Andrew Reynolds' "Baker 4" Interview

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Photo: Atiba

 

How does it feel to be the last Baker standing? You’re pretty much the last of the original guys who’s still out there filming.

You know, I think Dustin’s still going. There’s a few of us. I was thinking about this the other day ’cause I got this big Baker skateboards poster right by where I edit and as far as the very first team ever I think it’s only me and Dustin. Oh, and then the later Baker, like Spanky and Herm are still getting some.

 

But they were the kids!

They were the kids, I know. Yeah. I mean it’s kind of like I feel like a responsibility and I just love to skate. But I’ve seen over the years when other things in life have came up and I kinda put Baker lower on the list of priorities and the company can suffer from doing that. Every time I am out skating on the weekend filming or doing all that stuff then everybody’s more stoked who’s involved. It just makes things better. I don’t even think about it actually. I wanna skate for a living and to do that I have to skate.

 

Exactly. I always explain that to people. It’s like, if you’re gonna do the job, this is the job. If you think you’re gonna do somethin’ else then do somethin’ else. But for me the job is to ride around in the van, take pictures, sit at the computer and try to come up with jokes. That’s what it is. I think sometimes people think that the job ends and it turns into something else, but nope, this is pretty much it.

Yeah, I know that for companies that I don’t own, for a clothing brand or shoe brand and whatever else to have any interest in me then I need to continue to skate pretty good. I don’t have to skate like I did when I was in my 20s or whatever, but I definitely have to be on my board out there looking for who might be the next ripping kid. 

 

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After a lifetime of going down stairs, The Boss takes a 360 flip upstream at the courthouse      Sequence: Karpinski

 

How was filming for this video different from previous projects?

I’m definitely a little looser about my approach. I just kind of have an idea or a line I wanna get or a place I wanna skate. Low pressure to tell you the truth. I know that I’m not gonna compete with myself with kickflipping the Davis gap and all that. I already did that. So I just look at skate videos and do the same thing I’ve always been doing. I fan out on people that come out and I want to take a little bit of that or I want to take a little bit of this old video I saw. Or I’ll see a line from Gonz that’ll get me stoked to put a polo on or something. Just take little pieces and kind of make it my own.

 

It’s crazy, too, because I think that might be where there’s a big thread of popular skating which is in that direction of gear and hot dogging and not really setting out for the killer tricks. So you’re on trend, I guess.

Well, good thing because at 41 that hammer skating is not really gonna happen for me. So it timed out perfect. Just doing lines and cruising and that’s what I’m able to do. I’m stoked I’m not 41 in 2001. It’s good timing.

 

Not even Dave Duncan was 41 in 2001.

Yeah, seriously.

 

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So here’s a strange thing, you’re a 41-year-old flow shoe team rider. How does that feel?

Well, hopefully by this interview that’ll change and I’ll have gotten a spot on the team. I want a pro shoe, I want a billboard like Jim Greco on Sunset, a whole bunch of shit. I want to be able to put on anybody I want, design shoes, go on trips, all that. But yeah, for now I’m flow. You gotta work your way up, Mike.

 

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Photo: Papke

 

Let’s talk about the team. For a long time it seemed like, with your approach to team riders, you put on a lot of guys who you really just liked and thought  were cool—they were somebody’s buddy. Then recently there’s been a few things—first, Elissa got back on so it’s like another kind of legend, but then also you just kicked a bunch of kids off the other day. What’s your approach to team building at this point? 

Okay, I’m gonna speak about this in the most professional way I know how. This is the same thing that’s been going on since the beginning. If we go way back, someone like Evan Hernandez was, to me, neck and neck with Paul Rodriguez but his career took a different turn. So just as a company owner I have to make decisions. Which sucked, ’cause if you become friends with these people, it’s like, what if somebody at the mag was doing a quarter of the work that you’re doing?

 

They’d be our second best employee.

Well, you know what I’m saying. Eventually if they’re doing less work and getting the same as everybody else you would start to think like, Okay, well, I guess that’s just what I can do. It’s just bad for everything. It doesn’t send a message of, like, to be on this team you have to work hard and skate hard, be cool with everybody, a lot of things go into it. Plus, over time it seems like the ones who work and work out become longtime members of the team. They start adding up. So I’m looking at them and I’m like, Shit, I’m making a video and I have 18 riders. I have to make some changes for the health of the company. Then I asses the situation and I say, What’s important here? You know what I mean? It’s tough. It’s honestly one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to be involved with, that side of running a company. 

 

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He leads by example. Kickflip shifty, hella turnt     Photo: Bram

 

How did Jacopo get on the team?

