chrome ball interview #106: kerry getz

chops and hockey temper sit down for conversation.

Thanks for the time, Kerry. I’m not sure how many people realize your situation but as a father of 5, I know you have your hands full. Not to pry into your personal affairs but I know your family grew overnight a few years back with the adoption of 3 children. How did this happen?

Well, this was about 4 years ago. My wife and I were celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary on the beach when we got a phone call. I was my wife’s little nephew, who was 6 at the time, and he’s crying.

“Aunt Deesh, can you come get us!?! We’re being taken away from our home! Can you come get me!?!”

I’m can’t get into too much of the backstory here but he’d already been bouncing around for a while, in-and-out of homes. He lived with my wife’s grandmother for about a year when he was 5 before going back to his home, but now he was getting pulled out again. The whole thing is kind of a mess.

But we got this call on Friday afternoon. We’re in Ocean City, which is about 2 hours away. We just pack our bags and take off, flying home as fast we can. We get back and it’s a little after 5. Too late to grab them. This means that he and his little sister have to go into Foster Care for the weekend. The little sister is 3. There's also another one involved, but he's just a newborn at this point.

That Monday, we take the two kids in and start fostering them. Two months go by and the baby is set to be released from the hospital. My wife and I are pretty scared to take in this little baby on top of these other two but what are you gonna do? We wanted to be realistic about everything but the bottom line was that we couldn’t break these kids up like that.

Long-story-short, we take the baby in, too. We went from zero-to-three children in a matter of two months. But the entire adoption process was so gnarly, man. We had to deal with all these rules of the State as well as their parents, who were very against us being involved in the kids’ lives. We were just trying to do the right thing but it was really difficult to do so.

Three years go by with court date after court date, all the while the parents put “blackouts” on my wife’s family. This meant that even though these are my wife’s niece and nephews, half of her family is not allowed to see the kids during this time. And this is years we’re talking about. My wife’s mother lives a block away and was not allowed see these kids. It was literally against the law for her to come help us out in any way. So not only did we suddenly get all these kids, we’re not really allowed any help, either.

Dealing with the State was crazy. People coming into our house to look in our cabinets, making sure the environment was safe. It’s a miracle I didn’t have a criminal record after such a long career in skateboarding, because that would’ve put a stop to the whole thing right there. I only had a ticket for riding 4-wheelers and I even had to explain that to the judge. I’m glad I kept my shit together or who knows where the kids would’ve ended up.

So yeah, we were able to fully adopt these kids. The parents couldn’t get it together and they had to know that the kids were in better hands with us anyway.

But over the course of that, my wife and I started having children of our own, too. The funny thing is that when I first met her, I didn’t want any kids. I wasn’t sure I could handle it. Now here I am with five kids and two dogs.

Old Hockey Temper is now a father of five… that almost seems like a tv show or something. Are the kids aware of your notorious flare-ups?

That’s the thing! When the State looked into us as potential parents, they searched my name online and saw all these crazy videos of me losing my mind! They had to check into it, actually asking me a bunch of questions about all that stuff! It was definitely a point of concern for a sec.

Yes, I do have a temper but skateboarding was my job. And while it is very difficult, I feel like some of my sponsors played it up a little. It was an easy marketing tool and some of my companies just ran with it. Luckily, the State understood. Once they came out to our house and saw how we lived, it was fine.

The oldest one knows about it a little bit. He’s seen my videos and knows that I can explode. It’s not like I’m gonna focus my kids or something (laughs)…  but when they bicker, of course, you’re gonna get angry and yell. But they’ve never seen that side of me where I’m out breaking my board into a million pieces.

Where did “Hockey Temper” come from anyway?

Bam came up with that one. It just stuck.

Knowing that your temper was such a thing, would it actually serve to make matters worse when your anger did flare up? Would you get even angrier about being angry?

Sometimes. Throwing my board around, smashing my nose... I actually remember throwing my board so hard on the ground at times that I’d egg-shape my wheels. It was crazy, I’d have these perfect wheels and after bashing my board around, they’d be all wobbly and have flatspots… which made me even more mad because not only did I not get my trick, I ruined my session. Because even though I was mad, I still wanted to keep trying my trick. Now I can’t.

It got to the point where I actually had to change how I got pissed. That’s when the shoes started to come into play. I had to start setting up different levels of pissed in order to give myself more tries. (laughs)

My first level was typically just screaming around. That’s pretty basic. The thing was that my second level used to be when I started throwing my board around. That’s way too early, man. So I had to change that to throwing my shoes. Taking off my shoes and throwing them against the ground or a wall or something. When I started hitting myself in the head with my shoes, that’s when I’m at level 3. But that’s still way more tries. It was only after going through all that was when I’d finally start in on my board. And basically, by the time I got to level 6, I had exploded and my board was now gone.

