1.where are you originally from? tell me about growing up there? tell me about skateboarding there?
I primarily grew up in Alliance, Ohio, with my mom but also spent time in Toledo since my dad lived there. I lived more in the rural area of Alliance than within the town but it is a small place that it kind of all blends together. I felt that small town anxiety and always had the desire to live in the city without really knowing what it was like, just wanting anything other than what I had. When I would spend time in Toledo it was spent in suburban housing areas the entire time. I was always pretty confused with what I wanted to do growing up and jumped around trying lots of different things, but when I started skating probably around fifth grade it went from just another thing to a hobby to an obsession. I started skating more and more and during the summer my mom would drop me off in downtown with a friend and we would skate the whole town all day making our way to the other end of town by the mall where my mom would pick us up at the end of the day. If we didnt go street skating I had a driveway where we had built banks, flat bars, ledges, anything we saw pretty much in videos. During the winter we would cram all the ramps into the garage and get an extension cord and space heater and try to skate whatever we could in the garage, and if there was no snow you would street skate. My favorite thing to do was go to Wendy’s where it was kind of in the middle of where we would skate and when you were frozen we would go there and get chicken nuggets and use them to keep our hands warm. When I was in Toledo it was all flat ground until Woodville park opened which my dad lived five minutes from, so I would skate there as much as I could. 2.whats your earliest skateboarding memory?
I got into skating because of an old friend named Rich Miller. His older brother Ben had a Birdhouse that he would never ride in the garage with a flat bar they had made out of stacked 2x4 and a piece of metal. We had no idea what we were doing so we would put a makeshift kicker up to it so we could ride up the kicker than try to go all the way across the flat bar. The result was always one of three things, you either didnt go fast enough because it was so rusted, you almost made it to the end but you hit the nails sticking out of the flat bar that kept them connected to the 2x4 and died, or just had no balance and was going too fast and died right off. We would fight over who got the chance to go just to see who could do it first, then one time I tried to hippie jump the flat bar just to try something else and was so excited and Rich just looked at me like I was retarded. 3.how would you describe skateboarding to someone who has never seen it before?
It would depend on how much they wanted to hear or were willing to hear, I have a problem of once I get on the topic of skating I never shut up. Playing with concept of skateboarding is great; it’s fun to call it a toy or something that can mold a personality. It can be just like any other activity or it can teach you about yourself and the world around you, opening your eyes to endless possibilities and making you experience things you would never have without it potentially. It could consume the better part of your life and give you more than you could ever ask for, or conversely it’s another thing people do jumps on and ignore traffic signs with that are a threat to public safety. 4. do you love skateboarding? what does it mean to you?
Without it I’m not sure where I would be or what I would want to do with my life. So much of what I do revolves around it that to say I didnt love it would be silly. I care too much about it sometimes, to the point where Jessee’s Slap shirt makes me laugh every time. I owe skateboarding and the people I’ve met through it for how I grew up and came to be, it’s given me direction and goals in life where there was a void, its one of the few things that can always make me laugh and smile. I don’t know if I can scale how important it is, but it does play a role to some extent how I go about almost anything, so yeah, it might mean something to me. 5.what scares you? if anything
If I am ever forced into using my degree from college when I graduate for the intended purpose of the degree instead of the goals I have for myself. Not that school hasnt helped me along with my goals, but I think there could be better routes for it than school if done properly. Completely failing with Megapolis and being forced into something I’m not passionate about. Not being involved with skateboarding. These are all skateboarding related, plenty more non skate related fears there too. I’m odd with conversation a lot. 6. so whats up with megapolis? tell me about the name? how did you come up with it? when are you gonna open? what do you hope to accomplish with it?
