EDDIE LAWRENCE - GRINDLINE

DUTY NOW FOR THE FUTURE: EDDIE LAWRENCE

GRINDLINE SKATEPARKS
INTERVIEW WITH EDDIE LAWRENCE
INTERVIEW BY JIM MURPHY
INTRODUCTION BY JIM MURPHY
PHOTOS BY DAWNDRA BUDD AND GRINDLINE

 

Up there with Adam Luxford and Brewce Martin, Little Eddie is one of the fastest skateboarders I’ve ever seen skate a bowl. Eddie has spent most of his life on the road skating, and is now creating the best concrete skateparks, pools and pipes for Grindline. Eddie is one of the only builders I’ve met that would sacrifice his own wages and put his job on the line to build the best skateparks for the future of skateboarding. To Eddie, it’s not about money. It’s about creating the best skateparks. The more pool coping the better. It’s a tough love approach to cities and skaters, from a man who knows what you need. Just let him create, and you’ll thank him later. Here he is, from West Volusia County, FL, Little Eddie. Wasted and Wild.

“They’d show up during the day and we were building at night. We’d build at night and the next day, we poured it. They showed up, and we lied to them. We were like, “It’s only 7 foot.” They pulled measurements, and they were like, “It’s 9-foot. What are you going to do when Grindline doesn’t get paid?” I was like, “At least I’ll have something to come home to that I can skate.” “

Eddie! It’s Murf calling.
Hey, Murf. Eddie here.

What are you doing?
Partying.

Are you ready for this interview? We’re going to record this whole thing.
Welcome to hell.

Nice. Where were you born?
I was born in Deland, Florida, in 1975.

Is that in West Volusia County?
Yes sir.

What’s the difference between West Volusia County and East Volusia County?
We grew up on the river, not the ocean. It’s like if you were out there swimming in the ocean, and then you wake up, and you’re not there. We were on the river, man.

When did you start skateboarding?
I got the first skateboard I ever had in 1982. I got a Nash. It was the worst skateboard of my life. I was so mad. All of my friends got something better like Lance Mountain’s. The next year I got a Tom Groholski Vision board. I was
happier then.

Did you know who Groholski was at the time?
No, I didn’t, but I started to figure it out.

What guys were you skating with back then?
A buddy of mine named Grant had a vert ramp in Deland. It was 12 feet tall. I was only 13 years old. Everyone there was skateboarding. They were dropping in and doing airs. I showed up and they were like, “Here’s the deal. You’re going to drop in and you’re not going to fakie. You’re not going to just go back and forth. You’re going to drop in. That’s all there is to it. You’re just going to do it.” We came from the street, so we weren’t even allowed over there.

You were skating street first?
Yeah. We were skating mini ramps. We had some small stuff.

You’re at this vert ramp. What goes down?
Here’s the deal. I was 12 years old and they were like, “Drop in. Either you get to the top of the ramp and you drop in or you leave.” I had three chances. The first one, I busted my ass. The second one, I busted my ass again. The third one, I
made it.

How did that feel?
It was the best. All the guys were throwing shit at me.

Were you literally shitting bricks before you dropped in, just looking down at the ramp?
Hell, yeah! You see all the people. You pull your board up and go, “No. I don’t think so.” Then it happened. I just did it. Then my buddy dropped in. What did he do? He broke his arm. What did we do? We had to run down the road and say he slipped on a rock or something. They all had good boards and I had shit. The next year was the big year.

Who were you riding with back then?
Brant Kruger and Eugene. It was a small Deland crew.

Where was Collette?
I didn’t meet Collette until ’89. Him and Folmer showed up and dragged me out to this ramp. They had this car. They were like “You’re going to drive it.” I was like, “Why?” They were like, “Because it’s stolen.”

[Laughs.]
I had to drive them around. They took me to a bar. They said, “This guy is old enough.” That’s where I was introduced…

Introduced to drinking?
Hell, no. I was drinking way before that.

Were you drinking before you got the Groholski?
Um, naw. I can’t lie to you.

So before Collette, but after you dropped in with the Groholski, you were just riding backyard ramps in Florida?
Well, we were riding mini ramps and vert ramps, but then it died out. All of my friends quit skating. I was like, “What am I going to do?” I quit skating for a long time.

When did you quit?
1990. Then Stone Edge was built in ’91.

Before then, had you built any ramps?
Yeah. We stole wood. We put it on our skateboards and threw it across the highway. Some people got hit by cars. Others made it.

Right. So you were just building straight wall back then, no roundwall?
No roundwall. There was no way in hell. My dad hated me. It was quarter pipes or nothing. We’d build one in the neighborhood, and tear it down the next day. People were building houses, so we stole their wood.

