The lore of Gino is something people outside of skating might not understand. To be honest, a lot people within skating struggle to figure it out.
What about his push makes it so special? How did he become so revered if most of his parts are short (under three minutes) and shared? And why does he insist on skating at the ass crack of dawn? (The photos below were all taken around 6:30 a.m.)
To try to demystify him, our friend Mackenzie Eisenhour got Gino on the horn to do a “16 Things” interview and share some factoids that weren’t widely known.
Mack uncovered enough deep cut gems to satisfy the full-blown Gino-ologists and some unexpected stories for the rest of us to get better acquainted.
1. Gino’s first name is actually Luigi.
Gino is his middle name. Actually, Gino isn’t his middle name either. His real middle name is Giovanni. His full name is Luigi Giovanni Iannucci. Gino attributes going by ‘Gino’ to two of his cousins also having the name Luigi and the family using the nickname to tell everyone apart. His grandfather’s nickname had also been ‘Gino’ so that nickname was passed on to young Luigi Giovanni. His relatives still call him Luigi.
2. Gino almost skated to Prodigy’s “Infamous Minded” instead of Guns n’ Roses in Yeah Right (’03).
“There were a few different options I had but the one that stands out was the Prodigy track, ‘Infamous Minded,’ that I like a lot from his first solo album. I was really down for it. But when I went to Ty [Evan]’s house to check out the editing, it was there that Mike [Carroll] recommended the Guns n’ Roses track. It wasn’t on my mind to use something like that but I was listening to a lot of Guns at that time. So it was kind of perfect timing. It worked with the part and that was that.”
3. Gino has never been kicked off a team.
“Have I ever been kicked off a team? No. I don’t think so. That’s actually nice that I can say that. I’m trying to think. Going back to my first shop sponsor. My first sponsor was a shop called Ollies & Boogies in Baldwin, New York. I guess they sold skateboards and boogie boards. But never kicked off, no. I left Black Label, left 101, left Chocolate. Then my shoe sponsors—I left Axion when I went to Nike.”
4. Gino was as surprised as we were when that one back 360 kept spinning.
“That was in Garden City, Long Island. I had already gotten on Black Label. I think I was wearing a Black Label t-shirt. John [Lucero] would just send me stuff and I would keep sending him videos. So it was just another day of filming with a couple of friends. I remember trying to back three down those stairs and it just freak landed like that. It set me into place like a top and I kept spinning (laughs). I remember as I was spinning I was like, ‘What the fuck?’ It just didn’t end. It kept going and going. Finally I hit the ground and we were dying it was so funny. I could never do that again in my life if I tried.”
5. While he is considered a high priest of the backside 360, Gino has never landed a frontside 360.
“I don’t think I ever landed one or even tried one. That’s probably one of the most awkward tricks for me. To be honest, I never even liked the way they looked. I think Donger [Kien Lieu] in the Life video truly brought them to the table. He and Jeremy Wray are the only two people who made them look good back then in my opinion.”
6. Gino was inspired to try his first switch back 180s after seeing Danny Sargent’s down ‘the seven’ in 1281 (’91).
“That was probably the first time I saw that trick done down something big. That was really when that trick opened up. It was the way he did it too. It wasn’t just like the pop and late turn—it was more the old school way—he cartwheeled it perfectly and did like the full rotation with his body, landing all the way turned around.”
7. Contrary to urban folklore, Gino was not the kid holding up the manny pad for Natas to boardslide in Speed Freaks (’89).
“I have to correct this one. I’m not the guy holding up that box. I still hear that one to this day. I was at that demo of course. I think I brought it up in one of my first interviews. It was in Big Brother—Natas did the interview along with Jeff Tremaine [Issue 22, ‘96]. I told them that I was at the demo and Natas showed up they turned the box sideways and what I told them was that in the background you could hear me yelling, ‘Fuck yea,’ or something like that with my high-pitched voice. But somehow it got misconstrued that I was one of the guys holding up the box. I saw someone post it recently on Instagram with all these comments saying it was me and I actually responded: ‘Believe me, I would hold up a box for Natas any day of the week. But that wasn’t me holding up the box that day.’”
8. Gino got cool-guyed by John McEnroe.
“The experience with John McEnroe for the Court Challenge was cool. He showed up, I think he was on his way to some tennis camp on Long Island, so we met for seriously two minutes. Like, ‘Want to meet John?’ ‘Yeah, let’s do this.’ So we walk over there, he’s looking at the shoe, we’re talking about the shoe for like a quick second. And then it was just like, boom, we did the scene and within a matter of minutes he broke out.”
“But the funny thing was, a few months after that, I got off a flight at La Guardia. I was in line for a taxi and John McEnroe is behind me in the line. I look back, and I was hammered from the flight. I was like, ‘John! What’s up?’ In my head I remember thinking I was a little too excited. I was like, ‘Yeah, we did that little commercial for the shoe.’ I could see it actually took him a second to remember (laughs). I was with my friends and was just like, ‘Wow, I don’t think he remembers me.’ It was funny though. Eventually he remembered and we talked for a second. But that was the funniest part of doing that whole commercial—seeing him afterwards at the airport.”
