7.19.2017

recommended by: marc johnson

A special installment of the on-going @chromeball series... 
too long for Insta but too good not to be presented in its entirety. 
Enjoy. 


*) R.E.M. / Eponymous

At night I drink myself to sleep and pretend
I don't care if you're not here with me
'Cause it's so much easier to handle
All my problems if I'm too far out to sea
But something better happen soon
Or it's gonna be too late to bring you back

I grew up in a household that some well-adjusted people might call a “bizarre familial dynamic”. Instead of one of guidance and support, the best way to describe it would be a dynamic of contradiction and conflict. People wrestling with not understanding their internal conflict and in expressing that confusion, projecting that conflict externally onto those closest to them. Not loving or knowing how to love your loved ones. It was confusing. We weren’t a family that worked in the way that the families of friends worked. We were roommates who hated each other and our situation and we fought a lot. Shitty to one another. Actually, it wasn’t unusual at all. That was pretty normal on my side of the tracks. 

There’s a line from Lolita where Humbert says that what happens to a boy during the summer he’s 14 can mark him for life. This album was the soundtrack to the summer of 1991 when I was 14, just before starting my freshman year in high school. By that time, I had taken to spending large spaces of time away from home and essentially living with various friends. That summer I was living with a friend I’d spent 8th grade causing trouble with and skateboarding every day. When I started staying at his house more and more often, this album was always on somewhere in the house. We listened to it religiously after a while. He was more of daredevil than I was, and he didn’t hold onto skateboarding as tightly as I did. It didn’t mean as much to him as it did to me. His family background ensured that skateboarding didn’t need to be his savior. Unlike me, he could go on to do whatever the hell he wanted. I clung so tightly to the magical language of this secret club I had discovered, and I prized it and valued it as if someone could show up and take it away from me at any moment. He had a kind of free-wheeling careless yin for the more introspective and serious yang that my upbringing had instilled in me. Our shit was always on the verge of collapse, so I always found myself drawn to friends who balanced that out with a childlike happiness that only stability and affluence will afford a kid. They needed a little grounding and I needed some time in the clouds up there with them. Just to know that it was there and what it was like. Knowledge that would serve me in years to come.

There’s a direct correlation between the spiritual and mental evolution and the higher order beings that personal success confronts you with and puts in your path. In reaching for and discovering your own potential, you’ll find yourself in the company of others whose personal experience will enrich your own and will help you grow and evolve. Striving to realize your higher self magnetizes you to others who have followed and are striving for the higher path, and so on. 

You will end up where you’re going, as long as you keep going. 

My buddy had been dating this girl from another middle school that whole year and in the first weeks of that summer, I was introduced to her. We got along really well. As teenage girls go, she was cool as hell and it was quickly decided by them both that I would be paired up with her best friend for the summer. They had more dubious intentions for my experiences of that time than I was aware of. And those intentions I had no awareness of were to end up being so much more important to me than anything they could’ve explained to my tiny brain at the time anyway. And I’m still so grateful to their teenage selves for not considering how I might feel about where they were about to take me. They taught me that sometimes you gotta just hang on and enjoy the ride. This album is the soundtrack to all of it. 

It was to be the end of a lazy kind of idyllic perception of my world at that time, before a kind of shit-hits-the-fan reality set in just months later. I think that’s part of why this album means so much to me. It takes me back to an idea of what life can be. Carefree and fun and mysterious, the way a flower might feel just before it blooms, before it really knows what blooming feels like, and before it understands that people only want to clip those flowers that have bloomed. A state of imagination and wonder, of knowing that something else is out there, and imagining all of the good and hopeful things it could be. Ignorance and bliss.

This album is a compilation of alternate mixes and unreleased tracks from the early college-radio years and sound of R.E.M. The early lo-fi empty hall sound of Michael Stipe’s voice singing those strange and obscure lyrics over that goddamn awesome Peter Buck tin can jangly guitar sound of the 80’s immediately had a strange effect on my 14-year-old mind that continues to this day. The way the songs flow into one another plays in my mind like scenes from a movie. I can see pictures and montages of that summer with the intros and choruses of the songs. Pictures that bring back with each visit both a surprisingly ignorant and naive sadness and a fondness that words can do no justice for. It’s the kind of music that should be playing while you’re doing something other than listening to music. It belongs in the background, like the walls of an old bedroom in a house you used to live in.

Oddly enough, all of the early R.E.M. songs from this album that were recorded prior to 1985 were recorded and mixed in the same exact town where I’m from, where I first heard this album that summer. I didn’t make that connection until more than 20 years later.

