Our first delivery of Vans Syndicate is on it’s way, Their latest offering, the Spider Pack from Skateboarding’s odd couple AVE & Dill. The Interview and photos below by Jeff Potocar were pinched from the Syndicate website.
SO, YOU GUYS MET IN HUNTINGTON BEACH?
AVE: Yeah. I’d see him around occasionally when he was on Black Label but we didn’t really know each other that well.
ANTHONY, WEREN’T YOU FROM COSTA MESA?
AVE: No, at the time I think I lived in like, Irvine, and then he lived in Fountain Valley in the Huntington area, and we ran into each other here and there. But I don’t think we really skated together until like, ’96, late ’97. I know we did during the 101 [skateboard company] days.
DILL: Yeah, because I feel like I was still filming for Trilogy when I first saw you. But I remember there was a time that [Anthony] noseslid that rail at Huntington High at the kink and I was like, that was my move. Who’s this fucking…? ’Cause the hallway at Huntington High, there’s light coming to the end, there’s light coming from where you go in, and I remember just seeing, like some guy coming off the rail, and like, “Who the fuck’s nosesliding that?” You came up at the end.
ANTHONY, YOU WERE ON CHANNEL ONE SKATEBOARDS AT THE TIME?
AVE: I wasn’t even sponsored at the time I noseslid that rail. I remember when I did, I noseslid it on… who’s that asshole that rode for Think?
DILL: Mike Santarossa.
AVE: Mike Santarossa’s slick bottom with weed all over the bottom that Mark Oblow sold me. It had a pink top.
DILL: That was scary. When I did it, I was probably around your age when I did it, and I shot it with Rick Kosick and it never fucking came out. I was scared doing that. [Laughter] That kink was like a fucking foot long.
AVE: Well, then I went back the following weekend and my boy didn’t believe me that I noseslid it and he told me to noseslide it, and I was like, “Fuck , I don’t want to.” One-footed ollie straight to my balls and the kink, to flipping over onto my head, and blacking out for a second. Straight fucking rodeo ride. Feet didn’t even touch the ground. It’s straight to the balls, and then teetered over onto my forehead.
DILL: And from what I remember, that kink is like stomach high.
It’s the one that Jason Lee backside grinded right?
DILL: No. No, we’re talking about the big ones on the inside, in the hallway.
Oh, down like the six stair?
DILL: Not the old one Jason backed 50/50 and Ed Templeton nosegrinded. Someone had backed into that one and bent the kink down so it was a mellower kink. We’re talking about the ones… this side was seven. It was the biggest rail in Huntington High. It was like the long, big one. Jamie Hart kickflip, Channel One ad. I think it was a half page ad.
AVE: I can’t remember. I think it was at night, though.
AND THEN YOU GUYS STARTED SKATING TOGETHER AND…
DILL: I saw him at, when I saw Anthony, Anthony was trying to nollie crook this rail at Ocean View and I was like goddamn, this kid, he’s … he’s like on it. He was ripping. And I knew he was sponsorless at that time. I was like, “Look, I ride for this, you could ride for this, whatever…” So it was like a short period that he was on 23 Skateboards, and then when the whole Alien thing came out, it was like I got on Alien, he got on the next day.
YOU GUYS BOTH HAD BOARDS OUT ON 23?
DILL: I did Anthony, you didn’t?
DILL: He wasn’t there yet.
BUT, ANTHONY, DIDN’T YOU ALMOST SKATE FOR REAL FOR A SECOND?
AVE: Yeah, actually I was getting boards from Real when I started to do the 23 thing. I’d been getting boards from Real for like 7 months, maybe a year almost. I don’t know.
DILL: That’s so weird. I don’t remember that at all.
AVE: I remember I went up to Real and talked to like [Jim] Thiebaud and shit.
DILL: You did?! [Laughter]
AVE: They were dicks to me.
DILL: Yeah. Oh, wow.
