INTERROGATING JAKE DONNELLY

photo: gabe morford

photo: gabe morford

Jake kinda comes off like a hard-ass, but he’s really just a good hearted dude that has no problem suplexing you into the ground if you get out of line. He’s someone that if you were ever lost in the wilderness or ended up in parts unknown, you’d want him on your team. A natural athlete and skilled in hunting and fishing, Jake’s got actual survival skills that the younger Instagram and Facebook bred skaters do not.

Growing up in Buffalo, NY means enduring super long harsh winters, decaying skate spots, and skate parks few and far between – basically the opposite of California. You might not know too much about Jake yet, but just give it a couple of months, a couple more web clips to rap music, and I’ll be the guy at the end of the bar saying, “I told ya so!!!”

You might not be pro yet, but did you know you were voted by Sex.com as SOTY for 2012?
Oh my god.. yeah…

Were you stoked?
Jim Thiebaud sent me the photo when it happened. Sex.com made it and it was Brian Anderson’s old Thrasher cover where he’s sitting there with all the fire and smoke and cigar and stuff ya know? And they had his head switched with mine and it said sex.com skater of the year. It was insane. [laughs] I was like, what the fuck is going on? How does sex.com have anything to do with anything?

Do you ever make fun of Jim Thiebaud because he still reads comic books?
No, more about his kittens and pussy shit. He loves his cats, I don’t know what the deal is. You ever seen his Instagram? You ever see the Real site? [laughs] He just loves kittens! There’s not much you can hate on Jim about so you gotta pick and choose these dumb little things ya know.

Your hometown, Buffalo, NY has some pretty old and rundown buildings & places. You ever see a ghost up there?
I’ve never seen a ghost. But there’s this cemetery around here, called Goodleberg. Back in the day there was a guy that used to do illegal abortions there, threw the babies in the pond and eventually hung himself in the cemetery. Some of my friends, Marcus and JP, were there one night, it was dark and they were trying to get back to their car. They had a nice digital camera so they were using the flash for light, just shooting photos over and over to find out where they were parked and also not to trip down the stairs at the end of the cemetery. The place is so far out, it has no cell service and is so dark, black as if you were underwater at night.

Later, after they got home and started scrolling through the photos they come across a photo of their car, and there’s a full blown ghost person in the front seat of it, and another in the back seat. You can see it clearly in the photos. It gives you the fucking goosebumps just looking at them. There’s people just sitting in the car, and in the back I think there’s also a child.

proper frontside flip / photo: gabe morford

proper frontside flip / photo: gabe morford

Damn that’s the creepiest thing I’ve ever heard.
Yeah – it’s fucked up. There’s other stories from there too, like people getting back in their car and there are baby handprints on the windows and shit like that. That cemetery is rated one of the most haunted places in the United States. There’s a train station here too, The Buffalo Central Terminal – that’s also one of the top haunted places, you should check it out.

What’s the sketchiest thing you’ve done as a kid growing up in Buffalo?
Everything we did was pretty fucking sketch. When we were really young, we’d have a group of kids set up in the street and fake beat up someone. It was like 10 friends, “beating up” one guy and he would lie in the street when a car was coming. The car would get all sketched out. Some of my friends would get rides home because of it, like make up this sob story. We’d get chased in the woods by older guys. We used to have nothing else to do. We’d do anything we could get attention out of and get away with it.

Unlike some Am or Pro skateboards, you’ve actually worked a “real” job before. What are some of the shittiest jobs you’ve worked?
Pumping gas on a reservation sucks really bad. We have bad winters at home so I was out there pumping gas, as a fulltime attendant. I mean tips are alright, but it sucks being bundled up outside pumping people’s gas all day. You also had to keep the area constantly shoveled and shit like that too.

What do you get per hour?
I don’t know like $7 an hour.. sometimes during Christmas people tip pretty well, but it still sucked.

I heard you’ve packed cigarettes too?
Yeah same place, on an Indian reservation. That was actually my promotion! I got promoted from being a gas pumper to packing cigarettes. You were allowed to smoke inside when you were working, which sucked because then I started fucking smoking cigarettes too and I’m not even a smoker. It was such a stupid thing…. I don’t anymore!

JakeDonnellyskatequote

Tell me about the time you got jumped by a “vampire” in a bar bathroom?
Not a vampire – just this dude who had white contacts in. I was at this bar in Buffalo, I’m walking to the bathroom and there’s a bunch of people dancing. I was just out of my element walking around and I must have bumped into someone on the way. Anyway I get in the bathroom and some guy comes up to me and is just staring at me, while I’m pissing at the urinal. He had those white contacts in so you have no pupil, it’s just all white. I looked over, and was like, “what the fuck are you looking at?” while I’m still peeing.

