Greg’s story is amazing. It’s been told a couple of times—one of which was printed in our March 1998 Issue, that I’m also posting up here as it’s one of my favorites. Fade in on a bright-eyed bushy-tailed skate rat from Ann Arbor, Michigan, who after saving up money to buy a car serving ice cream scoops is somehow talked into a cross-country roadtrip with Sean Sheffey to find himself sessioning the legendary Safeway curbs in SF with Natas, Julien, Jovantae, Tommy, and more or less the entire cast of Sick Boys (His all-time favorite skate video) forty hours of non-stop driving later.
From there, the next three decades of his life somehow weave landing a spot as a Real Am to a part in A Visual Sound (’94), Tincan Folklore (’96) to making i.e. (’00), Sight Unseen (’01) to Videoradio (’02), The DC Video (’03) to Mindfield (’09), and Dylan (’10) to the upcoming (first-ever) Vans video. A true testament to the awesome creative adventure that skateboarding can make of your life—here’s Gregory Hunt’s Forrest Gump like trajectory through some of the most important videos ever made and whatever du jour tangents fell between.
Original ’98 intro from Greg’s then Stereo teammate Matt Rodriguez:
“What comes to mind when I think of Greg Hunt is a brother full of respect for the self and others. At all times he’s thinking and being positive—seeking to live in truth. When you see him, take note, because he’s the one person I know who’s in the realm of skateboarding for the joy of it, and not for the mundane aspect of having status or to blow his ego up. He understands skateboarding just like the way we dance or do our thing in the art of creation. Remember, it’s not what you can do, it’s how you do it. If you catch time to see him skate, witness that something personal is going on and is being done with love and meaning. Respect is due!” —Matt Rodriguez (TWS, March 1998)
Interview: May 2014—Los Angeles as Greg drives south to meet up with Vans riders. By Mackenzie Eisenhour.
Where are you at right now with the Vans video?
We’ve been working on it for about three years. It’s really far along. But it’s a really big project so like with any video a lot of things have to align for it to be ready. Because this is such a big project with so many people, there are even more things that need to align. Which means that we still have a little ways to go but considering where we were a year ago, we’re doing really well.
Is it almost like a Ty (Evans) scenario, just with so many people?
Yeah. There are just a lot of people. It’s difficult sometimes even just on a daily basis to coordinate with everyone and make sure that everyone is covered. Let alone try and think big picture and getting the whole project completed as a whole. It’s difficult but we’re getting there.
I wanted to post up the whole March ’98 TWS Interview you had and talk about that time in your life. It seemed pretty pivotal. You got some of your biggest and best print coverage right as you were deciding to pursue photography and filmmaking rather than continue being a pro skater. What was your thought process right when this interview came out?
I think that when this interview came out I had already quit. I don’t want to say I quit skateboarding, because I never quit skateboarding but when that interview came out I was basically no longer pro. It was after a good summer. Where I had gone on a couple of trips and spent some time home in Michigan which I hadn’t done in years and Mike Blabac was out there too. It was one of those where everything worked out to where there was enough to have an interview.
Did you know you were leaving when you shot it?
Everything happened really fast. When I did the interview I had no plans of changing my gears at all. Between the time that I finished the interview and it came out—which was probably a few months—I had kind of made some big changes in my life. It’s funny.
Was it bittersweet to see when it came out? Were you still kind of psyched on it?
I don’t remember. I honestly don’t remember. I do remember that I was stoked on a few of the photos for sure. There were a few that I really liked. I don’t know if I ever even really read the interview, but it was cool. It’s always cool to be in a magazine.
Was there like a flash moment where you made the decision or was it some long, ongoing thing?
I think it happened pretty quickly. To be honest I don’t really remember.
But you were sure that you no longer wanted to pursue pro skating?
Yeah. It wasn’t a decision that was made in the midst of an argument or anything like that. It wasn’t like a fight or in the heat of the moment. It was something, a decision that I had completely made on my own.
There was a conscious decision?
