INTERVIEW by MERK
INTRODUCTION BY CHET CHILDRESS
Dave Tuck (Tuckinator X)
8. Radical x 10,000,000
10. Ripper for days.
13. Mayor of Arvada
14. Straight Gangster
15. That should paint a picture for you. Tuck’s the man, bro! Straight Critical.
Tuck! What the fuck, dude! Let’s get your name, rank and serial number.
David A. Tuck. Master General. Arvada Army.
[Laughs] Where are you originally from? You’re a Michigan boy, right?
I’m originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, right off Detroit. My parents split up and I grew up in Ann Arbor and Detroit. Luckily, I got to hang out with cool guys like Bill Danforth, Fergusson, Opie Moore and guys in the forefront of skateboarding in Michigan. I was able to go to Endless Summer skatepark in Detroit, where Bill Fergusson, Danforth, Opie Moore and Bill Tocco were locals, so those were the guys that I looked up to. They pushed me along through the years.
Were you one of them little launch ramp brats like myself?
We rode vert ramps, but there were launch ramp days too. If that’s what everyone was doing, I’ll jump off a launch ramp and ruin my knees all day. It was part of the game. These days, I’d probably street skate too, but I’m the vert dog.
No doubt. How old were you when you first started skating?
I think I was 13.
It was a pretty strong scene in Michigan, as you were getting older?
It was. Endless Summer shut down, so those guys built a vert ramp and the Ann Arbor crew, our crew, built a vert ramp. It’s not like nowadays where there’s a park down every street. You had to know some bros and hunt it out. It wasn’t as easy as mom dropping you off at the skatepark. We were building ramps and doing what it took to ride our boards. We had a great scene. As kids, we would steal coping blocks and put four or five of them on the extension and it’d be all shits and giggles. Nowadays, we just mix up some concrete and throw in the mold and we have a coping block.
Coping was gold if you could get your hands on it.
I remember the day my mom woke me up at eight in the morning. She was like, “Something is wrong with your car. The whole back end of it is on the ground.” I was like, “Oh, yeah, I’ve got some stuff in the back.” I’d filled it with pool coping. I didn’t think my old Chevy was going to bottom out, but I did what I had to do to make a ramp with pool coping.
Did you ever get out there and skate the Turf?
Oh, yeah. We used to go to the Turf once a month.
That place was sick, huh?
They had a coping rule, so you had to wear copers. It’s one of the reasons they didn’t allow me there after a few years. I didn’t like the coping rule, but the Turf was great. It was four and a half hours away from us, so it was a great weekend trip. We’d go there all the time. The fourth year it was open, I was getting sick of the coper rule, so I took my copers off. Next thing you know we were kicked out and banned until it closed. [Laughs]
There was no way around that coper rule, huh?
No. They would sell the cheaper copers and you could bend them around your Indy’s a bit so you could kind of get a grind, but it just wasn’t the same. They just wanted to preserve their park. They were like, “To replace the pool coping would cost us $20,000.” It was just a bummer for us.
Sure. Who were some of the guys you were riding with out there in Michigan?
We had a little zine, the Local Chaos crew. That was the name of the zine. We had a ramp in our barn. This guy, Wes, ran Local Chaos with another buddy, Tony. He was just a badass natural skateboarder. All these guys were a lot older than me and took me to cool places. There was a guy, Todd, who was a couple years older than me. He took me around a lot. They had cars and I didn’t. Luckily, they were cool. They were like, “Yeah, we’ll throw you in the back and go to this ramp.” We had a pretty good crew, but it didn’t really pan out. Those guys started fading after high school and I had to spread my wings, so I moved down to Charleston. I figured I would go ride a pool down there for a while.
When was this that you moved down to Charleston, South Carolina?
I think it was ‘89. It was the last year that the indoor Hangar was open. It was a great time. Blaize was skating great, and all the guys were just killing it. It was a great scene to be in at that point in time. It sucked they had to close down. Luckily, those guys kept it alive by building at Hank’s house.
Right. You got to ride it when it was the original indoor skatepark, right?
Yeah, it was the full deal.
You got to ride with Leaphart and Blaize and all those guys. Tell me a little bit about Blaize Blouin. Do you have any good Blaize stories?