All of a sudden from the side, I see a fist and I’m just getting punched super hard on the side of the head over and over. I fall down, my fucking dicks hanging out and I’m getting beaten on the side of the head, by two guys like they were trying to knock me out. I don’t know if they were trying to rob me or what. I finally I got up, kind of in a daze and I looked in the mirror and my face was just covered with blood. My lip and nose wouldn’t stop bleeding. I tried to clean myself up but the whole bathroom was blood. I walked out to see if those dudes were still there. Maybe I’d blast a bottle over the dudes head or something, you know. My girlfriend looks at me and she almost faints. Shes freaking out, and I’m just trying to find this dude. We never did find him though.

If you saw him would you break a bottle over his head?
Oh yeah. Probably way more than that.

I heard you beat up Mike O’Meally, the photographer for Transworld?
I mean I didn’t “beat him up”, I just put him in his place. [Laughs] We were out at my dad’s house on the ranch and it was early in the morning and he was getting at me about something the night before. He started hitting me in the shins with this stick and then it kinda escalated and I just grabbed him and kinda put his face through the ground, busted his glasses. His eye started bleeding, it’s all good we’re all really good friends now and it’s always been like that. He got up and we both apologized and it was all good. It was just a bad moment. [laughs]

Would you ever punch a girl?
Hell no.

We talked with you close friend and skater Dave Weaver about his battle with brain cancer several months ago. Seeing him go through everything, has that affected your outlook on life or skating?
For sure.. It’s almost hard to be around cause he can do everything and he’s strong but after chemotherapy sessions he’s real fragile. You know? When he comes out skating it’s tough, but he still skates. He’s so positive. I’m just gonna say it, fuck complainers. Especially if Dave’s around and people are sitting there complaining about the dummest shit, it’s just like, shut the fuck up. We don’t want to hear about your crappy day at work. Weavers the fucking man and it’s one of the hardest things to watch happen.

jake shootin in the woods / photo: jp gillispie

jake shootin’ stuff / photo: jp gillispie

Do you smoke weed before you go skate?
Yeah, but I’ve actually been cutting down a little bit. I can’t like, smoke a bong or smoke glass pieces. I used to smoke cigarettes so I’ll put some weed in the tobacco and roll a spliff, ya know? How everyone does it now. Every trip I go on it’s like everyone’s smoking spliffs anyway so that’s what I’ll do. You know I’m not trying to go and take a fucking bong rip and go skate.

Would you say most of the tricks you film are done high or sober?
[laughs] I don’t know… I don’t want to tell kids that I’m just high as fuck doing tricks.

Hey man some people need to get high before skating..
[laughs] I know but if there’s some kid out there ripping who just starts smoking weed cause he saw this… [laughs]

Is that why you got dropped from Quiksilver, cause of weed?
No, everyone got dropped. The whole Quiksilver skate program was cut.

Except T-Hawk?
Yeah except Tony..

Were you bummed about it?
Yeah it sucked, I just signed a new contract too, got a sick new raise and then a couple days later after my first check they called me and told me they were cutting the skate program. I have no idea what their deal is. Even the person who called me to tell me about the news got fired!

You rarely skate contests, why is that?
I don’t know – I haven’t been that into it. But actually, Adidas asked me if I would potentially be into Street League stuff for next year. Adidas wants to have a guy in there and they asked me about it.. Hopefully it will happen.

Why don’t they just send Dennis Busenitz or something?
I’m not sure – I don’t think he wants to. I think he likes the Tampa contest and stuff like that but I don’t know if he likes to do section skating, like where he’s forced to skate a 13 stair handrail with Nyjah. I don’t think he’s about that. You know he skates differently than anyone else in the world. Either way, I’d be stoked, I just have to get into it. I’d probably have to go skate a plaza or someone’s skatepark for months before and train or something. All those guys in it, they have private parks to skate everyday and practice and train. I don’t really have that out here in Buffalo, there’s not even an indoor or outdoor park. You gotta be in shape, those guys skate their asses off and on command. It’s different than how I skate – I get psyched to go do something I’ve been thinking about or whatever. But I wanna start, I wanna try it. Why not?


Words: Ian Michna
Special Thanks: Dave Weaver, JP Gillespie & Sunday Skateshop.
Rant, comment or bitch on our Facebook
Let us spam you on Twitter

Comments

  1. The Brian Anderson/Jake Donnelly cover: http://i.imgur.com/bnxPulD.jpg

  2. bangerbill:

    Jake is da shit! best style out? when is this guy going pro again????

  3. David:

    Why didn’t u ask Him about being detained in Madrid for two days? Or living in SF for three years with no job? Go skating with Natas and the gonz? Living in the Newell house?

  4. Ian Michna:

    @ David –
    some of those i did ask him about but didn’t include them, others i didn’t know, like the madrid thing.

  5. Sumatra:

    Je donnelley bonus interview!

Leave a comment

*
*

Classics

LOAD MORE

website by dedleg