Tag Archives: sodc


Despite how hard Beau’s departure hit all of us, today is a day to remember what we had in the most unique and loving person I ever had in my life. Reno hasn’t been and will never be the same. Memories are razor sharp and when that’s all you have, consider it a gift. We get together and keep the spirit alive and well. I am thankful to all my friends I have in my life to share your memory. Bear hugs, cig breath, Sinclair ridiculousness, and that smile. The sun was shining bright today brother, thank you. Happy Birthday. You are Loved. Live4Die4. -ERL





Ramblin’ Man Spencer Benavides Words and Stills.

Spencer is one of the few people I know who I’ll never wonder why he quit skating. By every definition of the term, he is a lifer. I always liked the tricks he did and how he incorporated fun into every session. Even the “temper tantrum can’t land this trick sessions” he’d smile through a meltdown or make fun of himself. Opinionated has always been a way to describe him as well. I’ve never seen him back down when he believes in something. You have to respect a straight shooter when you’ve got scars instead of comprise. Throughout almost 30 years of skating, Spencer was a no brainer for the next Wheel Bite interview. We could use some Spencer from 1988-2005 to pull some of these kids cards these days. On that note, off we go. -ERL

1. What’s up Spencer, what’s your take on the skate scene these days? It’s a bit of a mess.

It’s pretty bitchin’, kids rip harder than ever, videos are a lot more diverse and people seem to be more well rounded. I really wish kids would stop calling anything with transition vert. Vert is short for vertical, look that shit up.

2. “I mostly skate vertical at Idlewild.” That’s so bad! What does Reno Skateboarding mean to you?

Friends, family, love, loss, success and failure. A different story for every corner downtown. Lifelong friendships and some of the best and worst events in my life. Try, try, try and try.



3. Well said, the best memories have been on the wooden toy. What is your favorite time period since you first started skating?

I have very vivid memories of Greg St. banks sessions and a few sessions at Skinny’s ramp that were amazing, when MK first found 293, the skate jams at the fair grounds, skating EMB and the marble benches in their prime… all of this happened between the late 80’s and early 90’s so I guess that would be it. A lot changed in a very short time, skateboarding died, skateboarders seized control of their own industry, vert really died, H Street made skating so raw and powerful and skipped the bullshit. I didn’t have time to watch stupid ass skits and videos aimed at 5 year olds, I wanted to see front foot impossible fakies on banks, backside grabs over crazy shit, flip tricks over The Gonz… real shit.

4. It was rough that vert died and retired so many dudes in their prime. “Punk is out rap is in” When did you first start skating around?

When I was around 7 a kid up the street brought his skateboard over to our house, as soon as I stood on it I did a Charley Chaplin to backside skull bongo on the sidewalk (smashed my head), I was in love. Next thing I knew I was scouring the neighborhood looking for my friends boards just laying out in their yards, I’d take it, go skate it and then put it back and go home in time for dinner. My mom wouldn’t get me a skateboard for a while but, I kept the nagging up and finally got a Street Surfer from Big 5 for my birthday. My cousins Jeff and Danny Cronin ripped and I looked up to them. They told me they’d put a cool shape on my board (back then shape really mattered) so I left it with them. I didn’t see that board again for a long time so I went back to stealing my buddies unattended boards and returning them until X-Mas 1986. My mom got me a Vision Gator with Indy’s, Kryptonic Wheels, NMB Bearings, Madrid Rails and a Powell Nose Bone and Tail Bone. Once I unwrapped that thing it was on… still going.

Gator, State Fair, 293, and fully padded ollies.

Gator, State Fair, 293, and fully padded ollies.