Did you ever bum anybody out with all this spectacle?

Security and stuff... but a lot of people just thought it was funny.

There was a time when Maldonado was walking behind me as I was swinging my board and I almost hit him. He was pretty bummed on that. He could’ve easily kicked the shit out of me, too, but he knew enough that I was just mad and it was an accident.

That happened a few times actually, when I was maybe a little too close to somebody when I was throwing my board around. But I never meant anything by it to anyone. I was pissed at myself.

But yeah, there’d be times where I’d piss people off at spots.

“Stop throwing your board!”

But by that point, I’m already pissed off. It’s not like I can just stop.

“Fuck you, man! I know I’m going fucking crazy but let me land this trick and I’ll be out of your fucking hair!”

I can’t tell you why, man. I’ve always been like that since I was a little kid. I’ve always gotten mad at my skateboard. (laughs)

How did you fall in with Bam and Maldonado back then?

I first met Maldonado right as he got on Toy Machine. They were just starting to film for Welcome to Hell. I’d known of Mike and Bam for a while, though. I’d see them at these two skateparks that were in-between where we lived. You gotta remember that while those guys were out in West Chester, I was actually way further out in the sticks. But I’d see them out a lot.

I was a little dorky dude, though. I had these big glasses, giant pants, cheap bowl haircuts and for whatever reason, I used to wear a fucking Flyaway helmet all the time! That was me, man. It’s so crazy. I still don’t know what made me wear that stupid helmet! And it’s not like it was going to protect me from anything anyway, it was barely on my head! But I ran it, regardless of what it looked like. I just didn’t give a shit back then.

But that’s how we originally met, through those skateparks. A few years later, the three of us all got sponsored by a company called Wheelie Co. and that’s when we really became friends. The owner had set up a trip to North Carolina for this contest and some demos along the way... not that anybody knew who the fuck we were at that point. We were basically just stopping by skateparks to skate.

It was only a little 8-day trip. I was working full-time back then and was able to get time off, which was kind of a big deal. But over the course of that trip, we got close enough to where Bam talked me into quitting my job and staying in West Chester with them.

“Dude, you’re so consistent. Sleep on our couch and start coming with us to Philadelphia. Mike’s on Toy Machine, I’m trying to get on either Toy Machine or Zero. Let’s do this!”

Bam’s a pretty enthusiastic guy and he really got me excited. It was a leap of faith but I came home from that trip and quit my job the next week. I ended up getting unemployment for the next 6 months, which was actually perfect. That meant I was able to skate all the time and still get paid.

But had you always been going to Philly and Love?

Oh, I’d only been to Love once before and I couldn’t stand it. I went there on a day trip with two friends of mine when I was 16 and it was terrible.

So here we are at Love for the first time and we’re a little shaky. We weren’t clueless about what could go down. We’re scared but we’re still out there, trying to have a good time. My friend Aaron had a brand new Real board at the time that looked so sick. But everything seemed to be okay enough… until these two dudes creep up on us.

“Hey dude, that’s a sick board! Can I check it out?”

So, unfortunately, Aaron lets him see it. Then his boy wants to check it out… Then three more dudes come over. His boy throws it over to one of those guys and they just skate off with it. Gone.

First day at Love and my best friend’s board gets stolen.

We’re just standing there, like, “What the fuck?”

Finally, these other kids come over to us.

“Hey man, we know the dude that stole your board. He’s gonna come back here in a little bit. I got this brick right here. We’re gonna smash him over the fucking head with it! You can get your board back!”

It was some crazy shit, man. Way too much for us. We just ended up leaving.

I never really went back there until I was with Bam and Maldonado years later.

How’d Toy Machine come about?

That was all through Mike.

After that Wheelie tour, I started filming constantly with those guys. Mike was still working on Welcome to Hell, Bam and I would go out with him to get some stuff, too. We just became this crew and word started getting around about “Bam, Mike and Kerry” all over the East Coast. We were starting to make a mark.

It was during this time that I filmed a video part for the local West Chester shop, Fairman’s, which essentially became my sponsor-me tape. Mike was also starting to talk to Ed about Bam and I as well.