AVE: Totally. Me and Jim have never talked about that, but I’m sure he remembers. But hey, whatever, I was just a kid. That’s what you got to do. Yeah, I know, I remember I went up there, like flew myself up there like… I don’t know, at the time I wasn’t… my mom was leaving the country. I was 18. I needed to figure something out as far as like just, “Am I skating or am I getting a job? What am I doing?” So I was kind of real serious about what I was doing.
AVE: Yeah, my mom was selling the house and leaving the country, and it was like, fucking sink or swim, buddy. Like, “I want to skate.”
DILL: I don’t remember you going to Real.
AVE: Yeah, that was before we were skating together though, so… I had footage up there and I … something like, I don’t know … I remember talking to Jim. He’s like, ‘Yeah, everybody fuckin’ talks, talk is cheap.” He said something to me I don’t know…
DILL: Fantastic. [Laughter] Shit.
AVE: Whatever. We moved to LA and we rode for 23. We lived in the same apartment. That apartment is where we got on the Workshop.
DILL: Yeah.I didn’t have a license or a car. I still don’t have a license or a car. [Laughter] Anthony had a license and a car, still does. I got on the Workshop with full intention, like [Anthony]’s definitely gonna ride for the Workshop ’cause we already spoke to Sal [Barbier of 23 Skateboards] and he was gonna start Aesthetics, and he was like, “Do you guys want to do it?” And I was like, “No, we’re gonna ride for the Workshop.” And I was pretty sure about it already, ’cause we said no to this actually. Do you remember that?
AVE: All of that shit came down so quickly. I remember Sal was like working a deal like on a pay phone on the side of the road calling us, and we’re like, “Do we…?”
DILL: And I fucking wanted to ride for Workshops since – I’ve always wanted to ride for the Workshops – I mean, well before the government brainwash ad came out. The government brainwash ad came out in like ’96 and I was like, “Everything else sucks. This is it!” I took that and put it on my wall in my first apartment.
SO WHAT YEAR DID YOU GET ON WORKSHOP?
DILL: ’98. But, yes, that’s what happened. So, I called Carter to be like, “I didn’t say that I ride for Workshop,” because they had just printed it in Slap magazine and I didn’t want him thinking that I said that. I just got scared when it said it. It said it in a printed magazine. This is pre-internet, pre-cell phones, pre-anything. It’s like what was said in a magazine was gospel. That was true. You read it in a magazine, it was fucking true. So I called Carter like, “Man, I didn’t say that.”
He’s like, “I said it.” Ahh! [Laughter] It’s like, he’s like, “You want to do it or not?” I was like, “Fuck yeah! Totally.” And it was on. We were doing it. They were like already working on a graphic and everything. I was like holy shit, real, I was like totally freaked out. But so happy. And then the next day, Carter called and he talked to [Anthony]. Carter said something along the lines of the same thing, right? Like, “So, you want to do it, too?’
AVE: Yeah, more or less.
ANTHONY, DID YOU KNOW ALL THOSE WORKSHOP GUYS? LIKE, DYRDEK AND KALIS AND…?
SO, YOU WERE THE NEW GUY?
AVE: Oh yeah, so new. And I remember I went to my grandma’s house for Christmas. She lived in Solana Beach and I called Dyrdek from there to see if he wanted to skate, and I never met him before.
DILL: That’s amazing. [Laughter]
AVE: And I think he was like, “Yeah. I totally would.” No, he was playing golf or some shit. He was doing something… And then, I remember the first time I went to his house and actually met him, it was insane. He had like an Audi and a house and I was like, “He’s doing it, he’s rich!”
DILL: We got on the Workshop. It was just instantaneous. Everything was just so, like … they let us know that they were stoked, I mean, that they were happy that we did it. We appreciated it, but then, also I remember people… I remember us going skating and people were like, “You guys ride for Workshop?” And remember people at first were like really weirded out.
THAT WAS A REBIRTH.
DILL: Yeah, we were so gung ho.
WHEN YOU GUYS GOT ON, WITHIN A YEAR GUYS LIKE BO TURNER AND MIKE HAYES WEREN’T ON ANYMORE. IT WAS ALL THESE NEW KIDS, LIKE BRIAN WENNING AND YOU GUYS WERE KIND OF USHERED IN, WITHIN A YEAR OR TWO, IT WAS LIKE A TOTAL NEW ERA.