5. When you get hooked, it’s a hell of a ride. Keep it rolling! What was some of your spots you Sparks kids skated at?

Sparks was at the end of my street holmes, before I could venture out too far Sak N’ Save was it but, then they built the apartments at the end of my street (Pequop) and there were red curbs galore in that place, I met Kevin Vandersypen (R.I.P.) there when he first moved to town, he’d always give me Rebel Skates stickers and shirts, true ripper! Later on I started skating Arctic Circle and ShopKo and also K Mart had the super fun downhill curbs, Parkside Gardens with Chris Williamson, he had a bitchin’ launch ramp and they had tons of red curbs you could set up all crazy. Ben Dixon took me to the Sullivan Ditch for the first time, the stage at Sparks middle was a fun spot, all the cool older kids from Sparks Middle would skate there after school, Sunday Curbs in downtown Sparks was Scott Waters stomping grounds, we put some hours on that spot. Skating downtown Reno back then for me was serious business, I think I was about 12 the first time I got to skate it, Jason Bartlett and Mark Schuler had to meet with my mom and tell her they’d look after me. Hahahaha!

6. That’s a good Mom! Think about all the shit moms dropping off their brats at the skate park alone. Hey, did you ever groove? That was one of my favorite means of income.

For those who don’t know, grooving was taking clear packing tape and putting about a foot long tail hanging off a dollar bill. You insert the dollar into a soda/snack/stamp machine while holding onto the tail and as soon as the money registered you pulled it back out. You got the change and whatever soda/candy/stamp you pushed. That shit fed and funded many, many friends and skate trips back in the day. We had groove spots just like skate spots, you didn’t tell people where they were and you took care of your spot, only empty the whole thing out if you weren’t coming back for a while. It’s hard to believe how long it took them (the vending machine guys) to get hip to it. I didn’t do it as much as most of my friends (some of whom gained crazy record collections, got arrested, got kicked out of Nevada etc..) but, I had some really big heavy pants a few times. Plus, it’s incredibly funny paying for $30.00 worth of gas with quarters, dimes and nickels while you’re wearing size 54 waist pants and you weigh a buck twenty. God damn we were assholes.

Kick the boot.

Kick the boot.

7. What shop did you guys hang at? Everyone had one to lurk at for hours.

At first World Of Toys in Park Land Mall had the TV in the window and always had Streets On Fire playing so the planter in front of it was always packed with kids waiting to go skate Mayfare dock and 1 Hour Photo. Then they moved to Meadowood Mall. Excell was a little bit of a hangout but, mostly the pizza place next door was better. After a while this guy Mike opened up Bikes And Boards across from Hug High and that was super fun because it was close to my house and there were some heated sessions behind the shop because it was smooth and they had little manual pads and he sold uncut blank decks. You just traced whatever board on the wall you liked (Fishlips, H Street, Zorlac etc.) and cut it out, sanded it and skated it. After he closed down I started going to Meadowood more because Ben Dixon was working at World Of Toys, you could bum around for change and food till it was cool enough to skate in the evening. It’s ridiculous how much time we spent at that mall. Then Eric introduced me to Lisa and Allen at Addiction and they became like my second family. Eventually we moved Addiction downtown (where Sierra Tap House is now) and that was super fun in the summer but, we didn’t last too long. Not an ideal spot, just like my shop 50 50. Bummer spot means bummer sales.

8. I remember the zero days or the $30 days, brutal times man. What board did you have the most of in a row? Was there a Pro board that had you hooked?

At first I was all about Gator but, once I started really learning about concave and shapes and control I didn’t really hang on to any one deck. H Streets were on lock for a while with the Hell Concave bit. I guess the only board I consistently had a bunch of was the Think Flame Tag board, the shape just ruled for me. After about 12 years old, names stopped really meaning anything to me, function over fashion. The last time I rode a board because of the name on it was probably 1988 or 89. I’m always hyped to see a friends name on a board but, I don’t ride 8.5 boards, dig?

Momma said knock you out?

Momma said knock you out?

9. I see a bigger board in your future, you can’t ride minis for much longer! You and a lot of our friends were nailed to the X, what was the straight edge allure?

