chrome ball interview #100: danny way

chops celebrates 9 years of cbi with skateboarding's all-time atv. 

So something that I noticed over the course of my research: the first trick you ever had in a video was a ho-ho? And a ho-ho with “Powell Magic” to boot! Was that your go-to trick at the time?

Yeah, I had a few photos in magazines prior to that but you’re right: for Public Domain, I dropped in right to a ho-ho… seemed like a good idea at the time! (laughs)

I was actually talking to someone about this the other day. With bowl skating being so popular again and so many of these retro tricks coming back in style, I’m actually thinking about entering one of these Bowl Series contests just to bring back some of those classic moves, like the ho-ho. Who knows, maybe I could stall it out for a one-trick run? What about a 45-second ho-ho!?! That could be the way to go! Walking around the deck on my hands… could be a good laugh!

I know you had a few sponsors prior to that but Powell was the biggest thing going at the time. How’d you find yourself on that squad?

Stacy liked hooking up younger kids who were obviously developing their skills early on... but for whatever reason, it took me a second to get on his radar.  I remember there being a couple of other kids on Powell before I got on and I was always so envious of them. Being little myself, I knew who all the other little rippers were at the time and realized that I had the majority of their tricks already in the bag in addition to a few of my own... I wanted that recognition, too! But this is Southern California, the heart of skateboarding culture for that era. It’s harder to get noticed out here because skating is so popular. I mean, I was skating at the Del Mar Skate Ranch. That park alone was just full of talent at the time, so I had to be patient.

Prior to Powell, the Hosoi team manager had spotted me at a demo in Mission Beach and asked if I wanted to join the posse. Before I knew it, I was an unknown 12-year-old kid skating with one of my favorite skaters in the world. It was pretty incredible. Not only was it amazing for me to skate with someone that good but it was also an awesome experience observing Hosoi’s professionalism firsthand like that. Christian’s just such a great human being and I took a lot away from my time there.

The problem with Team Hosoi is that the business wasn’t set up to tend to the riders very well. I felt like I wasn’t being taken care of the way that I probably should’ve been, as far as getting boards and everything. That was crucial for me because I really wasn’t in the position of getting boards very easily back then. I couldn’t just go out and buy a new board anytime I needed one, so sponsorship was key. But with Hosoi, I always felt a little desperate because I was constantly running out of boards. The process they had in place just wasn’t working, which led me to start looking elsewhere for better product support.

From there, I started doing demos for Gail Webb, who was a big part of the San Diego scene back then. She did marketing for Vision and was always organizing demos around town with her portable ramp. She actually came through my hometown of Vista one day for a demo when I asked if I could skate it as she got everything set up… that’s really where all of this began. By doing those demos, she was able to hook me up with Vision and to this day, I still remember her saying how they were about to send me more product than I’d ever know what to do with. It was such a relief not having to worry about product anymore.

The Powell thing just happened organically. I was skating Tony’s ramp a lot at the time when Bucky used to come through. Bucky and I always got along really well and bonded quickly through our similar ages and points-of-view on skating. We end up skating together whenever he was in town and things just evolved from there. Powell conversations started to happen and shortly after that, I found myself on a train with Bucky heading to Powell Headquarters in Santa Barbara. We were supposed to go on this road filming mission together out in the middle of nowhere. I still remember hanging out at Powell all day before jumping in Steve Saiz’s VW bus, heading out to some country ramp that this crazy retired doctor had built for his kid in the mountains outside of Bakersfield… but yeah, that’s my part in Public Domain. 

All of that was filmed in one session and is literally the day that I was officially acknowledged by Stacy Peralta as a team rider. It’s so crazy. I mean, I knew they were gonna be out filming stuff but I didn’t know that they were actually going to be filming me for the video.

You got on the team that day?

Yeah, that was my validation day. I’d already been riding their boards and stuff but I hadn’t met Stacy yet. He ended up coming by to check everything out. That’s when I was finally able to talk to him directly and shake his hand. For whatever reason, I needed to hear “Welcome to the team” directly from the bossman himself for it to become official in my mind.

“Is this gonna work? Is this gonna happen?”

“Oh yeah! It’s already happening! Get up there and skate!”

So I go up there, drop-in and do a ho-ho. (laughs)

Public Domain might’ve been your formal introduction but your Madollie victory over Tony in a game of SKATE almost had just as much impact at the time. How do you think that shaped your relationship with Tony going forward? How did Stacy react?

Well, I was riding a Vision board the day I beat him so if I wasn’t on Powell’s radar already, I definitely was after that. Regardless, Stacy still put me on the team so it must not have bothered him too bad. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love Tony. He’s a great guy and this was over 25 years ago. But that day sent Tony and I’s relationship sideways. He was not happy about how that whole thing went down, for sure.

There was already some media controversy going on between us that neither he or I were responsible for. People loved comparing me to him. It happened a lot and I think he just got burnt on it. I think that day might’ve substantiated some things in his mind that he’d already been hearing from other people. Things got weird between us after that.

I always figured our relationship would improve once I got on Powell but it never did, which also made my riding there pretty uncomfortable. I’d say that the vibe I had with Tony was 99% of the reason why I left as quickly as I did. 

I was never sure how much of a “feud” there really was between you two versus the public thirst for one. But I’ve also heard that Tony wasn’t innocent in all of this… Like, didn’t he prank call your Mom’s house back in the day or something?

Yeah, but you gotta think that while I was only 13 or 14, he’s still just barely in his 20’s. That’s not very old either. No one thinks anything through at that age.

I will say that the worst part about it all is that Tony had clearly inspired this call from Joe Johnson. It was undeniably coming from him. Before that, I’d always try to tell myself that none of the stuff people were saying was actually coming from Tony. I wanted to believe that it was all coming from other places. But when I heard them on the phone with my mom that night, I couldn’t tell myself that anymore. The reality was that Tony really didn’t like me.

I could never figure out what his perception of me was or why he thought that way. I feel like I was always so respectful to him, walking on eggshells even. I mean, he’s Tony Hawk! I always had nothing but respect for him and never tried to undermine his credentials.

But there had to repercussions for you across the industry though, too. It’s hard to imagine how much jealousy you had to endure from other grown-ass pros at such a young age.  

It was substantial. I used to get called a “circus act” by some of the older pros on the tour but it only fueled me to fight back harder. I remember Tony specifically used to call me a “Xerox machine” because he thought I was always trying to bite his tricks, which was never the case. I heard him say that to me mid-run on his mini-ramp one afternoon. I didn’t even get it at first but once I figured it out and really let it sink in, I had a hard time with that one. I was just so young and confused by the whole situation.

But you and Tony seem like pretty good friends now. What was the turning point?

Yeah, I’m not trying to bring up old shit here. I don’t want to come off like a crybaby all these years later but if you ask me a question, I’m gonna tell you the truth.

The “rivalry”, if that’s what you want to call it, went on for years. The first time I remember thinking we were cool was around 1996 or so. I had just put the original Plan B out of business and was about to start riding for Alien Workshop when Tony hit me up about possibly riding for Birdhouse. That was a shocker to me.

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Wow! I never knew that!

Yeah, I didn’t expect that at all. It was a flattering gesture and I thought about it a lot. Again, I have nothing but respect for Tony and Birdhouse but I struggled with the thought of riding for them. With the history that Tony and I had together, I wasn’t sure what it meant for me to join his team. I’d already been on my own path for so long that it took me a sec to digest what he was saying. But yeah, that was the turning point, at least for me, in our relationship.

You in The End would’ve been nuts.

Yeah, but like the video, I remember that Bucky was already having his own troubles at Birdhouse by that point. Tony Hawk casts a large shadow among vert skaters and I imagine an even bigger one amongst his own teammates. I felt like throwing myself into that mix would’ve only complicated the situation more. But I’ll admit that I still sometimes think about what we all could’ve done together had I taken him up on his offer.

We’re totally cool now. His daughter and my daughter are actually best friends. It’s funny to think about but I just talked to Tony today because he’s coming by to pick my daughter up so our kids can go to the movies together. All of that stuff is water under the bridge. It’s honestly more funny now than anything.

