Wing Ko

The mysterious name I would see time and again continued to remain just a name for me. Strange considering the nature of skateboarding, with most people hungry for the limelight, this guy seemed to have very little interest in anybody even knowing of his existence. Even after working for years traveling to California countless times, I never came into contact with this person who I eventually started to think was a made up name. I started to form my own little theory that the name “WIng Ko” was nothing more than a pseudonym or pen name being used by several different editors and filmers in LA as some sort of weird inside joke. Until one random day I was hired for a traveling job and the first stop was Denver, Colorado. I was to be met at the airport by the producer of the project who I’d be flying to several cities with and shooting the video for. As I meandered through the halls of the Denver airport I turned a corner and saw a dude looking right at me. He didn’t look like a skater, seeming very non-descript and average in appearance. I walked up and he called my name “Josh!” I walked up to him and before I could respond he exclaimed “Hey man, nice to meet you. I’m Wing Ko”.
Might have been the first and only time one of my theories turned out to be wrong…...

What’s up Wing? Welcome to Theories of Atlantis. Tell us how you first got involved in skateboarding.

I started skating late when I was 19 while in college. Kind of a late bloomer and it also explains my horrible form (mob kf’s, etc).....I was mesmerized by Mark Gonzales’ sequence in Thrasher where he ollied Wallenberg, Christian Hosoi in those weird Vision videos with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Also Natas in the Santa Cruz videos and all early Powell-Peralta videos. The visuals of skateboarding at the time got me so hyped to skate but starting so late my skate mechanics were screwy.

What skaters did you first meet in your younger years? Anybody that we ended up seeing in videos down the road?

I come from Chicago and there weren’t many pro’s coming out from there at the time. Sponsored skaters like Stevie Dread who brought the Alva team through Chicago had a huge impact on the local scene. Alva sponsored Jesse Neuhaus and I would say he was the first legit pro with a board model from Chicago. Eric Murphy made a minor splash with a part I filmed in an Acme video.

I remember watching skate vids in the early 90’s and seeing your name in the credits all the time. How did you originally get involved in these California-based videos if you were living out in Chicago?

While at film school in Chicago, with my friend Eric Matthies, we convinced John Fallahee at Alva to edit their video Out Of Focus (1990). We got sent a bunch of random tapes-vhs, reg 8, s-vhs and edited linearly in a 3/4” edit bay at our school. We blocked out the edit bay so no one could use it except us because we both worked in the film dept at school. It was good times back then.

It’s interesting that you became primarily an editor of skate videos. How’d you find yourself specializing in such a specific piece of the skate video process?

Spike Jonze hooked me up with my first job at World Industries. It was for New World Order. Spike had already done Video Days and Love Child and Socrates had shot and edited 20 Shot Sequence. I’m not sure why I was imported from Chicago to edit the video because they were doing just fine. So it just kind of happened, every year after that I would get a call to help put a video together.

So had you had any formal schooling as an editor before getting involved in skate-videomaking?

No real outside training other than editing my own stuff and the basics in film school. It’s natural when you shoot your own footage you want to edit it.

The list of videos that you’ve edited is pretty amazing. After first talking with you I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t known you were behind some of my favorite skate films growing up. So it started for you with the Alva video, and then your next project was a video for the little known Milk Skateboards? How did that come about?

That was Christian Hosoi’s name behind the company. It was another random call to help put a video together but it was a chance to work with one of my role models, Christian. But it was the time when he was king of the Sunset Strip and not skating as much. Also it was ‘93 when things were in critical beat down mode, pants were fat and wheels were bearing covers. I remember filming at Pioneer in the Inland Empire and set-up’s were so light they were flying away in the wind like kites. The best trick I filmed of Christian was a three stair boardslide.

The 3rd video that you put together is easily in my top 20 favorites of all time. I’m talking about the World Industries video “New World Order”. This was one of the cleanest videos produced in the 90’s. It had a higher production value than most other videos of this time. What were the scenes like Shiloh’s graffiti intro shot on? 16mm or 35mm?

That was all shot on a 16mm-Bolex, Beaulieux or Arri S. I think we were all influenced by Stacy Peralta’s skits, sense of fun and high production quality.

Were you involved in the selection process for the music, or any of the art direction for that video?

