Photos by Joey Shigeo
From a staring roll in Dazed And Confused, to the first Zero part set to hip-hop in Strange World, Tom Asta has come a long way from Philly to be the first Mystery rider to escape the Pleasantville world of black and white. With a Mystery welcome video, a combination of LRG amounts of skill, bow hunting prowess and good friends to drive his no-license-having-ass around, Tom Rasta will be shredding to the mixtape flows of Meek Millz as his mane flys in the wind. But remember, when the beanie’s on stay the f—k out of his way. Just kidding. He’s really nice.
How’s everything going now that you’re on Mystery?
It’s going good. Just got that welcome clip up. I’ve been out here a lot just trying to get that done.
I heard there was a little leak with the clip.
Yeah, I think there was some confusion and it was up for twenty minutes and someone ripped off that and put it on YouTube. It was on the message boards, too—all that stuff [laughs].
It was only a few months back that you came out with a part in Strange World, so how did everything work out with switching over to Mystery?
It was actually before. There was talk about a full part in the Zero video and then the option to go to Mystery popped up. They asked me if I’d switch. But, they still said they wanted me to do a half part, which is why Chris and me ended up sharing a part. After that came out, I went to Mystery, but we kept it on the D.L. until it was official.
You’re the first one to go to color.
Yeah, they’re changing up their whole ad campaign now and going to color.
Like that one movie where they start out in a world of black and white and then change to color… what’s that called?
I know what you’re talking about, but I can’t remember the name.
Yeah, it’s the Color Theory idea—like the light going into the prism gets separated into different colors.
An ode to Pink Floyd.
Right: Stealthy backside bigspin on a double-set that’s a huge bust.
You’re originally from Philly and you’ve known Ian [Berry, Fallen TM] and Chris [Cole] for quite a while, right?
Yeah, I grew up skating right outside of Philly and would go to the shop out there, called G-Spot. I rode for them before they shut down and then became friends with Ian and Chris. So, I’ve skated with them ever since.
What was it like having someone like Chris Cole around on your sessions?
It was pretty crazy at first—the first couple years. Then, he just became a friend and it felt normal.
Did you still bear a likeness to the kid from Dazed and Confused (on the right in the video clip) back then?
Oh yeah, that joke’s been going on for a while. I looked like a little version of him. I get random people on the street, who I’ve never met in my life, asking me if I’m that dude. I’m like, “Nah, I’m not him.” It’s pretty crazy, because that movie came out a long time ago.
Do you ever get bummed on it?
No, not really. I think it’s pretty funny, actually.
You rock the beanie pretty hard, too. That just to keep the hair out of your eyes?
Yeah, if I don’t skate with a beanie, I can’t see shit.
I heard on one of the tours, everyone on the team kept stealing your hats and hiding them to see if you could skate without a hat.
Yeah, I think I brought four different hats and they slowly took every single one. There was a day where I had to skate without one and it was one of the first days of the trip. Finally, I figured out they were hiding them in the side door of the van.
If Tom were doing a trick tip for this frontside flip, I’d edit it with this song in the background.
But you had at least one full day where you didn’t have a beanie on?
I think so—at least one day.
Did you film anything worthwhile?
I think I filmed two little mess-around lines in Portland. But, I didn’t get anything serious.
So, basically, when you have a beanie on, it means you’re serious. You’re gonna f—k some shit up.
[Laughs] I… I don’t know.
Like, “You know Tom’s getting serious. He’s got his beanie on.”
Yeah, I guess that’s how you can tell.
Being from Philly, you must have mad East Coast pride.
Yeah, it gets even stronger when you’re not there. You want to rep where you’re from. I never would have even though of wearing a Phillies shirt or anything back home, but when I’m out here, I felt like I needed to have a piece of home, you know?
When you are back home, how do you get around? I heard you’ve never had a license.
Yeah, I don’t have a license [laughs].
He’s looking a lot like Mitch Kramer (dude from Dazed and Confused) in this frontside feeble. Just sayin’.
How old are you?
And that hasn’t been a problem?
I do need one, but I haven’t had any problem. I get where I need to go. All my friends live nearby, so we can go skating pretty easily. I’m planning on getting it. I’m just really lazy right now.
Have you driven before, though?
Uh, not really. I’ve driven my friends’ cars, but not far or anything.
But, if you don’t have a car to ride in, how do you listen to all your mixtapes?
[Laughs] All my mixtapes? I got a laptop with all that stuff on there. I download them all the time.
I heard you’re real into obscure rap mixtapes.
I get some weird ones. Usually just ones with all the Philly rappers. Most of the normal rappers have their physical mixtapes that they put out, but a lot of the dudes coming up put out stuff on the Internet.
Who are you feeling right now?
Ah, I haven’t downloaded any mix tapes for a couple months.
Cali’s changing you dude.
[Laughs] Nah… I downloaded the new Meek Mill Flamerz Three recently. It’s a Philly rapper that’s coming up right now on the East Coast. I’ve been pretty stoked on him [to download Meek Mill mixtapes click here].