Favorites from this album:
Talk about the Passion
Don’t Go Back To Rockville
Driver 8
Fall on Me
The One I Love


**) The RA Material / An Ancient Astronaut Speaks

This is a heavy book. It’s hard to use words to describe it. I highly recommend this for anyone out there seeking to understand metaphysical spirituality or who simply digs tripping out on some UFO / ancient history stuff. It’s even way beyond that. It’s like a spirit describing and explaining life beyond the physical realm we know. A spirit with access to information that transcends time and space.

Don Elkins was a PhD physicist and a pilot for a commercial airline in the 1970’s and 80’s. He developed an experiment in 1962 designed to contact extraterrestrials, and using ‘tuned trance channeling’, the research group — L/L Research — made contact with a group of extraterrestrials in 1981. Almost 20 years later. Carla Rueckert was at the time, the 18 year-old human instrument for this contact, and using extremely precise instructions given by the RA group during the first contact, L/L was able to tune her meditative frequency to a wavelength that supported communication from Don Elkins to RA, using Carla as the human radio once the signal was tuned to. Don spoke to RA while Carla was asleep, her tuned body instrument responded, and Jim McCarty sat in and recorded and transcribed each word that came through. What they recorded was the verbatim word-for-word conversation between Elkins and RA, through Rueckert acting as a sleeping medium. RA used Carla’s knowledge of the English language to form its extremely complex 106 answers to these first questions and ultimately five more books’ worth of questions Don Elkins later asked it in subsequent sessions. The Material came through in English but has its own unique glossary of terms that RA used.  

The scope of information that came through Carla is beyond explanation. Don asked RA almost anything and everything about itself and its life, and tons of questions about our pre-recorded history. It’s the history of our solar system, of our planet, of life on other current and previously existing planets that were destroyed long before we can understand translated in terms of Earth years. It’s the nature of life itself, the nature of the soul and the nature of good and evil. This is pre-religion stuff. It goes far beyond our simple concepts of an Earth-centric God or Satan. RA explains itself as a non-physical light consciousness that visited and taught the Egyptians in the post-Atlantis, pre-dynastic period and was later worshipped as the God Ra, symbolized by the Sun. Ra was not a God. Ra exists as a group of souls on a much higher level of density, or dimensional existence outside our ability to normally perceive, what it explains as the Sixth Density, while we here are tuned into and experiencing Third Density, on a much lower vibrational solid matter wavelength or ‘radio station’. There is no English or human word for RA, so it aligns with the last previously known sound complex “RA” that the ancient Egyptians used. The form RA took to appear to humans in ancient Egypt resembled a glowing body of light, hence the term Sun God used by the much later generations of Egyptians. This a long explanation of the book, but it barely begins to describe how exciting and fascinating this material is.


***) Withnail & I / Bruce Robinson

A fucking genius and insanely hilarious and quotable recounting of writer/director Bruce Robinson’s early years as struggling actor in Camden, London in the late 60’s with his friend Withnail. I’m a fan of well-written dialogue in films. And this might be the best scripted dialogue I’ve ever seen.

Over the years, fans developed a Withnail & I drinking game; matching each character drink for drink in the film. This involves nine and a half glasses of red wine, half a pint of cider, one shot of lighter fluid, two and a half shots of gin, six glasses of sherry, thirteen glasses of whisky and half a pint of ale.

The two out of work actors go away on holiday to Withnail’s uncle Monty’s cabin in the country. When Uncle Monty surprises the two and shows up to spend the weekend with them, all hell breaks loose for Marwood as Uncle Monty takes liking to him.

“I mean to have you, even if it is BURGLARY”

They then return to London to deal with an unexpected intruder in their home, Danny the Drug Dealer. The dialogue that ensues is iconic. 

Marwood: He’s right, Withnail, look at him. His mechanism is gone. He’s had more drugs than you’ve had hot dinners.

Withnail:  I’m not having this shagsack insulting me. Let him get his drugs out.

Danny: [pulls baby doll from satchel]
This doll is extremely dangerous. It has voodoo qualities.
[removes doll head and empties it out and holds up a pill] 
Trade… Pheno Dihydrochloride Benzerex.  Street… ‘The Embalmer’…

Withnail:  Balls. I’ll swallow it and run a mile.

Danny: Cool your boots, man. This pill’s valued at two quid.

Withnail: Two quid? You’re out of your mind.

Marwood: That’s sense, Withnail.

Withnail: You can stuff it up your ass for nothing and fuck off while you’re doing it.