We all ended up taking a trip out to Cali for Mike to film some stuff, which was the perfect time for Bam and I to meet Ed. And that’s how it went down, man. My first trip to California, I walk off the plane to meet Ed Templeton, one of my childhood heroes. Bam and I officially got on the team that week.

Was this before or after you kickflipped the Love Gap?

I got on Toy Machine after kickflipping the Love Gap. Because the first time that I tried it, I was riding a Zero board and ended up breaking it, which meant I had to come back another day. I was riding Donny Barley’s smoker board with a Foundation hoodie on when I did it. I still remember that so clearly. I wasn’t fully sponsored yet but Bam and I were both receiving stuff from Tum Yeto at that point.

How’d that kickflip go down?

It was only two days. Nothing really stands out about the first day I tried it, other than breaking my board. I do remember that, at first, I was trying to do it by going to the right of the Love sign. People typically go to the left but this was so early, I’m not sure if we’d figured that part out yet. But yeah, I landed one that day and my foot went through the board. I was done after that… maybe next time.

Looking back on it now, I can’t believe that I was even out there, doing all of this stuff in January! It’s 35 degrees and I’m out there trying to kickflip this huge gap! That would’ve never happened later on in my career. I always hated the cold but I guess it’s different when you’re younger. We were just so motivated back then.

So yeah, we head back down to Love so I can try it again. I’m getting myself hyped up… and there’s a puddle at the bottom of the gap, right where I’d be landing.

“Fuck, man! I wanted to do this today!”

So I’m pissed and kinda moping around. Finally, Maldonado had to break it down to me.

“Dude, if you really want to do it, get down there with some newspapers and soak that fucking water up!”

“Woah, this dude just scolded me!”

But he was right! So I grabbed some newspapers and a few t-shirts from Gee’s car and headed down there. I soaked all that shit up and 5 tries later, I’m rolling away.

I never even ollied it, which is kinda funny. I actually kickflipped it way before I ever ollied it.

Did you ever try anything else down it? Weren’t you thinking about double flipping it?

I tried fakie ollieing it once but it was too hard to push that way fast enough before hopping into that stance. It’s such a long gap, I just didn’t have the leg strength to do it. I’ve seen Chris Cole and Jeremy Wray skate that gap, they’ll push three times and have enough speed, which is crazy to me. When I skated it, I was running up the two stairs, throwing my board down and pushing another 6 times before every attempt.

I did try a fakie ollie pretty hard this one time. I wasn’t going fast enough so I had to turn and jump over it. I landed on my feet and fell to my knees, bashing both kneecaps pretty good. I never tried it again after that.

As far as double-flipping it goes, I probably thought about doing that when I started sucking at skateboarding. You know those years when you’re not skating as much? Where you have other things going on? Double flipping the Love Gap probably seemed like an easy fix, you know? But it was too late. I was already falling off… slowing down on being able to jump down shit. I was into my 30s by then and I just don’t think that I could’ve handled it.

Since we’re on the subject, how do react to the stigma that surrounds the double flip? What do you say in defense to all the naysayers out there?  

Oh, I understand why people diss double flips. I diss them, too! There were times when I would be thinking to myself as I was rolling up, “Do I even want to do this trick? Do I really enjoy doing these?”

And to be honest, most of the time, I didn’t. You have to flip it so hard and then be sure to catch it… The real problem was that I sucked at ledges. With every video part, you want to take things to the next level but I just couldn’t learn any new fucking ledge tricks. So I had to figure out a trick I could do that was different than what I’d already been doing. That’s why I started doing double flips. Nobody was really doing them down gaps at the time so I  figured I’d give it a try. I was wanting to add something different and double flips just happened to be it. That’s all.

Unfortunately, double flips caught on and people started taking them to these crazy places… 540 double flips and triple flips. Stop! It was never supposed to be like that! I only did it down something to be different. Now you guys are going crazy with them!

Weren’t you hurt for most of when Jump Off A Building was being filmed?

Yeah, but we had filmed so much, man. That’s how I was able to have a video part, despite being hurt for the last 4 months of filming. I was cut short and still had more than enough footage for 2 parts.

So when the video came out and my name started getting out there, nobody even knew I was hurt. I had to take an entire year off from skating and I was still getting sponsored by different companies.

I’d completely dislocated my ankle, popping through the skin in three separate places. You know that sketchy water gap Maldonado tries to backside 180 in the video? I fucked myself up trying to frontside 180 it. The wind blew my board clean off my feet and I didn’t even realize it. I thought I was gonna roll away, but next thing I know, my eS shoe is covered in blood. I lost about 10% of my up-and-down movement, had pins put in… the whole deal. Luckily, I was only 20-years-old and young enough to comeback, even though frontside flips definitely freaked me out after that.

