chrome ball interview #143: joey bast

So I think the first time that I heard of you was through your TWS Check-Out in 1992, where you were already flow for Real and Thunder. Were those your first sponsors? 

First board and truck sponsors, yes. But back in the day, before that even, I’d sent in a sponsor-me tape to Skate Rags and got the Skate Rags velcro hook-up for a minute... so there’s that. (laughs)

But yes, Real and Thunder were my first real sponsors. Sluggo hooked me up with those guys. He saw me skating at the Richmond Skate Ranch one day, up in Vancouver. 

Because you were going back-and-forth between Seattle and Colorado back then, right? 

Exactly. My parents had gotten a divorce, so I had to start splitting my time between Colorado with my Mom and Seattle with my Dad. 

But what’s funny is that I’d never even heard of Real before that day. I’d obviously heard of Jim Thiebaud and Tommy Guerrero before, but with Real still being pretty new and me being so young at the time, I had no idea they’d started a company. 

I just happened to be at the Richmond Skate Ranch skating one day. I’d usually go up there with my friends from Seattle a lot, like Leigh Peterson, but on this trip, it was just my Dad and I.  He was actually filming me at the park that day. 

Obviously, I knew who Sluggo was. I was never in the Red Dragons circle or whatever, but I know of those guys. And on that particular day, it was just he and I skating around the park. Again, knowing who he was, I probably put a little more into it than I would’ve normally and I guess he got pretty psyched on me. He put me on flow that day. 

Weren’t you on Phat Klown back then, too? What was the deal with that? They had some great riders, but was such a weird company. 

(laughs) Phat Klown! Oh my god… yeah, that was a weird deal, man. 

The only reason I even got involved with those guys was because their factory just happened to be in Boulder, close to where I lived. That’s seriously it, because they were a local company. Some local guys rode for it and they hooked me up with Ken Park and the whole deal. And yeah, they did have some pretty good riders, too. Matt Hensley was on the team…

I have no idea why I still associate you with that company. (laughs)

Because hell yeah! Fat Klown, man! (laughs)

I still remember this one ad they put out… Ken Park thought it would be funny to clown that Rodney Mullen ad with the girl on the back of the motorcycle? Ken got Marc Hubert and this guy Scott to do it, two local riders from here in Colorado. He got them to pose like that on a tricycle with a wig on. 

Man, Sheffey got pissed over that! 

Luckily, we were in Colorado, because he would’ve probably whooped up on those boys if he got the chance. But word did get back that he was not very happy about that ad at all. 

You already mentioned hanging out with Leigh Petersen in Seattle, and I know he interviewed you for your 411 Wheels of Fortune. Always a unique character, how was skating with him and possibly Shorty’s Steve Olson back in the day? I know he was from up there, too.  

Steve was from Washington, wasn’t he? No, I didn’t meet Steve until years later when we were both living down in California, and it was only a handful of times at that. 

It was mostly Leigh and I skating together up in Seattle. He was riding for G&S and Gullwing when I first met him, so this was pretty early on. Before he got on 101 and Foundation, which I think was the end of it. 

It’s weird because I’m actually pretty good friends with Andy Stone these days. He lives in Colorado now, too. And I definitely remember when Andy got on 101 because I’m not sure if Leigh quit or got asked to leave, but all of a sudden, Leigh wasn’t on 101 anymore. He ended up getting on Foundation, so it all worked out… but yeah, it’s just funny how I’ve become friends with both those guys at completely separate points in my life. 

…I don’t know if Leigh’s style was as appreciated as much as others back then. 

(laughs) Yeah, I remember him getting flack for skating too slow at a time when everybody skated slow. 

(laughs) Yeah… a little slow. Not a lot of pop. But he sure was technical, man. I always thought he was a little ahead of his time in that respect, even if it was slow. 

But with Leigh, you just never knew what to expect. Like, I remember him coming up to me one day at the Seattle Skatepark and saying, “I think I’m going to quit.”

Completely out of the blue. 

“Quit what?”

“I think I’m gonna quit skating. Because I feel like I could quit skating and come back in 10 years, do the same shit I’m doing now and I’d still be up there with everyone.” 

“Whatever, dude.”

But that’s what he did! He totally ended up quitting after that, even with being on Foundation and all that. 

…I’m not sure about the 10-year part, though. I haven’t spoken to Leigh in a long time. I think he goes by the name “Leigh LeDare” now or something like that. He kinda went down the rabbit hole with his art.

photo: Jeff Taylor

Was Foundation or Rocco ever a possibility for you back in the day?

Not Foundation, but Rocco was an interesting one. 

I had gone down to San Jose for an Amateur contest. And this was early on, back when I used to skate all of the competitions: vert, street and mini ramp. 

I didn’t know you skated vert. 

Yeah, I always skated everything, but when I first got sponsored by Real, it was probably more for my vert skating than anything else. I was a way better vert skater than I was at street skating back then. I actually preferred spine ramps and vert to street early on. But after a while, after ramp skating basically died, what were you going to do? It was basically sink-or-swim. Ramps were becoming harder to find, which meant fewer opportunities to actually skate one. You really had no choice but to start sliding into the street side of things. Plus, street was progressing a hell of a lot faster than ramp skating was at the time, which was pretty exciting.  

But yeah, Rocco came up to me at that contest in San Jose and asked if I wanted to ride for World. This was around 1990, so I was only 13 or 14 at the time. I just didn’t know what to do... I didn’t know anything back then. 

My whole thing was that I didn’t want to piss off Jim and Tommy by even being seen talking to Rocco. I was already so loyal to Real that I just let the World Industries thing go. 

Damn, World was the biggest thing going at the time. That would’ve been huge for you. 