Danny:  No need to insult me, man. I was leaving anyway.

Withnail is based on Robinson’s friend and Camden roommate the actor Vivian MacKerrell, who did, in fact, drink lighter fluid and was unable to see for days afterward. 

Withnail & I is the definition of a classic film in every way. 

=O

Thanks for taking the time, Marc. More Recommended By's here

6.22.2017

chrome ball interview #103: dan drehobl

Chops and Corpsey go out for a smoke. 


Thanks for doing this, Dan. We’ll start out with an easy one... do you still not skate in socks? When did you first notice that wearing socks while skating meant guaranteed slamming for you and when was the last time you actually tried wearing them during a session?

(laughs) I started wearing socks again about 15 years ago. I used to feel like I couldn't get the same boardfeel while wearing them but I just wear thinner shoes now. I'm pretty sure I started wearing socks when I left Emerica to skate for Vans. Now I just wear Chucks. 

So how long did you go without skating in socks? I mean, that can't smell too good, right? Was it just some kinda weird mental block in your head that got planted somehow?

I’m going to say that I went a solid 5 years without skating in socks. I would get swamp foot really bad, to where a film would form on the inside of my shoes… and yeah, the smell was horrendous.

I remember on this one trip, Duffy and I went on to Australia and I'd been skating sockless for a few weeks in the heat. I tried to dry out my shoes using a hotel hair dryer and the stench just permeated through the room for days. Pat was not stoked.

It was definitely just a mental block I had. Honestly, I believe just about everything with skating is mental. If you think you can do something, then all you have to do is do it… to a certain degree, anyway.


Another one I've heard, and although all evidence has been seemingly destroyed, word has it that you pushed mongo well into being a sponsored amateur? Any truth to that? And if so, what was the pivotal moment that made you change to regular? Was mongo just more accepted in Maine or something?

I grew up pushing mongo in Maine and continued doing so throughout the 6 months or so that I rode for Foundation in Southern California and then for probably about another year into living in SF, riding for Think. There's footage of me ollieing Wallenberg and skating around EMB while pushing mongo... though, I do remember seeing myself in that footage and thinking that it looked fucked.

It was right around this same time that people were beginning to push switch so I just started messing around with pushing differently. It kinda helped because I could push switch really fast after that. I guess it all worked out. (laughs)

Maybe it was more accepted in Maine but nobody ever really gave me shit about it anywhere else either.

I know you and Rob Welsh would skate together back in Maine. Did the two of you ever talk about moving out to California with dreams of “making it” in skateboarding? I know you were already on a few smaller companies around this time. 

I did know Rob back then but he was only 14-years-old. I was 18 so I kind of looked at him as a little kid. I didn't really hang out with him much.

I do remember one time when he asked my friend Jamie and I to give him a ride home from the skatepark. We told him that we would but only if he smoked pot on the ride there. I remember dropping him off at his house just super stoned. I could be kind of a dick back then. Sorry, Rob.

I just wanted to get out of Maine and see more of the world. I mean, I wanted to get picked up by someone, too, but really, I just wanted to get out and skate. I would see sunny California in videos and the mags and just wanted to ride all of the awesome shit I was seeing.

But I gotta say that when it comes to you and Welsh, you are two of tobacco’s finest in all of skateboarding. Is there some kind of unspoken thing with skaters from Maine and smoking?

Yeah, I don't know. I just picked that shit up at a young age and haven't been able to shake it.

I'm pretty sure Rob quit, though. I hope he has.

For the record: Is smoking cool? And how tired are you of getting asked about it?

I get short of breath and constantly have a shitty taste in my mouth. So no, smoking isn't cool. It sucks, really. It's a shitty bad habit.


You gotta admit though, it’s lent itself to some pretty cool ads and photos of you skating. But seeing stuff like that and being so closely associated with smoking, does it kinda bum you out since it is such a bad habit? Did you have any hand in the decision to use smoking almost as a marketing tool for you?

No, it’s never bummed me out. The way I look at it is that’s just me. I smoke and sometimes I smoke when I skate, so whatever. I’ve never really worried about it influencing younger skaters. The way I feel about it is that it's your own personal choice whether or not to smoke. And as far as using it for marketing, I’ve never really had any hand in that but I don’t really care one way or the other.

But you have had more than your fair share of classic photos with tricks done while smoking… everything from frontside inverts in pools to nosegrinds down Hubba Hideout. Does smoking while skating help you on some level? Is it a slight enough distraction with having a smoke in your mouth to make your trick? Ever been burnt while doing it?

