateboarding. Duane Peters stands alone with the shenanigans he’s come up with over the years. We wanted the film to reflect the fact that we were carrying on that lineage. Jason Jessee was a very serious skateboarder, I considered myself to be a very serious skateboarder, Eric definitely considered himself a serious skateboarder, and they [Santa Cruz] wanted to make it more like a surf film, make it very clean and very surfish, and you know, graphics were all very cartoony and all this kinda nonsense, so that’s why you might have gotten that impression because it was just like… It ended up… it was a fun experience, and you had a day to film, I filmed my part in a day. You went out for the day and what you got is what you got, and that was the part.
But I kinda liked that because it captured the way someone skated, not necessarily the hits you know what I mean?
We can get real about it, skateboarding was much simpler back then. It wasn’t as intense and it wasn’t as technical, it wasn’t as hard. So you know you could capture somebody’s essence, how they rode every day, if he was worth his weight in salt. I mean the shit that they do these days, some of it you do it once and you can’t duplicate it, and if you were to try to you’re risking life and limb right?
It’s getting lethal out there. So everyone loves the Loveletters, well I certainly do, I’m always hyped on a new episode…
I hope they do!
I’m sure they do. I don’t know if 14 year olds get it yet but they will. I hope they will.
Yeah I hope. I’m a skate pornographer, is what I am. And you know whatever, nostalgia has its place, it’s fun to look back. Each generation gets to do that right? Like the ’90’s is very hip right now, I see some of the kids here today were doing frontside ollie late shuv-its, and that’s like [Sean] Sheffey. And so, they wanna sit there, the proverbial ‘they’ right, and say how progressive skateboarding is, but it’s not that fuckin’ progressive.
That’s what I was gonna say when were talking, that vert skating hasn’t progressed that much, if you take vertically the backside air, which is still gnarly to me, and one of the raddest things out there in a sense – that’s what everyone is doing now.
It’s really glaringly apparent in transition skating, because transition skateboarding effectively went away for a good 15 years, almost 20 years, and so it’s rough. The amount of progression that went down from ’90 – ’95 say, is just insane in both street and vert, and so a lotta things just get done and well, ‘I’ve checked that box’ and they get shelved, and effectively transition skateboarding goes away from about 90 – 2003, something like that…
Yeah certainly concrete transition.
Concrete skateboarding is completely demolished, it’s gone. And the only gig in town for transition is vert and you know there was X Games as far as competition skating goes, so the only progressive skating going on is video skating ala Danny Way and Colin Mckay and dudes like that. It gets stunted there because its like they cut of block of time out. This group of kids that have come up now, the new uber Gods, the Oskis, and the Tom Schaars and the Willy Laras what have yous, they’re coming from like, here’s skateboarding from 1992, and then… you see a lot of Boneless Ones, the frontside and backside Noseblunts are big tricks right, and that was 1992. But if you weren’t around in 1992 you don’t fucking know that. It’s all new and fresh to you right, ‘cause you’re 15/16 years old. Trey Wood just turned 18. And so I don’t care how gnarly people think it is to ride without pads. It’s not that gnarly if that’s how you learned to skateboard. You know how to bail without pads all day long you’re still not gonna as high airs consistently as did someone who wore pads. And that’s fine, I guess we don’t need that, but it was kinda cool, watching someone like Hosoi go back to back doing 10 ft airs, and now everybody hits and runs at it. Its like one big trick move, move, one big trick move, move. The way skating has morphed and changed is interesting.
The consistency and speed is impressive.
And it’s neat to that it’s no longer polarised. You know ‘I’m a street skater’, and not only that ‘I’m a ledge skater’, or he’s a transition guy or he’s a vert guy. All the kids just ride everything now and so they’ve taken the street mentality and stream of consciousness skating of just hitting things.
At this point someone comes up to ask Jeff if he’d be going down to the bowl that evening, he declines, noting that The Boardr guys would be all over him.
Yeah, I talk a lot of shit on the Boardr guys, so they don’t like me very much.
Oh, yeah, I can see the structure and this, like…
I just don’t … like, whatever. I’m no more right than they are wrong, or that they are right and I am wrong. It’s just different philosophies of what skateboarding should be. What should be promoted about it. You know, I feel that it’s performance art, and it’s masquerading as a sport, at best. We’re fucking monkeys in a zoo, or in a circus. So, I want this circus show to be the very best it can be, which means that you have to put the skaters first and foremost on the fucking agenda. Not your show, not your scoring system, not your big TV, but what the skaters need, and how they interact and work best together …
And, I think that the current form of competitive skateboarding is probably one of the greatest tragedies that there has been in the history of skateboarding. It’s the great dumbing down of everything.
I’d agree with you.
We’ve been celebrating that little Brazilian kid. Nothing against him, he’s badass, he’s ripping. He did one of the biggest frontside airs, you know, under the flatbank, that I’ve seen all week. But, you know, they’re fucking going ape shit over his little double-tap frontside Boneless One, and it’s like, you know, that’s little hometown hero local bullshit, man. It’s fucking – we don’t wanna be elevating that type of shit.
Well, I think that the … the way I feel about skateboarding is that it should be kept Pinnacle at all times. That’s, like, just the way I view it and see it.
Pinnacle. And I don’t mean the Plan B version of Pinnacle. It’s everything. It’s the style and the attitude, and just keeping it, like, as an artform, and interesting as an artform… because if we’re all doing tricks, which we all are, and every kid is doing, and we’re just adding up … we just start to become quantifiable numbers. And that’s where we’re gonna end up, and that’s …
Then it’s not good.
It squashes the creativity out of all of it, and if the creativity and making it progressive and seeing what you can do with it, and how you can express yourself with this toy, is what it’s all about, then shoving it in the sport box is bad. You know, you would have thought we would have learned in the 70’s, you would have thought we would have learned in the 80’s …
You know, it seemed like we learned in the 90’s, but then all of a sudden, you know, the Lords of Dogtown hit, and then it was hit fucking rewind and repeat. Rinse and repeat.
But you notice the eternal optimism that’s like, it’s gonna be different this time, though. But it isn’t, it’s the same fucking deal.
But, you have to kinda take it with a grain of salt, or a pinch of sugar, or whatever the fuck – however you can choke it down, because most of those people that are pushing those agendas are younger people, and they don’t know because they weren’t around to see how it’s wobbled and stumbled and jumped and run and sailed and flown and eaten shit again, and …
And will eat shit again.
Yeah, I mean, you just don’t know, you know. It’s like, “Oh, we fucking whitewashed this thing.”
With The Letters, do you think – how endless is this trove of, like, footage and stuff, do you think? ‘Cause there’s a lot, I mean, it’s sick that you guys unearth all this shit. So, are you surprised with what surfaces, as well?
Oh, yeah. All the time, you know. That’s the fun part of this job.
Yeah, that must be sick to see.
I mean, the show has a pretty broad … the show is pretty broad.
I like to think – I hope it has a broad appeal. I mean, it’s for, you know, fat old dudes like me, or whatever, that wanna be a little bit nostalgic about their youth, and are skating again because their kids are skating, and it’s a way for them to connect with their kids and shit. And it’s for the kids to check out, and be like, “Oh, shit, that’s the way it was, that’s kinda cool. Maybe I can cherry pick what I think is neat about that off, and apply it to my skating.” You know, it’s part shit-talk machine, it’s a lot of mythology.
