Tag Archives: dean christopher

Pile in & pile out with miles to go.

The thought was to grab as many homies as I could and rent a van to hit up a road trip. Drive from Reno straight to Elko Nevada, find their skate park, tear it up, and start the trek to the next spot. Quickly the rental van idea was squashed and we took the Road Master which holds 8 people legally, seriously road trip equipped. After realizing there would be no room for any gear, we lost two people. 6 people were still signed on and the road called. 600 miles, 6 dudes, 4 skate parks, and only the lack of daylight as our nemesis.

We met at Classic around 6 am and started loading the wagon up. By 6:20 we were off and running with a full car and a lot of heads crashed out. Tyler DeWitt, Ryan Wisniewski, Dean Christopher, Joe Dubon was the guest photographer, and myself were on the way to Fallon to pick up the last of our crew Britt Del Carlo. We picked a Saturday that had arguably the worst wind ever in the history of mankind which we battled through the whole trip. Bring on the dust storms and allergies. On any given day it would have been worth complaining about but, not on a day like this. Man up and make the most out of this trek. 

Elko was the first stop and we quickly found out that when you said you weren’t from there it didn’t matter. “We are trying to find the skate park , we just drove in from out of town.” was met with “do you know where the High School is?” or “Do you know where the flag pole is?” several times. Eventually we had solid directions and off we went. The park was real limited on anything fun to skate. It was mostly a flat area with a mini hubba, odd pyramid, fish pond style bowl/snake run, and a 1/2 volcano style hip thing. Tyler and Dean went to work on the rail down the stairs. Snakeboards, razor scooters, bikes, and runaway toddlers were bigger obstacles than the actual park. It was fun purely on the crew we brought and right before we bounced the locals rolled in. When we asked if Carlin had a skatepark the response was, “yeah but it’s poo.” and he couldn’t have been more wrong. Carlin was rad. The actual layout was not so great, it was the other props that made it fun. A steep slick metal spine ramp, a metal bank ramp, and flat rails were the ticket. Everyone seemed to get a rad vibe from Carlin. Britt rolled his ankle a bit and Dean ran with the make it or brake it plan.  That spine ramp got worked. I wanted to “borrow” it and bring it to Reno, it was a good one. Tyler killed the whole park then it was time to pack it up and move along. Again, no one showed up until we were ready to move on to Battle Mountain.

Battle Mountain was a distant cousin to the Panther Valley park with all prefabbed black ramps on a larger scale. There was so much dust on them the slide out factor was turned up to 11. The bottoms of all the ramps were chipped enough to get hung up on but, no one did thankfully. The wind was probably the worst here being that it was located in a dirt/gravel field the dust was rough. Ryan concurred the gap between the 1/4 pipes while Tyler and Dean got it going on a kicker to a table. The ramps were fast and poorly maintained although they were set up nice with good flow. We had a string of good luck going as we had another park all to ourselves. A family showed up as we were loading the car. The sun was falling fast so after a slight transportation problem we headed out to Winnemucca.

Winnemucca’s park was actually pretty rad in a weird NV park kind of way. By the time we got there we were a little road weary. Britt, Dean, and Tyler stepped up and killed it. There is a decent size bowl there that has huge transitions, a real nightmare to keep your speed. I was beat and it was well past sunset, it was time to roll out. Between hearing multiple times “you know what turtles like?” disparaging remarks about Henry Rollins and Willie Nelson, and real bad gas the trip was almost over as we dropped off Britt safely back in Fallon. Reno was an hour away and the next trip was already in the works. Another rad trip amoungst friends to the far ends of Nevada strictly to skate new spots. That’s the goods right there. The next trip will be the parks in Fallon, Fernley, Silver Springs, both spots in Yerington, Gardnerville, and Carson City. Let’s get a convoy going! The road waits for no one. – ERL


Dean Christopher Skating, Music, and the Love.

I first met Dean in the early 90s. From day one I knew he was a lifer. You can tell when someone is 100% enveloped in skating. His skating reminds me a lot of his music. Brutal, strong, creative, and original are words that come to mind. It was also refreshing to see someone not chase the trends of the 90s that made us all look so damn ridiculous. We were both from small dirt towns and made our way to Reno’s city lights. Dean took sometime to talk about his skating and musical history. Being apart of the rich skate and musical scene in Reno, it is a special project in the making. Dean jokes around about being the old guy but, personally I think he is in his prime. Skating with him goes to show the passion that has never dulled in his eyes. Welcome to the Wheel Bite interview with the one and only Dean Reno. -ERL

1. How was the skate scene in Fernley? It seems small town skate scenes are pretty strong.

My first interactions with skateboarding was actually in Reno around 1983. My family moved here around 81 from the suburbs of Chicago, so thats pretty much when I got turned on to this culture.
  Fernley? Man, things were strange, there were some ripping skaters, dudes that were older and in to punk and speed metal and shit, getting wasted being weirdos ya know just real rural type shit. We moved to Fernley in early summer so I hadn’t met any kids that skated or rode BMX or liked Judas Priest and shit, so I started  by myself in the drive way and would aways listen for skateboards on the sidewalk. 
  Right before School started I met a kid from Wadsworth, Jack Yellowhair.  He pretty much introduced me to the other side of the skate world I had no idea about, the lawless youth side ya know what I mean? Mostly because I was stuck in front of my house until that time. 

