RB for Chapter 63 – New York Skate of Mind
RM: Are you ever gonna move to LA?
RB: I am probably never gonna move to LA permanently, but I would like to be bi-coastal. I would live there, maybe, three months of the year.
RM: Bi-coastal is something that we kinda grew up doing, right? I like it like that. I’m not moving. I’m staying here.
RB: Yeah. New York City is always home for me.
RM: Especially for you. You are fucking...That one area is just-
RB: Yeah. I got my zone.
RM: That’s just fucking zone.
RB: I’m a creature of habit. I even just hopped over the bridge to Williamsburg, and people are like, “What are you doing out here?”
RM: They’re like, “What are you doing in fucking ... What are you doing in Maine?”
RB: I brought my passport up.
RM: Where should we start? What are you doing now? I know you’re at a new point in your life where you’re just doing many different things as far as shooting video, creating videos. I just see you going... It’s like a new episode of RB’s life.
RB: It is. Yeah. I’ve definitely graduated from the skate world. I’ll always be a skateboarder, and still make skate videos for Instagram and for the love. But these days, I’m creating videos just for web content for a lot of different clients of mine.
RM: That’s really, really humble, dude. What content for? Who for?
RB: Little brands like Burberry and American Express.
RM: Jesus fucking Christ.
RB: That was this week.
RM: Jesus Christ.
RB: A pretty good week.
RM: Isn’t it funny how skateboarders are low-key, the most successful people that you know and I know. It’s just weird, right? If you compare to what Spike Jones has done or what ... I don’t know. It’s just, to me, it’s crazy how talented, and how skateboarders have just a certain eye and they can trend forecast. They have a certain taste.
RB: Yeah. Skateboarders, we also just adapt to our environment. We’ll make something happen out of nothing. We’ve always had that in our blood and doing it over the years just ... that’s why we’re so talented. We fucking work hard, and we will make anything happen out of nothing.
RM: I feel like you were sitting in my conversation 30 minutes ago. I said the exact same thing that you just said. It’s funny ‘cause when you tell people you’re a skateboarder, it’s hard to describe how we see things and how we look at things. Our perspective is so different than another person’s. When we see people fall, and get up, and then fall again and get up, we’re like, “Oh, man. Cool.” Other people are just so like, “Oh, my god! Oh, my god!” We’re just so used to... I don’t know eating shit and getting back up.
RB: Yeah. Nothing’s broken. You’re still breathing. All right. Get up. Try it again.
RM: Yeah, yeah. I’m bleeding, but I can still talk. I’m gonna go do it again. I mean Yeah. That’s really how it is.
RB: I’ve seen people break bones, get up, do it again, but then not realize they’re hurt or shit’s broken until after they’ve conquered their mission.
RM: Dude, this is gonna sound really nerdy. But just name a handful of people from New York that you’ve filmed, shot, have seen throw it down-
RB: Over the years? Since back in the day it was Javier Nunez, Maurice Key, Keith Hufnagel, Gino Iannucci, Keenan Milton, Jeff Pang, Harold Hunter, Ryan Hickey, Quim Cardona.
RB: Yeah the list goes on. That’s just the first two years I lived here.
RM: Isn’t it amazing how an era of New York skateboarding kind of affected the whole genre of skateboarding now? If you think about some of the guys that we know and grow up with, people skate like them now. Also, dressing like you grew up in the 90’s is the new black!
RB: Yeah. I mean it’s crazy to me, but I see that every generation has their golden era. The generation we come from, that was the best time I’ve ever had here and it’s pretty crazy to think that kids these days, they’re looking back at those times that we spent. But I’m sure their golden era for them, they’re going to look back at these times now 20 years from now and be like, “Oh. Remember when skating was so sick in 2018?”
RM: Dude same. You know what’s funny? I don’t know why I’m going off on a tangent, but I remember this one time we were together. We were at Nassua Community College. Reda was shooting a photo of Gino doing a switch flip and then, I remember at the time Zered was a young kid, and he goes, “Hey, do you mind if I take a crack at it for a little-bit?” And Gino was like, “Yeah, man. Sure,” ‘cause he wanted to take a little break.
