Anthony Van Engelen Interview
How old were you in that picture on the bottom of your board graphic with the cockatoo hair?
That was my seventh-grade yearbook photo.
Were you already skating by then?
What was your influence for that fucking haircut?
Fuck, I don’t know. I have no idea. I remember that cut was going around at the time but most people had long hair who did it—fuckin’ goth kids and shit. I didn’t have long hair, but I needed to have some fucked up hairdo so that’s what happened.
If somebody had shown me that, I’d be like, “That’s what kids in California look like!”
It’s like something straight out of a movie like, “In California they wear their hair like this.”
Yeah, it was pretty fucked. I would bend over upside down and take hairspray and a blow dryer and shoot them both at the same time straight into my hair. Then I would put my head right way up and that’s what I had. Yeah, it was fucked because there was actually no real influence for it. I don’t recall anybody really having that that I was into. Later people were like, “Oh, Flock of Seagulls.” But I had to go look that up later to be like, “Oh, okay.”
It’s like an influence-less thing, like the kids with the big-hole earrings. Like, what cool person has those?
I don’t know. It’s like, “Where do you reference that from?”
No cool person has those big holes but lots of skate kids get ‘em. It’s like your haircut—it just emerges from the bowels of bad kid ideas.
I remember my mom was fuckin’ pissed. I came home with that and she took my skateboard away.
Because of the haircut or the picture?
No, the haircut. She took my board away. I think she just looked at skating as such a fucking bad thing, period. I mean this was around 1990 when it kinda was bad. It was bad then. But I just set up another board at my boy’s house with some Variflex trucks—some jacked set up. I couldn’t be stopped.
And you had to pretend like you were sad when you left your house and then you’d go over to your friend’s house and get the board?
Yeah totally, with my awesome haircut.
What was the shittiest thing you did as a kid to your parents?
Fuck, the shittiest thing I did?
Were you a good kid?
I was pretty good. My parents… I think they did shittier things to me than I did to them, but I don’t know, man. It’s hard to say. I guess I used to fuck with my mom. It was hard for my mom because she would get pissed and kick me out of the house when I was around fifteen/sixteen. And at the time I had the means to survive. I got free boards and clothes and I could go and sell that shit. So it was like, “Oh, you’re going to kick me out of the house?” and then I’d disappear for two months. That was pretty shitty, looking back, you know? Like, I could be gone for that long and survive and not call and just be gone. So I guess that was kinda hard on her. But then she kicked me out, so I don’t know.
Unlike certain Kajagoogoo hairdos, big ollies never go out of style. Photo: Burnett
What brought you and your mom back together after you grew up? Was it when you hit the skids?
No, I think once I was out of the house and self-sufficient and shit, it wasn’t like that typical relationship you have when you’re growing up with your parents. It’s like, I was out of there; I was on my own. Then we formed a relationship that was more of a friendship. Looking back at it now, she was young. She was 18 when she had me so she was like a kid. I trip on it when I look back at how old she must have been when certain things were going on.
She was thirty-two when you were telling her to fuck off and leaving for months at a time.
Yeah, and I think about myself at that age. I’m thirty-six right now and I’m still a selfish psycho! It’s crazy. And I think how young she was, man, and what she was going through. It was just crazy, man. She was a kid. Although shit may have been crazy at times growing up, she has become my best friend and I don’t know what I’d do with out her.
The kids that you’re around now, are they crazier or more jacked than you and your buddies were at that age?
Our kids—I feel like they’re wild and shit but, dude, compared to how I was, I feel like they’re doing pretty good. Once I went off the rails I was definitely a lot more all over the place. But some of them are still really young, so I worry about them.
Yeah? Have you found yourself stepping into the adult role with the kids?
Yes and no. I mean it’s a fine line. It’s skateboarding, you know? It’s wild and you have to let it do its thing. But yeah, I try to respect those boundaries and when it kinda seems like someone wants some advice or help then maybe I’ll give it, but I don’t know. Fuck. I take it as it comes.
I’ve kinda gotten the impression that you guys were looking for kids for your team who are kinda wild, like kids who weren’t so nerdy about the skate industry and getting sponsored and all that.