It’s a pretty good resource though. You know, it’s pretty rad to know…
Yeah, you know, it’s neat because in the eight years we’ve been doing it, or whatever … nine seasons, eight years, you know, Rick and Buddy have a reputation of holding things sacred and being true to ourselves, to themselves, to skateboarding, first and foremost, so you know, people who usually wouldn’t … you know, Glen E Friedman won’t let anybody use his fucking photos for anything, and we have complete access to his entire archive.
You know, and can do anything we want with it, whenever we need to fucking show how it was when Glen E Friedman was shooting photo, to tell whatever story it is we’re trying to tell … he trusts us with his art. And that’s just one of the relationships that we’ve cultivated, and I say we, as the show, but it’s more on Rick and Buddy. I mean, they really are the story tellers, I’m just the idiot on camera. So, they’re really the ones telling the stories. They’re the ones that have to sit and edit together all the minutia that I spew out of my neck, and go, “Oh, yeah, ok, there’s actually a story in there, somewhere.”
So yeah, it’s neat because people contact you in all kinds of weird ways. People contact you on Facebook and Insta, and all these social media platforms and stuff, and they’re like, “Yeah, check this out. Here’s my photos from the Del Mar Nationals in ’84. I shot them on a 110 camera.” And you get to see a bunch of pictures that nobody’s ever seen before.
You know, somebody’s old dad cam from when video cameras were first introduced. That shit didn’t start going on till like ‘85, you know, ’84 … ‘83, ‘84, I guess. People started being able to buy video cameras and video tape stuff, so you’ll unearth these fucking video tapes of backyard sessions and shit, and it’s just like, “Whoa, that’s really neat,” and it’s a little treasure trove. And it’s fun just to look back and see, trip out on the fucking genesis of skateboarding.
Well, it’s the history, and history is important, man.
Yeah, if you don’t learn from it, you’re doomed to repeat it, all that crap.
Have you had any, like … besides, like, fucking keyboard jockey dudes, like, I don’t really care about those people, but like, people coming up to you pissed?
Yeah. You know, especially with the internet now, you know, people think they know you.
That’s negligible to me.
You know, people think they know you because they see some sort of online persona of you, or presence, or whatever. They hear you say something, you know, they’ll hear me say something in an episode, and if it rubs them the wrong way, or if they… people are very judgemental, right. People just jump to conclusions, like, “Oh, he said this, so therefore, I don’t like him.” Or, “He said this, and therefore I love him, I think he’s fucking awesome.” So yeah, I get a little bit of both of it, and the guys that come up … the guys and the girls that come up, and that dig the show and are grateful … that like the entertainment, you know … it’s just a little shitty … like I said, it’s skateboard pornography, it’s just to get you stoked to go skate.
You know, we’re not reinventing the wheel, we’re not trying to document, like, “And the precision bearing was made on September 25th, 1963.”
You know, that’s not what it’s about. So yeah, I’ve had dudes come up to me and fucking wanna flex on me, and shit; “You fucking asshole.” And it’s coming upon me to either fucking try to … I usually try to win them over, you know, and just be like, “What, man? Fuck, yeah, I said it. What?” You know, and …
It’s not exactly gonna have like an endurable impact on anything.
Yeah, we’re not curing cancer, for Christ’s sakes.
That’s my point.
It’s skateboarding. We’re playing with toys. We’re grown men playing with toys, so let’s put it in perspective, here, people. It doesn’t matter what some 50-year-old fucking dude, who can barely skateboard by the way, anymore, … what my opinions are on skateboarding. What, because I’ve been around forever? I mean, I guess, but you know, it’s a brave new world, don’t you know? Throw a coat of white paint on it, whitewash over it all, and go again! You know, good luck to you.
You know, we’re not reinventing the wheel, so it’s cool, like, for the dudes … most people, I think, generally, who don’t dig me, that have some sort of preconceived notion of who I am when they meet me and talk to me, I usually get like, “Oh, I thought you were an asshole. And, now that I met you, you’re pretty cool, you’re okay, ‘cause I understand a little bit more, like, where you were coming from,” or … and again, it’s like, skateboarding is filled with assholes with opinions, you know.
(Adrian Laughs) Totally.
It’s the greatest thing about skating, and it’s the worst thing about skating.
Well, it’s the same as music. It’s like, “I hate that fucking band, but I love that band,” it’s the same shit.
Yeah, people are like, “You left this out of the fucking episode,” and it’s like, “Yeah, we purposely left it out.” We can’t put everything in, and part of the fun of watching the show is sitting around and bullshitting about it afterwards with your friends, and going, “Oh, they forgot this fucking dude, and this guy made up this, and this guy did this, and this was my favourite dude. So and so does better frontside Ollies than so and so,” or whatever the fuck. It’s supposed to make you interact with your buddies. You know, and cooler talk, like, “Oh, did you see, they did an episode on footplants, oh fuck, let’s all go learn slob plants.” No, please don’t!
Here we are, we’re doing slob plants.
Yeah, the slob is a hard one.
You know, I haven’t been punched yet.
Oh, that’s good.
I’m sure, sooner or later, though, somebody will haul off and pop me in the eye.
And just be like, “I saw you on fucking Loveletters, and you suck. Thanks for the black eye.”
(Adrian Laughs) Well, let me know. I’m sure I’ll hear about it.
I mean, knock on wood, whatever.
You mentioned before, you’re a dad, you’ve got a kid. He skates now?
And you did that fathers and sons episode, and you were, like, hoping your kid skates, and now he skates, right?
That’s fucking sick, man.
Yeah, it’s been a trip, ‘cause you get to … I mean, I’m a first-time parent, and sucking at it, badly, you know, like everybody else that has children. I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, I’m just muddling through and doing the best I can. And what’s neat about the whole thing is you just kinda get to relive your youth, and remember what it was like for you, and try to apply that to what you see them going through.
And try to guide them, but give them enough space to make their own decisions, have their own successes, their own failures, you know, but somehow keep them alive in that process, right?
That’s your main job.
Yeah, pretty much. Keep him breathing, you know, and the rest he’ll sort out. It’s his life to lead, I can’t lead it for him. Oliver … the Goo is a trip, man, Oliver’s a trip. He does all kinds of fucked up shit I don’t dig, you know, but that’s what kids do, and you just kinda have to suck it up and play the dad role, and be like, “Hey man, that ain’t cool, you gotta do it like this.”
“Calm down, put your shit away, go to bed, brush your teeth”, all that fucking weird stuff, so it’s been… Yeah, I remember, he learned how to jump off a curb, you know…
Like, drop off the edge?
Yeah, just acid drop off the curb, and he was so stoked, man. I mean, you woulda thought he fucking, you know, like, found the fucking cure for Polio, or whatever, right.
He was so hyped, and I just tripped out on him so hard, because I just had a full flashback to where I first went off a curb.
I remember the first.
Sixth and Camino, I fucking remember, I remember slamming on one, I remember the one I made. And, dude, that’s a long … you know, I was five or six, it’s 40-something years ago, 45 years ago, 46 years ago, 44 years ago, something like that. I’m shit at math. So, it’s rad to kinda relive it all, and kinda see it anew through their eyes, right, because he doesn’t have a tainted view of anything. Everything’s cool to him.
Yeah, it’s fun, everything’s new.
Yeah. He doesn’t know what’s fucking uncool or corny or…
Well, that’s skateboarding at its purest. There’s no influence.
