You might have heard that Brian Wenning ain’t really skating or he ain’t doin shit. But let it be known that every time we spoke, Brian had been up since the crack of dawn, skating alone or with old homies in NJ. He’s been on some of the best teams, earned some of the biggest checks and skated some of the craziest places, so it’s no surprise he has some of the best stories. The money, cars and freedom along with the bullshit, fakeness and problems that can come along with it. Since parting ways with DC and Plan B and taking a step out of the limelight, he’s rethought some things and was down to share some stories about the skate industry, doin jail time, and living with Tim O’Connor and PJ Ladd.
Where the hell you been?
Been in Jersey dealing with some real life situations. Skating everyday. I’ve had to sell a house and all that stuff, which took a long time cause everything’s all fucked up in the market right now.
You said in the past the skate industry sets you up to fail. What do you mean by that?
I mean, everything’s set up to fail if no one guides you in the right direction. It’s like the record industry, or now and days you can compare it to these professional sports. It just comes down to all the extra time you have on your hands, that’s when all the nonsense happens because even if you are out filming for some insane video part, you still have way more time then a dude with a 9-5 job. To me that’s basically when the issue happens, idle time.
What about the amount of money kids can make?
I don’t think now they are cutting checks to as many people like they were. Back when I was on DC and shit, I’m sure other company checks were nowhere near those checks. DC was owned by Danny Way’s brother and Ken Block, so it was laid back, it wasn’t like some dude in a fucking suit. My royalties was straight nonsense but my minimum was like supporting everyone around me.
How much were you making a month minimum?
It was enough to have the 7 day weekend going on non-stop for not just me, but for anyone that was goddamn standing around me man. All those assholes I used to hang out with, just cause you know you’re getting some bigass checks coming in every month you’re just paying for everything. But the second they know you’re not going to be doing that shit for them anymore its hilarious to see who’s still hanging around. That’s how you know who your real friends are. I was paying for like $400 dinners and going to the club and the dudes I’m with ain’t even got 1 dollar in their pocket. And then all of a sudden they adios amigos the second you are like “yo, lemmie borrow like a G, remember I paid for like 8 grand worth of shit the last year?”
That’s insane. Why did DC give you such a high monthly minimum?
I was just on the team for so long and I would go though [Rob] Dyrdek, like as a manager thing and he would get me like a $5000 signing bonus or something, and say if you were getting $4000 a month, he would negotiate to go up and up and up for the next 3 years. Touring with that team, that’s when you get lost. You don’t know what the fuck reality is.
When you’re so used to being in New York with a jug of water and $8 for the day. Then all of a sudden it’s like, “go use this platinum Visa I got, go to the fucking strip club at Barcelona, and bring this kid we just met with us.” That’s why people would be lurking with the team manager and shit. I’m sure those days are so far gone man, I was always cool with the team manager, my buddy Brian Devorak. But when I was on the team we must have gone through 10 different team managers. They all were probably just charging crazy expenses on that corporate card.
Being a Team Manager is rough
Dealing with skateboarders, dude I’d rather work in a rehab clinic. I’d rather work at a methadone clinic in the ghetto.
You got anything to say to people who say you fell off and you ain’t doin shit?
I don’t give a shit I’m so far past worrying about anybody else right now. I don’t even have an answer for that. Whatever.
Who are some of the best skate roommates you’ve had?
Tim O’Connor and PJ Ladd are the two best guys, even tho they are two totally opposite human beings.
PJ’s real mellow?
So is Tim O’Connor if you know him, but it can flip at any moment, if someone comes in he could turn into a maniac. Tim used to buy like squirt gun cocks and shit, like bondage and weird rubber masks, he’d have a few different personalities he’d turn on and off. Totally sober you know. That’s the most fucked up part.
Like during the day?
Yeah, it was when we were young, we would go to the Jersey Shore and Tim would just dress up, with like a boom box, doo rag, NWA shirt, fucking money cash hoes playing on the boombox and an Australian accent. It would just mess with everyone. People would come up to him and be like, “dude, what are you on man? I need what you’re on.” Motherfucker Tim just told people like, “yeah mate I just came up for Australia, came up on a log,” telling people he got there by floating onto the beach on a log.
What other shenanigans have you witnessed with Tim O’Connor?
I’ve witnessed Tim run over a Ferrari in Ybor city in Tampa. Brand new fucking Ferrari, Tim was just like, “anyone that would buy a vehicle like this must be a complete asshole and deserves to have me run over their car, from the hood over the roof and off the back. I didn’t think he was gonna do it but sure enough the maniac ran up jumped on the hood, ran on top of it and kept it moving. You heard like crushes and shit.
