Interview by Ted Barrow on April 18, 2007. Supplementary commentary by Rob Campbell, German Nieves, Ray Wong, and Louie Louie.
Rodney: When I used to skate the Banks, that pretty much…Rob is interrupting my session.
Rob: I used to steal niggas boards back in the day [laughter].
Rodney: You were theivin’?
Rob: Shit was crazy. Growing up, I ain’t have that much, so I couldn’t afford boards. Sometimes I’d do it by myself, sometimes with friends. It was like, dumbass niggas from Jersey or out of state would show up to the fucking Banks or whatever, and they’d go to Burger King, and leave their board there.
At Burger King or at the Banks?
Yeah, yeah. At Burger King.
Rodney: Burger King was the hang out spot after the Banks. Go to the Banks, go to Burger King, and then go to Seaport, or skate all around Water street. Then go back to the Banks. From the Banks, when it got dark, then go skate to Astor Place. Chill and skate at Astor Place, drink 40s, smoke weed, and then after that, skate to Union, do the same thing over there, and then from there skate to Midtown. All day, all night. Everyone would meet up at the Banks at noon, and skate ‘til like midnight. Then skate to Midtown and like, break night. Stay all night skateboarding. Just causing ruckus, you know? Drinking, smoking, skating. Hopefully hook up with some girls, but if not that then skate, have fun. Just doing little kid shit, you know?
What era is this?
This is like early 90s, right? Yeah. Early-to-mid 90’s. It’s not like that anymore.
Why do you think it’s not like that anymore?
Because everybody now is on some sort of agenda. Everybody’s got to film a trick for a video, everybody’s got to be all secretive, everyone’s got their own little clique of people that they roll with. I guess that back in the day everybody rolled together.
Rob: No doubt, like back in the days, if you wasn’t real, you couldn’t show up at the Banks. I see like half of these cornball ass niggas that look like Pharell and fucking shit like that, goofy asshole looking motherfuckers, like them niggas would totally get robbed for everything they got. It was like everybody that skated at the Banks knew each other.
So if you were from out of town?
It wasn’t even that. It was like, snake sessions? Oh, man. You’d get your board focused. Remember those days?
Rodney: Everybody in New York has a lot of pride in what they do and basically, it was almost like you were stepping on toes if you came out here and tried to run shit. It’s either you got your ass whooped or you got your product stolen. One or the other. It’s still kind of like that now with all the older people, you know? Skateboarding in any sense, if that’s where you grew up, it’s like you’re a part of a fucking huge family of people, a huge mafia in a sense, you know?
People would come here and try to run shit, for no reason. They tried to step on toes. They tried to fucking come up off people, and use people, in a sense where it wasn’t anything genuine.