The Am Issue: Frankie Spears

Part of the Alien Workshop 2.0 squad of am killers, Frankie Spears is a young East Coast powerhouse who's beat Gino Iannucci in a game of SKATE, helps his brother repossess cars, makes his dad proud on Instagram, and isn't moving to California anytime soon. He's also best friends with Tyshawn Jones and shared a video part with him back in 2012 when they were just little dudes killing shit that you need to YouTube after you read his interview because it's that "fire."-Jaime Owens
Photos By Dave Chami

Frontside Bluntslide

Frontside bluntslide. San Jose, CA. (click to enlarge)

How old are you, and where are you from?
I'm 18 turning 19 in August, and I was born in Long Island, but I live in Rockaway Beach now.

Did you grow up skating with Tyshawn Jones?
Yeah, not when we first started skating, but I would see him at contests. The first one was an Element Make It Count and I was 13. I happened to win that contest. But he skated in it too, and I think he got salty at me for that and we didn't speak for a year or two [laughs]. Then I'd see him around killing it and I wanted to skate with him. I had a filmer and he wasn't filming much at the time and I told him he should come skate with me and my filmer. We just met up one day in Midtown [NYC], and we've been friends for four or five years now.

That's rad. Yeah, I just watched the part you guys shared in 2012 on YouTube, and it's gnarly.
Yeah, thanks. That shit is so cool to have to look back on, especially when I'm older. That shit is so funny.

Were those some of the first sessions you guys started to film together?
Yep, that was the first time we started going out and getting it with my friend Matt who filmed.

Did you guys ever win contests that came around there? Because that part is next level for little kids.
We would definitely skate as many contest as we could, but sooner or later we definitely got over contests. But when we were little kids, we tried to skate so many—the Maloof Money Cup, all of it.

How old were you when you started going in Manhattan to skate with just your friends?
I always skated with older dudes around town, but the first time I went into the city without my parents I had to keep it secret. I was scared to tell them, and later that day when I got home they kept asking where I'd been and I had no idea what to say. But I was probably 13 or 14 when I started going there with my friends, and it was cool with my parents after that.

"HE'LL TAG ME IN A PHOTO THAT ALIEN POSTED OF ME, AND I'LL BE LIKE, ‘I KNOW. I'M ALREADY TAGGED IN IT. I KNOW THAT'S ME, DAD'"

That must have felt so cool being a young dude skating through New York City?
Yeah, I'm so stoked to be able to live here. It's definitely not something I take for granted.

Who were some of the pros you saw as a kid skating in that area?
Well, not in the city, but I would see Gino Iannucci a lot at the local park we skated on Long Island. Actually, one time when I was 12, I made him play me in a game of SKATE. I'm pretty sure I won. It was funny. I was surprised he actually played me. I'm sure he wasn't really trying, but it was still really cool.

Were you aware of his legend status even at that time?
Well, when I was a kid, I just heard that he was a pro skater and I was just stoked on that. Then I started watching his parts and understood how much he killed it.

Backside Flip

Backside flip. San Francisco, CA. (click to enlarge)

You just got your first car recently, right?
Yeah, I did. My sister just got up and moved to Cali out of nowhere, and my dad gave me her car. It's an '08 Altima with leather seats. It's pretty sick for a first car.

Do you get to drive it a lot, or do you take a lot of public transportation still?
Oh, I was so sick of taking public transportation before I got my car. Like the skatepark is only four miles away, but taking the bus there would take an hour. Having the car has definitely made my life easier.

Do you work with your brother's car-towing business?
Right now, every day he gets so mad at me for not wanting to work more with him. I want to skateboard every day, but he's about to have his license suspended, so he keeps telling me, "That's it. You're working full-time." And I just say, "Oh no, no, I'm not" [laughs]. And since his truck isn't working and I have a car, he thinks I gotta cater to him, like pick him up, get him food, or whatever. But it's all good.

Are you getting paid from your sponsors, or do you work with your brother for money?
I get paid a little bit, but it's real tough. I'll sell skate product here and there. My brother works for a repo company, and I can go online and see people's info who need their cars repossessed and it gives you their address. So all I got to do is go to their address, and if the car is there, I get 50 bucks. But they're not always there, so it kind of sucks because it's a waste of gas and time.

I've seen videos of repos and people go crazy sometimes and will fight back. Have you had any of those encounters?
Oh yeah, they go so hard, especially in New York. You can basically read the names of the people and kind of car that needs to be repossessed and know that you're not getting the car from them.

"IT'S JUST COOL TO SEE US GO FROM SLEEPOVERS AS KIDS TO BEING ABLE TO BE DOING WHAT WE'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO, BEING IN MAGAZINES AND FILMING FOR REAL VIDEO PROJECTS."

Yeah, I guess you ain't getting Vinnie's 2016 Mercedes from him.
Yeah, you're not getting Anthony's Camaro for sure. Some people hide them and shit, and it's so hard to find. I'll find a couple of cars and make a couple hundred bucks, but it's not something I'm trying to do all the time.

Did you graduate high school?
Yeah, I just graduated last year. I haven't been to college yet, so my mom's been hassling me about that too. I try to push it aside and keep telling her that if shit don't start popping off this summer, I'll go to college. I keep telling her I'm being productive. I'm not being lazy. I mean, I'm trying to get these clips [laughs].

Did your parents trip out the first time they saw you in magazines?
Yeah, they did, and actually I've been fortunate enough to have photos in all the mags. I'll show her and she says, "Oh, that's great," then she forgets.

That's why you gotta keep getting those photos.
For sure. I showed her Tyshawn's cover this month and I had a Sightings photo in there, which I'm stoked about that. It's just cool to see us go from sleepovers as kids to being able to be doing what we've always wanted to do, being in magazines and filming for real video projects.

How are things going with Alien Workshop?
Things are great. I don't think I'd be where I'm at without Brennan [Conroy] and the whole Alien crew. Just from this past year, so much has happened and I'm stoked. I love the graphics. Mike Hill is still running it. And maybe Joey and Yaje will go pro pretty soon.

frankie-spears-feeble-grind

Feeble grind. Queens, NY. PHOTO / Reres (click to enlarge)

Are you working on any new video projects?
Chris Mulhern hit me up today and wants me to film a small part for him. But other than that, I'm not sure about another Alien video anytime soon.

Any urge to move to California?
I think I'm going to stay out in New York. There's just so many good spots. I just like having my family here. I just love New York. It's so sick.

Does your dad comment on your Instagram a lot?
[Laughs] Yeah, he's been doing that so much. All of my friends have been seeing it. He's always on the 'gram lately. It's pretty funny. My brother works for him, so he doesn't really have to work and he's just home all day on Instagram. I brought it up to him, but he says, "It makes me so proud." So I just said, "Do what you want." I don't even care. He always comments on the Alien Instagram. He comments saying, "That's my son!" Or he'll tag me in a photo that Alien posted of me, and I'll be like, "I know. I'm already tagged in it. I know that's me, Dad" [laughs].

Favorite ams right now?
Definitely Tyshawn, but I could see him going pro real soon. Mason Silva is really good. Brandon Nguyen and Joey Guevara.

Am who should be pro?
Tyshawn. Fuck it.

More Am Issue Interviews:

Bobby De Keyzer

Dane Brady

Cole Wilson

Cyrus Bennett