Bryan Herman – 20 Questions

Bryan Herman is trying to buy a house in Palmdale, California. He just wants to mellow out right now. He wants to be able to stroll out to the mailbox when he's got mail and not drive out to his grandmother's in Victorville–his current mailing address. He's done the Emerica mansion thing, the Hollywood apartment with Andrew Reynolds, the multiple tours across the world, the long hair, the short hair, the magazine interviews, the Baker's band, the This Is Skateboarding part, the umpteen-stair sets, and everything else that comes with living the sometimes lavish but often hellish life of a pro skateboarder.

However, Bryan is still an am. The reasons mentioned above are the reasons I must have forgotten. I know I'm not the only one. Chances are that he'll be going pro at the end of the year when the much-anticipated Baker video drops. Or maybe not, but that's what's on his agenda skate-wise: to film his part, and as he says, “see if I can make it.” As far as most people are concerned, the kid has already made it. And a kid he is, not even eighteen years of age at the time I sat him down to ask him these 20 Questions.

1. Did you get your license yet? Did you get a car?

Yeah, I just got my license, so I try to go out to Victorville as much as I can and visit my parents. I've been driving Matt Allen's car around. It's not too nice for him–I have to give it back to him soon. He let me borrow it to go out to Palmdale for the day, and then I drove back and borrowed it again. After the second time, I kind of didn't give it back and have been driving it around. I feel kind of bad. But he doesn't have his license right now, so I don't think it matters to him. It's an '88 Honda Civic LX, the best car you'll ever have for gas mileage. It gets like 35 miles to the gallon. I've never driven a car that gets so many miles to the gallon.

2. You're a pretty big handrail skater–is skating handrails really fun? I wouldn't consider myself a handrail skater. I like skating 'em, but Leo (Romero)'s the handrail skater, for sure. I just recently started skating 'em. For a while I was into the stairs–I like skating those. Handrails are fun, though–they're a rush. It feels good when you're skating away from 'em. No matter what trick you do, even if it's just a boardslide or a 50-50–it's always fun.

3. Do you think kids really like skating handrails, or do they just do it 'cause they see all the big guys doing it?

You'll always go to the spot, and there'll be kids destroying something that you wouldn't even think is possible. Some random kids just have it sometimes. But sometimes we do it 'cause we see them do it. Maybe they're just having fun and trying to skate, or maybe they're trying to get sponsored and work on their video–do the best they can.

4. You've been blessed with a good hardflip and always bust your lil' nollie inward heelflip while you're warming up at the spot. When are we gonna start seeing the nollie inward heel unleashed on some unsuspecting spots?

(Laughs) Oh man, I've tried and tried and tried it down so many spots. Right now I'll leave that up to Andrew, 'cause he had it before I did. I've tried it down at least three or four spots, and I just haven't been able to do it. I wish. Andrew does his all the way around, and it looks really good. It flips really fast and looks sick. I hope that one day I'll get one.

5. Who has the best hardflip in skateboarding?

P.J. Ryan Gallant has a really good one, but P.J.'s my favorite right now. Did you see the one he did down San Vincente twelve (Really Sorry)? He did the best hdflip down that twelve-stair. And then there's Mike Carroll. That's the roots of them all right there. I give a shout out to Mike Carroll for bringing that trick in. He has an amazing hardflip.

6. Are you big enough to break a board yet?

If I break a board, it's like the happiest day of my life. I mean, I can focus boards, but I usually don't do that–I try not to. Once in a while I'll break a board if I land really hard, offset. It'll happen like twice a year maybe. It has to be cold weather so my board's really weak.

7. Do you get more nervous when you're about to try something really gnarly or when you're sitting there watching one of your buddies about to try something really gnarly?

I guess it depends on who I'm watching, like Leo–he's not even scary to watch. He puts you in an amazing mood to go skate. But let's say you're watching one of your friends try something you know he's never done, you're like, “Yeah, uh, be careful.” You don't want to be like, “Oh, he's gonna eat shit–let's just watch him!” But I don't really like to skate when I'm all nervous. Sometimes you'll get to a spot and think it's good, maybe boardslide the rail or ollie the stairs–start feeling good and start trying other tricks. Being on a nervous level when you're trying to skate, I don't like that too much. When you're nervous and still go ahead and do it anyway and land it, that's when you feel good about yourself.