I actually don’t know if I would’ve been a good fit for that team or not. I had a lot of stuff going on in with my home life back then and just by not living in California, things were already difficult for me in trying to be sponsored.  

I was actually going to ask what all was going on with you at this time? Because after that Check-Out in ’92, your coverage was pretty spotty for a few years. I remember only a couple of tricks in the Real Video and that unnamed Powell footage at the end of the Spitfire video.

Yeah, that was a weird time for me. 

My Mom was just a basket case at the time… She’s still kind of a basket case, to be honest, but at least she’s a little more sober now. She was heavy into pills back then, always with a new guy around. So I was kinda struggling at that time in Colorado. After a while, I just didn’t want to stay there anymore, so I started looking around for places to go. 

Somehow, I ended up staying at the Powell House in Santa Barbara for a week or two. I had done a skate camp in Oregon with Jeff Taylor once and was able to hook back up with him around this time at a tradeshow, which is what actually led my staying in San Barbara and filming that mysterious Powell SkateZone footage in the Spitfire Video. 

That was all one day, obviously. I’m pretty sure no one even knew that was me. 

The problem was that if I wasn’t in California, there wasn’t going to be any coverage of me. It was still tough for those of us living in other states back then. And I was still only flow, too. I had my work cut out for me! (laughs)

photo: Kosick

So how’d you move up from years of flow to getting fully on Real?

Things just sorta naturally progressed that way. I would send Jim and Tommy footage from Colorado… but you know how it is with hometown footage. It’s not like I had Ty Evans filming me, it’s just my buddy behind the lens. Shit’s gonna be a little shaky. So while I’m sending in all this stuff and the skating might be solid, the footage itself looks horrible! There’s no way they can really use any of it. 

At one point, I remember Tommy telling me flat-out that it probably wasn’t going to happen for me if I didn’t move out to California. So, that’s what I ended up doing. Fuck it, let’s do this. 

It was pretty much after I came home from that Santa Barbara trip, I basically told my Mom that I just couldn’t be in Colorado anymore. I went up to Seattle and tried finishing high school up there, but my Dad was a raging alcoholic, so that didn’t go very well, either. 

I came back to Colorado and tried to finish my last little bit of school down here again, but it just wasn’t working. I remember going to see my counselor about everything, trying to talk about things. 

“School’s not doing it, man. I’m going to move to California and try to become a pro skateboarder.”

And he goes, “Well, I wish you the best.” 

He obviously wasn’t too stoked on the idea but what was he going to do? So I dropped out and got my G.E.D. a few days later. Packed it up and went off to San Francisco. 

photo: Morford

You weren’t moving out there on some sleep-at-Embarcadero shit, right? 

(laughs) No, I never had the pleasure of sleeping out on the wave with Kelch.

There happened to be a couple of dudes from Colorado I knew who had a house I could stay at. Jesse McMillan, who used to ride from American Dream and was also doing a ton of graphics at the time. He had a place with Markus Brown, another guy who was coming up back then. Technically, they were both from Littleton, Colorado… but it’s all Denver.

I crashed with those guys for a while. And then I had a couple of other friends from Colorado move out to San Francisco after that, so we decided to all get a place together. The three of us got a two-bedroom and I slept on the floor. After a while, one of the original guys moved out and Chris Franzen, who used to ride for World Industries, moved in. And that’s how it was for the better part of four or five years. 

But yeah, I feel like getting bumped up on Real was just a product of my being in San Francisco. Being more in the mix with everybody and actually skating with the guys. Because I think the first time that I ever went to San Francisco and met everyone, I was only 13… which is probably how they still saw me for a while. Just some little kid at Jeff Klindt’s house, waiting for somebody to pick him up. 

The kid from Colorado who got lost on Market Street trying to find Embarcadero. (laughs)

But San Francisco is still a pretty big move, and it’s always been intimidating. That couldn’t have been easy for you, although I’m sure being on Real helped out some. 

Yeah, there would’ve been no reason for me to have ever gone there if I wasn’t on Real. I wasn’t made for that city. I learned how to live there, but that city is no joke, man. 

My first week in San Francisco, I remember going down to Embarcadero… because I knew how to get there now. (laughs)

But I almost got jacked down there! I’d broken my board and was breaking my trucks out because I didn’t want to be carrying a broken board around. That kid Smurf comes up and tries to jack me for my trucks!

For your trucks?

Right?!? But yeah, for my trucks! Luckily, somebody happened to recognize me as being on Real and stepped in. 

“Nah, leave him alone.”

It all happened so fast, I had no idea what was even going on! Like, what!?! And once I finally realized what had almost happened, it kinda freaked me out a little! Like, hey… this is no fun!

How was it getting acquainted with your new teammates back in the day?  

Pretty good, actually. They were all super cool. 

Back then, Real was interesting because it was such an eclectic mix. Everyone was really good but we were all so different. There wasn’t just the one type of guy on the team. You had Kelch and Coco on there, but then you had guys like Salman, Matt Field and Lavar, too. It was all over the place. 

The two fuckers that gave me the most problems were Ed Devera and Shawn Mandoli. Those two rode me every single day, totally making fun of me. Any chance they got, they were gonna take it. They were relentless, man. 

But in the end, they’re probably two of my favorite people from that time.  

How was being on the same team as Julien Stranger back then? 

The first tour that I ever went on was with Julien. And at that age, being so young, I didn’t really know what to think. I’d heard that dude’s kind of wild and this and that… but he was pretty reserved, man. He was always really kicked back. He just liked doing his own thing. Julien and I always got along really well. 

Coco was the one that I tended to butt heads with a lot… because he’s an asshole. (laughs)

photo: Hunt

Yeah, there’s that photo of you giving him the finger on tour. 

