Words: Rob Brink
The Skateboard Mag, July 2010
With the final countdown to Stay Gold underway, the Emericans recently embarked on one last filming mission to China. Upon returning home to Los Angeles, Kevin Long battled illness, a broken phone, video deadline stress and more than three days of jet lag-induced insomnia and deliriousness.
Not so good.
You see … these kinds of distractions interfere with Kevin’s agenda as a professional skateboarder. He’s got a lot going on, both on the board and off it. His quest for un-boringness makes him one of the more interesting personalities in skateboarding today. Every pro is a good skateboarder in one way or another, but not every pro is the type of person you want to be friends with. Kevin possesses a special kind of magnetism and he’s a tremendous asset to our present day microcosmic skateboarding situation.
Any good stories from this China trip?
Atiba just blowing my mind constantly. He decided to introduce the renegade shotgun to China. Almost every day he would grab a beer, have the translator gather the crowd and show them the renegade. But it wasn’t well-received—just crossed arms and frowns.
You’d think they’d be impressed. I always am when he does it.
I think they were just absolutely confused by the whole situation.
Any good meltdowns?
Braydon melts down quite a bit. Van heckling gets to him. He just always has something to say so he gets put in the line of fire and gets mad. But it’s all in good fun.
You guys are in the last month of filming Stay Gold, what’s the stress level like?
The pressure is so apparent—in the air at all times. It makes things difficult because your head is all over the place, thinking of the big picture too much. Obviously it helps motivate you to try as hard as you can and try things you wouldn’t normally try, but it takes away from what would come out naturally.
My personal approach to skating comes from just being disorganized in my own head. I kind of go with the flow, hope things work out and sort of float along. But at this point in a project I’ve got to curb that and make real plans, which is very hard for me. It’s impossible to not be affected because whether we like it or not, we could make or break our careers at this point.
Does having a two knee surgeries change your skating at all?
I never did that mindfully, but after a year of not skating, it took so long to get strong enough to jump down things, so I guess my approach certainly did change. You want to stay relevant even if you physically can’t jump down a sixteen.
What’s it like not skating for a year?
I found plenty of distractions so it’s not like I had a massive void, but at the same time, I’d never not skated for that long. I was constantly thinking about skating while I was hurt, but I didn’t realize how much I actually need it—whether I’m paid to do it or not, until I was able to skate again. I don’t see as clearly without skating.
You have a Goat tour coming up, right?
Yeah, from Atlanta to New York with Bad Shit.
Are you more natural as a skateboarder or a musician?
I love music, but I’m definitely not a very good musician. I’m not trained but I can sort of get by with my ear.
I’ve always wondered why you don’t live in New York City. You seem like that kind of dude.
If it weren’t for skateboarding, I would’ve moved to New York a long time ago. I love the feeling of that city and the seasons, but it would absolutely not be good for my productivity. I definitely see myself there in the future, but for now I just want to skate as much as possible.
How about a statement regarding the makeup video that surfaced on the Internet last year?
Oh God. Well, first I’d like to say, “I’m sorry” for anyone who had to see that. It’s not exactly something that I walked away from fist pumping or anything. I had no idea it was gonna turn into even a fraction of what it became, but I understand how completely shocking it is.
Basically, a mutual friend of my ex-girlfriend asked me for a favor. “It’ll be really quick, no one will see it, blah, blah, blah.” Famous last words.
While we were filming, I was like, “I gotta get the fuck outta here. At least no one will see this.” I washed my hands of it and swore I’d never do that kind of favor again.
Months later, I start getting texts like, “Yo, what the fuck?” So I watched it and I couldn’t even get through the whole thing. Just totally fucking … my bad. I can’t even excuse it. There’s been a great amount of hate coming my way for that and I get it. Whether you respect my skating or not, it’s a pretty jacked situation. I would make fun of me if I saw it.
What’s the story of Reggie the giraffe?
I just like animal statues and I got this big giraffe at the swap meet years ago. I kind of name everything Reggie because that’s the fake name I give to people I don’t want to talk to. So people see the giraffe in my apartment and think I’m obsessed with giraffes and suddenly I’m getting all kinds of giraffe stuff. Now I look like the crazy giraffe dude.
Tell us about the Morrissey show where security beat you up.
That’s kind of embarrassing too. I think there’s some Internet video of that one. I was with a bunch of friends at the Hollywood Bowl show and everyone was jumping up on stage. I never had the urge to do that, but that particular evening I was drinking too much wine. So Dustin Dollin got on stage and was like, “You gotta do it!” I got into skater mentality, like dodging security, ya know? So I got up on stage and got tackled by security. I don’t know what I was thinking. The guy fully took me outside and hit me and shit. I was like, “Alright dude. I’m sorry! I’m not trying to be a crazed fan or anything.” He roughed me up in the parking lot.
Damn, Dollin got a hug and you got pummeled.
Yeah, it’s pretty gay.
Say you made it through—did you have a plan to hug Morrissey? Do you ever see those people that make it on stage and security doesn’t come right away and they just stand there pumping their fists or trying to get a reaction from singer? It’s so embarrassing.
That’s why I never wanted to do that in the first place. I have no business up there. I’m not seeking a hug that badly. In my drunken head it just became a challenge. It was fun but I don’t know what the fuck I was thinking. Everybody does stupid shit.
Except your life is documented.
Sometimes my life goes viral.
Can you still cry on command?
I haven’t done it in a while. I must have fucked up tear glands or something. My eyes are always watery when I skate so I can just do it.
Has Morrissey ever made you cry?
That’s another weird one. I get labeled a Morrissey fan way more than I really am. I guess I skated to him and stuff but I’m not some obsessed Morrissey fan.
I’ve never really quite understood why Morrissey became this huge thing in skateboarding.
I don’t get it either to be honest. I dig the music and stuff but it’s not something that I would full-heartedly stand behind, like, “That’s my shit!”
I heard Cat Power wrote a song about you.
Shit, I dunno.
Did you break her heart?
No, definitely not. I’ve actually heard that quite a few times but I doubt there’s a song about me.
So who’s the most un-boring person you know?
Shit … the Jeffersons are pretty un-boring. They’re such enigmas. I can never know where their angle is because they’re just into everything. They’re such weirdos. They’re fucking aliens to me and I love being surrounded by that.
Aside from being talented, they are such good examples of guys who are cool to everyone and it pays off for them. I try to learn more of that from them.
And the fact that they’re genuinely sweet dudes and their passion is very sincere. Like, when a song comes on you see them both pushing each other out of the way to do air bass. It’s like, “These dudes care about this so much. They’re having more fun than they’ve ever had in their life!”
That kind of enthusiasm comes every day for them from the weirdest shit. Seriously, it’ll be some random video game or music and I’m like, “I dunno where they store all this passion!” I don’t understand it, but it’s contagious.
I heard Matt Eversole’s girl accidentally sent you a photo of her tits.
That was pretty hilarious. She lives with Jerry. You know Blackberry Messenger … you’re just constantly firing off photos to your friends. It’s so easy to pick the wrong person and mess up. I’ve always hoped a girl would accidentally do that. It’s a bonus I’ve been awaiting for a long time.