Any crazy habits you saw from living with PJ?
He would rent cars for months on end dude, he would be paying for a Maserati or some shit, paying like $250 a day or whatever, for like months. I would tell him, dude by the time you are done with this you could have bought like 4 cadillacs. He was cool. I would try and pay for shit but the guy wouldn’t allow you to pay for anything. He reminded me of me, when I used to do that, I was like what the fuck I met someone else that does that?
Sometimes you wouldn’t see him for days, he wouldn’t come out of his room till like 3 in the afternoon, and then out of nowhere, “you ready to skate.” He would just be in that room. He’d always have little homies from Boston staying with him and stuff, I don’t think he really hangs out with any pro skaters, besides the dudes on Plan B.
Whose idea was it for the DC skit in your part in the DC video?
I think Rob Dyrdek and Greg hunt came up with it. When they asked me about it originally I was kinda iffy but Van England was like, “shit man, I wish I had that as my fucking intro,” so I was like fuck it, I’ll go for it. The funny thing is around then I was in Mexico for months at a time just hanging out. Some people thought it was real, and I guess it was real a little bit. I joked about it before because then after wards certain shit actually ended up happening.
What do you mean, “certain shit actually ended up happening”
I mean, I blew hundreds of thousands on stupid ass cars man, blew money at clubs like an asshole, hit strip clubs few times a week. Just 21, 22 year old shit you do when you got money, anyone that age is going to do the same thing. I look back and the memories are hilarious but the fake friends that I fucked with that wouldn’t loan me a G if I asked em right now today, that is pathetic. I bought these dudes plane tickets, everyone ya can think of. I only surround myself with real friends and family now. Rather be the lone wolf than with some “yes men” all day n night.
You’re riding for Selfish Skateboards now, but what really happened with you and Plan B?
I totally respect Plan B. I respect how they let me be on best team in skating but it was so stressful for me mentally coming from Habitat to the big kid club with Danny and P-Rod and everyone. In the end I just came to conclusion being cool as a friend with Danny and Colin is the best thing.
Basically I messed up. Caught a charge in Arizona while on a filming trip with Plan B and tried to hide it. I shoulda just told Colin, but I was embarrassed, and who wants to be popped on some shit? Once I knew I had this charge, I had my lawyer send over a letter to Plan B cause they owed me a lot of money. Then Plan B just terminated our contract, claiming that I breached it with various stuff. My bad to my man Colin McKay. I mean we both breached it so I guess whatever, but don’t sign with Syndrome Distribution kids. Plan B is under Element now so Colin and Danny probably have no issues at all anymore. So that’s the real story with Plan B.
So what happened with the charge? Did you go to jail in Arizona?
At first they put me into the holding cell before you get into county jail. Sure enough ten minutes into it, some dude walks straight up to me. I thought he was trying to test me, and then he goes, “WHAT THE FUCK!!!?” I’m thinking, alright here we go, gonna have to just fight this dude for no reason. But then he’s like, “Yo everyone this right here is my childhood idol Brian fucking Wenning!!!!” It’s weird you forget people recognize you man. When it happens in a weird area or some shit you take it the wrong way. So we talked and everyone was cool after that. I met 50 Cent’s barber that travels with the dude and a lot of cool people. They just happened to mess up man. Everyone in there knew who I was and why I was there. The CO’s told everyone, so I was cool. I had a job in the laundry room and had good food from the canteen. I mean shit gets weird at times man but it was just a whole lotta reading, working for no pay and getting strip searched daily.
That’s rad how much respect you had in jail…
Yeah, a Mexican kid even hooked me up with a Thrasher magazine from 2002. He just came up and said he heard I was a skater and gave me the magazine. He had the only skate mag in there, he was young and just being cool. Another kid told me he grew up on Photosynthesis and was asking me about all his favorite skaters and shit. I then realized even speaking to this black dude and all this stuff coulda been a mistake. Shit is really tense racially in there and out west, it’s way more serious I’d say. Like I wanted a 1 1/2 haircut and my black homie was gonna hook it up, but I stepped back and realized him cutting my hair in front of everyone was an unwritten rule that would not have worked out too we’ll. So I just grew that shit out.
Looking back on your career would you do anything differently?
Leaving Habitat, which was probably the worst decision of my life. I’ll admit it right now. The worst move ever. When I left, Chris Carter told me, watch out at Syndrome distribution with the checks. I didn’t listen to him. Maybe if I moved out to California it would have been different. But with Habitat, no contract involved and you feel more comfortable with those guys then you do with anybody.