Because he would fucking wake me up every morning by screaming death metal in my face! 

But that was him, you know? I saw him do shit like that to everybody. He would push people until they finally told him to fuck off and that was it. 

“Alright, cool. Now we can be friends.”

And then he’d move on to the next guy. 

It never came to blows between you two? Because that photo looks pretty tense.

Oh, no… Coco would’ve ripped me to pieces, man. He’s crazy! 

That was just another morning of Coco screaming at me to wake up, which was pretty much every morning. Because Coco was the guy who would sit there and get smashed but still try to out-do everybody. He’d always be like, “I’m the last the one to bed and the first one up!”

Whoopty-fucking-do, man! 

How was Micke as Team Manager? 

(laughs) Micke was awesome, man. He was wild! 

The thing with Micke is that he’s really fucking cool, you just don’t want to get on his bad side or he’ll make your life a living hell. But he’s actually more of a take-you-under-his-wing type of guy. 

He would definitely push us to make stuff, especially if we were filming. I remember us all being out there, trying stuff and he’d bet you 20 bucks that he could do the same trick you were trying before you could. And he’d really give it a go, man! He was serious about it. It would become a thing where you couldn’t let Micke land your shit before you did. 

The Real squad had its share of hippie-types at this time as well, with Quim and Matt Field. How was that for you? With all their mish-mash philosophies and Quim probably rapping at you the whole time, too. 

Yeah, the rapping was crazy! But I kinda attributed that to his being from the East Coast. I always liked all the East Coast guys because everything was so cut-and-dry with them. It was what it was, and I always appreciated that. Like, Bobby Puleo was not only one of my favorite skaters, we got along really well, too. That was always cool. 

But yeah, man… Quim’s rapping. I just took that as he’s from New York, I guess he’s nuts. 

And holy shit, dude. Matt Field. Yoga every day. Always with the energies. I remember one night, he got a few of us into one of his weird circles back in the room. He was doing these breathing exercises and asked us to join in. 

“Alright. I’ll do it.”

I swear to God, I got so buzzed or high or something… just from breathing! I got all dizzy and shit. I thought I was gonna pass out!

Field’s like, “No, that’s your body in euphoria!”

“No, man. I think this is called ‘hyperventilating’.”

(laughs) Who else was in this circle? I can’t imagine Micke sitting down for that.

Micke was off somewhere… That guy was never not trying to scare up some pussy. He wasn’t around for the breathing circle, though I doubt he would’ve joined in anyway.

That particular night — because Field was always doing this type of stuff — but this time, it was Matt, Greg Hunt, and Puleo, I think. Coco and Julien were there as well, but they weren’t partaking in that shit. 

It gets confusing because the tours kinda mash together… Like, I think Drake Jones might’ve been there, too, because I remember he and I always trying stupid shit on tour together. 

“Hey, let’s try this!”


We tried to quit smoking in the middle of a tour once, which is a terrible idea. But I was down to give it a try. 

“Yeah, man. I’ll do it!”

So, of course, I’m in the bar later on that night, drinking and smoking. Trying to hide from Drake. 

“Don’t let Drake see me.”

Yeah, that didn’t really work out too well. 

Talk to me about Ride On. Such an underrated video that never really gets its due, and you had a good amount of stuff in there. Was that just tour footage?

Ride On? Oh yeah! It’s like a Deluxe video! That’s right!

I guess you even forgot about it.  

(laughs) Because I didn’t film for that one. That was basically just whatever footage Deluxe had of me at the time. 

…Honestly, that was kind of my downfall with everything in my career. I was never pro-active enough with things. 

“Hey, we need this. We need you to film.”

“Yeah, okay. Alright.”

But I would never fucking do it. 

Well, you did get that Slap cover around this time. How’d that go down? 

Yeah, Morford shot that. And it’s crazy how that went, because just prior to shooting that, I was totally having a pity party for myself to either Jim or Tommy about it. Like, “Gabe never wants to shoot with me.”

So a couple days later, Gabe hits me up.

“Hey, I want to go shoot. I’ve got this spot that looks super cool.”


It ended up being Huf and I, launching off this little bump on top of a random one-story parking garage. But you know how San Francisco is, you’d land on a 45° ramp that went right out into the street, super fast. Granted, we were only doing ollies off that thing, but even that was fucking scary. 

I don’t know if Gabe was shooting for Slap that day or for Jim and Tommy. I honestly don’t know how that came about, because a cover must’ve been the farthest thing from our minds when we were shooting that day. I have no idea if that was always the plan or if Gabe just really liked the photo. But I definitely remember being shocked the first time I saw the magazine, like, “Holy shit!”

Also around this time, I remember that switch smith grind ad at San Francisco State being a pretty big deal. 

Yeah, that was Morford, too. 

I know that was shot on film, too, so you must’ve got that pretty quick, right? 

I did! I’d just come back from tour and switch smith grinds was a trick that I learned on that trip. Me and Puleo, actually, had been doing switch smith grinds on every local box we could find.  

But yeah, I was talking to somebody at Deluxe after I’d gotten back, and I just happened to have this idea. 

“Yeah, I want to switch smith grind a handrail.”

Gabe must’ve overheard me talking and came up to me later about it. 

“You’re doing switch smith grinds down rails?”

“Yeah! At SF State.”

Totally lying. 

“Cool, let’s go shoot it!”

We start making plans to go shoot this thing, and the whole time I’m thinking to myself, “Fuck! I’ve never done this before!”

Luckily, it didn’t take too long. Because if you’re shooting with Gabe, you did not want to waste his film. Not that he’d start yelling at you or anything, but he would clearly not be happy with you. He’s a pretty no nonsense type of guy.