Yeah, it’s just pure fun, you know, until he slams and then he’s bummed, but you know. Most skateboard kids, it’s like, you’re gonna take that hit, and you’re gonna get up and go again, and then you might be – probably will be a skateboarder. Or you’re gonna take that hit, and you’re gonna quit and walk away from it.
And he keeps taking hits, one after the other, after the other…
And he keeps coming back for more, so the skate thing is an easy, no-brainer trip to me, because that’s my jazz. I know how to play that song. “Get in the car, come with me, I’ll show you the world with it.” It’s the other stuff, like fucking, you know, he wants to play … he wants Dad to enrol him, or sign him up for soccer or whatever, and he wants to play soccer. And it’s like, “Go play soccer with me, Dad,” and like, whatever, I can kick a ball around a little bit, I know the basics of … but there’s some tricks and some … you know what I mean?
And I can’t give that shit to him, it’s not in my bag. I can point him in a direction and get him with some people that can help him learn that kind of stuff, get that kind of dexterity. And they run little drills and all that kinda fucking shit. I just sit on the side line and smoke cigarettes, and go, “Hey, that’s cool, I guess.”
Yeah, but I mean, I think most skateboarders, we’re all-consumed. I mean I hated everything, besides skateboarding, so I could never do anything else, so that’s it.
And I try to not do that to Oliver. Not put my shit on him, you know.
It’s like, the little scooter, he fucking rolled around on a scooter for a while. The scooter magically disappeared, but, I took it over to … I gave it to his mom, and the mom got rid of it, you know. But it’s like, whatever, “You wanna fucking play soccer, great, you wanna fucking ride bikes, great, you wanna fly a fucking kite, then let’s go fly a fucking kite. It’s all fucking good, man, you’re six.”
I just keep thinking, fuck, I had a pretty cool childhood, you know, and these are the reasons why I think it was cool, and so you try to mimic it a little bit, and just be like, this is what … like, how we went camping and we jumped off rocks, and we did this and we did that, so fuck, “Get in, let’s go, ‘cause we gotta go jump off some rocks and camp.”
Every once in a while, I ask my mom how I’m doing, and she says I’m doing okay, so you know. I mean, I’m a pretty selfish fucking individual, like, I’m borderline narcissistic. I won’t actually fess up to being narcissistic…
And so, it’s a rough gig to have to fucking put yourself aside and put somebody else ahead of you. You know, you just kinda muddle through, right?
Having kids is a hard decision if you’re used to living a certain way.
Well, it’s all relevant, and it’s all relative, because as skateboarders, the fucking toy literally … it’s like you said earlier, it’s an all-consuming thing, if you’re really a skateboarder, and the way you approach life, just in general, is going to be through the lens of a skateboarder. The way we drive, the way we approach relationships, the way we fuck …
The work we try… yeah.
The work we try to do. All of it, you know, it’s all from how we navigate … you know, how we just navigate. And it’s all from learning how to fucking twist and turn on the little wooden toy. And so, it does, it bleeds over … and you do, you have to sit there and be like, “Well, you know.” You have kids, it’s no longer about you, you know, and I like it being about me. And I always have. It’s one of the reasons I excelled at riding skateboards; I liked the attention that it brought me. And children take that away.
You know, they [kids] become first and foremost, and my little fucking hopes and dreams of being able to go play with Jenny hot pants, or go fucking skate with my buddies, or do things the way I wanna do them, is totally negated, null and void, when Oliver is around because he sucks up…
They suck all the air out of the room, they’re emotional vampires. I’ll tell you the truth, man, especially when they’re babies, Jesus Christ.
Yeah, that looks like a rough gig.
But, it’s also the coolest thing ever, ‘cause Goo will fucking look up and he’ll be like, “Daddy, you’re the best skateboarder in the world.”
Which is … and you’re like, “No I’m not, but thanks for saying so, buddy.”
‘Cause, to him, I win. “My dad’s the best.”
If he sees you skate, is he just like…
These days, he tries to sabotage me, so I can’t ride. Because it’s not about him, right. He’s the little emotional vampire. “All the attention’s gotta be on me, and me skating. So, if Dad’s skating …”
That’s your karma right there.
It’s like, “Hey look, Goo, I’m gonna skate.” “No, I’m hungry, I wanna go.”
“But, I wanna skate.” “Well, I’m done skating.” And it’s like, “Ah, fuck.” So, I literally have to, like, go and be like, “Oh, I’m gonna drop you off at Grandma’s, and you’re gonna go swimming at Grandma’s, and I have to go to work for a while,” you know, ‘cos I have the vert ramp up at the Vans headquarters. And I’ll go steal away for a couple hours and have a session with my boys, and do a few Lien to Tails or whatever, and get my head right, while he plays with Grandma.
And then I have my days where it’s like, okay, I’ve taken Oliver skating, and the focus is on Oliver skating, you know. It’s not on me, and whatever trick I’m trying to do. Half the time I just sit there with my old pad bag and my bottle of water. So, yeah, it’s trip. It’s rad.
I think it’s kind of like a lucky thing, as well, if your kid skates, like if you believe in skateboarding so much.
I don’t think … Goo likes the act of rolling, like, he likes to go. You know, he likes to explore, and he likes to go, and skateboarding does that for him. And, how beautiful is it that I get to share something I love with him, that I’m so passionate about, and that he gets it. He gets it completely on his own level. He came to it … it wasn’t me pushing it on him.
Actually, his mother was the one that kind of got him doing it, and I wasn’t gonna introduce it to him till he was, like, seven, eight years old. You know, he’s six, and his mom kinda got him going on it, and then he started to ask and enquire about it, so it was like, “Wow, he’s asking about it, so, alright, well, come with me.” And I wouldn’t take him to the skatepark for, like, two years, and then, finally, I was like, “Look, if you can stand up, and you can navigate and turn, and stuff, then you can go to the park. ‘Cause otherwise, you’re a danger, you’re in the way.”
And slowly, but surely, he learned how to stand up, and turn, and he’s like, “I wanna go to the skatepark.” So, fuck it, okay, here we go, to the skatepark. So now, he’s that annoying little kid, gets in the way. You know, and I’m that dad, and everything I … you know, I’ve turned into everything I fucking hate, and I’m happy to do so, ‘cause that’s what my kid needs. That’s what my kid wants. That’s what my kid deserves. And so, fuck it.
And now, you’re in second place.
Yeah. And now, I’m no longer consequential.
You‘ve been very open about addiction and stuff, obviously, and I have this kind of feeling that I think everyone’s addicted to some degree, it’s just how far we take shit, you know what I mean like, whether it’s addicted to the fucking this thing [the phone], or…
Or, whatever it may be.
Yeah, there are levels.
Is it something you still – there’s levels, exactly – but is it something that you still struggle with?
Totally, you know. I don’t know if it’s at my best or at my worst, which one I’ll say, you know, my brain’s out to kill me on most days, you know. It wants to isolate me, get me alone, and just … I like the chaos of oblivion. I don’t know how else to really describe it. And, that’s kinda drugs in a nutshell, right. It’s all very chaotic; the acquiring of them, the doing of them, the acquiring of more. It’s all very chaotic to not be there. To numb yourself out, and to kinda play God, and methodically manipulate the way you feel at all times. You know, constantly trying to ingest things to feel a certain way, right. And if we … you know, Pink Floyd, right, The Wall, Comfortably Numb, right. If we all just felt perfect all the time, then we would all just, kind of, cease to be, at all, because it would suck, right? The reason it’s so wonderful is because it’s not sustainable. You can only visit those spots of euphoria, you know, and then you have to sink … you know, what goes up has to come down, right, and so it’s just a fucking … it’s a losing battle, at best, and … but, knowing everything that … doing all the research and knowing everything that I know about it, doesn’t necessarily … like, I wake up in the morning and I’m still me. And I can still tilt out, you know, and be chronically malcontent, and wanna medicate myself.