The rad thing about what we’ve got going on is there’s nothing that’s contrived or that was thought out. It all just naturally occurred. I think just naturally with me and Jason, who we are, we’re going to attract a certain kid and if people think that they’re crazy or whatever I guess that’s what we attracted. All these kids were just kids that hung out at the shop, at Supreme, you know? They were around and skated and ended up on sessions and then ended up getting good so we’d give them some boards here and there. Some got on flow for Workshop, you know, and it all organically happened to the point now where it’s like, “Okay we’re gonna do this thing. Here’s our kids.”
I just know that probably when you were 15 there probably wasn’t a Japanese film crew trailing you and your friends.
Yeah, no. There was not. Fuck. These kids, they’re definitely growing up right in the middle of a lot of shit. It’s fucking crazy. That’s why I trip on their age and stuff and I look at myself and they seem to handle it better than I certainly did.
That’s what always strikes me—most of the kids making it in skateboarding are really pretty savvy and cool and sophisticated. I would have been Chad Fernandez out there at that age. Did you have any good mentors growing up in skateboarding?
This is one of those questions where I’ll be like, “No, not really,” then I’ll go back and I’ll totally remember somebody. I don’t know. I think there’s a lot of people that helped me out along the way, but I think later on there were people who I was able to be around who kinda definitely influenced me to throw out some of the bullshit.
Looking back, was your success with DC and all the money you made a good thing for you as a person or a bad thing for you as a person?
I think, early on, I was so young and crazy and influenced by just fucking whatever was going on. A lot happened really quick and I’m lucky. A lot of people, they don’t make it. We see that in skateboarding all the time. They don’t pull it off and I was really close to not pulling it off for sure. I mean, now I can look back and be like, “Hey, all of those things were a good thing.” Whatever would have happened would have been what was supposed to happen. I look at it all as eventually they were good experiences even though there were destructive times.
What was the whole thing with Ted Nugent?
I just fuckin’, I don’t know. It was his music. I mean, I still like his music. I don’t really stand by all of his fuckin’ political views but, whatever, he can play the guitar.
Didn’t you do a meet and greet with him? You went out to his ranch or something?
No. Fuck no. I went to a Ted Nugent show and I met him backstage or whatever and that was it. It’s so funny, but whatever, you know? The Nuge.
I had a gap between when I knew you as Jason’s little buddy and then next thing I knew it you were the guy in cowboy boots and long hair and partying with Ted Nugent. It made me think, “I don’t even know who that guy is.” It looked like fun, but I had no contact with that whole DC scene—René René and the Canadian humor. I had a hard time following it.
Yeah. I’m not Canadian, for the books.
So when was it clear that Jason was back?
AVE goes off the rails again, fakie 5-0 180. Sequence: Hlavacek
It’s been like four or five years now, right?
Yeah. Right. I think certain things in his life kinda came to a head and the road got narrow. No matter how much I fuck up or he fucks up it seems like, no matter how much you try to fuck up the good shit in your life, like skateboarding and the things that it brings, we somehow just get pushed back into it when there’s nothing left. I think that’s kind of what happens to us all the time, where it’s like, “Well, maybe I should ride this thing again.” Like love and whatever else is out there in the world, I’m not really too good at that, so maybe I should just jump right back into riding this fucking piece of wood again. So that was like, yeah, four or five years ago. He burned himself pretty bad with booze and couldn’t do that anymore so, then he ended up at my house for a year.
And you treat skateboarding like an athlete these days. You seem really serious about it. You’ve got a lot of prep work involved. Like, what’s the deal with all of the tape on your feet? I’ll look over and you’re like half a mummy wrapped up in tape.
Yeah, I still have a pound of tape on my foot. I have bone spurs in my big toe joint and I’ve gotten a lot of cortisone in there. But I had a miracle cortisone shot a year ago where I was basically looking at my last shot going into surgery and I went to a different guy who put the shot in. I don’t know what happened, but there was a snap and a pop and it hurt really bad and he said that was the spur, so I was like, “Okay.” Then he said, “I’ll see you in three months for the surgery.” But it’s been almost a year and a half since that last shot and it’s manageable with the tape. It just restricts the bending of that joint. It kind of keeps it rigid and straight so that spur can’t hit the joint when it bends.