I will say that sometimes smoking has helped me land tricks. If for nothing else, it has allowed me to stop and take a break before giving it another go. If I’m smoking in any particular photo then that trick probably took me a little while to land because I usually don’t light up a smoke right when I first start trying a trick.

But no, I’ve never seen it as a distraction and I’ve never burnt myself.


Getting kicked off Foundation via an ad in your amateur days… I asked Swank about it myself and he blames Beagle and possibly Jason Masse. Did those guys have it out for you or something? Have you ever talked to Tod about any of this and do you accept his apology?

I've talked to Tod about it and we're cool. I like Tod. I don't hold a grudge over some dumb shit that happened 25 years ago. I think I met Josh once when I was on the team but I really can't even remember now so I can't really hold it against him either. We didn't really know each other.

It all worked out in the end, though. We're all good.

Rumor has it that you got on Think by trying to 360 ollie the Gonz Gap… is that true? Did you ever make that? And did you skate the Gonz Gap often back then?

The 360 attempt might have helped but really what happened was that I met Bryce Kanights at his ramp, Studio 43. We started skating and shooting photos together and he started to tell people about me. One day, I was skating his ramp and I had flat spots. Greg Carroll just came up and gave me a set of wheels, asking me to ride for Think. That was it. I'm sure you've skated with flatspots before and know how bad it sucks so I really didn't have a choice.

Amazing.

I wouldn't say I skated the Gonz gap often but I would jump down it every now and then. I did get to skate it with Gonz back when he kickflipped it. That was insane. Definitely a good one to have in the old memory bank.

I never made the 360 though. My foot slipped off my tail and I tore my MCL so I never wanted to try it again. Then, once my knee got better, I tried to switch ollie it. I landed on one but zipped out and hit my head. That was pretty much it for me and that gap.


Were you down with all the rave-stuff that Think had going at the time? Were you hitting up a lot of raves with the crew back then and getting weird? Kinda hard to picture, honestly. 

I fucking hated that shit!

I was actually going out with this girl at the time and she had moved out to SF before me. When I finally got out to SF, she had made this total transformation. She looked fucking crazy! She had all this pink shit weaved into her hair and was dressing all weird with those goofy boy pants. I did go to a few raves with her and tried ecstasy and all that but it just wasn't my scene. I thought it was lame. But once I found out that she had cheated on me, I was completely over that shit. I broke up with her, never went to another rave again and started telling Think that they needed to chill out with the rave graphics. (laughs)

Nobody on the team was into that stuff at the time anyway.

What’s the story behind that photo of you with the Think stickers on your head at EMB?

Dude, there's no story to that. I'm just a fucking idiot and had a shaved head so I put stickers on it.


How were you treated by the “fresh” EMB kids back then? Already deemed “not progressive enough” by Swank, were you just another transplant t-dog at first?

I really don't know. I would see other people get vibed out but it never really happened to me. I guess I just got lucky. Maybe I picked out the right pair of goofy boy pants and was able to blend in.

As an all-terrain skater in the 90’s, did you ever feel boxed in-by trends and politics? Did you ever feel pressure to put out more street footage over tranny stuff for sheer marketability?

When I first got on Think and turned pro, I definitely felt this pressure in my head that I needed to start skating and dressing a certain way. You can watch my part in Think's Another Day on the Range video and see that I’m going through all that shit.

After a few months of that kinda pressure, I just started losing it. I would go skating, freak out and focus my board pretty much every day. It just got to the point where I had to make the decision, “Fuck this, I'm just going to skate how I want.”

There were definitely other skaters that influenced me in that direction, too. Sean Young and Matt Pailes come to mind. I also remember reading a Donger interview where he talked about not being into skating super tech, that he just wanted to skate fast and ollie over the world. That was good to see.

The thing about putting out street footage over tranny footage, it wasn't really like that back then because there wasn't much tranny around to put out footage on. I was living in SF and just skating the city. If there was tranny around, I'd skate it but there just wasn’t any.


You talked about wanting to move out to sunny California to skate awesome shit, San Francisco was mecca back then. How did the spots measure up in real life versus your perceptions from those magazines? Were there any spots, in particular, that you looked forward to skating, only to find that you hated them in reality? And how did the hills treat you as a Maine native?

San Francisco turned out to be even better than I'd ever imagined. I love that city. 

I remember always wanting to skate China Banks and Ft. Miley and ended up loving those spots. And honestly, I didn’t even know about spots like EMB until I got out there, which made it all even better. 