Yeah. I think. And it was never anything that I regretted. There were a series of events that happened pretty quickly to where I was like, “Hey, you know this has been really awesome, but I don’t really feel like I want to continue down this road. I have some other things that I’m interested in.” A lot of it for me personally was about wanting to keep what I had too—Stereo especially had been so good during that period of time. I could see things were changing, and change is normal, but personally I think I just wanted to keep it at that time. Because I was changing and my focus of what I wanted to do with my time—my interests were changing. A lot of things aligned at the same time were I just felt like, “You know what, now is a good time for me to move on and do other things.” That’s really what it was.
You had so much love for the time you had—you didn’t want to corrupt it?
Yeah. I mean, basically it had been a really good run. Things were changing. Things were changing with Stereo and things were changing with me and it just was the right time for me to move forward.
I read too that Gabe Morford was sort of your early mentor with photography around then. Did you guys have the darkroom at the apartment and all that?
Yeah. We had a darkroom. We were roommates. He gave me a camera and that’s what got me really really sparked on shooting photos. Then shooting photos got me really into shooting film. And honestly, outside of skateboarding, it was the only other thing that I had ever come across that I felt that passionately about and felt that it was something that I really wanted to keep doing. Skateboarding was different then too. I think I was maybe 23, or 24 and I felt old.
Yeah. That was old for back then.
(Laughing) It was really crazy.
That’s like the average am now or flow rider.
Yeah. I think I was also pretty conscious of the fact that I really wasn’t a big name pro skater. I knew also that I hadn’t really fully taken advantage of a lot of the opportunities that I had. I never really regretted it, but I knew. Like I saw what a lot of my peers, guys that I came up with had done like Scott Johnston and those guys. They moved to the city around the same time and we all kind of got sponsored together. Those guys were really so focused and skating so hard. By the time I got to that point in my skateboarding, I was already into other things. I think that’s just me. I don’t think I was lost or confused, I think that’s just were I was at, at the time. I knew too that it wasn’t like I would leave Stereo and go to Girl or something. It was pretty clear to me that if I left Stereo I would go on and do other things. I hadn’t really built too much of a career for myself as a pro skater. If anything I look at my skateboarding career now as the thing that got me into filmmaking and photography. I didn’t take advantage of a lot of opportunities but I learned from that. I took what I did and didn’t do in skateboarding and brought that to what I do now.
It’s kind of rad though. You sort of went full circle. You were able to apply your new passion back to skateboarding by making skate videos.
Yeah. Which was never my plan. When I left, I was totally—even by the time that interview came out, which was only a few months—I still skated but I was really disconnected from everything that was going on.
It’s funny too though because skateboarding did change right after that. Especially Stereo which went into that weird cartoony phase when everyone was trying to battle Wet Willy graphics. It was kind of a different Stereo with Dustin Dollin and all that. Maybe your hunch was right.
Yeah. That was already happening. Jason (Lee) was kind of not involved any more, skateboarding was changing. The graphics that were selling were changing. They needed to do what they needed to do to keep progressing. Stereo was never about being stuck in something. It was always about trying something new and different. I didn’t really vibe with the new direction as much, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.
It’s kind of a catch-22. Skateboarding is sort of about embracing new things but then it gets hard to move on sometimes even when there’s something that you really love.
Exactly. You see that a lot today too.
Going back to growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Did you guys really finance skate road trips as kids by selling rejected Ford minivan door bearings?
Yeah. The NMBs. At the time, other than Swiss, at least were I lived you either got Swiss or you got NMB bearings. You would get these tubes of twenty NMB bearings; we would get huge boxes of them. I think we would sell a set for $5. Which was good. I think in the shop a set was like $15. We would sell a set for $5 or a tube for $20 and we would maybe make like $50 a day. Back then that would pay for gas, meals, and a hotel maybe. This went on for like a three or four month stretch.
Can you give your story of the drive out from Michigan with Sheffey in a nutshell? Was the car you bought financed by bearings?
No. The Tercel. It was a ’79 Toyota Tercel. I bought it for $800 and it was financed by scooping ice cream. I always had a job so I had just saved up.
Then Sheffey just convinced you to drive to Cali?
He talked to my buddy Goose about it at some demo or contest. I didn’t even meet him and Goose, who was older than me, told me like, “Yeah, I met Sheffey. He wants to drive to California. He doesn’t want to fly. He wants to see the US and I told him we could go in your car.” He didn’t even ask me but of course I was down. We had to clear it with the parents but I was in.