What about Drake’s Butterfly ad? Wasn’t that originally supposed to be yours but you didn’t like the concept? 


That’s what someone told me.

No way! There was no point ever where I could’ve had the butterfly ad. That was never posed to me once.

…Alright, what was posed to me, something that Jim and Tommy thought would be funny after that had come out, was another version of that ad where it’s all the same thing but I’m holding a piece of white bread.

“Man, fuck you guys!” (laughs)

They were always fucking with me like that. And that’s why I’m carrying the white bread in the beginning of my Silver part. Because I wouldn’t hold out a piece of white bread for an ad, it stems from that. 

They ended up going with Mandoli…

Sure, fucking glasses! The guy can’t see! He wears those things! But I’m not holding a piece of white bread, man! No way! 

What about that nollie frontside noseslide shot of you at Black Rock?

Yeah, that was with Blabac. 

I was riding a white Real board… well, kinda. That’s what we call a “homemade board”, because it was probably a World Industries board that I’d painted white and slapped a Real sticker on. That happened quite a bit, actually. My roommate was on forever World flow and I’d sometimes have to sell my Real boxes to make rent. Skateboarding was not exactly high society back then. 

photo: Blabac

Another standout, although I’m not entirely sure what it is. Bay Blocks, looks like a backside 180 fakie 5-0 the hard way? 

Nollie backside 180 to switch frontside crook… or whatever it’s called. 

Pete Thompson shot that for Transworld, I think. That all just happened one day while we were out.

That’s a good trick!

Yeah, there’s no footage of that one either. I didn’t put as much thought into these things as I probably should’ve back then.

Yeah, how did you feel about filming and photos over the course of your career? Everything was always top notch, you just weren’t very consistent with the frequency. 

What’s funny is that I can’t even give you a reason why I didn’t film more. Because I actually liked filming… I filmed a lot in my younger days. Back when I was 12 and 13, I was always in front of the camera. So it’s weird that once I was in the position where I definitely should’ve been filming, I wasn’t anymore. 

Maybe there was a laziness factor to it? Probably a little intimidated by things, too. I mean, going to a spot in San Francisco and trying to figure out something that had never been done before is not easy. 

I was pretty shy, too. I was never going to call up Tobin or Dawes and ask them to go shoot photos. Because even if I got that far and they agreed to do it, there’s always going to be that inevitable next question: “What do you want to shoot?”

“I don’t know.”

It’s the same thing that I do with dinner every night. 

“Do you want to get some dinner?”


“Okay, what do you want?”

“I don’t know… something.”

photo: Thompson

I read that you filmed your Nonfiction part in two weeks. Is that true?

Yeah, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. I should’ve been filming for much longer than that, I just wasn’t. That’s why I’m wearing the same fucking shirt in half my part, that stupid green-and-white striped Polo shirt. Because that was the last day I had to film, I basically had to go out and do all that stuff real quick because I didn’t have much else to use in my part. 

“This is it, Joey. What we have is what we’re going to use… so go film.”

“Oh, okay.”

So, I went out and filmed all that stuff, hoping that it would be enough. Luckily, my other roommate at the time was a filmer, so we were able to get some stuff. 

…And how bad is that? I lived with a fucking filmer and I never filmed. (laughs)

Yeah, I was kinda thinking that. Did you have any hand in the editing at all? 

Not really, no. The editing was all done by Tommy and Jim. And my song suggestions never went over very well, so I didn’t really have a choice with that, either. 

I had maybe a minute of footage leftover that they didn’t use for my part. And in the end, I was able to get that back and give it to Planet Earth for my Silver part. You can tell which ones are the Real clips because of the shirt I’m wearing. 

Who’s that kid in the hat who absolutely loses his shit over your pop-shove at the end?

That’s my friend Gabe from up in Seattle. He was just one of those kids who was always around. He happened to be there the day we filmed that… and yeah, that’s Gabe. That’s just kinda how he was. (laughs) 

That kid was stoked, man! 

Yeah, he would do that kinda stuff all the time. Honestly, I’ve never even given that clip a second thought before, because that was just part of hanging out with him. I mean, if you can’t tell, we were super into hip hop back then… Gabe was my hypeman. (laughs)

What about that weird portrait of you in there? Why was that in your part? 

Oh, that little abstract drawing thing? That was from my friend Travis.

Yeah, my friends in Seattle were weird, man. He drew that for me and wrote a little poem on the back of it… He just gave it to me one day. And you know, you want to be nice, but the whole time I’m really thinking, “Fuck, what am I going to do with this thing?”

He was always coming over so I ended up hanging it in my room. It was nice for him to make this thing for me and I didn’t want to just throw it away, you know? So because of that, I had a drawing of myself hanging in my room for a little bit.

It’s like that kid Gabe. I gave him a board to skate one time, he fucking painted my face on it and gave it back to me. Great. I gave this to you to ride, buddy!

I always liked that frontside flip over the Wallenberg fountain. Definitely a banger at the time, I think you even did it in a little line.

Just a little two-trick line with a nollie heelflip. 

Yeah, all of a sudden, I could just do frontside flips really well. It was weird. 

We were in New York on a tour, skating around Astor Place and guys started putting out garbage cans to skate. Not only were they getting up over those things, these guys were going 100mph, too. 

It was impressive, so I got hyped on that and learned how to jump a little a bit. It was cool. I was psyched on that clip.

Your Nonfiction part marks the first appearance of your black-and-white Shelltoes. How many pairs of those did you have back in the day? And did you realize at the time that you were becoming so associated with that colorway?  

Oh, I had no idea people thought of me with that colorway, man. I’m still shocked by that. Because I’ll be honest with you, I only started wearing Shelltoes because Mike Carroll used to wear Shelltoes. He always came with the newest colors and the dopest shit, looking so cool. I was just trying to look like him… and I found black-and-white ones. That’s the best I could do. 

