December 31, 2010
Behind the Bush: A Conversation With Gino Durante
Words: Rob Brink
Already Been Done, December 2010
Gino Durante used to post sponsor-me footage on my Facebook page. I never really paid much mind, not to be a dick, but because there isn’t much I can do other than forward it to a TM at Sole Tech if it's worth their time. And believe me, they are already inundated with sponsor-me tapes.
Fast forward a few months and he posts another video called “My Fucking Bush.”
I watched it, had a laugh and went on my way. Didn’t even realize it was Gino in the video. Videos of skateboarders getting harassed pop up all the time, right?
A few days later, the clip had spread like wildfire. Friends who don’t even skate were texting me and emailing me the clip, asking me if I knew Gino, since he and I are both from North Jersey.
I watched the clip a few more times and had some questions, so the only thing left to do was give Gino a call and get the story behind the year’s most infamous viral skateboarding video.
So now that you’re Internet famous, what’s it been like?
Dude, I just skate around town because I hate driving. Just kick around and have fun by myself with my headphones and shit and this guy pulls over and he’s like, “Hey, you.”
And I’m like, “Oh shit, what the hell did I do to this guy?”
“You’re Gino?” He says. “That video was wild, man, I can’t believe that asshole did that to you.”
So most people get it?
Yeah, pretty much. It’s been crazy, bro. I walked into this local t-shirt place because I wanted to get “How fast? Real fast!” t-shirts made and ruin this guy’s life and the owner is talking to his wife on the phone and he’s like, “Honey, I gotta go. The famous skateboarder just walked in.”
You’re like Ferris Bueller. The whole city was backing him even though they shouldn’t have.
That’s basically what it is. I heard 50 Cent was Twittering about me. I’ve always felt my claim to fame would be skating or something stupid I do. But I never thought it’d be me being a pussy on camera getting attacked by some wild man.
I think you played it smart because skaters never fucking win. You or the filmer could’ve easily clocked the guy. But then you would’ve been fucked no matter what the tape shows.
Yeah. This guy is a real big name. He’s the richest dude in town. Thank God I didn’t hit him because I would’ve lost my house and everything like that.
We were filming all day so the tape ended as soon as the cops came. But they came up like, “What’s going on?”
“This guy attacked me,” I said. “I don’t know what the hell his deal is.”
They were like, “Did you rip up the bush?”
I said, “I didn’t rip up the bush. I got here and it was like that, I just moved it over.”
“So you ripped up the bush.” They said.
I stood up and he puts me up against the brick wall, cuffs me and goes, “You’re under arrest for criminal mischief.” I was read no rights or anything. They took me to a holding cell. The guy put the cuffs on super tight. They always do.
I’ve been there. Your hands go numb.
Yeah. This happened maybe 9:30 at night. I got out at four in the morning and they made me walk home. Took me another hour.
When I woke up my mom’s like, “Why’d you get home so late?”
I’m like, “You know what, mom? I’m not even gonna tell you what happened. Here’s the video.”
It took my stepfather a week to watch it because he was so pissed off. We counter-sued the guy for assault and harassment. His wife took my keys so that’s grand theft auto and I had him on a civil suit too. I didn’t even bring up the fifth suit—he falsified a police report. He said that I hit him and tried to run and that’s why he restrained me.
So my lawyer shows up an hour late to the mediation where this all could’ve been settled. My lawyer called the guy a fucking asshole in the courtroom and screamed at him. I’m sitting there laughing, like, “Why didn’t I have my camera for this one.”
So it gets rescheduled. They sent it straight to case and my lawyer shows up an hour late for that too. I’m like, “What the hell is wrong with this guy?”
We get there and the judge is like, “I don’t get this. For a bush? Really? This is childish. I want you to go out in the hallway and settle this amongst yourselves.”
So the guy comes up to me, “I’m ready for you to pay me for the bush now.”
I was like, “Are you kidding me?” And my stepfather almost choked the guy out—started screaming at him.
My lawyer jumps in the middle, brings him over to the corner of the waiting room and says, “This kid’s not paying for shit, he’s got a video and you’re basically screwed.”
The guy’s like, “Well since there’s a video, I’ll just drop the charges on him and you just drop the charges on me.”
I’m like, “Really? This is how it’s gonna go down?”
So we go back in the courtroom. The judge, this fucking heinous Santa Clause-looking jerk off, goes “Have you guys come to an agreement?”
My lawyer’s like, “Yes, sir, all the charges are dropped.”
I was like, “Fine, you guys wanna play like that? Check this out.”
I walked out of the courtroom; made a phone call and the video went up on YouTube. It took that guy like 50 years to build a business and have an awesome name in Livingston and now his life is ruined.