You took the five-finger discount?
Yeah. That’s how it was back then. No one had any money.

Were you road tripping to Kona to skate ‘crete?
My first trip to Kona was when I was 17. That’s when I met Buck Smith.

What was it like meeting Buck? Was he just killing the halfpipe?
Yeah. He was doing the same thing he’s doing today. He’s killing it. You can’t take anything away from Buck Smith.

His shoulder is screwed up and he’s still killing it.
His head is messed up. The guy has a broken hip, a lacerated knee and he’s still trying to do whatever he can.

So you rode Kona. Now you’re at Daytona. What was that scene like?
Everybody showed up. It was all the boys from up North like, Suede, Drew and all the Pennsylvania fellows.

Was Bill Danforth there?
Yeah. Danforth showed up. We went to Michigan one time and built a skatepark there in Lansing down the street from his house. He came out there and skated the park with us.

Killer. He was involved with designing Stone Edge. Did you see him there?
No. I died out for a while.

When did you come back strong on the scene?
It was about ’92.

Where were you skating then?
My buddy Eugene Henry says to me, “You have to get back into skateboarding.” So I went to Stone Edge and bought a board. I bought a Tom Knox. It had 56 mm wheels. I rolled into that 9-foot bowl and ate shit. I had no idea. I grew up skating mini ramps and vert ramps. I had no idea how to knee slide. Then I pulled it together. That was the beginning of my new life.

Just carving roundwall?
Oh, yeah. That was the beginning. Before that it was nothing. I had friends in Volusia County that had quit skateboarding. I was like, “What’s my problem? I’ve got to get out there.” I decided that was my life.

Did you move to Daytona?
Hell, no. I didn’t move to Daytona. I went out there all the time, but I’m not going to sell my soul.

[Laughs.]
You know what I mean? The devil ain’t going to take me. I was born and raised in Deland, Florida.

Were you into NASCAR back then?
I was born and raised on NASCAR. My dad watched NASCAR when he ran in the fields. He’d watch one half of the race on the beach and the other half on the island. That shit’s been around forever.

You’ve been a witness to it your whole life?
Yeah. Barberville Race Track had the street races.

What’s the correlation between NASCAR and skateboarding?
It’s about going as fast as you can go. That’s the limit. That’s all you can do. I’ve skated with you. You know the deal.

I know you the deal. I’ve seen you haul ass.
I’m a mess these days, though. I don’t have a chance to skate. I hardly skate anymore because I’m always building. I hate my life.

In the beginning, you’re down in Florida. You’re carving ‘crete and hanging out with the boys. Did you start road tripping from there to California or Burnside?
Screw the West Coast. My buddies, Suede and Drew, grew up in Pennsylvania and Maine, so we went to Philly. I skated Lansdowne.

Did you go to Reading, PA?
Yeah.

What did you think of that place?
I was like, “Why did you guys bring me here? I hate this place.” They got so mad at me. They were like, “We brought you to our hometown and you hate it?” That was the original park. I said, “You brought me here? What’s your problem?” They were so mad at me. Then I went back. Now I appreciate what they took me to. I had no idea. I wanted to skate fast. I didn’t know. I was way behind the times.

You were coming up from Stone Edge where it’s fast and smooth, and then you’re up in Reading skating shitty asphalt.
Yeah. I was miserable. I look back at it now and I’m glad they took me there.

Where did you go from there? Did you go to Skatopia before Burnside?
Skatopia? I built that place.

Did you build it when it was in West Virginia?
No. I only went there once, when it was in West Virginia.

You built the Skatopia in Rutland?
Yeah. That’s where we really pulled it together.

Was that your first big building project?
Yeah. Probably. I built that butt cheek out there. That bowl was an epic bowl. You’ve been there. You skated it.

Yeah. How did you learn to build roundwall?
I worked with Tim Payne for years building ramps and stuff. That guy is a good guy. He taught me a lot of stuff. I worked with Dave Ellis and Clint Deaton.

Were you building stuff in the late ’80s with Tim Payne for the NSA vert contests?
Yeah. They would call me up and go, “We need some help.” I’d show up and tear shit up. They’d be like, “Who hired this guy?” I was like, “I don’t know. I’m just here. You guys make it happen. Don’t look at me for problems.” That’s just the way
it was. Tim got paid to build really good vert ramps, because that’s what he did. Then the concrete park thing started. Omer showed up, because he built pools. The concrete thing started, and they hired me on for that.

What concrete project was that?
Badlands.