No Comply.  Volland photo.

2. Did you deal with the old skaters vs jocks/cowboy vibes there?

Oh for sure. It was harsh in Fernley but, I was taken in early by the older cats and their younger brothers who didn’t fuck around so we had protection. But Reno/Sparks, shit it was the worst. Fighting, getting jumped for no reason or for whatever you have. You had your cowboys and jocks but don’t forget this is 1985-89 so you had cops, nazi skinheads, crips, bloods, Montelos, and a bunch of other gangs, drunk crazy fuckin tweekers and on top of all that you had to worry about punks, other skateboarders like team Jacks or s.a.p.s taking your shit so…. we traveled in packs.

3. Skate Bettys were a staple in the 80’s skate scene, did Fernley have quality Bettys?

Girls that like skateboarding are great ya know, but I love ALL the women.

Eruption. Jake Griffin photo.

4. What made you realize there was no need for rails anymore.

Partly when I started to get better at the things I was learning and fascinating about other things I could do without them. I looked at my board and saw more could be done with even less restrictions. Plus I heard guys like Gonz and Tommy Guerrero ditched them so you knew something new was on the horizon.

Fast Plant. Volland photo.

5. Who was your crew and when did you first start venturing out to Reno for skateboarding?

Some of the first cats I knew were from Fernley and Wadsworth areas, guys like Jack Yellow Hair, Jim and Chris Short, Erik Prater,  Mel Cornia, Chuck and Dustin Evens…Jack’s mother or my mother or father would drop us of at 395 ditch or U.N.R. and we would skate all day getting into shit and end up catching our rides back home at one of the malls on S. Virginia.  Shit, the squad runs…so many heads. Forgive any miss-spelled names. Spencer Benivides, Beau Bevier, Scott Brown, Toby Riley, John Ludwick,  Robbie Allen, Scott Waters, Scott Mcrae, Gershon Mosley, Greg Janess, Beau Shaver, Josh Stockwell, J.D. Pelto, Dirt Collins, Bobby Blake, Tim Loesch, Damon Watson, Mickey Featherstone, Mike Edwards, Danny G., Chris Erickson, Eric Sabastion, and I’m sure a few others I’m forgetting.

6. I wanted to ask you about the coralation between skateboarding and music, did you start skating or playing music first?

I started listening to my own music real young, it led me to playing. I was getting my first skateboards the same time I got a guitar around 85-86.

Heel Flip @ Verdi Dish. Volland photo.

7. Where did you get your first real board and your first guitar?

My first real board I had for like two days.. it was stolen from under a bush. The owner was was an older cat that later on became like an big brother. Other than that, soon after me and a my friend Mel went in on a board at the original World of Toys at Punk Lane Mall. Santa Cruz Clause Grabke 1986. We shared one pro model for like almost a year, learning how to ollie and boneless one and jump off the roof and cars and shit. 

First Guitar my grandmother and mother picked up for $99.00 at the J.C. Penny Outlet, it came with this little fuckin amp and my uncle would tune it for me.  I wanted to make the sounds happen that I was hearing on my tapes and records. Like grimy fuckin crunchy riffs ya know, so I’d down tune all the strings low to make it all nasty..dark and shit with fuzz. Like Misfits  Earth A.D. or something,.. took so long to just scratch the surface of  some of the sounds I love to create. I owe a lot to my family, that worked hard for my Sister, Brother and I.

FS Disaster @ Verdi Dish. Volland photo.

8. Damn, sharing a Pro board! That’s serious love right there. How much of Skate Rock had an influence on your playing or getting into music?

Man, Skate Rock and Thrasher  had and still have a sub-concience effect on me. That time period for me was so colourful, new, and exciting. It was just all so new and raw.  I was young and things were finding me verses me searching for them. Yes, a big impact on me. Listening to different styles of music while painting, skating, ect. can seemingly open unseen or forgotten doors in the mind. Creating  things while using others creations can help the flow, sometimes as much as totally clearing your mind can.

9. What were some of the early musical influences that you were listening to when you started playing?

The song “The Monster Mash”, “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow”  by The Rivingtons. Kiss, Black Sabbath, The Kinks, John Denver, The Beatles, Greek Music,…. then came Rich Kids on L.S.D., Exploited, D.K., Misfits, Death Angel, Sex Pistols,Thrasher Skate Rock comps., D.R.I., Slayer,ect.

On stage with Dean. Jake Griffin photo.

10. You’ve been in some pretty heavy and legendary underground bands. Tell me about  your  first band and some of  your  favorite shows.

I started playing with Jack Yellowhair in my room,  just thrashin out on a snare drum and a beat up out of tune guitar. Through various friends like my buddy James from Discipline/New blood I learned enough to explore my imagination leading up to my first real group playing shows under the name Bludgeon. We cut a 7″ and played a swarm of shows through 93-94. All those shows back then went done sick, all kinds of peeps would pull together, sxe, stoner, skateboarder, it didnt matter. You had guys who are true punk rockers that mix up in the rave scene that would bring lights, goth dudes that housed the club, skaters to build stages like ramps, sick crowds of all kinds of kids that would come from all over northern Nevada and California to hang out, talk, skate, mosh and stage dive with no to little rules. It was truly amazing times.

11. Breakdown the bands you were in from the start. You have  a lot of musical history here in Reno and I’d like the readers to know more about  your  journey.

