chrome ball interview #64: guy mariano

 chops and guy sit down for conversation. 

Alright Guy, so after all of this, do you personally feel that you’re skating the best you’ve ever skated or do you think that you are still, in a sense, “coming back”? Is there anything left that you still feel you have to prove to yourself? Is that Mouse part still a monkey on your back or do you feel you’ve escaped that shadow?

I don't know about skating the best I've ever skated but I'm putting in the most work and energy that I ever have into skating. I catch myself trying to still remain relevant and to inspire others but I have nothing to prove. 

Funny you ask that about Mouse, though. I tend to think that for a lot of people, that will always be my most memorable part. I'm not trying to top it but I'm honored and proud of that part and what it represented in that time of my life. 

Fully Flared represented your return to form after sinking into an abyss while Pretty Sweet basically chronicles you going absolutely fucking bonkers on your board. Which part means more to you and why? Both are triumphs but which one do you prefer? 

Pretty Sweet, simply for the fact that it was more challenging. With Fully Flared, I felt people would be more forgiving. They just wanted to see me skate again. With Pretty Sweet, I was in the company of a bigger, younger team. Also, moving onto a new project is always difficult to evolve from your last one. Not only to keep your audience inspired but to have yourself behind it and motivated as well.

Very true. Talk about that last trick, man. What was the process behind that monster? Was that something you’d been thinking about for a while? How long had you been trying that? I know it was super last minute, was this trick born out of having “enders” but no “ender-ender”?

I'd been trying a switch tre noseblunt for years. For some reason, I could always land on them but never ride away. I think we can say it was born having to have an ender-ender. I did feel some pressure, all positive though, but for me, I was going to be happy with the part whether I had it or not. It was cool because a lot of people in my tight circle thought it was going to be a noseblunt and were surprised on the nosegrind.

Granted your sober now but how would you compare your process in making Mouse, which in its own way was a “comeback part”, versus the way you made these last two parts in Fully Flared and Pretty Sweet? Were you just stacking clips for Mouse in the time allotted? Did you give any thought towards “part structure” or trick lists or anything like that back then... or even now?

Mouse definitely came more natural for me. I was at a pretty progressive point in my career where things came a lot easier. Being that I hadn't been in the public's eye for a while before Mouse, I had a lot to offer. A lot of stuff to film.

During Fully Flared and Pretty Sweet, times had changed and a lot more content was in demand. And I was older. Part structure and trick lists were much more needed for my last two parts, given how much skateboarding has progressed since the Mouse days. 

Who’s idea was it to use “Watermelon Man” in Mouse anyway? I always heard you wanted to use a different joint for that one? And on a related note, how on earth did you end up using that Lissie cover of Kid Cudi for Pretty Sweet? An amazing song but hardly the most obvious choice.

The idea for "Watermelon Man" came from Gabriel Rodriguez and Eric Duncan but Aaron Meza was the one who made it work. I liked the Biggie song with that Herbie Hancock sample so we went with the original. 

The Lissie cover, I think, came from Cory Kennedy and Mike Carroll's girlfriend but Ty was the one who meshed it well. My music wasn't done until the last day of editing. I think they struggled with a few different songs and edits but when I heard and saw it, I thought it was perfect. 

Who has your favorite part in Pretty Sweet?
Sean Malto. 

Interesting choice. So I have to ask this... what do you feel about all the ruckus that was made about David Gonzales winning SOTY and not you? Everyone, myself included, was pretty pissed... though I will say I thought you handled it with class. But you had to be a little bummed, right? Not that you could’ve led on to that fact though...

I really feel that David deserved it… but, of course, I would've wanted SOTY. I was honored to have people say that I should've gotten the award but I didn't like that all the talk was taking away from David's accomplishment. 

Class act. But I've always wondered how you cope with the pressure of being “the legendary Guy Mariano”? The pressure of having this massive reputation where every clip has to not only be amazing but also more amazing than your previous? This has to cause some pretty gnarly shit to go on in your head, right? Was this something that perhaps caused problems in your younger years and maybe aided in leading you to some dark places?

Insominia is my coping technique. I have had times where someone would pitch a commercial to me like, "Ok, you're going to do a trick that's never been done before and then we're going to melt Mike Mo's face..." 

That shit will keep me up at night. If I could do that on command, I would be out there doing it all the time. And yes, that kind of constant overthinking has definitely lead me to some negative places in my life. 

Do you suffer from any sort of “madness” at all? Superstitious ticks or mental hang-ups to put your mind at ease?

I have certain t-shirts or pants that I get "attached" to… like a uniform-type of thing. Once they've had their moment, I move onto the next one. I also have a beverage thing that I do. There was a period where I always needed a water, Gatorade, Muscle Milk, and Perrier on deck. Even though I'd only drink one or two during a session, they had to be there. 