Working with those guys was a collaborative effort so the segments had alot of their input. I liked alot of the music the skaters liked-Dr. Dre, The Goats, Roy Ayers so it wasn’t that hard to get music together.

Daewon’s part from New World Order was always a personal favorite. How was it working on that part?
What really stood out for me from Daewon’s part other than the obvious was the audio. I don’t remember what camera Socrates was filming on but the skate audio was so crisp and loud, I remember the chunky bearings whizzing by as he 360 kf’ed gaps, did his thing on the Beryl banks, etc… Filmmakers say that audio is 50% of your picture and Daewon’s part was definitely enhanced by the skate audio.

Any interesting stories from the time you spent working on that video?

One of my most memorable experiences from that time was the impromptu premiere for New World Order video in a Holiday Inn hotel room. The video was finished the same day that Mike Ternasky was premiering Plan B’s Virtual Reality in San Diego. I went to the premiere with Eric Matthies and Craig Stecyk, the energy was amazing as I had never been to one of those big premieres before with everyone screaming at every trick. I had just finished the New World Order video and was walking around with a vhs copy of it. Stecyk rounded up all the heavyweight behind the scene dudes-Fausto Vitello, Kevin Thatcher, O, Rick Novak, and George Powell to watch to New World Order video. Steve Rocco was there and was flipping out because assembled in the room was the whole skate industry who he was trying to piss off for years. It was such a coup for Rocco to have everyone watching his video,  i remember him squealing like a little kid at the excitement of having them all in the same room to watch his video. Eric and I were each gifted our first hundred dollar bill from Rocco that evening.

Wow, then you go right from one amazing video to another and you get to work on what is one of the more significant videos in the history of skate videos, the first Girl Skateboards video “Goldfish”. Again, how did this come about? I know Spike Jonze was heavily involved in this video, but did he just shoot his vignette ideas and then have you do the editing?

Spike had shot alot of the skits already-chase scene with Sheffey and goldfish bowl, underground tunnel with Howard (my favorite!), but Spike was always busy juggling ten different jobs. So he entrusted me to work with Rick and Megan in finishing the vid. I shot a little skating but mostly filled out the skits- Gavin’s yellow line, York’s Chocolate Pow!, Lance’s pogo stick skit. We also did a road trip to Vancouver for the first Slam City Jam. I saw Sheffey get into the manliest of men fights, it was cool to have him on your team. 
It was sketchy at the time because the edit system I was using belonged to a friend of mine who was directing a Skinny Puppy project. I was editing in his loft at the Brewery in downtown, LA which was pretty dark and dingy. When the whole team came over to approve the final edit it was quite a sight to see skaters in a goth environment.

Now, moving into 1995….I remember hanging out at a skateshop in Tampa and seeing that Flip segment in 411 VM  called “Coming to America” for the first time. I think that was most people’s first introduction to the paranormal abilities of Tom Penny. I remember being really stoked on this piece because it was one of thse rare occasions where a skit actually worked pretty seamlessly with skate footage. And all the skate footage as well as the skit scenes were all shot on film. Could you explain the process a little bit?

That was filmed in one week. The Flip team had just arrived in Huntington Beach from England in ‘95. I had just finished directing an Iron Maiden video in London so I had an affinity for things English at the time. Jeremy Fox, Flip’s CEO, was the most unhealthy person I’d ever met. His diet consisted of cigarettes, red meat and donuts. He was also obsessed with assembling the most gnarly skate team ever. I couldn’t really see it with Andy Scott, Rune Glifberg, Geoff Rowley (who was hurt at the time) and Tom Penny. They all looked malnourished and light-deprived English boys. But seeing them on a skateboard was another story. Everyone took care of business right away, most surprisingly Penny whom would wake out of a slumber to kill it each day and go back into slumber mode soon after.

I always wondered how the hell you guys managed to shoot that line of Penny down the hill at the Earl Warren school in San Diego on film. Shooting that on video would’ve been difficult enough, but holding a Bolex down through that whole line seems impossible.

For the Warren line i filmed on a slalom board so it was super fast but pretty easy to keep up with him. Also the day before we had filmed the switch fs flip at Carlsbad where he was sacrificing himself doing it before landing it. From there I had so much respect for him I’d jump out of a building to get a shot if he needed. The Flip piece is probably my personal favorite because of the spontaneity and the way it came together so quick.