What’s been the backlash against him?
Dude, kids in high school are ripping on his kids so bad. His kids are mortified. And now it’s gonna get even better because I’m making "How fast? Real fast." t-shirts and every kid in high school is gonna buy the shirt and wear ‘em to school. So his kids are just completely screwed.
He owns a shoe store in Livingston?
He’s got three of ‘em and now they’re just all being ruined.
I saw all the negative reviews people are leaving on Google and Yelp! Pretty funny.
It’s retarded. He just overprices shit and that’s how he makes his money because he’s a rich fuck.
Let’s say it was the middle of the day and some mom was inside the store and her kids were outside playing in the bushes …
Are you ready for this? That actually happened. Maybe five or six years back, the Cub Scouts were going around putting up signs and doing their thing for their boxcar derby or some dinner they had. They stuck a sign in the soil and he flipped out. He screamed at all these little kids and it was a big thing in the paper. It was wild.
How do you freak out on the Cub Scouts? Who does that? Also, that’s not even his property. It’s the town’s property and it’s the town’s bush. He owns the building but not the bush.
I understand it could be frustrating for him. I get where you were in the wrong, but how bad has it been that this was the last straw for him?
The straw that broke the camel’s back. I don’t know, I mean, I know other people skate there because it’s a pretty epic gap.
You guys should make a documentary, "Behind the Bush."
"Back to the Bush" instead of "Back to the ‘Burg." For Go Skate Day I wanna have "Back to the Bush" and see how many people can throw hammers down that gap.
Was he spitting while he was in all your face yelling?
Oh for sure. There was one point where I was really pissed off. But I’m not a fighter. I ain’t running anywhere either. He was screaming—so heated and spitting. There was mucus coming out of his mouth. Like if you look at my face, I was kinda bummed on him.
How were you not laughing? It pisses people off so bad if you just laugh at them.
Of course, but I’ve never been attacked like that before. I was in shock. I raised my voice a couple times because I was pretty pissed off. I was just completely bummed on the situation. I couldn’t even scream at the guy let alone laugh in his face. I hope Tosh.0 gives me a web redemption. I’m hoping for that. I want a web redemption!
I saw a letter from a detective on YouTube saying that the video had to come down.
So I get a call and my friend is like, “Dude, I gotta leave school right away. The detectives called me and they were screaming. They’re gonna come and arrest me for harassment and death threats because of the video.”
The detective called my stepfather too, and my stepfather’s like, “Get outta here. They’re not taking the video down.”
But if the trial is over and all is squashed, you’re allowed to have the video up, right?
Yeah because it’s my video. He could’ve bought it for $300,000 but he chose not to. He was being an arrogant fuck. And so many other people had the video by the time the detectives called anyway. I have the original copy of the video, so I just started passing it out. Fuck that.
People ruin their own lives; all we do is document it.
Yeah, pretty much, man. It’s so ridiculous. I don’t know, man, I think he’ll just call the cops next time.
December 31, 2010
Words: Rob Brink
Already Been Done, December 2010
Because 2010 was the dawn of the online pro video part being a new standard in skateboarding, a few months ago we started an article on the "Top 5 online video parts of 2010" and got in touch with some of the skaters who made those parts. Then, about a week ago, the entire skate blogosphere published "Top Online Video Parts of 2010" articles ....
So we scrapped ours.
However, having already spoken with Daewon Song and Shane O'Neill and noticing that none of the other articles decided to do anything of the sort, we figured that not using their commentary would be a disservice to our readers, and sorta rude, considering the two of them made the time to speak to us. So, in no particular order, here they are:
"I remember watching Dylan's part at 3 a.m. and thinking 'Wow, this part is amazing.' I couldn't believe it was just a web video! The next morning watched it again. Such a great part."
"Dylan's part was so amazing. I liked how it was put together—really easy on the eyes. Dylan has been absolutely killing it and it was amazing to finally see the footage of all those gnarly photos we saw come out in the mags. The frontside tailslide kickflip was the best. That was, hands down, the best one of those I'll ever see."
"Seen this part in Texas. Chico showed me! I tried to pretend it wasn't real, haha. But this part definitely put Shane in the spotlight and it's well deserved! He killed it!! I would have paid three bucks."
"Daewon's part was awesome. How he went back to all the spots and re-did the lines was awesome. Me and my friends filmed the same tricks we did years ago back in Melbourne like that sometimes. Then, after that section there are tricks in there that I thought wouldn't be going down anytime soon, but he does them with such power and control. Switch frontside shuv krooks to bigflip? That's insane."