I understand now that he didn’t mean anything by most of that stuff. To him, those crank calls were just for fun. He didn’t know about the struggles I was facing at home because I wasn’t your normal kid. I didn’t have a padded environment. When Tony Hawk crank calls your house, it’s a big deal. It pissed me off… which, in turn, fired me up. It ultimately became a powerful fuel because I became that much more motivated to show those guys who I am.

So the “Birds Fly So High” track was a Tony diss?

Oh yeah, but I wasn’t the one who picked that track. That was Mike T and Tony Mag having a little jab at Tony.  I really had nothing to do with it but did get a little laugh when it came out, for sure. This was after the crank call.

Shackle Me Not came as a shocker to most but you’d already made yourself part of the team. How did you know that H-Street was about to blow up like that?

Matt Hensley and I were always close growing up. I actually got him on Vision back in the day. I still remember when he quit for H-Street after going to skate camp and meeting Mike and Tony for the first time.

Supersonic skate camp?

(laughs) Yeah, I was happy for Matt but bummed we weren’t gonna be together on Vision anymore. I felt like I was now alone on this team with no other close friends on there and, let’s face it, Vision had peaked out by that point. So I ended up jumping onto Powell because I was so enamored by the Bones Brigade, even though I could tell what Hensley and those guys were starting to do with H-Street was really going well. 

Besides the Tony stuff, the other problem I had with Powell is that it seemed like they never wanted to send me anywhere. Sure, I did well at this event but would I be at the next one? I didn’t know. And at that stage in my career, staying consistent was important. Overall, I just felt like they weren’t activating behind me quick enough. I was ready to go.

But while I’m having all of these issues with travel, my buddies on H-Street don’t seem to be having any problems at all! They’re catching flights and heading out to contests and demos all over the place! I’m missing out! So I end up calling Mike Ternasky.

I already had a good relationship with Mike due to some previous crazy circumstances. Back when I was on Vision, they’d flown me out to a contest in Las Vegas with the team. I don’t how this happened but Vision basically left me there in Vegas with no money and no way to get home at age 13. Seriously, broke and stranded. Luckily, Mike just happened to be there with Brian Lotti. I’d kinda met him before at a skate camp so I wasn’t a total stranger but it was still asking a lot. But Mike bought me a ticket home that day and we got to know each other a little better on the flight home.

So going back to Powell, I’d already missed a few contests because they wouldn’t fly me out and I knew Shut Up and Skate was coming up. That one was a big deal. Unfortunately, Powell decides that they are boycotting that contest.

“What do you mean we’re ‘boycotting’ the contest? What the fuck is this?”

I still don’t know why they did that. For me, as an amateur focused on vert, that event was the pinnacle contest that everybody entered outside of the tour. Raw Texas backyard-style skateboarding! I wasn’t about to miss this one.

That contest ended up being a career-defining moment for me and the only way I made it there was by calling Mike.

“I’ll get your ticket but we’re gonna have to figure something out. I can’t fly you out there so you can win for Powell. I’m not gonna sponsor you if you’re not sponsored by us, you know? But if you’re willing to ride for us full-on, we’ll send you. When we get to the hotel, you have to call Todd Hastings, the Powell team manager, and tell him that you quit.”

I was so desperate to make this contest that I agreed… but I was so scared about making that call. Finally, we get to our hotel in Houston when Mike and Tony look at me and say, “Alright, let’s do this! Pick up the phone and call.”

I had to man up and do it with these guys sitting there, watching me. I remember having to say that I was quitting to ride for H-Street over and over again before Todd really got that I was serious. He couldn’t believe it.

But I won the contest that weekend for H-Street, which ended up being my last amateur contest before turning pro. H-Street was willing to provide the support I needed and just so happened to be working on this awesome new video. It was the perfect storm.

Was the video really done and you just slid in at the end? Because Public Domain came out not too long before that one.

Yeah, it was pretty much done already. They’d been filming for a while at that point. I basically came back from that Houston contest and kicked everything into gear. I began staying at Tony Mag and Mike’s house and going out filming every day. I was able to get all of my stuff in the last couple of months of filming. But along with finishing my part during the day, I was also getting my board dialed with the right shape and graphics in the evening. It was all happening.

How’d that intro skit come about?

I think that was Mike’s idea. We felt that we needed an intro to my part to really establish that I’d left Powell and was now on H-Street. I also think that it was good to give a little bit of a personality breather before my part started.

I used to hit that rail in the house a lot so we figured that we might as well throw that in, too. Just to make it more fun.

Would you partake in the MT trick-incentive program over the years?

Oh yeah, Mike actually had a big list on his office wall of tricks marked with money. Literally dollar signs next to each trick… which was pretty fun. You’d take a look and realize that you could make 5 grand this week if you hustled!

Do you remember any tricks specifically?

720’s were on there… I think it might’ve been $720 for a 720. That was a lot of money back then!

Hokus Pokus follows up Shackle Me Not and solidifies H-Street as a dominant force in the industry… Why leave for Blind at that point?

The reason I quit H-Street was because of how big the team had gotten. I felt like it had lost the vibe we once had and didn’t feel special anymore. It honestly felt like just about anybody could get on there. I remember looking at a team list once and there were 150 people on there! I’d go to demos and have kids introducing themselves to me… I’d have no idea who they even were but evidently, we were teammates!

It was all a strategy to sell more boards. Tony and Mike figured that if they told all the shop-sponsored kids they were on H-Street, these kids would then go tell their friends to buy more H-Street stuff. They also knew that in sponsoring these kids, it would hype up the kid’s shop into ordering more boards to support them. But H-Street didn’t realize that in doing this long-term, it would eventually kill the vibe of the company.

It was just too much… and I told them that several times. Fix this or I’m going somewhere else. I wanted something like how it was in the beginning: a small company that meant something to be part of. But they kept on that same path, getting more and more riders. I couldn’t handle it anymore and told Mike that I was leaving.  

At some point during all of this, Ternasky brings up calling Rocco. This was about two years prior to Plan B but Mike already knew that things were getting out of hand. He had to know that somewhere down the road, he was going to have to start something new on his own, outside of H-Street. He and Tony were starting to have different opinions on things and it didn’t seem fixable.

The entire plan for me leaving H-Street was to go hang out on Blind for a while until I was ready to pursue something with Ternasky and Rocco, which would become Plan B. It was all a strategy. Don’t get me wrong, it was great being on Blind, but I also knew there was something else in the works.

I stayed on Blind for a little bit but in order to get Plan B going, I had to stay close to Mike. I needed to stay close to the riders on H-Street that we were planning on taking with us. I couldn’t do that at Blind so I went back to H-Street for a few months. That was my way of finalizing a few last things prior to launch.

Did Gonz and Jason know?

No, I don’t think they did.

With their open resentment towards Ternasky back then, that had to put you in a weird position!

Totally! They hated Schultes, they hated Ternasky… they hated the whole thing. They’d openly talk shit about H-Street to me. Sometimes they’d just sit there and go back-and-forth making fun of it. What could I do?

They just didn’t understand H-Street. They definitely had some misperceptions. Like, Benihana’s wasn’t really a reward. That’s been so misconstrued over the years. We all wanted to land our tricks, Mike throwing out Benihana’s as an incentive was just a way to have fun with it. It was never the day’s mission to go to Benihana’s. It was just close to the house and better than Burger King.

Did you film for Video Days?

I was filming at that time because I was always filming but it was never specifically for Video Days, at least, not in my mind.

What’s the story behind the OC Bladerunners?

(laughs) That came from when we all went down to Jeff Phillips’ Skatepark for a contest. The crew on the board was who all I went out there with, all World and Blind guys along with Jason Jessee thrown in there because he and Mark Gonzales were good friends. Mark’s the one who came up with all those nicknames. Those were the real nicknames that we used over the course of that weekend.

Back then, lowered mini-trucks were everywhere in Texas. I remember walking down the street by our hotel and seeing entire parking lots full of those things. Just mini-trucks everywhere! It became this funny thing where we started rolling up on people, all together like we were part of a crew. We were the OC Bladerunners, dude! That graphic is mimicking our whole deal from that trip.