Jesus, then you go once again from one gem to another and you end up being the editor for another classic video, “Trilogy”. This video seemed challenging since it was encompassing all of the companies under the World Industries umbrella.

World Industries was on fire at the time. They had all moved to a new warehouse office on Nash St. and everyone top to bottom were motivated to put it together so again it was pure creativity.

It seems like videos from that era had a rawness to them that is lacking these days. Do you think the feel of that video was helped made  possible by having such raw skaters on the teams?

It was pretty well organized with Socrates shooting and cataloging the skate footage, it was just my job to work with everyone to get exactly the way they wanted. It was easy to work with Rodney Mullen, Kareem Campbell, Natas, the Blind guys. Everyone there was excited as well to put a video together from the three companies.The most underrated part was Dill’s all fakie or switch part.

“Trilogy” had a very unique art direction. Who was responsible for the look of that film? Who did those amazing titles for the 101 section?

That was pure Natas. I remember him telling me how he envisioned the title sequence done with vector frames and foamcore. It was going to be brilliant or utter crap. It just edited together with the crazy voice intros like a jigsaw puzzle. Perfect.

Well, the list of videos you’ve edited goes on and on but the interview would take a month if we talked about them all. But some mentionables in your list are “Rodney Vs Daewon”, Plan B “Revolution”, Powell “Strip Mall Heroes” and your involvement in bringing “On Video” to the world.

I was involved in putting together a video every year from 90-2005.

I’d actually like to hear a little bit from you about On VIdeo. I’d bet that most people don’t know that you were the narrator for most of On Video’s pieces and skater profiles. Who were the original people behind it?

On Video was Kirk Dianda’s creation. I don’t know how he got it started but it was an offshoot of 411VM. They had the offices separate from where 411VM was produced because he wanted something completely different from that format.

I’d say that On Video gave birth to the snowball of documentary-style interview pieces on skaters that we see happening on so many different websites, videos, etc these days. Did you intend for it to go into so many different episodes? I felt like, as with everything else, the On Video series was an awesome idea that got caught up in having to be produced on a schedule and soon it eventually eclipsed itself by putting out too many episodes. Why did On Video eventually bite the dust?

We were supposed to be a quarterly release but only made 3 a year as hard as we tried. It was definitely a labor of love. For me it was exactly what I wanted to do as a filmmaker because skateboarding was so good to me that this was my way of giving back. It never made any money but everyone loved it so it survived as long as it did. I have hopes that it’ll be resurrected one day.

Do you ever get a chance these days to catch up on the more current videos that’ve been coming out?

I still buy skate dvd’s. Love them especially if they are special enough to get a dvd release in this day and age of internet craze. I have mad respect for anyone brave enough to put something out right now.

Do you feel that things have improved/evolved significantly since the days you were more involved in the skate video industry? For the better or worse?

There are definitely certain guys who’ve change the game for the better like French Fred, Ty, TWS guys, RB Umali and Joe Castrucci. Technology has revolutionized filmmaking to anyone with the curiosity to shoot and edit. I’m most interested in the cameras on the market these days that are awesome.

You were involved in an era that many filmmakers and skaters would agree was the golden age of skate videos and skateboarding altogether. Back then, only a few company videos were coming out a year, if that. Now with the video market is pretty flooded. How do you think that has effected things?

I’m not involved in the business end of skateboarding so it doesn’t really affect me. If I were part of the industry it would eat me up alive as I’m not much of a businessman. It’s seems like a healthy capitalist model of dog eat dog eating hot dogs. I remember that skateboarding was always underrepresented but now it’s part of mainstream culture. I was glad to be a part of that early era but things always evolve.

Do you think that with the advent of the internet making everything so much more accessible and pushing for a more immediate delivery of skate videos and video content, that it has cheapened the skate video process?

From a kid’s perspective getting into skateboarding it must be great to have access at your finger tips. I’m a big fan of the game of skate on the I would’ve never thought of something so raw like that would be so enjoyable. As long as the content is there people will watch. 

Looking back, would you say you were influenced by any other filmmakers/editors of your time?