But I had so many pairs of those. I loved skating in Shelltoes, man. They were the best skate shoe, in my opinion. The edges were so square, you could flip your board really easy in them. 

Green and Purple Polo Day

I know it wasn’t long after Nonfiction that you got kicked off Real, correct? And you said that you were able to get your footage back from them? How’d that happen? 

It was just so weird, man. Tommy called me up and was like, “Yeah, we’re going to have to let you go.”

And I remember just sitting there afterwards… like what the fuck? 

Well, I guess I’ll go down there and try talking to whoever, basically just to see what the deal was. But when I got there, the place was seriously empty. Nobody was there. So I just helped myself to my footage. I went into the video room, found my tape and took it back. 

I heard they had to make room for Gonz?

As far as I know, that was the case. They wanted Gonz on the team… and who wouldn’t? But they had to figure out a way to fit him in.

I wish I could say it was a surprise but those guys had told me long time ago that I needed to find my own identity.

“You need to work on your image a little bit. We already have one Drake Jones.”

…Even though I was already on the team way before he was. 

But Drake did give me a heads-up beforehand. Because they had a meeting about it with a bunch of riders and I guess Drake was the only one who was against them letting me go. So, it was clear what was going to happen.  

Drake actually went so far as to reach out to a few people on my behalf, one of which was Dyrdek about my possibly getting on Alien. And we actually talked about it for a little while, but I just didn’t know where it was going. I was pretty stressed about suddenly not having a board sponsor. Obviously, getting on Alien would’ve been amazing, I just wasn’t sure if it was really going to happen.

An hour after I talked to Dyrdek about Alien, Jason King calls me. 

“Alright, pack your shit. You’re on a flight to San Diego. I’ve already talked to Chris and you’re on Earth. You’re our new pro.”

“Yeah, okay! Sounds great!”

That’s better than not being sponsored, you know? 

So, I hop on a plane down to San Diego. King and I are just kinda kicking around. We go by Pacific Drive and fucking Dyrdek comes walking out of the shop. Jason had no idea that I was talking with Rob about Alien. But as he’s walking out, King hits him with, “Rob, this is our new pro, Joey Bast!”

Dyrdek was pissed! He looks at Jason and goes, “You fucking did it again, King!”

Because King stole Richard Angelides from Alien as well, like, right before this. 

Rob looks at me and says, “Fuck, man. I was just looking at your part!”

I played it off… but in my head, I’m thinking to myself, “Fuck, man! Shoot me now!”

photo: Swift

Did you know the Alien guys very well?

I didn’t know Dyrdek at all. It was Drake who reached out to him because they knew each other through DC and Droors. 

I knew King and those guys from various shit over the years, but I don’t know how he found out about me and Real. I don’t know if Drake reached out to him as well but skateboarding is a pretty small community, especially back then. 

And you moved down to San Diego after getting on Planet Earth? 

Yeah, I’d been living with Drake at the time… and we were really good friends, but he’s just so very clean. Every Sunday was cleaning day and he wanted me to be home with him, cleaning the apartment. 

I’m not doing that, man. I’m not cleaning every Sunday. And it’s not like I’m some filthy pig, either. But Drake was wanting to bust out the brushes every week! Cleaning the toilets! Really wanting to make the place sparkle, you know? I just couldn’t do it! It started to feel like I was living in an episode of Seinfeld. 

My girlfriend dumped me around this time, too. I’m pretty sure she was fucking Jaya… I was having a hell of a time, man! 

So after Real, there really wasn’t any reason for me to be in San Francisco anymore. I’m on Planet Earth now and they’re down in San Diego? I’m outta here!

"I never rolled away from that."

You must’ve gone right into filming for Silver 

Yeah, they’d already been filming for a while when I got on, so there was a bit of catching up to do. I want to say that I filmed my Silver part in a month or so, maybe a little more than that. 

Honestly, I feel like everything that I was looking for in San Francisco was actually down in San Diego. Ty was already on top of everything with the new video, doing his Ty thing. And honestly, that was good for me. I really needed that at the time. I feel like I took that part much more seriously, largely because of Ty, which I think shows. He’s such a good motivator, always throwing out ideas… I remember him always coming by to scoop me up.

“Dude, come on! Let’s go.”

It was always on after that. Like the nollie backside nosegrind to shove-it out? I was just fucking around with that and happened to land on one, first try. I wasn’t even that serious about it, I just thought it might be cool so I threw one out there. Just kinda feeling it out. 

Ty immediately gives me this look… 

“We’re getting that. Don’t you fucking quit this time.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Do that again.”

And, of course, because I was trying it for real now with the camera, it took forever. But we got it. 

Ty was that guy. I would’ve never got that trick otherwise. Because I would always try shit like that, only to end up quitting after a couple of tries. I would never stick with things like that if they didn’t come easy. Ty would always force the issue, which was awesome. 

Who’s idea was it with the bread?

Ty and I both came up with that on a filming trip to Seattle, just bouncing ideas off each other. I thought it was funny as hell. 

I remember Ty was like, “Fuck it. We gotta do something with white bread, man.”

The overall idea for the running intros was Jason King’s influence. He wanted to make it like that movie Slacker, where each scene rolls into the next and it all connects somehow. 

Right, but I had no idea the bread was a dig at Real.  

I don’t even know if they knew, to be honest. But I thought it was funny, that’s all that matters.

Gotta ask, why only skate the Hubba Stairs and not Hubba itself? 

I used to skate Hubba early on, going back to 92-ish.