Why end your Risk It part with an almost 900? Was that your decision or was Speed Wheels trying to juice the project?

It really wasn’t much of a project. All of my footage was from one day at McGill’s with the exception of that 900 clip. I think Daniel Harold Sturt gave them that. That must’ve been one of my closer ones at that point but it was their decision to put it in there like that.

It’s not like I was trying to make a 900 specifically for the video. I tried those all the time back then, which is pretty crazy to think about. Especially considering how small ramps were back then. But I just wanted to see if I could do it.

I honestly don’t think you get enough credit for your street skating over the years. Like that backside 360 ollie down the SD Arena double-set! And on 41mm wheels to boot!

Yeah, that’s probably correct on the wheels. But I always had a pretty good backside 360 ollie so it wasn’t too bad. That was a one-session gig… just about everything was back then. I don’t recall ever having to come back for shit at that time. It was either get it done or die trying. That one worked out.

Duffy’s Questionable double-kink 50 is legendary but you boardslid it in the same video. Were you and Duffy skating that thing together at the time?

He did his grind first and I remember him telling me about it, which actually ended up inspiring us both to go back there together. I boardslid it pretty easily. Then I tried to lipslide while he went for a backside 50-50. I got broke then he got broke and that was it. We went home. (laughs)

Is that nollie the only thing you ever did down the Carlsbad gap? And why a nollie?

That’s a good question… I don’t really know. I probably didn’t even want to skate that gap at the time.

My thought process back then would’ve probably been to get a nollie down it first and then maybe a nollie flip? I nollie flipped the smaller one so I’d say that’s what I was probably going for. I got the nollie first to figure out where to start my pop from. I was looking to get my timing right for some other tricks that I wanted to try but every time I went there, I got beat up pretty quick. I just ended up keeping the nollie.

I got fucked up pretty good trying the rail there, too.

Were you experiencing a lot of the fatigue that other riders have spoken about after Questionable going into Virtual Reality?

Yes and no. I was a little worn out on filming but I was still loving the exploration of new trick ideas. It’s a very addictive process. Just think about how much expectation there was on progression during that time. To come out with your best part ever, year after year? It was hard.

Did you have any idea about the plan to start Girl?  

Yeah, I knew about the Girl plan. I was actually asked to be a part of the business as one of the initial riders.

What made you decide to stay?

I felt that it was all too quick for me. I’d already gone through so many sponsor changes that another switch didn’t seem like the right thing for me to do.

Plus, I was just so close to Mike. Integrity-wise, I knew I couldn’t leave… I hated being caught in the middle. We were all so close and it sucked to get split up like that. We all synergized so well together. I felt like we were such a good bubble of inspiration.

What bothered me most about the whole thing is how destructive their mentality was in leaving. I didn’t realize that was how they intended to go about it. If guys want to leave, that’s fine, but please take into consideration that I still have to ride this out. Don’t fuck us up in the process. Unfortunately, that was never discussed so when those guys did take action, it was full-throttle in their attempt to sink Plan B and World Industries. 

I still feel like their whole attitude towards Plan B and World in the beginning of Girl was so over-the-top. I mean, really, why was everybody so upset all of a sudden? What was the problem?

Wasn’t it over wheel invoices or something?

Oh, come on!

There’s nothing, man! Those guys know that! I know they know that! They’re looking back on everything now wondering what the hell they were so mad about! They weren’t making enough money? Back then, we were lucky to be making any money off skateboarding at all, considering how small it was. Magazines were like 10-pages thick at the time!

They thought Rocco was taking all their money and pocketing millions? Ok, so he had a Porsche… big deal! He’s a billionaire because he owns a Porsche? No way!

Did you inform Ternasky about their plan prior to leaving?

I was really close with the guys who were leaving so no, I didn’t.

Honestly, I didn’t realize they were going to go through with it so quickly. When they talked to me about it, it seemed more hypothetical. I knew they were serious about it but it didn’t seem like it was something that was about to launch anytime soon.

Do you feel like you’re often still being judged by the antics of your youth from this time period? Typical teenage stuff, like throwing cakes out windows and talking shit to security guards, now lives on forever because of your growing up in the public eye?

You never get past a lot of that. Some people hold on to those perceptions forever. I think of my day-to-day now as that of a family man. I’m a father of 3 and run several businesses. I couldn’t live more of a typical 40-year-old’s lifestyle. But within skateboarding, there are certain perceptions of me that have become so hardened over the years with how I’ve been portrayed and marketed.

You can only learn as you go but you typically don’t realize things until it’s too late. You always have to be conscious of the big picture, which isn’t something you typically do when you’re young. At 17 years-old, you’re lucky to be thinking a week ahead. I often wasn’t.

I’ll be honest: we tore shit up, dude. We were always good kids but we were reckless. Especially knowing that 18 was just around the corner, my friends and I went on a mission to raise hell before we officially became adults. No bad intentions really, just rebellious and streetwise kids out and about in the world.   

I love the graphic but what was up with the shotgun and mannequin heads?

Oh, that was just some funny shit I did one day with Spike and Sheffey. I was living out in the middle of nowhere at the time, Shef wanted to shoot some guns and I needed a graphic… so there it is. I thought it would be funny to bring out a mannequin head and make a weird scene of us blowing it up for my board.

It’s funny to think back on how stupid some of these ideas are. They’re always so of-the-moment, a product of a particular situation. You’re just out there having fun, never thinking that you’ll be getting asked about it 20+ years later. (laughs)

What’s the story behind that Chris Pontius interview in Big Brother? That really was an aggressive attack on you with charges of everything from rape to murder. Why did he come after you like that? And you’ve done things with the Jackass crew in the years since, are there still ill feelings there?

To this day, I have no clue what any of that bullshit was about. That’s the truth. And you’re right, I’ve worked with him several times over the years. You’d think if I was really guilty of those horrible things, he would still be strong in his convictions but he’s always been friendly to me.

I would’ve considered bringing it up to him back in the day had I the opportunity to, but there were so many years that ended up passing before I saw him again. I figured by the time that I actually did see him, it was all water under the bridge. But no, we’ve never actually had a conversation about it. We were just punk kids then anyway. I really don’t hold a grudge about any of that.

I was surprised that, as a Rocco-affiliated rider, it was printed in his magazine.

That was typical Big Brother tactics… just to be dicks. They always wanted to shock people and I happened to be the target this time.

But I agree. It really pissed me off and if you remember, they gave me the cover of the next issue and a rebuttal interview where I was able to fire back. I knew that I was playing into their whole thing but at least I got to say what I had to say.

Nothing ever came of that, though. I never heard a single thing back about any of the stuff I said in there.

…I even got to crack on Jim Gray a little bit, too.

I was just about to ask about that.

He had made an Acme graphic that I felt was an attack on me. It was the progression of a kid, who was obviously me, and it was called, “Another Whiney Day”. The kid starts out getting all this money and by the end of it, he’s smoking crack in a cardboard box.

It’s weird because while I was always cool with Jim, for whatever reason, he used to always talk shit about me at contests during my runs. I’d always hear about it and just overlook it because I didn’t really care that much. But once that board came out, I felt like I had to say something.

He claimed that it wasn’t an attack on me at all but an attack on Rocco and what he was doing to skateboarding, that I was just the vehicle for how he wanted to send his message. I had to let him know that I didn’t appreciate him using me like that, trying to get back at World simply because Plan B was dominating the board market at the time. It was often an all-out war between many brands and the World hub back then. I get it but keep me out of it.

One thing that has often plagued some people’s perception of you are charges of homophobia. Why do you think that is?

I really don’t know why that is. It’s the strangest thing to me because I’ve always interacted and had friendships with people throughout my life who are gay. I’ve never been anti-gay, homophobic or anything like that. I never understood where that came from. I’ve never done anything negative towards anyone because of their sexuality. Never. I’m just not like that. I know that there are people who say that about me and it kills me, man. It really does. It’s an unwarranted attack on my character. I have nothing against gay people whatsoever. At all.