Stacy Peralta and Craig Stecyk were major influences and my inspiration to do skate stuff. All their surf influences has so much depth as well.

So, what’ve you been doing since your involvement with skateboarding has waned?

I’m in film world doing documentary stuff. StilI going out and filming every once in a while. I just bought the Canon 7D and super stoked to shoot with that.

Do you ever have any desire to get involved in another skate project?

I have a documentary on the Chicago skate scene that’s always on the back burner. It’s about friends from my era with Stevie Dread, Eric Murphy and Jesse Neuhaus. I really need to finish this one. But I’m always down to work on another project. My work in this world isn’t done.

Well, I just wanna thank you first for helping to make some of the greatest videos of my generation. I have easily spent a year of my life watching your work. And thanks for taking the
time to talk to us about your story.

Jerry Mraz

If you don’t live in New York City there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Jerry Mraz. But if you HAVE met him you’re not likely to forget him. Jerry is the type of person that leaves an impression. Whether he’s just passing you on the street in his dilapidated camouflage hunting truck or catching you skating one of his bizarre quick-dry cement skate spots, chances are you’ve wondered what was going on behind that thousand-mile-stare and handlebar mustache. With the disposition of a Vietnam War vet mixed with an extra from “Heavy Metal Parking Lot”, you can’t help but be intrigued and maybe a little intimidated by the dude. But the truth is that if you had a conversation with Jerry Mraz what you’d discover is a skateboarder with an undying devotion to skateboarding and an rigid set of beliefs about the respect with which his beloved sport should be treated. Having been lucky enough to travel the world and meet skateboarders from all walks of life, I’d have to say that Jerry is one of the most motivated and industrious people I’ve met to date. You know those spots you come across every day that have you saying “God, this thing would be amazing if only the runway was cement instead of brick and that handrail wasn’t in the way”? Well, Jerry will not talk about it, he’ll simply come through later under the cover of night accompanied only by a few buckets of cement, his camo truck and a sledge hammer and the next morning the Department of Transportation will happen by the spot scratching their heads wondering if there really is such a thing as a cement-fairy.

In an era where skateboarding has found it’s 15 minutes of pop fame, it seems that the industry has become neutered, once an angry pit bull in the ghetto it has become a docile little suburban poodle. But although most of them have disappeared there are still a few of those bizarre characters remaining who help maintain a little bit of color and life in the “sport”. I think we owe a lot to these dudes who help keep an aura of lawlessness and chaos in a culture that’s become more and more structured and controlled. Jerry Mraz is one of those characters, and he just so happens to rip as well. So let’s take a look at what he has to say and then next time he catches you filming at one of the spots he built you will know whether to walk up and shake his hand or to run for your fucking life.

Alright, let’s get this started…...are you ready?
We’re not getting any younger.

Ok, you’re originally from Michigan, right? What city?
I’m from Jackson, Michigan.  It’s about an hour from Detroit.  The place has around 50,000 people, a lot of country around a town with plenty of W.T. and a small hood area.  It’s home to one of the largest prisons in the U.S. and some of my good friends.

When did you move to New York?
A few of my friends and I moved out about 8 years ago now.  I seriously love this place.

Why did you leave Michigan?
I need to be in a big city.  I feed off that energy my every waking hour.  My town is especially slow, so I’d get violently depressed there.

How was the NY skate scene when you first got here? I assume that it has changed a little bit?
I didn’t really know what was going on when I got here, but I had an idea of what I wanted the experience to turn into…I never visited untill 2000 and then again in August 2001. As soon as I checked it out I knew I had to get myself out here quick. When we first showed up it was amazing because we knew we were very fortunate to be doing what we were doing and tried our damnedest to take everything in and make the most of it. There was a collective sense of that.  It was cool to go to Tompkins and see Poppalardo skating. It was cool to meet some of the O.G. NY types who, as a fan of skateboarding, I have a ton of admiration for. I wasn’t here for the first heyday or whatever, but I’m here now for the second. New York is the new skate mecca. I’ve been saying it was about to happen for years. I’m pretty sure it’s happened.