P-Stone had always been tight with us, showed a lot of love to all of us, filmed us and we went on those Skate Rock trips with him. He was living in Italy or something and was always with Jacopo and his Instagram clips were just insane. What first caught me was the talent. I was like, Dude, this guy’s insane. He can do shit that no one else can do and he hangs with P-Stone? This is a trip. And I just had him in my head from that point on. I just kept watching him. I was like, This Puff Tuff guy is fuckin good, like a hesh PJ Ladd or something. And the fact that he was always with P-Stone I just kinda thought he must be a cool kid, you know? So P-Stone passed away and I started DMing back and forth with Jacopo, talking to him about P-Stone like, “How did you guys form that relationship?” He was like, “We just became friends and he was filming me over here and I just love him, you know what I mean?” He was coming to California and I threw it out like, “Come skate at Baker with us,” just to try to meet him. A lot of people already knew him from going on trips to Europe, but everybody I brought his name up to was like—I mean from Jake to any Nike dudes to the Baker team—Oh yeah, that dude’s the sickest dude. So he came, we skated and kind of just chilled for a little bit and one thing I liked that he said was I asked him, “How’d you get all this? Going on Nike trips? They don’t just put everyone on Nike trips.” And he’s like, “P-Stone. He hooked it all up. Everything I got is through him.” Then right after that I was like, You know what? Kind of speaking to P-Stone up in the sky, like, We got him. Don’t even worry. I just knew that this dude, he’s with us. We got it from this point on. So that was the one time it didn’t come through somebody within but it kinda did through P-Stone.

 

Yeah, that’s cool. So a bunch of Valley kids and Jacopo.

And one Italian.

 

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Photo: Papke

 

I know we’ve talked to you many times about drugs and alcohol. And I know you’ve kind of made that plain where you sit with that stuff, as have a lot of your contemporaries—

I’m back on drugs. You didn’t know?

 

But what’s your stance with the kids? Are you just like, let them get through it? Let them do what they want? A year ago Kader wasn’t sure if he was allowed to go on these trips and now he’s on Instagram smoking weed.

I’ll tell you exactly how I feel about it—the thing is part of learning how to get through this stuff while you’re growing up is doing it. So he’s gonna have to do it. Not just Kader, everybody. You’re gonna have to make big mistakes. Whether it’s drugs and alcohol or whether it’s spending money in some wild way—it could be anything. They have to figure it out on their own. When I was partying and fucking around and just being a young person who was a pro skater and for me to say, “Don’t do it” I’m like, when I did it, and I wouldn’t have learned what I’ve learned without doing it, it doesn’t make sense. I know that without going through all that, without fucking up all those times that I would have never learned. So I just try to lead by example and hopefully they look around and they say, Huh, all the guys who own the companies and all the guys who are the Skater of the Year and all of the guys who are doing this and that aren’t the ones who are passing out and going to jail and fighting and all that shit. Hopefully you see, like, Alright, I guess Tyshawn’s got a restaurant and a huge career and gets paid more than anybody but he doesn’t do it. Or you see the people who own the skate companies, they’re not doing it. Maybe it sinks in somewhere. But just to go and say, “Don’t do that,” I don’t know. Any time it comes up and it even has come up between me and Kader where it’s just like, “You’ll figure it out.”

 

Yeah. I mean, that’s probably a more realistic way to go about it, too.

It’s just, you gotta learn somehow.

 

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The shorthand for Baker used to be kids jumping off shit and, like, bad kids—wasted. What’s Baker in 2019 to you?

I mean, they’re still pretty bad. It’s that same vibe, you know. It’s the same thing. I’m out here and I’m gonna promote these kids. I don’t try to go and pick a bad kid and put him on the team. We don’t put anybody on the team unless they come through. Like me and T-Funk skated together at No-Ho skatepark every morning and he just became a kid I skated with. Then he showed me Zach and Kader through Pedlow park. It just all kind of comes through like a family kind of thing. But I don’t know. It’s Baker, you know? They smoke weed and Neckface is constantly encouraging that bad kid stuff. Now half of them are tagging and stuff too. I just feel like it is what skateboarding is kind of supposed to be. Or how I see it.

 

You don’t have to apologize to me. I’m the Thrasher guy.

Yeah, you know, and I like it. It’s more entertaining. All the videos I liked were the ones that had a little more personality and people fucking around, getting kicked out. That’s just kind of the part of skating I like. I don’t like it a little more square, straight-up kinda boring, just a trick, trick, trick thing. I’d rather show everything that’s going on.

 

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Ollie a trash can? Better make it two for Drew     Photo: Atiba

 

And so you’re behind the computer on this one?

Yeah. Well, all the main videos, I’ve edited them. 

 

How are your skills on the computer?

I suck! I don’t know what I’m doing and it’s frustrating actually to tell you the truth. But I kind of realized the other day when I was making the video that I’m only making this video for the Baker team. If they like it, if they watch it and it makes them laugh and feel like they’re part of something cool then I did my job.

 

What’s your prediction, so we can get you on record—when will we see Baker 5?

Beagle’s already bringing it up. It’s like a little joke he told me the other day—the tricks that people aren’t getting right now, he’s like “Oh no, dude, that’s Baker 5. That’s gonna be Baker 5.” I think I might just do a few promos and stuff for a few years. I do want to work on a full-length Deathwish video. But Baker 5? I dunno. What is it 2020? Maybe 2030?

 

That gives you a good window.

Yeah, realistically.

 

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A page out of the Willy Santos playbook. Lip to noseblunt and never stop     Sequence: Karpinski

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