RB: I don’t think Gino skated it after that.
RM: It turned intio the Zered demo down the ten
RB: He went to town.
RM: He did ten fucking tricks, back to back. I’m going to say, tail side, tail side, fakie, 5-O ... I think he did fucking lip slide, back lip slide. I might be
RB: front board. Yeah. 5-O. I remember those were, he was warming up. Those were is warm... that was how he attacked a rail. The first four or five of those tricks was, “All right. He’s warming up for something sick.”
RM: Yeah, but for me, to see that-
RB: All those tricks are sick.
RM: These look like warm up tricks, but those aren’t really warm up tricks down a fucking as a ten stair, no? I never met Zered that was the first day
RB: Yeah. That was probably the biggest legit handrail New York City had at the time that people were really-
RM: So I remember leaving that day asking, “What the fuck? Who the fuck is that? That was amazing!” And then, fast forward now, he’s just one of the best skateboarders coming out of the East Coast. One of my favorites. Coolest dude. He-
RB: Yeah. That was a pretty legendary session right there. Gino and Zered? Those are two of my favorites, for sure.
RM: I don’t think anybody knows that, that Gino and Zered session was the same session because Gino’s session became a Big Brother cover, right?
RM: And those tricks ended up in-
RB: His opening part in Vicious Cycle. Yeah.
RM: Even no one knows that, but that’s a funny thing that we just put that together.
RB: Yeah. That was worth the mission going all the way out there. I think we went out there a couple other times, all the way out to that rail and got kicked out right away. I’m like, “Oh, man.”
RM: I mean-
RB: That’s frustrating.
RM: I know I always bring this up every time I see you, but every time I see you I think about that time that you had an apartment on Second Avenue and it was packed. We’re all hammered. I think I must’ve smoked like three or four Ls-
RB: Yeah. The balcony.
RM: -and then Harold’s like, “Yo, I’m going to go make some breakfast.” And I was like, “Dude, what are you doing?”-
RB: I wish I had footage of him stirring the pot in the middle of the party with eggs.
RM: He was making eggs, I was trying to holler at you. “Yo! Yo!” But it was too late because there was probably 50 people in your... Was it a one bedroom or a studio?
RB: It was a two bedroom converted into three. We had a lot of people living there.
RM: Anyway, there was mad people there. They were throwing stuff off the balcony. I’m pretty sure you almost got evicted that night.
RB: The next day I got in trouble with the management, for sure.
RM: Yeah. I’m not surprised but I-
RB: I think the glass doors downstairs got broken.
RM: That wasn’t me.
RB: I know who it was. I know exactly who it was, and yeah. We were all young, dumb, and stupid back then. But then those were amazing times.
RM: Those were amazing times.
RB: I remember, before Harold was cooking those eggs, he went up to us, and was like, “RB, you got any food?” I’m like, “No, Harold. I don’t have any food.” He’s like, “Ah, you’re greedy, man. You have food. I know you have food. You’re rich. Look at your apartment. I know you got food.” I’m like, “Harold, there’s nothing to eat, dude.” He’s like, “I’m gonna make some food.” Then, the next thing I know, he’s got a pot and an egg heated up on the stove. He’s just eating scrambled eggs out of the pot.
RM: That’s so funny.
RB: “I told you, you had food.” So greedy.
RM: Dude, he’s so greedy and hungry. Hide food in his pocket. That’s crazy.
RB: Man, I wish I had footage of him doing that.
RM: It’s crazy, that era of all these skateboarders that just came through the late 80s and mid-90s and late 90s, all came from New York. Just Keenan and Harold and everybody hung out together. We’d go into Mullaly’s together. We all went to the Playground together. We all ended up going to trade shows together.
RB: Yeah. If there was a contest in Jersey or Long Island, we’d all go together and just find a way out there. The city guys are here. The guys are here from the city. Those were good times.