Have you always been super-disciplined about skating, or not even disciplined, have you always been maniacal about it? Like you gotta do it, gotta do it?
No. But I’ve always been an obsessive person and I think that before I had a lot of other things to obsess about like drugs, alcohol, women or whatever the fuck—some things that I could take to the extreme. Even with skateboarding I think that there was, at times, just a bigger variety of things that I would put my focus on. And then as I got older, obviously a lot of those things just weren’t really working for me so that same obsessiveness definitely gets put into skateboarding.
I’ve noticed your obsessiveness taking you in some bizarre directions at times. I’m thinking about those boiled eggs and the coffee. Where else do your obsessive tendencies take you?
I mean, you name it, man. You name it and it’s there. Balance is a very hard thing for me to find. Yeah. Fuck.
How many hardboiled eggs do you put back a day?
Well that’s Europe, man. You know how it is eating there, like the free buffet at Ibis.
Are you whipping the yolks out? Are those getting tossed to the curb?
No, I eat that shit. I ate four eggs this morning. I mean, I just need to get the shit in to get this broken-down machine working. Just get the stuff in there and just go.
Do you think you could still be skating just the fun of it anymore? Or do you feel like you have to turn it into this obsessive-athletic-punishment job? ‘Cause I see a lot of older cats trying to re-work out what they like about skating. Like, a lot of times the fun runs out by the time you’re 21 and then you gotta turn it into something else.
Well, here’s the thing—I feel like when I look at the times me and you have shot together, I think, “Burnett must think that I’m a psycho.” Because I’ve noticed that I’ve landed on weird states of mind at those times.
I blame myself.
No, not even. It might seem like a grind and I’ve really hit some walls with skateboarding and been like, “What the fuck?” For long periods of time it’s just grueling and it’s not fun. But throughout this Vans video process, for a majority of it, I had to rework that so that I find the enjoyment. I found enjoyment doing the thing that is asked by my sponsors or whatever—to film a video part and shit. So it is fun and there’s something about that intensity that is enjoyable to me. I like that. What do you call it, Mike? A paradox?
You know, I kind of enjoy suffering to an extent. And when you get through that shit you’re like, “Fuck.” You know? And I think that’s going back to the question you asked me earlier about all of the people that influenced me. Early on it was like Danny Way and then Heath Kirchart and Guy. I saw how they operated and I was lucky enough to be around them early on. And I’d watch how these dudes operate and that had a big influence on me in the sense of how I try to take a little bit from those dudes in their approach into my shit. I mean, those guys are obviously fucking the greatest to ever do it, but just their, like, insanity, you know?
Yeah. So it can be fun, the suffering?
Absolutely. I feel my absolute best when I’m totally fucking destroyed from skateboarding. That’s when I’m my happiest. But even during that struggle you’re just like, “Fuck!” You’re so mad. I don’t know. Maybe I’m fucking crazy. Probably a little bit of that, too.
Is now an appropriate time to talk about your new board company? I mean, do you have a new board company?
Yeah sure, we can talk about it.
Six yolks deep, AVE knocks it out of the park with a switch 180. Photo: Colen
What happened? Did you make all the white kids get on another team?
Yep, we got all of the white kids and we’re transferring them over. Yeah, there’s a new board company that’s actually something that’s been talked about from early on in the inception of FA. I mean, it’s gone through a lot of idea changes and how we’re gonna do it and stuff. Right now it’s Donovon Piscopo and Jon Fitzgerald and that’s kind of where it’s at right now. So that’s it.
And that’s Hockey?
But you’re not on it?
Oh okay. I didn’t know if you were Ron Allen taking Life skateboards away from H-street.
Fuck. Uh, no. Again, like a lot of ideas got thrown around, but right now it’s just those two and we’ll see how it unfolds.
As far as FA, are you the guy in there looking over spread sheets, checking concaves? How involved are you in this business?