You guys knew of Sheffey from like the Shut days?
I had never even met him. He had just moved to Michigan, which at the time was just insane to us too.
You knew who he was though.
Oh yeah. Oh for sure. I mean by then he skated for Santa Monica Airlines with Natas, Julien Stranger, and Jim Thibaud, which was probably my favorite company ever at that point. I was pretty starstruck.
Were you tripping the whole way in the car?
It was cool. Just like anything else. Weird at first but then normal. He was super cool though. He totally had our back and was a fun guy to travel with. That’s a gnarly drive too. It’s like a forty-hour drive.
And you didn’t stop right?
Yeah. We just ate at gas stations and basically did it non-stop. We didn’t even stop to eat really. It’s so weird what you can do when you’re a kid. If I did that now it would be insane. I’d have to at least sit down for a meal or something. Back then, who knows what we even ate. Maybe some candy or something.
Your story of arriving in SF and skating with Natas, Julien, Tommy, Jim, Jovantae, and Sheffey right off the bat is also too good not to repeat. I imagine it being like you had died and gone to 1990 skateboard heaven. Given that you were fans of all of all of those guys, I can’t imagine it being any better.
No. I don’t think it could have been any better. I don’t even know what you would compare that to for a kid now.
Going to the Berrics.
(Laughs.) I guess so. But that was literally, I mean we arrived and we were staying at some empty apartment—Jim (Thibaud)’s old apartment that he still had. You arrive in San Francisco and you’re basically staying in an apartment with Natas. Skating with Jim, Tommy, and Natas. We literally got there and went to breakfast at Eddie’s with everyone and then went skating. (Read the full story in Greg’s ’98 Interview for more.)
Were you tripping out talking to these guys?
I don’t even remember. I was probably a fucking weirdo man. Honestly, I can’t remember what I said or did. I was probably just quiet. I think I was the weirdo mid-western kid. Who knows what I was wearing. Just some weird looking quiet kid. I was probably doing some really weird tricks too.
Back then it took a long time for the new tricks to make it out of California. Pre-internet everybody else was basically a year behind by default.
Yeah. Jovantae (Turner) and those guys were doing tre flips like they do them now. I was doing like weird mob kickflips. Like the ones were you flick it super fast all rocketed. I was doing those all over the place and those guys were doing proper flip tricks. But I guess I was with Sheffey. And they all knew Goose, so everybody was super cool to me. I remember skating the Sears curb. It was like a white sidewalk height curb on one side and then on the other side it was tall like a ledge. That thing was awesome but I remember I cracked my chin open on it.
That’s right. I read that story too. It sounded surreal.
Yeah. It’s one of my craziest memories. It’s almost like a weird dream. I remember Tommy and Natas and maybe Jim and Rick Ibaseta just looking down at my chin. It’s almost like a fisheye clip in my memory. Them looking down like, “Damn dude. You should probably go to the hospital.” So Natas was like, “I’ll take you back to Jim’s and there’s a hospital right by there.” It was so weird.
Like you’re bummed on cracking your chin but still tripping on these dudes talking to you.
Yeah. I remember having to follow Natas back to Jim’s house down all these hills with this cracked open chin. I couldn’t really lift my neck up because it would open the cut. So I just had my chin sort of buried in my neck trying to follow Natas down these hills and he’s Natas so he’s doing all these backside powerslides and just flying. I’ve told the story before and it’s just a funny skateboarding right of passage story in that time. I’m glad people remember it because I don’t have a single photo or anything from them. But that memory is such a good one for me. I like talking about it because it reminds me of the experience.
You mentioned Natas was doing like nollie front boards then too.
He was doing so much crazy shit. He would do like these one-wheeled manuals across Fort Miley. On his back wheel on the toe side. I remember too he would do these manuals—like ollie up to manual and carve like a half circle, then drop back off the curb, staying in the manual and he would do another half circle, ollie back up into another manual and do the half circle again. Just shit like that seemed insane back then. Looking back too, the craziest thing I think was that he was fully skating switch then. I had never seen anybody skate switch. Like on these handicap sidewalk ramps with two curb cuts on each side, he would cruise full speed, frontside 180 in to the first curb cut, then just crack a huge switch ollie out of the next one.
