Guy Mariano Interview
What’s your relationship with AVE like?
It’s good. I think that we have a lot of similarities in our careers and in life—in the way we skate, the spots we like to skate and struggles that we’ve been through in our lives. This is probably the eighth round in our careers now. And it’s funny because I think that we’re both really hard on ourselves. With how self-destructive we’ve been in the past, we’re trying to make up for it in a lot of ways and use our time wisely and try to get the best out of it now.
When we interviewed AVE about a year ago he said that you’re the guy who he imagines, “Guy’s at the park right now! Guy’s out skating right now!” Do you guys push each other in that way too?
I think so. In a lot of ways, AVE and I have been each other’s motivation. Right when I kinda came back into skateboarding, Anthony came to Girl. And we hadn’t seen each other in a long time. I’m sure we were familiar with each other, but we were in different crowds, you know what I mean? So right away he’s, like, “Hey, man, stoked you’re back and stuff and I know you’re recovering and I’ve battled a lot of demons myself.” So I just got his phone number and started going to meetings and through hooking up on a more regular basis we became really close. And I know a lot of it came from when we started skating the Berrics back when it was just a private skatepark, and that brought us really close. But we’ve also been through two videos together. He went through the Alien video and the Vans video and then I did Fully Flared and Pretty Sweet. And I think what’s crazy is that it’s not so much about always being on every session together, but just like kinda learning moves and taking them to the streets and being there and being supportive through each other’s parts. It’s kind of like going to war with a buddy. And sharing those moments at those premiers or talking to each other about getting stuff done, it’s been really cool and I’m happy to share that time with him. I couldn’t imagine it being the same without that.
You guys are definitely both kind of hard on yourselves and Anthony is especially hard on himself.
Anthony is a little bit more hard on himself than me, and not in a bad way, but I think in a good way. He’s kind of a perfectionist. I’ve seen him get clips throughout these videos and I’ve seen the clips and I’ve known that he’s went back and did it again to get it better. And we all do it—for that two more inches of grind which no one’s gonna be able to tell the difference or whatever. And all this success that he’s had is through how tough he is on himself. He likes to make things a battle and sometimes I like to battle too. And I think that when people that have suffered in life, they often times like that battle and they enjoy that. Things that come easy to certain people, maybe we don’t enjoy that as much and there’s no reward in it. So sometimes I think those battles go deeper than the trick we’re trying.
Is there anything that he’s critical about that seems ridiculous to you? ‘Cause he carries on like he weighs 250 pounds or something.
It’s funny, man. I was just talking with him about it on this trip. I’ve looked back to when I first got back into skateboarding with Fully Flared and I look at photos and I’m, like, “Damn, I was fat.” We’ve been through a couple surgeries and injuries in which you could find some comfort in food. It’s good to have someone be honest and tell you you’ve put on a few. You know, it’s definitely the way that you take care of yourself, the way you eat. We’ve even exercised or whatever and gotten personal trainers; stuff like that. And I think that, not in a jockish way, but it’s more for a better lifestyle and to preserve being able to perform at your best on a board. Not even perform, but just—we love skateboarding so much and we want to do it the longest we can, without milking it. Not just trying to milk our career, but actually bring something to the table. I think there are a lot of ways that we both still do that. And I like to have that kind of relationship with AVE because a lot of people in skateboarding are just really young and fearless and they live a really wild lifestyle and that’s just a part of skateboarding. I really love that, but that’s just not our story anymore. We’ve been through a lot and time has lead us to live this lifestyle that we’re living now, you know? And not to say that it can’t go both ways, but this is where we are.
Were you surprised that Anthony got Skater of the Year for 2015?