The hills treated me great, man. I loved skating those things. I definitely got my share of road rashes but that’s just part of it all. I wish I could still live there and skate all that shit but life moves on.

I brought it up earlier but how’d that frontside nosegrind down Hubba happen? That’s definitely a spot that seems way easier to skate in-theory than in-person. I remember that nosegrind being a particularly heavy trick at the time... And there’s two angles of that photo too, right?

Honestly, I barely even remember doing that nosegrind down Hubba. (laughs)

The photos look amazing, though!

I actually just found out about Theo’s angle the other day on Instagram, I never even knew he shot a photo. It does look good, though.

Bryce's Angle

Where’d the name Spiderman Dan come from? 

When I first came out to California, I ended up staying with Dave Bergthold for a little while and got to skate the Blockhead ramp. One night, we were all hanging out and someone bet me $40 to eat this huge spider… so I ate it. It was actually in the credits of one of the Blockhead videos.

A couple years later, the Back to the City contest was going on and everyone was skating EMB. I'm pretty sure it was the same time that I tried to 360 the Gonz. But Oscar Jordan was there and he knew the story so he started yelling "Spiderman Dan". I guess it just caught on.

I always hated that nickname.


But how does that compare to Corpsey or Cancer Dan? Is there one you actually prefer? I always liked Corpsey… but I guess just regular “Dan” also works.

I just really hated “Spiderman Dan” for some reason. I don't even really know why. “Cancer Dan” was pretty good at first but after having a friend die from cancer, it just wasn’t funny anymore. I’ve always been fine with Corpsey but I’d rather just be Dan.

Fair enough. So for future generations, what’s the Dan Drehobl secret to skating tight transitions? You always make it look so easy! Is it a weight distribution thing or just saying “fuck it” and plowing through or what?

That’s confidential information. I’m sorry but I can’t tell you the secret.

(laughs) Well, how’d that Ft. Miley feeble grind on the middle bar go down then? You weren't really seeing many tricks like that at the time. Was that a battle to pull off? Such a classic ad. 

I would skate Miley a couple times per week back then and was just learning a bunch of shit at the time. As well as I can remember, I’m pretty sure that it took a few sessions to figure out to how to skate the tight hip. You have to kinda jam into it and then ollie late. China Banks is a similar feeling. 

Fort Miley is actually where I learned how to lock onto a round bar. I don't really remember who shot it or how long it took. I probably thought it was cool that I did a new trick but it wasn't really a big deal.

I remember Cardiel had already ollied over the corner of it by then. I was also trying to frontside 180 over it when I started hitting my nose so I did a little noseslide to fakie on it, too, which was cool. But within a year after that, Phil ollied over it to frontside grind and that was it. He took the cake with that one.


What about the boardslide to fakie over the bench at China Banks for your Damaged ender? That was mind-blowing at the time.

That one took a while, like several hours. Then I had to go back again to shoot a photo of it with Bryce. But soon after that, I started riding a shorter wheelbase so I couldn't jam it back in anymore. Then Tim McKinney somehow lipslid the top of it with a short wheelbase anyways... I still don't know how the hell he managed to do that.

Of all the stuff you’ve thrown out at China, what are you’re most proud of? Some of those blindside grabs over the bench had to be gruesome, right? And is there anything you’ve tried over the years but weren’t able to get?

I would have to say that boardslide fakie over the bench would probably be it for me. Because after a while, I figured out how to get those blindside tricks to where they really weren't that hard to do anymore. 

I will say that there were were a bunch of other tricks that I've almost done there over the years. I've gone back to try them several times but I don't even want to say what they are because I never landed them. I don't want it to seem like I'm talking out of my ass. 



(laughs) But talk a little more about that Damaged part. Was that part specifically like your first “serious” video project? Because there seemed to be much more of a conscious effort with that project to really showcase your skating there.

Well, Think had put out that video Another Day on the Range a few years before that and everyone on the team just hated it. Nobody on the team had any input with it and we all talked so much shit about it that the guys basically said, “Fine, make the next one on your own then.”

So we did. We filmed for about a year on Damaged. We mostly just used each other’s shitty Hi-8 cameras and then Phil Shao, Paul Zuanich and I edited it all together. I like it. I think it's probably a little long but I can say that I'm proud of what we did there. The quality looks like shit now but we could only work with what we had at the time.

How much importance have you placed on video parts throughout your career? Do you enjoy filming and all that comes with it? Like, do you ever make trick lists or sit in on editing?

I've always looked at video parts like they're pretty much everything to being a pro skater. Most of the time, I do like filming. Sometimes it sucks but that's usually when I tell them just to cut it if I can't do it that day.