I saw from a young age what alcohol could do to someone and it made me hate it. All the kids I grew up with had some violent bullshit going on at home and booze was always involved. Around 8th grade I got way into Minor Threat. I didn’t know anyone that was into the sXe scene, it was just kind of my own thing. Around 9th grade my homie Dean started digging on it too and we heard Reno had a sXe band called Discipline so we made a point to see them. It was weird and cool to meet other kids that shared the same thoughts on drugs and booze, it was pretty rare back then. It didn’t take too long to see that it could also be used as a tool to be an asshole and get up in some shit just like the jocks and nazis that used to beat my ass. I did have great friends and the days of Left Hand Studios, Casa Margaritas, Fallout Shelter, Heritage Hall, The Tumbleweed and The Ice House were amazing but, after a while sXe was just an idea and way of living that was mine and didn’t involve anyone but me. I didn’t drink until I was 26. I still think it’s a great idea, I just became so soured by the stupidity and violence, not to mention the music just getting worse and worse and worse I took a nosedive into the beer pond but, kept the records.

10. I always thought it was because of Steve Steadham. Did you meet him? Did he give you Zinka?

I did meet Steadham at an Excell contest, I wasn’t interested in sXe ska and he didn’t offer any Zinka.

The very building David Lee Roth played with Poison. Steep ollie pop. KV Photo.

The very building David Lee Roth played with Poison. Steep ollie pop. KV Photo.

11. Steadham had Reno hostage there for a minute. Beyond Hell Concave! Can wood really bend like that? Who was your first sponsor?

Shop wise I think Excell. Company wise Gershon hooked me up with Grind Kings board company Haz Mat for a second but, I was an unappreciative little bastard so it only lasted one package. Plus, after having my shop and going to trade shows I learned really quick if someone offers you free stuff and it’s not good free stuff, it ain’t worth it. Thanks, no thanks.

12. Damn, a lot of kids these days need to learn that philosophy. I always saw you on the cusp of getting the sponsored thing going but not taking it too serious. Was it a conscience effort to keep skating fun? You could have made a run at it for sure.

I only really ever rode for one company and they were called Madkap out of SF. Super cool dudes! The sponsor thing was never really my bag, I was never really all that good and my style is busted. I skated in some C.A.S.L. contests for a bit and just being around people who want it so bad was a real turnoff. They were either total kooks with a couple tricks or just total rippers that made me feel like it was my first day skating. I’d rather just hear of someone cool getting hooked up, that’s way more exciting to me. My friends at Madkap told me they wanted to put their am’s names on boards and we’d get to design them but, I wasn’t into it. I was psyched when Scott Waters got on the team and he was hungry, always filming and handling his shit. After a while they finally talked me into it but, I hated it. I wasn’t pro and only pro’s should have their name on a board. It was nice to give one to my mom but, other than that, super bogus. Everything is trial and error, still love those dudes but, the name on board thing was definitely not for me.

13. It’s not for everyone, although there’s dudes that would cut off their face plate to have that opportunity. You have some serious miles under your belt, you travel a lot. Was moving to Florida to work at Addiction/Southern Boarder your first big move? How did that take place? Florida is 100% not Reno.

Yeah, that was my first time ditching Reno. It was fucking crazy. I went to a show at Casa Margaritas and this band called Bloodlet was playing, between bands I ditched out and went across the street and skated this little manual pad by myself. This dreadlock honky dude rolls up and starts skating with me and we get to talking. He ends up being Scott from Bloodlet and we became friends after that. Bloodlet comes back through Reno a little while later and Scott ends up asking if I want to go on tour for 3 months with them and Neurosis. I just graduated high school and can’t pass up some shit like that so I went. Bloodlet is from Florida and my friends who owned Addiction were living out there running a skate shop out there so I did the tour and had Bloodlet drop me off in St. Petersburg FL at the end. It was a trip and I’m still good friends with my buddies Joe and Jen Leonard and Jed Davis. St. Pete was fucking snorsville USA, driving 30 minutes to skate a plastic bench, a horrible Christian hardcore scene, insane race riots right when I got there but, Lisa, Allen, Duke and Tru ruled, I met amazing people I’m still homies with and I saw a Cannibal Corpse show at the State Theatre that was unbelievable. I believe this was 1996.