DILL: Yeah, it’s weird. We were just talking about the period …
AVE: I think that stuff happened, like before we got on the team and then Carter made those calls.
DILL: Yeah. [Lance] Conklin was still on when we got on. And John was still on when we got on. Lenny [Kirk] wasn’t technically “off off” the team when we got on. He wasn’t off. They still had Lenny Kirk Alien Workshop boards. But I just think that we were like the first… when you think about it back then, we were still younger than everybody, which is [laughter] so crazy now. He [Anthony] was fucking young. I was 20. He was 18. And we’re talking younger than Alex Olson and Dylan Rieder. Like, this is like pinnacle age. And we were so fucking hyped. Like, we let them know, I think that new energy really like, not to fucking smell our own farts, but I think that really took Alien after that. ’Cause we were so fucking gung ho, we were so fucking skate that it was – Alien Workshop Industry Section, Feedback and Photo[synthesis] was all in two years.
YEAH, THAT ALL HAPPENED PRETTY QUICK. A LOT HAS HAPPENED SINCE THEN?
DILL: It’s all been pretty much downhill since then, Jeff. [Laughter]
DILL: We made like… me and him… he made one video part, I made one video part. And it was all a catastrophe after that.
YOU DID DVS, HE DID DC?
DILL: No, I did Mosaic.
OH, THAT’S RIGHT.
DILL: Yeah. So, I came to LA to live here again, and I paid for six months of rent in advance and stayed for three to film. And then at some point ended up in Barcelona for the rest of Mosaic.
AND WHAT ABOUT THOSE YEARS IN BETWEEN? LIKE, WHEN YOU WERE IN NEW YORK, JASON, AND YOU WERE STILL HERE IN LA, ANTHONY? YOU GUYS WERE STILL KIND OF SKATING TOGETHER?
DILL: Well, he came to New York sometimes. That’s the thing. I mean this friendship, I mean fucking whatever, you know. We go long periods without talking to each other. Sometimes we go five months without talking to each other.Either he’d have a chick, I’d have a chick, and we’d just be like, we’re doing our own thing. Just doing it on other sides of the country, you know.
BUT THEN, IT’S ALWAYS THE SAME AS SOON AS YOU GUYS GOT BACK TOGETHER.
DILL: Yeah. And then we’d come back and I’d come out here, and we’d be fully skate, and he’d come out there and be fully skate. But there is definitely a period once he came out to New York and I was getting less and less skate. I just did a lot less skating than he was at one point. But then, we do that back and forth. He was not skating when I’d be skating.
DILL, SO HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT NEW YORK NOW?
DILL: I just… you know what? New York’s for the kids. And if you get there when you’re a kid and you get to do it, God bless you. I got to go there and I got to do it, and I love that place. Like, the first time I went there when I was in my teens, I still have aspects of loving New York that I really love. It became such a huge part of my life. It was almost like at one point, it was almost like half my life was New York. So I have so many deep, dear friends and it molded me. It was almost like I was born in California, and New York helped raise me. I just learned so fucking much there. There’s so much shit that I learned outside of skateboarding that I just feel, it just became so much a part of who I am. Now, when I’m on the streets in New York—I don’t mean to sound like one of those fuckers—but I feel like I walk around, I feel like I see places I recognize but I don’t see the things that used to be there. Fran Lebowitz once said, “Of course, anywhere you were in your twenties was better when you were there.”
You can’t go back and expect it to be the same thing, ’cause of course you liked it more ’cause you were in your twenties. Of course it was better then. So, of course.People in the 1900s used to say, “Oh my god, this place is –” Talking about New York, they used to say, “Oh my God, this place has changed so much, you can’t even believe it. It’s terrible now. It sucks.” That’s been going on forever. But no, I hope New York survives. But it ain’t for me, it’s for the kids.
