A couple months ago we took an old fashioned skate trip to the south with Fred Gall and the Levi’s crew to build some things, drink some tings and skate some thangs. Our video “Make The Call” pretty much sums up the four day DIY tour, but to get the full story of what happens when a dozen guys rent an AirBnB (and to prove we didn’t damage it enough to lose our security deposit) we gotta dive into some behind the scenes photos. Basically, if you saw me on the subway and asked how the trip went, this is the stuff I’d tell you about…
From my experience, most pro skaters perpetually live in an 8th grade bubble. Many of them can barely make it somewhere on time, they take their lifestyles for granted, and they’re experts at complaining about the most mundane shit that everyone else has to deal with on the regular. This is one of the things that makes the Levi’s squad special — they’re some of the most crafty, talented and professional dudes in “real life” who will all do well long after their skate careers have fizzled out and their peers have disappeared from the scene.
Fred Gall has been called the “governor” of New Jersey, but he’s really the governor of where ever he goes. He quickly became the governor of our AirBnB, as well as the van, the DIY spot, and the karaoke bar. Sounds like a real yoked out dominator but his governing style is pretty simple: go inhumanly hard all day and night, then wake up and do the least expected tricks on the sketchiest spots. No one can argue with that. (For more of Freddy’s party-fueled skate stories, like skating the LOVE park rail on crack, check out his episode of the Tim O’Connor pod.)
Here’s a little gem we built and left behind at “Pebble Beach” DIY spot in Atlanta. This backside view or “ass shot” of our obstacle is strictly for the naughty risk takers who prefer riding over the little death gap. A make over the gap results in vague shrugs of approval from your homies, while a fall into the pit is sure to give you which ever staph infection is currently trending on the underground scene, so definitely a win-win type of situation.
This frontside or “full bod” view of our DIY is for the prudes (including myself). No glory without danger, so only hit this spot from the front if you want to be completely forgotten when you die.
Yep, that’s Grant Taylor in full paparazzo (that’s singular of paparazzi, baby) or Unibomber mode, whichever suits you. We needed firewood to keep this DIY “volcano” going, but instead of grabbing more dead branches Grant took a whole skate obstacle and threw it in there. Seemed like a waste of a perfectly good shotgun rail, but Grant could sense the tranny gods getting hungry and we needed to sacrifice a street obstacle to please them. Alright!
Skateboarding at its finest. Give someone a broken cinderblock, half a pole, and a slab of crumbly concrete and we’ll make a “spot” out of it. Might not be supermodel sexy but a spot none the less.
We owe a great deal to Joey Pepper right here. He led the entire DIY mission and educated our asses on the correct supplies to buy and how to actually make the spot happen.
A classic shot of Joey doing some mental skate math. “Let’s see, number of beers divided by hours of sleep last night, plus total percentage of farts in the van means we need…four more bags of cement.”
Who’s that long hair stud to the left? No, it’s not a Hanson brother or your mom’s yoga instructor, it’s the legendary Ben Gilley! Remember, the shredder who skated for Zero and 5-0’d El Toro? The whole trip definitely had an “older guy” vibe but we made sure to limit it to only gnarly geezers.
One of the ATL Twins didn’t believe it was my face on the cover of Jenkem Vol. 1 so I had to replicate the super zoomed in photo of me with Sharpie on my teeth. People have asked me how long the Sharpie stayed on there and while I’d like to lie and say, “It was on there for days, bro! Fucking days!” in reality it came off when I brushed my teeth. We can’t all be as hard as we pretend to be on the internet.
Squadded up at the infamous Birmingham Ghetto Banks. We skated this spot about as long as we could until a local rolled by and “suggested” we dip if we didn’t want to get robbed. We’re pretty daft but when life gives you a sign, and that sign says “Leave or get mugged,” probably good idea to follow that sign. Thanks to ATL and Birmingham for having us!!!
HOW CHAD CARUSO SKATED ACROSS AMERICA
Chad did it the way most skateboarders would: independently and without much of a plan.
JOSH KALIS ON BUILDING AN INDOOR SKATEPARK WITH GRANITE FROM LOVE PARK
"Laying the granite tiles was the most torturous part because you’re on your knees. It was a month straight of doing 1,600 tiles."
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE OFFICIAL BROOKLYN BANKS COMEBACK
We talked with Steve Rodriguez about the imminent reopening of The Banks, which has been in the works for 13 years now.
JENKEM MIX 126: ANTONIO DURAO
Much like Antonio himself, this one’s got it all… An auditory gumbo, if you will.
MEET THEO HAND, THE PHOTOGRAPHER WHO SHOT ALL YOUR FAVORITE ’90S PROS
Theo helped shape how skateboarding looks in the modern age, documenting names like Chad Muska, Tom Penny & Ali Boulala, all in their prime.
March 14, 2018 11:36 pm
holy shit ben gilley. haven’t seen that dude in forever. straight maniac style on the JT program to bust!
March 15, 2018 12:44 am
we’re really from tenesee
March 16, 2018 1:40 pm
Rad article and all the diy footy was fucking awesome to watch. The governor, pepper, marius , that was a cool squad. Kudos jenkem you did it right here
May 17, 2019 9:52 pm
Ben Gilley. Fuck yea