How do respond to critics who cite the Plan B “Fags” ad? Or the XYZ Bulletholes Rainbow Flag graphic?

I’m not the one who made those things. Just because I ride for a company doesn’t mean that I’m the guy behind every design or every decision being made.

The “Fags” thing was a response to our critics because that’s what people were calling the Plan B team. Some people wanted to hate on us and evidently, that’s the best they could come up with. People actually tried to spread that rumor. That ad was our way of making fun of them. It was obviously a tongue-in-cheek response to that specific name we were being called.

“Yeah, we’re a bunch of ‘fags’.”

I understand people feeling the way they do about that XYZ shit but, again, that had nothing to do with my influence. I wasn’t the only person who had an interest in XYZ. I did not design the art and I did not choose to run it. It was another rider’s graphic that I had no part in.

I honestly think that it had more to do with shock value and trying to be funny than anything else. Uncensored and explicit, much like Big Brother and the World graphics from that era. It was admittedly a different time and they were much younger… again, I’m quite positive that these things were not being thought all of the way through.

I honestly wish they would’ve never made that shirt.

But you know where I’m going with this. Even though all parties involved have maintained your innocence in the Keith Ogden case, in addition to a full criminal investigation into the matter where you were also cleared, conspiracy theories still abound.  Can you please offer your side of the story?

My side of the story is short: I was not present or involved in that portion of the night and there are a bunch of witnesses that know that. I don't have a firsthand account of the scene that took place because I was not present. I cannot comment on something that I didn't witness.

I feel a ton of empathy for Keith, the Ogden family and anyone else who was affected by what happened. It truly is a horrible thing. I know how serious this hardship has been for all the families involved, which out of respect, has led me to feel conflicted over talking about this all these years. I had no control or influence over anyone's actions that night but my own. I know there are several people, including myself, that could've made some better choices in the dealing of multiple conflicts that arose that night but I would never involve myself in the idea or scene of ending anyone's life under any circumstance! I was only 18-years-old when this happened and, as most teenagers, I wasn't always making the best decisions or surrounding myself with the best influences but I'm definitely not capable of taking someone's life nor would I ever expect anyone to do so for me.

That's all I really want to say about that.

But in addition to all of that, you also lost Mike T and damn near broke your neck surfing, all in devastatingly quick succession at this time.

Dude, it’s almost unbelievable the bad one I was on. I literally sat on the witness stand during the trial with a neck brace on… it just such a dark time.

Were there thoughts of retirement after that injury? Do you think if MT was still alive, he would’ve retired you?

I don’t know what Mike would’ve done. He was always so cut-and-dry with people pulling their weight. If anyone showed even the slightest lack of motivation, he was the first to blow the whistle. He made sure that nobody was just going to sit around and collect his checks.

I understand why he felt that way but it did cause a lot of friction. On top of the pressure we already felt as members of Plan B, we also had to worry about Mike retiring us. That was rough.

He very well might’ve put on me on that retirement program with Hensley and Sal.

But getting 1st on Vert and 2nd in Street at Tampa that year quickly erased any doubts.  All of this seemingly culminating in a progressive shared Revolution part. Talk about that one as there definitely seemed to be an agenda being presented… in-between all the costumes and BMX jumps.

We just had this stupid idea to go around, jumping bikes and riding around in a cool car. We thought it’d be funny, who cares…

But vert was actually hard to skate for a while because there just weren’t any ramps anymore. So we ended up building our own in the warehouse and finally got a really good scene going.

Colin and I were trying to push a new direction in vert, to make tricks more versatile. We wanted to eliminate the notion of “vert tricks” and “street tricks”. Our mentality was that if it’s possible on one platform, you can do it anywhere. Tricks are tricks. That’s what we were trying to prove with Revolution.

Not too many guys were skating like that at the time, which is how the Pappas brothers fell into place. We were all four of that same mentality and liked skating together. It only made sense to have them in our part, too. I felt like we were all on a similar path of progression… which is why we skated to “The Four Horsemen” by Metallica. We were the Four Horsemen.

You could draw a line from that warehouse scene to the formation of Platinum Skateboards, too.

What are your thoughts on Tas’ 900 conspiracy?

Oh man… I have no problem answering the stuff that concerns me but I can’t speak on that one. Sorry.

That’s fair. But back to The Revolution, is this move beyond “platforms” why there was so little street skating in the part?

Not really, I was just really into skating vert at that point. That’s how it worked out. I was learning so many flip-in lip tricks at that time, that’s where my motivation was. I was now learning “streetstyle” tricks faster on vert, way before I could do them on street, if at all.

The process used to be learning a trick on street first. From there, starting to do it on mini-ramps and then to vert. But that no longer worked for me. Maybe the way I flick my board on vert is more refined than my street technique? Maybe it’s just easier on vert? I’m not sure why that is. I know it looks more complicated but maybe it’s not?

Alf told me that he was able to adapt to bigger handrails because in his mind, a handrail and a vert lip are the same thing. That it’s all just coping. Thoughts?

I think handrails are way more dangerous. I prefer a long 50-50 on a ramp or around a bowl corner to a handrail any day.  Rails are fucked, man. They used to not scare me but at this point, they just irk me. I have so many bad memories with those things that whenever I try to skate one now, it sabotages my entire focus.

So a rainbow rail at 50mph is easier than a handrail?

Fuck yeah! Thank God nobody realizes that because it’s extended the life of my career. But definitely.

Take a 12-stair rail, for example. I’d rather hit the megaramp rail any day of the week. No doubt. The board just sticks to your feet and you fly up there. It’s way more comfortable! Way more predictable. With handrails, I’ve had a couple sloppy ollies where I’ve gotten on a little janky… one truck slips off and the next thing you know, you’re diving headfirst down a mountain of concrete and metal.

It probably sounds crazy but a crooked grind at 40mph on the mega ramp rail is fun. The gratification of covering that much ground at that speed is the best. You’re popping off a rail that’s 8 feet high so you end up clearing another twelve-to-fifteen feet until your wheels touch down… which on its own would be equivalent to a big set of stairs. But it doesn’t feel like it. When everything works like it’s supposed to, it’s effortless and feels so right.

I’m not saying that I don’t want to skate street anymore, I’ve just been so physically maimed by it that it’s not really an option. Don’t get me wrong: I’ll definitely have a couple of street tricks in the next part I put out. But overall, my ankles and knees just can’t really take it anymore. A simple ankle roll for me at this point would be catastrophic.

You talked about wanting to go beyond “street tricks” and “vert tricks”…  did you reach a point where you wanted to go beyond skateboarding itself? Is that where the Mega Ramp came in? Where you could go into your own realm of skateboarding with helicopters, world records and such?

Honestly, if it works and I roll away, that’s all the validation that I’m looking for. I don’t need any world records. I just want to know that this crazy idea I had actually worked. But part of the process with these ideas is raising enough money to be able to do it. It can be expensive so in order to show how someone can have a return on their investment, I have to put together a plan that demonstrates the value of what I want do to. This is where things like world records do become crucial because it’s a good way for sponsors and media partners to wrap their heads around what I’m trying to raise money for. I’ll admit that it can get put out there in a way that makes me uncomfortable at times but I’m not going to let that detour me from pursuing my visions.

The world record stuff started with the Super Ramp in 1997… which was about half the size of the current Mega Ramp design. But with that success, I knew that I was onto something, a new caliber or scale in skating. That project gave me a ton of inspiration to think bigger, faster, further and so on. But I also wanted it to be repeatable. I didn’t want it to be this crazy one-off thing where we did it, we tore it down and it’s over. I wanted it to continue evolving. That’s how the evolution to the Mega Ramp began.

Measurement isn’t why I’m doing this. It’s cool to know what’s possible but at the most basic level, it’s the feeling. Hitting a jump at 55mph on my skateboard, you’re basically hitting a ramp after bombing a hill! But I’m doing this, in control, and flipping or whatever over a 70ft gap. It’s an incredible feeling that feeds into an almost instinctual, never-ending yearning to go bigger. To fly further. It can be very addictive.