14. You came back to Reno and started 50-50, one of the most legit shops we had in years. No snow, wake, rollerblades, or anything lame. How did 50-50 come about?

I only lasted a few months in FL. I came back to Reno to visit (a 2 week Greyhound ride… no shit… 2 fucking gnarly weeks) and just ended up staying here. Got some shitty jobs but, kept bugging Excell to hire me. After months of nagging and being a janitor for Marshalls they finally hired me on. After a while I started forming plans to start my own shop (the people who owned Excell at that point were a fucking joke) because I knew I could do it right. I hounded anyone that had a spare dollar for about a year and no one was down (understandably) until one day Toby Riley tells me about this dude Bryan who used to skate back in the day and he’s got some money and wants to do a shop. Damn, I was just about to give up too. I meet with Brian and his partner is Gary Leeper and they’re ready to go all in. They put in the money and I run the shop with bonus/buy in ownership over time. We searched forever trying to find a Reno location, Skeeno was done, Excell was done and I couldn’t step on Kathy’s (Out Of Bounds) toes because she was cool as hell. I ended up going to a Fall Silent show in Sparks (across the street from Reed High) and noticed the spot next door was for rent and that exact spot used to be the Sparks Excell back in the day. I took it as it was cheap, I knew Reed had a lot of skaters and I had been working on the new Burgess park for a while too. It all seemed to be perfect.

Nothing impresses Scaught Bates. KV Photo.

Nothing impresses Scaught Bates. KV Photo.

15. Didn’t you break your nose on that mini ramp there?

Yeah, Greg Janess, Toby Riley, Scott Waters and Dean Christopher built a mini ramp in the shop, right next to the shoe wall. My very first run, all the kids and parents watching, caught my heel on the wall and shot face first like a bullet into to transition. I instantly grabbed my face and was fading in and out of consciousness. When I finally pulled my hands away blood went everywhere as I had a perfect hole in the center of my nose. Shaver later told me he dipped his hands in my blood pool I left on the ramp and was chasing kids around the shop with bloody hands. Really wish I’d of seen that one, what a jerk hahaha. It really messed my neck up, I still have problems with it today. Plus, just the other day, I did it again only skating street with you guys. I gotta stop stopping myself with my face.

16. It was weird because all of Reno/Sparks knew you were the face of 50-50, that respect level brought that place a following. It’s so damn hard to be a small privately owned shop. How did the ship eventually sink? I hated that, I wanted to secretly work there for a long time. I was definitely envious you had the more “core” shop going.

I think in our 2.5 year existence the shop turned a profit only 1 month. I did as many demos and movie premiers as possible and it just wore me out. It got to the point where I never skated, not even on the mini ramp in the shop. I lost sight of why I started the shop in the first place. The industry was changing, people bugging me for free shit when they never supported me in the first place, one of the owners became overly religious and I’m %100 not down with that shit, Copelands undercutting the shit out of all of us and no shopping center in Reno would even talk to me. As soon as I said skateshop as I was trying like hell to move the shop… it all just piled up and made me bitter as hell.

17. It wasn’t too long that you left Reno again for KC. What was the story with Escapist?

After 50 50 closed down, I had no direction or motivation. I lived on Sinclair with my homie Jake Griffin and a bunch of other people and none of us had jobs. Total pile out time because the shop just broke me down. My friends Dan Askew and Adrian Frost pretty much opened their shop in Kansas City the same time Bryan and me got 50 50 going. We would always talk about ideas for sales, events etc. and they had made some comments about me working for them some day. After piling out hard for about 6 months I was talking to Adrian and he said they were opening another Escapist and I should work for them. I had nothing going on here so 2 weeks later I was in Jakes mom’s truck with all my shit loaded in it towing my car to KC. Jake’s mom volunteered him for the job and he still brings it up every day. He made Beau Halvorson go with. Neither of them were very happy about it. Thanks Mrs. Griffin, Jake and Beau!!

Mr. Smith was there. KV Photo.

Mr. Smith was there. KV Photo.