Man, lets see…. 
killer Squids (kids dont know what they are doing) 86
Dead Goldfish (see above) 90
Bastard (metal/h.c.) 90
Bludgeon (metal/h.c.) 91-94
Gacy/601 (metal/h.c.) 95
Panzer (crust/power violence/metal) 95
Gehenna 95-current
MotherFuckinTittieSuckers (punk) 95
Gurilla (political S. American power violence) 96-98-current
Fog Spector  (acoustic graveyard folk) 98
Dealing With It (metal/Punk) 98
SangRaal (thrash metal) 99-current
Unified School District (hip hop) bass/guitar  appeared for a few tracks on “hacienda de acapulco” 99?
Discreet Doll Band (r&r/punk)99-current
Witch-Lord/Beyond the Grave (sludge/metal) 99-current
Teenage Life (acoustic punk)2000
Lewd Lucy & The Dumpster Babies (punk)2005
Witch-Cat (electro noir) 2006-current
Penetration panthers (punk/goth/electo) 2008-current
Killed By Death (punk covers) 2011-current 
who knows whats next mang…..

Get there! Jake Griffin photo.

12. Gehenna was and is a beast. Care to talk about some of the more notorious shows?

Gehenna… we are playing shows, touring, we will be out in Baltimore this January playing with Eyehategod and our long time allies Integrity. Also, we are working on our new album entitled “RAWWAR”, we have had the title for years and the world is at a stage now fitting for this record.  Shows have been great too man, the cult is strong.

13. Seeing you play music all these years, there’s a definite correlation to the style of music you play and your skating. Describe the  outlet you get from making/playing music and when you skate.

I feel connected to the source of all things when I’m in those states of mind,…. playing music, skating, painting ect. its like i’m half here planted on earth and the other part is being guided by some cosmic forces letting the universe do it’s work with me so to speak. To give in a positive or truthful way will only in turn make you such things.  I can really get off on music and skateboarding, it’s amazing. All though I do feel one should let go of things of youth gracefully, that does not mean you can’t find new and refreshing things to replace them, see what i’m saying?

BS Flip at the 395 Ditch. Volland photo.

14. Agreed, youth is a treasure that people seem to runaway from at a certain point in life. What is some music that lights you up lately?

Man, seems like stuff just finds me at the right times in my life. The last few years have been good in the search for different sound. I really like a lot of heavy low-fi electronic stuff like White Ring from NY. and Modern Witch from the Netherlands are fucking amazing. I like OooOoo, Mater Suspiria Vision, Holy Other, Grill Grill, Glass Candy, Gatekeeper, fuckin Juicu J., and a shit tone of others. As far as guitar driven stuff, it’s been a lot of the same shit I love…  Bauhaus, SIXX, Cat Party, Sisters of Mercy, Bolt Thrower, Slint, Gehenna, Judge, M.O.D. for U.S.A., Black Flag, K.B.D. punk, Blonde Redhead, and a bunch of others stuff. I guess I’m more drawn towards music with attitudes that are aligned with mine. 

BS Grab into Afterburner Alley. Volland photo.

15. Music is like a puzzle that finds you in life. I couldn’t live a blissful life without it. With all of the touring you have under your belt, what was some of your favorite cities/countries you’ve skated?

Ahh..everywhere! I’ve been blessed enough to play and skate in some beautiful and eclectic places. The streets and hills of Greece, Bridges and skateparks of Prague Chez., back alleys and ramps in Amsterdam, Metal vert ramps in Virginia, pushin with  Beau Shaver and my crew through Paris with Tom Penny, the rest stops of Utah, the red clay transitions at Arches National park, San Jose parking lot with Spencer and Gershon, The walk ways of the Roman Coliseum, Ditches of New Mexico at sun set, epic pools, streets and parks of Phoenix, Las Vegas Strip wasted as sin, 293, Derby ditch slid and rolls in Santa Cruz, sun rise at Idlewild, The flat rails and smooth streets of Geneva Switzerland, Back yard ramps and amazing streets of Austin Tx., San Francisco Ca. with the hills, and streets, Original EMB in 93 with small ass wheels, Love Park at 3:30 a.m. cold as fuck, Schools of Costa Mesa with Muska and Smolik,  trollin with Toby and Shaver at the most classic of killer spots in San Diego, riding high in Portland, Chicago winds, all up and down the best coast to Greek islands….under the Reno Arch with some of my favorite peeps just to name a few.

16. You’ve been blessed to see the world in such a creative manner. Who were you inspired by in Reno through skating?

It was mostly the dudes I skated with or saw around me. Like Jack Yellowhair, Scott Brown, Scott Mcrae, I was pretty blown away the first time I went to “The Hood Ramp”. It was sick man, later on I started to hear some of the names of some of these older cats who were a few years up in the game killin it back then, very cool to see. Dudes like Danny G., Mike Huntsman, Brian Fralick, Steve O, Rob Hostetter, Ron Rash, Beau Bevier, Randy Barr, Shit….. Colin Grover, Toby Riley, Chris Pool, Scott Brown. Sick man!  

FS Rock. Volland photo.

