Like most other stoners, Dan doesn’t seem to be worried about much. He takes care of his dogs, hangs with his girlfriend, skates, and just released a surprisingly good part on Thrasher last Friday. Hailing from Buffalo NY, he is one of the very few dudes who has “made it” in the skateboard industry from pretty much the middle of nowhere. As expected, he wasn’t the most talkative dude right off the bat so I got to it and badgered him with some of my more unconventional questions.
What is a Plunkett?
What is a Plunkett? I guess it could be the sound it makes when you take a shit or something? I think that’s what people think of. That’s all I got for it… It’s pretty crazy.. sometimes Brad [Staba] will say, “I gotta take a Plunkett.” So it’s kinda like that.
Who smokes more weed, you or Brad Staba? [Owner of Skate Mental]
Me right now, cause Brad is taking a break. But usually it would be him. When I stayed at his house, I’d stay in the back room where he keeps his bong. And every morning, anywhere from 8:15 to 8:45, I’d just wake up to him taking a bong rip. That was my alarm clock. That’s how Skate Mental works, he goes in the office, fuckin’ takes a rip, and just thinks of a bunch of retarded funny shit [laughs]. Seriously just about every single graphic comes out of his head that way, and they’re all ridiculously amazing.
Does it bother you that he says “faggot” a lot?
Doesn’t bother me. He does say it around some people that I’m sure it would offend, but I don’t think it has hurt anybody yet. It’s just another word in his vocabulary, that’s always gonna be happening.
Where does Skate Mental sell boards? I’ve never really seen anybody ride a Skate Mental board in New York.
Oh, I know. Whenever I go to New York nobody has them there. Dude, New York, they all have like, the cool companies, like Polar and stuff. Whatever the weird shape boards are that people have, like Welcome. Skating in New York is just like, super hip. It’s funny you say that, cause I remember last time I was there, I went into a skateshop, and they didn’t have any Skate Mental boards in there.
What are your plans to fall back on after skating? Do you have anything?
I have a degree in welding, I could always go back and do that. I like it and look forward to doing that again one day. It’s something I really want to do, cause then skating is not a priority and I can skate whenever the fuck I want, when I’m off. Like “earn” the skating I guess. Work your ass off and get a little time at the park or whatever. Then it’s not, shoot a photo, video, we need an ad tomorrow…. I mean It’s not really like that now, but I won’t have to worry about any type of sponsorship or keeping sponsors happy. I don’t wanna try to ride it out forever either. I don’t wanna milk the shit out of it. If I know I’m not doing anything cool, or don’t think I can produce anything cool, then I think, eh, it’s time to get a real job.
Do you have a financial plan or savings as a pro skater?
Nah, I just have a savings account that I throw a good chunk of each check into. I mean, that’s all gonna go to taxes anyway, right? Taxes for skaters are so jacked, just because you’re an independent contractor or whatever. It’s like, you might as well take half of every check and just throw it in savings. Not even savings, just call it the fucking IRS’ savings. It’s ridiculous.
”I don’t wanna milk the shit out of it. If I know I’m not doing anything cool, or don’t think I can produce anything cool, then I think, eh, it’s time to get a real job.”
What do you think the average pro skater makes? Like, not Street League skater.
Depends, you know. Do they have a shoe sponsor? With just a board sponsor, maybe you make like $2000 a month or something like that. Maybe $1500 to $2500. For a full set of sponsors, at least like, $5000 a month… I’d say somewhere around there. But some people get $5000 a month, just from one sponsor, depending on who you are hooked up by. Like when Quicksilver was going, riders would get $5000 just from that, it was just gnarly. I wanna know what Sheckler makes a month, do you know?
I don’t know what Sheckler makes. I remember hearing that Jereme Rogers was getting 12k a month from Red Bull, back in his prime.
Just Red Bull alone, right? You see the guys with the hats on, but that’s because every time that thing gets seen that is fucking money.
When you’re an Am, you get mostly nothing?
A lot of the Ams usually don’t, I think it depends on the company. Like, I’m sure like DC and Element Ams get pretty good money, you know? But most Ams don’t even get paid. Maybe like $500 a month, if that. Shit’s tough.
Can you confirm your Skate Mental teammate, ZIGRAM23 aka Shane O’Neill has smiling capabilities? Can it show emotion yet?
Oh yeah, I’ve been to a strip club with him. He seemed to be having a great time at that strip club [laughs]. I don’t skate with him that often, but when I do, he shows emotion [laughs]. I like him. He’s fun to skate with, and he just fucks around and doesn’t give a shit dude. He’s kinda like Koston, he just doesn’t give a shit and skates. Nothing bothers him.
Do you think it gets pissed when people make robot jokes?
Yeah, I don’t think he cares about that shit anymore. I feel like he probably used to get mad about it, but now he’s just like, pshh, whatever. I’m still skating, every single day, and I’m fucking retarded good.
”Those are the kind of strip clubs I like, the gross ones”
Have you ever gone home with a stripper?
Nah, I don’t even like lap dances dude. It’s literally like, the most awkward thing ever. “Hey, you want some of this money? Sit on my lap for a second and pretend like you care about what I’m saying.” I like to go for laughs. There’s this strip club in Atlanta that’s been there for so fucking long, and there’s like 60 year old chicks working there. If they get close to you you’re just like, “Whoa, no! Don’t touch me!” It’s called the Claremont Lounge, have you ever heard of it? There’s this chick there that’s like 50. She’s been doing it forever, she crushes a beer can with her big ass leather tits. Her name is Blondie. Those are the kind of strip clubs I like, the gross ones. And apparently GG Allin used to live there, because it was a hotel too. I heard weird stories about him drinking his own pee in there and stuff like that. He recorded an album there too. When people come to town they always wanna go there.
Do you think people still read interviews? You think anyone made it this far, or are we just wasting each other’s time?
I hope so. I do. So that means somebody does [laughs]. I look at your guys’ site all the time, and Thrasher and stuff. It’s interesting to find stuff out about people. Not too much though, you know, just a little bit. When you go a little too deep with some stuff… there’s just some things I don’t wanna know about.
Like what? Like Pat Duffy doesn’t believe in climate change?
Yeah, see, I don’t wanna hear about that! Still the man, but maybe that’s a little bit too much info.
You are sponsored by Stratosphere skateshop in Atlanta. Wasn’t there some beef with Stevie Williams opening up a shop right near there too?
Yeah. I guess Stevie was moving there or was living in Atlanta already. Little Five Points is this area where it’s like, a lot of shops, stores and restaurants that have been there for a really long time. I think Stevie just saw that and was like, “Oh, this area is cool. I’m gonna throw a store right here.” And it was seriously like, directly across the street from Stratosphere. You could look directly into our shop from his skate shop. Thomas, the owner of Stratosphere was bummed, because Stevie didn’t say anything to him.
Eventually Stevie came over the day his shop opened up and Thomas was like, “Yeah, we don’t need to talk. Just go.” Then it was just weird. It was just a bunch of DGK guys just standing over there, and then there’s the guys at our skate shop that cruise by everyday and whatever. It only lasted like a year. It was just weird that Stevie came to town and threw up a shop real quick. There were plenty of other places he could have done it, but he just decided to throw it right there. I thought it was kind of a fucked up move. Dude already has a skate shop right there, it’s been there for 20 something years, and you try to throw one up right in his face. I think it’s been going almost 27 years old now. They’re killing it.
What do you think the meaning of life is?
The meaning of life? Consume. Consume and die, pretty much.