18. Was there a bit of culture shock moving to Kansas City?

For sure, all my friends that lived in KC were either married, or didn’t drink and I’d never lived alone before. The skating was bitchin’ but, once the day was over I’d just be chillin alone thinking about all my friends here having a blast. Just another step in growing up. After a while though I made some really great friends, and it got to be really amazing. Escapist still is the best shop I ever got to work for. Dan, Adrian and Nick looked out for me and I will always appreciate that. Plus the kids that rode for them were serious rippers. The music scene there ruled and the city itself is beautiful. I really miss it and hope to return someday. The fact that the bars close at 1:30am really does make a huge difference too.

19. You met a young Sean Malto and Ernnie Torres at Escapist, did you know they were the next big thing?

When I met Sean he was a little kid that just destroyed everything, it was weird watching someone so little doing man sized rails and gaps, everyone knew he was gonna blow up and he’s one of the few prodigy kids I’ve met that truly deserves it and he’s cool as hell. Ernie was in the magazines already and he was super fun to skate with. He reminded me of Gershon in that he only skated for about 4 or 5 years and he was getting in magazines and just ripped super hard and he’s a super nice dude too.

All killer no filler.

All killer no filler.

20. How did you start traveling through music? I’m still so stoked you toured with Lucero, they are such a good band.

Well, the Bloodlet tour was my first tour in 1996 but, after that Fall Silent took me out with them and my friend Sean Ingram from KC started having me do some Coalesce tours wich turned into Casket Lottery tours wich turned into meeting Rocky Votolato when we toured with Waxwing so, I did some touring with Rocky. I remember telling a friend that I was done with touring and the only way I’d go out again was if Lucero was involved somehow. 2 days later Rocky called me and asked if I’d be into going on tour with him, William Elliott Whitmore and Lucero. That was my last big tour, 2 and a half months I think in 2006. All of those tours my duties included but, were not limited to: driving, selling merch and anger management. I really love driving long distances and the tours with Rocky were just me and him in a car. Some brutal but, amazing times. I really miss the road sometimes and really miss hanging with all them dudes.

21. Lucero was still relatively small, there must have been great little shows. Did any of those guys skate?

For sure, small shows are always better but, some of those shows were pretty big, Denver was 1,000 people but, then a couple nights later 200 people, you never really know what you’re gonna get. They were more BMX dudes when they were younger and Brian (guitarist) was an old sXe dude who hung out with the Raid guys (an old hardline militant vegan sXe band), he’s got a Stomp Crew tattoo. Super funny but, they were all really nice mellow dudes. William Whitmore used to skate, he did a kickflip on my board with his shiny old dress shoes, and he listened to gangster rap a bunch. Rocky was always writing in his notebook and I made him listen to David Allen Coe a bunch. Really it was like touring with my Reno friends for the most part.

Normally if it's not a make it's not mentioned. After sliding most of this, sticking, and head butting the ledge it made the cut. Blood in blood out Holmes. KV Photo.

Normally if it’s not a make it’s not mentioned. After sliding most of this, sticking, and head butting the ledge it made the cut. Blood in blood out Holmes. KV Photo.

22. What brought you back to Reno?

I had this master plan of moving back out west so, I basically said goodbye to everyone in Kansas City, if it didn’t fit in my mini van, I left it behind and drove to Reno, dumped all my stuff in my homie Andy McKennie’s garage, flew to Seattle to meet Rocky and then we drove straight to Memphis and crashed at the Lucero compound for about a week so Roy could practice with Rocky for the shows. After the tour ended we drove straight from N. Carolina to Seattle (that was a brutal one), got on a plane to Reno, chilled 1 or 2 days then drove to San Diego to crash on my friend Bryan Nolte’s couch and tried like hell to get a job in the skate industry. I ran out of money just before x-mas so I came back to Reno to try and save up to go back down to SD and while I was here one of my best friends Beau Shaver (R.I.P.) died. It really shook me and all my friends up and made me think about the years I’d spent away from them so, I decided to extend my visit… I’m still visiting. Along the years back here I have gotten to spend time with some other homies that have passed and I’m really lucky in that respect. Being here still kicks in memories of great times with them.