17. What is your favorite Reno band?

I don’t really have one I guess, Cathedral Ghost, Spiting Image, and The Indoors are some groups that are making things happen right now. Some pretty tight DJ’s around town right now, I mean shit Reno could be the next Berkeley if the community could come together tighter. There is so much happening with music, art, dance, alternative, vegetarin foods, graf, yoga, ect, ect. We have a very, very, strong creative scene in Reno, for some reason we always have.  I feel some day people will flock here from all over, even more so than now to be a part of the freedom of expression and creative force these regions have always churned out. We live in a truly gorgeous place.

Boneless @ 395 Ditch. Volland photo.

18. Reno has always had such a beautiful possibility to explode, it’s happening slowly. What’s up lately with your music and skating? It seems like you always have a lot going down.

 I’ve got to stay busy creating and giving, do the best work inside and out that I can. Been out taking flicks with Jake Griffin and Kyle Volland. Filming with Juan Fool, Representing for Classic Skate Shop, Vegan/Vegetarian/Raw foods at Pneumatic (skater owned). 
  The Penetration Panthers are playing shows and our  7″ is available now on A389 records out of Baltimore. We are currently putting the finishing slaps on our first full length album so we are stoked about that. Gehenna are playing shows and doing small tours with a new record in the works. Witch-Lord debut 12″ record is out now on A389 as well, if you like heavy ultra-slow-low-sabbath-sludge style check it out. Mike Apocalypse and myself have been fuckin with some dark, tripped, psychedelic, electronic beats, and styles that will drop soon tentatively called “Witch-Apocalypse”….. so yea, we got some new shit comin at yall. 

Gap to tailslide. Volland photo.

19. Thanks for your time Dean, I appreciate what you do. How can you not? One of Reno’s true OGs and still handling business. It’s inspiring and just plain fucking cool to see you pushing the boundaries of life and happiness. Anyone out there you want to drop a shout out to?
In no order, my Mother and Father, my Family, Toby Riley, Jack Yellowhair, Jim & Chris Short, Erik Prater, Mel Cornia, Chuck Evens, Rob Hostetter, Eric Svare, Danny G, Denny Franchini, Rob Roy, Kevin Cox, Spencer B, Tony Hospital, Gershon Mosely, John Ludwick, Brandon G, Darnelle, Jevelle, D Starkey, Coia, Beau Shaver,  Jimmy, Beau Halverson, Shawn Dickerman, Beau Bevier,  Scott Brown, Scott Waters, Mike Hubert,  Lee, Joey P, Flip Nasty, Ben Bledsoe, Kevin and Nick, Mark Melin, Ouchoe, Oink, Jamie Hustle, Rob, Jake Mutha Fuckin’ Griffin, Joe Rock, Neil B, Worms, Boyd and Josh Turner, Big Gary R., Hotel Idlewild, lil Piss, Gingerbear, M.K., Josh and Claude, Greg Janess, Kearney, Max Alonzo, Mike Edwards, Christian Erickson, Mickey, Lonny Impossible, Randy Barr, Ralph, Brian S, Damon and Levi Watson, Sean Stringfellow, Eric Lantto, John Gertz, Dave Maine,  Doug H. Nut, Mob Action, Kathy Griffin, Kyle Volland, Mike Huntsman, Rick Fisher, Brian Medley, Dirt, CHZ, Chunky Salsa, Randy, 2tight, Scott Saturday, Shane, Scotty C., Pringle, and the rest of PHX., Dom A389, S.O.D.C., all my band mates, and anyone I forgot, you know im down wit cha. There’s  just soooo many rad people and all those that believe in love, fun, and creating the posititve change they want the world to become. Thanks for taking the time.

Broke not Broken

Hot weather equals a hot temper on occasion. Hockey tempers flare and next thing you know you’re looking down at the board you just focused. A quick stomp and that’s that, broken board. Probably one of the greatest marketing ploys in skateboarding was showing Pros at the time focusing their boards. One by one, all of us started doing it. I’ve seen friends focus boards because the grip got tore up or landing primo and smashing them into the ground. All in all the very act is senseless but, a great way to release the frustrations that come with skateboarding. I’ve seen less fortunate skaters beg others not to break an otherwise perfect condition board.

When you’re a young buck you focus your board because you trying to learn a new trick and it’s just not happening. When you get older you smash your board because your losing the tricks you used to have on lock. It’s ironic because it’s never the boards fault. It’s us who didn’t flip it right, catch it right, or land it right.  Greg Janess, Daryl Dibattista, Scott Waters, Justin Hay-Chapman, Kelly Haugen, Dean Christopher, and Spencer Benavides had some real melt downs back in the day. 

My absolute favorite person to watch get mad was Toby Riley. He would never break or throw his board out of anger. He would however punch himself in the face and head repeatedly. After all, it wasn’t his boards fault he was missing the trick. I’ve always related it to the old saying “A good mechanic never blames his tools”.  Although I can guarantee there are some mechanics that have thrown a tool out of anger. It is temporary satisfaction and a release that can’t be duplicated. Here’s to all our broken boards from days past and the ones in the near future that met an unexpected early retirement. You deserved better but, we love you all the same. -ERL

Life Span is questionable.