Mega Ramp basically equates skateboarding on a scale to motocross and snowboarding. It’s a good universe for skateboarding to be in… there’s so many possibilities to explore. Who knows what the future holds?

One thing I think that’s important for people to know is that I’m not trying to be some kind of stuntman with all of this. It’s a terrain like anything else. It’s still skateboarding. First you ollie it, then you kickflip it and so on.

Just look at the progression that’s gone down with the mega ramp already. The first time I jumped that thing, it was a 50ft gap and I was blown away. A little later, I 360’d it for the first time and everyone was freaking out. 10 years later, I tre flipped the same gap. That’s how skateboarding works.

What is your process with 360 kickflipping a 50ft gap? That seems like quite a project.

It was just a session.

You just went out and did it?

I don’t remember how many tries it took but I got it that day.

With stuff like that, you just have to be patient. There are so many variables with flipping your board that far and not grabbing it. You can do everything perfect but it’s beyond you and your board most of the time. If the slightest wind hits your board one way or the other, it gets blown away. Another issue I found is maintaining the right weight distribution and balance in the air so you can manage to roll away. That’s how it works.

The ones that you catch, you almost push out in front of you. You push it into the wind, almost like you’re using the wind as a tool to guide your board. It’s weird but if not, your board will just fly off your feet. You can’t get a board to stick to your feet over that far of a gap if there’s no g-force pressure under your feet. You have to flick it up into your feet and ride that pressure. As that starts to dissipate, you’ll drop back into the ramp and hopefully your board doesn’t fall off before touchdown. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’d get to that last 5 feet only for the board to drop away. I kept losing all my pressure at the end.

Incredible, man. So switching topics a bit, what made you go with Alien Workshop after the initial Plan B demise?

I told you about Birdhouse and Tony earlier. Alien was my other option.

Chris Carter and I were friends from way back and you have to remember that there was also a lot of synergy at Alien with DC at that time as well. I was good friends with Kalis and Dyrdek... Alien just seemed like a more appropriate fit.

They just have such a good aesthetic. The look and feel of their product is so on-point and they were really doing well, especially during that era. It just seemed like a good idea. I still think that was the right move for me versus the Birdhouse option. I mean, I still have my Alien boards on the wall of my house. I love the artistry of them. They're just so cool looking.

How’d you go about getting Plan B back together?

We actually never thought about re-launching Plan B, Plan B re-launched itself. It just happened. The whole thing came about entirely through rumors. Colin and I never talked about it, ever.

At some point, somebody made up a rumor about Plan B coming back and decided to spread it. From there, it gained momentum and reached certain riders who then started contacting Colin and I. We started receiving calls from distribution companies, wanting to set up meetings. We had no idea where any of it was coming from but as these rumors started to swirl, it became obvious that there was an interest here. Colin and I realized that maybe we should start taking this a little more seriously. Let’s see what people are actually willing to throw at us.

Our biggest concern was getting the team that we knew was needed in order to live up to the previous standard. We made an agreement early on that if we couldn’t get the team we wanted, there was no use in exploring it any further. But without exception, our team sought us out. PJ and Paul reached out to us. We didn’t have to “take” anybody.

Colin and I just rode the wave.

Was there anybody you tried to get but couldn’t?

We can get anybody we want! Just kidding. (laughs)

Honestly, we’ve been pretty lucky with everyone who’s wanted to be part of the company. We’ve had a few people leave over the years and that’s unfortunate but I feel like we’ve always been able to pick up great new talent along the way. I’m stoked with our team.

No one’s gonna argue that with Chris Joslin. It was incredible to see that a kid can still come out of nowhere and shock the world with a video part like that.

There was obviously a big Pat Duffy influence there. That was intentional. Not that you could ever reproduce the impact Pat had on skateboarding at the time but we knew we had something special with Chris and wanted to do it justice.

But if I could have anybody on the team, I’d honestly get Paul back. He didn’t leave on bad terms and I understand why he left but I still miss him.

I wish Rodney was still involved, too.

So after years of anticipation, True finally comes out and… no Danny Way part. Then we hear that you have a part but you’re releasing it individually. What’s going on? I’ve heard rumors that it’s possibly a retirement part?

Well, I’m not planning on this being my last part but with all of the abuse my body has taken, I’m not sure how many more full-length parts I have in me after this. But I wouldn’t call it retiring.

I didn’t have a part in True because I kept getting hurt. I had 3 minutes of footage at that point but my part still wasn’t where I wanted it to be. I held back on it because DC and Plan B wanted to do more of a standalone part to celebrate my heritage with the brands. We decided to present it on its own, in a way that’s a little bigger than a part within a larger video. I know that people were disappointed about not seeing anything from me in True but my inspiration is to get this thing right.

I’m getting all of the ramp stuff out of the way early because I know that I can get that done with the least amount of impact on my knees and ankles. The vert and mega shit is pretty close to being done. I filmed a good amount of new shit on my ramp in Hawaii and on the D.C. Monster ramp that I’m happy with. I’m eager to get that stuff out, for sure, but I want to hit up a bunch of bowls and DIY stuff to get some concrete in there, too. If all goes according to plan, I’ll get a few street tricks in there as well. But yeah, that’s where I’m at with it.

Every skater faces increasing pressure with each video part but you’ve not only done that with tricks, you’ve invented entire new genres of skateboarding in these things. That’s a hard act to follow!

I do feel some pressure. People have expectations and those differ with skaters from generation to generation. I’ve been skating professionally now for almost 30 years, I’m honestly not trying to top anything. I’m coming at it more from a place of possibilities. At this point, I appreciate that people still even care enough to want a new part out of me. That’s a good feeling.

I know that I don’t have to put out another video part at this stage of the game if I’m not happy with it. I could just retire and be content with all I’ve done. After 24 surgeries, I’m proof that “land it or slam” does catch up to you. But I love skateboarding. I love the challenge of it. It’s given me such an awesome life and I truly appreciate all of it. I’ve committed everything I have to this and I think people have been able to pick up on that over the years. I hope they can appreciate that.

special thanks to danny, gretchen and jake for everything. 

thank you chrome ballers. 


recommended by: vols. 1 and 2

In the spirit of Natas' Public Enemy shirt, Julien's love of Bukowski and Big Brother's fondness for Pink Flamingos, there's something to be said for the honest recommendations of those you respect. The following represents an experiment I've been conducting for the last year or so on the @ChromeBall Instagram channel where I ask friends and family to recommend 1 album, 1 book and 1 film for future generations. The choices are left entirely open to their interpretations and discretion. Bonafide classics, slept-on gems, embarrassing guilty pleasures, personal faves... whatever. The only necessity being that person's official seal of approval in a public forum. 

These are the results. Thanks to all who participated. More to come.

Recommended by: Greg Hunt
*) "Viva Last Blues" / Palace Music
Hard to explain what it is about this album but it's never stopped growing on me. Bonnie's finest.
**) "In the Blink of an Eye" / Walter Murch
This one's for the filmers, editors, etc. out there. Trust me, just read it.
***) "Paris, Texas" / Wim Wenders
I don't know how many times I've watched this movie. The last 30 minutes are about as good as it gets in my opinion.


Recommended by: Aaron Meza
*) "Lifted" / Bright Eyes
Now that I know Jeff Grosso is a fan, I've found new confidence (and less shame) in saying that this is a favorite record. It can be yours, too.
**) "Middlesex" / Jeffrey Eugenides
Kinda Oprah Book Clubish, but the best story narrated by a hermaphrodite that I've ever read.
***) "The Cruise" / Bennet Miller
If you need advice or direction on how to appear as a debonair individual despite interior feelings of despair, then I highly recommend you watch Bennet Miller's first film, "The Cruise".