SO NOW YOU GUYS ARE LIVING TOGETHER; ROOMMATES. WHAT’S THE DAILY ROUTINE?
AVE: Do we really have to talk about that sadness? [Laughter]
NO, THIS IS WHERE WE’RE GOING. WE’RE STARTING WAY BACK THERE AND THEN WE’RE COMING RIGHT TO HERE.
DILL: I mean, fuck. I’ll tell you what. I was in New York, and I just was so freaked out. I was in New York and there was nothing fucking happening. I woke up one day and it was snowing outside, and I was like, “Are you really gonna do this again? You’re gonna sit here all fucking winter long? What are you doing anymore?” And I swear, it felt like only a couple days, I called him, was like, “Can I come out there? I just need to skateboard. I want to skateboard again.” And I hadn’t been doing it. And I hurt my back real bad. And he had been out there like a month before and I had only… I hurt my back so bad I was only skating like once a month.
And I asked him, I was, like, “Can I come out?” And he was, like, “Sure.” He wanted to be super skate again. He was already being skate, but he wanted to be super skate, I guess is what he said. And now, the point we’re at is the fucking, you know, he has luckily let me stay with him and he’s at his place, and we’ve been on the same schedule pretty much and just skate, skate, skate. For a minute there, we were skating, like everyday, like it was the fucking last day to skate. You just go do it. And now we’re in a period where it’s, like fuck, I’m tired, I’m going to bed, and I don’t really want to hit the streets tomorrow.
AVE: It’s been pretty solid since, fuck, last Christmas. You [Dill] got here… you’ve been at my house since before Christmas.
DILL: I got here in December. ’Cause I got here… when I got here was the two weeks of straight rain. I got here the day of the two-week straight rain. You remember that? Remember it rained for two weeks straight last year in December? That never happens in LA. It rained like torrential downpour for two weeks. I flew here. The day I got here was the start of it.
SO NOW YOU GUYS ARE FULL SKATE. SKATE COMMANDOS.
DILL: Once I got out here and he and I were so gung ho, I mean, shit just kind of came together. It’s like we got to fucking pull the Workshop together. Not that the Workshop was lost or it was like, lame, but there was something wrong at Workshop.
There was something internally wrong with like, what was happening. It wasn’t like, a huge bad thing, but it was like, we need to fucking do this. There was definitely a time period where it wasn’t that we didn’t care about the Workshop at all,but there was definitely a time period where it was like, I’m doing my thing. We’re out like, we’re doing it and it’s happening, but, it needed a heave ho. It needed a fucking… The Workshop needed like, “Hey, let’s fucking… how about we kick ass again? How about we be the real deal Alien Workshop?”
AVE: I think it’s only natural after videos of like, long projects with any company, it’s like you got all these dudes that are together for three, four years and there’s just so much attention and everything, and then it fucking all comes out and then everyone just splits away.
DILL: People quit.
AVE: People usually end up leaving. So much shit happens with companies.
DILL: Put some new people on.
AVE: Put some new faces on and stuff. And then, it just like, now it’s …
WHAT HAPPENED WITH BERRA? DO YOU WANNA TALK ABOUT THAT ANYMORE?
AVE: I mean I don’t know why. I think, really we’ve talked …
DILL: I don’t see the point of bringing up something like, an individual so irrelevant to anything …
NO, WE WERE JUST TALKING ABOUT TEAM CHANGES; IT’S RELEVANT.
DILL: Oh, well, I mean …
AVE: I mean, he’s not on the team anymore.
DILL: The thing is, as I was saying, we just wanted to fucking kick some fucking ass, and if you ain’t kicking ass, get the fuck out. I mean there was a period I probably should have got kicked off the Workshop. I mean, I was close to not living, regardless of kicking ass. The furthest thing I was doing was kicking ass. The only thing I was doing was fucking drowning myself… which was bitchin’; I had a great time, but you know, it got to the point where it’s like you ain’t kicking ass, it ain’t cool, get the fuck out of here.
