When did you start skateboarding?
I started skating when I was about 9.
What was your first proper set-up?
My first legit set-up was a Jeff Kendall- the one where his hand was holding the world. It had white gullwings and slimeballs. It also had every piece of plastic you could put on it!! Copers to tail rails!
Where did you grow up and who did you skate with early on?
I grew up mostly in Denver, but split time in Seattle. That was due to my parent's divorce. It was hard as a kid, but looking back I really appreciate having been able to experience two very different cities. In the early year's I mostly skated with school friends. We all played a lot of organized sports, so if you couldn't do certain tricks- like ollie up the curb in front of school- you got made fun of pretty bad. That meathead mentality really sucked, but it defiantly pushed me to get better.
Who influenced your skateboarding when you were younger and coming up, pro and not pro?
I had alot of different influences growing up, like Natas, Gonz, and the Bones Brigade (Tommy- Jim I still love ya!) But I was really into ramp skating at first, and I identified with the younger guys that were closer to my age, like Danny Way, Bucky Laseck, and Colin McKay. My non pro influences were all my friends in Denver and Seattle. They're the ones that I credit for making me who I am today!
Who was the first pro that you saw skate in person?
The first time I saw any professional skaters was at a contest, I can't remember the name of it. It was like the Chicago Blow Out, but it was in Seattle. And I saw all the big time vert skaters- Hawk, Mountin, Hosoi, Miller, McGill, and so many more. It was unbelievable!!
Who was your first sponsor?
The very first ever was a clothing company named Skate Rages. Nothing says high fashion like stretch waist bands and built in Velcro belts!!
How did you get hooked up with Real/Dlx?
I was in Canada skating at the Richmond Skate Ranch, and Rob Boyce was there. He saw me do my first fakie 540 over the spine. Before I left that night he hooked me up with his number and said he wanted to get me on Real. And after a while of being on the flow team I eventually graduated.
Do you remember the first time that you met Drake Jones?
Yeah, it was at my friends Marcus and Jessy's house. I remember saying to myself, "Who is this guy with the Think tats on his arms?" We all played a game of skate on the street. I do believe Drake won.
What's your favorite memory of Drake from the Real days?
I don't know that I have a favorite one, because there are a lot to choose from. But one of them is when we were at Woodward Skate Camp in Pennsylvania and we were playing basketball with some campers. Drake went up for a shot and couldn't get by my sick D, and when he came down a bunch of quarters fell out of his pocket that were supposed to be for laundry. Well as all of us were helping pick them up, Drake went to grab a couple that were bunched together and I got to them first, picked 'em up and said, "These ones are mine!", JOKING, but maybe it didn't sound that way to Drake. Anyway we started arguing and I ended up getting pushed and tripped over a trashcan. That's when the campers stepped in and said, "Don't fight, you guy's are friends!" We went our separate ways, but later that night we said our sorrys and it was like nothin' ever happened. That's the kind of shit that happens when your stuck in a van with people for a month straight!
Do you still keep in touch with him?
I do still talk to Drake, he lives in Atlanta and is in the golf biz.
What's your most vivid memory of skating at Embarcadero?
Back in the day there were so many good skaters there every day you could write a novel about who you saw do what. The one thing that stands out to me is that the first night I ever skated there I never knew how ruff the bricks were! So to me it made everything that was done there that much more impressive.
Real's Non Fiction was one of the best, most diverse videos from the mid-90's.... How long did you film for your non-fiction part?
I was kind of a procrastinator. When it came to filming I would always put it off, so in total I filmed for maybe two weeks. Real did set a deadline and I realized that I didn't have enough footage, so all the footage where I'm wearing that stripped shirt was the last day of filming.
What memory stands out the most when you think back to the filming of that video?
My favorite thing was when guys would come in with new footage and then watching it. It was cool to see how excited everyone was about how the video was gonna turn out.
After your Non-Fiction part it seemed like you were on track to turn pro for Real at any moment. What happened at the end with Real?
After the video I went to Long Beach for an am. contest and ended up winning it. I wasn't supposed to go on tour until the second leg, but I got asked to go on the whole thing, and I was told that if I wanted to turn pro it was my choice. So I chose to go pro, and when I got back my first pro contest was the Battle at the Bay. I made the cut but didn't finish in the top ten- I don't think. A little while after that, Real had the opportunity to get Gonz on the team, so a meeting was held to determine who had to go to make room, and it ended up being me.
After Real you got hooked up with Planet Earth. How did that come about?
Jason King and I had become friends, and he heard what happened, so he talked to Chris Miller and I was on a plane to San Diego soon after that. The only thing is I was in the process of talking to Rob Dyerdik about getting on Alien Workshop. I accepted the offer from Planet Earth before I heard back from Rob, but King and I ran into him at Pacific Drive. Rob and I had never met at that point, and King says,"Hey Rob meet our new pro Joey Bast." Rob said, "What the fuck King, I just came up here to watch his part and see if he should ride for Alien. You did it again!" Apparently, King had stolen Richard Angelides from them and he was a little pissed.
It seemed like you were only on Planet Earth for a minute and then you were done. What happened? Your Silver part was on point and it seemed like you were a good fit.
