Dylan Witkin Interview
How come Sinclair calls you Ungrateful Dylan?
I guess because I’ve been in certain situations with him where he hasn’t seen me at my best.
So, in his mind, maybe you’re not as appreciative as you should be?
Maybe in his mind, but I don’t think he’s knows that I’m out here going on trips, spending my own money and working too. But I definitely appreciate it, Mike, if you’re reading this.
So you really are grateful Dylan.
Completely. I couldn’t be more stoked on the situation I’m in.
So I hear you’re an occasional vegetarian. What can somebody put in front of you to make you break the veggie code?
A bottle of whiskey.
Yellow but not mellow—Dylan skips the rail and goes for the gutter with this backside 5-0 Photo: Gould
That’s all it takes?
I’m guessing you’re referring to what happened on the Bro Style trip.
Yeah, I’m supposed to ask you about “the brisket incident.”
Basically we went to our friend’s house in Dallas and he had smoked all this meat for, like, 12 hours or something. We all got super drunk and then apparently I asked Jeremy Leabres to go inside with me and I guess I wanted to eat some meat. And I did.
Did you eat all the brisket?
I guess I ate all the brisket and whatever else was there. Some sausage. And apparently I was handing out meat to people, telling them that they had to try it.
So the vegetarian was doling out the BBQ.
Yeah, the vegetarian in me was gone by that time.
Luckily for the vegetarian, this front blunt didn't turn into a Hall of Meat Photo: Gould
What’s so good about the Grateful Dead?
If you don’t know, you may never know. It’s just everything about them. It’s, like, Jerry and every dude in the band, they play all together. They’re basically fluent in music the way we’re fluent in English.
Does it go beyond that? Does it go to the lifestyle?
Certain aspects. But I’ve watched a lot of documentaries and there were things that were pretty shitty in a certain sense. Like, people following them and just kinda ruining their lives just to follow them—basically leaving themselves with nothing else in their lives to fall back on. I’m not one of those people, obviously, because I couldn’t have followed them unless I was born 30 years earlier.
Do you think you would have been out there on the road?
I have no idea. I would have loved to have gone to some shows, though.
This one’s for Jerry! And to a lesser extent Trey Anastazio! Gap to lipper Photo: Gould
To all the haters out there, what Dead song should they listed to to change their mind about the band?
That’s the jam?
I mean, it’s just one that I know is more universal. It’s not my favorite one. I really like it, but my favorites are usually live songs that are 12 to 15 minutes long.
Just full jam-band style. What are some other bands in this genre that kids should dig into if they’re curious about this kind of music?
There’s a lot of people who love Phish too. I like Phish. I’ve been to a show but I don’t put them on regularly. Lately I’ve just been listening to a lot of Bob Dylan and the Dead, obviously. I’ve found a lot of new music just from hanging with Leo and Dakota. They’re super into music.
Dylan handles another relic from the past. Frontside invert in the deep end Photo: Gould
Can you skate on psychedelics?
Oh yeah, for sure.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in an altered state? Besides eating a bunch of brisket.
If you’re talking about a psychedelic state, the only thing I’ve really done is skated that Chicago park and it just felt like nothing was hard. Everything just worked out the way it does in your mind.
Was this a demo or were you just skating for fun?
For fun. It was after the Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead show last year in July. I went and saw that show and then we went to the park and I just skated for a couple of hours.
And you were in the zone.
Bank-to-bank 360 flip over a natty pyramid. Trip on that, mannn Photo: Rodent
Have you ever had a vision or experienced anything spiritual while on psychedelics?
Yeah, for sure. From the first time doing it my quality of life felt like it increased, you know?
You just learn to appreciate certain things. You see things for what they are. Typically people will just be, like, “Oh, there’s just another tree. Whatever.” And I know people will get a kick out of this, but when you’re in that state and you look at the tree you’re, like, “This is really cool.” People trip out on their new iPhones or whatever, like, “Oh, look what my iPhone can do,” but it’s, like, “Look at what this tree is doing. It’s growing and becoming super strong. It’s taking in carbon dioxide and producing oxygen for us. Stuff like that becomes really apparent to you and you’re, like, “Wow, this is really cool.” It just allows you to see stuff like that.
Would you describe yourself as a hippie?
I don’t know if I’m your normal hippie. I like certain aspects of it but I’m also not quite as mellow as a hippie.
Left? Right? Nah, fool, down! Boardslide to curb check Photo: Rodent
Do you have some anger issues?
I guess. When I’m skating, if I want a trick and I know I have it but I’m being a pussy, I’ll get pissed.
How do you lash out? Do you punch a wall, focus your board, throw it at a tree?
I try not to focus boards but I have done that, for sure. Probably all of the above.
Do you refrain from fighting?
I for sure never want to fight. It has happened, though, and I’m never happy about it.
Is it true that you sometimes cry out, “This one’s for Jerry!” before trying a trick?
For sure. Other people tell me that too. They’re, like, “Hey, do it for Jerry.” He played with so much passion that sometimes I just have to tell myself to give it all the passion I have.
Tell you what, this back Smith is a real American Beauty Photo: Rodent
Were your parents hippies or is this a lifestyle you fell into on your own?
No, one of my good friends got me into the Grateful Dead and that’s when it all changed.
How old were you when this happened?
Probably about 19.
What was 18-year-old Dylan Witkin like?
I don’t even know. Probably just a little more agro or something.
What kinda music were you into as a young teenager?
I’d go through phases. There was a phase where I was completely obsessed with Jimi Hendrix and Black Sabbath and then I’d get into lyrical rap like Nas and Jeru the Damaja and certain things like that. I just always liked things that had a lot of meaning. I feel like that’s also a big part of the Grateful Dead. Their main lyricist was Robert Hunter and his lyrics were so open for each person’s perception. You can take it for what you want.
Unlike the Dead's lyrics, Dylan's back tail is not open to interpretation Photo: Rodent
Do you believe in God?
Nah. Honestly, all that type of stuff, I don’t think about that much anymore. I used to when I was a kid but then I was just, like, “I don’t even know what I’m believing in anymore.”
You believe in Jerry.
Yeah, I believe in Jerry. Sure.
You got on Foundation pretty late into the filming for this video. How much time did you have to film your part?
I think I had about eight months.
He’s fluent in handrails. Smith in Cacka Photo: Rodent
Being one of the new guys on the team, did it feel like there was a lot of pressure?
I’m friends with all those guys and the only pressure I felt was from Sinclair and from myself. I feel like it’s more from myself, though, because I don’t want to have a part that’s lesser than what I’ve done before. I may not have as long of a part as I’d like. There’s a lot of tricks that I want to go get and now that it’s the end of the deadline it makes it a little easier to try to go for them, you know?
Because if you get hurt, you’re still at the finish line.
Yeah, because at least I’ve got most of what I need.
What do you got going on after this video is done?
Probably just keep filming for whatever else is coming up. I just like being on the road, traveling and skating with my friends. That’s all I really want to do.
What do you want to tell the kids out there?
Listen to the Grateful Dead.
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3/28/2017The new kid on the F opens up about psychedelics, "the brisket incident" and why you should listen to the Grateful Dead. Trip on that.