Is it safe to say that your approach to skateboarding, in general, is completely different now than it was in your earlier years? It seems you’re essentially a workhorse now who’s constantly on your grind whereas before, Guy Mariano coverage was quite the rarity. How would you describe this new outlook towards skating... is this a gratitude thing or perhaps maybe feeling like you have to make up for lost time or...?

Yes, my outlook on skateboarding is completely different now because I am grateful to be here. I know better now than to not take advantage of opportunities that come my way. It's a seasoned type of hunger and drive. For example, on days that I don't want to go out and skate, I, at least, go to my skatepark and do flatground. Unlike when I was younger when I could be off my board for long periods of time and still feel comfortable. It's different now. If I don't skate a couple days, I get a little rusty. There's a lot more maintenance required now on my end to keep things up to par.

Given these last few productive years, how do you see those prior periods of downtime in your career where you maybe weren’t skating all that much? Like when you didn’t really film for Goldfish, for example, do you feel these periods were just a natural part of your process or do you look at them with regret? Were these periods of quiet necessities for where you were at or do you look at them now more as potential “wastes of time”?

I do look back at Goldfish and Yeah Right and regret not being a part of them. But I also know that without that experience, I don't think I would be as motivated as I am today. Yeah Right especially because I felt like that should've been my prime. I still haven't forgiven myself for that.

You famously went on a Globe trip with Andrew Reynolds in the late 90s and have admitted that you didn’t even know who he was at the time... despite the fact that he was a SOTY-caliber superstar at the time. Did you pay much attention to skateboarding magazines and videos back in the day? Or were you essentially just concerned with your immediate crew and what they were doing? What about now?

I would like to believe that I was paying attention at that time but I was completely out of the loop. If you're surrounded by a very productive crew, I don't think you have to spend as much time following the media of skateboarding. I think that sometimes focusing too much on what everyone else is doing can be a distraction. 

Now I would say that I follow skateboarding a lot more closely, not just checking out tricks but for spots and cities to travel to. It's also interesting to follow skateboarding and see what path it's taking and how the culture is evolving. 

That evolution is what keeps it interesting. But what were your thoughts when you heard P-Rod using your Jackson 5 song for his City Stars part around that same time period? Obviously an homage but some people might’ve taken that a little funny, too. But was having“I Want You Back” for your Video Days part even your idea for Video Days?

I knew who P Rod was and had a good feeling about who he was going to become. Being that I had such a good history with Kareem, I felt honored when they used it. 

"I Want You Back" was all Mark and Spike's idea. They schooled me on how to pick a video part song. That the song has to have some connection to the person... like Michael being young and me being young. That it was also important the song wasn't trendy at the moment but will stand the test of time. And they were 100% right. 

A song can be more important than a trick at times.

Is Video Days the best skate video ever made? Did you realize it was going to have such a profound impact as you were making it or did you even think about it? What’s your favorite thing about the video and if there’s one criticism you have of it, what would it be?

I would say that none of us were aware of the impact that it would have on skateboarding. Not at all.

But looking back, my favorite thing about Video Days is that we were all so hands-on with the filming. Just out skating with each other and having fun. I think that the innocence and authenticity was felt. We had a small team with the best of the best tricks and simple, short skits that were funny but also gave you a look at who we were off our boards. This became the formula for skate videos. 

I’ve heard that Jason’s part didn’t totally do him justice to how well he was skating at the time, would you agree with that?

Jason grew up during a time where you didn’t have to film everything. I had spent so much time with Jason and witnessed some incredible things that were not documented.  Like many forms of art and expression, a video part doesn't always showcase what a skater is capable of. 

Always wondered if Rocco said anything about you famously wearing that Powell Supreme shirt in Video Days? That was done out of respect to Stacy, correct? What was your first reaction to seeing the “Dear George” ad and that series of Powell Spoof graphics? After the “Brainwash Victim” shirts and a few of Powell’s graphics dissing Blind, was there ever a point where you felt in the middle between the Powell and World camps?

That Powell Supreme shirt goes back to my thing with clothes. It was just my lucky tee. There was no other intention behind it. I was personally offended by all the negative things that were said about Rudy and I moving to Blind...  “Brainwash Victim” and that we were money-hungry, because that was just not the case. 
But I do remember seeing the Powell Spoof graphics and I asking Mark, "You're friends with Tony Hawk...he's going to be cool with this, right?".
I was raised around a group of skaters that taught me to always have respect. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I wasn't trying to have any type of beef. Stacy Peralta discovered us and took us under his wing but when he left, I did not view that company the same. 
Well put. Now with so many classic graphics came out of that early 90’s World/Blind/101 period… which one stands out to you as a personal favorite?  Fucked-Up Blind Kids and Accidental Gun Death are two of the more popular choices from people…

I would say the Fucked-Up Blind Kids. The graphics McKee and Cliver came up with were so controversial for their time. I remember seeing that series and thinking, “Man I'm not going to be able to show these to my Mom.”

