How do you review two books that you’ve read but haven’t read? Let me explain. First this new Tony Hawk book landed on my desk. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It’s kind of a layman’s T. Hawk biography. You see, I’m very familiar with the Birdman. I had a McSqueeb cut when I was 11. He was my favorite member of the Bones Brigade. I had multiple posters of him on my bedroom walls. As I got older and ended up skating around San Diego with Willy Santos a bit, I had the chance to go to Tony’s house in Fallbrook and skate his ramps, jump on his trampoline, and generally goof off with him and Jeremy Klein for a 411 commercial concept that never came out.
So what do I say about this book that tells a story I already know? Well, maybe that’s all I had to say to begin with. Then Dave Carnie’s book landed on my desk with a thud. God damn, that’s thick (nohomo). This book appears to be everything Carnie wrote for Big Brother during his long tenure there. Again, I’ve read all that. I started subscribing to BB when they ran the free-deck-with-a-subscription page. It wasn’t bullshit, I got a Blind Rudy Johnson. Well since Dave emailed me personally to make sure I got the book, I figured why not interview this man whose words I’ve read for so many years. In an homage to Big Brother, I hit him with some silly questions similar to the fodder he’s thrown at some of the best known skaters over the years. So have a read on Dave’s take on his book, and although quite different in size, either one of these tomes will make a nice stocking stuffer this time of year.—Blair Alley
Why put out a book & why now?
Good question. Why does anybody put out anything at all, really? Vanity I suppose. You can fool yourself into thinking what you have to say is important, your music is going to change the world, your art will inspire, etc., but really it doesn’t have anything to do with anything does it? There’s no reason for making art, or putting out a book for that matter. That said, let’s pretend there is. There’s good shit in Boob. And people need good shit to read while shitting. I’ve been told that since Big Brother died, people have forgotten how to shit. So I had to do something. When Big Brother died in 2004, we had been kicking around the idea of a coffee table book, or some sort of collection/tribute, but we ultimately decided that it’s just not going to happen because of money and time. And that’s for the coffee table, not the toilet. What else can I do? Well, Big Brother was kind of like a literary sand castle: there was a lot of good writing in there every month from Nieratko, Cliver, Pontius, Earl Parker, Marc McKee, Dimitry, etc., but it’s just gone now, except for the few remaining pee covered issues that are hiding behind toilets across the world. Which is kind of sad. Wah. So I thought, well, I can put together a collection of all my work. “You should,” Cliver said, “there was a lot of good stuff in there that was lost on 13 year olds.” So I did, I put together a collection of my 14 years of writing in Big Brother. It’s the least I could do for the wees and poos. Plus I’m a writer, I’m supposed to make books. But it’s also kind of a weird historical document as well. The most successful skateboard books and documents are the ones that have a really narrow and personal perspective: like the DC book and the Indy book. I think just looking into their little histories in skateboarding gives a better picture of the whole than any kind of overall objective skateboard history can. And Boob is, in part, a documentary about my life at Big Brother magazine and what skateboarding was to me during those years. Which, as you’ll see if you read the book, was a schizophrenic clusterfuck of shits and giggles.
For the younger generation that never read Big Brother and will probably be shocked by some of the content, what preface do you have for them before they dive into this book?
I don’t know, I think that’s something that’s probably better left for someone else to say. All I can say is that this was, and is, skateboarding to me. Which is fun. I mean, that’s really all we were doing was having fun skateboarding and documenting the world we lived in. Skateboarding can get kind of serious sometimes, which is fine, but we were always there to remind people that it’s just a children’s toy and that deep down we’re all stupid little pieces of shit. We were just doing what all stupid kids do: bad shit. Except we were photographing it, videotaping it, and writing about it. But there is of course the story of Steve Rocco and World Industries and how Big Brother began as part of that scene, that’s probably a good preface to give some sort of context if you don’t know what Big Brother is, but I think everyone knows that story by now?
If this ADD generation only has time to read one passage while they’re on the shitter, which one is the go-to?
You touch on an important subject: the shitter. Some are already saying this might be the greatest toilet literature ever. So, yes, this is a book that goes very well with defecation. And I would imagine the best way to read it is to just pick it up and read at random because there’s 720 pages of shit in there. And while it’s arranged chronologically, there is really no rhyme or reason to the content. I guess the first thing one should do, though, is to hold the cover upside down in the mirror to reveal the secret hidden title. I never get tired of doing that. I’m a simple man. I’ll giggle my ass off for hours in front of a mirror. After that, there’s plenty more nonsense to tickle your ribs. (Note: I do not like the phrase “tickle your ribs.”) I’ll let others decide what the “go-to” article is, but I will say my friend who works at Weiden + Kennedy recently sent an agency-wide email around praising the book that included a picture and a passage of the cobra in the yogurt from the How To Hurt Kids article which appeared in the infamous Kids Issue. I like that one because that actually got us in trouble. People are so stupid. And I also know Steve-O has always said he was inspired by the penis pump review article. That’s probably pretty indicative of just how serious and literary this book is: penis pumps. And that Steve-O was inspired by my writing. Real high brow shit in there.
Tony Hawk’s new book is only 185 pages, and your book is 712. Why have you been hiding the fact that your life is 3.8 times more interesting than the Birdman’s all this time?
Or maybe my penis is 3.8 times smaller than his? Some dudes with little dicks get big trucks, raise the chassis, and put a Raiders sticker on the back window, while I put out a giant book. My wife has a funny term for modern sculpture: “dude art.” Because it’s almost always made by dudes, it’s usually giant, and very heavy, and often phallic. So, yeah, my book is very much in the spirit of dude art. And it’s not written by Sean Mortimer. ZONG! (That’s a zing gone wrong.) My book is actually 720 pages (if you count the color insert). Yes, it was intentional. I did it for Tony.
Best and worst interviews you ever did for Big Brother?
Jereme Rogers was hands down the worst interview I’ve ever done. Although that was for TSM and not Big Brother. I’ve been interviewing people all over the world for over 20 years and I’ve never met anyone as stupid as that kid. Worst Big Brother interview? Well you have to remember that the worse something was, the better. In which case I’d have to say the first Andy Roy interview was probably one of the worst interviews ever—not just in Big Brother, or even skateboarding, just the worst. In it, he thinks he has AIDS and promises he’s going to give it to everybody. In the follow up, which is almost as bad, we learn about Andy’s incarcerated alter ego “The Snuggle Bandit.” Having known Andy for so long, I’m pretty sure he really was ass-raping dudes in prison. Best: while the interview part of the story was absolutely horrible, interviewing Slayer at Disneyland might be the best interview we ever did. The credit for that one goes to Marc McKee. That was a funny fucking day. Wee Man was BA-ing people from the monorail, Danny Way came along with us and screamed at Chinese tourists, we rode Pirates of the Caribbean with fucking Slayer, and to top it all off Lance Conklin jumped off the second-story monorail platform into the Submarine pond and got arrested. The only way that interview could have been better was if we didn’t lose one of the videotapes of that day. And Andy Roy and Slayer at Disneyland are in the book as well. Maybe those are the go-to articles? I don’t know. I still just like holding the cover upside down in the mirror.
You can order Boob directly here.
The two books on my desk, waiting to be read—but not by me.
Dave Carnie’s girthy boob.