SO, YOU GUYS AT YOUR RESPECTIVE AGES, 32, 34, WHEN YOU GUYS WERE YOUNGER, DID YOU EVEN FATHOM THAT YOU GUYS COULD BE THIS AGE AND STILL BE KILLING IT?
DILL: No. No. No. No.
HOW DOES THAT FEEL?
AVE: It feels good. It’s… I don’t know. It changes, though. Fuck dude, it’s been so many ups and downs. I mean, I don’t know.
DILL: No, I’m fucking blown away man. There’s this whole like, there’s this whole group of over 30 [year olds] killing it right now in skateboarding. I’m so fucking proud to be right there with these people who I’ve always respected immensely. Like Guy [Mariano] over 30, Marc Johnson over 30, [Mike] Carroll… Carroll’s arguably the best street skater that ever fucking lived, you know… like over 30, kicking ass. Like, all these dudes that are over 30 doing it, it’s so sick to have that crowd of that going on. I said it recently, I was just watching this film about Sugar Ray Leonard. This dude had his best fight at 37.
DILL:: I’m an old man in a young man’s world. I’m just happy to be here.
AVE: I remember Dyrdek telling… we moved to this apartment in like ’90… were we working on Photosynthesis? Yeah, for sure. It was like ’98 or ’99, and he was like, “You know, play your cards right, save your money, you’ll probably have a board ‘till at least 26.” And I was like, I might have been like, 20 then. I was like, freaking out. Yeah. And I could barely pay the rent in this shitbox apartment. I wasn’t even pro yet.
DILL: So, at the time… So, Dyrdek’s statement at the time, you’re like, “Oh my God, that’s only six years!”
AVE: Yeah, I was thinking that, and then I’m looking at Dyrdek and he was like, 24, I think.
DILL: Goddammit, I wake up everyday and go, “I only got fffffive years left now.”
AVE: I know. No, it’s psycho. It’s not what you thought it was gonna be at all.
DILL: But then, there’s times you look back and it’s everything I could ever ask for.
AVE: No, that’s what I mean by it. There’s been like, it’s more than I could have ever asked for or dreamt that it would be – which is a trip – being 20 and having Dyrdek say, “Well, I’m pulling this to about 26.” And then, I’m thinking that, you know, I got free boards and make a couple grand a month and this is cool. It was a lot different than that.
DILL: And then, you’re in your thirties in a parking lot watching a 16-year-old rip and you’re like, “What the fuck is going on?”
AVE: Yeah, it’s a scary age.
DILL: What the hell? Is it 2012? Shit, I gotta pay my taxes!
AVE: It’s so strange. I wasn’t supposed to be in my thirties and… it happened.
DILL: No, we’re kicking ass. Hey, we’re gonna keep riding this truck ’till the wheels fall off.
AVE: I don’t know how to do anything else.
SO, GOD, WE JUST COVERED A LOT OF SHIT. IT’S GONNA BE LIKE A FIFTY-PAGE INTERVIEW. SO, NOW, 13 YEARS LATER YOU GUYS ARE STILL CLOSE FRIENDS, YOU STILL SKATE TOGETHER ALL THE TIME, AND NOW YOU GUYS HAVE A PACK OF SHOES COMING OUT TOGETHER.
DILL: Mine’s a snakeskin one.
AVE: Mine’s a Steve Olson pro model.
AND THEN YOU GUYS HAVE A…
AVE: Then we have one that looks like they both barfed on each other on the inside.
DILL: And no one wanted to make it.
AVE: When they see them on… no one would like them on.
DILL: No one wanted to make… Every time we turned around, we were like, “No, but the front that is snakeskin and the walls of the inside of the shoe are fur cheetah print.” And your brother would just be like, Jay would just be like, “Uh-huh, yeah.” Even that kid, Neal, would be like, “No.” And we’d be like, “Yeah. Oh, yeah. My shoe has that sole, the whole thing, it’s clear.” We made them all clear sole on the bottom. Yeah. We basically made three shoes for Syndicate that are sick.
AVE: Oh, yeah. I think people are gonna like them. I like them.
DILL: No, they’re super sick. They’re psycho.