RM: Damn, Long Island. I remember-
RB: The North Port Skate Park?
RM: North Port Skate Park. Then even Special Sauce. I remember Ty Evans would go there and film Gino clips and I think you were filming Ty clips. He did some gnarly trick, some gnarly front tail thingy. I remember you were filming it. It was so weird to see him back then ‘cause I was ... he did ... Was it feedback? I think it was. Did you film Feedback?
RM: I was like, “Oh, man. That’s that ...” You know how it is in skateboarding. You just know the dude because of their work.
RB: Yeah. I knew Ty the day he decided to become a filmer.
RM: That’s amazing.
RB: He told me that story. The day that he was going on a Planet Earth trip, I was in San Diego. He was like, “All right. I’m going take this seriously. I need a filmer to come with us on tour.” Ty was like, “Hey, I want to go.”
RM: You know how talented Ty is?
RB: Oh he’s incredible.
RM: Ty is so talented that he taught Brad Farrell how to film. He’s like, “Brad, I’m going to teach you how to film” Yeah, right. Imagine Ty Evans goes up to you and tells you that. What do you say? You don’t say anything. You just listen.
RB: It’s so sick that he goes to Woodward every summer and teaches all these kids. He lets them hold his million dollar equipment and run the whole show on multiple Red cams.
RM: It’s so insane.
RB: It’s amazing.
RM: He used to sleep in my living room floor. Just to film stuff and mow he’s just filming things on the craziest level.
RB: He’s a skateboarder. We all start somewhere and make something out of nothing.
RM: Yeah. Skateboarders are... they’re different people and I don’t know. I think we’re just have the time of our lives, always. Just one random event from fuckin’ a decade ago we just put together.
RB: Wow that was a monumental event.
RM: You can have one event happen, and then your bros for the rest of your fuckin’ life. That’s pretty true.
RB: Yeah one good day of skating and you’re like “Oh this guy’s cool and we’ll always remember those times.
RM: I remember when, not to name drop. But it’s gonna sound like it, when Keith Hufnagel got married. That’s the first time I met Al Boglio and hanging out with him. We were playing golf and loosening the straps. Those guys were dressed up in all brown and me and Gavin were making fun of him because they look whatever, zookeepers and shit. We had an epic drive back from I think Monterrey to Los Angeles. It was me, him, and Keenan, and O’Mealley and we’re drinking all the way back. O’Mealley doing 100mph all the way back to L.A. We always talk about how we survive it because I guess, Mike is kind of a wild driver, he’s got fuckin’ crazy eyes and shit.
RB: Driving on the wrong side of the street.
RM: Yeah but he’s Australian. Well what else do you have in store? I mean I know-
RB: Speaking of O’Meally, he’s got a photo shoot next week. I’m helping him out with that.
RM: Oh, fuck. O’meally.
RB: Yeah, it’s September 12th, photo shoot it was amazing.
RM: Probably has amazing photos of Dill and Pang and Huff and whoever.
RB: Yeah, he shot this city well during that Golden Era.
RM: Fuckin’ Mike O’Meally. He’s fuckin’ talented...
RB: Crazy Eyes!
RM: Crazy fuckin’ Eyes! O’Meally’s the only guy that you can skate with and he’ll make fun of you. I was skating The Supreme Bowl in LA a few years ago and he’s like, “What the fuck you doing over there? All you’re doing is rock fakies and a deep end. That’s just bullshit.” “Can I get warmed up? Sorry fucking guy. Obnoxious fucking Aussie.”
RB: Eh, he keeps it real.
RM: Yeah, he does keep it real.
RB: What else should we talk about, man?
RM: I don’t know, how about Zoo?
RB: Zoo is a touchy subject, man. I just got hit up today from the guys who are running the Zoo York Instagram account in the United Kingdom and there’s actually real skaters that are running Zoo out there and I always had love for Zoo. I spent half my life repping that company for the blood, sweat and tears and just I see some stuff coming out these days and it breaks my heart.
