Interview by “The” Tim O’Connor, photos Ryan Gee
1. Rumor has it you used to be on a hardcore mission, skating in dark alleyways with nothing more than a jug of water for hours on end.
Oh yes, this is quite true. I’d skate this alleyway on the regular. Shit, man, that thing was the solo-session spot. I’d go there alone in the wee hours every night during high school. It was just some flatground and curbs, and I’d sit there and do switch 360 flips for days. Then I started to hook it up a little bit with boxes, until some scumbag told me I wasn’t allowed to skate the alleyway. So the boxes and the other stuff are located at a secret location in the woods now.
2. You are, in fact, an extremely dedicated human. To what other measures have you gone to make sure you’re able to go skating?
Just like most people whose lives are totally run by skateboarding, I’ve done some shit like shoveling snow out of a whole parking lot so it would dry in two days and not five. You also gotta have the rain board. And of course, while everyone else was out partying, the skating would be going down. Shit, you can’t forget the pages and pages of trick lists written in history class that would get crossed out after they were executed. And the most extreme thing I’ve done just to skate would have to be the time Anthony Pappalardo and I slept on a bench at Newport just so we could skate real early the next day without going home or anything.
3. What would you be doing with your existence on this planet if you weren’t skating?
Holy shit! If I didn’t skate, I’d probably be in college hating my life, waiting for summer break. Now every day is a Saturday, my friend.
4. Has skating changed for you, now that it’s your job?
Basically, the only thing that’s changed is the fact that I’ll document a trick instead of just doing it. I still chill with the same people and go to the same spots.
5. Which skaters do you like to watch?
Guy Mariano, Stevie Williams, Jim Greco. The newer guys I’m feeling are Brandon Biebel and Paul Rodriguez.
6. Remember the time you skated in two left shoes for a week because you couldn’t find the right one?
Yeah, those were the days.
7. Have you received any complimentary booty due to your recently acquired hot-amateur status?
I plead the Fifth Amendment, your honor.
8. You always have griptape words of wisdom on your board. What’s that all about, and what do they say?
Sometimes I’m not as motivated as I was the day before, so I’ll write some shit on the griptape. It’s kinda like a short motivational speech, so when you mess up or pussy out on a trick, the writing on the griptape can be a reminder to get whatever you’re trying done. There’s nothing worse than going home feeling like a pussy. As for the writing, that’s between me and my friends.
9. What’s the first video you ever saw?
411VM #6 dubbed over a 2,000-dollar snuff video from ’82.
10. What motivates you to go skating?
Money, clothes, and hos.
11. The kaboom box has finally been purchased. Now speak.
I bought that thing the other day. It’s so loud, and it looks like a freakin’ bazooka. The other day Gee brought it to Love, and he had it chillin’ on the ledge while he was filming me doing a line. The next thing I know, a cop is walking toward everyone really fast. So I had to run toward him because the kaboom box was blasting music ten feet in front of him. I grabbed it and started running. The batteries started falling out as I ran, but I just kept running. All of a sudden, I see some batteries flying at me¿the dude almost hit me in the head with a D battery for skating.
12. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen?
In Penn Station I saw a dead guy just chilling on the floor. That was a good time. My comrade Albie got in a fight with some 45-year-old dude the other day. That was some funnyy stuff. I see some weird stuff going down around Ian’s hood in BK Brooklyn. Just meeting Ian is a story in itself.
13. Ian seems to be one of your best friends. How did you come in contact with that guy?
I remember the day I met Ian like it was yesterday. It was June ’97, and I was skating the Brooklyn Banks alone at 10:00 a.m. This black dude who’s all thugged-out comes up to me talking about how he used to skate and how he was like the best dude around in ’93 or something. I thought he was talking shit, like your normal maniac who used to skate, and then he backside heelflipped off a curb with Jordans on, and I was like, “What the hell?” I’ve been chilling with him almost every day for four years now. There’s almost no other way, besides skateboarding, that a brother from Brooklyn and a white kid from Jersey can become good-ass friends.
14. You’re nineteen and don’t have a driver’s license. What’s up with that? How do you get from place to place?
Usually getting around requires hooking up my good friend Don La with serious amounts of product. The other day, that dude got away with like 200 dollars’ worth of product and twenty dollars for gas. I’ll get the license when I get a car, so it can wait for a hot minute.
15. Did you have a job before you got paid to skate?
Yeah, I worked at my family’s business¿Wenning And Sons Wholesale Foods. I unloaded trucks and put the boxes of frozen foods in the freezers. I did that for like four summers, but two summers ago I left ’cause everyone was starting to film for Photosynthesis. I knew I could do some stuff in Philly, so I went and tried to do my thing. Luckily, everything worked out, and now I’m just skating.
16. What do you plan to do after skateboarding?
Most likely, I’ll sell one of my kidneys to pay the bills.
17. Where’s your all-time favorite place to skate?
The flatground at Newport in New York. I really like doing tricks over the puddles of piss that leak from the port-a-john there.
18. When you go pro, will your little brother John take over in the am category?
He already has.
19. Do you want to end this thing?
Yes, I think it’s time. Thanks to family, friends, sponsors, and all who have looked out.
0. I’m gonna come straight out and say it¿you suck at the verbal part of this interview. It took you a week to do this, and it’s all normal sounding, but you’re the farthest person from normal. So what are you trying to do here?
Yes! Finally, we’re at number f¿king twenty! It’s finally over. Now I can go and commit suicide with my kaboom box playing nothing. I’m outta here. This shit sucks!