I have tons. It was cool. I was skating pretty good, so Blaize helped me out a bit and we traveled around quite a bit. We went to the East Coast and he was trying to start a skateboard company with him and Tommy Coastal. We traveled around quite a bit, but it was always classic. We would go out drinking and wake up the next morning and my buddy would be like, “Why is the couch all wet?” I’m like, “Goddammit, Blaize!” He would be sitting there in a new pair of pants. I’d be like, “What are you doing, dude? Have a little problem last night?” The guy was a fucking constant bed wetter. Blaize was a badass skateboarder, but he could piss a bed like no other.
[Laughs] I know a couple guys like that back East. You have to almost put a garbage bag on them. [Laughs] So you’re out in Charleston and then that place got torn down and they moved it over to Hank’s. How long were you out there in Charleston?
I was just there for two years. They closed down and there just wasn’t much to skate around there. Then I met some people that were living in Colorado and winter was coming. I was like, “Yeah, I’ll be a ski bum.” I’ve been living in Colorado ever since.
This was the mid ‘90s, right? That was a tough time all around for vert.
Oh, yeah. The wheels were getting so small.
Did you do much snowboarding or skiing before you decided to move to Colorado?
Yeah. I grew up in Michigan, so I skied for years. I thought snowboarding was gay as hell because you’re strapped to a board, so I still skied. Snowboarding was so new. There was no animosity yet. When I moved here, I said, “Okay, I’ll give snowboarding a try.” Being a skateboarder, I picked it up in a day. I was like, “Oh, this is easy.”
[Laughs] Where did you move when you first came to Colorado?
I moved right up to the mountains. I was living in Charleston and hanging out at this beach house and I met some girls. They were like, “We live in Winter Park.” They were pretty cool and I got their numbers. After the Hangar shut down, I was like, “I’m going to go to Colorado. I met these girls. I’m bailing.” [Laughs] So I loaded up the Volkswagen Van and moved out here. I didn’t even know there was a vert ramp in Boulder, so there was something to skate. I was like, “Okay.” It wasn’t that bad of a deal.
They had a vert ramp in Boulder, but was there much else to skate around that time? There was some concrete in Crested Butte, right?
Crested Butte wasn’t done yet. Breck had the only concrete and it was just crap, but it was something to skate. They built these little banks in ‘89, and they just had a General Contractor build it. It was something to skate, but it wasn’t anything great. I dealt with it. At least I could ride my skateboard, you know?
So you were floating around doing the ski bum thing. When did you come down to Arvada?
About 13 years ago, my son was born and I was thinking the schools were probably better down in the city, and jobs might be better for me down in the city too. The building boom was going on, so that was a good opportunity. I moved down to the city and sold my house in the mountains. Bruce Adams had his ramp going and that changed a lot of things in the Boulder/Denver area because people started building. It was like, “Let’s build a round wall. Let’s build extensions on this. Let’s do this.” It got everyone’s heart pumping a bit. Unfortunately, Skate Colorado got shut down after four or five years. After multiple parties, the neighbors got sick of it. Luckily, concrete had started popping up everywhere in this state, which is great. Then we have guys like Jerry with his backyard. He’s taken half a dozen different ramps people have donated. Being a carpenter, I’m like, “Let’s build something.” Boom! You helped out a bunch with that. It feels great even doing phone conversations trying to figure out how to build a hip. That was classic. “We don’t know what we’re doing, but let’s call Merk! Merk will tell us!” [Laughs]
It’s hard to build a ramp by phone. It’s difficult to explain. [Laughs]
I couldn’t believe it. We had two very skilled carpenters working on it and it took us half a day just to do half of that hip. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun. In Colorado, we have concrete, but people still want to build wood stuff and it’s cool. It’s just a good scene. Everyone loves everything that we have out here and the Colorado scene is blowing up like crazy these days. It’s a good place to be right now.
How did the Arvada Army come about exactly?