I've written down lists before, on occasion, but they never seem to work out. And I do like taking part in the editing but haven't really had an opportunity to since Krooked Kronicles.

If you had to choose one of your video parts as a personal favorite, which one would it be?

I'll say I'm most proud of my Transworld part, Free Your Mind. That was a good time in my life. I was having a lot of fun and it was good working with Jason Hernandez and Jon Holland.


Did working on a Transworld video represent a bit of a change for you compared to prior Think projects? 

Yeah, it felt a lot more official because you’re filming with these guys who are known for putting out the best videos. 

I had just gotten on Krooked at the time and I already knew that we were going to be working on a video soon when those guys asked me to film for the Transworld video. I honestly wasn’t sure if I even had two parts in me within that short of a timeframe but I pulled it off... which probably has a little to do with why I was so blown out by the time I was done with Kronicles


But at least you got to show off your acting chops. How did you like making your thespian debut with TNT in the cab? Classic shit, man. Was that just an hour or so, screwing around in the car?

Yeah, we did all that in a day or two, I’ve always hated having to do any type of acting stuff but I gotta admit that it turned out pretty good.


For sure. One thing I noticed during my research for this is a curious running theme throughout your career of always having slam clips in your parts? Why is that?

Slamming is just a part of skating. If skating were really easy, then it wouldn't be as much fun.

Right, but that can be said by everyone who skates, yet most people choose not to have slam footage in there. You’ve had slam clips in all of your parts since the Think days! Do editors just like watching you hurt yourself or something? Do you get a kick out of watching yourself eat shit and personally like putting those clips in there?

I’ve actually made a conscious choice to include them in some videos. I’ve also chosen sketchier landings over clean ones before, too. That kinda stuff just seems more real to me. Like that clip where Sheffey lands the double kink boardslide one-footed in the Life video? That shit is better than a clean make in my book any day. You’ll always remember that clip.

Very true. So how do you go about choosing songs for parts then? Wesley Willis, GG, Billy Joel… always amazing.

I just like a lot of different music and have occasionally put some thought into what song to use, which helps.

(laughs) What is your favorite Phil Shao memory?

I'm not even going to go there.

There's really nothing I could say that would even begin to explain or describe him to someone who never met him. If you ever got the privilege to meet or skate with him then you know. You got to witness his light. If you didn't then you missed it. That's it.


But do you think Phil ever got the proper due for his skating? I feel like, had he come up in skating at any other time, he’d have SOTY honors and million dollar endorsement deals. The grind at Miley is just one of his many legendary feats but unfortunately, the trends favored slow flatground and 50-50s on little flatbars at the time.

Yeah, it would’ve been great if he’d made more money for all that he did but if he hadn’t died, he would have had all that shit. As far as the little world that I was living in, myself and everyone I knew… we all knew he was the best.

The thing about Phil was that he was just starting to hit his stride when he passed away.

Was there ever talk of you being on his company at some point, Dump Truck?

No, I was helping him with it a little but that was his thing. I was going to continue riding for Think… I might have even suggested that name but I'm not sure. I remember telling him to just call it whatever, that it didn't really matter. Whatever he called it was going to work out once he built the image around it.

Talk a little bit about the filming of Dedication? When during the filming of this video did we lose Phil and when was it decided that the video would be in his honor? How did that affect what looked to be an already intense project? 

I forget exactly how far along we were but I'm pretty sure that we were done filming when he died. I don't think we even had a choice but to dedicate it to him. It was our lives and that last part of his was his life and that was that.


Well said. Moving on, what inspired your tail stall-to-handrail phase? How did you even get started doing that? 

I was living in this house that had a stoop and I'd always try to drop in from higher and higher on the steps until I could do it from the top. 

There was a house just down the street and while the steps were the same, it also had this perfect little low handrail. So I started fucking around a little, trying to tail ollie up onto it and it just kinda went from there. It was always fun to do.

Later on, my friend Isaac randomly moved into that house and it became a full-on skate house for years. It might still be a skate house… I have no idea.

How did Krooked enter the picture? And was there ever any talk of you riding for any other Deluxe companies before that, like Anti-Hero possibly?

Mark asked me about Krooked early on and it really ended up happening. I couldn't be happier.

But no, there has never been any talk of me riding for Anti-Hero.


But in riding for Krooked, you did "cross 3rd Street" from Think to Deluxe, two of the biggest things going in the SF skate scene at the time. I know this move was contemplated by many but you were the first... which had to be gnarly, right? How difficult was that, politically speaking? 