Hubba is actually where I first learned to never waste Gabe Morford’s film. Because I was trying backside noseslide to backside 270 out, I must’ve landed on it 20 times but could never roll away. After a while, I just gave up and poor Gabe wasted all that film. Even I could tell he was bummed and I was only 13 at the time.

But as the years went on and people like Koston started skating Hubba, I had nothing for that ledge. There was barely anything left to do on it! I’ll just skate the stairs instead. 

What about the two nollie heels and the two varial heels? Did you do that on purpose for the edit, or did you just happen to film a bunch of those?  

(laughs) No, I was just in such a frenzy to film that I didn’t even realize I was doubling up. Those were just two tricks I was into at the time. 

That was all Ty in the editing. 

Which part do you like better: Silver or NonFiction? 

Silver. I like the overall flow of that video better, and for my part specifically, it just feels more like me. I like my selection of tricks better and obviously having Tribe is cool. I always felt like that song fit my skating better than whatever was in in my Real part. 

photo: Atiba

Planet Earth really hyped you up during the short time you rode for them with several ads and a “Good Stuff” piece with Atiba. I feel like this was the most active time in your career. 

Oh, totally. I had a lot of fire then, for sure. But in a way, it kinda worked against me. Because after I had done all of that stuff and come out with my Silver part, I felt like I‘d finally made it. I’m pro now, I’m done… which is the dumbest thing ever. 

It never even dawned on me that once you turn pro, it’s your fucking job now. That this is when you’re supposed to really start working, not kicking back. For some reason, I just started expecting everything be handed to me.  

I had zero head for business. Totally naïve and clueless about how things really work. Because I would look at the guys who were in all the magazines, but only doing basic tricks, like a 50-50 or an ollie. I remember seeing these guys and thinking to myself, “What the fuck is that!?!”

Little did I know, the tricks don’t really matter. The more important thing was that these guys were in every fucking magazine. That’s how you’re supposed to do your job. But I didn’t get that. 

Is that why you got kicked off Planet Earth? 

This thing is, I actually didn’t get kicked off Planet Earth. I quit. 

I went into Chris Miller’s office and basically demanded he give me more money, which is something that I deeply regret doing now. 

“Hey, I need to make more money. What can I do?”

And the thing is, he heard me out. He gave me all of these completely legitimate ways to make more money. Photo incentives, different ways to sell more boards… all of these great ideas. But I didn’t like what I was hearing. I just wanted him to give me a raise and be done with it. Things just don’t work like that. 

This is how FIT came into the fray… which was such a bad fucking idea. Jason King, my roommate Jason Shelton and I started talking to those guys at some tradeshow. And on the outside, it seemed pretty legit. Henry Sanchez and Kelch rode for them and seemed like it was all going pretty well. Maybe we should check this out a little more?

So the three of us go up to San Francisco and have a meeting with the FIT money guy… I can’t remember his name.

photo: Thompson


No, Roger was more of the skate guy. This was the money guy, an Asian dude. 

I remember meeting this guy at his warehouse… which, I think they were bootlegging Tommy Hilfiger gear. There were all these fake labels lying around everywhere and these weird looking jeans. It was definitely a bootlegging operation of some sort.

The deal was that we were never supposed to ride for FIT. King, Shelton and I were actually supposed to be starting a new company. The FIT guys were looking to become like a Deluxe or World Industries with a few different companies all under one umbrella. That’s what we were supposedly going to do, which is why we all left Planet Earth. 

Well, they never did shit for Shelton. I think they sent King one box. And before you know it, I’m riding for FIT. They gave me this wild fucking board with some weird graphic on it… like, what the fuck is going on here? 

All of this was bad, but the worst thing was knowing that I had to tell Chris Miller I quit Planet Earth in order for this to have happened. 

What was the idea for this company? Did it have a name or anything? 

Nope. Nothing. It was just “going to happen”. (laughs)

It obviously wasn’t, but that’s how stupid I was back then. A lot of alcohol-fueled decisions being made. 

So what was FIT like to ride for? Because while the team was amazing, I feel like just about everyone on there was basically on their way out of the industry. 

Absolutely. And when you’re sitting there, rubbing elbows with those guys, you don’t quite realize that you’re probably on the way out, too. Don’t get me wrong: I had respect for every single one of the guys on the team. But that whole FIT experience was just an absolute fucking nightmare. 

I remember FIT would send me a quarter of my check, followed by half of a check weeks later. We’d be working up to receiving the sum I was supposed to get in one check for weeks at a time. Every now and then, I would get a check that was the right amount, but it would always bounce. It was a fucking mess. 

I had so many bounced checks from those guys. This was when the bank used to send bounced checks back to you, so I remember always taking the bounced checks back in to have them run through again… just in hopes that I might get lucky and one might clear. It was insane but what are you going to do, you know? It wasn’t my fault! 

One time, I must’ve timed it just right because all of my bounced checks cleared! I couldn’t believe it.

“Give me that money and close my account!”

(laughs) You mentioned not liking your FIT graphic earlier, what was it? 

It was a dude standing by a river or something… pondering his bad decisions. 

photo: Bobshirt

Amazing. And your Planet Earth board was a bomb, right? 

Yeah… that was sweet, too, right? 

“What is this, Chris?”

“This is your board!”

“It’s a fucking walking bomb! It’s time bomb!”

“Yeah, kids dig this cartoony shit.”

“But aren’t people going to think that I’m some kind of asshole? Like a volcano or something? He’s gonna blow!”

(laughs) Are you still skating a lot by the time you’re on FIT or are other factors starting to come into play? 

Well, when I first got on Earth, I would spend all day skating at the warehouse. They had this two-foot high box in the back that I would skate literally all day, and that was probably the best I’d felt skating in years. Everything felt like it was on-command, it was great. 