It was funny how that all started. It was a bunch of us that skated together. Jeff Wastell, Matty, Fat Bastard, Terrell, a couple other people and this girl, Hudson, was there. We all skated together and then Science came out. Science was hanging out with us for a month and then the King of the Road came through and everyone went crazy. It was like, “Wow, this is a cool thing.” There was the Shitbag Army from up in Summit County. I was involved in that before I left, so I was like, “Well, now I live down here. Let’s do something. We’ve got a crew, so let’s make some stickers and let people know who we are.” We had two choices. We had Arvada Army and Arvada Pride and we were all sitting around one day and we were like, “Arvada Pride sounds gay.” [Laughs] So we stuck with Arvada Army.
There are a lot of armies out there.
There are a lot of armies out there. Nowadays, you can go near anywhere in this country and at any skate spot, you’ll see an Arvada Army sticker. We’ve got a good crew. There’s Terrell, Wastell, Matty and Jerry and in the last year or so there’s been another half dozen. James Hedrick just moved to Arvada, so the Arvada Army just keeps going stronger and stronger.
It’s an amazing town. You’ve got a lot of honorary members, too. They’re peppered everywhere. They don’t necessarily have to live in Arvada?
There have been a few honorary members just because they’re good bros of mine on the East Coast. I figured I’d make them honorary members too.
You decided to build a pool in your yard and you went with an actual functional plaster pool. What made you decide to go with a plaster pool that you could fill up with water every summer as opposed to going with a concrete skateable bowl like so many other people are doing now. Yours is one of the few actual swimmer skaters. Was it the family?
That was a factor, but that’s what I always dreamed of skating, especially in Michigan. Pools are far and few between, and when I’ve been to California that’s what we skated, a plaster pool. Some can be rougher and some can be smoother, but it is what it is. I wanted to do a pool. Since I’m a carpenter, I wanted to do it myself and make it right. I’m not a plumber but I did all the plumbing just to make it a real pool. In the summer time, in Colorado, its 95 degrees and you’re baking in the sun, so it’s nice to jump in a cool pool after a skate. It’s just a good feeling. There have been quite a few pools and bowls built in the city and I’ve seen guys take up their whole yard with a bowl. The whole backyard is just a concrete skatepark. I’ve always thought there might be a time when I might have to move and sell this place, so I didn’t want to limit myself to just selling to a skateboarder. I’ll try to sell to a skateboarder, if I ever do have to move, but I wanted that option of it being a regular swimming pool.
If you actually do a plaster pool, it might also help out your property value. It’s a good selling point to have a pool, right?
Oh, yeah. I can just powerwash it and go.
How has having your own skateable pool in your backyard affected your home life?
Luckily, the wife used to own Cherry Skateboards, so she’s a skateboarder too, so that’s easy. There have been a couple of points when I invite 250 of my closest friends over for a party. There have been a few things like that, but since it’s in our backyard and it’s not a ramp, the sound is not echoing that loud. I can still have family dinners and there can be half a dozen kids skating in the pool and it doesn’t wreck life at all. I haven’t had any conflicts and it’s been pretty positive. Most people respect my area and when they want to skate, they’ll always give a call.
Do you ever find it hard to say no to someone that wants to come and skate when it’s bad timing?
Yes and no. There are the guys that are in town for a day and the wife has something going on and I have to do something with the kids and it’s not a good day, but I’ll be like, “Hey, just jump the fence. It’ll be fine.” It’s worked out okay.
It serves pretty well as a pretty good gathering point. Everyone that comes through the Front Range has to go to Tuck’s. It’s cool to have that.
The first two years it was around, everyone was stopping by. It was cool. Luckily, Bruce Adams gave me a great idea that he never did with Skate Colorado. He was like, “Here’s a guest book. Have people sign it when they come to skate.” So I have an inventory of all the people that signed it. When the Indy tour stopped by, it was great. Another time, I invited 250 of my closest friends over and so it gets a little exciting sometimes here. It’s good having a spot where everyone can come and I have a big enough backyard where my neighbors don’t seem to mind it. I’ve always had a good spot where people come over and ride my pool. I’d love to have you over.
What do you think was one of the most memorable sessions you’ve ever had there?
There’s been quite a few. The day Christian Hosoi showed up and did a layback slash in my pool, I was shits and giggles. The guy I looked up to as a kid is in my backyard in a pool that I built with my own two hands. I was ready to close it off like, “Okay, Christian has rode it. Sorry, guys. It’s done.”