I did an interview with Salman Agah a bit back and he said he had seen Natas straight nollie up the block at Brown Marble and he credited that with inspiring him to try switchstance stuff.
I think Mark (Gonzales) and him were sort of both into it around then.
I always wondered what would have happened if Natas didn’t break his ankle in ‘90. He had the Reason for Living (’90) part which is sick but he might have had like the equivalent to Gonz’ Video Days part for a 101 video in ’91.
Yeah. That probably would have happened. I know they were both skating switch. I saw Mark skate at a contest about a year before I saw Natas and he was doing huge switch ollies on the quarterpipe.
The year you drove out was ’89 or ’90?
We drove out in ’90.
So he broke his ankle right after that. Like that summer (1990). I remember going to LA Skates on a summer trip and hearing the rumors that it was on the Satan board and all that (It wasn’t. —ME).
That sounds about right. But yeah, right then he was so on top of it. Just being Natas, the way he approached skateboarding—he was doing those nollie front boards on the Safeway curb and sliding really far. He was nollieing over stuff too. I saw him do—on his front porch in Santa Monica, the same one that he ollies out to tail on in Wheels of Fire (’87)—between the walkway and the driveway there was a wall. Like a little knee high brick wall you could ollie over. He would do nollie nose bonks on that. He really was really pushing it in that direction. I came home (to Michigan) after seeing that and I learned how to nollie, nollie 50-50 and all that stuff—then when I came back to San Francisco I was really good at nollies. The first sequence I ever had in a magazine was a nollie noseslide at the Embarcadero. I had learned nollie frontside noseslides and I had switch tailslides really good by then, and it was right when people were starting to do them. But it was only because I had seen Natas skate the year before and I had gotten a head start.
What other crazy tricks stand out memory-wise that you witnessed at Embarcadero then? Maybe things people wouldn’t know about.
It’s hard to say because every day almost there was something. By everybody. Henry (Sanchez) was always doing stuff. Mike (Carroll) was always doing stuff. Like his switch bigspin heelflips and all of that stuff was just so unfathomable at that time. Then Jovantae (Turner) would come around every day and do something you had never seen. But then there was even all the locals too. Like Sam Smyth had noseslide to crooked grinds first. He had like his little bag of tricks that no one else did. And then Shawn Mandoli had these gnarly frontside crooked grinds. Everybody had these weird tricks that they were really good at. They’re all basic tricks now but at the time all lot of them had never been done.
Anything down the Gonz gap?
I wasn’t there for a lot of the Gonz gap stuff. I was there when Gonz kickflipped it (Summer of ’93). That was pretty epic.
The rocket flip one. It’s so sick. Did you ever ollie it?
No. I never ollied it. I was a pussy. I never skated the Gonz gap, I never did anything down the Seven besides 180 ollie it, and I never skated Hubba. I might have noseslid it but that was it. I don’t know. I was married to the knee-high ledges I guess (laughs.)
I always thought John Deago was amazing from H-Street/Life to early Real/Stereo. I remember Jason (Lee) saying something about him being tough to get footage of or something. How good could he have been if he had stayed for A Visual Sound?
Yeah. He was kind of an angry skater. I think a lot of skaters then were. But he was definitely one of the best at that time. I’m pretty sure he’s got footage somewhere for it that no one ever saw. There has to be. He was skating with us every day. He had a really good style. He had incredible board control. He had like Daewon Song board control.
He kind of resurfaced a little later for that 60/40 video (Glasses for Your Feet [‘95]) but it looked like he might have stopped for a while. He still had super good style.
I also always wished Rick Ibaseta had had a part in Visual Sound too. He was listed in one of the ads right? Any idea what happened?
Yeah, I always forget that he was on Stereo for a second. It was really short though. I think he was only on for like a month. I can’t remember anything about how that went down or why. But the only proof of it is that one Visual Sound ad with his name on it.
You talked about how big an influence A Visual Sound was on your filmmaking. Did it just open your eyes to the possibilities?
I think so. Just because of how passionate Jason and Chris were about it too. I went in when they were editing my part and I kind of stayed through the rest of the editing—which was maybe one or two more days. But it was just amazing to see something creatively come together like that with the music, all the skate footage, the still photos, and the Super 8.