Were you involved with that project?
Hell, no. I showed up and looked at that park. I said, “You all are insane.” They were trying to build the best snake run in the world, but it wasn’t. They put an electric pump on a damn mogul that was flooded everyday. It blew up and they
wondered what happened.

That was the Badlands Park in Florida, right?
Yeah. That pool was the best pool that was ever built in Florida, but they had no idea how to do it.

You weren’t on the crew at that point?
Hell, no. That was the worst snake run in America.

So you were on Team Pain in the sense that you would work for them now and again and help build parks?
Yeah. They wanted me to travel. I was like, “Hell, no. I just want to skate. I don’t want to travel.” Now I work and I don’t skate.

[Laughs.]
I’m just trying to be honest.

What did you do after you built Skatopia? Did you go over to Rhode Island to Skater Island?
Yeah. I was in Rhode Island, but then I got banned for life.

How did you get banned for life?
Wasted and wild.

What does that mean?
There’s no explanation. It’s all or nothing. Wasted and wild is me. I was banned from Jimmy’s, the best bar in town. I was banned from the skatepark. Merk blew my knee out.

How did Merk blow your knee out?
We went on some road trip to Cape Cod. Then we went to some other park. Merk jumped over a fence on his skateboard. And here I come. Boom. The next thing I knew, I was out of commission. I was done.

How did you get kicked out of Jimmy’s?
I pretty much threw the whole bar at the bartender. That was it. I took every drink that I had and smashed it on her head.

They didn’t like that?
Hell, no. They weren’t down. I could never figure it out. One night I was banging her, and the next day she hated me.

You were banging the bartender, and then you smashed a bunch of drinks on her head?
Yeah. She put me on the spot. She cut me off.

What was she thinking?
I don’t know. That’s what I asked her. I was like, “Are you sure you want to make this call? Are you really positive?”

[Laughs.] She said “yes”, and you said what?
That was it. I dumped my drink on her head and smacked her. That was it. It was over.

Sounds like you had it coming.
She blew it.

[Laughs.] Put another notch in the belt for wasted and wild, huh?
It was one too many.

After that debacle, where did you go? Were you still building parks?
I was down in Florida. That’s when the Team Pain group started on concrete parks. They built the St. Augustine Park.

Were you in on that one?
Oh, yeah. I got hired for that one. For a bottle of whiskey a day, I showed up to work and did whatever they wanted. I was labor. I pounded out concrete that they had messed up. My buddy Drew was like, “Whatever it takes man. We’re getting you a job.” Then I got a DUI on New Year’s Eve.

Go figure.
Here’s the deal. They got me a job. They loved me. I went on the road and did eight or nine jobs with them.

What parks were you building?
I did St. Augustine. That was my first laboring job that I didn’t even get paid for. Then I went to North Carolina.

What park did you build there? Asheville?
I got thrown in jail there.

What did you go to jail for?
I was wasted and wild. I was drunk and disorderly.

What went down?
It was a hippie town. They didn’t know what the deal was with us. I slept in a bookshelf every other night.

In a bookshelf?
Yeah. I slept in a bookshelf at the park. We lived out in the country where shit went down. We did the work. I was in the bookshelf. Things were great. We were partying all night, every night. From there, we went to Michigan. We did three
jobs up there. Things were still good. I was like, “Why are we building banks and bullshit?” I was the only guy that would speak up about what we were building.

Did the towns want specific things and you were trying to get some pool coping in there?
It didn’t have anything to do with the towns and what they wanted. It was what I wanted. We were selling bullshit. That was the best eggbowl in the world in Lansing, but instead of putting pool coping on it, it was steel. It was a big waste of
time.

That’s what the town wanted?
They didn’t want it. They got what we sold them or what Tim sold them. I don’t know. They had no idea what they wanted. They were open arms. Think about it. There’s no city in this world that knows what they want. You go there and
tell them what they’re getting or it isn’t going to happen.

Tell me all the parks you built with Tim Payne before that.You did a couple of parks in Michigan and then where did you go?
We went to Colorado and California. I built nine parks with him.

What park did you build in Colorado?
Canon City. I got there and thought it would be a lot better, because Lance was running it, but it was the same old shit.

Were you running the parks then?
Hell, no. I just shot the park.

You’d shoot the park?
I just shot the concrete.

Explain what it means to be the man that shoots the ‘crete.
You have no control. You just shoot what they want. That’s when I left them and said, “You know what? I’m going to do what I want.”

Did you start your own business or go to work for someone else?
I went to work for Grindline.