Well, when Mark asked me to ride for what would become Krooked, I didn't think that it was really even an option. But after Phil died, Think just wasn't the same anymore. I'd gotten quite frustrated with them after 10 years of butting heads. I'd gone to too many team meetings so I quit. I was honestly about to go do something else when the Illuminati pulled some strings and that was that. I'd crossed 3rd Street. 

What was the "something else"?

Sorry, I can't talk about that. 

But how do you go about projects like Gnar Gnar, Naughty and Krook3d? What are the expectations of you and the rest of the team for these videos? Obviously ripping footage but is it more a fun/art piece for you guys versus a “serious” video? Or am I full of shit?

Those are all just the products of Mark’s brain. Mark's the music maker and we're just the dreamer of the dreams. We just go along with it and try to have some fun.

What about Krooked Kronicles? That had to be a bit of a different undertaking for you guys, right? I do love your part in that one, though. You brought up being a little burnt towards the end of that one, having followed your Transworld part so closely. Were you pleased with the part? It's honestly one of my favorites. 

Yeah, Krooked Kronicles was definitely more of a project where it was like, “You guys have a year to film, we're going on these trips, yada yada yada”.

I like that part but I was going through some shit at the time and that’s all I see when I watch it. I put a lot of pressure on myself with that video and I was drinking way too much. You can watch that part and see the alcohol taking its toll on me. I gain like 20 pounds from beginning to end.

Who’s idea was it to skate to Forever in Blue Jeans? Incredible!

That was all me. I went through a heavy Neil Diamond phase that year.


What’s your best Mark Gonzales story?

Mark’s amazing. He’s just one of those truly gifted people. He was always my favorite skater growing up so maybe I’ve always been a little reserved around him? I don’t know. But everything that dude does, it’s just Mark.

I’ll tell you this story…. Back when I was skating the Gonz gap with him the day he kickflipped it, everyone else would climb up the ledge to get back up to the top of it but he would run and jump, putting his foot on the edge of a trash can and then jump off that up to the top of the ledge. I remember one time, his foot slipped and went into the can. Anyone else would’ve just eaten shit but he pulled his foot back up and put it back on the edge again before jumping up to the top, like it was nothing. My friend Greg and I just looked each other, like, “Holy shit, did you just see that?”

He’s just an enigma. Skateboarding would not be the same without him, to say the least.

Corpsey definitely went through quite a transformation around this time… what were the series of events that led to your diagnosis of having Type 1 Diabetes? Crazy shit, man.

Back about 5 years ago, I quit drinking. I started losing a lot of weight but I just attributed it to the not drinking. I lost 30 pounds within a few months and towards the end, I started weighing myself and I was losing a pound every day. I was also pissing about 20 or 30 times a day, too. And I was constantly thirsty.

I went to Hawaii to get married and while talking to a friend about my symptoms, she insisted that I go see a doctor. So the day before our wedding, I go to see a doctor and was diagnosed with Type 1 "Juvenile Diabetes" at the age of 40. I'm pretty sure I had it for about 8 years prior… but that's a whole other story.

Basically, I had been feeling like crap and just never had any energy for years. The symptoms and timeline all work out. When kids get Type 1 Diabetes, it’s like bam! They’re completely diabetic. But for adults, it’s much more gradual. They go through a period called the “honeymoon phase” where they’re just slightly diabetic, which tends to last about 10 years or so. My “honeymoon phase” lasted about 2 years after my diagnosis and about 8 years before my diagnosis.  I was just always really sick... never feeling quite right until I was finally diagnosed and put on insulin.


Were you affected at all by Lewis Marnell’s diabetes-related passing? That had to be startling to you on some level. Did you know he also suffered from your same affliction?

I didn't really know Lewis that well but it really sucks that he passed away. From what I know, he passed away as a result of having low blood sugar. I had another friend of mine who died after years of neglecting his diabetes from having elevated blood sugar....

Having diabetes is like trying to hold a manual through life. Too much either way will take you out. So yeah, it affects me. It's actually scary as shit. But I just tell myself that it could be worse and manage my shit from day-to-day. 

When did the "air-to-rafter hang" turn into a serious component in your trick repertoire and have you ever bummed any ramp owners out with potential roof damage?

Dude, I seriously don't know where that one came from. But no, I don't think I've ever bummed anyone out with that... other then maybe people just thinking that trick is lame.

(laughs) What's your favorite trick? And what’s one trick that you wish you do better? 

Just a good ollie.

For both answers?