Yeah I agree, I think I fit in pretty good too. I got too big for my britches and thought I deserved more money. I approached Chris Miller with this idea, and he was very cool about the whole thing and gave me some alternate ways to make income- like photo incentives and stuff like that. I thought, "You mean I have to work harder for what I should be getting already? Fuck that!" I was a stupid kid that let his head get gassed up!! It was the biggest mistake in my skating career. As far as the Silver goes, I thought that was a great video put together by Ty Evans. Some of the footage used for my part was stuff that Real wouldn't use.
Did you ever get offered to ride for, or flowed by, World/101/Blind?
Yeah, when I was younger I was at a contest in San Jose and Steve Rocco approached me, but I was too young to know anything about the skate industry. I didn't know what I was being offered, I just didn't want to mess things up with Real.
You managed to get a mini part in the Credo video, which always seemed like the video that was too good to be true, and never should have come together for some reason or another. Did you ride for FIT? How did you end up in that video?
That whole thing was a big mess!! I did ride for Fit, they pulled the old bait and switch on me. At first the deal was they were going to start a new company with Jason King, Jason Shelton, and myself, and then it turned out to be just me riding for Fit. We agreed on a salary, but I never got paid in full. They had a good idea, but just didn't have the money to pay the caliber of team they put together. At any rate, they had James Kelch call and kick me off the team, and that was pretty much it for my skating career.
Top 5 best styles on a skateboard ever in your opinion?
You mean besides myself? HaHa. Drake Jones, Colin Mckay, Jovontae Turner, Chris Miller, Keenan Milton (R.I.P.), Gino Iannucci, Eric Koston, and Mike Caroll. I know you asked for 5 but thats my great 8!!
Who's got the best 360flip ever?
That's a tough one. Jovontae Turner, Drake Jones, and Mike Carroll all did them so good it's hard to pick one. Drake definitely does the best switch 360 flips.
Guy Mariano has credited Ivan Perez as being one of the most underrated pros. Out of all the pros you skated with in person, who would you say is/was the most underrated?
Leigh Peterson! His style wasn't the best, but he did shit that was so far ahead of its time.
What in your opinion are the biggest differences in skateboarding now compared to 1995?
Besides the money!? Well it's definitely in a bigger spot light, skating was a lot more underground back then. You had to go find spots to skate and now there's a skatepark in every little housing comunity. And the clothing is getting a little tight for me!
Gino Iannucci once said, "I miss the times when skating was hated on." Back in the early 90's, because skating was so hated on, I think it took a genuine interest to get into it. As a result, skating in the early/mid 90's felt more genuine. Do you agree? If so, why?
I do agree with that. People did it because they wanted to be a part of it. Skating wasn't the most glamorous sport, but it was a very independent one where people found their own style and identity. Don't get me wrong, there is still some of that out there, but nowadays kids see the X-games and the t.v. shows and say, "I want to be skateboarder cause it's cool!" Back in the day you'd see a dirty guy bombin' a hill and you'd, say "That looks fun- I want to try that." Nowadays you can go to the local rec center and get skateboarding lessons- what the hell!? Where were all the instuctors when I was trying to learn to ollie? I care very much, I might iron creases into my shirt sleves and pant legs, now but skating is what made me who I am and I'll never forget that!
Alright, so you disappeared from skateboarding. You could have kept going skill wise, but for some reason you were gone. You've gotta be in the top 3 of the old "Where did they go and why?" question, when it comes to skateboarders from the mid-90's. So, uhh, where did you go and why?
Well my skating career was going to shit, my girlfriend in Denver dumped me, and I was partying way too much. So like an immature kid I ran from all my problems, and went back to Denver to get the girl back. Didn't get the girl, all my friends had quit skating and started working normal jobs. So I started valeting, then waiting tables, but I also started drinking and doing drugs. One day I woke up in a house that I didn't know. It didn't have any furniture and not a soul there spoke English. I had a massive anxiety attack and realized that this is not how I wanted my life to be. A month or so later I was in a golf tournament for my work and made a hole in one that paid out $25,000. I had recently gotten back in touch with Drake Jones and found out he was golfing a lot too, so we moved to Phoenix together and he really helped me straighten my life out and focus on golf. That was about six years ago. From there I became a golf pro and that's what I'm doing today at a country club in Denver.
Who would win in a Golf game, you or Drake?
Nowadays Drakes got no chance!!!
When you were a pro (skateboarder), skaters weren't earning nearly as much money as they are now. If you knew the level of popularity that skating would reach, would it have affected your decision to leave skateboarding?
I would be lying if I said no, every time I see something skateboard related I really miss it. But on the flip side I have found new talents that I possess, I have a promissing career, and I have met someone who I believe in very much and want to spend the rest of my life with, I love you Jen!
Do you still skate? How often?
Not very much, which sucks, but I don't have a lot of time any more. I would like to though! I would really like to take a trip out to Cali. to see eveyone and skate.
Do you still follow skateboarding at all?
Not a whole lot, it just seems like I don't know anyone in the mags and videos anymore.
What's more fun/satisfying, golf or skateboarding?
They're the same, but opposite. Skating starts out fun, then gets frustaiting; golf starts out very frustrating then gets fun. They're both so technicaly difficult and challenging that it's very satisfying when you finally accomplish something you've been trying to do for a long time, whether it's making a birdie or landing a buttery nollie heel flip in shell toes!
Anything else you want to add?
Yeah. Tim, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this, and for taking me on a trip down memory lane. It feels good to do that every now and then.