Interview and photo by Skin

How did you end up at TransWorld?

Big Brother went out of business and basically I just called Skin and he was like, “I will sort you out. Out of all the mags, Skin was the only one who said, “Just come here and I’ll sort you out.

Who’d you work for before Big Brother?

That was my first full time job at a magazine. Before that was Zoo York. I worked for them full time. And before that was Skateboarder. And before that was TransWorld.

Before that you used to work in that photo lab, right? Collecting dodgy photos.

Yeah, I worked in a photo lab and I would copy people’s dirty photos that they brought in. I’d put them in a little flowery photo album, so when all the pros and photographers like Skin would come from out of town, they’d get a kick out of looking at them. I still got ‘em and my old man calls it the family album. He’s like, “Show ‘em the family album.

But they weren’t just dirty photos…

They were gnarly, dirty, nasty—it’s shit you’d see like on a Web site, like world’s grossest shit.com. You’d find those on there. So if you have any dirty photos, you know there’s a motherf—ker like me who’s copying them at the f—kin’ one hour lab.

So what was the lab like?

It was just a one hour lab, like people bring their vacation photos in.

Was there some sort of censorship there like, “We can’t f—kin’ process these? It must have had some reputation, did it?

Nah, it didn’t have any reputation like that. I don’t know, motherf—kers in Brooklyn are crazy I guess. They just want to wil’ out. There was never anything bad, everybody was of age. Because I think if I saw any pedophile shit like that, I would lock the door when they came back and just beat them within inches of their lives, then call the cops.

It was all about a bit of fun with the wife, was it?

Yeah, pretty much. Wives, girlfriends—it’d be funny because sometimes chicks would drop off the film, and they’d be like eighteen, nineteen—they’d be young, and they’d be taking pictures with their boyfriends and shit like that. And they’d walk back in to pick their photos up and I’d have a big smile across my face like, “How ya doin’? Yeah, I remember you. What was your name? Belle, right? Yeah, I remember, Belle, here we go. They wouldn’t even look at me.

What do you think the biggest difference between East Coast and West Coast skateboardin’ is?

Probably the spots. West Coast the spots are really smooth. Out in the East it’s really bumpy. Like Mikey Taylor was just out East, and we went to this rail and he was having a little difficult time when he was setting up, but he did whatever he had to do on it. And the weather. There’s just less people on the East Coast too. California is just the mecca for skateboarding. People bitch and moan, “There’s no spots out there. People just get lazy. In New York City, everybody goes to this park, Tompkins Square Park, and they set up some boxes in there with the local shop that’s up the block. Everybody goes there all day. I’m always like, “Oh, f—k! Did you guys see that? And they’re like, “What? And I’m like, “There’s a city, go skate it. Because in New York you skate down the block, ollie some sewer caps, grind a curb—it’s a lot of fun. But people get caught up sitting in one spot like that. And on the East Coast too, you could pretty much just put your board down—not even like East Coast, like Boston, Philly, New York—you just put your board down and go. Like Ricky Oyola is the king of that. But even SF is like that too.

People are rigging more shit now too.

Yeah, people are rigging stuff because skateboarding is picking up so much. New York and Philly, there’s not like twelve stair rails all over the place, there’s not like big sets of steps. People don’t really skate that stuff because it’s just not there. You can go to any schoolyard in California and find seven steps. You can’t really find sev steps, eight steps, ten steps anywhere (on the East Coast). That’s why the progression is different too on both sides. I think it was a pretty even back when Tim and Henry’s Pack Of Lies was out, because you could find those type of spots, like an EMB, like a ledge spot—you could find the same types of things on both coasts, but now it’s just big rails and big stairs and there’s just no big rails and big stairs in New York. There’s like two. So it gets difficult to find the spots. That’s a major difference. I think if you’re pro in New York, I’m not gonna speak for everybody, but like Bobby Puleo, Bobby’s not gonna skate big rails and big stairs—I bet he could if he wanted to—but he’s just like, “You know what, I’m going to find crazy little kits and just rig it. Ollie over this, backside 180 over that, grind this little thing, and then come down a little bank—and it’s amazing. You gotta think more too when you’re out East nowadays. You can’t even skate the Brooklyn Banks’ stairs anymore. All the cops park their cars there.

It changed a little bit since 9/11

Yeah, after 9/11 it changed up a lot of shit. You can’t skate the little banks anymore, they made it a big parking lot. They actually put parking barriers down by the big banks so no one would park there. So you can always skate down there, they gave us a little section to skate. And the 5boro dudes always get together and make like a clean up day and they built a whole bunch of ramps and it’s really sick. They built a ledge on top of the big bank—it’s probably the best prop ever made for a spot.