RM: It does I mean, to be honest, Zoo is kind of, I don’t know how to say it, Zoo was that New York East Coast brand that... I mean think about some of the people that came from there.
RB: Yeah. During that time people were saying we are the east coast girl and chocolate-
RM: That’s what I’m saying-
RB: of the time. Girl and chocolate was the shit back in the day so to hear people say that “oh, you guys are the New York Version of these LA guys,” I was like, “What? Are you kidding?” But man, we had a heavy squad back then. Now that I look at it-
RM: They put together a the most infamous radio show with a skate brand, I mean, Stretch & Bobbito, Method Man, Busta Rhymes, and Robbie Gangemi.
RB: It works. It worked back then, it was legendary. I couldn’t believe all the shit that we put together.
RM: Yeah, but think about it, how relevant that is now. Back then, it’s just so powerful to see, I don’t know man, just one of my favorite brands. I mean, think about how many people touched Zoo York. Cuz, I mean obviously Bruno and Rodney are fuckin’...I mean I can go as far back as seeing Barker Barret, the Shut Contest in Thompson Square Park before turning to-
RB: Remember that stage when Eastern Explosion Three came out and Rick Oyola and Fred Gall were riding these huge boards and there was... Zoo were the only one’s that made boards that big.
RB: And there was this whole trend. Everyone’s like, “I’m gonna ride a big ass 9 inch board with 16 millimeter wheels.
RM: What was it? It was an assault vehicle and shut-
RB: No it was with... The Ricky Oyola board,the Zoo keeper.
RM: The Zookeeper.
RB: Yeah the Rick Oyola Zoo keeper and there was this Zoo York wide that came out on being a huge ass board for back in the day ‘cause everyone was riding, in the west coast was riding these real tiny 15 millimeter wheels.
RB: And then, yeah Freddy and Ricky down in Philly just like, “I don’t know, we’re gonna ride these big ass boards ‘cause we got rough spots to skate.
RM: Damn you have a good ass memory man.
RB: I mean those days are monumental to me and I was a skate nerd back in those days. I read every single in every single magazine. Big brother, Slap, watch every 411 from beginning to end. I get over and over and over again and I was just out there wanting to make videos at the same time.
RM: I’m gonna say it, you really took care of how New York was viewed and represented at that time. Some of the best styles of skateboarding came from that era. Even as far as NY Revisited. What’s that thing I found I Tower Records, it was Skate Maps. I found Skate Maps Tower Records and I think on the cover they had Jeff Pang on it
RB: Yeah, Jeff and Harold with-
RM: Yeah when Jeff-
RB: Zered’s in there.
RM: Have you ever talked about that? ‘Cause that kinda bugged me out. ‘Cause imagine if you to Tower Records to go buy a CD-
RB: No we have a signing, we did underground stuff-
RM: Did you?
RB: -in Tower Records on Broadway and Fourth street when it came out, yeah. They had this whole stand with our DVDs and full on autograph signing.
RM: Dude I remember that.
RB: That was skateboarding’s first reality TV show.
RM: That was, I was about to ask-
RB: That was before Rob Dyrdek and Bam Margera and all that-
RM: No that’s what I’m saying, that’s-
RB: Yeah probably 2003.
RM: That’s it, that’s way after days.
RB: Yeah, yeah that was during the Vicious Cycle. That was also around the time that we went to that session in Nassua College around that same time.
RM: Yeah just going to back to what we’re saying before. Skaters are just adapt and everything comes with skateboarding.
RB: Yeah. I remember going to China, the year after that and seeing those same DVDs you found at Tower Records being bootlegged and when I remember buying ‘em. We’re like, “Jeff you made it, they’re bootlegging our shit, we made it.”
RM: We fucking made it. Did Jeff beat them up?
RB: No he was laughing. He was... I just I bought ‘em all. They’re $2 each, I’m like, “I’m buying all of them.”
RM: Oh my god.