8. Which looks more weird, a guy with overly baggy pants on a handrail or a guy with overly tight pants on a manual pad?

I don't know. Andrew wears tight pants and he does nollie nose manuals at the courthouse, and he looks good doing it. I wouldn't want to say one and then regret not saying the other. Maybe baggy pants on the handrail? I can't really think of someone who has run something like that–baggy pants looking weird, that is.

9. Which person on either of your teams constantly amazes you the most?

I'd have to say Spanky (Kevin Long), because I skate with him a lot and the tricks he does are completely different from the tricks I do. He does his tricks so perfect, he's such a good skater. He amazes me a lot.

10. When you guys were younger, people used to confuse you and Spanky for whatever reason. Do you think it's weird that Spanky went pro before you, even though you were on the scene and getting coverage a bit before him?

I don't think it's weird. The kid came out with a really good part. He's older. It was the perfect time for him to turn pro. He was in the spotlight really quick. He won contests. He killed it. I'm not jealous in any way. It never even crossed my mind until you said it. I think he turned pro at the perfect time. He's an amazing skater. I just think it's weird that people would get us mixed up. I guess at the time we were the exact same height, we were the new guys, we were always together, we both had black hair … but he's a little muscle boy, so he was a lot bigger than me. Now I'm taller than he is and I have a shaved head. Maybe one day people will figure out that he's goofy-footed and I'm regular.

11. You're sharing pages in this Am Issue with your buddy Terry Kennedy. How did you, a kid from Victorville, a small town 100 miles from L.A., become friends with Terry, a kid from the streets of Long Beach?

I went to Fremont School, I was skating around with all my friends, and he was skating there with Evan (Hernandez). I'd seen him and said, “What's up?” Then I saw him at the trade show, and we started hanging out. Then we started hanging out more when we both were on Baker. We immediately got along. We've had our ups and downs like all friends do. I've never had a problem with Terry–we've always been on the same page. Terry's one of my really good friends, but I don't see him much. When we see each other, it's like, “Wow, where've you been?”

12. Now that you're nearing the age where your counterparts are graduating high school, do you ever regret dropping out?

Yes I do, very much. An education has a lot to do with this world. Most people can't get jobs because they didn't graduate high school. It's something that's good just to have. I really want to get it just so I can say I have it. You don't have to go any further once you have your nice little diploma, but it's bad to have anything less than that. I definitely want to get my diploma. My brother's doing that right now.

13. When the time comes to go pro, is it in your hands or is it in somebody else's hands? Have you been asked to go pro yet?

Someone else's. I haven't been asked to go pro, but if I did get asked I'd feel kind of weird. I'm not ready yet. But if Andrew thinks I'm ready and says, “Hey, we want to turn you pro? What do you think?” I'd probably run away and hide in the corner. I'd probably be down, but not right now. I want to come out with my Baker part and see if I can make it.

14. Your only flair seems to be a baseball cap or maybe some long hair every once in a while. Why don't you dangle a bunch of shit from your belt?

(Laughs) What does it do for you? It just wouldn't do anything for me. It just makes you heavier. There's no real point to it. I don't think I'd look cool if I had it on. I don't think there's any point for me to do it. I have nothing against the people who do do it. I have a friendship bracelet from Puerto Rico. And this little metal ball thing that wraps around, but that's about it.

15. Who do you look up to as a lead singer?

David Bowie. I like David Bowie a lot. The things that he sings about seem real. He doesn't stick with one style. He's always a guy about change. Every time I've listened to his music, there's nothing I can't listen to. Everything he does is good. And then Billy Joel for his piano playing. I love Billy Joel. He's the shit. I wish I could play the piano like Billy Joel does. I've been playing a lot of keyboard and piano. It's awesome.

16. Looking back at your Emerica part, is there anything you would have changed about it?

I think if I would've gotten one more month in … there's not much I would've changed. I was very psyched on it. I went out, had fun, skated, and ended up putting together a video part. It was toward the end when I was skating a bunch and getting a ton of footage for it. I knew it was coming down to the wire, and I wanted to have good stuff. I think it worked out.

17. What do you generally maintain the longest ownership over: your average T-shirt, deck, set of wheels, or pair of shoes?

Wheels probably. Actually, lately it's a T-shirt. I try not to throw my clothes away. I do have way too many, but I'm appreciative for what I get. I try not to just be like, “Oh look, I just got a bunch of Emerica T-shirts, here, let me give them out or throw them away after wearing 'em once.”

18. You're only seventeen years old and have been sponsored for a few years now. Did you ever even consider any potential career options?

