Brian Wenning Pro Spotlight

I’m just gonna tell you right now, I ain’t good at this intro shit, and I don’t know how to talk about motherf-kers, so I’ll just tell you how we met.

Back in the day, Stefan Janoski and I would always be skating, and since him and Brian both skate for Habitat and were always on trips together, Stefan would be like, “Yo, you’d be feeling this dude.” I was always cool with that, always liked Brian’s skating, and always knew he was dope. I mean, his skating is his skating, and everybody knows the dude is original. Then one day I saw him in this bar in Sacramento, and it was just one of those things where we didn’t even have to introduce ourselves-it was like, “Yo, what up, Brian?” I already felt like I knew the dude before I even met him.

That night we went out, skated, partied, and had a good time. And ever since then, even though he lives on the East Coast and I live on the West Coast, we’re always hollering at each other. To this day we don’t get to travel together ’cause we ride for different companies, but best believe that when we’re in the same area, he’s who I like to kick it with. So here it is, the Brian Wenning Pro Spotlight-long overdue, kinda like my visit to Jersey. Promise to be out there soon, homey.-Brandon Biebel

Interview By Tim O’Connor

I almost feel like he’s the last of the unfounded, bar-setting rippers who leads you to be totally psycho. At 25 years old, he’s skating like a mature pro among pros who’re completely immature, yet he’s the one with the eight-year-old face.-Jason Dill

A good friend of mine and one of the illest skaters-one of Jersey’s finest.-Stevie Williams

The first time I met Brian was in the winter of ’98 in New York. Fred and Don La suggested we skate with him ’cause he ripped. I asked him if he wanted to ride for AWS that day, and he said, “Let me think about it-I might want to ride for Rhythm.” Luckily, he chose wisely.-Joe Castrucci

Why do you think so many genuine maniacs come out of Jersey? And I’m not talking about these fake maniacs where they get some drinks in ’em and all of a sudden they’re instantaneously fake wild guy. I’m talking about them real unflinching maniacs who are thorough with their maniacal behavior at all times.

I really don’t know. Even my boys that don’t skate are pretty crazed themselves, so it must have something to do with the polluted ocean or nasty tap water. I don’t know.

Have you ever spent time on the nude beach in Sandy Hook, New Jersey-you know, the one right down the road from your house?

I’ve been to the beach bar right by it a few times just to look at the weirdos that come and go. I chalk it up as a learning experience. You go to a place like that, and then you look in the mirror and realize you’re actually doin’ okay-you’re not as messed up as you may have thought. But some of my buddies that call themselves “The Wolf Pack” straight up just hang out there and mingle with the crowd. The place is pretty tweaked. I mean, it’s not like some tropical beach in Brazil; it’s a goddamn beach in New Jersey with a bunch of weird New Yorkers. It’s not like the broads there are even good-looking. I heard if one decent-looking broad shows up, like 40 dudes crowd around her naked and just start kickin’ game to her. So no, I don’t spend time at the nude beach, but if anyone from out of town wants to go there, I’ll drop you off and pick you up later in the day. Whoever wants to see some sicko shit, hit me up.

When things are going slow, you’re a fella who’s known to get some entertainment underway by offering your less fortunate friends some money to do outrageous shit or to give them cash incentives to participate in ridiculous scenarios. Has anything along those lines gone down recently?

Let me see, I can think of a few occasions off the top of my head, actually. A while ago I pissed in a shot glass and threw a crispy twenty-dollar bill down to whoever would take the shot of piss dn, and my buddy Albie snatched the twenty and took the shot down no problem-everyone loved that incident.

The one that has been getting people lately is when we have big get-togethers and my man Jay, who’s an Ultimate Fighter and has done real cage matches, throws people in sleeper holds. If the price is right, someone always steps up and gets strangled to the point where they get knocked out, and we have to slap them in the face and shit to wake ’em up. It’s pretty f-ked up shit, actually. I hear that’s a pretty dangerous one, though-but the crowds at parties love it. People thought my buddy Steve was dead-he didn’t wake up for like two minutes. But once he woke up, everything was cool again.

Is it true that you used to skate around NYC on a regular basis with a blow-up doll stuffed into your backpack? Why’d you do it?