How did you get on with Grindline? Who did you call?
Shaggy and Rabbi showed up at my house in Kentucky. At the time, I was building that concrete bowl at Brewce’s house. I had dug it out and designed it. Shaggy and Rabbi showed up and said, “What’s the deal?” I said, “We’re going to shoot this bowl.” I had the Grindline pump, compressor and every employee that worked for them at my house. I said, “Tomorrow we’re going to Ohio.” What did we do that night? We did so much coke. It was a mess. It was a mess.

Were you partying in Louisville?
We partied in Louisville all night. The next day I was like, “Here’s the deal. I built this thing. We’ve got to go there.” So we took the concrete pump, went up there and shot it. Sloppy Sam showed up with his crew. It was raining. It was a disaster. That bowl, to this day, is a mess.

Is that when you started with Grindline?
That’s the beginning of where I am now. That was the beginning of the future.

Tell us about the Grindline gig?
We went to Minneapolis and built the YMCA Park.

What happened there?
They lost tons of money.

Why did they lose money?
That was back when they were trying to build the whole damn world on a dollar. It wasn’t possible. That’s when they called a 10,000 square foot park, a 20,000 square foot park. It doesn’t happen like that.

So that was a blow out?
Yeah. It was a waste of money.

What park came after that?
They sent me out to Ohio to run that job. That one made money somehow. You’ve been to Ohio. That was the first full pipe cradle that I ever worked on in my life. That was my dream, to start building some real shit.

That park turned out great. You guys did a great job.
It was a good park. I was miserable before that. I had been building banks with Team Pain with 8-foot trannys three feet tall. I wanted to build something real. When I showed up there, I saw what was really happening. I said, “Why are these guys from out West coming here and showing us how to do this shit?” All along, I was telling Tim, “You guys have no  idea.” These West Coast guys were trying to show us what was up. That’s when I realized that Tim didn’t have
a set of balls.

You were building substandard stuff when you could have been building bigger stuff?
Yeah. It was a waste of time. It was a waste of concrete and everything.

It’s a lot looser with Grindline, right?
Yeah. They just give me whatever I want.

Where did you go after Ohio?
Shit went downhill. I didn’t get paid for like six weeks.

That sucks.
So I quit. I went back to Team Pain. We went out to Missouri. James called me and said, “We need some real help. We’re going to Missouri.” I was like, “Where’s that?” He said, “We’re going to build a really good bowl.” I was like, “All right. I’m down. I need to make some money.” So I showed up. I pulled up in the parking lot and what do I see? I see a bowl with the coping. What do I see after that? The shallow end, the bottom of the tranny… I knew right then that I’d messed up. It was the same transition.

It was the same old shit?
Yeah. If you pull up on a 5-foot bowl and you can see the bottom of the transition, you know you made a mistake. I said, “Look here, James. You need some help. I’m going to pull it together for you.” I worked for three days. Then they bought me two bottles of whiskey. What did I do? I smashed every window in the house. I got fired.

Why did you do that?
I was mad. They wasted my time. I drove halfway across the country to build some bullshit. I was over it.

You weren’t upset that you weren’t getting paid. You were upset that they were building shitty parks.
Yeah. It was way beyond the money. I was so mad that they wasted my time. I drove halfway across the country to build the same bullshit that we built in Florida five years ago.

You were pissed that they were building more bullshit someplace else?
Yeah. They lied to me. James is a good guy. That guy skates so hard. You watch him skate a pool and you wonder why he’d build a shitty park. I think Tim calls the shots.

He calls the shots and everyone has to build what he wants?
Yeah. Those guys are just adhering to whatever he wants. I’m not that type of guy. Spit in my face and I’ll tell you what I think.

I know you’re all about pool coping. It’s a sin to see pipe coping in a bowl.
Yeah. When I worked with Team Pain, I didn’t build one park with pool coping. We poured our own coping twice.

Is the whole reason for the pipe coping because it’s less maintenance?
I guess you could explain it like that.

That’s the way the cities look at it, right?
I haven’t met a city that looks at it like that.

Why is there a problem with getting pool coping everywhere then?
I don’t think there is. Have you come across a Grindline park that doesn’t have pool coping?

No. But I’ve seen lots of other companies’ parks with pipe coping.
That sounds like a problem to me.

[Laughs.] Where did you go after that?
They fired me again.

You broke all the windows in the house and they got mad at you?
I tried to hold it in, but they set themselves up for disaster by giving me whiskey. I tried to be cool. I was like, “Here’s the deal. You need help James? I’m going to help you. You called me to come and help. I did whatever you wanted. You brought me here, and it was a bullshit park. I still did whatever you wanted.” Next thing I knew, shit hit the fan. Then he goes, “You’re fired.” I was like, “You don’t have to worry about me. I’ve got a job.” That’s when I went to Whiting, Indiana. I went to see Monk. He was approached to build a street course.