I never really got into skating trying to make it a career, like, “Mom, I'm gonna be so big! I'm gonna move to Hollywood! I'm gonna have a big career in skating! I'm gonna be a millionaire!” I started skating becausy got along. We've had our ups and downs like all friends do. I've never had a problem with Terry–we've always been on the same page. Terry's one of my really good friends, but I don't see him much. When we see each other, it's like, “Wow, where've you been?”

12. Now that you're nearing the age where your counterparts are graduating high school, do you ever regret dropping out?

Yes I do, very much. An education has a lot to do with this world. Most people can't get jobs because they didn't graduate high school. It's something that's good just to have. I really want to get it just so I can say I have it. You don't have to go any further once you have your nice little diploma, but it's bad to have anything less than that. I definitely want to get my diploma. My brother's doing that right now.

13. When the time comes to go pro, is it in your hands or is it in somebody else's hands? Have you been asked to go pro yet?

Someone else's. I haven't been asked to go pro, but if I did get asked I'd feel kind of weird. I'm not ready yet. But if Andrew thinks I'm ready and says, “Hey, we want to turn you pro? What do you think?” I'd probably run away and hide in the corner. I'd probably be down, but not right now. I want to come out with my Baker part and see if I can make it.

14. Your only flair seems to be a baseball cap or maybe some long hair every once in a while. Why don't you dangle a bunch of shit from your belt?

(Laughs) What does it do for you? It just wouldn't do anything for me. It just makes you heavier. There's no real point to it. I don't think I'd look cool if I had it on. I don't think there's any point for me to do it. I have nothing against the people who do do it. I have a friendship bracelet from Puerto Rico. And this little metal ball thing that wraps around, but that's about it.

15. Who do you look up to as a lead singer?

David Bowie. I like David Bowie a lot. The things that he sings about seem real. He doesn't stick with one style. He's always a guy about change. Every time I've listened to his music, there's nothing I can't listen to. Everything he does is good. And then Billy Joel for his piano playing. I love Billy Joel. He's the shit. I wish I could play the piano like Billy Joel does. I've been playing a lot of keyboard and piano. It's awesome.

16. Looking back at your Emerica part, is there anything you would have changed about it?

I think if I would've gotten one more month in … there's not much I would've changed. I was very psyched on it. I went out, had fun, skated, and ended up putting together a video part. It was toward the end when I was skating a bunch and getting a ton of footage for it. I knew it was coming down to the wire, and I wanted to have good stuff. I think it worked out.

17. What do you generally maintain the longest ownership over: your average T-shirt, deck, set of wheels, or pair of shoes?

Wheels probably. Actually, lately it's a T-shirt. I try not to throw my clothes away. I do have way too many, but I'm appreciative for what I get. I try not to just be like, “Oh look, I just got a bunch of Emerica T-shirts, here, let me give them out or throw them away after wearing 'em once.”

18. You're only seventeen years old and have been sponsored for a few years now. Did you ever even consider any potential career options?

I never really got into skating trying to make it a career, like, “Mom, I'm gonna be so big! I'm gonna move to Hollywood! I'm gonna have a big career in skating! I'm gonna be a millionaire!” I started skating because my brother got me into it and I admired his skating. I was psyched on it, got my first board, and just kept skating. Eventually I got sponsored by a skate shop, Pharmacy, and was getting footage, so they asked me to film a video part for them.

19. What is the one thing that you're most proud about when you look at what you've accomplished in your short life?

That I stuck with skating. There's not a day that goes by that I'm not happy because I got to go skate. I have something going that I never really thought would happen. I really appreciate this. It's been a whole new life for me. I'm really proud I stuck with skating.

20. In case there're any ladies out there reading this, what's the way to Bryan's heart?

Just hang out, have fun, and be cool. Don't put that, actually. I don't know if there's a way to my heart. (Laughs) Just be nice and soft, you know?

cause my brother got me into it and I admired his skating. I was psyched on it, got my first board, and just kept skating. Eventually I got sponsored by a skate shop, Pharmacy, and was getting footage, so they asked me to film a video part for them.

19. What is the one thing that you're most proud about when you look at what you've accomplished in your short life?

That I stuck with skating. There's not a day that goes by that I'm not happy because I got to go skate. I have something going that I never really thought would happen. I really appreciate this. It's been a whole new life for me. I'm really proud I stuck with skating.

20. In case there're any ladies out there reading this, what's the way to Bryan's heart?

Just hang out, have fun, and be cool. Don't put that, actually. I don't know if there's a way to my heart. (Laughs) Just be nice and soft, you know?