RB: Oh we were-
RM: That was fucking amazing. To have Skate Maps. Skate maps fuckin’, Zoo, now you’re doing Burberry commercials and shit. Dude, what’s next? I know-
RB: We’re working on documentary right now with Giovanni Reda and he’s got the photos, I got the footage all about that golden era and how it’s influencing a bigger picture.
RM: Right on. Did Reda ever tell you that he used to make fun of me when I was young?
RB: That doesn’t surprise me at all.
RM: And did he ever tell you that I tried to kill him. I tried to throw him in front of a bus I think. Somewhere on Ralph Avenue because he used to call me Ching Chong. I’m like, “Dude I’m Filipino.” And he made all these ching chong ding dong fuckin’ things and I tried to throw him in front of a bus and he freaked out and never made fun of me ever again.
RB: That’s all you had to do.
RM: Yeah, he never fucked with me ever again.
RB: Oh man.
RM: I think he can tell you that story.
RB: There was one time, the Baker team was in town and Reda was there and that end up being in the first Baker video. Where they’re skating the CBS gap in the town and one of the security guards comes in and grabs Reda’s flash and Reda was like, “You don’t touch my shit. You work $2.50 an hour, Filipino type shit.” He stared back to the security guard. I’m watching the footage and he sat down and I looked at him and I’m like, “You’re a fuckin asshole.”
RM: You know what? Its because he was mad that I tried to throw him in front of a bus. But that’s-
RB: Yeah but he actually can sing a Tagalog song but my parents love every time he visits my house, my family is like, “Where’s Giovanni, sung us that Tagalog song.”
RM: That sounds about right. Giovanni Reda. Giovanni’s from fucking-
RB: He’s from Brooklyn, Brooklyn.
RM: He’s from Mill Basin actually.
RM: So I would skate to his place from Canarsie man that was a-
RB: Oh damn.
RM: Yeah. That was-
RB: You would skate from Canarsie to Mill Basin. Yeah that’s a mission right there, I wouldn’t do that to this day.
RM: Love you Giovanni.
RB: I never liked you Gio. Never liked you.
RM: That’s funny.
RB: more than anything.
RM: But I didn’t know he new Tagalog words. I actually didn’t even know that he knew what Filipino people were... and not to be racist but our friend is... He’s a nut job.
RB: Did he know when he worked inside of a 24 hour photo lab and he would steal anytime there was someone with nudes, he would print extra copies of... Keep crazy photos when he worked at the 24 hour photo lab and he said that one of the guys he worked with was Filipino and he would listen to this Filipino song all the time in Tagalog and that’s how he learned the word, “fuck”, yeah, something like that.
RB: Yeah and he’ll sing it every time.
RM: Dude that sounds weird I just can’t picture him embracing another culture’s language. Does that sound racist? Maybe I am racist.
RB: But he’s got another version of Tagalog that’s so racist that they’ll just, I’m sure you heard it back in the day.
RM: Dude I’ve definitely heard about. It’s so funny how many stories you can have of your friends with all of these little random-
RB: As long as the stupid shit we were about to do-
RM: It’s always the dumb shit. You think of that Nike ad? (Colin Kaepernick Just Do it Campaign)
RB: I thought it was great. I thought it was amazing.
RM: Dude, that shit was-
RB: It’s really touching. It was funny ‘cause the first thing I saw before I even saw the Colin was a new Nike ambassador-
RB: I just saw all these things of people burning their Nike’s. I’m like, “What’s going on? What happened?” It was like, “Oh this whose kneeling down for the Star Spangled Banner. They’re sponsoring him.” But then I saw that commercial just today. I’m like, “Oh that was epic.”
RM: Dude, so powerful.
RB: Yeah. It was so good.
RM: I think Nike’s tag line is just-
RB: Yeah, and that’s why the here and there. The strong presence in there-
RM: All of them. Everybody got it just like that.
RM: This unity and-
RB: It was powerful.
RM: Just Do It
RB: I’m a fan. I’ve always been a Nike fan.
RM: Yeah, I mean you have to be if you’re Filipino. I mean me too..
RB: Well thanks for having me.
RM: Not at all dude, of course.