What happened in Whiting?
The whole park was supposed to be a street course. It ended up with a 12-foot bowl, four-way with pool coping. Monk poured the coping and I jack hammered it right out. I was like, “I’m not going to listen to this shit.”

What happened?
It wasn’t really good coping, but the park turned out great.

Were the locals into it? I’m assuming you had some street skaters there that were waiting on a street park and you gave them a pool.
[Laughs.] It sounds like you may have heard the story.

Tell me what happened?
They were waiting for banks and ledges, but it didn’t happen like that. Then Monk and I went to jail. Jail was ridiculous.

Why did you go to jail?
I took Monk over to his first NASCAR race. I gave him whiskey and tequila and everything else I could find. Then we drove home in my van. We woke up in jail. My van had four flat tires. This was after the fact that Monk had shot off a shotgun. The cops came. It was a disaster. It was in the Chicago newspaper. “Skatepark builders shoot off sawed-off shotguns.” It was a disaster.

Was that after you built the park?
No. This was during.

So you’re in jail and the skatepark is sitting there half done?
Yeah. We went to court. The mayor and the city engineer got us out of jail that morning. They were like, “Here’s the deal. The whole town is against you.” I was like, “All right. Cool.” So we went to court. They said, “Whatever you do, do not
plead not guilty.” Monk was really in trouble. I was just an associate. They said, “Just plead guilty.” I said, “Okay.” The mayor, the city commissioner and the engineer were right there behind me in court. The judge said, “How do you plead?” He said, “Here’s your sentence.” He gave me all the details. He told me what he thought. I said, “All right. Not guilty.” He was like. What? I said, “Not guilty.” I was like, “I’ve got to think about this.” The mayor and everyone was like, “What the hell are you doing?” I was like, “I’ve got to go.” I had to get out of there.

Did you go to jail?
No. I got the hell out of there. I was gone. The mayor had it set up where I was free to go, but I blew it, because I said, “Not guilty.”

But you were free to go anyway?
Hell, no. I had to go back to court. I blew it.

When you came back to court, what did you say?
I made the right call the next time.

[Laughs.] When you left the court, did you go back and build the park or did you have to go back to court the next day?
I went back to build the park, and then two days later, I went back to court. They said, “How do you plead?” I said, “Guilty.” They were like, “Nice call.” I had to make a $300 donation to the Christmas fund for the mayor to buy him a few bottles of whisky or something.

[Laughs.]
I realized then that if I’d made that call to begin with, I wouldn’t have been back there in this predicament. At the time, I was scared. They were like, “Here’s your fine. You get 360 days in jail, or this and that.” I was like, “I need some time to think about this. Not guilty.” I laid it on the line.

What happened after that?
We went back and built that park. I’m not allowed in that town anymore.

You built a bowl with pool coping for a city that just wanted a street park. What was the aftermath of that? Did the locals flip out or were they stoked?
The locals were happy, but the people that ran the Grindline office hated us. They lost tons of money. Monk ran that job. That’s Monk’s shit.

Where did you go after that?
I don’t even know. I’m drawing a blank. Oh, wait. After Indiana, I went on vacation. Collette and I went on a road trip.

Oh shit. West Volusia Country in full effect.
Yeah. I charged Grindline all the money in hell to get us out there to Washington. I had a 1996 Dodge Maverick camper. I told Grindline that if they wanted me to come out West to build a park, they were going to pay for it. They were like, “Okay. Whatever you want.” I told Collette, “Here’s the deal. Get on board right now.” So we drove out there. We were supposed to skate all these parks, but we didn’t skate shit. We went to a titty bar. We went to a casino. We went to another titty bar. We didn’t skate anything from Florida all the way to Washington. I hated every minute of it. We didn’t skate one damn park, but we got wasted. We got up every morning and started drinking. We drank as much as we could possibly drink until we went to sleep. That was it.

What was the drink of choice?
Beer.

What’s the wasted and wild beer of choice?
Busch.

What about Pabst?
I never really liked Pabst. That’s an overrated beer to me.

What about Guinness?
I’m American, boy. It’s Milwaukee’s Best or Busch blue gills. I don’t even like Budweiser.

Why don’t you like Budweiser?
It tastes like shit. What’s wrong with Busch? I’ll hang up this phone right now and come up there and get you some Busch.

[Laughs.] Bring it on.
Turn around. I might be there.

I’ll hit you in the head with a keg of Guinness. What’s your favorite whiskey?
Jim Beam. You know it, baby.