Two of my other favorites were the Randy Colvin board with the felt as well as his other board with the naked lady that came in an all black bag. I was blown away with what they were doing. 

Were you bummed when that Operation: Manhood ad came out in Big Brother about you losing your virginity? Did you know they were going to put that out? Did anybody actually respond to that thing?

I knew they were going to put that out but I was a little embarrassed. People actually did respond and Rocco was setting things up to actually follow through with it but I got scared and backed out. What a wuss. 

Next question.

Best World Park story? Any Sal Rocco gnarlyness from back in the day? 

They had a product room at the World Park and with boards sales on the street being at an all-time high, we needed more. I remember Matt Schnurr going into the attic of the warehouse so he could try to scale through his way into the product room and he ended up falling through the roof. When he opened the door for us, he was totally covered in plaster! It was like a scene out of a movie.

It got to the point that they had to install cameras to keep us out but we would just take the security tapes out and destroy them. We were little terrorists. I do have a lot of Sal Rocco stories but the gnarliest one is that he's homeless living at the Manhattan Pier. 

Be careful with drugs and alcohol.

You always seemed to have such a good relationship with Steve Rocco, even continuing on with him post-Girl with Axion… not to mention your heavy affiliation with the Menace crew. Was it difficult leaving Rocco for Girl back in the day? Was there any thought on your part of potentially staying on Blind with Henry?

You're absolutely right, I had some really fun times with Steve. He had a lot of money and was a kid at heart and loved to go ball out… whether he was taking us to The Gap on an endless shopping spree or taking boats and jet skis out to Catalina. It was great times but they had come to an end.

There were no thoughts of staying on Blind with Henry. It was hard enough for me to be happy on Blind after Mark left. By the time Jason left, I knew it was never going to be the same for me. I think that affected my skating at the time, too. I felt a bit lost. 

I’ve always wished that Henry would've come with us to Girl. I think things would've worked out a little differently for him.

An undisputed king of Los Feliz Elementary, Lockwood and the Venice Pits… I always found it kinda funny that you never had footage at the Beryl Banks, or even up north at Embarcadero or Hubba Hideout. All three being huge spots for your crew and appearing in videos that you were in… did you just not care for those spots or what? 

I loved Beryl Banks and Hubba Hideout. I remember doing a fakie ollie switch front crook at Beryl and switch crook backside 180 at Hubba… I don't think any of that ever came out but I wish it would've. 

And I do remember going to EMB one summer… there had to be over a hundred skaters there with, like, twenty of them being the best skaters at the time. That place made me nervous even when I was spending a lot of time with Henry Sanchez.

I just about to talk about how notorious you were for never filming at sessions back in the day… is there something you did back then that you now wish you would’ve captured? Maybe that switch shuv nosegrind that was on the cover of TWS perhaps?

I think there's something special about just going out and taking a photo. Somebody pieced together that sequence of the TWS cover, maybe for better framing, but a lot of people thought I didn't make that so I wish I would've filmed that one. 

But I will say that sometimes the banter of what people have done back in the day can go farther than if it was actually documented… if that makes any sense. 

The power of mystique. What would you say is the most important lesson learned from Mr. Mark Gonzales?

Scooped backside airs and the importance of being a leader and not a follower. This being through his actions and not his spoken word. Also, being different is what sets you apart. 

Who would you personally like to see return and make a full-comeback in skating? 

Gino Iannucci. Aside from myself, so many people want it and it's an actual possibility. 

I hope so. 5 years of Fully Flared to 5 years of Pretty Sweet… what now? What’s next?

Giving myself a break. As far as being really hard on myself, I could still be driven and productive but I don't have to feel like I want to drive my car into a wall everytime I don't get a clip. Plus, I'm a little over waiting so long to put out content these days so I'm happy to do a lot of smaller projects and moving onto the next. 

I recently had a meltdown filming so I’ve actually decided to skate a little bit now without filming. I've been having a really good time. 

Good to hear, man. Alright Guy, I could literally go on forever here but I’ll have mercy on you. I can’t thank you enough for doing this. It’s a real honor. Anything you’d like to add to this? Any shout-outs or words of wisdom or anything?

I say it all the time: things happen when preparation meets opportunity. In most cases, the more you put into something, the more you get out of it. If you plan to have a career in skateboarding, remember to have fun and enjoy yourself. If not, it could be a long miserable time of trying to keep up and you might miss the real point of what we're doing around here. 

special thanks to aaron meza and guy for taking the time. 

tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of
the Chrome Ball Incident.  



mdspb said...

This has been such an amazing internet ride. Thanks again, from on skatenerd to another (which I obviously mean with the highest regard).