Toby Riley

Every city, town, or crew has that one guy who makes an impression on a skateboard. There’s the guy who’s conquered the biggest gap, switch back tailed some rail, or has a laundry list of tricks at the gnarliest spots. Then there’s the guy who shows up from time to time that all the young bucks ask, “Who’s that?”.  Toby Riley has been steadily killing it in Reno over 25 plus years. He’s always had that Julien Stranger vibe and style without trying to have that style at all. I’ve heard the new generation of guys ask “who’s that?” just seeing him ollie  a hip at the park. I always reply, “That’s Toby Riley.” with a smile. Watching Toby skate will do that to you, this is his Wheel Bite interview. -ERL

1. What’s good Toby? I see you stop by Mira Loma from time to time. Where are you skating at these days?

Good – a funny word when you look at it. Good is friends, family, and times, my top three. I have been blessed with all three of them. And that answers the next question as well. I’m skating wherever sounds fun to ride, there being everywhere, and most importantly wherever my dogs are! GRRRRRRR!!!


FS Ollie. Volland photo.

2. In the beginning what made you decide to start skating? Who was your first crew you learned the basics with?

The open canvas that it was at that time, 1985, street skating was being created every day. So everything, everything was being skated and nothing had a label or proper technique. It was too awesome, wild, colorful, and fuckin’ rockin’ out of control. Such a great break from other sports, with so many rules, it’s hard to have fun. Only rule in skateboarding: FUN.

3. It was a big deal back in the day to have a Pro board. Did you start off with a used good board or a new generic board?

My friend Robbie Jackson gave me an Action Sports that I had pimped the grip job checker board. Rode that a couple of months, then he kicked down his Skull Skates Dave Hackett, Grim Reaper in front of skulls, grey. I threw on the XR-2 trucks and two tone wheels and it was over!


Back foot. Volland photo.

4. Who was the first skater you saw in the mags that you looked up to and why?

There are a couple of firsts, Mark Gonzales and Hosoi. Hosoi was blasting ten foot methods and Gonz was writing the book on creativity. Aggression, speed, and creativity was what it was. Having fun while crushing shit to pieces, peacefully!


5. Damn, those two should be on everyone’s list! What was your first experience like at 293? 

Desolate, and quiet. My friend Justin Hay Chapman and I were one of the first. We followed the tracks and skated 292 long before 292. We went to 293 because to the right of the dock was a bank and we did early grabs off of it. Fuckin’ wicked ass judo airs!

Big snaps. Nice flick. Volland photo.

Big snaps. Nice flick. Volland photo.

6. Back in the 293 days when everyone was vibing everything you seemed to be just the opposite. You were always having fun skating and cool to everyone. How was it in the early days of 293?

By then skating in Reno had grown enough to have different crews, groups of friends, and whatever the fuck little some had, have, or whatnot. Mix that with the first D.I.Y. skatepark in Reno and BAM, here come the ego based drama and yada yada. All I wanted to do was hang out and skate all the ramps etc everyone brought and have fun. You can learn a lot from mixing with different crews, styles, colors, if you put your egos aside. Big responsibility and lesson in anarchy and human behavior. First spot and only spot in Reno at that time to skate without getting fucked withand we fucked ourselves. End of spot.

Tre Bomb. Volland Photo.

Tre Bomb. Volland Photo.

7. 293 was a blessing. Most of the newer skatepark generation never skated there, how would you describe 293 to these guys?

It would be like having full control over “the ice rink” pad. Bring ramps, wood, etc and build some new obstacles and have nobody really care, once we talked to the only business nearby at Denny’s Dependable Automotive. Keep it looking clean, regulate yourselves, and like Digital Underground said “Do Watcha Like”!!!

A hard to hit ollie at Fisherman's. Volland photo.

A hard to hit ollie at Fisherman’s. Volland photo.

8. Bombing the hill from your house to downtown was some memorable skate days. What were your regular spots when people were still street skating?

Originally the First Interstate Bank at the bottom of 7th Street with Fred Schultz, Mike Herman, the Lewis Brothers, Jay Nietto, Chris Ghardella, my 8th grade crew. Then hit the bumps and hotel/motel bumps on 4th street. Then downtown, alleys, Pioneer Theater, Circus blocks, Straw Hat alley, the market under Silver Legacy curbs, Pioneer Inn Casino blocks, Court House green bars, the Gauntlet, Saint Marys’s steps, ALL of UNR, the long red curb, the OG double set, Lawlor walls forever, 7th Street ditch, K-Mart ditch, and the phantom Fountain of Youth. Can’t mention any current spots – top secret meccas.

Switch ollie. Volland photo.

Switch ollie. Volland photo.

9. You eventually started getting hooked up in Reno. Who was your first sponsor?

Shop sponsor, World of Toys through Ben Dixon, great person. He had connections though being a skater for years and working at the shop. He got me shop deals with Santa Cruz.

Ollie for the Sinclair Homies. Volland photo.

Ollie for the Sinclair Homies. Volland photo.

10. How did the Consolidated thing come about?

Consolidated formed from OG memebers of Santa Cruz, Keenan, Jason Jessee, Birdo, Moish, etc. A foot in the door from Ben and from Jason Jessee got me on Consolidated. The original line up was the Paez brothers, Doug Saenz, Allen Peterson, Karma, and Andy Roy. One of those dream scenarios. There were differences with Keenan, everyone else was gold. Next was a friend Ozzy Alvarez, he started Human Skateboards. I hung out in San Diego, thanks Ozzy, Peter at Pacific Drive, Greg Janess, my box roomates, Dennis Vierra, Tommy Budjanek, “Rickaholik”, Eric L, Ben Dixon, and Caine Gayle for the San Diego hospitality. It was a great experience. My last was Enemy Skateboards and the 50-50 Board Shop and Out of Bounds.