When someone scoops it just right and makes it look so effortless…

Magic. I gotta say one clip that always stands out for me is your Go For Broke switch heel over the 3rd and Army Pipe. I think that's the only clip of you ever even doing that trick. How did that happen? 

I've always been able to do those but I just don't really have the patience to learn any other flip tricks, let alone film them. Whenever I try to film anything with flips, I always end up saying, “Fuck this!” after 2 or 3 tries. That one just happened to work out.


I know it was a “wacky board” challenge but how did you come up with the idea of using an assault rifle for KOTR 2003? Was that an actual working gun or what? How’d you go about building it and how impossible was that thing to skate? Super sick photo though…

That was all Jason Pharis' idea. It was just a plastic toy gun.

A crazy story about that one is when we were leaving the store where we'd bought the toy gun at, we were playing around with it in the parking lot and ended up getting surrounded by cops with their guns drawn! There are people who argue that white privilege doesn't exist but I gotta think that if we weren't white, there’s a good chance that we'd all gotten shot.

But back to the board, we ended up cutting the plastic gun in half and then cutting a skateboard to where it would fit inside it on top before taping and gluing it all back together and mounting trucks to it. It was really long and skinny… and felt pretty heavy, actually. It took me a couple of tries to land that air, though. I remember the first time that I landed on one, it cracked the tail so we had to try taping it all back together again. I ended up landing it with the tail scraping on the ground for the final photo.

That King of the Road trip was really fun but I don't think I'd want to do it again. You gotta go non-stop on that thing. It was fun once, though.  


So Is Freedumb Airlines officially laid to rest? What happened with the resurrection?

Nothing's official. It just kinda ran out of gas..

I've always wondered if Freedumb was always supposed to be the name or if there were any potential other names? Because you always had the best taglines for that project: Assholes of High Society, Shit Sandwich… I have to imagine the contenders for the brand name being just as excellent.

I really wanted to call it Loathing. I wrote down a list of names and showed it to Fausto and he picked Freedumb. I even remember asking him specifically, “Are you sure you don’t like Loathing?”

“No, it’s going to be Freedumb.”

What are typical sources of inspiration for your artwork? Like, where do the ideas for  things like “asshead” and “pisscat” even come from? 

Just go outside and watch some people and you should be able to see where Asshead came from. 

Pisscat came from a cat that I had with undiagnosed diabetes. He would just moan all the time so I drew a picture of myself pissing on him instead of actually doing it. Poor Bubba.


I was always a fan of “Angel Love”

Yeah, we didn’t sell too many of those.

Any thoughts on taking your art a little more seriously? I’ve always enjoyed it more than a lot of other stuff I see making the rounds. Ever thought about doing a show or possibly a book? I’d personally love to see it. Why not?

I try not to take anything too seriously. I’ve been in a few group shows here and there. The last one I was in, I just drew a bunch of skateboarding dicks. 

I love it. Just like the Enjoi series you did!

Right. But I was working on a children’s book a few years ago... it was an alphabet of animals having sex. I only had like four animals to go and I set it aside. Maybe I’ll try to get back to finishing that soon.

Sounds like just what the world needs! Alright Dan, so as we start to wrap this up… what’s next? Anything in the works for you coming up, skating or otherwise?

Actually I've been working on changing my bowl around. It used to have 8 1/4 and 5 1/2 feet walls and I'm changing it so that it’s almost all 7 feet tall with one 8 1/2 foot extension corner. The way it's been set up doesn't really skate like a bowl as much as just two two criss-crossing ramps and I’ve just started to feel like I've done all I can do on it as it is. Hopefully this way will feel more like a big mini ramp... where as before, it felt like a little vert ramp, if that makes sense.

Hopefully I like the way it turns out and if so, I'll probably film another edit on it over the next year or so. We'll see.


Sounds rad. In addition to that, I’ve actually heard there is possibly a new Krooked video in the works? Any truth to that?

Yeah, it actually should be out any day now. I didn’t have a lot of luck filming for it. Deluxe’s filmer lives in LA and after a few failed attempts at having him come film me, I just stopped bugging him. But I got some tricks in there that I’m pretty happy with.

It’ll be good to see some new footage, for sure. Anything you’d like to add to this? Any thank you’s that you want to throw out there or possibly some words of wisdom from the man we call Corpsey?

Just thanks a million to anyone who has ever helped me out… and also thanks to anyone who's ever been a dick to me, too. We're all just humans. It's amazing we've made it this far.

Thanks to Whiteley, Rattray and Dan for taking the time.