You mentioned the bloody eS, I didn’t even know you were on that team back then. That was during the Menikmati era, right?

Yeah, I was supposed to be in Menikmati at one point. I actually went with Arto to Barcelona on an awesome filming trip for that video.

I actually started out getting boxes from Emerica. I wasn’t fully on the team but they were flowing me shoes. That went on for a bit until Don Brown and those guys decided to put me on the eS program. I guess that could be seen as a huge compliment, but it also meant that they instantly wanted me to have a part in Menikmati. They’d already been filming for a bit so they quickly put me on this Barcelona trip to film a bunch.

From there, I went to Cali to meet everyone at Sole Tech for the first time. At this point, it’s all new to me. I still remember walking around, checking out everything, when they decide to show me all the footage they have so far for Menikmati. And you gotta remember, I’d just gotten back from my first trip to film for this thing… even though I was aware that all of these gnarly dudes had been filming for a while.

So I’m standing there, watching all of this footage and I can’t believe it. Here’s a taste of Koston’s back noseblunt at Bricktown. Here’s McCrank’s cab frontboard down a handrail. And it just kept coming... I got shook! Who wouldn’t?

“Dude, I’m going to be in this video!?! I’m not sure about this, man! This is gnarly!”

Because another thing to factor into all of this, not only would I have to film for Menikmati with all these amazing dudes, I also had Photosynthesis to work on at this exact same time… I had to pump the brakes. There was no way I could deliver all that I needed to do for both videos. I mean, those are two of the craziest videos ever made! And I’m also not that dude who only wants 5 tricks in a video. If I can’t have a full part, I don’t want to be in it at all. The only short part I ever had wasn’t until much later with Habitat Origin and I still hate that one. We’re talking about Menikmati and Photosynthesis here!

Luckily, they understood and were on-board with having me on Etnies instead. So we went with that for a while as I focused on Photosynthesis. But even after a couple of months, it just didn’t feel right. I could never find a shoe that I really liked to skate in.

So I hit up Tim Gavin and told him that I liked what they were doing and that I’d love to be part of the brand. They’d just put on Steve Berra and Jason Dill… what about me?

That’s how DVS came into the picture.

But going back a little, what happened with Toy Machine? Why did everyone leave like that?

It honestly spiraled out of Bam and the CKY videos. Those videos were such a big success, selling like crazy, but Bam wasn’t really seeing any cash. He started questioning Tum Yeto about the sales because they helped finance it. He knew that there was a lot of money owed to him but he could never get any answers. He was wanting to know what was owed to him, as he should. He worked hard on that thing. And not only that, we were only getting paid a few hundred bucks a month at that time anyway, way less than what a lot of other people were making.

That’s really why things went down the way they did. Bam ended up getting an offer from Element for a ridiculous amount of money so it was a no-brainer for him to leave. But things weren’t the same for the rest of us after that.

I’d actually gotten an offer from Alien Workshop months before, way before Habitat was ever brought up. Kalis asked me.

“Hey, we’d love to have you be part of the Alien Workshop program.”

I just felt so comfortable at Toy Machine at the time. It felt like a good thing. But after Bam left, we all started finding out how little we were getting paid in comparison to other pros, and that’s when it became a completely different situation… I needed money to live, man! I wanted to move out of my parents’ house. I eventually wanted to buy a car, to buy a house at some point. I wanted to do the same things I saw other people in the industry doing. It didn’t feel like Tum Yeto was going to make that happen.

It all kinda happened at once. Bam left and shortly after that, Habitat was starting. That’s when we started getting phone calls. DNA was hitting us up, Tim O’Connor was talking to me and it all sounded really good. All the OG’s of the team had already signed on… Jacob Rupp and Brian Anderson were supposed to be on as well.

That’s what I’ve heard.

It was crazy, man. I don’t know what went down with Rupp but Brian and I were on the phone constantly at this point, trying to figure everything out. I was down but he never seemed as sure as I was.

“Are we really going to do this? I’m only going to do it if you do it, too.”

“Yeah, I want in. Let’s do it!”

So I make the calls, I’m on Habitat. Brian’s up next. Let’s go! But at the last minute, he backs out. I remember him telling me afterwards.

“Brian! Dude…no!”

So I start freaking out and call Chris Carter.

“Brian doesn’t want to do it! Now I’m shook! I can’t fucking do this! I can’t quit Toy Machine!”