Yeah, it seems like NY went from slept-on to crept-on in just a few years. Well, how would you describe the scene here today?
It’s like a multi headed boyle on the ass of a rabid, worm infested, warthog.  It’s about to explode and something smells kinda ripe…Nah, I don’t know.  I’m not exposed first hand to a lot of what’s going on because I mostly do my own thing. I know there’s some kids doing some wild shit,  and some of em I’m psyched on. I see some preposterous shit and some horrendous lapses in judgement too.

 You want me to call some people out? That’s something that should be done outside of the computer only. I ain’t naming no names.  All the dogs have to live with themselves and their fleas. But shit, I’ve called a guy to come meet me at a pretty rough project to film.  This place had already been skated by a pretty sick local dude, but I had found it on my own after the fact, see. I show up by myself and skate for a half hour. Finally dude shows up, 2 car loads and 8 or 9marshmallows deep. They didn’t show respect to the people who live there and one kid let his board shoot out into a ladies ankle who was pushing a stroller. I went back there about a month ago and talked to my boy who is always hanging out in the courtyard and he told me that those same kids had been back and another person had got hit. All the folks who live there were pissed. That had been the last straw and skating at those buildings was pretty much a wrap. A damn shame I thought, you know? Then there’s been instances of the photo guy who has the terms of the need for discretion directly told to him before taking him to a spot. Upon getting there and trying a move, dude refuses to pull out his gear. We give up and split and then a month later he’s got a sequence of some chomper kid running in the mag. I guess that’s all fairly typical, but still pretty fucking unscrupulous if you ask me. There’s really too much shite to list but those are a couple instances of some classic unsavory behavior.

Ummmmm…..a “marshmallow”?
Soft, sweet, and white. The opposite of me, minus the white part.

Ah….ok. So then, what NY skaters are keeping the NY vibe alive?
I guess that depends on what NY vibe you’re talking about? I guess I don’t know what the NY vibe is…I know the King of New York died a couple years ago. His name was Andy Kessler. He was a friend of mine.  His vibe as an entity over the city is just irreplaceable. As for right now, there’s a brand of thought driven skateboarding going on here and all over in little pockets. There’s mass people I’m psyched on here.  I’m really psyched on the kids that are from here doing their thing well, because I know that it makes it a lot tougher than someone who figured it out somewhere else and then moved here. There’s also a ton of people that have moved here and contributed. I watch every NY video or clip I can get my hands on. The city has all types of talent all over. That said, I don’t really get psyched on people just because they have talent or whatever. Everybody is good, it doesn’t mean what it used to. I like to see skateboarding progress in it’s other realms firstly.

What do you mean by “brand of thought-driven skateboarding? And what “other realms” do you mean exactly?
This all comes down to people who are putting their skating out there. If you’re just messing around having a good time with your buddies not documenting seriously, good for you. You are the essence of the act. For me thought driven skateboarding is just that. Using your fucking noggin. Putting thought into what you skate, how you skate it, trick selection, trick chronology and spot aesthetics. Speaking without words and shit… And those are the other realms for the most part. Everybody has different things they’re into. For me, the biggest, longest, mostest, flip in/ flip out progression of skateboarding has been burnt toast for years now. It’s probably a shitty thing to say, but I truly believe that everything trick wise that needed to get done on a skateboard had been done by the photosynthesis era, maybe even earlier. Dudes floppin around looking like they’re in a video game don’t do much for me. I’m not looking for shock value. I personally, like to see some shit I can relate to.

What do you look for when watching somebody’s video part?  Influences?
I like to see a guy on a skateboard that makes you say “Damn, he looks like a G”, I like to see people who respect and refine the craft. I’m now friends with a lot of the people who were my influences, and it ruins it. I don’t ever want to get to know Rick O…The skating was always brought to me through videos. There was a shop I used to rent ‘Public Domain’ and ‘Streets on Fire’ from back in the late 80’s not long after they came out. Shortly after I got ‘Hocus Pocus’. I was late on ‘Shackle Me Not’. I’ve wanted to skate JFK since ‘Rubbish Heap’ came out. I was late to get ‘Video Days’. After that ‘1281’ was a huge one for me. ‘Eastern Exposure 3’ was tremendous. I was a big fan of Alan Petersen and Cards, I’d always be all over anything they put out. I’ve always been a huge fan of ‘Mouse’ and ‘Photosynthesis’ since they came out…Now I mostly only look for indy videos and there’s too many ill ones to name.