23. Reno is beautiful if you can balance all of the things that make it Reno.I know you have had the opportunity to work for some great skateboard companies in the past. What kept you from making the move to California?

I just kind of answered that above. Mainly no one would hire me and I learned that I don’t care too much for San Diego. Really great people for the most part but, I hate being called bro. A lot.

24. One of the many rad things about Reno is our skate scene and heritage, who was your crew back in the beginning?

Damn, I think Chris Williamson was my first skate friend, we were pups man hahaha, and then a little later Mark Schuler, Jason Bartlett and Ron White. Steve Gauthier and Ron Rash took me skating a few times, then Scott Waters, Dean Christopher Beau Bevier, Scott Brown, Josh Stockwell and then Toby Riley, John Ludwick, Justin Hay-Chapman… so many people and so many years. I do remember Rob Hostetter used to kick me some of his old boards back in the day wich really meant a lot to me, thanks Rob!! I spent a lot of time rolling solo, still do but, always dig skating with friends too, my time is just so limited these days.

25. How many of those guys do you still shred it up with?

Toby and Dean the most and I skated with Scott a few weeks back. All these dudes still rip it too! You and Classic have made a bitchin’ Sunday that’s brought some people out of the woodwork and it’s really great! None of us ever really quit, it’s in our blood. I play in a band with John Ludwick called Cathedral Ghost, a different kind of shredding but, he’s definitely shredding!!

Never question the magic of it all. KV Photo.

Never question the magic of it all. KV Photo.

26. Out of everyone we’ve seen come and go chasing the trends, I knew you would be in it for life. How is it skating these days? The ground gets harder with age right?

It still rules, having a blast! It is more scary because when you get hurt it takes much longer to recover and I pay my own bills… barely. I appreciate just being able to go skate, lot of people fucked their knees and backs etc. for life and somehow I’m still rolling through the mine field called luck. When I see Dean take the most brutal slams and still handle business, there are no excuses.

27. I dig the full circle effect you get after skating over 25 years, you remember why you started and appreciate it more it seems. What made you want to start skating and what made you a lifer?

I just knew that’s what I wanted to do from the moment I saw a skateboard, sounds weird but, true. All of my friends, music tours, moves, everything came from skateboarding. I can’t imagine what the hell I’d be up to without it. I’m sure I’d still be a scumbag but, without the glory. I have slowed down a bit but, I’m having more fun these days. Like The Gears said, “Gotta Keep Moving” man!

28. Glory and stories go hand in hand my friend! You’ve been in several bands with a big spectrum of styles. How is the music going lately? Talk a bit about your band.

I play drums in a band called Cathedral Ghost with John Ludwick on guitar/vox and Megan Kay on Bass/vox. It’s been super fun, we just recorded 7 songs we’re about to put out soon and we just finished a little 3 day tour with our homies Wuv from Oakland, they rip! You can check us out at facebook.com/cathedralghost.

Beat Street.

Beat Street.

It’s rock n’ roll, punk, garage blah blah stuff so if you’re into that, check it out. I’m also working on a project I’m calling Killed By Reno wich is a youtube channel / wordpress blog where I’m gonna post demo’s of extinct Reno bands. I’d like Reno’s punk / hardcore history to be more accessable and give people a chance to hear our past. This spans decades so if you know of any old Reno bands or have old fliers, pictures etc. please let me know at sdog76@hotmail.com. This is a huge project but, I am making headway. Other than that, I DJ at Chapel Tavern or The Hideout from time to time.

29. Favorite video, favorite board, favorite Pro, favorite company, and your favorite spot. Drop knowledge son, spread the word.