“Kerry, we’ve already sent your ad in. You’re going to have the very first ad for our new company. You’re fucking riding for Habitat.”

It’s funny to look back on now, it was just one of those conversations where you’re totally scared. But it all worked out. Once I settled down, I was stoked. I started making good money and within a year, I was able to buy my first house.

But did you have any idea it was going to play out with Chris Senn the way it did?

Not at all. I had no idea until I read that interview with Chris and heard Ed talking about it. I felt so bad, man. It’s not like we were being greedy. Even on the East Coast, I know there were guys making two or three times what we were. We just wanted to survive, let alone feeling comfortable enough to be out there skating and producing content. Just to fill up the gas tank, that stuff requires cash flow.

I guess I wasn’t looking at the big picture. I was such a young kid at the time. But I will always feel bad about that. I never would’ve thought that my pay increase came at Senn’s expense. That it was getting taken away from him like that. 

There was just so much that wasn’t clear. We were being told that we had these great selling boards but we never saw any money. There were some big issues that needed to be tackled… but why would I want to get into all that when I have an offer from DNA for 5 times as much money?

Were you ever aware of an Alien/Habitat sibling rivalry? I know Kalis was always pretty vocal with calls of “Habiwack”.

I’d always hear stories but he never said anything like that to me.

Honestly, I always tried to stay away from the little details… who owned Habitat, who started Habitat, the name and all that. I didn’t want to get involved with the politics and I know there was a lot. I wasn’t trying to be on this side versus that side. I wanted to keep solid ground with everybody and just do my shit.

Habitat teammate and fellow Philadephian, give us your best Fred Gall story.

Fred is an awesome guy, man. I didn’t get into all the stuff that Fred would do but I would try to keep up with him wherever I could.

This isn’t the craziest Fred story, I can’t really get into all of those. But this was a fun one and a nice way for me to wrap my head around Fred’s life.

It was this one time where we all went to Hong Kong. We’d just arrived and it was around 2 in the morning. Everybody else was trying to crash out but Fred was ready to roll.

“Hey Freddie, I’m ready to go, too, man. I’m not tired either. Let’s go out and hit the streets.”

And that’s literally all it was. Just Fred and I hanging out in the streets of Hong Kong with beers in our hand. It was cool, man. We hit up this casino that was all lit up like Vegas. I took a bunch of photos…

I just always tried too hard to keep my shit together, which I guess made me a little different than the rest of the guys. It was something easy for people to make fun of me for. But that night, I felt like Freddie really does like me. I am his friend. Because while you’re always friends with your teammates, it’s not like you’re boys, hanging out every day. You’re honestly never quite sure if that person really likes you or if he’s just putting up with you for the time being.

You bring up an interesting point as being the down-to-earth one in an Alien/Habitat crew that was historically nuts. Wenning, Renaud, Dill, AVE… the list goes on and on.

There was no shortage of insanity back then. I mean, I’d either be on tour with those guys or hanging out with Bam. (laughs)

One that always sticks out from back then is this time when Kalis went on one of our trips. That dude really likes to keep his shit together. He doesn’t like to party, he hates people smashing shit in their rooms. None of that. He’s there to film and get shit done, which is why he’s so successful. Kalis is a hardworking dude and I’ve always loved that about him.

But I remember that he’d brought along this drill with him. At the time, most of us just had shitty skate tools but Kalis had this awesome drill with a bit to put together boards real quick.

Well, one night, Wenning fucking slams the thing into the wall of our hotel room. Just being a dick because he’s out of control, he jams it in there and the bit falls off in the wall. So now Kalis can’t use it. This is not good.

Later on that night, I’m sleeping on the floor with Wenning in the bed, Kalis throws open the door like, “What the fuck are you guys doing!?!”

He was so pissed. But I gotta admit, it was kinda funny. Here’s Wenning with Kalis’ fancy skate tool, drilling holes all over the walls. Why would you even do that? It was just so dumb that you had to laugh. Kalis didn’t find it very funny, though.

But Wenning was like that. Late at night, he’d have a couple of drinks and try to take things to the next level. Always. I remember him shitting in condoms and throwing them at people out the window. We’d be 8 stories up and this dude’s shitting in a condom to throw at pedestrians down below in the parking lot.  

I remember when Habitat had its own little apartment in Barcelona for a few months. We’re all there and Wenning started making fun of me for something... I can’t even remember what he said but it really pissed me off. I ended up throwing my Corona bottle across the room, shattering the tv. It was a tiny tv, like 14” or something, but I still felt bad about it. I’d never broken anything in a hotel room before, so the next day, I went out and replaced the fucking thing.