I still like to mess with people, but back then it was a lot easier, because no one really knew me that well in New York City. They didn’t know what to expect, and I just acted a bit crazier than I did in my hometown because my friends and I were hanging in the city, so we knew we wouldn’t see anyone we knew or anything like that. Anyway, some people loved the nonsense and some people hated it. So I ripped the blow-up doll out of my backpack, blew it up, and threw it off a roof across the street from the World Trade Center. It landed in the middle of the street and some dude had to get out of his cab and pick it up. That shit was indeed hilarious. The dude picked it up by sticking a pen in its mouth-he was absolutely disgusted (laughs). Man, we used to love that type of stuff.

Another thing we used to do was dive in the East River, which was right at the famous Seaport spot. People’s boards would always fly under the guardrail and shoot into the water, so one day I dove off the railing into the infested waters of the East River to get my deck, and I just stayed in there swimming around for a few minutes. My buddy Ian Reid from Brooklyn loved that type of behavior. The dude would just say, “That’s that crazy, suburban white-boy shit-man, I love it!” So to get to the point, the reason it was so nasty was because every week they would find dead bodies floating around in the river, also hundreds of stolen cars, and to top it all off-and I’m not even kidding here-they found a dead giraffe from Africa at the bottom of it. That’s a good one to tell my son when he grows up-I swam with a dead giraffe from Africa.

Of all the exciting sins that exist, which is your favorite?

I’ll take my right as an American citizen and plead the Fifth on this one. Thank you.

What do you do to get yourself psyched up before you go skate? Let’s say you’re about to fling yourself down the Love gap or something. What do you have to do to get yourself in that type of mind frame? Or what do you do just to get psyched on an average day?

With things like the Love gap, it usually just happens. Like, when I switch backside 180ed it, I just showed up to the park, set up a new board, and it just happened-no planning or any of that nonsense. I just rolled away and bought a Philly cheesesteak, and I was a happy young man for a few days. But other times you can catch me at the local four-stair practicing my trick for a few hours, then I take it to the gap or whatever I’m going to skate. You know how it goes, sometimes you roll up and you just want to attack something, then other times you know you’re just not feeling it whatsoever.

I was in China with you one time and you were forced to enter a vert contest. How was that experience for you?

That is indeed a true story. I remember this shit like it was yesterday because it was so ridiculous. Okay, so some Chinese distributor for Habitat called up the owner of Alien and Habitat and wanted me and one Tim O’Connor to go and enter the Chinese X-Games, which sounded so hilarious to me ’cause I don’t really do contests, but how else was I gonna get to see Hong Kong and mainland China? So to make a long story short, I jumped the 22-hour plane ride to China, and when I got there the dude that flew us out told me I had to enter the vert contest. So I did, and I think I got like third place or something. I didn’t even drop in, and I got third place! That’s just the most ridiculous thing ever. I just pumped around and did a few ollies. I’m laughing right now just thinking about it, because it was like I was in boot camp-the guy was like, “Brian, you must enter the vert contest! You must!” Oh yeah, it’s all on video, too, if anyone would like to fall on the ground laughing.

I know a lot of professional street skaters out there who haven’t dropped in on vert-like, heavy hitters. So on the record, have you ever dropped in on vert?

Yes, I have. I would be ashamed if I never did that actually. I’m learning a few new things on tranny as of late, but the answer to your question is yes, I have dropped in on a thirteen-foot vert ramp.

If the skateboard industry takes a turn for the worse and I end up poor, do you think that I can work at Wenning & Sons Wholesale Foods with you in the future?

That’s a tough question, amigo. You’re going to have to talk to my dad and his brother Denny Wenny about that one. I’m sure something could be worked out, though. Maybe they’ll have you answering phones or something. But, to tell you the truth, you might be better off trying stand-up comedy or something of that nature, man. Manual labor doesn’t really seem like something you would be into. But hey, you can’t skate forever, kids. Remember to at least graduate high school, just in case.

If there was one celebrity or famous person you could meet and hang out with, who would you choose?

Probably Dog The Bounty Hunter. Dyrdek can have Big Black as his security, and I’ll have Dog The Bounty Hunter as my security. Dog, if you or any of the team are reading this, hit up the higher ups at either DC or Habitat, and lets get the ball rollin’, ’cause I’ve got mad ideas.

