It all started very early Friday morning, rounding up Peter Smolik, Brandon Turner, and Kellen James in the Sk8mafia tour van. I gotta hand it to Dan Connelly—it was no easy task. Arriving at Josh Priebe’s house in Huntington Beach, our Suburban with driver sent down by Fuel TV was already waiting for us. Our driver was cool as sh-t and was super psyched to be driving pro skaters, not to mention he had a deep love of hip hop in common with everyone in the ‘burban. Nas, Li’l Wayne, Black Wall Street, even Jayo Felony was being blasted from the speakers. I don’t think the driver even felt like he was working.

Arriving at Fuel TV’s studios in Santa Monica, the Mafia was pleasantly surprised that their day fell on host Pat Parnell’s birthday, and Pat and producer Ian were already a few soldiers deep in Modelos and had a handle of vodka and a case of energy drinks in the green room. It was barely noon mind you.

The band performing for the day was The Black Lips, who were in and out of the green room grabbing brews. The bassist stopped to inquire about the whereabouts of one of his favorite skaters from the Osiris The Storm era—Chris Dobstaff. We explained that dudes don’t always work out on teams and the musician likened it to switching drummers in a band. Sounds good to me. Pat Parnell was on point with his skate knowledge and was genuinely stoked to be kicking it with the Sk8mafia. After a few songs from The Black Lips, the Mafia took a seat on the set’s quarter pipe and hammered out the Q&A. Everyone was quite a few beers and blunts deep so the episode was hilarious. Keep your eyes on Fuel’s schedule, you don’t want to miss this.There happened to be a local inner-city school bussed in on a field trip to watch the taping. They were on fold-up chairs in the back of the studio and I overheard one of them say, “These guys don’t look like skateboarders, they look like rappers.” So good. Times have changed.

After the taping, there was a strip club conveniently located across the street. Of course the Mafia wasn’t ready to stop sipping so off we went. Now, 1:30 p.m. on a weekday in an industrial part of town ain’t really the place you’re going to see A-class pole trolls, but there were some diamonds in the rough and some straight up crazy-as-loon broads that were plenty entertaining—even if their English was no so good. Again, a table of surly looking men called Brandon Turner over and asked what rap group he was in. When he explained they were professional skaters, the grown men lit up with excitement, shook hands, and even wanted photos with the Mafia. The DJ straight killed it, giving Sk8mafia a shout out on the mic and giving us a box of beanies and assorted horror movies from the 80′s on VHS tapes when we left. Random? Oh, yeah.

All good things have to end sometime, and Fuel TV’s driver service was only good for so long. Off to HB we went, buzzed, bumping hip hop even louder now, and I swear I heard the driver say, “Man, I’m lovin’ this call! I never get to drive guys like you!”