James “Floating Head And Arms” RiffJustin “Go Time” BokmaMatt ” Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” MilliganJimmy “Are You Mike V?” ChadwickJohn “Hollywood” BuchananRichie “Reggie” Belton
dNA Arizona Tour
May 16 to May 24
Beginning in Flagstaff, Arizona and ending in Tucson.
by Matt Macaro Day One: After some last-minute preparations, James Riff, Jimmy Chadwick, Richie Belton, and I head up to Costa Mesa to meet up with Matt Milligan, Justin Bokma, and John Buchanan. Everyone’s there but Buchanan. It seems he’s stuck in traffic on his way down from L.A. We pass the time by looking at back issues of skate mags and exchanging stories of previous tours. Two hours later John arrives, and we’re finally able to leave. It’s about 5:30 in the evening and we have to drive to Flagstaff tonight¿it’s gonna be a late one. After a couple of stops for food and gas, we arrive at about 2:30 in the morning, grab a room for the night, and get some rest. Day Two: On our first day in Flagstaff we’re greeted with blue skies and cool temperatures. After checking out the sponsoring shop, we head over to Bushmaster Skatepark for the demo. The park is good¿ all cement with a snakerun, a clover-shaped bowl, and a decent street course. Everyone skates well, product is given away, and the kids are psysched. The demo ends with Richie and James Riff battling over a hip on the deck to the flat. Richie is able to grab hold of a kickflip melon, while Riff spins himself a perfect backside 360. Our day in Flagstaff is over¿it’s time to head south to Scottsdale. Day Three: Upon arriving in Scottsdale, we pass by a bank sign letting us know that at 9:00 p.m. it’s still 96 degrees outside¿so much for the mellow climate of the mountains. The next morning we’re really hit with our first taste of the heat¿walking outside you feel as if you’re stepping into an Easy-Bake oven. You can feel the hot air radiating around your body as it’s redirected from the blacktop. We take care of business at The Wedge Skatepark, then run back to the confines of our air-conditioned hotel room. We regroup, wait for it to cool off, and prepare for some Arizona nightlife. It’s go time! Milligan, Bokma, Chadwick, and I head out to a bar called Club Rio. It’s on! After a few drinks, we decide to leave and meet up with some of Milligan’s boys. It’s late, so we try to hit up an after-hours joint, but they dismiss us before we even get in. Go figure. Day Four: The violent ringing of the telephone wakes us from our peaceful slumber. It seems the front desk did not enjoy our antics off of the balcony or our poolside manners. We’re asked to vacate the premises, and within 30 minutes we’re gone. What a great way to start out our first day off. With no demos planned for today, Milligan is able to show us some spots around town. After putting in some work around the city, we decide to head back and cool off in our new hotel room.
Friday night and again it’s go time! Tonight the plan is to meet up at Sub Society and head down to the Green Room to catch Sergio Valente’s show. Coordinating a big group is no easy task, and by the time we get to the bar, we’ve missed the show. Sorry, Sergio. Bummed, Scott Copalman tries to cheer us up by doing some type of interpretive dance. I’m not sure, but I think he’s trying to do the worm. Needless to say, he definitely tears up the rug and shows us all a great time. The rest of the acts at the bar are busted, so we head over to Max’s house for a party. Not wasting any time, Milligan grabs the mic and kicks things into high gear. Day Five: Probably the hottest day of the tour had us on our way to a shop in Mesa, Arizona. A misunderstanding of the itinerary has us believing all we have to do is show up, say “Hi,” sign some autographs, then head back to our room and watch the Lakers game¿ boy are we wrong.
As the shop comes into view, we can see the parking lot littered with obstacles. They even have a band setting up in the background¿our jaws drop. It’s noon and probably 110 degrees outside. Not only is the heat devastating, we also endure five of Mesa’s best up-and-coming hardcore bands. After two hours of skating, a television news interview, and at least a day’s worth of ringing ears, it’s time to go.
Back at the hotel we all decide only one thing could save this day¿80s night at Club Rio. This time the crew is made up of Riff, Chadwick, Bokma, Pearcy, Milligan, and me. Unfortunately, an Arizona law doesn’t allow you to enter a bar with a California I.D. card, and because Riff didn’t have his driver’s license with him, we had to leave him behind. We suck. As soon as we walk through the door, Bokma is confronted with a zombie. Not being one to back down, he meets his match head-on and takes him out with one fatal blow. With Bokma still standing, we shut the place down and decide to retire for the night. Day Six: Today we’re going to the Chandler Skatepark. I’ve heard great things about this park, so I’m anxious to check it out. The original demo time is pushed back a few hours because of the heat. We start warming up, and as the sun begins to set, the lights aren’t coming on. Rumors of a possible sabotage from a competing shop circulate but are never confirmed. After the barbecue, James Riff, Richie, and I go check out this gap we’d seen on our way to the park. The smooth three-flat-one gap is located on a car dealership on the outskirts of town. As I’m setting up to shoot, some random guy on a Harley rolls up and tells us that he owns the joint and we need to leave. Without a fight, we pack up and go back to the room. Day Seven: Another day off. We sit around the hotel, watch the NBA semifinals, and wait for the weather to cool. After the game we decide to check out the Desert West Park. Fifteen minutes into the session, Bokma flies over the hip, bails, and comes down really hard on his knee, popping it out off the joint. Hopefully it won’t turn out to be too serious. With Bokma sidelined, we end the session and take him back to the room. Not satisfied with their night at the park, Riff and Richie decide they want another go at the car dealership. We head off down the road. This time it’s much later, and we come out on top. Riff makes his fakie 360 flip, and Richie knocks out a fakie kickflip. Somewhat of a good ending to a bad beginning. Day Eight: By now, the heat is definitely getting to us, and with the end of the tour in sight, we’re all ready to be home. Our last day in the Phoenix area leads us to a park where Jimmy knows of a rail atop a bridge that spans a pond. After some searching around, we find the bridge in a peaceful little park, with palm trees and ducks everywhere. A perfect desert oasis. After losing his board in the water (luckily Riff is there to fish it out), Jimmy’s able to lock into a Smith grind as the ducks watch. After a quick appearance at Cowtown (it’s cheaper than daycare), we go to another spot, where Milligan is able to get a switch frontside noseslide on a waist-high ledge, just before security runs us out. With nothing left for us to do, it’s time to drive to our final destination, Tucson. Day Nine: Finally, our last day of the tour. Again, a shop appearance and demo. The Randolph Park is pretty good. More ledge-type things to skate, with a few other random obstacles. The last bit of product is given away, and then we’re off. On our way out, we go back to check some spots at the University of Arizona that we’d seen earlier. Richie had his eye on a ten-stair rail. With the sun melting into the horizon, he’s able to knock out a frontside boardslide and then a crooked grind. Around the corner, Milligan spots a wheelchair-ramp hit, and just like before, as I set up we get busted. After an I.D. check by Johnny Law, we’re free to go.
This is the official ending to our tour. Everyone’s in the van, let’s go home.