I left a few days later only to find out that the tv I’d just bought got thrown out a window. For years, everyone thought it was Renaud who did it. But Danny would always deny it... until finally, like last year, Wenning actually owned up to doing it. He let Danny take shit on that for years. So yeah, not only did Wenning make me break the tv, he also threw the replacement I bought out the fucking window.

I’ve heard that many OG’s don’t like the Habitat section in Photosynthesis because of the music. What did you think?

I loved the music in Photosynthesis! I honestly think those songs played a big part in helping our section stick out like it did. It was so catchy and got you hyped!

I just never liked how it came together. Because it wasn’t like we dedicated a year to filming for it. Most of that stuff was footage we already had. It didn’t feel like a project we worked on, more like just an edit.

Mosaic felt like our first true Habitat project, where we took the time to specifically film stuff for it. Putting everything together in our heads as we went, figuring out what tricks were needed and then going out to get them. It wasn’t just a footage hand-off, like, “Here you go, Joe.”

I never looked at my Photosynthesis part as ever anything mind-blowing. I always felt that I could’ve done better, given different circumstances. Going into it, we all knew that Habitat would have its own little section in Photo but we never thought that video would have the impact it did. Our board sales took the fuck off after that thing. And it blows me away that people, to this day, still come up and want to talk about that video. It’s pretty cool.

But while you loved the Photosynthesis soundtrack that the rest of the team didn’t like, weren’t you bummed on your Mosaic song? While everybody else was stoked on theirs?

Funny, right?

It just wasn’t my type of music. I don’t listen to that kinda shit. I don’t understand it. And when you hear a song for the first time that you’re not expecting, especially for a part you’ve worked so hard on, your reaction will typically be, “What the fuck is this!?!”

After I settled down, I got it. It did go well with the overall vibe of Habitat. But while I feel like my skating was better in that part, I don’t think that song really did it justice. Take one of Jamie Thomas’ videos, for example. He puts thought into every single detail… how its gonna look and how hyped you’ll get with each section. Habitat isn’t like that. Mosaic was never trying to do that. It was more about cool music and putting out a vibe. It’s just as good, but different.

Regardless of what I initially thought about that song, Joe was right. He really is a genius. It’s not like I could have some shitty rap song in my part, even though that’s primarily what I listen to. My skating isn’t exactly rap material.

What about your Freddie-inspired lipslide down the long rail at Love? I don’t recall too many other people stepping to that thing at the time.

I’d been eyeing that thing for years. I knew it was possible, it just took time to build up the confidence to hit it.

It’s just so quick. The second you get on that ledge, you have to ollie again right away or you’re in trouble. And not a lot of people know this but there’s a crack maybe 20 inches before where you have to ollie for the ledge. It really messed with you. There were a few times where I didn’t even ollie and ended up unintentionally wallieing up that ledge… which sounds cool but was actually terrifying. If you hang up on that ledge, because you’re going so fast, you’re getting pitched into the rail, for sure. That was the scariest part, that little fucking crack.

It’s an aluminum rail, too, which are always the worst. You never know how aluminum rails are going to slide. I ended up waxing it, which can make things even more dangerous by turning the thing into an ice skating rink. But I was able to get my speed right and started feeling more comfortable with it… it’s all about finding that fine line of sliding just the right amount consistently.

What were your thoughts on Seek?

It just felt like because Habitat worked out, they had to go ahead and try Seek, too. Sometimes you should leave things alone. Don’t try diving into too many companies when you already have two successful ones. But on the flipside of that, if you have two successful ones, you might as well try for a third. I can’t blame them for trying.

I honestly didn’t pay any attention to Seek.

What has kept you in Pennsylvania all these years?  

It’s just worked out that way.

Philadelphia had a good scene and I had a girl with an apartment right in the city where I was staying for free. She wasn’t charging me any rent, which allowed me to save a lot of money. I started making more money, too, which led to my starting a shop.

You have to remember that during this time, there were hardly any skateshops in Philly. SubZero back then had become a motorcycle shop at the time. The only real skateshop in town was called Elite, which for whatever reason,. I always got an awkward vibe from. And then one day, the owner ended up giving one of his employees a hard time because I was asking to use a skate tool at the shop. Fuck that. Philly needs another shop like the old SubZero… a shop that takes care of the skaters. Not giving a fuck about profits, just making enough to pay the bills, our employees and support skateboarding. 