Photography-wise, who started you up with that?

The old man.

How’d you get into skateboard photography?

I’ve been skating since I was a kid so it just made sense. What am I gonna shoot, flowers?

Who helped you when you were starting out?

This kid Braydon Knell from Atlanta, he gave me some pointers. And Dimitry, and then Ted Newsome really helped me out a lot.

Who’s your crew that you usually shoot?

On the east side or the west side?

Both.

Both sides it would be Gino, Felix, Zered, Brian Brown, Mikey Taylor, Jeron, Jereme Rogers—Scott Johnston whenever I get a chance. Leo—

Who do you like shooting, who are your favorites or you get along with?

Todd Jordan. Oh, who’s my favorite to shoot? Any of my friends because it’s cool—that’s a weird one—anybody that’s down to go skate is awesome. It’s always awesome to just be with your friends but there’s always the possibility that you’ll spazz off and not do anything when you’re with your close friends. My favorite? Gino’s always fun to go out with, because when he’s feelin’ it, you’re psyched. He’ll call me like, “I wanna go skate. And then you know it’s gonna go down because he’s ready, he wants to do something. And when he does it you’re psyched because it just looked awesome. Sometimes it’s like it didn’t even happen.

What skate photographers are you into? Do you have favorite photographers that you like seeing their shit?

I like seeing Ollie (Barton)’s stuff. I like seeing O’Meally’s stuff. I like Humphries. I like Atiba’s basketball shit—I like it a lot actually. I like seeing Grant’s old stuff. Gabe Morford.

Do you think you could fight every skate photographer out there and win?

I don’t know if I could win, bit I know I could fight them.

Who do you think would give you problems?

Probably Mike (O’Meally) because he’s half a psycho, Gabe because he’s a tough bastard, he ain’t gonna go down. I think Gabe and Mike would be my toughest competition. And Skin, you too, you’re an English bastard, I know you throw the headbutts around. But you’re old dude, one kick to the knee and you’re done.

If you could pay to see a boxing match of skate photographers, three rounds, who would you pay to go watch fight each other?

Probably Sean Petersen versus Rodent. I’d like to see those dudes beat the crap out of each other. You know what would be good, you do one round of boxing, and then the next round of them just talking to each other about skateboarding and art, layouts, photography. And then watch them fight again. That would be pretty hilarious. And you know who else I’d pay to see? O’Meally versus Gabe Morford, because O’Meally’s been going to the gym and boxing, so O’Meally might have a little bit of skill, but Gabe’s a tough mofo, he ain’t gonna go down easy. It’s just not gonna happen.

He’s a big boy as well.

Big boy. He’s gnarly. I’m gonna go with Gabe. You see him f—kin’ ollie Wallenberg? He ollied that shit. I don’t want to fight anybody who ollied Wallenberg, or if they’re just big. Like Pang and Mic-E Reyes.

There’s some people you just stay away from.

Steer clear. Yeah. Because they’re crazy. Jeff (Pang) just likes it, he’ll just go. He’s like a little pit bull. He don’t give a f—k. You can beat the shit out of him and he’s still gonna come.

Lee Dupont’s like that.

Yeah.

Lucky f—kin’ bastards.

Yup. How’s that, good?

Yeah, that’s good.

Skin’s a dick.h other. You know what would be good, you do one round of boxing, and then the next round of them just talking to each other about skateboarding and art, layouts, photography. And then watch them fight again. That would be pretty hilarious. And you know who else I’d pay to see? O’Meally versus Gabe Morford, because O’Meally’s been going to the gym and boxing, so O’Meally might have a little bit of skill, but Gabe’s a tough mofo, he ain’t gonna go down easy. It’s just not gonna happen.

He’s a big boy as well.

Big boy. He’s gnarly. I’m gonna go with Gabe. You see him f—kin’ ollie Wallenberg? He ollied that shit. I don’t want to fight anybody who ollied Wallenberg, or if they’re just big. Like Pang and Mic-E Reyes.

There’s some people you just stay away from.

Steer clear. Yeah. Because they’re crazy. Jeff (Pang) just likes it, he’ll just go. He’s like a little pit bull. He don’t give a f—k. You can beat the shit out of him and he’s still gonna come.

Lee Dupont’s like that.

Yeah.

Lucky f—kin’ bastards.

Yup. How’s that, good?

Yeah, that’s good.

Skin’s a dick.