"Vincent's always fun to watch! He charges and kills everything. So stoked to see him skate the way he does and always seems to be having fun! Everyone at Girl and Chocolate rip and having Vincent just adds so much extra!"
"Vincent's Lakai commercial was amazing. I liked the way it was put together and it just all flowed so quickly. Vincent is a ripper!"
"What an awesome part. He skates the way he's always skated, but always steps it up, up, up and is so solid! He always steps his shit up!"
"Paul's part was my favorite. It reminded me so much of Paul in In Bloom back in the day, which is my favorite video. I like the nollie hardflip he did down that 12 stair. That's the best. That trick is so hard, let alone doing it down a 12 stair. And he made it look so good."
Oh, and one more thing from Daewon:
"I'm working on a new secret project before the end of this year!"
December 28, 2010
Something new ...
December 20, 2010
Festivus: Damn Am Costa Mesa 2010
Words: Rob Brink
The Skateboard Mag, February 2010
“Crime has increased during every recession since the late 1950s.”
—Sociologists interviewed by Reuters, October 2008.
First, it was the disappearance of Andrew Cannon’s bike.
When a dude comes up to you in a full-on penguin suit telling you his bike got stolen and he doesn’t even seem that mad, you can’t help but feel for the guy, then wonder if you’re as good at not sweating the small stuff as he is.
Poor little penguin.
Then, it was the cracked-out chef in a Santa Cruz “screaming hand” apron, who, in between grilling shifts, bullied various members of the SPoT crew into giving him free product and looted the Volcom box truck.
“He got in my face about getting some free shirts and was smelling like rotten beer at like, 11 am,” says Ryan Clements. “I gave him one and then he demanded another. Pretty lame.”
“That dude was on something else other than beer,” says Jorge Angel. “He demanded we give him shirts or we else wouldn’t eat.”
“Later that day, he took a pile of Indy stickers and shirts out of the Volcom truck,” says Rob Meronek. “I was entering scores, glanced up, wondered why a 45-year-old drunk fuck was taking shirts and went back to entering scores. A few minutes later he came back trying to start a fight with me, claiming he’s riding for Indy for 25 years. All this while I'm wearing a fucking Wonder Woman costume.”
Next was Jereme Knibbs, who won 5th place in the Best Trick contest. When he put his backpack full of prizes down for a moment to throw some product out to the kids during the product toss, the backpack disappeared.
This isn’t a lecture. This isn’t moralizing. It’s just the facts.
I wasn’t at the Costa Mesa Damn Am finals for more than 10 minutes before the three aforementioned stories of thievery came my way.
Is the shitty economy or some Costa Mesa-area low-lifes to blame? Was it the mischievous Halloween vibe or are people just plain assholes? Is some free crap that you don’t deserve so important that you gotta steal it from a kid who just won it and ruin his proud moment?
When all was said and done, the few people who earned their keep were Kyle Walker, David Loy and Tommy Fynn. Kyle is now the 10th Annual Damn Am Costa Mesa winner. Loy took Best Trick and Tommy won the Zumiez Destroyer award. Congrats, fellas.
On my way out of the contest, I was walking behind a pack of young kids carrying armfuls of tees and stickers and random schwag. They seemed about 9 or 10 years old.
There was a skateboard on the ground between two parked cars and one of the kids, without even breaking stride, picked it up and kept walking, at which point, his friend asked, “Was that yours?”
“No, but it is now,” he replied excitedly, and kept on walking.
December 3, 2010
December is my father's birthday month. Unless my math is wrong, which is highly likely, if he were still alive he'd be turning 64.
I've always wanted to write something about him. A book, perhaps. But not necessarily in traditional book form.
After nine years of pondering it, experimenting, being afraid, busy, and insecure—as well as dealing with the evolution of the Internet as we currently know it—I think I have the concept down.
This is the first bit of many bits. But not necessarily the bit that the book will open up with.
It's nice to sit down and write for myself for once. It's nice to sit down and devote concentrated chunks of time to thinking only about my father. Not that I don't think about him every day anyway.
This is the beginning of a new project for me. And it's a work in progress. It's for you too. And it's for anyone who has lost someone or watched someone they love wither away from cancer or any other horrible disease, right in front of their own eyes.
Some of you won't relate just yet, but it'll come one day. Brace yourself. It's a wild ride.
I named it "Had a Dad." Sorry for the long intro, I did it so won't need to say it all again on future pieces. Thank you for reading.
He knelt in the dirt. I stood beside him. His bald spot was yellow. Beaded with sweat.
“Can you give this a try?” He said as he dropped his trowel. “It’s in there pretty good.”