You know, they have all kinds of little tag lines, “It’s a disease of perception,” and you know, like, “Woe is me, and you’d beat yourself up and get high like I do, if you were me, too.” And that kind of bullshit. It’s all about how we perceive our worlds. I have it pretty fucking good, I mean we’re sitting here in Malmo, Sweden at a skateboarding contest, like, I got nothing to complain about, you know what I mean? But I do.
It’s the human condition.
Yeah, right. That’s really what it comes down to is just the human condition, and we all wanna be loved, and we all wanna be comfortable in our own skin. We wanna be a lot of things, whatever our hopes and desires are, and we all fall very short of the mark. We all centre our expectations way too high, you know, to the point where we’re doomed to fail. I like to play that game, like, “Oh, I’m gonna win, and I’m gonna fucking rule the world, and everyone will think I’m wonderful!” And then, I’m so fucking sad and heartbroken when all the girls don’t love me, and I don’t have all the money. And it’s like, well, “Yeah, ‘cause that’s not your fucking station in life.”
At the end of the day, here’s what I have to say about the addiction fucking trip. You know, I’ve been sober, I’ve been loaded; extremely loaded. Much more loaded than sober. At the end of the day, it’s up to each individual to try to … you come into this world alone, you’re gonna leave this fucking world alone, and while you’re here, it’s incumbent upon you to figure out how you wanna fucking live, and how you wanna be. And if you’re good with being a fucking lowlife scumbag, you know, junkie fucking crook thief, and you think it’s worth it, then that is one way to live. I don’t suggest it, having visited the place …
But it’s an option.
But, it is an option, you know. And if you’re unhappy with the way things are going in your life, because some substance, whether it be food or booze, or smack or coke or weed, or sniffing glue or shoving marbles up your ass, you know, if it’s causing you pain and grief, and you’re not feeling good about yourself, and you can’t stop doing it on your own, and you can’t self-correct, then there is no shame, there should be no stigma upon addictive behaviour. It is a real disease.
And, this bullshit with the telephones is really showing everybody how fucking easy it is to get strung out on something. And there is no shame in reaching out your hand and saying, “I don’t know everything, I don’t have all the answers, and I need help. Would somebody please help me, because I can’t stop and this is fucking killing me. And it’s killing my friends, and it’s killing my family, and it is killing me.” That’s the hardest fucking step to make, is surrendering, and just going, “Fuck, I need help.” Or, “Fuck, I just need some rest to get my head together.”
Yeah, “I need a break.”
You know, people get wrapped up, I know I did, and there have been multiple times in my life, and I’m sure there will be again, where I’ve needed to lean on my friends and my family, and rely on the kindness of complete and total strangers to help me stand up and dust myself off, and educate me that life is actually worth living. And you know, sitting there and passively trying to kill yourself with substance X … I personally liked to mix heroin and cocaine, but substance X could be anything … you know, life’s worth living, man. It’s a gas if you let it be. It just depends on how you look at it.
You ever think, eventually it comes down to fundamentals?
Yeah. I mean, most of the time, if I’m having a fucking bad trip, you can sit down and go, “Okay, well, how am I looking at this? And if I look at it from a different perspective, and try to see the good in this, or just see something different in it, and not look at it the way I’m currently looking at this situation, then I have the opportunity to change it.” And it’s a billion-dollar industry, people selling books and fucking mantras, and, “It’s never too late to change.”
Yeah, so pretty much, whatever. It’s up to the individual. Nobody can tell you that … if you don’t wanna stop, you don’t wanna stop.
Yeah, that’s it.
Now, if you can’t stop, and you’re willing to admit that, you know, like, you have to get help… It’s up to the individual. They have to get honest with themselves. They have to want to change.
And, that just starts the process, it doesn’t mean you get to.
I know people that needed desperately to get fucking sober, and they’re no longer with us. They wanted to, they needed to, and they couldn’t do it. They tried, time and time again, and not everybody gets to clean their act up, but that doesn’t mean you don’t try to.
And, you just gotta figure shit out. You gotta figure, you know, like, some people feel it’s best to totally abstain. Everybody’s gotta figure out their fucking path. You can’t walk in my shoes, and I can’t walk in yours. But we can kind of know what it’s like to walk in shoes, right?
Yeah, it’s like …
Yeah, like, “I know what your shoes feel like.” “Yeah, I know what your shoes feel like, too.” Not totally, but pretty much.
I wanted to ask you about … just obviously because, I don’t know shit, that’s the thing. But, Duane peters, like, he’s obviously …like, his Instagram tells a whole lost story.
He’s tweaked out?
Well, I think, yeah. Again, it’s very hip, slick and cool, right, to … you know, nobody skates with safety equipment anymore. Nobody wants to skate with safety equipment. I don’t skate with safety equipment. If I had a hairdo like yours [pointing at a random passer by at the bar], I definitely wouldn’t wanna skate with safety equipment (laughs). But, we’ve … you know, professional skateboarding has been around long enough now, where we have generations of skateboarders, and come to find out that the older generations who wore helmets, you know, not properly made helmets … the helmets weren’t made for the act of skateboarding, but they were …
Like cycling, or like…
Yeah, Pro-Tec helmets were initially kayaking and skydiving helmets, you know, and I don’t even know why they made Flyaway, I think they made them for roller skating, or roller derby or something. And Norcons were hockey helmets, and …
Hockey helmets is actually the look I was thinking of from the 70s.
They’re not made for what we do, but, like professional football, we have that CTE …
We have that CTE disease, and it runs rampant in our upper, older echelons of skateboarders. I know I have a touch of it. If you went and took a picture of my fucking brain, you’d see fucking black dot grey areas. And, Schroeder is another one, he’s had severe head trauma. You can’t talk to a skate … you know, any skateboarder worth his weight in fucking salt … I love that analogy for some reason, tonight.
Is gonna have at least one or two fucking, “Hell, yeah, I remember when I hit my head.” “Oh, I hit my head like this,” “Oh, I had amnesia,” “Oh, I fucking KO’d myself here.” It’s just part and parcel of the job of skateboard rider. You know, stand on toy, fall off toy, hit head on ground.
It’s gonna happen.
And, unfortunately, I believe in this, you know … this is just me … I believe that Duane is a victim of a really, really gnarly case of CTE. There is just no other explanation for a very … to be a punk rocker, first and foremost, to have those ethos, is a very liberal form of thought, like, to live that lifestyle.
Punk in its original form, before they marketed it and sold it to the masses, you know, you take a little bit of everything, and you throw it in a pot and make this weird, fucked up gumbo, and that’s punk. And it’s all-encompassing, you know, like, originally behind music and fashion, but it spreads out into a whole, like, “This is who I am, this is my identity, this is how I live. I am punk.” And people can laugh at that, but whatever, they obviously don’t really get what I’m talking about.
And Duane was a very liberal minded, very hardcore punk rocker and skateboarder, and so for him to have such a gnarly, philosophical and political swing, and just … personally knowing the man the way I do, I think that the drugs and the disease just all kinda caught up to him. The CTE disease, the disease of addiction, you know, it’s just a myriad of things that … the grief, the loss of his child. There’s just no other explanation for the behaviour, and …
No, it’s wild.