Megapolis is making more headway than it has in the past two years due to being unemployed at the moment. It was either quit talking about it and do it or get a job I hate. The name originally wasnt going to be Megapolis but Common Ground, but when I realized there was already an Underground and a Stomping Grounds in Ohio it just seemed dumb to do that, plus not many people liked the idea. But from the original idea I wanted to have something that made the association that the entire area of NE Ohio was one area, Cleveland, Akron, Canton, and surrounding areas, everyone did the same thing and loved the same thing, so why not support all the areas and people of which we have all grown up skating and love? When Common Ground was thrown out I got on thesauruses online and came across Megapolis after a while, it seemed weird and just liked it so it stuck. I’m pretty sure I pronounce it wrong but whatever. The whole idea to start a shop came from my mom one day after walking out of an exam at school that left me furious and provoked a lot of thought due to being involved in skating but only to a certain extent due to where I was. My mom basically told me to do something about it, probably one of the biggest epiphanies of my life. Opening day is closer than ever, I’m in the workings of putting down a security deposit in Kenmore close to First Glance and will open hopefully around September, just in time for the summer to be over and lose tons of sales. The point is really just to bring life back to the area, get events and contests going simply for the fun of it and get people excited about skateboarding. Hopefully it does well but there’s no definite answer, I just want to stay in skating as much as I can, it’s the only place I’m happy as of now. 7. top 3 skateboarders and why?
I like to attempt to answer that question in my head all the time and there is no way of answering that, perceptions of skating to me constantly change and people new and old are always being discovered due to bad written history of skating so your favorite person you may not have ever come across or you realize new things about style or attitude that change your view on skating. But there are people who are always on the top of whatever diluted scale you want to make, so without order: everyone I’ve ever skated with because they will always teach me things and give me the memories, Busenitz because he’s probably been one of the more influential people in how I try to skate, and Mark Gonzales because the reasons are endless and to try and explain that is far too time consuming.8. what inspires you on a day to day basis?
Paying attention and laughing. With all the good things you experience you want that to continue, so trying to enjoy the moment and learn a way to keep that going and balanced is important. Then if something negative is happening looking at it and seeing how to rework it so the outcome is better. I can get too serious and then turn mean spirited, but if I just look and realize what can or could happen, it can work out with the proper effort. Then laughing keeps me balanced, making a good time better or softening a frustrating time. There is irony and humor in everything, learning to appreciate it keeps me mental. People are inspiring. Comedy is inspiring. 9.have you read any good books as of late?
As long as they’re not school related yes, but those are few right now. During break I read two books, Geek Love and How to Talk Dirty and Influence People. Geek Love was a good recommendation that I’m glad I read. One of those things you probably wouldnthave picked up on your own but once you began reading you were excited to see where it would go. How to Talk Dirty is a Lenny Bruce autobiography, Lenny Bruce is a comedian from the 50’s and 60’s that basically redefined what is and what can be comedy, at least in my mind. He led a pretty interesting life and has always been someone I admired since discovering him. One of the few people that properly connected things in stand up comedy I don’t think many achieve or is even aspiring to do with stand up now. Blue Collar comedy is a farce just to name one fad.10. any words of advice or words of wisdom that you would like to share?
I’m an idiot that makes frequent and contradicting mistakes, but I try to learn from them and not repeat them. Being aware of what’s going on in your life and trying to do the best with it while not taking things too seriously seems important. I don’t know, I’m only 22 and I don’t think I would ever take advice seriously from a 22 year old boy who obsesses about toys. Learn to love sarcasm and find the intention, read A Modest Proposal by Swift, learn how to break up compound and run on sentences, learn to have fun. Buy yours and other people’s art if possible or make your own and sell it on the street like Wesley Willis. Cooking is fun. Take yourself out of the situation and make fun of yourself than change. Frequent stream of consciousness writing. I’m rambling way too long now, you should edit this, but you are not permitted to take out the portion where I say people should buy your art, especially in England good luck.
all i have to say about this photo is that rust never sleeps.
at the time i was heavy into writing things on my griptape. short, one or two word phrases that would get me juiced to skate. if there weren't some sorta words of frustration or motivation written in my sparkly Wooster griptape, i wouldn't skate. in fact i couldn't skate, my OCD tendencies would get the best of me. but well leave that for another story.
so as you can imagine when the time came to wear this lovely brace i couldn't resist the urge to write something on it. even though i cant quite remember, I'm sure i had a list of things that i wanted to scribble on it. I'm sure the words " go harder" " get bent" or one of my all time favorites " you lose pussy" came to mind. but as you can tell by this photo, the simple, yet eloquent " destroy yourself " was all that was needed.