Standing, I leant down and grabbed the shrub tightly with both hands, about to give it all I had, when it cracked and uprooted.
Dead and dry and without a fight.
We didn’t even look at one another.
“Thanks,” he said. “I must be getting weaker.”
“Nah. I’m standing. More leverage.” I told him.
For 25 years I never beat him in a foot race, checkers, bowling or an arm wrestle.
I always wished I was stronger than my father until the moment I realized I was stronger than my father.
I kept my mouth shut, walked the roots to the trash and tried not to think about jaundice.
December 2, 2010
A bunch of these tricks were in the new Expedition Madness video. I nearly forgot about them. Enrique has some sick NBDs that came that outta nowhere. Had people stoked as hell. Congrats, Kenny!
November 29, 2010
April 8, 2009
Words: Rob Brink
The following conversation took place in April of 2009, the week Leo Romero left Baker to ride for Toy Machine. It was intended to be an audio interview for The Skateboard Mag's website, accompanying his photo-only feature that ran in the mag that month, in which case, it would have been his first interview discussing all that you're about to read.
Much to my dismay (especially when I found out there'd be no paycheck for me as a result), Leo requested that only the photos run and I've been sitting on this for over a year and a half.
My apologies in advance if you've read some of this info in interviews that have since been published by other mags or websites. I figured since he's the new SOTY, it's a good time to publish regardless. Enjoy, and congrats, Leo! Well deserved.
I have this theory that you’re really into slamming and pain. Am I wrong?
I mean, no one likes pain. I wanna make the trick obviously, but part of the fun of skateboarding is scraping your elbow and falling on your knees. As a kid walking around with scabs all over me, I was like, “Fuck yeah! I’m a dirty skater!” You know what I mean? To me, that’s skateboarding.
I remember you came up to me once and said, “Why do you always put slams of me on the Internet?”
Yeah, ‘cause I saw this clip you made of a RVCA demo and it was all slams and only two makes. I was like, “Fuck, I swear I made more than two tricks.”
Well, you seem to commit slamming. You don’t put your arms down. You fall to your shoulders and your head all the time. I was just like, “This guy is crazy in a really good way.”
Everyone learns how to slam and that’s just the way I fall I guess. Look at Corey Duffel, he’s broken many a bone. I don’t think he likes pain. I’m sure at a demo people like to see someone fall though.
I’ve never seen anyone skate a demo as hard as you. You can barely walk by the end. But kids see that and take it with them. You went for it while the other guy was sitting in the van not skating.
Yeah, I don’t do it to shine above anybody. I do it ‘cause those kids are there to see you skate. I remember seeing pros not even skating a demo when I was younger and I was like, “Fuck dude, why isn’t that guy skating? I’m here to see him skate.”
They finally turn pro and get a board. Then they get a shoe and an apparel line and all of a sudden they’re too cool to skate a demo. And you’re like “Wow, only two years and you’re over it?”
Yeah, it’s so funny to see that ‘cause it’s like, “What exactly are you too cool for? You’re obviously collecting the checks but you’re too cool to do a kickflip for the kids who are buying your board?” I think it’s fucking funny, man.
I don’t want a kid leaving a demo and saying, “Why didn’t Leo skate?” I wanna skate like they see me in a video or a magazine, not pussyfoot it just because it’s a demo.
So you’re the hot news item this week. People probably want to know why you quit Baker for Toy Machine.
Just a change of pace I guess.
It seems a common reaction is “Why would you ever leave Baker?” As if you are making a mistake or something.
I can see that. But I didn’t even get that reaction from Andrew. He was as cool as anything. I was already feeling weird because I was thinking about quitting. I didn’t want to go behind his back or whatever. Calling Andrew Reynolds and quitting his company is kinda scary, you know what I mean? When I told him he was like, “Oh, that’s cool man, who are you gonna ride for?”
He thought it was cool that I was riding for Toy instead of some lame company. I never had any second guesses about quitting but his reaction just reassured me that it was a good decision on my part.
Amazing that he’s a real friend in that situation and not just your boss.
That’s how I look at it. He’s not mad at me for quitting his company. He’s happy for me and that’s fucking awesome.
It seemed like a lot of people thought you were a perfect fit on Baker when you went there. I’m wondering if all along you were feeling differently?
It’s just weird. When you get older things change. When I was on Foundation, people thought I was good on there and then I was on Baker and people thought I was good on there. Now that I’m on Toy Machine people think it’s good.