Yeah, speaking of which, you have a pretty extensive collection of independent videos. Is it like collecting baseball cards for you or do you actually watch every one of them?
What’s the point in having em if you don’t watch em? It is collecting little windows into other peoples interpretations of skateboard riding. I think skate videos, especially independent, homie, and shop videos are dope and very important. They are the back bone of the underground element of this culture. It’s also sick because every person who puts out a video part has their little say in how they want the movement to go forward. It’s a democracy of sorts and it’s an integral part of the process of the next progression of skateboarding. At least that’s what I think. Skateboarding is subjective and I thank god for that. It is a shame though, when video makers get their video done and just sleep on it. I see that happen all the time. It’s tough and expensive to get hard copies out all the people that need to see the video, but it’s important to try. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to do something on your site. Because I feel like it could turn into a major hub for these underground videos. The internet just isn’t cutting yet as far as a one and done outlet for this shit. I always look at like “Look, this is your big movie premier…you can have it play at one theater or have it open worldwide.”  To all the video makers out there holler at me, let’s trade works. I do zines too.

Yeah you know eight and a half by eleven pieces of paper folded in half with xeroxed pictures and shit on em. I can’t really just put my photos and such up in a big mag so I just do my own shit.  I got no blog and my social network is the people who I call or see on the street. Same rules apply, the internet just isn’t cutting it as a one and done outlet for the magazine either. My last zine was ‘No Harm No Foul’. I won’t ever do two with the same name though and It’s putting me on the spot to tell you the name of the new joint.  It’ll have some boisterous shit in there though for sure, believe you me.

I didn’t ask for the name of the new joint. Out of everyone I know and skate with in the New York scene, I feel like you might put the most amount of effort into your spots. There have been several spots that you’ve built like the DIY skatepark under the BQE Brooklyn Queens Expressway) in Williamsburg. Do you build spots like that for your personal use or as a diversion for other local skaters to stay away from street spots?
A diversion? That’s absurd.

Well it seemed pretty ingenious to me. Build a bunch of cement playgrounds to keep the kids distracted and then you can skate street spots with less clutter
Working on spots is my big hobby outside of skateboarding so I spend most of my time off in the streets tinkering with em. The BQE is for everyone though. I keep that BQE spot going, as shitty as it is, just because it’s close to my house and I need to skate everyday. I love skating and I need to do it everyday. That said, I also have to work to pay rent. Frequently I have to work beast long days and need somewhere close that I can just roll around lightweight just enough to remember how and then pass out for the night. I’ve kept it just shitty enough, where it’s still fun, but not good enough to attract a ton of people. It’s gotten out of hand in the past. If you build it, they will come. And then your shit gets blown out and they tear it out, is usually the way it works. I got a couple new ideas for the place that may come to fruition in the near future though.

Do you get stoked when you roll up on one of your spots and find local kids you don’t know skating there? Or does it make you wanna wall them up with cement?
That all depends. I spend a shit ton of time, effort, and money to execute my spot ideas. I build spots for everybody to fuck around on and also do a lot of modifying spots for me and my own projects. If a local kid is there skating a spot I just finished, that’s fine. It’s their hood so it’s their shit. Usually I’m in some tucked away cut where there isn’t too many skaters anyway. It’s not like I’m building shit in the East Village. But there’s always a grip of non local, chomper kids who show up like a pack of roving, feral dogs trying to take whatever they can away and I can’t help but scratch my head. I can’t get too butt hurt about it, but in my humble opinion, it is unfortunate that the guy who builds or makes a spot skateable by himself, can’t get a chance to get his interpretation of that spot out first. It’s no big secret see, I’m no natural at this skateboard riding shit. My angle is simple: I usually, but not always search out architecture; primarily in grimy neighborhoods that I find aesthetically pleasing…usually, but not always it is architecture that is so rugged that it can not be skated the way it needs to be skated without putting in a grip of work on it. That is my craft. And that is the only way I can be sure that I did something original. Like I said I’m not going to get too butthurt, but I’ll also tell a disrespectful prick to his face that he is just that. People always take this subject the wrong way, I’m not in anyway saying you shouldn’t come here and skate, but using a little discretion is always a solid thing to do. I know the nature of the beast and I know the way the game is played. I’m out here in the streets of my favorite city doing what I love to do you know?  So it is what it is, I really ain’t even mad.