If you had unlimited spending power, what are some of the things you’d do with such a ludicrous amount of endless loot?

That’s an easy question, man. I would buy the whole complex that I live in. There’s like 50 or 60 condos there. You know how David Koresh had that compound in Waco, Texas and Charles Manson had a compound, too? They had them in the middle of nowhere. My compound would be right here in Jersey, in my hometown. Just buy the whole thing out, fence it off, build a Brian Wenning Skate Plaza, and have like 50 Cadillacs. Every ‘Lac would have to be black-on-black Secret Service style-no other colors are allowed, only black. Then to top it off I’d have to get one of those Carnival cruise ships docked right at my boat slip, ’cause this shit is waterfront property. Forget flying to the MACBA, I’ll just take the boat there. But for real, I’m trying to do a Brian Wenning Skate Plaza in Jersey. There’re a lot more kids skating in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania than people realize, and I know the Brian Wenning Skate Plaza would work like a motherf-ker. Yup, shit would be like MACBA, Love, and the Pier 7 mannys all in one.

Do you have any guilty pleasures such as, say, maybe listening to Will Smith or Enya albums? Anything that’s in the realm of embarrassing pleasures?

Actually, I don’t really have any ready to be told in this big magazine known as TransWorld. I think I’ve told enough ridiculous things in this interview already.

If you could kill somebody and get away with it, would you? You don’t have to answer this one, but it would be much more interesting if you did. The more details, the merrier!

I would only do something like that if it had to be done-if someone f-ked with me to the point where it needed to happen. But if I was sent to war, I would have no problem trying to keep myself alive by pulling the trigger nonstop and handling the business that needed to be handle over there.

Where do you see yoursd China? So to make a long story short, I jumped the 22-hour plane ride to China, and when I got there the dude that flew us out told me I had to enter the vert contest. So I did, and I think I got like third place or something. I didn’t even drop in, and I got third place! That’s just the most ridiculous thing ever. I just pumped around and did a few ollies. I’m laughing right now just thinking about it, because it was like I was in boot camp-the guy was like, “Brian, you must enter the vert contest! You must!” Oh yeah, it’s all on video, too, if anyone would like to fall on the ground laughing.

I know a lot of professional street skaters out there who haven’t dropped in on vert-like, heavy hitters. So on the record, have you ever dropped in on vert?

Yes, I have. I would be ashamed if I never did that actually. I’m learning a few new things on tranny as of late, but the answer to your question is yes, I have dropped in on a thirteen-foot vert ramp.

If the skateboard industry takes a turn for the worse and I end up poor, do you think that I can work at Wenning & Sons Wholesale Foods with you in the future?

That’s a tough question, amigo. You’re going to have to talk to my dad and his brother Denny Wenny about that one. I’m sure something could be worked out, though. Maybe they’ll have you answering phones or something. But, to tell you the truth, you might be better off trying stand-up comedy or something of that nature, man. Manual labor doesn’t really seem like something you would be into. But hey, you can’t skate forever, kids. Remember to at least graduate high school, just in case.

If there was one celebrity or famous person you could meet and hang out with, who would you choose?

Probably Dog The Bounty Hunter. Dyrdek can have Big Black as his security, and I’ll have Dog The Bounty Hunter as my security. Dog, if you or any of the team are reading this, hit up the higher ups at either DC or Habitat, and lets get the ball rollin’, ’cause I’ve got mad ideas.

If you had unlimited spending power, what are some of the things you’d do with such a ludicrous amount of endless loot?

That’s an easy question, man. I would buy the whole complex that I live in. There’s like 50 or 60 condos there. You know how David Koresh had that compound in Waco, Texas and Charles Manson had a compound, too? They had them in the middle of nowhere. My compound would be right here in Jersey, in my hometown. Just buy the whole thing out, fence it off, build a Brian Wenning Skate Plaza, and have like 50 Cadillacs. Every ‘Lac would have to be black-on-black Secret Service style-no other colors are allowed, only black. Then to top it off I’d have to get one of those Carnival cruise ships docked right at my boat slip, ’cause this shit is waterfront property. Forget flying to the MACBA, I’ll just take the boat there. But for real, I’m trying to do a Brian Wenning Skate Plaza in Jersey. There’re a lot more kids skating in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania than people realize, and I know the Brian Wenning Skate Plaza would work like a motherf-ker. Yup, shit would be like MACBA, Love, and the Pier 7 mannys all in one.