I wasn’t surprised because I kind of felt like it was gonna go that way, but I was a little scared because times have changed so much. I think that social media has a role in it and you have a lot more people weighing in. A lot of the time in social media people just like to speak negative and give a negative opinion more than a positive one. And there’s so many reasons why people would want other people to win, like, “Oh, this guy did this many parts or did so many things.” I skate our park with Anthony all the time and even I would be, like, “Man, let me film you and post some stuff.” And he would never let me. And it was just like I wanted to help in that way, you know what I mean, to put out more content for him. Because if he wanted to, Anthony could have put out multiple parts and done multiple things and done a lot of social stuff, but he’s just not into that. And it’s not about that, man. I think it’s about the quality of his work. When I look at Anthony’s whole career and everything he does—it’s like he bleeds Thrasher. And I know from his personal relationship with you, it’s like anything he’s gonna do it goes to Thrasher. Outside of that, when I look at skateboarding and what he’s doing with FA/Hockey and the kids he represents, it’s like he’s breeding the next group of people that are gonna love Thrasher and carry on its traditions as well. And I think that speaks loudly.
You were part of the first SOTY year where people started campaigning for their favorites on social media. Were you angry or disappointed when you didn’t win Skater of the Year that year?
No. I thought that David killed it way harder than me and I think that same thing—that he is more Thrasher than me. He killed that part and even with all of that controversy, I still feel like that’s sort of a win. It was good for me. Just to have my name in there with David Gonzalez was a good thing. I may have a lot of self-hatred or whatever, but it’s just, like, I wasn’t up to that dude’s par, you know what I mean? To be grouped with him, it was an honor. But would I have been hyped to have won it, of course. It’s always been a dream of mine.
You were definitely on par with him.
Yeah, but I said the same thing to Anthony. I’m, like, “Man, just to be considered, whatever happens with the situation, it’s a good thing.” ‘Cause I’m sure Anthony wanted it. Who knows if he didn’t get it this year he might not be able to get it again. But just to be grouped in that category and to be viewed as one of the top skaters is where you want to be. ‘Cause everyone really does kill it and even if you don’t get it it’s not like you suck. I think that there’s a lot of rad skaters that haven’t got it. And for that matter, all the ones that have totally deserve it.
You had a really big year in 2015 with amazing, crazy tricks on the phone. And then your big announcement for Nike was done in the same style. Do you still care about doing other kinds of media projects like video parts and interviews or do you think the future of what you’re gonna do as a pro skater is gonna mostly go out through iPhone clips on social media?
I mean, I would hope not. Because right now, it’s not that I’ve pulled back from social media, but having done a lot of stuff just with the phones last year it’s, like, “I want to do another video part.” I know that all filming doesn’t have to be on the level of Ty Evans, but I know there’s a lot of other cool ways to do it too. With the iPhone stuff, I think what happened was that Brandon Biebel was on a comeback and we just wanted to be together and that was a comfortable way of just not taking it so serious. You skate with your friends and you get some fun clips. Last year with Brandon was probably the most fun I’ve had skateboarding in a long time. Right when I got back on Girl Brandon really took me in. We would go to Sacramento and, like, his house was my house and just everything—his spots, his filmers, his friends, anything. I’ve always had this true love for Biebel, and if you know him you know that he’s just the raddest dude and a super sick skater. The social media, it just brought him back up so quick and it was super powerful. It motivated us as well and re-sparked us on filming. This year both Brandon and I are working on street parts. But some people just don’t like posting themselves. Anthony and a lot of my favorite skaters don’t post themselves. It’s just a personal thing. And I wouldn’t want them to be pushed out because of that. We could lose a lot of great skateboarders if posting yourself became the epitome of skateboarding. But I do think this: I think there’s a way you could do good commercials with quality filmers for good brands and post them on social media. Because the fact of the matter is a lot of people just view skateboarding from their phone now and I don’t know if some people have the attention span anymore to get through some of these full-length parts. It’s sad.
Yeah, totally. But were you ever embarrassed? Was there ever a point where you’re, like, “Fuck, man, I can’t put up another clip of myself?”
It was tough to put myself out there like that. But then again I have an addictive personality. So probably once I got over that, it was a very easy thing to do. The other thing with that is I think it’s rad for the kids, because I do love being able to reach out to people like that. It’s cool for me to do a trick and have someone be super stoked on it because that brings me back to when I was a kid. If I could have commented on Tony Hawk’s trick or Mark Gonzales’ trick and maybe had a chance of them replying back to me or maybe going in my page and liking some of my photos, that would’ve been incredible. I think it’s a great tool for an upcoming skateboarder to be discovered or for someone that lacks the resources to be seen.