Recommended by: Don Pendleton
*) "Roman Candle" / Elliot Smith
This was his first solo album. It's an amazing record but it's also remarkable because it's just him, a guitar and a 4-track most of the way through. And it goes to show you can create something amazing with almost nothing if the talent and creativity are there.
**) "Citizen Kane" / Orson Welles
This was Orson Welles' first feature film. It's considered one of the best for a reason. Not only did Welles star in it but he produced it, directed it and even co-wrote the screenplay. Sometimes the very best creations come from collaborations. Sometimes they come from one talented person who does it all. A lot of people want to do it all but Welles was just one of those rare people who could actually do it.
***) "A Happy Death" / Albert Camus
Another first…I think some of the most inspiring work is some of the earliest from an artist, musician or author. Camus wrote this before his much wider known 'The Stranger' and it wasn't published until 10 years after his death. It's relatively short and it's simultaneously optimistic and pessimistic (not an easy task) and it's the best book to pick up when you need some perspective on life.


Recommended by: Tobin Yelland
*) "TNT" / AC DC
I have good memories listening to this album while driving to go skate. I can listen to the whole album over and over again.
**) "Ham On Rye" / Charles Bukowski
Autobiographical fiction from a son of German immigrants. Filled with many things a boy thinks about and deals with growing up.
***) "Amarcord" / Federico Fellini
I love the layers and time that goes by in the story of this film. It never feels long even though it's 2 hours long.


Recommended by: Alyasha Owerka-Moore
*) "Q: Are We Not Men?" / DEVO
Skateboarding, DEVOlution, punk rock, subgenius, innovation, social satire, spudboy, anti-establishment, heroes, part of the soundtrack to my life since I was 8-years-old. One of the most underrated albums by one of the most misunderstood bands of all time.
"I'm a spudman. I got eyes all around."
**) "The Bear That Wasn't" / Frank Tashlin
One of the first books I remember reading on my own. Albeit a simple children's book and about a 10-minute read, it holds much meaning to me. I vividly remember my mother giving it to me and its message has been a mainstay and driving force of me following my gut and sticking to who I am ever since. As a kid, I was labeled "learning disabled" and "dyslexic" and they wanted to put me in a Special Ed program and had written me off as a dumb kid who would never make it anywhere in life. Regardless of my IQ. I was easier for the system to just put me in a generalized group instead of recognizing that I was actually intelligent. My mom fought with the Board of Ed to get me out of that program because it was so damaging.
"I'm not a silly man who needs a shave and wears a fur coat"
In short, fuck your status quo!
***) "Repo Man" / Alex Cox
One of the first VHS tapes I owned. I watched it over and over. One of the best original soundtracks of any film I've ever seen. I feel a lot of my personal sense of humor comes from this film. As a kid, there was a lot that went over my head but because I'd watched it so many times, bits and pieces of how ahead of its time and the subversive social political satire come to my head regularly and make more sense of things and the time we live in.


Recommended by: Mark Whiteley
*) “Midnight Marauders” / A Tribe Called Quest
Midnight Marauders sums up an era and a sound in hip hop that’s never been surpassed for me, and as an album is just so complete. Front to back, it’s a perfect journey. Makes all my senses fire simultaneously when I think about it. Plus, the cover is incredible.
**) “Blood Meridian” / Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy’s choice of words and economy of language shatters me and Blood Meridian is his most gripping story. The “Legion of Horribles” passage is probably my single favorite bit of writing in any novel. Like whoa.
***) “Rushmore” / Wes Anderson
The first real look into the wonderfully bizarre and richly imagined worlds of Wes Anderson. Bill Murray obviously destroys here and the “Oh, are they?” line is pure genius. Best soundtrack to a film ever.


Recommended by: Aesop Rock
*) "Grief Pedigree" / Ka
Ka's 2012 LP hasn't really left rotation since it came out. Mood-heavy rap music from Brownsville, BK.
**) "2013 Sketchbook Collection / Kim Jung Gi
An astonishing lesson in what you can do with black lines on a white page.
***) "The Proposition" / John Hillcoat
Australian western from '05 written by Nick Cave. It's slow and violent and beautiful. Ray Winstone is an underrated actor.


Recommended by: John Rattray
*) A River Ain't Too Much To Love / Smog
My friend Sam (@perfidiousalbion) from Glasgow turned me onto Bill Callahan & Smog. This album in particular hits me every time. Me and Philippa listened to it on a loop driving around the Rocky Mountain National Park near Boulder and it helped me through some rough, dark times in Scotland. Understated, minimalist delivery meets the perfect balance of clever, funny and poignant.
**) Galapagos / Kurt Vonnegut
I can't decide if he's a salt-coated sugar cube or a sugar-coated salt cube. Either way, I have a decent list of favourite writers and Kurt Vonnegut will always be way up there. Big subjects refracted through your favorite uncle's spectacles and distilled into a salty-sweet shot that leaves you feeling cleverer than you are. Galapagos might be the most optimistic dystopia ever written. It teaches that love conquers all, Blue-Footed Boobies prove it and, after cash, it's natural selection that rules everything around us. Duh.
***) The Angel's Share / Ken Loach
If anyone from outside skateboarding has the potential to make the ultimate real-life skate film, I'm putting it out there that Ken Loach could easily be our dude. One of the greatest British film directors, 'The Angel's Share' is Ken on a slightly more upbeat note. Basically, if my childhood friends from Scotland got involved in a whiskey heist then this is the movie that would result. Ken balances on that tightrope of pathos and good times and never falters. Real-life stories expertly told.


Recommended by: Chris Miller
*) Sandinista / The Clash
The Clash is probably my all-time favorite band and I particularly love skating to their music. The album is incredible in its depth and range and kind of opened me up to other styles of music. It also exposed me to a political and social point of view that at a time was mostly unexpressed by mainstream media.
**) The Little Prince / Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I love this book for its simplicity and wisdom about life. I prefer simple wisdom to dogma and authority. I embedded the quote "what is essential is invisible to the eye" into a bunch of my art and at least one early Planet Earth graphic.
***) My Life As A Dog / Lasse Hallstrom
It's a Swedish film about childhood and coming to terms with the realities of life... But I guess I just found it so relatable to my own experiences that I was deeply moved by the film.


Recommended by: Rob Brink
*) Live in Reykjavik, Iceland / This Will Destroy You
TWDY began as an Explosions in the Sky clone (not necessarily a bad thing) and about three albums in, really came into their own by introducing spacey, synthy, drony textural elements to their music. This performance is the essence of all they are. There is no empty space. It’s a sonic avalanche. They are the stuff that puts me in the right headspace on daily bike rides or while writing.
**) Make Something Up / Chuck Palahniuk
Short stories are my favorite form of writing, and the thing about Chuck is I’m perpetually attempting to comprehend from what beautiful fucked up place his ideas come and how he manages to weave together banger after banger of a sentence without depleting the well from which they derive. It’s like if a skater had a four-minute part full of enders every single year. If you’re skeptical before buying, Google and read “Zombie” as a teaser to this collection.
***) Cafe de Flore / Jean-Marc Vallee
This film floored me. Like, tears in my eyes and a tension and pain in my chest kind of flooring. Not unlike Malick’s films, Café De Flore is somehow beautifully and transcendentally about EVERYTHING—life and death and love and the space in between and before and after. I’ve watched it a dozen times and I’m still discovering layers and in awe of how it was written, process-wise. I don’t know how Jean-Marc Vallée did it so seamlessly and can’t begin to fathom how I’d ever pull it off if I were to try.


Recommended by: Lance Mountain
*) The Collection / Captain Sensible
The new soundtrack of skateboarding by late 1978 for us at the parks was punk new wave. As some of the bands tried new stuff or members did solo stuff, some of it was interesting. I always dug the sound and childlike feel to Captain Sensible's tracks. I'm going with The Collection just because it has some of the best in one place.
**) The Pilgrim's Progress / John Bunyan
I'll have to admit I'm not much of a reader, in fact, I can't even recall more than a handful of books I've read. I wanted to reread one of the first books I remember reading, The Pilgrim's Progress, and this post has encouraged me to do so.
***) Lambert and Stamp / James D Cooper
One of the last movies I've seen that stood out is this documentary about the Who and how the band was created and developed. I enjoy that the sort of ideas behind it had a lot of similarities for me to how the skateboard industry was nurtured and developed in its early years.