I ride a skateboard.
Who’s your fucking point man? Who’s getting nerdy in there?
Jimi Britches is our fucking guy. He wears a lot of hats. He makes FA run on a day-to-day operation level and as the TM, therapist, best friend —he does it all. We couldn’t have done it without a guy like that. He’s our guy. And then Mike Piscitelli is a friend of me and Jason’s. He’s been friends with Jason for fucking ever and has done FA with Jason since it was just t-shirts, 14 years ago. He handles most of the business end of things. Then Dill makes everything and then as a collective we’ve got Benny, who does filming and stuff. He works with us as well. Collectively we’ll have ideas and we’ll give it to Jason and it goes through his thing. But most things are Dill putting all of his shit together and then we help here and there when we can.
What graphics are your ideas? Which ones have you brought? Cocaine dad? Town and Country Kerry King?
Town and Country Kerry King is mine. I found that as a sticker that came out in some weird Euro metal magazine. I was shitting myself when I found that sticker, it was so random. I don’t know what else. I feel like there’s just little things. It’s weird, like, I’ll just send shit here and there to Jason and then sometimes he’ll use stuff or he won’t. You go into his place and he eats, sleeps and breathes that shit.
Is there any graphic that he’s done that you’re uncomfortable to wear as a t-shirt or on a board?
I’m not uncomfortable with anything on the board. I mean, sometimes I have a hard time walking out of the house with shirt with a big set of titties on it. It depends on my mood. Sometimes I’ll definitely be like, “Eh, I don’t got the confidence for this one today, I’m gonna throw this small logo one on.”
You know, I’m not coming at this from a conservative viewpoint but in the movie The Jerk, the 1979 classic, there’s the scene where Bernadette Peters says, “I’m looking for a little boy with a shirt that says “Bullshit” on it.” Is it weird that we’ve reached a place where the skateboard says “Fucking” on it?
I think its fine. It’s the state of skateboarding right now where something like this is so shocking. It’s like,”Oh my God!” or “How are you guys going to sell that?” But it’s like, look where we came from. It wasn’t that long ago where shit was fucking really crazy. How did we end up here? I’ve got people, I’m not saying names, who called me when I left the Workshop and were just like, “You’re gonna try to sell a board with ‘Fucking’ on it?” and I’m like, “Wait, am I talking to who I think I’m talking to right now? I know where you come from! You fucking forgot where we were just at!”
I’m not offended by it at all. I just think it’s funny. It’s like that part in the South Park movie when the little girl shows up with the t-shirt that says “Ass Rammer.” It’s like, “Mama, I want the Fucking Awesome board.”
Right, yeah. I mean it’s no different from when I was going into fucking Beach Access and buying Jordan Richter’s condom board on layaway—every weekend coming in and putting down ten bucks to get that thing. It came in a black bag and then I was like, “Well, this is what I bought with my allowance, Mom, check it out.” I mean, to me it’s just skateboarding.
What advice would you give to some of the nerdy zit-faced kids out there who ride skateboards that can’t get a babe? How do you get chicks?
Oh my God. I don’t know, you just get fucking drunk and just jam yourself in there. Just jam it in there! Just get in there. It ain’t no beauty contest. That’s my only advice—just get what you can.
Classic power meets innovation. Anthony Van Engelen, over the back to switch 5-0 in New York City. Photo: Sherbert
That’s a good point. Do you trip out on how much obsession there is with iconography and pictures and stuff around you and Jason and especially these kids and that skateshop? I like what you guys are doing, but the amount of attention seems fuckin’ crazy.
It’s fucking insane. And I don’t know. So that’s my answer.
What’s the craziest place you’ve seen your own image?
I just trip. I mean, dude, my mom—somehow she knows about everything. She knows more about skateboarding than I do at this point and she’ll be like, “Have you seen this Tumblr?” It was only recently that I saw that somebody does an FA Tumblr that’s updated daily, throughout the day almost, and I was tripping the fuck out. It definitely trips me out just to see that people are that psyched, you know?