Anonymous said...

Any idea who took that photo of guy 50ing that fence? What an amazing photo!.... Great interview !

vincent said...

holy FOOK

Anonymous said...

the fence photo was shot by lance mountain, making it all the more amazing.

Anonymous said...

i live to hear about shit like guy confirming that he fakie crooked beryl and SWITCH CROOK REVERTED hubba but didn't film it. both of which i had never even heard about before. what the fuck.

can anyone confirm or deny the long held rumor that he switch 360 flipped the santa monica triple set way back but didn't film it?

i've also heard talk that around the same time he was fucking around with some of his mouse-era ally oop/"hard way" half cab/nollie 180 crooks on rails. i wish he would try some of those again.

Jono said...

Switch crook backside 180 hubba...the one on a table in the Mouse extras was mindblowing already.
Was it filmed? Seems like guy was saying it was but never 'came out'. Can anyone pull a Mike Carroll and find the footage?
Amazing interview and CBI wrap up in general.

Patrick said...

nuts about sal rocco currently being homeless in manhattan beach.

Questionable said...

Please don´t stop the music …

Unknown said...

So fulfilling. I commend you chops for including that switch backside tail slide. How that didn't blow the doors off the skate world when it came out ill never understand. He did that when pretty much no one was doing it regular. Hardly anyone dose it now. Also, switch noseslide kickflip on a handrail in virtual reality....dude is on the Danny Way/Koson roster.

With everybody else on the switch crooks revert on Hubba...one more example of him being truly next level. And what an insightful, humble, mellow dude.

We are all blessed and better skaters with dudes like Guy around

Anonymous said...

Amazing interview that made my day and will inspire me. Thank you so much Chops.

Diabolics .|. said...

truly epic incidents for 5 years. All good things have an end, the sausage has two.

Diabolics .|. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

i once saw Guy at the Vons (it's a supermarket) at Sunset and Virgil in L.A., i'd just gotten a coffee...he was reading a magazine and wearing a pair of Ugg's...i decided to say whatup and i swear he just stared at me in the strangest way possible until it became uncomfortable and i said Alright good meeting you and he looked away and i walked out and went to work.

Andy Vibes said...

Look in the credits of 411 Best of Issue 1 and the fakie crooked grind at Beryl is there.

Anonymous said...

I've always wondered when Guy was on his "hiatus".....well he had several tricks appear in videos. He had one trick in a Tom Penny part (sorry or very sorry or whatever) and then he has a trick in Chris Hall's "Get familiar".

I just skimmed the interview so maybe it was talked about? If not...it would be something interesting for him to talk on.

handsclapanin said...

I've seen Guy a few times over the years at various skate events. But had the awesome experience of once running into him in the streets. This would have been around '97. Me and my buddies (2 cars deep) drove up from SD to Irvine. We pulled up to the spot (red brick 3-flat-3) and looks who's here: Guy & Koston skating. Ortiz shooting photos. And I think it was Joey Suriel hanging out. The second carload of homies didn't want to barge their session; so they left. Me and my friend were like fuck that; we want to skate with these dudes. I was so nervous I completely ate shit just trying to Ollie it. A couple tries later, I landed a H/F varial. Guy gave me a high five and said that was rad. I couldn't believe getting props from the master. Koston seemed a little bummed we were there. But Guy was really cool. Koston was trying f/s 1/2 cab KF and nollie heels. Guy was almost doing s/s b/s heel. (I think Reynolds did it at that same set years later). Ortiz was rattling off the sequences. They did not have a filmer. So, fast forward a few months. That TWS cover with the s/s shv NG at UCI comes out. And Koston had a 4 star ad at the same rail, nollie f/s nose. Both shot by Ortiz. Me and my buddy realized they were wearing the same clothes as when we saw them. It must have been the same day we skated with them. So rad! I will cherish that session forever.

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Anonymous said...

chops did you have to edit out all of the you know what i means in guys responses?

Keith said...

"Anonymous said...

chops did you have to edit out all of the you know what i means in guys responses?"

haha He does seem to say that a lot in interviews.

Guy = GOAT. The hubba trick sounds amazing! Wish I could see it.

Thanks for the great interview Eric and Guy. Sad to see the end coming Eric.


I do remember seeing the fakie switch crooks at Beryl in the 411, just before moving there. And anyone who's been there knows how ridiculous it is just to try going up it fakie, let alone grinding that gnarled ledge. That was always my favorite thing done there.

I read in one of his interviews that he did try the switch tres down the SM triple but didn't land it. But that he landed it twice (?) down the Imperial double, without filming, which back then was pretty much the biggest double set around.


Thanks to Chops and peaceful journey toward the next endeavor.

Diabro said...

I would put Guy in the same bracket as Mullen and Daewon. Pure innovator.