9. Gino got vibed by Jovontae Turner.
“It was my first trip to SF. I don’t even really know if it was directed at me or directed to the group of us. But I thought it was directed at me. We were in the back of Wallenberg, sitting on one of the steps. I think he (Jovontae) was kind of bummed that a lot of people were sitting down and he felt like everyone was watching him. So he just said something like, ‘What is this? The bleachers? Why don’t you skate?’ I was just like, ‘Okay.’ But that was the first time I remember feeling a little like, ‘Hey, you talkin’ to me?’”
10. Gino landed his first switch back tail shove in a line in Snuff (’93).
“I remember the first time trying switch back tails. It was in Snuff and I was filming with Dave Schlossbach. We were at Glendale High and it was in that line I did [fakie heel then switch back tail shove]. That was the first time I even did a switch back tail shove-it. Those were the first days of even trying switch back tailslides.”
11. The day Gino met Jason Dill, Jason did a front flip over a shipping palette.
“The first thing I remember about Jason was meeting him at the warehouse at Black Label. I think it was the first day I got there. I was skating in the back and there was a little palette. We were filming and I did a kickflip over the palette. Dill ran behind me and just did a front flip over the palette. Like a summersault over it. That was the first day I met him. It feels good being back together now with FA. That was a long period of separation (laughs). Like 22 years since 101.”
12. Gino quit skating in 1989, but started up again a few months later.
“I actually did quit for a second. It was short lived, maybe like a couple of months. It was like ’89 or something like that. When the Swatch Impact Tour came to the Coliseum in Long Island. It was exactly then that I remember I wasn’t skating anymore. Because my friends went to go see the Swatch Tour and I didn’t go. I was into playing hockey at the time and maybe had a girlfriend or something. But I just remember labeling it like, ‘Oh, I’m quitting,’ because when you’re young you have to label everything. It just called me back right away though.”
13. To this day, Gino hates the roll away from his back heel over the Gonz Gap (’93).
“I think obviously it would have been a lot better if I rolled away and made the switch ollie off the ‘Big Three.’ I mean, that’s the way to do it. So from day one I wished it was a little different. And it just got worse and worse actually. It seemed like when I first did it, just because of the time period back then, it was a little more acceptable in my head. As time went on it got less and less so to the point where I hated it (laughs).”
When asked if the rest of his career’s rollaways were flawless because he’s still making up for that one, Gino said, “Well, that’s a very nice complement. But hey, that makes sense. It could be.”
14. Gino has been learning high-end fashion design via his brand, Poets.
“I had a manufacturer in Italy that I did one of my first pieces with. So any time I want get involved with doing more cut-and-sew and having it made in Italy I have that resource and I set up the brand with that being the highlighted piece. I’m actually about to go out there in a few weeks to work on the second piece. When I started I wanted to do simple, quality stuff. When you get involved and start to learn the process—manufacturing, production—everything, nothing is as easy as you think. I’m learning this as I go but it’s been awesome to see how much I’ve learned in just a year and a half, and there’s so much more to learn.”
15. Gino’s all-time favorite video is Hokus Pokus (’89).
“Hokus Pokus will always be the pivotal video for me. Straight up like the whole video. Not even one part. Just how it made me feel about skating. Basically, that video was what put skateboarding in my blood—and it will never leave now. It was because of that video.”
16. Gino’s all-time favorite video part is Henry Sanchez in Pack of Lies (’92).
“I gotta say, for what moved me as a street skater—it has to be Henry Sanchez in Pack of Lies. Just the best, most raw street skating at the time and probably to this day. It was just so fucking amazing the first time watching it. It was one of my first times out to California, I remember sitting in front of the editing bay at Black Label with Dill watching it. Just the timing and everything, the song, it just made it almost too intense. It had to be that part.”
November 21, 2019 7:56 pm
Being a fellow Long Islander, glad to have Gino as our representative. Was able to meet him once and even though I fanned out a bit he was really chill about it and shook my hand. Super nice. Friend lives in Roslyn now so I like getting off at the banks! It aint easy!
February 9, 2023 10:46 pm
I too like getting off at the banks boy king.
November 21, 2019 9:55 pm
Thanks for clearing up the Natas part. I swear I must have either read that wrong, or the memory of reading that morphed into the idea that Gino was holding up the box. That was a good read.
November 22, 2019 11:49 am
Here in Italy Gino is short for Luigi (Luigi-Luigino-Gino).
The first time I saw a photo of Gino goes back at the end of 80s he was a kid doing an ollie kick over a seat published on an Italian skate mag.
Big fan since then!
February 22, 2020 5:24 pm
That pic was taken in front of my house
January 26, 2021 4:51 pm
The Ronz. I see you.
November 22, 2019 12:14 pm
eternally – toyt – fella, man.