Japan. Griffin Photo.

Japan. Griffin Photo.

11. I miss SD everyday! In all of your travels, what are some of your favorite cities to skate?

Any city or town you roll into for the first time. Anywhere, anytime. Also San Francisco during the EMB period, we’d drive down and sleep in the car for the weekend. 90-94. It was the epicenter at that time, and got to witness some serious business first hand. Also I like the roughness of good ole Reno, not the best but, it’s what ya make of ‘er. 

Backside Style. Griffin photo.

Backside Style. Griffin photo.

12. What is it about Reno that has always spawned such a solid skate scene?

Reno, the roughness and smallness of it all. Shit will come back around, very small. Makes you kind of man-up  for your actions and whatnot. Leaves you with consequences for your actions, you really see who people are after the fact. That and the fact that it started out everyone hating skateboarders, so you didn’t really have a choice but to unite a little more. Now days every little shit head wants to be a “skater dude”.

Snaps Down Town. Griffin photo.

Snaps Down Town. Griffin photo.

13. Yeah, skating is so accepted now. Too accepted! From when you first started rolling to now, who are the guys that you looked up to?

Peter Chiu, Phil, Boozer Daily, Rob Hostetter, Pat Weiss, Eric Svare, Danny G, Denny Franchini, Rob Roy, Kevin Cox, Spencer B, Tony Hospital, Fred Shulty, Gershon Mosely, John Ludwick, Dean Christopher, Brandon G, Darnelle, Jevelle, D Starkey, Coia, Beau Shaver, John Cardiel, Wade Speyer, Jimmy, Beau Halverson, Shawn Dickerman, Beau Bevier, Lee Pottle, Tyree, Scott Waters, Scott B, Mike H, Mike Langley, Lee, Joey P, Richie, Flip Nasty, Mike Hubert, Ben Bledsoe, Kevin and Nick, Mark Melin, Ouchoe, Oink, Jamie Hustle, Rob, Jake Mutha Fuckin’ Griffin, Joe Rock, Neil B, Worms, Dills, Boyd and Josh Turner, Josh and Claude, Greg Janess, Kearney, Max Alonzo, Mike Edwards, Christian Erickson, Rhodes, Lonny Impossible, Randy Barr, Ralph Parks, Brian S, Damon and Levi Watson,  Eric Lantto, John Gertz, Dave Maine, Austin and McKenna, Doug H. Nut, Kelsey Page, Sara &  Shelby & Ciera Herman, and all the hungry lil’ tigers I see with a good attitude. 

Slide up and out. Volland photo.

Slide up and out. Volland photo.

14. Hell yes, Reno crew! How long have you been skating Indys Toby?

Since about 1990. About 21 years or so….had to try out the rest before I found the best. Everything from Rannali, Gull Wing Super Pro III, Thunder Salamanders, Venture, until one day….

Melon. Volland photo.

Melon. Volland photo.

15. I know you are a real busy guy. What’s a typical week like for you and how do you balance skating into the madness?

I do a lot of running around for the restaurant, Pneumatic Diner.  I usually bring the ole board with me and take advantage of a half hour here on the way to get produce or hour there a few times a week. I love it like the first day, it has saved my life, endangered my life, and I will always be riding so long as I can stand up. It keeps me grounded in a crazy world that would have otherwise made me crazy.

4th Street slider. Volland photo.

4th Street slider. Volland photo.

16. Thanks for taking time out for this Toby. Break down any thanks, shout outs, and all that.

Thanks to those who let it happen, Moms and Pops!! Letting me use power tools from 10+ and teaching me how to use them to build ramps all over the yard and house and letting me skate all day and night. Couldn’t have happened without Charles or Sherry!

Welcome to the Jungle video.

Thanks to Jake Griffin and Kyle Volland for the great photos.


The one thing all of us have in common as skateboarders is just that, skateboarding. From the new kid learning to drop in to the guy waiting for him to move so he can get at it. The amazing passion it takes to truly love skating has no age limits. Given that, we took two skaters from two different generations of skateboarding and asked them identical questions for Wheel Bite. Check out what Dean Christopher and Glenn Medrano had to say. -ERL

1. What was your first experience that made you interested in getting a skateboard?

Dean- It may sound strange but I really liked this TV show called “The Fall Guy” with Lee majors. It followed the wild life of a professional stunt man. So that’s what I wanted to be, spent a lot of time crashing my bike in to curbs, until I saw a kid in my class ride standing up on a skateboard and I knew I needed to crash around on one of those.

Kickflip at the river.

Glenn- A friend in Wyoming, we would snowboard together and he said I should try to skateboard. I was hooked!


2. At what point did you realize you didn’t want to be a skater, you knew you were?

Dean- I never thought about it since the first two years of me starting out I was all I knew. There were others but I didn’t meet them until I was already jumping off cars. When I did meet others that skated I realized for myself that skateboarding was more like painting a picture than playing a sport. I wanted to have adventures with friends, like an outlaw gang or something.

Glenn- It was when I got my first sponsor, Soldier 15, after he started hooking me up it was all over. Nothing else mattered I would be on the baseball field thinking shit, day dreaming about doing tricks!