And, you notice those dudes that suffer from that stuff, they all look normal, you know, they’re upstanding …
But, he’s still playing shows and shit.
Yeah, you know, he’s still around or whatever. He keeps a very low profile. I don’t think he can skate anymore, ‘cause I think he’s probably too medicated. Because that’s generally what victims of CTE do, is they try to self-medicate, just like schizophrenic people. And that’s what happens, they start getting schizo, and think everybody’s out to get them, and it just, you know, it would account for cutting all of your closest friends and family out of your life, disowning your children, calling your mother names, calling the wife of your child a man.
Yeah, I’ve seen all that shit, it’s heavy.
All very, very hurtful, evil fucking shit. You know, like, people wanna go, “Its fucking punk.” It’s not punk, and it’s not funny, it’s not cool. He’s not doing it as shock treatment. He’s doing it because he’s fucking sick, and it’s sad. And instead of him kinda fessing up, and sobering up, and trying to get the medical attention and shit that he needs, you know, there’s … I’m sure doctors can try to treat it.
Treat it, yeah.
You know, to maintain it, or keep it at bay, or whatever, just like Alzheimer’s or anything else. Like, “Here, take these pills, it’ll slow it down. You won’t wanna go chew a bullet, or hurt yourself, or hurt somebody else, or whatever.” It’s only gonna progressively get worse, until they just schiz out and then they end up wanting to fucking …
Lock them up?
Most of them end up taking their own lives.
Most of my friends that have kind of crossed over, you know, it’s like, you’re not really able to tell that there’s something wrong, you’re not able to articulate it, or you’re not willing to articulate it, so you go out and you self-medicate, you know, but then, the combinations of the self-medication end up, kind of, exasperating the brain chemistry of the whole thing, and ultimately you just end up some sort of schizophrenic mess.
Confused. And that’s like a, kind of, like …he sounds confused as fuck.
Yeah, it’s just a living hell, is what it is, and then these dudes end up taking their … they end up OD’ing, or shooting themselves in the head, or fucking driving their cars off the fucking … into poles, and all kinds of whacky shit. And it’s fucking real. And as cool as it is to ride around with just your beanie on, with your Dime fucking sweatshirt …
…or whatever, your fucking Antihero sweatshirt, and your Our Life fucking beanie, you know. Hit your head on the ground enough times, and that shit doesn’t kick in till you get older, so you don’t even know.
It’s pretty sad, man, like it’s just…
It’s super sad, and I know that when you’re dealing with people that have … like, you wouldn’t beat up on somebody who had cancer, or whatever, you know, and you’re supposed to be sympathetic to his cause, or whatever, but again, I know the man, and I know the real man, not the persona … and I know what he’s done, and I know the players involved, and it’s hard, because it’s like, “You know what, fuck you. You gotta take responsibility for yourself and try to clean up your shit. Try to clean it all up.”
It’s difficult when you’re in such a confusion, if you’re thinking, like, his brain’s a bit off-kilter and…
Yeah, I think …
I can see that he’s… and it seems to me, he thinks he’s fine.
He totally does. He believes that, and there’s nothing fine about any of it, and I think it’s a really, really sad ending to what could have been a really wonderful story.
And it was… I mean, it was a pretty good story, even up until, kinda, before this. I mean, he was gone for almost 20 years, and then he was, like, back skating veterans contests, and like, actually skating good, dude.
Yeah, he’s the fucking Master of Disaster, man, there is nobody better than Duane Peters at what Duane Peters does. He is the fucking most down and dirty motherfucker that has ever stepped on a fucking skateboard, bar none. Like, they broke the fucking mould when they made the man.
(Adrian Laughs) Yeah.
Like, he’s one of those magical, mythical human beings that … you know, we tacked him up on that cross, and he was willing to go. We asked him to play the role, so I guess we’re gonna have to tolerate the fucking madness at the end of it all, but it’s a bitter pill to swallow, the bitterest pill, to, kind of, fucking tolerate his bullshit, ‘cause it’s just like, “What? Just shut the fuck up.”
Yeah, I know.
You know, “You fucking racist, homophobic…”
Yeah, like, getting weird on that shit, Nazi shit, kind of …
There’s just no reason for any of it, other than to say that, yeah, the man hit his head on the ground too many times, and did too much dope.
And he doesn’t come around anymore, and, you know, “My foot this, my foot that.” Bullshit! I’ve had two fucking back surgeries. I’ve had a back surgery, neck surgery, knee surgery. I’ve been pieced together, you know, and I know he’s a little bit older than me, but like, if the dude wanted to skateboard, the dude would fucking skateboard. The dude doesn’t skateboard ‘cause the dude can’t skateboard, ‘cause the dude’s fucking mentally ill, and he’s too fucking unhealthy and fucked up on drugs to do anything about it.
So, he tells fucking stories and lies to keep what little bit of checks he can to come in, and it’s all junky hustle, and flow. And that’s why, and I don’t mean to step on his fucking trip or anything, but he…
But it is, he’s riding for, like, bullshit brands, and like…
It’s all bullshit, like, yeah, whatever, you know. That’s the thing, he doesn’t ride for anybody, ‘cause he doesn’t ride.
Yeah, but he could.
Yeah, you know, and it’s just like, nobody wants to fucking deal with … it’s just hard. It’s hard to deal with diseased, sick, sick-in-the-brain Duane.
But, there he goes, man. He’s still breathing in and out, and he’s still doing his little punk rock karaoke fucking gig with the U.S. Bombs. I mean, the U.S. Bombs is him and Kerry, you know, and if Kerry’s not in the band, then it’s not the U.S. Bombs. That’s just my opinion.
You know, Kerry plays the guitar and he sings the songs, and that’s what makes the sound of the U.S. Bombs, and if Kerry’s not in that…
There’s no Bombs.
Then, yeah, you know, but whatever, it’s his little name, and so if he wants to put a bunch of dudes and go out on tour, and people wanna pay for it, great, like, right on, you know. It’s hard, because we all know him, you know, away from his music, away from his skateboard…
And also, looked up to him.
Yeah. He was the sweetest… he has the capacity, you know, like most addicts, right, to just be the sweetest, most fucking caring, kind man. He’s just a big fucking emo teddy bear, really. And he just… too many scars, too many bruises, and too busy running around trying to be tough. He’s a big scared little boy.
But, whatever, yeah. DP, man, that’s a rough one.
Well, you know, maybe if anyone can kind of get out of it, maybe he can, but I mean, it’s gonna take a lot of help.
It’s sad. And it’s sad for me, because it’s like, I like the … to be fair, why I like your approach to shit … and Duane’s before my time, but I’ve always been, like…
Before my time, too.
I’ve always been interested in history, and one thing I just don’t want us to lose is the attitude and the essence of, like, why I started skateboarding. And it’s because… and I was in this fucking apartheid South Africa, dude. I hated everything around me. You know what I mean?
It was just full, like, rebellion, and I kind of want it to always stay that way, you know, ‘cause it’s… like, I mean…
Yeah, that’s what it is. That’s what we sell, you know. It’s rebellion with wheels on it.
Yeah, and it’s almost like the rebellion is just by default.
It’s clear that you’re a very well-read person, and you care… you just told me now, fuck art, you hate art. But you love art, because you love writers and you love, like…
Yeah, I do. I really do.