When you were younger you’d have video parts where you did tricks in the World park or even at a contest or demo and, as fans, we didn’t care. We loved it all. And then there was a while where it had to be strictly street and people were traveling the world for a perfect manual pad. What’s your take on real street vs. skatepark obstacles as far as, like, the value of the footage or the value of the trick?
There are certain people and terrain inside a skatepark that if you saw a clip you would know that he could take it to the streets. I’ve been in that situation before where I’ve pulled some stuff off in a skatepark but I could never take it to the streets. And I think at the end of the day it always comes back to the streets. It’s a weird time, though. A new generation might think that it’s the opposite. Shane O’Neill doesn’t put his gnarliest stuff on Instagram and neither does Dakota, neither does Leo, neither does Nyjah, you know what I mean? It’s, like, imagine what those people could be doing and putting out there if they just filmed everything for social media. But they still hold on to it and save it and that’s really cool. I may pull back a little bit so I can film a video part, but it’s a big part of skateboarding now that you can’t ignore.
You’re kinda on the forefront of some of this stuff. You were the first guy where people campaigned on social media for SOTY and where people were outraged on social media.
Yeah, like, to even go back to that, that actually kind of bummed me out because I thought David did really well and people are just like that. They wouldn’t have been happy either way. If somebody else got it and Anthony didn’t get it this year there would be an uproar or whatever. Those are mostly the type of people who like to comment on social media, you know what I mean? I’m sure you have your fans that push for you but with something like this it’s politics, man, and everybody likes to get involved.
Did it hurt to have people say negative things online when you switched sponsors?
Yeah, it did actually. Because it was a situation where it’s like, I’m not gonna try to defend or explain myself in any way. I think some of that negativity was good for me. It kind of toughened up my skin a bit. For skateboarding, there’s a lot of kids who live and breathe it and I don’t like to bring all of those politics into it. I still want kids to have that same fantasy and dream of how cool it is and just leave that stuff out. It takes the romance out of skateboarding. There’s been a lot of people and a lot of my friends that are really stoked about it. People have come up to me and said they’re happy about the move and happy about what I’m doing and it really means a lot. I don’t feel like I have to defend my love for skateboarding and everything that I’ve put into it. The same with Nike, they’re big contributors to skateboarding and have the resources to do a lot for us. I’m stoked to be on the team and work with the internal team and look forward to doing great things with them.
So are you gonna start a skateboard company with Eric Koston?
We’re working on it. What I like to tell people about that one is, like, you know, it wasn’t like we were sitting back rubbing our hands, like, “I’m gonna wait ‘till I’m 40 to start a skateboard brand.” It’s something that will develop over time. I’ve always skated and worked for the Girl brands as if they were my own. It was like a dynasty for me. I don’t want to have any resentments on that or let that affect all of the good times that we did have. Because it was super rad. I think that in skateboarding there will probably never be a company like Girl skateboards ever again. And I’m super proud to have been a part of it. ‘Cause I think that skateboarding is changing in a lot of ways. And not in bad ways, but I don’t know if brands are gonna be able to carry on the way that Girl did it. I would hope to carry on some of those same principles and traditions as we did with Girl, and some new ones of our own.
How hard was it to sit down your friends at Girl and tell them you were quitting?
Ultimately, it was a very hard thing for me to come to terms with. Even after the move, emotions are still raw, like an open wound. I think too much probing doesn’t allow me to heal. What’s more important right now is letting go and looking ahead. I definitely will always have that blood flowing through me because it’s, like, I’ve always been there for them like my brothers. I think a lot of them know that whether or not it’s been spoken. The people I do see, it’s a very known thing. It just goes without saying.
Like mommy and daddy are breaking up but we still love you very much.
With someone like Mike Mo, we’ve shared such a special bond. Even all of those guys like Brandon and Sean, we’ve shared such a special bond that it’s, like, if changing sponsors comes between us there probably wasn’t a lot of substance there to begin with. You do spend a lot of time on tours, on trips and that is some of the special bonding time where things happen and memories get created and so those will definitely be missed.