3. Who was the first Pro that hyped you so much you wanted their Pro Model?

Dean- Cliche but Tommy Guerrero, Mark Gonzales, Natasha, and later Matt Hensley.

Glenn- Kareem Campbell.

4. Who’s board did you have the most of?

Dean- Natas for sure from 85-89.

Wallride to fakie.

Glenn- Any board. I was not picky and kinda broke so… a lot of blanks or shop decks.

FS Noseslide Downtown Reno

5. What was the first Skate Video you owned?

Dean- A copied VHS tape that had Santa Cruz “Streets On Fire” and Powell Peralta “Axe Rated”.

Glenn- Southside Skate Video, it’s an indoor shop in Texas.

6. If you are going to put on a video or someone’s specific part to get hyped, what do you watch?

Dean- Dang…. any Real video, Thrashers “Beers, Bowls and Barnys, Flip “Sorry”, Foundation “Art Bars”, and many videos from the 80’s-90’s and tons of music!

Glenn- Umm… “Diagonal” the Adidas vid or anything that has good music. Haha music makes me hyped more than the skating sometimes.

7. What is your all time favorite Skate Video?

Dean- H Street “Shackle Me Not” and “Hocus Pocus” as well as Blind “Video Days”. All three have the best innovative skating, cinematography and music in my opinion.

Layback Grind. Photo by Huntsman.

Glenn- Transworld “First Love”.

Blast Mode

8. Who was the first Pro Skateboarder you encountered?

Dean- 1988 a hip ramp contest at Reno Fair Grounds. All kinds of Pros were there, but Cory O’Brien blew me away. He was destroying this ramp, purple hair, tight black jeans and his own black Pro Model shirt! Attitude for days. Man, I was shocked when this dude went bezerk and started throwing his board. I had never seen anyone abuse their skateboard out of anger and frustration before…powerfull!

Glenn- I was at UC Davis skating the 8 rail with some friends, and Brandon Biebel, Stefan Janoski, and Silas Baxter Neal showed up with Jeff Landi and Chris Ray. We skated there with them for hours and everyone got a clip with Ray Ray, it was amazing. Brandon’s nollie crooky monster and Stefan’s fakie 5-0 was crazy. I don’t remember what I did or any of my friends did, but we had a lot of fun doing it. Haha!

9. What do you think is the worst trend in skateboarding?

Dean- Greed.

Glenn- Only skating handrails, it’s skateboarding, it’s not limited to what you can skate. And pushing mongo!

10. What year did you start skating?
Dean- 1984.

Glenn- 2001 or 2002.

11. Thanks for taking time out to get down with these questions. To wrap it up, what does skateboarding mean to you?

Dean- An open invitation and opportunity for freedom of expression, originality, self exploration, self realization and creativity.  I feel it’s only as deep as you are, YOU MAKE IT WHAT YOU WANT IT TO BE….

Skateboarding. Photo by Huntsman.

Glenn- Getting together with friends and shredding the streets with a big ass smile on your face! Haha thanks Eric!

FS Flip

Catching up with Scott Waters

I first met Scott Waters as the guy who I thought stole a spine ramp from our skate spot in Fallon NV. Weird way to meet a guy who would end up a good friend. As the years went by and I skated 293, I got to know him better and we became good friends. It was only a matter of time until his skating got him noticed in the skateboard industry. I still skate with Scott to this day and his skills are as sharp as ever. I recently sat down with him to start the interview process and Kyle Volland came through with the photos. Check out www.skatenv.com for Scott’s sequences. To start the Wheel Bite Blog off, here is Reno’s own Scott Waters. -ERL

1. Scott, what year did you start skating and what was your get first real set up? I had a Sears special back in the 5th grade, but didn’t really start skating until the summer before 7th grade.  I  wanna say that was 1988.  My first real set up was a Bill Danforth with Indys, and OJ’s.

2. I know you skated Sparks a lot at first, who were you skating with at the beginning? In the beginning I was just skating with my firend Brian who got me into skateboarding.  Then he moved away and I was skating with Chris Siedler, Sean Stringfellow, Beau Bevier, Blake, Josh Stockwell, Steve Galicia, Jason Inman, Brian Medley, Spencer Benavides.  Sometimes Boozer and his crew would roll by to skate my launch ramp and just destroy it.  Those guys were doing all the cool stuff back then the rest of us would watch and then try all of their tricks when they left.  Later on the Sparks crew I chilled out with was pretty steady with Dean Christopher, Spencer Benavides, Tim Leosch, Josh Stockwell, Rob Allen, and Scott Brown who was way ahead of his time and seriously underrated.
3. What pros were inspiring you at the time? What made them stand out to you?  I was a big fan of Frankie Hill because he was doing stuff that was mind blowing at the time and Steve Caballero because he had the smooth style.  Kris Markovich and Sean Sheffey around the time of the A1 Meats Video and Soldiers Story (1991) got me really stoked because they both skated so fast.
4. When 293 hit, you were a local. That was a great time in Reno skating. When did you start getting hooked up?  Yeah, 293 was awesome.  I was more of a local there during its second  coming after the roof was gone.  We used to skate that place everyday for hours.  I remember teams that were on tour would always end up there so it wasn’t all that uncommon to see sponsored skaters show up to skate.  My first sponsor was World of Toys (thanks Ben) which was back in 1992.  Then I got sponsored by Simple Shoes and Venice Clothing which was a funny company run by some OG type guys out of Venice Beach, but they were really cool and hooked me up pretty fat.  Gershon helped me with both of those two hook ups.