I dare you to try and not to watch this all the way through. Still gem status. A Visual Sound, Stereo (’94).
What was the response to Visual the day after the premiere at Embarcadero? Were people into it?
I don’t remember honestly. I just remember coming home from skating and Scott Johnston was watching it and was like, “Sick video.”
I remember half of my friends being really into it and the other half thinking it was too artsy. Kind of like when Memory Screen (’91) came out. Early Stereo came at a time that might have some parallels to what is going on today. Back then there was a conscious effort to move away from the tech stuff and get back to good-looking basics and flow. The same seems to be happening with the newer kids and companies like Polar all getting into no-complys, grabs, and sort of shunning the more complicated ledge dancing or 540 triple flips. Is this just the same cycle over and over again?
Yeah. Maybe. Things were a lot more progressive then than they are now. I mean, you know, you look at a progressive video now, and of course people are progressing, but it’s not strikingly different from what somebody was doing ten years ago. Ten years back was 2004. Sorry had already been out for almost two years. Verses back then, in 1994, if you went back ten years to 1984—people were barely rolling off a curb and maybe slappying it. Back then even in five years everything changed. From 1989 to 1994 was like light years. Like Rubbish Heap (’89) to Second Hand Smoke (’94) was a completely different activity. I think for Stereo specifically at that time it might have been a response to all the weird video grab sequences in magazines and stuff like that. There was some amazing shit going on but there was also a lot of not so amazing things. I think Stereo was a conscious effort to do something with amazing looking graphic design and make skateboarding look fun and stylish. I think that’s where it came from. It might be similar now, people want to shoot on a VX 1000 and Super 8. They want to DIY it.
Stereo also kind of had the anti-plaza, back to the streets vibe. Like almost no Embarcadero footage in an SF-based video was like people shunning TFs today. Like you have to skate through traffic for it to be legit.
Yeah. You might be right.
Best memory from Tincan Folklore (’96)?
Just filming for it. And then I was stoked too that I got to film a lot of my own Super 8 stuff and sit in on the editing for Tincan.
Greg’s part from Tincan. I had friends who were religiously into this part. Backside powerslide to fakie. Stereo, 1996.
So then we jump into your behind-the-lens days. Best memory from making i.e (’00)? That was basically your first big project to take on right?
Yeah. Ty had just left. It was basically me and Jon Holland. My one specific memory was never having used a computer before. I did some editing by myself for the first time and the computer froze or something and I didn’t know how to fix it. I didn’t know how to escape or quit out of a program or anything. The only thing I knew how to do was I just pulled the plug out of the wall (Laughs.) So I unplugged the computer and the whole editing system that it was hooked up to and just plugged it back in. I think I did that for the first couple of days whenever I had a problem.
That was right when non-linear editing was coming in too right?
Yeah. They used a Media 100 settup, which was like this huge machine.
It’s funny too how we talked about time being relative in skateboarding years. The four years from Tincan Folklore to i.e feel like they should be forty years in terms of how much skateboarding changed.
Is that really all it was? Four years? I was like a different person by then. That was like a lifetime in there for sure.
You think of like 2010 to 2014 and it doesn’t seem like anything has changed. We went from like iPhone 3G to iPhone 5.
Yeah. I was working on this same [Vans] video (laughs).
Best memory from making Sight Unseen (’01)?
There are a lot of good memories from that. But probably just skating with Heath (Kirchart) at that time. Skating with him the first time, when he had footage in the credits of the video before Sight Unseen with him trying to lipslide like a twenty-two stair at UCI. That was the first time I had ever met Heath or skated with him. That was definitely a memory that stands out.
Easily a contender for one of the top 10 parts of all time. Heath Kirchart in Sight Unseen, Greg’s second video at TWS.
Who filmed the ender tailslide at UCLA? Was that you or Jon?
That was both of us. We went there a bunch of times for that. We tried it in the middle of the night, six in the morning, then we finally just there went in the middle of the day—with people walking around us and stuff—and somehow luckily didn’t get kicked out.
Were the slams pretty gnarly on that? Jumping down the second set of stairs?