I keep watching the new Real video (Busenitz’s part) to get hyped. That’s my skateboard Viagra. Escapist decks because they’re the same as Real, Anti Hero and Krooked. Pro’s Dennis Busenitz, Leo Romero, Reynolds, Sean Malto, Ernie Torres, Gershon Mosley, Koston, Mike Carrol etc. Can’t wait to see the new Escapist video with Malto and Ryan Pearce, Josh White, Rod Harper, Max Chilen, Joseph Lopez, Arthur Dachiardi, Dillon Aguilar, Tyshuan Johnson and Josh Crane. The Deluxe family tree is my favorite of the industry. Favorite spot???… San Francisco.

Never question the magic of it all. KV Photo.

Ain’t nothin’ changed. KV Photo.

30. Thanks Spencer, I’ve wanted to interview you for a long time. I’ve always liked the fact that you speak your mind regardless of the consequences. People hate that but, I like to know where someone stands. You and a few others are the blueprint for Reno Skateboarding, well done sir. I’d like you to close this one up with the standard thank you, and what skateboarding has meant to you since day one.

Thanks Eric, I appreciate it! So damn many people to thank but, they’ve all meant so much to me and I’m just stoked to be rolling. My mom and dad, Alle and Andy, Doug and Tracy, Benavides, Garrick and Cronin families, Jeff, Danny, Mikey and Pat Cronin, The Reno Outlaws, The SAPs, S.O.D.C., L4D4, P.R.L.J., Lisa and Allen Sprague @ Addiction / Southern Boarder, Dean Christoper, Eric Lantto, Scott Waters, Jake Griffin, Chris “Carnage” Carnell, Emma Fuentes, JT Gurzi, Eric Sasze, Chris Davis “Coonsley”, Jason Isidro “Dills”, Dan Askew, Adrian Frost, Nick Owen and everyone down with Escapist Skateboarding, Eric Lantto and Classic Skate Shop, “Good” Kyle Volland, Excell Skates, World Of Toys, Bryan Rosario / 50 50, Bryan Nolte / Baltic Ave, Bikes and Boards, Stan Byers, Lee Ellmaker, Reno Zoo, 292 and 293, Tri State, Sean D., Beau Halverson, Mikey Reno, John Colbert, Andy McKennie, Andytude Haney, Garret Lee, Mike Huntsman, Steve Gauthier, Ron Rash, Rob Hostetter, Richard and Randy Barr, Justin Hackel, Sean Ingram, Nathan Ellis, Nathan Richardson, Stacey Hilt, Gang Grenis AKA Jess Steineger, Scott, Charley, Matt and Art from Bloodlet, Rocky and April Votolato, Neurosis, Levi and Damon Watson, Brian Woog, Fall Silent, Unruh, Coalesce, Mother Fucking Titty Suckers, Gehenna, Powerchord, Esoteric, The Casket Lottery, Waxwing, Lucero, William Elliot Whitmore, John Ludwick, Megan Kay, Jared Isenberge, Nikkie Knuckles, Tom and Tiffany O’Shaughnessy, Josh Martin, Adam Anderson, Milton Bradshaw, Big Eyes, Belle Bloodcreek, Redrum, 601, S. Virginia St. Sluts, Huck, Mike Mechanic, Bindle Stiffs, Tate LaBianca, Ty Williams, Britt Curtis and everyone at Holland Project, Jawsh Hagemin, Duncan Mitchell and everyone at Chapel Tavern, Tim and everyone at Carter Bros. Ace Hardware, Kevin and everyone at Aces Tattoo, Valarie Bischoff, Blue Collar Press, Amber and Never Ender, Skate NV, The Gears, Wuv, anyone who’s ever supported the shop’s, bands and events I’ve been involved in, all the punks, rads, thrashers, skins, weirdos, dorks, dweebs, dickheads and righteous dudes that get down with the get down!! Not Bob Metz and his gray baby, I know I’m forgetting people, sorry, my face hurts and I can’t concentrate but, you know who you be!!!

Fuck heroin. Skateboarding rules ok.

My friends that have passed on, I miss you all and think about you all the time. Rest In Peace Beau Shaver, Kevin Vandersypen, Tony Hospital, Tom Incopero, Roger Colestock, Jon Grellman, Penelope.

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