Haha….well, you’re pretty notorious for your creative use of quick dry cement. I’ve heard of you using up to 1,200 lbs of cement on just one spot. True of false?
That would be about the most I’ve done myself in one night. You can do a lot with the stuff if you have the right equipment and some motivated people, but I usually work alone.

Some of the spots you’ve taken me to are in straight up HOOD-ass neighborhoods in the Bronx or in sketchy corners of Queens where the mob probably goes to drop dead bodies. You have to have had some bizarre or scary moments while working on these spots alone late at night. Anything stick out?
Sure, there’s always plenty of awkward moments where you’re out there doing some weird shit in a place where you probably shouldn’t be at. I have to embrace the awkward moments in life. I kind of just like to see what kind of bizarre situation I can get myself into or out of as another hobby. One time I got rolled up on by the police in east New York at 2 in the morning by myself with about twelve buckets of wet concrete. I told them, “look I can explain!” I’m pretty good at talking to people in those situations usually. Yes sirs, and no sirs go a lot farther than you might think. Another time I was working on this ladies stoop in Staten island, also late at night. She thought it was great that the city had finally come out to fix that one crack only by her stairs. She offered me weed and wine coolers. I took the wine cooler.

How much time do you think you spend each month searching for new spots?
I still get out quite a bit. I’ve been driving around bored looking for some shit to skate since I got my license to drive. Even before that my older friends from Jackson and I would drive around for hours going behind all the businesses in my outlying area. I was trying to get down every street in New York for years…now I just try to catch things that were overlooked.

Do you think there’s still much to be found in this city?
I found a spot that is right under a lot of kids noses just the other day. I had passed it and skated right next to it myself for years. I was trippin when I realized what it was. Of course I had to cut down a couple fairly large trees that had been covering it, do a little patch work, and uncobble a fence, but that was the easy part. Now to get you away from your beloved corporate teet to come and document it…That’s the real challenge.

Had to get one jab in there, didn’t you? That’s cute. Well, to volley one back at you, word on the street is that you skated Tampa Am in the late 1990’s with hair down to your ass and a rocker belt. How’d that work out for you?
Shit bitch, you think there’s any shame in my game? Think again…I’m still a rocker I just ain’t got the belt. I seen a guy get a toilet smashed on his head right next to me at that contest. Clyde told me I looked like Milli Vanilli in the middle of my run, so I went and got a haircut. I never had no tight pants though. As a youth I went from being a milk chicken to being a metal head and back a few times before I realized that I could just be both. Look at me now, ho.

That’s a sad story. Well, I also heard that you edited the first Coda video yourself. True or false?
Yeah I did that. What’s it to you? They got a new editor now, I guess I was too hard to deal with. Coda made a new video a couple months ago, even got some hard copies floating around.

I know you’re currently working on a new side project for Coda. Care to highlight on any of that?
Yeah, well right now we’re totally focusing on our new line and our lookbook for our fall collection. Sike. We got some skateboards for sale, probably will have some video stuff wasted on the internet to go with it.

Thank yous?: 
Big shot to my family. They’ve basically sponsored me by sending me a box of all types of vitamin pills ever since I moved away at 18. Im the tallest person in my bloodline now. My girl Sara, I’d be in the gutter without her. New York City, all the outlying areas, my friends here, Dobbin people, my friends back in Michigan and the good people I’ve run into all over the cities of the US and the rest of the world, Coda, Premier skateshop, anybody whose got me Lakai Telfords, I’m throwing in the towel when they quit making that shoe, straight up, all the video makers and photo takers especially my homie Pepsi who took time away from his pregnant wife to shoot these flicks. Any editor that’s ever put me up in their mag especially the good people from SLAP, and Skateboarder.  Anybody who films me, Andrew Petillo and especially Joe Bressler. Look out for Joe’s new video, which also doesn’t have a name yet. Were putting in all types of work for that. Thanks for lining this up Stewie, and most of all thanks to the people taking the time out of their day to give this a read. Peace