Not too bad actually. I always thought that for as crazy as a lot of the stuff Heath tried, that thing didn’t even seem like the craziest thing to use as an ender. He did a lot of shit in that part that was really fucked up. Not that that tailslide wasn’t, it was sick. But I think one of the reasons we used that for the ender was that it was one of the newer tricks that people hadn’t seen. Nobody had really done anything like it either.
I’m such a fan of that part. They told me recently—I was down at the office (TWS) and they told me that he had originally wanted to skate to November Rain in there.
Maybe. He wanted to skate to something else too. Maybe it was November Rain. I think there’s an edit of it that Emerica put out, like an alternate edit to a different song he wanted.
The Moody Blues (Nights in White Satin [‘67]) song is too good. It had to be that. So timeless.
Yeah. For sure.
Best memory from making The DC Video (’03)?
Honestly, what comes to mind when I think of that video was the premiere. Getting that video finished was pretty chaotic to say the least. The last six months of editing, leading up to the final days—the computer was crashing. The premiere was such a relief.
Rob & Big skit from The DC Video that started it all. After Rob had the idea, Greg found bodyguard Christopher “Big Black” Boykin, directed the shoot and the rest is MTV Tween ratings bonanza history.
I felt like having it at the Mann Chinese was kind of a big deal then too. Like the biggest venue skateboarding had seen.
For me it was just everything leading up to it. Just bringing the tape in. It’s the same story everyone has. But bringing the master tape in just in time and seeing all the people sitting down waiting. It was crazy.
Best memory from making Mindfield (’09)?
Maybe a lot of the final trips. The last few months, the editing was pretty hectic for that video too. But going out to J. Mascis’ house, seeing all the stuff Mike Hill and Chad Bowers were doing at Workshop—all the amazing things they made for the titles and animation. Seeing all of that intertwined with all the footage was pretty incredible. Seeing it come together was awesome. I think for any video, the thing I remember most is the end, when everything gets pieced together.
Was there anything else between ’03 and ’09? I guess you guys did the DC Deluxe DVD in ’04.
Yeah. We did that. Then end of 2005 I started working for Workshop. After the DC Video I started DC Films and I did a website for them (dcfilms.com). I did a bunch of commercials for DC.
Were you ever tempted to follow Rob (Dyrdek) along for Rob and Big (’06-’08) at MTV or any of that?
No. It wasn’t a conscious choice or anything. It was just kind of the way it went down. I was just doing other stuff. By then I was already at Workshop.
A trailer for Greg’s ’09 masterpiece, Mindfield. AWS.
Best memory from making Dylan (’10)?
I think just coming off his part in Mindfield, knowing that he felt like he hadn’t come through. I knew that he felt like he had let us down. So to then be able to work on the Dylan part through Gravis/Analog felt really good in that he was able to get another chance and put out the part that we all knew he had in him.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that has pretty much been the most successful/influential single part to date. Is the debate between single parts and full videos redundant? Just like the argument over hard copies vs. web? Do they all have their place?
Yeah. I think it’s redundant. It’s apples and oranges. They all have a place. Everybody is free to choose what they want. As far as the web—I read my news on the web, I go to skate sites and watch videos on the web, and I watch and buy movies on the web. The Internet itself doesn’t dictate whether something is worthwhile to watch or not. It doesn’t dictate something being cheap. It’s just a different delivery method. One that happens to allow you to put up quick and easy content if you choose to do that.
Favorite era in skating you lived through?
Of course, everybody is going to say the same thing. It’s the era when you were a teenager. That’s going to be your favorite no matter what era you’re from. I’m sure Steve Olson’s favorite era was when he was a teenager. I’m sure Nyjah’s favorite era is when he first started skating. I don’t know. Mine would definitely be ’87 through ’90 or so. I feel like that’s when skating had a lot of magic and a lot of creativity and style. Street skating was being born. That’s definitely my favorite. I wouldn’t say it was the best but it was definitely my favorite.
Are there current filmmakers outside of skating inspire you?
There are tons of them. I would say probably on a grand scale, there’s Anton Corbijn (Dutch photographer/director), there’s Mike Mills (American Independent filmmaker/graphic designer), and then of course there are always your go-to’s: (Stanley) Kubrick and that generation of guys. There are a lot of other people I’m into as well.
Are you attracted to that side?