You know what’s also fucking rad is, I know you love Crass, and…
Yeah, Crass is the punkest of punk. Crass out-punked the Pistols, before the Pistols. Crass is the fucking blueprint.
I don’t know if you’ve seen it, there’s a documentary on Penny Rimbaud, or actually both of them, but it focusses a lot on Penny Rimbaud, and he’s got this, like… in England, he’s got this, like… it’s like a commune, hippy fucking off the grid situation, you know.
Yeah, it’s the house. It’s the fucking Essex house, or whatever.
Yeah, they just… and whatever, they didn’t get it right either, you know. They got caught up in their own bullshit, and… I mean, fuck, man…
But, lyrically that band is good. There’s so many records, as well, so I’ve listened a little, like, just on and off, like, a little bit over the last couple of years, like, ‘Punk is Dead’ or something, is probably the most famous song, maybe. I don’t know, but the lyrics in that are so fucking good.
‘Big A Little A’ is probably the most famous song.
Oh, is it? Okay.
Yeah, probably. It’s the most listenable, you know, it’s like a generic punk rock tune, whereas… Crass made fucking art noise.
Like, almost like spoken word, and like…
Yeah, but like whatever, they had chicks in the… they had women in the band, you know…
Well, their attitude was like, Crass is like everyone.
And it was just two of them, really, right? I mean, whoever else wanted to fucking join in.
And again, like, it’s all a piss-take, right, like, it really just is. It’s amazing that, like, comedians are so fucking tortured, right, they’re the most unhappy fucking group of people you’ll ever come across, but they make everybody fucking laugh. And there’s nothing fucking better … that’s why skating’s so fucking great; the bonds that you make, the bonds that I made with fucking my friends, the guys that brought me up, you know … I mean, I won the fucking lottery, for Christ’s sakes. I was brought up by Neil Blender, Lance Mountain and John Lucero.
These are the men that taught me how to skateboard. They taught me how to shave, they taught me how to fucking treat women. They taught me fucking just about everything I fucking know. You know, I’m an amalgamation, the little Frankenstein, of those three gentlemen, and they would hate to hear that.
And, as alike as all three of them are, they are all so separately unique, and their own individuals, and how much fun I had with… and Eric Nash, dude, he was another one.
He was like your best friend.
Yeah, you know, growing up or whatever.
I’ve read that.
And, how much fun we had, just sitting around fucking laughing on a fucking curb, doing slappies. Or sitting in Lance’s back yard, trying to learn Eggplant Channels, just fucking laughing and making fun of each other, and just taking the piss out of one another. That’s really the fucking spice of life, man, is just fucking sitting having a fucking … that’s why everybody likes booze so much, right, it’s the great equaliser, it brings down inhibitions, and …
Loosens the tongue.
Everybody fucking gets feeling good, and they start laughing, and telling jokes and stories and shit, and there is nothing better than a well-told story with a good fucking punchline. And let’s not let the truth get in the fucking way of a well-told story, and welcome back to the Letters!
You know, I mean, I don’t know. You try to just accept people for what they are, you know, and what they’re not, and just be okay with it. There’s so much fucking friction in the world, and as a skateboarder, as much about friction as it is, grinding and everything, it’s really about sliding through, right, being frictionless.
And I try to implement that in everything I do. You know, like, just don’t cause friction. I cause a shit ton of friction, ‘cause I’m such a mouthy little bitch.
But again, it’s not… I think the thing that people gravitate towards, is just your honest approach, so that’s kind of unfaultable… that’s not a word, but you know, infallible?
Yeah, it’s very sweet that people say that, and it’s a source of pride, which is a good thing and a bad thing. But it really puts a fucking big, like, grey question mark over my head, because it’s like, what does that mean? Everybody else is not being truthful? Or, are they just too chicken shit to be real about how they really feel, because they’re… I mean, I know we’re all afraid, you know, I know I’m fucking deathly… we all wanna be accepted, we all wanna be fucking loved, and so we do really whacky shit behind that.
And respect. “Respect me, bro.” And all this kind of stuff, but it’s just like… you know, it’s like, “Hey, you wanna do an interview? I’ll email you the questions.” Well, that’s not an interview, that’s a questionnaire.
And I can make myself sound like a fucking scholar, if you let me.
(Adrian Laughing) Yeah.
I’ll get on Google, and fucking get my Thesaurus out, and shit, you know.
(Adrian Laughs). Get some synonyms going.
Yeah, right. Like, yeah, “Hey, let me tell you, I’ve got this great analogy about baseball…” I don’t even play baseball. I’m always doing baseball analogies, my mom always makes fun of me about it. But you know, it’s cool. Yeah, I just try to be real, man, like, what else do we got? And it’s so fucking exhausting. I did that. I did that as a young man, you know, trying to portray a version of myself to everybody, that was part Charles Bukowski, part all these things that I had collected, right.
Didn’t you have a Bukowski graphic?
Yeah, I’ve got a Bukowski tattoo. He died, and I woke up two days later, we went on a bender, you know, for Charles, for Hank you know, and… I actually went to one of his local watering holes down in Hollywood, at one point. The bartender knew him, and we’re getting drunk, and… actually, we were going to see the Sex Pistols, the Sex Pistols had re-formed…
Oh, in, like, ’96 or something?
Yeah, the original line-up.
And so, this girl took me, and I was strung out on heroin at the time, and we’re at this fucking bar, and a friend of mine introduces me to the bartender, this guy, Red, and he [Bukowski] wrote about Red, and Red looks at me, and he had been… you know, bartenders sit and watch the shit show…
And, he’d been watching us throughout the night, and pouring us cocktails and shit, and he goes, “He would have hated you.” And it fucking staggered me, so hard, like, just stopped me dead in my fucking tracks, and then I, fuck, I had to laugh, ‘cause it was like, “Yeah, he would have,” and how appropriate that would have been, you know. I remember… I cannot find the poem, to save my life, but I remember reading an excerpt from his writing where he speaks about skateboarders…
…skating out in front of his apartment…
And he hated them?
…and making a bunch of noise while he was hungover, trying to sleep.
Yeah. Oh, that’s crazy.
And, it was just a very short little thing about how annoyed he was by the skateboarders, and how fucking stupid and futile what he was witnessing the skateboarders do… how stupid and futile he found it to be. Which is very him, right, you know. And then, whatever, you get into, where does the man start and end, and the myth of this character that he built up through his writing, and how closely related are the two? And the only people that know that are the people from… you know, his daughter and his ex…
You know, his close personal friends and family. I do know that…
Possibly not even the bartender. You know what I mean?
Totally. But, it was rad that Red said that to me, and I appreciated it. It hurt, but, you know, ‘cause we … you know, they were like, “Show him your tattoo,” and I showed him, and he was like, “Uh-uh.” You know, and the tattoo is really bad, it was done with a prison gun, and it looks more like Wink Martindale or Larry King than it does Charles Bukowski, but I think my heart was in the right place, I like to think. If you haven’t read him, read him.
I’ve only been a light coaster.
I was touring with a little girl, she’s like, “I’m so bored,” I go, “Welcome to tour.” You know, she’s 14, and she’s bored because she’s jet-setting around the world. And it’s like…
Is that Brighton [Zeuner]?
Yeah. It’s like, be careful what you wish for, you know, because that’s… you know, you get behind the fucking cloak or whatever. Behind the fucking screen, so to speak. The curtain.