However, I lived with Caine Gayle, Richard Angelides, Jason Shelton and King… and it was 24-hour drinking and partying craziness. I just sunk into it. 

So, the good skating only lasted for around a month or so and then it all went down the tubes, which continued on through the Fit days. Because when you’re partying with other pros, you still feel like you’re doing okay because they’re all doing the same thing. 

Your Credo part clocks in at 22 seconds. Did you actually film for that part or was that all leftover footage? 

(laughs) That was one day of filming at this shitty school in Colorado, Thomas Jefferson High School. That part was just whatever for me, I didn’t care. 

…And it was definitely not good. 

There are some good tricks in there, it’s just goes by pretty quick. 

(laughs) I guess that part just shows how I really felt about riding for FIT. Because by that point, I’d probably received five-too-many bounced checks to care. I wasn’t going to bust my ass for their company. 

So what ultimately did end up happening between you and FIT? 

Well, the day after I was finally able to get those checks to clear and closed my account, the owner of FIT…

…It kills me that I can’t remember this guy’s name. Because he had a ringback. Remember those from when cell phones were just coming out? Where you’d call somebody and it would be play music back to you instead of just hearing the ring? This guy had one of those and it was fucking “We Built This City.”


Yeah, man. Fucking Starship. This means that every time one of his checks bounced, which was every time, I’d have to listen to “We Built This City” in my ear while he didn’t answer my call. It drove me insane.

But on the day those checks cleared, he actually called me for once. 

“What’s going on? You cashing those checks kinda puts me in a spot.”

“Fuck, man. Wrong number.” (laughs)

So, later that day, I end up getting a call from Kelch. 

“Hey, bro… Yeah, you’re off the team, bro.”

“Alright, bro. See ya later.” (laughs)

And that’s a low point for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Kelch… but when you’re getting kicked off the team by that guy, after all his shit over the years, where do you go from there? 

photo: Morford

But you were still marketable at this point, did you look around for another sponsor at all? 

Unfortunately, I didn’t. 

I honestly don’t know what happened. I just decided one day that I was going to move back to Colorado and that was it. As soon as I packed up my car and started driving back home, it was all over. 

I didn’t think that I was burned out on skating at the time, but looking back on it, I definitely was. Because I didn’t even try to keep things going. Not a bit. I just moved back to Colorado and fucking hung out. Working odd jobs, like I was a valet for a while, but not really doing anything. 

Were you still skating at all? 


It’s weird, because all of the people who I thought would recharge my skating if I moved back to Colorado, none of them skated anymore. They all played golf, which was shocking to me at the time. 

“What the fuck is wrong with you guys? You’re seriously playing golf?”

And now you’re a golf pro?

Yep, for the last 15 years. (laughs) 

photo: Thompson

How did that work out? Did you just try it out one day because all your friends were playing? 

I feel like I’ve always been the kid who enjoys challenges like that. Like, if you hand me a puzzle, I won’t be able to put it down until I figure it out. The kid with the Rubik’s Cube, I have to get it or I go absolutely bezerk. And that’s what golf is. You can’t fucking solve it. It’s different every time.

So one day, I go out to play nine holes with my friends, just to try it out, and I couldn’t get the ball airborne. Everybody’s laughing and having a good time, but not me. I’m losing my mind because I couldn’t figure it out!

After that, I was hooked. I spent every waking hour possible out on the golf course, trying to crack it.  

Did you know that Drake was getting into golf around this time as well?

Not at all. Because we never had any interest in it before.

How it worked out, I was back in Colorado, working as a waiter. The owner of the restaurant where I was working wanted to put together a team for this charity golf tournament coming up. So, we all get a team together and he signs us up.  

These things are typically a five-hour drunkfest, and this one was no different. We’re all out there, doing our thing. We get to the 10th hole and when I go to tee off, I actually try to hit one type of shot and end up hitting a different kind of shot... I make a hole-in-one. Somehow. And I get $25,000 for it. 

Obviously, I’m stoked. I quit my job immediately. And it was around this time that Drake and I had reconnected. So I’m telling him about this crazy shit that had just happened to me, and he goes, “You play golf?”

“Yeah, I play golf.”

“I play golf, too!”

“Get the fuck outta here!”

And we ended up moving in together again down in Phoenix for a while. After all, I had just quit my job. Let’s do this!

And he’s a caddie now, right? 

Yeah, Drake has caddied for Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen… if you turn on golf at all this weekend, they’re playing the Tour Championship in Eastlake. That’s where Drake caddied in Atlanta. 

Now, he caddies at Augusta where they play the Masters.

That’s gnarly! But who’s the better golfer?

Well, there was a point where Drake was really good. Back in the day, he would usually get the better of me, but then he fucked his arm up skating the warehouse at Black Box. Ever since then, it’s been a mess.

So… Drake in 2020, who probably hasn’t played in a while, he’s got no chance. 

There are a lot of skaters who golf now, actually. Do you ever get recognized out on the course from your skating days? 

That used to happen when I worked at restaurants, people would come through on tour. But that’s never happened with golf.

Inevitably, the cat always gets let out of the bag wherever I work. Somebody googles me and I get hit with the “You were a pro skater!?!”

The course that I work at currently, it’s mostly old people who play there. And, of course, they ended up finding out. So now, I‘ve got all these old people calling me, “Skater Joey!”

(exhales) …yeah, that’s me… Skater Joey.

It’s pretty funny. 

What did they think when you had that “Respect The Roots” Adidas thing going?

Dude, everybody thinks I’m rich from that. It’s crazy!

“You got your own shoe. You’re like a superstar!”

“…Really? You think so?” (laughs)

That money didn’t even pay off my credit card, man. 