I figured that with my career going so well and with the Philly X-Games around the corner… if I open a shop, as a skateboarder myself, there’s no way it can’t work. That was Nocturnal.

I’d basically built up my entire life in a four-block radius to where I had everything I needed, especially with the TF. I was comfortable and able to do everything here that most people have to go out to Cali for. There was never any reason for me to leave.

So Nocturnal came about because some dude gave you a hard time about borrowing a skate tool?

Yup. That’s a true story, man. I probably never would’ve opened Nocturnal if it wasn’t for that day.

Incredible. Talk a little about your Skate More part. Did that feel any different from your Habitat parts?

Skate More was fun, man. That was another one where we got to dedicate a year or so to spend filming for the video. Like I said earlier, those are always my favorites.

You’re right in that it was a lot different than the Habitat videos. It was a nice change. It wasn’t the Joe Castrucci-style that I’d gotten so used to over the years. This was Colin Kennedy’s baby and I was hyped that it would be putting me out there in a different way. Even that song I skated to… that would’ve never worked for Habitat. And the whole thing in the beginning with my hockey temper? I loved it. It just wasn’t so serious.

I took a few Cali trips to film with Colin, which was awesome because he really seemed to know what I was trying to do. He knew so many spots and I feel like everywhere we went, we got something. Working with someone like that helped so much. Like, if I was out there a week, I’d get at least 7 clips I was happy with. And that’s how you want to do it, because you feel like you’re actually getting somewhere. You’re not just out there, wasting your time. Things are coming together.

The double flip down MACBA ender. I can’t tell, are you stoked there or bummed you touched?

Oh, I hated that one! I’m so pissed right there. So pissed… Angry, angry, angry. I still get angry to this day watching it. I’d literally tried it to the point where I could barely walk back up there anymore. I physically wasn’t able to try it again. I just couldn’t.

It was my last day in Barcelona and I’d already battled for a clip out front of MACBA. That frontside half-cab flip off that gap, over the thing? It was at least an hour for that one, jumping down that thing over and over again. You can see that I touched my hand on that one, too, but I kept it.

So my ankle is already killing me. It really started to hurt once I got into my thirties. But this is my last day there, fuck it. Let’s go around back and double flip the 4. It was basically going from one beatdown to another. But I just couldn’t get it. Jumping down the 4 so many times, try after try. Finally, I make one… and I put my hands down again. Dude, I lost my mind. So angry. I couldn’t stand it, but I physically couldn’t jump down that thing one more time. So I had to take what I got and go home.

That one still pisses me off, though.

Skateboarding is huge, Habitat’s taken off and Bam is now world famous… was there ever a point where you’re seeing all this money floating around and you become concerned about people starting to go off the tracks?

There was a little bit of that, for sure. I’m not going to talk shit on anybody but people dealt with it in their own ways. Some people got comfortable, some people got a little wild. It happens. I don’t think anybody got too extreme with any of it. People handled their shit. It’s just that everyone kinda went their own ways after a while. That’s what happens when people grow up. But no, I never really got concerned. Nobody ever seemed to be getting that out of control.

People were buying houses. Everyone was driving Beamers. It was ridiculous but that’s what was going on. At one point, I had over $120,000 worth of cars while my house was only worth $200 grand. It was insane but I was also much more on top of my shit. For me, it was probably the best time of my life but I realize how money can fuck things up for others.

I don’t think money screwed Bam up. I just think there was so much on his plate and he wanted to please everybody. He’s a hard worker and he always wants to one-up himself. He always has to keep himself busy, which is how he was always able to film so much for TV.

Have you skated with Bam lately?

I actually skated with Bam two weeks ago. He came over and skated my ramp. He’s doing awesome. He’s been living out in Spain and skating a lot. He’s actually stacking footage to put out a little video part. It’s cool, man. I’m stoked for him.

Something that just came to light just last week, did you know Bam was bulimic back then?

I’d known that for years. I think that was kind of a shocker for people but his close friends had known about that for a long time. It was just something that we kept to ourselves.

Fantastic Whores 4. How did it happen that you and Bam got bgp’s in a porno movie?

Is that what it’s called? Fantastic Whores 4? Okay…

Yeah, that was beyond one of the most uncomfortable, strangest sessions of my life.

I got a call from Bam one day, like, “Hey they’re filming a porno at my house! They want us to skate while this scene is going on!”

“Are you kidding me!? I’ll be right there!”

I have no idea what to expect but you have to check something like that out for yourself, right? Come on!