Recommended by: Rick McCrank
I know John Rattray did one of these and he stole my book answer for Kurt Vonnegut so in his honor, I've gone with a Scottish theme.

*) The Incredible String Band / self-titled
Scottish psych/folk from the mid-60s. I'm a huge fan of the track "October Song"
**) Ratcatcher / Lynne Ramsay
This film is beautifully shot and incredibly acted. It's dark and slow and follows a young boy around his impoverished Glasgow neighborhood in 1973.
***) The Wasp Factory / Iain Banks
This is Banks' first book and one of my favorite reads. Again, it's very dark and twisted with some fantastic writing also set in Scotland.


Recommended by: John Cardiel
*) Runaway Train / Andrey Konchalovsky
Runaway Train because, to me, it expresses man's need to be free of the mental and physical angst put upon him by the system, confronting the wrongs done onto him by his fellow man.
**) Beyond World War III / Mikey Dread
Just enough lyrics to keep you interested and carefully orchestrated rhythms with just the right touch of echoes and reverb to keep the vibes pumping!! This album never gets old 👊
***) Atlas of the Human Anatomy
My most favorite book because, basically, it is a roadmap to your body. I like to picture what might be going wrong inside me, figure out how it happened and how it must be fixed.


Recommended by: Louie Barletta
*) Bona Drag / Morrissey
I love Morrissey and this album was very influential to me as a teenager. It came out right when my best friend that I'd been skating with for years had moved away. Morrissey's lyrics spoke to me, man. They made me feel like it was ok to be alone and not fit in. It's dark subject matter filled with poppy, catchy beats! It totally gave me confidence in just being me, the way I am, the way I skate. I just immersed myself in skating in every way and this album was the soundtrack that got me thru those years! From beginning to end, it's perfect.
**) V For Vendetta / James McTeigue
I love the idea that drives the story. An idea stronger than anything. Stronger than one man, stronger than law. It's based on the same essence that's similar to how a lot of us view skateboarding. It's not just the act that defines us, it's the idea. The idea that we're free, with no rules and no boundaries. We're only limited by what we think is possible on a board. In the movie, it's about toppling a regime but that same sentiment also rings true when talking about just keeping skateboarding fun!
***) The Necronomicon
I just love a great, relaxing read in the bath, surrounded by aromatic candles burning.


Recommended by: Sean Sheffey
*) Straight Outta Compton / F Gary Gray
I love the way it tells the hardcore come-up of each member's life and the group as a whole. That shit is hype! N.W.A for life!
**) Meat is Murder / The Smiths
I really loved the period of my life when I stumbled across this music. Progression, romance and travels were all so intense back then... Building blocks that still stand for the S.S. I am today!
***) Wild Style / Charlie Ahearn
This book (and movie) illustrates how the art of graffiti traveled all over world! From NYC, of course!


Recommended by: Quim Cardona
*) Tao of Jeet Kune Do / Bruce Lee
Aka Way of the Intercepting Fist, this is a great book that could apply to your everyday thinking and action. I strive to understand giving the discipline and time to train in order to be healthier and keep skateboarding nontraditional and unconventional.
**) The Giving Tree / Shel Silverstein
I'm actually recommending the 9:44 movie from '73 here, spoken by Shel Silverstein. You can find it on YouTube. The story follows a selfish man who only takes throughout his life, never giving back... the tree just appreciates the companionship. By the end, the man is left with a dead stump to use as a place to sit and rest. The moral of the story is to be less selfish and give more.
***) Kind of Blue / Miles Davis
He was, and always will be, influential and quintessential for his time, for years to come.


Recommended by: Jeff Grosso
*) Script of the Bridge / The Chameleons UK
Neil turned me on to them in '85. Their music speaks to me. I don't know... just listen to it. It's fuck'n beautiful.
**) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius / Dave Eggers
I read it when I was in a very fragile state. It's a memoir and the guy's story just gave me hope.
***) Lucas / David Seltzer
It's an insightful, sensitive film about real kids dealing with real problems. Ha! Plus, I believe it's Winona Ryder's first film.


Recommended by: Tommy Guerrero
*) Ethiopiques, Vol 4 / Mulatu Astatqe
**) Lost in Translation / Sofia Coppola
***) The Things They Carried / Tim O'Brien



Recommended by: Brian Lotti
*) Heathen / David Bowie
I'm not the hugest Bowie fan but there's something timeless and moving about this album. I've been returning to it as music to work to and also to make sense of different times in my life. A Better Future is particularly nice.
**) Zen Flesh, Zen Bones / Paul Reps
The collection of short stories and fables in this book are filled will great reminders and they point inspirations toward the ways I endeavor to live life.
***) The Big Lebowski / Coen Brothers
A timeless cinematic feast, this movie has really grown on me over the years. I love the actors, the story, the music, and the Los Angeles mythology that the Coen brothers tap into. It's very entertaining and I'm always seeing something new. I always seem to get a fresh perspective on things after watching this movie.


Recommended by: Al Davis
Not my favorites, just what I'm on right now...
Literally listening to this album right now. I've been editing 60 rolls of super 8 footage that I've got so I've been listening to a lot of music with live instruments, plus soft vocals.
**) Rockers / Ted Bafaloukos
Jamaica in 1978. If you have a dream for your whole crew, you have to put everything you have into it. Similar to these days, I get hyped on the underdog coming up after a long struggle. It's a good laugh. Check it.
***) The Bang-Bang Club / Silva and Marinovich
My friend Jake gave it to me on a skate trip. Anyone that loves photography will be into this book. Raw war photographers going hard as fuck.


Recommended by: Giovanni Reda
*) Me Talk Pretty One Day / David Sedaris
I laughed out loud on the plane reading this. It's really funny and an interesting look into someone's life.
**) Out of Step / Minor Threat
I heard this album when I was 12 and instantly related to it, from the black sheep on the cover to the message it sent. Always be out of step with the world.
***) The Godfather / Francis Ford Coppola
Probably the best movie ever made, the transformation of Michael from innocent to mob boss is just epic.


Recommended by: Andy Jenkins
*) What Makes a Man Start Fires? / Minutemen
My friend O took me to Neil Blender's house in the mid '80s. Not only was I meeting one of my favorite skaters, but he was blasting music that blew my mind. I left without knowing what it was. A couple months later Kevin Wilkins shoved a red album into my hands at the record store. "Here, get this." That was it, that was the music Neil was playing. "East Wind/Faith" was the song— fucking amazing. "Double Nickels on the Dime" is right there as well.
**) Ham On Rye / Charles Bukowski
Buk spilled his guts on paper for us to devour — or ignore. He didn't care. This was my introduction. A raw and resolute story of surviving childhood. It opened the Bukowski gates for me... that's when I began devouring.
***) Wings of Desire / Wim Wenders
There was an old, dilapidated movie theater in Hermosa Beach we used to go to. It was really cheap and they mostly played shitty "art" films. I saw "Wings of Desire' there. That film stirred so much emotion in me. It paralleled some of the ways I saw things. Plus Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds played "From Her to Eternity" in it.


Recommended by: Dante Ross
*) Moonlight / Barry Jenkins
I recently saw this and it brought me to tears. What an amazing story. The exploration of addiction, sexuality and the notion of compassion was so honest and sans judgement. It encompasses the importance of forgiveness and the search for inner peace in such a beautiful and truthful way. Best film of 2016, hands down.
**) Sign of the Times / Prince
Lately I've been rocking this a whole lot. If I Was Your Girlfriend gets me everytime. The title song, Adore, Starfish and Coffee, the Ballad of Dorothy Parker, The Cross... basically the whole record is so damn good. When I listen to Prince, I feel like I'm hanging out with an old friend. I love Prince and have since I was a teenager. His being on Spotify is a game-changer for me.
***) The Sellout / Paul Beatty
Beatty is simply the greatest living American fiction author. The Sellout is his 4th novel and possibly his best. It's funny, insightful and has a subtle depth to it. It's the best commentary I have read about race in America in a long time. Plus, it's hilarious.