You once said that your boards don’t sell on Baker. I know quitting wasn’t a money thing, but it sort of got me thinking that you might shine brighter on Toy Machine in a way …
I’ve heard people talk about that, like, “Oh, you want to be bigger on Toy Machine.” But it’s not that. I don’t care if my boards don't sell. When I put out graphics I’m not trying to put out top sellers—I put graphics out that I think are funny. There are a lot of good people on Toy Machine. Just like there are a lot of good people on Baker. I didn’t switch to be like, “the main guy” or anything ‘cause that’s the last thing I want. Before me, Toy Machine was still fucking awesome. I’m not really bringing anything to the table that isn’t already there.
As far as Emerica is concerned, there are a lot of the same riders. What’s different about being on Emerica than Baker?
I’ve been on Emerica since I was a fucking kid. They’ve helped me out a lot. It’s different. With Baker it’s like I was joining the cool guys—like the skate stars. And with Emerica it was always like family. I just want to be happy. Not that I wasn’t happy with Baker. It’s nothing that they did. I just wasn’t happy, period.
How would things be different if you had never left Foundation?
That’s hard to say. Maybe the same. Even a month ago at a signing, kids were like “Oh you’re on Baker? Why did you quit Foundation?” And I was like, “That happened three years ago.”
I think with me people don’t really identify my skateboarding with a board company. They just see me as being on Emerica.
It could even be said about this interview and how much we’re talking about Baker and Toy Machine, but are people thinking way too hard about skateboarding these days?
I totally think so. Like, who cares man? People quit companies like all the time. But you can even see it in ads and stuff. People just standing there and looking cool.
I think it’s gotten to that point where certain people think they’re celebrities and it’s like, “You’re not a celebrity, dude, you’re just some retard skater guy. We all are.”
You’ve explained in other interviews a sort of ugly aftermath with Tod Swank when you left Foundation. Are you on a different level with him now, going back to the Tum Yeto umbrella?
I’m not like, good friends with Tod or anything but I was still holding a grudge from back in the day and being a little fuck. I’ve always liked Toy Machine and the only reason I didn’t get on sooner was because of me being an idiot about that whole deal. Towards the end of me being on Baker I was talking to Ed and jokingly was like, “Yeah, if you guys make him put an ad out saying he’s a dick, I’m down to do it.” So Ed’s like, “Alright, let me call him.”
That’s more like how skateboarding was in the early nineties.
I think it’s funny and cool on Tod’s part to do that ad. So I was like, “Alright cool, fuck it.”
Rocco stole Richard Mulder from Foundation back in the day and ran a pretty funny ad with Richard driving his Porsche announcing it.
It just makes it more fun. It’s not too serious, you know what I mean? I think Tod used to kick people off in ads, right?
Yeah, Ronnie Creager got kicked off Foundation in an ad. Do you ever feel that you need to get away from skateboarding, whether it’s the people or the filming or whatever?
I never get to the point where I’m like “Oh dude, skating is such a drag. I’m over it for a week.” It’s more like, “What are we doing this weekend? We’re going to the swap meet? Fuck yeah, let’s do it! Let’s play some guitar today. Lets ride some bikes!”
I’m never putting down my board because I’m sick or tired of skating. I’m just putting it down ‘cause something else comes up—like the weekend.
What’s something you need to work on to improve yourself as a person?
I guess people sometimes think I’m a dick because I don’t really like talking to many people. But like, Austin Stephens doesn’t talk to many people and he’s not a dick. I’m sure I’ve got things to work out but I don’t really know. I guess that’s a question I should ask people … “Hey man, how am I lame?”
I heard that you’re not the best person to go riding Harleys with because you just get on your bike and go 100 miles an hour and leave everyone in the dust.
I’m a very impatient person. If people are lagging I’m like, “Fuck this I’m outta here.”
If you could fight any famous person who would it be?
God I dunno, that’s a hard one. Probably Rocky Balboa. Yeah, ‘cause it would be the last fight of the movie and it would be a pretty big deal.
But you’d probably get your ass kicked.
Yeah, but it’s worth it if it’s Rocky, dude.
See, but that goes back to the pain thing I was asking earlier.
Sometimes it’s worth it to get a little broken up to have some fun.
What do you hate right now?
I’m a pretty simple guy. Not too much shit bothers me but I hate going to overcrowded bars and they’re overcharging you for beer. I hate that.
So on the other side all that, what makes you happy on a daily basis?
The same things as everybody else I think: Playing guitar, listening to music, barbecuing on a summer day, finishing up some cold ones, fucking girls.
Beer, food and women …
And music and skateboarding. Pretty simple.
Imagine everyone in the world was that simple? How awesome would that be?
Yeah, everybody would be drinking, barbecuing and out for poon.
November 28, 2010
Every so often I read something good in a skateboarding magazine. This was one of those things, so I decided to share.