Okay, let’s get back to some AVE stuff. AVE is really funny to me. He’s like Han Solo. He’s like the toughest, most solid skating guy, but then the glass is always comedically half empty with him. How would you describe him?
Anthony cares and Anthony’s sensitive, but if it’s something that he really gives a shit about—and, like, skateboarding he does—he’s very strict about it and he takes a stand where sometimes people just follow like sheep. He’s not the type to become victim to what everyone else is doing. Everybody’s usually always trying to please everybody and he’s not really a people pleaser and that might rub people the wrong way. For that matter, Anthony does rub people the wrong way. And I think it’s good for me because Anthony helps me out a lot. He’ll be, like, “Man, get the fuck off that goddamn phone and go film a video part! What are you doing?” And I need certain people in my life like Anthony that are gonna be very honest with me. Some people might pussyfoot around it or sugarcoat it. You know Anthony’s not that dude. That’s why I love him. He always gives me an honest opinion. Anthony shows up for real life stuff for me. Our relationship runs deeper than just skateboarding.
If you could have one of his tricks which trick would you want to have?
The switch front crook, probably.
Dude. The AVE grind.
Can we get that certified?
No problem. Consider it law. What’s your favorite thing to treat yourself with in Hawaii?
Coconut water. It’s been a big thing. We got a case of it. Evan’s been bringing it by the house a lot. It’s been keeping us hydrated. But the thing I most like to treat myself with is probably a clip.
Have you been fucking with any of those scoops?
Yeah, I do. I like the plate lunch scoops. Rice. Macaroni. I’m feeling the scoops. The best thing I’ve actually been treating myself with is sleep. You know I just had a baby and Benny gave me some little website that had a bunch of new movies on it and at night I just sit in my bed and watch these movies.
‘Cause as a new father those days are gone. They’re gone.
It’s a blessing to have a child. Don’t get me wrong. But it’s also a blessing to get some rest. You know, my lady’s probably gonna read this and be, like, “What is he talking about? He sleeps through the night.”
Are we gonna see you making a SOTY run in 2016? Is this the beginning of it? Are we gonna be here next year on your trip?
You know, I wish that the SOTY thing was a little bit more positive at the end.
You mean that people wouldn’t get so volatile about it?
It’s funny. They picked Mike Carroll in ‘94. Who knows if someone was pissed about it. Like, “You idiots! It shoulda been Ron Allen!”
Yeah. You know what, I’m always on that run whether it looks like it or not. I’m always trying to do it to the best of my ability. I think that a lot of stuff that matters in that SOTY run too is having the opportunities to take the trips and document a lot of the stuff. It’s the biggest part of it. But I’m actually planning on taking a lot of trips and hopefully doing a lot of filming this year. But I’m not going to lie, I’m a big Shane O’Neill fan and I would love to see him get it.
So some people know you as the cute little kid from the Blind video or the Powell videos but you’re about to turn 40 in three months. Does that number mean anything to you?
No, it doesn’t mean as much to me as it might mean something to someone else. I want to be the type of skater where skaters won’t judge their age because they can use me as a reference. Because I see people that are, like, 30, maybe coming up on their mid-30s and having to struggle with age and it’s, like, man, you can do so much at that time. I want to put 40 on the map.
I think Dave Duncan might have already done that.
There was a time when they were trying to push out Mike Vallely and Mark Gonzales and Jason Lee in those World days when maybe I even might have fell victim to being, like, “Yeah, once you get to a certain age it’s like you need to be pushed out.” And I think Mark Gonzales proved that wrong during that video and even to this day. But if I could do anything in these years I would like to prove that age is just a number and to enjoy it. Skateboarding is an art form where you don’t have to be the biggest rail skater and you don’t have to be the most tech. We respect a lot of different styles and approaches to skateboarding these days. I think it’s about fun and creativity. I see people out there like Cory Kennedy and he looks like he has a lot of fun skateboarding and that’s very attractive to me.
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