Yeah, you know, of this rock ‘n roll lifestyle, right. You know, “I wanna be a movie star, I wanna be a musician, I wanna be a pro skateboarder, I wanna be…” whatever the fuck it is you wanna be, and you turn something you love into a business, and you lose something. You know, I mean, I’ve been in the French fucking Alps, one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and all I wanted to do was go home and be in my bed, in Arcadia, California.
Which is not one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It’s a beautiful place, I think, but it’s not, you know…
And, I was like, “Hey, you know, you should get a book, ‘cause you can climb into a book, and climb into that reality, and all of a sudden, three hours will have passed, and you’ll have to go, and you won’t wanna put down the book. And when you do put down the book, you’ll wanna rush back to it, to get back into that world. Then you’ll be bummed when the book ends, and you’ll have to go get another book.”
And, how fucking neat is… that’s just such a neat thing.
To have the time to?
To have the time to be able to read. The fact that, us as a creature, that we sit down and we scribble stories onto paper, and print them all beautifully, and bind them, and… how fucking cool is the printing business.
You know, like, “This book is bound in… and the paper is this thick, and…”
Yeah. “It’s 350 pages.” (Laughs).
Yeah. “The pages are 16-gauge papyrus.” (Laughs).
(Adrian Laughs) Yeah.
Like, whatever. Again, very artsy fartsy bullshit, but…
No, but there are readers, man, and you’re a reader, and I totally get that.
How’s your body holding up? Okay, actually, first question, actually, ‘cause before that, because I did wanna ask how your body’s feeling, and shit, but…
(Laughs) Okay, well, let’s deal with that one. Two back surgeries?
Yeah, I have degenerative disc disease, my spine’s basically decaying.
Is that just like…
Yeah, it’s, “Thanks, Dad.”
Yeah. Like whatever, skateboarding is not even… you know, it’s a young man’s sport. It’s a young man’s activity, you know.
Yeah, it is.
So, it’s fucking awesome to be able to still come out and do this shit, and hang around, and like, sit and …Trey Wood just turned 18, man. He’s got the world by the balls. And I’m like, “Dude …”
I saw him today kill that corner section.
Yeah, he’s one of the best kids out there. All of them, they’re all fucking babies, you know, and I think…
Yeah, but they’re all ballers man.
And I think back to when I was 18, and how I felt about the world, and just, like how for granted I took everything. And…
Well, youth is wasted on the young, right?
(Adrian Laughs). That’s the whole…
And, everyone’s like, “Oh, man, if you could go back and do it all…” Fuck, I barely fucking survived it the first time, man.
And, it was painful, you know. It was fucking painful being that emo, and that fucking… just the hormones, and the not really understanding or knowing, but thinking that you had all the answers. I thought I knew everything. And turns out, at 50 years old, I don’t know shit. And you know, you just try to muddle through, and… I mean, I know a few things, but nothing to really be proud of, you know.
Do you think that’s, like, a skateboard mindset, because I’m 40, I just turned 40, like, a couple months ago, and I’m like, fuck, but I still feel… it’s the same brain fucking channelling that I had when I was 15, you know, and that feels, like, detrimental, as well.
You know what I mean, like…
Well yeah, like, the brain’s still… yeah, I’m still 18, 19, maybe 20, tops, in my head, you know. But then, I’ll catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, or I’ll be trying… it really goes down when you’re trying to chat up girls, right. Like, try to chat up some young girl, and you’re like… and the girl’s just looking at you, and then she’ll go, “Oh, that’s really nice, sir.”
(Adrian Laughing) Yeah.
But, in my head, it’s like…
“You should meet my dad. He…”
Yeah, like “Yeah, my dad fucking had your skateboard,” or you know, and you just like, “Ah, fuck, I have no business even thinking those thoughts, let alone trying to act on them.” (Laughs). So, you know, it’s rough, but it’s so fucking intoxicating, you know. It literally is the best drug I have ever come across, and I have done a vast majority of the fucking things that are out there. You know, I’ve hit all the… at least the major milestones. I guess I could, like, go hike up some mountain and chew on some fucking cactus, or lick a toad or something, but it just…
You’ve done a good amount of living.
Everything fucking just kind of clicks and makes sense when I can skate, you know. You’ll go to the ramp, or just skate down to the store or something, for milk or whatever, and everything will hurt, you know, but the second you step on the thing and start to glide, like, it all washes away.
Yeah, it does.
And, for some reason, the calf muscle that didn’t work a minute ago, all of a sudden works, and like… the little toy has given me such joy in my life, that when I come in contact with it and I’m able to do it, my brain just floods all the proper chemicals, right.
And, everything just kind of works for a while, and I leave with a… it’s meditative. I leave with a fucking really, really neat fucking sense of belonging and contentment, you know, and I crave it again. And its fucking fun to scare the shit out of yourself.
And, in the times where you can do things, as far as, like, tricks and shit go, and you execute it, and it’s like, I can’t do that any better than how I… today, how I just did that. I could do 400 more of them right now, or attempt 400 more… like a frontside ollie, or just a grind, whatever, and I’m not gonna do any better than that one I just hit, so I’m done with that frontside ollie, or that frontside grind, today, because that’s the best it’s gonna get today, and that’s gotta be enough.
JG I guess you could chase it further, and I have tried, and you usually come back to, “Yeah, that one I tried 400 ago was the best one, and I should…”
But it’s good to end it on that one.
Yeah, and I…
It’s good to sign out at that point.
And I’ve learned that, like, sometimes you just hit a good one, you do a sad plant and you go, konk, and you stall and everything points, and it feels exactly the way it was supposed to feel.
That you envisioned it to feel.
Like, kinda the way when you lie awake at night, and you think about, that’s the way it’s gotta be done. Yeah.
Yeah. And you roll down the wall and you go, that’s it, that was it. You know, and your friends go, “Fuck, yeah!” And you high five and hug, and… there’s so much hugging going on in skateboarding.
(Adrian Laughs). Football.
Very homoerotic these days.
It is quite a homoerotic thing, as well, like dude’s talking about like, “That dude’s got the best style.” You know what I mean?
Like, fan art shit, you know what I mean, it’s kind of like…
Yeah, ‘cause at the end of the day, we all know how fucking truly… we’re all cheating death, we’re all cheating gravity. It’s one of the base mankind trips, like, “I wanna fly.”
It’s just like literal physics.
“I wanna fucking cheat it all, and I wanna fly the fuck away.” And it’s fucking badass man, and we all know that, so like, you see somebody else getting some, and you’re like, fuck, yeah.
That’s my favourite. That’s actually why I like to… I got this girl I skate with sometimes, she rips, you know what I mean, but I get more stoked on her shit, like every… and to be honest, like, watching these girls, I get like, I’m kinda more hyped on that, because the expectation is higher with the dudes anyway, you know what I mean, and then I’m just like… like, Lizzy or Nora do like a good backside air, I’m like, “fuck yeah”. I can’t do backside airs like that, there’s no way.
Well, it’s neat, ‘cause they’re new to it, you know. Like, there was a very long time in skateboarding that girls were a four-letter word. They just didn’t exist. There wasn’t a lot of them participating, you know. And in the past, say, five to ten years, it’s really come on strong, and there’s a really, really strong wave of young females that are attracted to the activity, the artform of it all. And that’s really neat. And so, to see them getting theirs …
And, women approach things from… they’re just such different creatures, right, than we are. They approach things for entirely different sets of reasons, but yeah, there’s something that we can kinda bridge the gap there, and go, “Hey, I know, you know, we both know!”