I’m just letting the people know.The people don’t know. You have to tell them.
[Laughs.] Oh, they know. They know.

[Laughs.] What’s your least favorite whiskey?
Jack Daniels.

Why don’t you like Jack Daniels?
It’s too sweet.

You’re going to stand by that statement?
100%. I’ve been to the Jim Beam plant.

What goes on at the Jim Beam plant?
Whatever you want. You go in there and get you three or four shots of whiskey and do what ever you want.

What state is that in?
Kentucky. They’ve got that skatepark, too, in Louisville.

What do you think of the park in Louisville?
It’s nothing compared to the park in Kokomo, Indiana. Kokomo’s got two full pipes.

Hold on a second. We’re still on a road trip with Collette. You’re just drinking all you can.
Yeah. We were running.

What were going to build out West?
Collette didn’t have to work. I’m the one that had to work. I hated him for it every minute. Where was I going? I hate when you put me on the spot.

Were you in Oregon?
I went to build the YMCA Park in Washington. Are you picking up what I’m laying down?

[Laughs.] Now I am.
Then we rebuilt the Charleston bowl. If you give me a second, I’ll pull it together.

Okay. I’m going to give you a second.
Okay.

So you rebuilt the Charleston bowl and it turned out good?
Yeah. It was the Charleston bowl. It had all pool coping. Wait. I got it. After that, I broke my leg.

How did you break your leg?
I was skating the Butter Bowl those guys built in Seattle. I was skating with Smiley and Rabbi and all those boys.

What was the next project you were on?
Atlantic Beach, Florida.

Tell us about that.
[Laughs.] It was a nightmare, man. They were like, “Here’s the job.” They wanted a 3-foot park. All of my boys lived there, so it wasn’t going to happen like that. Let me just put this on the line right now. A skatepark’s worst enemy is the landscape architect. Don’t ever let them into your world. They wanted a 3-foot park. I showed up and said, “It ain’t going down like that.” The first thing that I did was throw up the 9-foot bowl with pool coping. Pat was like, “We can’t do this.” I was like, “It’s only 5-foot tall. Don’t worry about it.” But it was 9-foot. Shit was going down, but they were not down. We just kept building. It was a war the whole time.

You were building this stuff and the whole time they were saying, “No you can’t build it that tall.”
Yeah. They were not down. The city was not happy. To this day, I look back and I wish we could have built something different, but they weren’t having it. It was all I could do to build what I built.

Just to have something built over three feet was a miracle, right?
Hell, yeah.

Did you go to town meetings and have to confront people about this?
Hell, no. They’d show up during the day and we were building at night. We’d build at night and the next day, we poured it. They showed up, and we lied to them. We were like, “It’s only 7 foot.” They pulled measurements, and they were like, “It’s 9-foot. What are you going to do when Grindline doesn’t get paid?” I was like, “At least I’ll have something to come home to that I can skate.” I feel bad for the boys, because I wish I could have built something better. But that park is a hard park to ride. It’s not some easy shit.

What were the gory details? You built them a park that they didn’t want. Did Grindline get paid? What was their reaction? Was it just a mess or did everyone get paid?
Umm. I don’t think Grindline got paid, but they gave me another job to do for them right after that. I was like, “Are you crazy?” I was put on the spot. It was originally Shaggy’s job and I just took over. I was like, “We’re not building any bullshit here.” He ran away. He was not down with I had to do, but now, he realizes that I made the right choice. Everybody can’t be a hero.

I hear you. So you don’t know if Grindline got paid?
They didn’t lose money, but they didn’t make any either. Then they sent me on another job, and they made more money then they ever made in their whole life.

What was that job?
Austin, Texas.

What did you build in Texas?
It’s the best bowl in Texas, they say.

What’s it shaped like?
It’s got a 10-foot deep end, 7-foot shallow end, over vert pocket and pool coping.

Were people stoked?
Yeah. They were happier than hell. I think it brought a lot of people out of the woodwork.

Did you see Gibson or Johnson down there?
No. I heard Johnson showed up at the grand opening. He’s the only one that mattered. I’m just going to leave it at that.

That’s the only seal of approval you need: Craig Johnson.
Yeah. We’re pulling them out of the woodwork. Now I’m over here in Mississippi, building a cradle. We’re going to North Carolina to build a park in Currituck. It’s happening. I’ll be over there. Shaggy is running that one.

Before we get to that, let’s talk about Kokomo, Indiana.
You’re just going to have to go there for yourself. I brought Merk in for that one.

Was the town of Kokomo aware of what they were getting or did you just bulldoze them and build what you wanted?
They were aware. They signed up for the cause.