FS Tail Slide to Fakie

5. You started to stack up quite a few sponsors, what were some companies you rode for?  I rode for G&S, Standard Trucks, NC Board Shop, Pacific Drive Board Shop, Duffs Shoes, Venture Trucks, Chikara/Red Line/Competition Wheels, I was on GullWing for a minute, Simple Shoes, Human Skateboards, Republic Skateboards, New Deal, Flow from Vita Shoes, Flow from NC Clothing….I know I am missing something.  You have been there with me most of the way, I am sure you can add something I forgot…oh yeah, and MadKap Skateboards.

6. Did you get to get on any tours? Yeah, I got to go on a few.  I did a US tour with Republic which was awesome.  It was Ozzy Alvarez, Johnny Fonseca, Paul Zitzer, Tommy Bujanec, Ricky Dixon, Billy Joe Yarbourough, and Me.  We got into all kinds of trouble in every city we visited.  I remember sleeping at a rest stop in Florida or something on the floor of the tour van because we spent all of the tour money at a club.  I did a South West Tour with Human and Enemy Skateboards.  Gershon, Tommy, Patrick Melcher, Preston, Me, and a couple of others.  On that trip is when I met Steve-O.  At a party after a demo he taught me how to blow fireballs with rubbing alcohol.  I accidentally caught his hair on fire…bad night for him I guess.  I did a few other smaller trips to demos for Venture, Human, Duffs, Chikara, etc.  I had a lot of fun on the Vegas trip for the Chikara demo with you, Janess, Caine, and Peter from PD.

7. What were some of your favorite photo shoots? It seems like a lot of pressure might hit when your at a shoot.  I always liked shooting with Atiba and Pete Thompson.  Both those guys are really chill and don’t put a lot of pressure on you.  I remember my first shoot with Atiba, I was so nervous because the trick (Heel Shuv for a Republic Ad) was taking me a little while.  After a while it got to the point where I didn’t feel the pressure as much, but it was always there.  Sometimes the pressure was a good thing and made me do stuff that I normally wouldn’t.  I liked having you, Ozzy or Caine around to push me in those situations.  Gershon was also was a huge inspiration was good at helping me focus when I would go into freak out mode if I couldn’t make a trick I was trying to film or shoot a pic of.  The craziest photo shoot I remember was the ad I had lip sliding the 12 stair City College rail in SD.  I flew down from Reno, and right off the plane Ozzy took me there.  I looked at it and thought “no way”.  I had never done a rail bigger than 6-7 stairs.  I went over to the little 6 stair rail on the other side and skated it for a while.  I remember learning lip slides that day on the 6 stair and Ozzy just looked at me and said “cool, now go do it on the big rail”.  I am not one to be called out so I said “Ok”.  Went over there and did it in about 4-5 tries.  I remember being so stoked.  Now that I think about it, Ozzy did that type of thing to me on every trip I took to SD back then.

360 flip.

8. You were pretty damn close to getting a Pro Model on Republic. After Republic, how did the Mad Cap deal go down? Yeah, I was really bummed when Republic got closed down.  I really felt like we had a good team and a lot of momentum at the time with the Marketing and Design work you were doing, and of course the timing was really bad as far as me getting a board out.  After Republic, Mark Oblow and Caine helped me get on New Deal, which kind of went away when they fired the Team Manager that put me on.  I think Spencer put me in contact with the guys at MadKap.  Those guys were very cool and I really dug what they were trying to do.  They decided that they wanted to put out a board for Spencer and Me which was cool.  I still have one of my boards, but wish I had one of Spencer’s.  I wish I could find the Republic board that had me and Ricky Dixon’s name on it, but that is doubtful.
9. What’s a day in the life of Scott Waters looking like these days? Well, now I manage an IT department, am married and have 4 kids, so I am pretty busy.  I generally work M-F and train in Muay Thai, Brazillian JuiJitsu, and Taekwondo 3-4 days a week.  I coach my kids soccer, baseball, etc teams.  I try to skate as often as I can.  A typical day is a combo of some or all of those things.
10. Any advice to some of the up and coming skaters in Reno? You seem to have a pretty solid blue print. Enjoy the ride, it is over quicker than you think.  The times that you may complain about now, you will look back on with fondness.  Be nice to people you encounter and don’t have fun at their expense.  My biggest regret is that I wasn’t as cool to people as I should have been when I was younger.  As far as the skateboard end of things, I think all of the above applies and just keep the creativity flowing.

Blunt in a tight spot.

11. Thanks for your time Scott! Want to drop any Props or Shout Outs? If so, nows the time buddy. Yes, I would like to thank the following people for their support throughout my skateboarding adventures:  My Mom and Sister, Selena, you (Eric Lantto), Scott Brown, Dean Christopher, Ozzy Alvarez, Josh Stockwell, Beau Bevier, Gershon Mosley, Caine Gayle, Jim Gray, Mark Oblow, Ludwick, Ricky Bedenbaugh, Greg Janess, Ben Dickson, Keith Allen, Alex and Adrianne at NC Board Shop, and Classic Skate Shop. If I forgot you, sorry…just know I appreciate everyone.