Behind the Bush: A Conversation with Gino Durante

Behind the Bush: A Conversation with Gino Durante

Behind the Bush: A conversation with Gino Durante
Words: Robert Brink / Already Been Done 2010

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 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. My mom thinks it’s the funniest thing in the world.

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 some skating thing 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.” He rips off my hat and looks inside my hat. 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. We got out at four o’clock 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. On the 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. And then I’m sitting there laughing, like “Why didn’t I have my camera for this one.”

So it gets rescheduled and 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?” They promised me like $300,000 from a civil suit because this guy was gonna get in trouble.

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 knows who I am and they’re gonna come and buy the shirt and wear ‘em to school. So these 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.
MJM Shoes. He just overprices shit and that’s how he makes his money because he’s a rich fuck.

Let’s say it was in 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 their signs and doing their thing for their boxcar derby or some dinner they had. And 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 that 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 drop a hammer down that gap.

Was he spitting while he was yelling in your face?
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 mad mucus coming out of his mouth. Like if you see 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 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 so started handing 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.

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