What did you build in that park?
It was 12 bowls connected to each other with every tranny smaller than the height of the bowl. Then we built the full pipes. The best part about that job was the titty bars.

[Laughs.] What was unique about the titty bars in Kokomo?
Let me put it like this. Whatever you can think of happened.

Everyone had smiles on their faces?
I’d hope so. If they didn’t, there was something wrong with them or they were scared.

[Laughs.] Wow. So the best part was the titty bars?
Oh, hell, yeah. It was way better than the park. Whatever you do, when you go to that park, go to the Body Shop. You hear that? Go to the Body Shop.

Check.
For $6, it’s on.

[Laughs.] For $20, you’re the king.
Hell. For $20, they’d give you money back.

If you give them $20, you’d get change?
They’d hand it back to you and say, “Thanks for coming.”

Get out of here. You’re telling me that place is better than an elbow full pipe?
Yeah. Way better. You don’t even have to work for it. Do you hear me, Murf? Are you picking up what I’m laying down?

Loud and clear.
The Body Shop is way better than the skate park.

Better hip lines there?
Yep. There’s nothing wrong with an elbow full pipe. Don’t get me wrong. That bowl is insane.

Is that the only elbow full pipe in the country right now?
Yeah. Have you seen the park in China?

Yeah.They don’t have an elbow full pipe, do they?
No. They’ve just got a full pipe that empties into another full pipe.

I saw that.
In the spring, Indiana is the place to go. Guaranteed.

I’m there.
I’m going to North Carolina in two weeks.

What are you building there?
It’s Shaggy’s deal. We’re building a keyhole with with two over vert pockets and pool coping. You never know. I might say this today, and the next time you look at it, it might not be anything like I say right now.

That’s cool though. When you’re on a site, you can look at the specs the town wants but then say, “We feel like we want to make some changes.”You can do that and it’s not much of a problem, right?
Yeah. That’s why the cities hire us. That’s what they like about us. We won’t build what they think they’re getting.

With all these jobs that you’re going for with Grindline, what is your competition? Is there a bidding process for the jobs?
Yeah. They bid them out. There are people underbidding us, but what are they building?

Are you going up against prefab park people?
Out West they are. Out East, Wally Hollyday is building some good stuff. Other than that, there isn’t anything.

Are you going up against Team Pain when you go to bid out for these jobs?
Well, Tim isn’t doing anything for those guys. They’re off work for six months. He isn’t trying to get them work. He isn’t keeping those boys busy. They’re all calling me for work. Tim doesn’t do them right. They aren’t getting paid. He isn’t keeping them busy.

Are there any issues between Team Pain and Grindline?
No. There’s not even a resemblance. Grindline is building five parks every two months. They’re building one every six months. You do the math.

What are you building in Mississippi?
We’re in Oxford. We’re building a cradle with a 10-foot deep end with pool coping. They built a street course that I’m trying to fix. It’s the biggest waste of money.

In your mind, what is the best street course to build, if you have to build one?
Tranny and more tranny.

The more tranny, the better.
They’re telling me that I might not get a bonus on this job, if I don’t build what they want. I’m like, “I don’t care about that. I’d rather go to sleep at night knowing that I built something good, rather than waking up with money.” You know what I mean, Murf.

Yes, I do. You’ve got character.
I quit Team Pain for the same reason. You’re not going to buy me out. I’ll walk away from the whole deal. They’re not going to buy me out.

Do you get any interaction from the local skaters about what you’re building?
Well, that’s what I’m trying to do with this job. They’ve got some dude in the office that designed some non-functional street course. I’m dealing with the local kids. I’m like, “What do you guys want?” They tell me what they want. The city is like, “Do what you want.” So I’m trying to give them what they want. Then the office is like, “That’s not what we want.” I’m like, “Are you coming here anytime tomorrow?” I’ve never built a street course. I’m having trouble building these manual pads. I don’t know what the hell to do. All I know is pool coping and vert. They’re putting me on the spot.

So just build trannys.
You heard it from the man, “The Murf”. Build trannys.

Hell, yeah. Build trannys everywhere.
That’s what I did. I built trannys everywhere in this park.

That’s killer. How many guys are on the crew there?
This one is a small one. There are four guys. It varies, though. The last one was a nine-man crew. It all depends. Grindline has different crews. One minute you have everyone that works for them and it’s the best crew in the world. Then the next morning you wake up, and everyone’s leaving. There is either one job going on or there are five. When there are five, you’re screwed.