What was that thing that kids were doing on the Internet where they had a photo of you feeble grinding and they were cutting it out and putting you in all kinds of different scenarios?
Oh yeah, that was great. My favorite one was when they put me in a bed, just taking a nap. It was perfect. Perfect little bed scene.
Is there anybody you’d put on the team right now, no questions asked?
I mean, we just put Gino on and to me as a skateboarding fan I was just like, “I get to ride a Gino board. I get to ride for the same team as him!” That’s sick, you know? That just brings me right back to what I grew up with. I like Rowan Zorilla a lot. He’s a fucking great skateboarder. I love the way he skates. I actually tried to steal him. You can print that. I don’t care. I sent him a box but I think he was just on flow for Baker at the time. He’s a good kid and I’m stoked for those dudes. They’ve got a great skateboarder over there. Actually, he’s a little drunk psycho, but I like that, too.
So you just finished another multi-year video project. You ready for more? Are you already into the next one?
I’m filming right now. I just took two months off, kind of. And then I started to question everything and I was like, “Well, maybe I should just start skating again.” And then my mind starts to kinda normalize. So I guess I’m just skating, you know? Fuck, I don’t know. Yeah, I’m fucking just skating.
Are you a trick snob? Are there tricks that you thought you’d never touch that are working their way into your repertoire?
No, it just depends on what it is. That’s always what it’s come down to—does it work for whatever you’re doing it on? Does it look good? I guess it just goes through that filter for me. I’ve never done any hardflip variation. Certain people can fucking do ‘em, man and they’re beautiful. Certain people can’t do them. I just can’t do them, ‘cause I’m not that good.
Switch 5-0 shove it, wires crossed. Sequence: Burnett
What’s your kickflip record? What’s the most stairs you ever kickflipped?
Oh, my kickflip sucks. ‘Cause, you know, when Salman Agah happened I was just, “Oh I need to start skating switch.” And that’s all I did and that just kind of threw all of the regular tricks in the trash. So I kept doing that and then now I can’t kickflip. I used to have one when I was younger, actually. I try them now and they’re all rocket and fucked up.
How often do you think like, “Man, I would really like to crack a beer right now.”
I don’t really. I mean, I’ve played that tape out so many times that I know the point of where it wasn’t working for me. And even when I was loaded, I didn’t get the relief that it used to give me or the escape or whatever. But I don’t even know that at the time I was seeking that. I was just on such a path of destruction at certain times. But now, yeah, I mean without getting so in depth with it all, I think there’s a lot more to it than just what’s in the cup or the bottle. So again, just because I put the drink down it doesn’t mean that it’s the end of what goes on upstairs. Like I was talking about, a lot of the obsessiveness and all that stuff are traits on the dark side. Those things still exist with me so I gotta kinda deal with that.
The only reason I ask is because I feel like this story’s kinda been out there for the kids to learn about like, “Oh Andrew Reynolds is sober.” But I don’t think people know what that really entails.
I mean it’s a weird, alcoholism. It’s classified as a mental disease. It’s not like I drank too much and then I put it away. It’s like, “Good for you! You’re normal now.” But once I put the booze away or the drugs or they stopped working, I’m still capable of being the same shitty person, it just kind of shifts a little bit. That’s why if you choose to go to meetings and stuff like that, however you deal with it, it’s usually a lifelong process of growth and working to deal with that crazy-ass mind.
On my end, we’re so guilty of celebrating all the bad behavior, ‘cause it’s such good material and it’s so much a part of being skaters on these adventures. We don’t do a very good job showing the dark side of things, though.
Yeah. It’s crazy. Fuck, it’s gnarly because skateboarding is definitely a place that really celebrates that shit. And early on there’s a lot of innocence to it, you know? But then it goes dark for a lot of people. I don’t know why it seems like a lot of people who end up having drug problems gravitate towards skateboarding.
Switch crooks, off the wall in NYC. Photo: Sherbert
It seems like maybe the same kind of obsession and risk taking that makes someone good at skateboarding can make them pretty good drug addicts, too.
Right. Yeah, and it plays out in a positive way through skating. The freedom and the money and a lot of other things come into play. But, yeah, it gets weird.