How did all that happen? 

I haven’t a clue. 

This guy Jascha called me up one day, some guy from Germany or something. And he’s like, “Hey, I’d like to talk to you about this new project we got going on.”

And I’m like, “Who is this?”

“This is Jascha.”

I have no idea what is going on. I’m not even sure if this is real or not. Is this one of those scam calls where my long-lost relative died and left me a bunch of money?

(laughs) A prince from Nigeria needs to transfer you money.

Exactly. So I start googling and apparently, he’s with Adidas and this is legit. Let’s see where this goes. 

So, honestly, I really don’t know how that happened. I’m honored, but I can’t imagine I was #1 on their list, either. I’m sure they were trying to get guys like Mike Carroll and whoever else before I somehow got put into the fray. 

I think Richard Angelides hooked it up… Although I did actually ride for Adidas for a very short period of time back then. They kept sending me some new skate version of the Shelltoe they were doing, which sucked. I remember always trying to get them to send me original Shelltoes instead and they’d refuse, so that sponsorship obviously didn’t last for very long. (laughs) 

I was on Duffs for a little bit after that, and those shoes were like wearing wet towels around your feet. I couldn’t wear those, either. So I was always trading my boxes for Shelltoes. Two boxes of Duffs for one Shelltoe was the going rate. 

photo: Lookback Library

How do you look back on your skateboarding career? You seem pretty healthy with everything, which is great to hear, but was this always the case? 

There was some bitterness, for sure. I had some hard times for a while. Whether or not people like to admit it to themselves, it was drinking and drugs that really brought me down. And things could’ve really gone south for me if I kept on in that way. Because by the time I got to San Diego, I was already bitter as hell about what happened with Real… and that was still relatively early on in my career. So you can imagine how bad things got after FIT and I found myself back in Colorado again. 

I was always the happy go-lucky guy, but I felt like it had all come crashing down on me. After skating was done, I started engrossing myself in negativity and drama, because I was just a big bunch of bitterness. Turn on the Cure and just fucking cry in my beer. Those were some dark times, man. 

I feel like I was able to move past all that because I was lucky enough to find something else that I truly love doing, which is golf. That, and obviously my family keeps me grounded, too. I’ve been able to surround myself with people who are a little more uplifting, which I believe is what really brought me out of all that and keeps me going. 

Congrats, man. I’m happy for you. As we wrap this up, and I know you’ve touched on this a few times already, but what would you say is the proudest moment of your skateboarding career and your biggest regret?

I know you like to ask this one. 

My proudest moment actually has nothing to do with being sponsored or anything like that. I would say that it’s the first time I ever landed a 540, that’s my proudest moment. Because I grew up wanting to do one of those more than anything. In my mind, that was the ultimate goal. And I would practice them in my bed, every time I went swimming… that trick used to keep me up at night! So the first time that I was finally able to do one on vert, I was just so stoked. 

I didn’t know you had those!

Yeah, this was back when I was 12 or 13. I have a box of vhs tapes and 8mm in my garage that I’ve never digitized, I have a few 540s in there… on home video. That stuff’s not even footage, it’s on home video. (laughs)

But yeah, it’s funny, because once you get over the fear and actually land one, you can just do them. That was cool, man. I was happy with that. 

As for my biggest regret in skateboarding, it’s that I didn’t try. Yeah, I didn’t get to ride for Alien and I did technically pass on World Industries and all that… but more than anything, I wish I would’ve tried harder. I can blame it on being naïve or whatever, but if I’m really being honest with myself, I should’ve put more effort into it. Not to say that I didn’t try when I was skating, I mean that I should’ve tried to be better at my job. Because I didn’t see it as a job, which is probably why things unfolded the way they did. 

special thanks to Joey, Lookback Library, Bobshirt, Vert Is Dead and everybody else I hit up trying to find that damn Credo ad. 


Anonymous said...

Awesome interview thank you! Use to skate with Joey back in Denver at the Jamaica Jim’s skate park. The guy could destroy transition back in the day. Keep up the good work chops!

Mandoli said...

What up Joey! Miss you man Good read, great memories. Keep shredding. Love you homeboy!


Sam S said...

Amazing interview as always!!

Anonymous said...

Nothing like hearing the honesty of a man that has grown and matured. Thanks Chops and Joey!

Matt Milligan said...

Always a big Joey fan!!! Great read , thanks guys

Anonymous said...

Best early/mid 90s skateboarder from Colorado!

Justin said...

This was a great read.

That's cool you finally found the Credo ad. Where was it?

Leigh Petersen is going by Leigh LeDare. He often get coverage in the assorted art mags.

Anonymous said...

I need to know if Drake still made Joey do Sunday Cleaning Day when they moved back in together in Phoenix.

Watson said...

Fuck yeah. Easily in my top 3 all time skaters. Good to see he's doing good and has a good head on his shoulders. Thanks Chops and Joey!

Jak said...

Big up Joey and Superstars! Nice to see some old heads pop in the comments. yo Watson you need to bring back youwillsoon man..

Anonymous said...

Learnt nollie front noseslides thanks to that photo. Thanks man

nickyborghi said...

Written interviews with photos are so good. I hate video interviews, this is the best. as always Chops, thank you so much dude. You are class.
I used to make roommates do Sunday Cleaning Day in my 20's as well. haha

Anonymous said...

That was so great to read since I grew up skating with the Petersons too. I quit around 91 after rolling my ankle but always loved skating with Leigh and Cleon. Can you keep the Seattle interviews coming? Would love see one from Arron Deeter, Chad Vogt, and Leigh or Cleon!!!

treebrolly said...

Footage of a super young Joey at Embarcadero here: https://youtu.be/sc4p3D-MF3U?t=213