So I get there and it’s Gina Lynn, her husband, this other chick and some other dude. They’re actually rehearsing everything so Bam and I just start skating around. I’m trying to play it off, only looking around every now and then, until they finally stop us.

“Look, we’re going to put this girl on a quad and let her drive into the skatepark.”

Of course, she doesn’t know how to drive a four-wheeler, which was funny to watch… some porn chick crashing into everything at Bam’s house on a four-wheeler.

But then, like, all of a sudden, her and this dude are taking their clothes off! The husband’s filming and Gina Lynn is kinda coaching the girl on what to do… and they just start going at it, dude! Right there on the skate ledge!

There was no music playing, so all you hear are these two getting it on. We just had to keep skating. Bam and I couldn’t stop because when we did, it got quiet and weird. But it’s funny because this was back when Bam and I were still skating pretty well… so we actually started having a pretty deep session back there. That is, until we’d stop for a second and hear these two people going at it under Gina Lynn’s supervision.

“Man, I can’t believe I’m here right now!”

I’m so glad Gee shot photos. People always think it’s photoshopped but that really is me doing a front board, giving two thumbs up, while two people are having sex on a ledge.

Did you get photo-incentive for that?

(laughs) No, I wish.

So what happened during the end and subsequent rebirth of Habitat? How come you weren’t involved?

I guess it was kind of my retirement. I knew the day would come where it was time for me to move on. I’m not getting any younger and I have all of this other stuff going on in my life now. And, let’s face it, the skateboarding industry has taken such a hit in recent years, board companies specifically. So many pay-cuts and times where you couldn’t get paid, I get it. I always tried to be as understanding as I could through all of that.

But when all that stuff happened where it closed down and started all over again, I just felt like it was time to go our separate ways. That I should just leave it at that. Habitat was good to me. They offered me board sales and said that I could always have a board with them if I wanted. I was thankful for that but it didn’t feel right.

“Hey, it’s the Kerry Getz board. Remember that dude?”

Nah, I’m cool. I had to face the fact that it was done. I just didn’t care about having a board anymore. I’ve done all that I could do to help get both my career and the brand to where it needed to go. But I was over it, man. I felt like I’d been kinda left behind in the years leading up to that anyway. I really wasn’t sure where I fit in anymore. Now they kinda have their own thing going… let’s leave it at that.

So as we wrapt this up, Kerry, what’s going on now? Outside of fatherhood, I’m seeing some Terror of Planet X stuff along with duties at DVS?

Well, around the time that was all going down with Habitat, a friend of mine here in Pennsylvania started this company called Terror of Planet X and was doing all of these amazing graphics. His worth ethic is where it needed to be and over the course of the next year, I watched it really start to grow.

At first, he wanted to give me a guest board. I was flattered but when I saw that Mike was already on the team, I started thinking… I’m honestly not going to be able to do much at this point but I’d love to be on the team, too, and do whatever I can to help out the brand. Because I think what they’re putting out is rad and I want to be involved. No pressure but doing whatever I can.

So yeah, these days I’m helping out with my boy’s company while still doing what I can over at DVS and the shop. I have to say that I don’t really like where skateboarding is right now. It’s still what I love but so much has changed. It is what it is, I guess. It’s just that skateboarding has been so much of my life for literally decades now, man… but it feels good knowing that I’ve tried to give back as much as I could to it as well. I’d like to think I’ve had some kind of impact there.

I think you have, for sure.

I hope so. 

Big thanks to Marty and Kerry for taking the time. 


chas one said...

Am I right in thinking that the premiere version and the commercial version of Mosaic had different music tracks for Kerry's section?

Anonymous said...

Always the best interviews. Keep 'em coming!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Chops and Kerry!

Anonymous said...

Dope...one of the best styles in skateboarding..Great interview

Travis said...

THE best style in skateboarding. Period.

Unknown said...

Thanks chopz

APPL3 said...

Great read.

Anonymous said...

Chas one you are correct. Great interview. Loved SubZero and Noc is a great shop still

Anonymous said...

Please interview Andy Howell.

Anonymous said...

@ Chas One : I have always remembered that part with that song from Love - Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale. Much better than the 'official' one imo

Anonymous said...


Steviesnod said...

Best interview I read on here personally . I owned the tws mag with his checkout and have always been a fan . Big ups champ

Anonymous said...

Kerry Getz is an awesome skater. And this info about him is amazing!

Anonymous said...

ok so they're gonna look up hockey temper but not bother to see that also Kerry Getz busy?