“Shhhhh, you see that deer between the massive dump truck and the trees?” (arrow flies past Tom and kills deer). Frontside Smith grind transfer.
I know you’re skating everyday when you’re back home. I also heard one of your first trips out to Cali was because you won an éS Game of Skate. Is that true?
There’s an éS Game of Skate that comes to Philly every year. I ended up winning the one year and they flew me out to ASR for the Game of Skate out there. That was the first time I went to Blackbox or Cali in general.
You also ended up in One in a Million, but without knowing you even entered, right?
Yeah, I guess some friends put an edit together and sent it in and it did okay. I don’t even know how that ended, actually. I think I ended up in the top ten or close.
Did they fly you out?
Nah, nothing like that.
Didn’t you just get on LRG, too?
Yeah, I just got on about two weeks ago.
That’s pretty interesting.
I guess that’s part of what they’re trying to do, just throw some new guys into the mix—get a wider range of people interested in it.
Any clips in the vid?
I don’t think so. But, that’s one of the reasons I’m out here as well. We’re going to the premiere.
For you it works. You’re on Mystery, skate with the Zero dudes, have long hair, but you’re down for mixtapes, so it makes sense.
[Laughs] Yeah, right?
Plus you’ve got your nicknames.
People were calling you Tom Rasta over at Blackbox, weren’t they?
Yeah, my middle name’s Robert, so my name’s Tom R. Asta and they started calling me Tom Rasta.
That works itself into LRG, too. Beside Tom Rasta, they were calling you T Rasta and, what was it? Tech Support?
I got Tech Support as my nickname, too.
I was reading a lot about how to fix iPods, iPhones and Macs on weird computer forums, so I knew how to sort out people’s problems when I was on tour. So, they started calling me Tech Support.
That’s good on a skate trip, because everyone brings along iPods, iPhones and Macs. Do you do all that research at your parent’s house out in Philly?
Nah, not so much anymore. But, I still live at my parents’ house.
Right: Nollie backside flip on the ol’ Flatiron mall stairs in CO.
Your house is backed right up against the woods, huh?
We have an acre and a half of land with an open backyard and a pretty big section of woods back there. I grew up out there. Before I started skating, I’d be back there just f—king around in the woods.
Your dad hunts out there, too. Is it true he hit pause on Thanksgiving dinner to kill a deer or something?
[Laughs] Yeah, that’s true. He hunts with a bow and arrow—a compound bow. He’s super into hunting. On Thanksgiving, right before we were about to eat—we have this room on the back of our house with windows all around it—and he was in there and saw a deer.
He was just like, “Shhhhh” and went out there and shot it?
Yeah, he didn’t want it to get spooked.
He was in the middle of carving the turkey and then went and got the bow?
Pretty much. It was right before we sat down.
Is he a fan of the Nuge?
I don’t know.
Ted Nugent, he’s got a hunting show, I think.
I don’t know anything about that. My dad would probably know, but I don’t have any idea.
Did you ever hunt?
I used to when I was younger. I hunted for two or three seasons. Then, I never really got into it.
Compound bow hunting?
Yeah, got one one year for Christmas. But, never really got into it.
At least it’s fair. It takes some skill to hunt with a bow.
Definitely, it’s not like you’re blasting an animal with a shotgun or something.
Tom doesn’t do these kinds of tricks with the beanie off. Bigspin backtail backside flip out.
So, now that you’ve made the change to Mystery, what are you looking forward to?
Just the change in the whole campaign—going into color. We’re gonna be doing video parts, like how DC is doing it with Skateboarding Is Forever. That way, it keeps the focus on the company over a longer period of time. We’ll have parts come out every couple months, I think.
It made more sense for you to go over to Mystery, huh? You could be the first part in the sequence.
Yeah. Like, introduce me to the team and start the whole campaign. So, it worked out perfectly.
Do you think you might move out here, or are you hoping to keep the trips short and frequent?
I want to stay on the short trip tip right now. Just come out every month for a week or something. That’s what I’ve been doing now. I get the best of both worlds—be at home and come out here.
When you were planning on switching, before they started the new campaign, were you a little worried you’d be stuck in black and white?
A little bit. Black and white will still be a part of Mystery—they’ll never lose that. But, with this, color will be splashed throughout the video. I was a little worried about that. Black and white’s cool, but it’s a bummer when you film a trick on a cool looking spot any it just goes to black and white. But, that’s not a problem anymore. Mystery’s in color now.
TAGS: beanies, Billy Marks, black and white, Blackbox, bow hunting, Chris Cole, color, color theory, compound bow, dazed and confused, DC, East Coast, hunting, Ian Berry, iphone repair, ipods, LRG, macs, meek mill, meek millz, mixtapes, mystery, phillies, Philly, pink floyd, pleasantville, Skateboarding is forever, Strange World, tech support, ted nugent, thanksgiving dinner, Tom Asta, tom rasta, tommy sandoval, youtube, zero