Do you work with the same crew all the time or do you pull locals in on it?
My only local is Fish. He’s a good old boy. One minute, I might have Rabbi, Shaggy. Jamie, Donny and Syrus. I might have all the boys. Then you blink your eyes, and the next thing you know, they’re gone.

I remember talking to Merk about your work schedule in Kokomo. It sounded pretty crazy. He said it was during a heat wave, and you guys would wake up and work until early morning, take off all day and then work at night.
Yeah. That schedule was bullshit. They’re all different.

What did you do during the day?
Drink. We’d get up at six and work until noon and drink until two, lay out at the pool for a few hours, then we’d eat pills. We had a good connection on pills. They were the best. Some people have back problems. Some people just have pills.

Were you rockin’ uppers or downers?
I think they were downers, if I remember correctly.

The downers worked for you?
Yeah. Better for me, than others. We were partying. We had titty bars. We had all the girls’ numbers on the wall.

How can you explain being so wasted when you’re building stuff and it turns out so smooth?
If we weren’t wasted, we weren’t going to work. There was no messing around.

Tell us about you and Collette and that “Jackass” movie that you were involved in with Bam.
We were their worst nightmare.

How did you get involved with that?
Tim Glomb called me. He wanted to give me some work. I said, “Okay. I’ll be there, but the only way I’ll go is if you hire Collette.” I got him in, because I was in. Then we weaseled our way into every scoundrel thing they had going on.

What did they have going on? What was the scene?
Not much. They wanted us to build everything. MTV gave me a walkie talkie. They said, “Here. Keep in touch.” I threw the thing in the water, and Collette and I went to the bar.

[Laughs.]
It was NASCAR season. I wasn’t there to play around. We built what’s out there now at Hiler’s house. It was the old Fiber Rider ramp. We built that up. Then they had these bowling balls. I’m giving a bad description of it. They said, “Okay. We’re going to let three of these bowling balls roll down behind the guy.” We were like, “Okay. We’ll build this extra ramp to make it even more better.” So Collette and I built onto the ramps. They were like, “Oh no. We practiced it for three days. You can only run three of them.” We were like, “No. No. No. We know what we’re doing. We’re going to build it, so you can run six of them.” So they sent this guy down on rollerblades. They were like, “Here he comes.” We sent six bowling balls down after him. Rick Kosick and those dudes were videotaping from the other side. We sent the bowling balls down and what happened? Boom. One. Two. Three. One went over the side. One of them broke Rick Kosick’s arm. The balls knocked all of their cameras out of their hands. It messed everybody up. They were like, “Cut! Cut!” Every time they said, “We’re running video. Everyone stay out.” What did we do? Collette and I would run in and interfere with it. They’d be like, “Cut! Cut! Cut!” It was ridiculous. Then they got this human cannonball machine. Tim and I built it before those guys even got there. Who went off it first? Me. Just to make sure it worked.

Right.
Then Johnny Knoxville showed up. He was like, “I’m not going off this thing.” I was like, “You’re getting paid a million dollars. What’s your problem? Do I have to do it first?” What did I do? I did it. I had to show him how it was done.

You didn’t get paid a million dollars?
No. I got a little bit of money, but not more than we took from all of them. That whole week was ridiculous.

The jackasses weren’t as badass as you’d think?
No, not at all. We were in California, Suede and I, building that park at the Woodward Camp. We went to Hollywood to see Hank Williams III. I had shattered my heel up at Baldy, so I was walking out of the Hank the Third show. We were
driving down the road, and I saw Johnny Knoxville running down the road. I opened up the van door and jumped out. I was like, “Do you remember me, bitch?” Then I slapped him in the face. I was like, “I’m the guy from Volusia County that
taught you how to live.”

What did he say?
He had nothing to say. What could he say?

Wasted and wild.
100%.

[Laughs.] You know how to live don’t you?
Well, I have to go. I have to get back in here and get a drink. I can’t keep doing this.

Okay. What is your duty now for the future?
I want exposed aggregate coping worldwide. I want rocks to grind. I’m going to get some women tonight. After that, we’re building some good shit in Currituck, North Carolina. That’s going to be the one.

Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Thanks to everybody. Whiskey. Jim Beam. I probably pissed everyone off, so I don’t even care.

Who is your favorite NASCAR driver?
Dale Earnhardt is good, but he’s gone now. I’m going to pull out a stop right now and say Carl Edwards is going to win the championship next year. He’s a Jack Roush racer and that’s all there is to it. Murf, I’m going to see you soon. You come
to North Carolina. I’ll see you there.

Okay. We’re there. Go get a drink on and go find a chick.
Yeah. I know. You guys are killing me. I gotta go.

[Laughs.] All right. Later on, Eddie.
Later, brother.

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