Have you been watching the videos this year? What’d you like?
Wes Kremer is great. He reminds me a lot of Guy Mariano as far as his ability and just his thinking outside the box. That dude’s just so sick. He’s just really naturally gifted. You guys chose well this year.
This is a lame question: are you gonna start putting insane tricks on Instagram like Guy does? Like, “Holy shit that’s the wildest trick I’ve ever seen and I just saw it on the fuckin’ Andalé bearings Instagram!”
Um, no. I just can’t do that.
Can’t spare it?
I just don’t have that ability and I don’t know if everybody wants to see a back tail three times a week. But I will be in the park probably filming Guy do those things sometimes.
Dude, he’s fucking nuts.
Yeah, he’s the best, man. I mean, he’s always been a huge influence of mine but I would say, especially getting through this Vans video, I just look to that dude, like, “That’s my guy. I’m gonna call him a lot and just do what he does. Really? You want to go to the park right now?” Like, it’s cold, I’m tired. It’s like, “Alright. I’ll meet you there.”
Has the FA crew been out on the road together all in one van?
All of the FA crew has not, but there is going to be a demo trip in the Spring.
All of the kids are going and more will be revealed about what that’s gonna look like, but it’s gonna happen all over the US and I’ll probably come in for a little bit.
So you’re not going to be TM’ing this thing?
No, Jimi Britches. Jimi’s our guy. He’s going out there.
I like it that you’re never gonna have to play the fuckin’ square. Like, “You guys can’t smoke in the rooms!”
I’ve been worried about that, too. When we first started I was like, “These kids are gonna hate me.” I’m all sober and grouchy and I’m gonna be dealing with my personal insanity around them. I’d probably be better off with the little-bit-older guy who’s fuckin’ hitting the wall. I can offer advice there, but these kids, man, they’ll probably just tell me to fuck off.
“Dill told me not to trust no white people.”
Exactly. “This crazy-ass cowboy-looking fuck.”
You got any memorabilia? Have you set aside any of your childhood boards?
I have the first pro board that I ever bought. It was a Vision Lee Ralph. I have that. I have an original Gonz Vision. I got some photos. I’m trying to think. I have a hand-drawn picture of me that Jay Adams drew in prison.
That Duncan sent to me.
It’s all colored in and shit with crayons. It’s pretty sick. So that’s cool. I’ve got some other little things.
Hands free, back foot cocked, four wheels down. AVE outruns the pain and it's skateboarding's gain. Photo: Sherbert
The early-90s-era dudes weren’t too respectful to the skaters who came before them. What have you learned, if anything, from your friendship with Steve Olson, Alex’s dad?
Yeah, I came from that same era in skateboarding, so I guess it was just re-birthing itself. Like, I came from the era where you didn’t want scratches on the middle of your fucking board; you just wanted them on your nose and tail. So yeah, I come from that fucking small mindedness. So naturally you grow up and do things and start to realize that you fucking know nothing. And then you’re blessed with the presence of epic dudes like Tony Alva or fucking Olson and you see these dudes and you get to meet them and shit. Yeah, you start to realize that you’re a part of a lot bigger and more epic deal, you know?
Rad. Let’s get a fuckin’ wild hair story that involves going through a plate glass window naked or something good. What is something that can now be revealed now that you are a respectable member of the community that you did when you were off the fuckin rails? Popped a water bed? Drove a car into a fuckin’ Carls Jr.
I mean, I definitely did a car wreck—left it steaming on a lawn on a Superbowl Sunday in Del Mar. Left a brand new BMW M-3 fucking steaming. Whatever, this story’s long: Wasted, shitfaced at some chick’s family’s house for Superbowl Sunday. This is a time when I had a couple of drinks in me and needed to get some cocaine. So we go down to the ATM and I get 500 dollars out and I’m driving up this hill going 60 mph in a residential area. It was an upscale neighborhood in Del Mar. Cul-de-sac at the top of the hill, brakes, turn the wheel in right, hard! Fuckin’ car just keeps going straight. Slam into a parked car. We both spin up onto somebody’s million-dollar house and lawn and everybody’s home on Superbowl Sunday in these types of fucking neighborhoods. And so everybody comes out into the cul-de-sac and there’s probably like 40-50 people out there. I’m fucking wasted. Every window in the car is blown out. Chick in the front seat, she almost died in a car wreck like six months before, like, got pitched out.
