This is the full extended interview that ran in our April 2013 Interview Issue, on newsstands now.
Words by Cullen Poythress
There's a new breed of killer on the loose. Armed with the kind of fearlessness that can only be bred in the most unforgiving of concrete hellholes, these new assassins are moving out of the pits and into the streets with the same bone-crushing grit. Tom Remillard is unquestionably a part of this new legion, and with his first full-length video part set to debut in Perpetual Motion coupled with a new spot on Expedition, his killing spree has only just begun.
Let's cut to the chase, Tom. What happened with Antihero?
Antihero, Antihero, Antihero [sighs]. I rode for them for about seven years. It really wasn't going anywhere for me, and I never really felt like I was going to get on the team. I want to be a pro skater, so I did what I felt I had to do. I had to bail. I talked to Julian [Stranger] and told him I couldn't do it any more. We came to an agreement, and he told me thanks for all the support. It was totally cool. It was bloodless. They let me go and do my own thing, but it was hard. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Antihero is still one of my favorite companies. Those dudes at Deluxe are great, and the friendship there is still the same. We're going in different directions now, but I get to stay on Spitfire and all that good stuff.
So what's the deal with Expedition for you these days?
I'm on the team. There were a few offers out there, but I wanted to do something that allowed me to do my own thing. I met Rob [Welsh] and I thought he was super rad and I've always really liked Joey Pepper. The guy who owns Kayo, Troy Morgan, is really rad too.
What's it like being the gnarly tranny dude on a historically street-oriented team? Do you ever feel like "the vert guy"?
I actually thought it would be cool to be the tranny dude on a street company. You could say the same for Raven [Tershy] and Elijah [Berle] over at Chocolate. Skateboard companies shouldn't just look at one type of skater. They should appreciate all of them. It would be cool if every company had a dude like Raven, Grant [Taylor], or Robbie [Russo] on the team. I'm psyched that companies are starting to take notice of tranny skateboarding and recognize that it's gnarly and here to stay. I'm not the only tranny skater on Expedition though. Chany [Jeanguenin] skates vert really well, so I'm not the only guy.
Do you ever try to get those dudes to come skate Washington with you?
Welsh is always down for Washington Street and Chany definitely is. Welsh will even throw on kneepads and skate vert. In the long haul, all those dudes came up in the early nineties doing stalefishes on ramps and stuff over the years. They're down. Zered [Bassett] is definitely down for that shit too. I just like Washington Street. I've been skating there for about eight or nine years now. I grew up there and got accustomed to the shitty concrete. It's definitely hard to skate.
The Predatory Bird’s Following Tom:
What about street then? Are you purposefully skating more street these days?
I want to be a more well-rounded skateboarder. Who doesn't? It's not like I'm a "skate tranny or die" kind of guy. I've always been a fan of street skating, it's just way harder for me. I street skated before I got into tranny, which is a fun fact, I guess. I like doing new stuff and not just doing frontside airs all day. I practice flatground all the time. I'm just trying to learn more street stuff and up my confidence. I got my basic flatground tricks down. That's why I like riding for Expedition One. Skating street with guys like Welsh, [Joey] Pepper, and Zered is so sick.
“You can call me Tom Remillard, Taxpayer"
Are you getting broke off out there working on your street game?
Yea, it backfires way more. I just broke a bone yesterday trying to charge the streets. I was trying to front board this rail and I broke my bad wrist. It was pretty rough, and I'm in a wrist cast now. I'm not as wise when it comes to street skating. When it comes to tranny I have a way better understanding of what I'm doing. With street skating, I'll just go for anything and end up falling in ways I've never fallen before. On tranny there's like five different falls you can take. On the streets there's like a hundred different ways. When I go down on the streets, I go down hard. I'll get tangled up in my board and get served up, but sometimes you get lucky.
How do you occupy your downtime when you're hurt like that?
I've been working towards getting my pilot's license. Flying airplanes is pretty awesome. I fly single-engine Cessnas. My dad works for the Armed Forces and one of his colleagues is an ex-Navy fighter pilot. He owns his own plane, and he offered to give me lessons. I've been doing that in my free time.
What's the best part about living in San Diego? Who's your crew down there?
The weather, the women and all my friends I grew up with. It's fun to me. I grew up in University City and I now live in Point Loma right by the beach. As for skating, I like skating with Darren Navarrette, Peter Hewitt, Div Adams, and Willis Kimball. We usually go skate vert together at Bucky's house or at Tony's place. I skate vert a lot. That's kind of my secret part of skateboarding.
What about the Cons crew? How is it out on the road with those guys?
Nick Trapasso and Julian Davidson are the best. Hanging out with those dudes is awesome. And Sammy Baca too. I've been traveling with them for a long time, and we know each other really well. We have our own sense of humor together. We're always out trying to look for girls. They're my wingmen.
Where are you with your part in Perpetual Motion?
I'm pretty much done. I've got the broken wrist now, but I'm hopefully going to get the cast off in the last two weeks before the video drops and get a few more things. The last few weeks leading up to this Miami trip we're on now were super productive. You always want a little bit more, but as it stands I'm pretty psyched with how it's worked out.
Is this your first major video part that you've had to really work for?
Yes, this is it. It's been stressful as hell. I'm ready for it to be over. I've never put myself through so much stress. I've got gray hairs now [laughs]. But it's also been a really cool experience. I've always been friends with Julian, Jimmy [Carlin], and Walker [Ryan], so it's like being with all my friends. Josh [Matthews] and Silas [Baxter-Neal] are awesome too. This is the first trip I've ever been on with Silas. He's so gnarly. Getting to work with Jon Holland and Chris Thiessen has been great too.
Are people still going to call you "Tom Grom" after the video comes out?
I hope not. I'm over it. I usually say I don't really care, but I'm I'm 22 years old now. I'm a grown man. I'm an old dog [laughs]. I'm not going to be that bummed. because I don't care that much, but at the same time, I pay rent and I pay taxes. I don't think I'm that much of a grom anymore. You can call me "Tom Remillard, Taxpayer" [laughs].