Making movies. Yeah, of course. I love skateboarding, but I don’t know if I’ll be doing it forever. Maybe I will. Things change though. I’m getting older. I’d like to always be involved in some way. But making full-length skate videos is a huge commitment. As you get older too, you really have to dedicate your entire life to it. I’ve been doing it for fifteen years—and the way skateboarding works, you don’t have permits, you don’t have permission— a lot of times you don’t even take your camera out of your bag. For me that sometimes becomes the most difficult thing about doing it. How much you don’t shoot. Sometimes all you are doing is driving and hooking up tour guys and generators and stuff like that. Which is great but there’s not a lot of shooting sometimes and that’s gets challenging. I just read an interview with Ty (Evans) somewhere and he was talking about how people will criticize a video after it comes out and they just take for granted how much work went into making it actually happen. He basically said he saw his kid walk and talk for the first time on a video attachment on an email. That’s some real shit. That’s a huge sacrifice. Especially now that I have a kid (Greg’s son, Julian was born two weeks before this interview). Those are moments where you want to be there.
Greg’s hugely influential single part video for Gravis. Dylan, 2010.
I suppose it was still his decision to do it though.
Yeah. But it’s like being an EMT or a cop. You’re just always on call. So when people ask if I want to do other things, of course. I’m interested in all kinds of things. I can’t imagine doing only skateboard films for the rest of my life. Maybe. But who knows.
I really liked this quote from your Leica interview: “I come from a generation that was inspired by a group of pro skaters who were all creatively multifaceted, so to skate and do lots of other creative things feels totally natural.” I think so many of us were drawn to skating for all the other things that came with it. I feel like that approach gets a little lost today. Thoughts?
Maybe. I mean it’s not as prevalent. Hold on a second (Talking to person in background).
Hunt: I’m gonna get a taco.
Other person: I’ll just get gas and wait for you. Don’t look now, but Larry Balma’s getting gas right behind you.
Did you hear that? It’s true. Larry Balma (Founder and former owner of TWS and Tracker) is pumping gas right behind us.
Welcome to San Diego.
So where were we? I don’t know. I don’t think you can say that there is less creativity now. I think there are just tons more pro skaters now, so you get all types. Back then, there was literally only like twenty pros or something. At least that you would see all of the time. And those guys were all influenced by Neil Blender, Mark Gonzales, Chris Miller and those guys. All those guys drew their own graphics—there was so much creativity. Everyone was in their own band like Tommy Guerrero and Caballero, Lance (Mountain) and O played music in their videos. It seemed totally normal as a kid to see that and be like, “Oh yeah, I’m gonna draw on my shoes. I’m gonna draw on my griptape. I’m gonna get a guitar and play music with my friends because that’s what those guys did.” I think skaters are equally as creative now though.
There is a side that is creative and then another side that has more of a sports approach. I can’t picture Chaz Ortiz having an art show.
You never know. There might be an artist in there somewhere. But honestly, sometimes I’ll see current pro’s photo shows and just be like, “Holy shit these photos are good.” Or sometimes people draw or play music. Like Justin Figueroa—have you ever seen him play music? He’s so good. I think that it’s something that is just inherent in skateboarders. When we were kids it was just a little more DIY. But I think it is still a big part of the package. Just doing all kinds of different creative things. I also think that skating has gotten to a point where skaters aren’t only inspired by what is happening right now. It’s almost like in music now, like rock n’ roll sort of matured and if you’re into the music now, like if you’re into say punk rock—it isn’t only about what’s happening right now but you go back and look at where it came from—the Sex Pistols, Ramones, or whatever. I think skating is kind of the same now where a sixteen-year-old kid might get really into photography and then he might start looking up Craig Stecyk, Grant (Brittain), Spike Jonze, and Dan Sturt’s old photos.
I’ve noticed that kids are more into things before their time these days. Like you’ll be at the park and there’s one kid that is fully into Duane Peters and has the whole punk kit.
Yeah. I think it’s great.
Favorite all-time skate video?
Sick Boys (’88).
I’ll say Paris, Texas (’84).
War Photographer (’01).
All-time skate photo?
Tobin Yelland’s shot of Mic-e Reyes’ wallride at the Bart station.
Keep an eye out for the upcoming Vans video.
Follow Greg: @huntfilmwork
Follow Mackenzie: @deadhippie