She had asphalt streaks on the side of her head still! Anyways, it was raw but I’ll tell you what. At this point I had already been getting in trouble quite a bit with police being drunk, so I was collecting these charges. I was on probation and shit for battery and being intoxicated or whatever so this guy comes out and I’m like, “Dude I’m fucking shitfaced right now. Like, I have 500 bucks in my pocket. I’m totally legit. I will take care of your car.” It was a Ford Taurus. “Here’s this money. If you call the cops right now I’m gonna go to prison.” That’s probably what was gonna happen. ‘Cause that would have been my second DUI. And he was like, “I’ve been in your position before; get out of here.”
So did you leave on foot?
I left on foot. The car was steaming. Had my buddy in the backseat. Got the girl out of the car. No one was injured, thank God and we went back up to the house and started partying again. Because it was insane. I was tripping. I called the fucking BMW roadside service. I called them and I was like, “I was in a car accident. I had to leave the scene, just, uh yeah it’s right here.” I remember we left that night and I had my finger crossed just like, “Dude, I hope that fucking car is gone.” And I turned the corner and it’s just piles of glass and shit and my car’s gone, I was just like, “Okay.” The cars are gone. There’s no cops. Alright. And the neighborhood, they wanted blood. They were like, “Hold him here! We’re calling the cops!” I just booked it out of there.
Did you ever black out then wake up in another country?
I went to Spain once on a I’m-gonna-get-my-shit-together mission alone cause I think Pappalardo was out there at the time. People were out there during the time. It was like, “Spain, like, fuck, everyone’s there. Let’s just go!” I was like, “Ah, I’m gonna go there and just get my shit together.” That was the fucking darkest two weeks ever! I spent six grand in fucking six days and had to call my grandma to fly me home. Yeah, big bad psycho had to call grandma once I spent everything and maxed every card out on fucking drugs and women. I got beat up by the cops. They beat me with billy clubs, dude, it was insane. I went home with my tail between my legs. It was fucked. It was literally… I was crying by day six.
As bad as it was, when you look back on that stuff, how often is there a grin on your face?
Yeah. ‘Cause even the guys who’ve had the roughest time, their eyes light up when they start telling war stories.
Yeah, it’s because you fucking survived, man! I get it. Hey, I had a good time spending six thousand dollars in five days or whatever it was. It was a good time. It’s just, you know, when it runs out it’s just painful. You’re just trying to beat the clock the whole time, you know? When it catches up with you … you’re just trying to outrun the pain, but you know it’s coming. It’s fucking coming! When you’re out of cash, there’s no more drugs, no more fucking women and you’ve got bruises on you back and ass the size of kitchen plates you gotta pay the piper!
Thanks, dude. That was great. I can cobble this into something magnificent.
3/26/2021From the Baker van to King of the Road to 20-plus years of shooting photos, Burnett’s done a lot of miles and met a lot of folks working for the Mag. Check out who made an impression on Phelper’s right-hand man. As seen in our March 2021 issue.
2/13/2020Guy Mariano’s new pro truck is a cause for celebration, so Thunder hosted a private, invite-only skate jam at his park in North Hollywood with some heavy rippers, cold bevs and a taco truck. Plunkett got some tag-along birthday cheer too!
9/12/2019Grosso sits down with FA's Anthony Van Engelen to talk about the early '90s, big pants, small wheels, school yards, influences and life going full circle in this Loveletter to AVE.
8/06/2019Skateboarding's icons discuss substance abuse – with stories and perspective from Muska, Tyshawn, Elissa, Spanky, AVE, Sheffey, Arto, Reynolds, Boulala and Mariano. Share this with a friend.
7/02/2019In celebration of AVE’s new shoe, the Vans crew came to New York for some city pushing and partying in the summer heat.