Recommended by: Jason Adams
*) Where There Walks a Logger, There Walks a Man - Buzz Martin
I don't know how I came across this but when I did, I was so hyped. Johnny Cash-style folky country songs... every single one of them is about logging, written and sung by a logger.
**) I Lived To Tell It All - George Jones
I read this autobiography years ago... it's fucking Insane! George Jones is a country music legend for more than just singing, I will tell you that! Motley Crue has nothing on this guy!
***) Filmage - Descendents/All
Probably my favorite punk band of all-time. This is so much more than the story and facts of a great band. So inspirational! Bill Stevens fucking rules so hard!


Recommended by: Jason Lee
*) City Lights / Charlie Chaplin
An incredible film that was done as a silent film (with only sound effects) about 5 years after 'talkies' were introduced. People thought it would not be successful because of the absence of recorded dialogue but it was a huge success. A testament to Chaplin's ability to tell a moving and funny story without words.
**) On Reading / André Kertész
My favorite photo book and one that still gets me every time. It spans decades, with all the photos having something to do with reading in common.
***) Desire / Bob Dylan
An album I've listened to a lot on various photo road trips. First time I think I really heard Dylan was from Mark Gonzales when we lived together during the Blind days, so there's a good connection with Dylan there, too.


Recommended by: Sean Cliver
*) Animals / Pink Floyd
Tone deaf and dumb that I am, music might as well be a magnet: how does it work? I have no fucking clue. It’s a miracle! That said, this could have gone 50 different ways, but for now and the illusion of brevity I’ll have to settle on Pink Floyd’s “Animals.” The album is just five tracks and 23 minutes in all, but it’s my equivalent of the Boy Scout Handbook. I’d leave a copy in the drawer of every hotel room if I had the tenacity of a Gideons loon.
**) Sombrero Fallout / Richard Brautigan
Although this isn’t considered a critical high-water mark for Brautigan, you always remember your first and Sombrero Fallout was mine. The master of the metaphor, Brautigan’s impressionistic word formations were a real sock to the gut—albeit one sensitively swung by the likes of Elliot Smith, not Ernest Hemingway—and probably my greatest inspiration in terms of writing, the absurd, and other affinities best not gotten into here.
***) Pink Flamingos / John Waters
It’s easy to be jaded in the Age of the Internet, but this seminal Waters film from 1972 still goes. Pink Flamingos was a truly soul-sullying experience when I first viewed it at the age of 18, because until you’ve seen an elasticated anus lip-syncing to “Surfin’ Bird” you can’t fully comprehend the definition of fucked-up. I don’t know… some people look for enlightenment at the top of a mountain, but mine always comes from the bottom of a barrel. So it goes.


Recommended by: Jeremy Fish
*) Lice Two / Aesop Rock and Homeboy Sandman
Rap duos are coming back in popular music and these dudes are the best of the genre. Not the most famous, or the richest, just a couple of very clever verbal beasts teaming up with both their original styles. They are like the Arnold Palmer beverage of rap music. A perfect blend of two ill flavors.
**) The Kindness Diaries / Leon Legothetis
This documentary series warms the human spirit and reminds us how important good intention and a big smile can be. Highly suggested. Good travel mojo for all of us.
***) Bury Me With The Lo On / Thirstin Howl the 3rd
Because the Ralph Lauren story, in relation to hip hop culture is an amazing story. New York rappers explain the obsession of Polo in a fancy-ass, artsy coffee table book. Two thumbs up, best book in print in 2016.


Recommended by: Max Schaaf
*) Blue Highways / William Least Heat-Moon
I'm a sucker for books about travel. Escapism is a tool that, when used correctly, will give you a new set of eyes. I know this firsthand. This is an autobiography from a man that needed a break from his day-to-day life and set out a very untraditional voyage. He equipped his small panel van for travel and wandered out chasing the "blue highways", the small forgotten roads connecting towns that had become almost even more forgotten. 13,000 miles of random hitchhikers, towns with peculiar names and random conversations with folks the average human would never come in contact with.
**) Indian Runner / Sean Penn
Sean Penn wrote and directed this movie based on the Bruce Springsteen song Highway Patrolman....pretty cool approach for writing a movie to base it on a single five-minute song. Personally, I have a brother that has his problems with being a law-abiding citizen and fitting into mainstream society so the movie hits close to home. On a side note, I really dig Vigo Mortensen's dress code in this film.
***) Then Play On / Fleetwood Mac
It's impossible to pick a favorite album when your equipped with drastic mood swings on a daily basis, but Then Play On is really good Sunday morning dancing in the kitchen while frying eggs with a piss stain on the front of your boxer shorts music. 1969, pre-Stevie Nicks but still with Peter Grenn, this album can get a little jammy but it has some really unexpected breakdowns to break most of them up. I really dig the song One Sunny Day. You can most likely find this album in the 99-cent bin. Go into it with low expectations like I did and maybe it'll surprise you. Maybe it's "dad music"... shit i don't know, I'm not a dad.


Recommended by: Bill Strobeck
*) Niandra Ladies and Usually a T-Shirt (cassette) / John Frusciante
A good friend of mine, Goose, used to listen to this in his car all the time while we drove around skating Syracuse. On a trip to NYC, I once asked him to dub me a copy. He dubbed one side of the tape for me and I went back to Philly and I listened to it over and over. I never really got into drugs cause I was scared of them but I felt like I was on drugs everytime I listened to this album. I just felt alive when I listened to it. This album is poetic and original and speaks to me like no other album. The cassette also has 2 extra tracks: Ants (my favorite track of all-time) and Untitled 0 (soul removal)... eerie album. Thanks Goose.
**) The Perfect Childhood / Larry Clark
All Larry's books are great... he's inspired me and a ton of people from my generation, photo and film-wise. But this book sticks out to me. All the cut-out newspaper clippings about satanism kids and court cases with teachers fucking their students are wild cause I'd seen all that on tv in the 80's. Teen Beat posters of Matt Dillon... skateboarders in the 90's in NY mixed in with teenagers getting there dicks sucked by hookers is just a heavy portfolio. All of his photos and visuals are just put together proper. True damage... from the champ.
***) Streetwise / Martin Bell and Mary Ellen Mark
The greatest american documentary about a group of runaway kids in Seattle. I love runaways and fucked up shit, always have and always will. The runaways in this are perfect for a film. Sad but beautiful. Kids named Rat and Shadow, livin on the streets at age 15, telling business men to fuck off as they run around the city, trying to survive.
I love Rat's first quote: "I love to fly. It's just... you're alone with peace and quiet. Nothing around you but clear, blue sky. No one to hassle you. No one to tell you where to go or what to do. The only bad part about flying is having to come back down to the fucking world." (then he jumps off a bridge into a river in all his clothes). Very inspiring...watch it.


Recommended by: Travis Millard.
*) Just Farr a Laugh, Vols 1 and 2 / Earles and Jensen.
Earles & Jensen are so great because there’s a no-cruelty policy to their calls. They bewilder the person on the other line but never leave them too angry.. sometimes even injecting totally confusing joy into their day. E&J are kings of obscure pop culture references, quick as hell, unpredictable and outrageously funny. A double CD set from Matador Records ~ greatest prank phone calls ever, indeed!
**) The Way Things Go / Fischli and Weiss
This short art film is so much fun to watch. Swiss duo Fischli & Weiss created a sprawling Rube Goldberg-style machine out of everyday utility items, fireworks and household chemicals. You’d never imagine what a thrill a spinning trash bag could be as it lightly knicks an old tire that rolls into a 30-minute chain of seemingly impossible artful calculations.
***) My Friend Dahmer / Derf Backderf
Derf is a fantastic cartoonist, I’ve admired his work for years and this book is a masterpiece. It’s the dark, true story of Derf going through high school in Ohio with Jeffrey Dahmer, the young would-be cannibal serial killer. Dahmer was an ignored outcast but Derf & his friends had a rapport with him and shared the lunch table. Beautifully drawn and a completely engrossing story, I heard they just made a movie from it.