Well, it’s just the stoke, right?
And I mean like yeah, that’s it.
And, that’s fucking cool, and that’s magical, and you know. I always trip, like, “Oh, I’d never date a fucking chick who skated.” And it’s like, “Fuck, you’re missing out.”
(Adrian Laughing) Yeah, “What are you talking about?” I think when I was young that would have been a dream, dude. That would have been, like, the coolest thing ever, you know.
Fuck, I would have killed, literally, to have this, like… first of all, to have a girl, like be interested in you would have been, “Wow, how neat.”
(Adrian Laughing) And she’s into what you’re into.
Yeah. And, she gets it. Like, let’s go. You know?
Yeah, dude, I would have been hyped man. Do you have any… we can end this, sort of. We can keep talking and I’ll just shut it down, though.
Sure, I got nothing to do, I’m gonna go watch TV after this.
Well, I’ll just turn this off after this, but do you have, like favourites who you wanna see do really well in this [Malmo Contest]? I’d like to see someone like Ronnie Sandoval fucking kill it. I interviewed him earlier, and he had the best answer for me, for a question. He’s like, early 20s, right?
But he’s doing eggplants, and he’s got the old tricks, like super good, and I was like, “So, what made you wanna do that?” And his answer was Peter Hewitt.
And I was like, that’s the fucking best answer you can give.
So my point being, do you have like someone you’d like to see, kind of…
What, in the contest?
Yeah. I have my list of dudes I like, and I have my list of dudes I don’t like.
You know everybody’s got the shit that they’re attracted to, you know. Like I said, I really like Trey Wood. I think Tristan Rennie is a highly-underrated skateboarder, he’s beautiful to watch.
He can blast, as well.
Patrick Ryan is super exciting.
Yeah, I saw him today.
You know, Josh Borden’s a good friend of mine, although he’s out now, but you know, we’re always rooting for our buddies. Pedro Barros is always explosive, dynamic and fun to watch roll around. Greyson Fletcher was a fucking blast. He was a treat today…
I went on a tour with him actually, a couple years ago.
When he gives a shit.
Yeah. He said he was hurt today, but…
You know, he generally doesn’t give a shit.
Which is what makes him rad, as well, I think.
Yeah, totally. That all plays a factor. You know, Lizzie, as far as the girls go, I’m really, really close with Lizzie, we’re good friends, and so I’m a tried and true member of the Lizzie Armanto fan club. I always like to see her do super well, just because I’ve known her since she first showed up, you know. I love Brighton ‘cause I’m good friends with her and her family, you know.
She kills, dude.
I would have liked to have seen Nora do better. Nicole is fucking awesome, you know, she’s kinda the underdog, but she’s one of the best ones out there. So, you know. Murillo Peres has been skating really well. I like the Madness guys, Sam Beckett, Clay Kreiner…
Yeah, they’re pretty impressive. I’m not sure about that brand though. (Laughs).
See, I’m really stoked about it. I’ve got a fucking guest model coming out with them, a little collaboration trip. You know, it’s like, “Yeah, fuck yeah. I’ll help you guys out.”
I think it was the name that kinda threw me a bit. I was like, “Really, is that the name?” (Laughs).
Yeah, I mean what is it, Mother Collective, Quasi, like what… you know.
Yeah, I guess.
It’s like, yeah, “Extremely Foolish Behaviour”, you’re gonna put a transition company, all vert dudes.
Which, I love that aspect. Yeah. Actually, that Sam Beckett guy is also fucking good.
Yeah, he’s one of the best.
Yeah, he was charging yesterday.
Yeah, and all those dudes, all those guys that skate for it are all the best in their field. They’re all the 1%ers of vert skating.
You know, Alex Perelson.
That guy’s good, dude.
Can’t even fucking fathom the shit those dudes do, you know.
Who’s Jimmy… he’s on Creature.
Jimmy Wilkins is Creature, dude. He rides for Creature.
That guy’s fucking impressive, as well. You know what I think is one of the most underrated frontside ollies, ever though, is Mike Crum, dude. Remember how he could do a frontside ollie?
No one talks about that frontside ollie, dude.
Well again, he’s part of that kind of lost generation.
Yeah, the vert… yeah, where are all those like mid-90s vert skaters?
There was like the last generation of vert skaters, you know, they’re just kind of in that lost phase where it died out, and it all became about Love Park and EMB, and all that stuff. Which is great that it did, it needed to, you know. I’d say it sucks for the practitioners of transition skateboarding, of bowl skating and half-pipe skating and stuff, but you know, it is what it is.
We’re alright now, I guess.
I mean, you know, we were very hard left or right, or whatever, and the pendulum swung back the other side. The cool thing about the kids now is, it’s back to just skateboarding. You just skate, you skate everything. You know, somebody like Oski, you know, Oski’s fucking amazing.
Yeah, he’s fucking amazing.
He’s an amazing skateboarder, right, and they skate a stream of conscious, they just flow you know, and it either comes together or it doesn’t. And like, that’s really attractive to me. And yeah, this is an exciting time in skateboarding.
It may not be the most progressive time in skateboarding, but it’s exciting because you’ve got these whole groups of fucking dudes, women and men, young men, that are making it their own, and they’re the new stars of the whole trip, right. They’re the new fucking Craig Johnsons, and John Gibsons, and Tony Magnussons, and Christian Hosois, and Tony Hawk… like, it’s their world now, and it’s really fun to still be able to participate, and sit back, and just be a skateboard nerd, and just fan out on them. And watch Chris Russell walk around with his chest all puffed out and shit, and just, you know, there are little…
Yeah, there are little nuances and stuff that, you know, give them their attitude and their…
Same as when you guys were doing the same thing.
Totally. There’s nothing new under the sun.
It’s fucking badass, you know, so… it would be nice if we could get… there’s a lot of politics, and weirdo bullshit that swirls around behind competitive skateboarding, or presenting skateboarding to the public in general, you know. How to promote it and sell it, and make money off of it, and all that kind of stuff, and that is what it is, you know, and it’s always gonna be fucked to some extent.
I often try to just tell myself that actually has nothing to do with skateboarding.
Yeah, well, the only thing that has to do with skateboarding… you know, we all went to a fucking party and nobody wants to leave.
(Adrian Laughing) Yeah.
And so, you know, you gotta learn how to play the game, and market yourself, and kinda create a space for yourself if you wanna fucking stay at the game. Otherwise you gotta go get a real job, and then you’re not gonna be able to skate as much. The greatest gift that a fucking pro skateboarder gets from skateboarding, you know, isn’t fame or riches, or anything as mundane as that, it’s the fact that they get to go skateboarding every day.
Yeah, and taken somewhere.
You know, and just live that Peter Pan lifestyle. Like, the travel, all of it, you know. Like, whatever. Auby Taylor is a pro skateboarder, he doesn’t make shit off of it. He doesn’t get to go anywhere. He can’t even fucking pay his… rent out a room off of what he makes off of skateboarding, but what he does get to do, is he gets to go skateboarding for seven, eight hours a day.
And, he does it every fucking day. And I’ve been on the other end of that phone with him, going, “Do you realize how rich you are. I would kill, literally. Put a gun in my hand and say, pull this trigger. And you get to do this every day.”
And, I wouldn’t even hesitate. The one on the other end is a dead man.