Do you have any guilty pleasures such as, say, maybe listening to Will Smith or Enya albums? Anything that’s in the realm of embarrassing pleasures?

Actually, I don’t really have any ready to be told in this big magazine known as TransWorld. I think I’ve told enough ridiculous things in this interview already.

If you could kill somebody and get away with it, would you? You don’t have to answer this one, but it would be much more interesting if you did. The more details, the merrier!

I would only do something like that if it had to be done-if someone f-ked with me to the point where it needed to happen. But if I was sent to war, I would have no problem trying to keep myself alive by pulling the trigger nonstop and handling the business that needed to be handle over there.

Where do you see yourself in fifteen years? What do you think you might possibly be doing at that particular point in your life?

In fifteen years? I guess I’ll be drinking a Budweiser on my front porch with all my friends, reminiscing about all the great stories from being on tour all the time, traveling the world as a pro skater, pretty much just seeing wild things and meeting wild people all the time and realizing that I did get a good taste of life at an early age. And I’ll most likely be in the second part of my life doing something else, but the memories of being in Russia, Colombia, Barcelona, China, Japan, Paris, London, and all the other places are and will always be stuck in my brain.

Would you ever live anywhere other than New Jersey?

The only other place I could see myself living would be Mexico-half the time here and half there, this being much later in life, of course. I need to be by the ocean. I don’t know why, I just gotta be by the ocean. Carlsbad, California is really nice, but I just like to visit there for a few weeks at a time and then come home.

Do you have any good Drew (Brian’s dad) stories that he wouldn’t mind if you told to us?

I don’t really think my dad likes being mentioned in the magazines that much, but I’ll give you a quick story.

I was shooting my 20 Questions a few years back, just finishing it up. I was at the Brooklyn Banks steps with Ryan Gee and brought my dad, mom, and brother John with me while I was trying to nollie backside heel the steps. So I’m trying it, and I’m slammin’ a few times, and my dad starts yelling something at me like, “What the f-k are you doing? You’re going to get hurt!” And I’m thinking, “Shit, man, I get paid for this shit. What’s he ranting and raving about?” I think he threw his Heineken keg can on the ground and just left and went to a bar around the corner from the Banks. It’s pretty funny now, but you want to talk about some serious distraction while you’re trying to concentrate? That’s it right there-nollie backside heel down nine steps with your family watching you, people yelling shit at you, and all that good stuff. I don’t skate in front of family members any more. I stopped that a while ago. For some reason it bugs me out. I’d rather be at a demo in London in front of 2,000 people that I don’t know than skate in front of my whole family. I don’t know why, but if you skate, you understand what I’m saying.

What’s your younger brother John been up to lately? Are he and his boys still terrorizing and holding down their turf in that one alleyway?

It’s funny, man. I’ll go to Boise, Idaho and kids will be like, “Yo Bri, where’s your brother at?” My brother John had an Alien ad like four years ago doing a frontside noseslide of the two-stair ledge at Love Park, and kids still remember that ad-that’s sick, man. I told him kids were asking about him in Boise, and he was trippin’ out. That’s funny. But as for nowadays, he’s just runnin around with his crew of like ten young maniacs causing chaos from the local skatepark to NYC to back alleys in other towns. There’s this alley that they used to chill out in, and it would be like a bunch of fourteen-year-old kids, and grown-ass men would be too shook to walk past ’em. They would just turn around and grab their wife’s hand. That’s funny to me, because even though some of the kids look older, they’re only fourteen and fifteen. So yeah, they hold down the skatepark scene and chase idiots from out of town outta the park when randoms come in and try and act like they own the place. Basically, it’s like they hold it down like the locals did at Love back in the day but in their own way. There’re a few comparisons there, I have to admit. But yeah, he’s doing fine.

You’re definitely an innovative skater who chooses good tricks to do and seems to practice quality control by not putting out your average type of coverage. What do you think made you this type of skater?

Well, thank you, that means a lot coming from you, a