INTERVIEW BY MARK SCOTT AND THE CONFESSOR
INTRODUCTION BY MARK SCOTT
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LOREN BENTLEY AND POD
I have known Peter Gunn for several years, and he is one of the best guys to work and skate with. At work, he has pretty much taught himself and mastered the art of skate-park design and construction. He’s a quick learner and a very hard worker (Concrete is no joke. It’s nice to have a younger back and people to rely on when the mud is going down). He is a valuable player on our team and has met up to our highest of standards. Dreamland still remains a relatively small family-owned and operated company dedicated to quality parks, skateboarding, and even a few do-it-yourself projects. It’s a pleasure being able to rely on Pete and we recognize his contributions to our tight-knit crew. Skating with Pete is like skating with Pete the Ox, Brewce Martin or even Ben Schroeder. It’s a spectacle you have to experience first-hand. Pictures or words can’t explain the phenomenon. No individual tricks or parks, but his weird, unorthodox ‘style’ or way of doing things is very unique. Staying on the board when not necessarily recommended, and pulling random things off that were never anticipated, hauling serious ass, having a good time and just all around ripping, Gunn gets ‘er done.“As far as anyone building parks, the more the better as far as I’m concerned. Let’s concrete the earth and leave some stash in the grass for naptime. I can critique very strictly or just say it’s fun, because a shitty skatepark can’t keep a good skateboarder down.”
BY MARK ‘RED’ SCOTT
Okay. Peter Gunn, how are you?
I’m doing good. Thank you.
[Laughs] Very well. So where are you from? What’s your deal?
I’m from Pacific Grove, CA. I was raised in Santa Cruz.
How old are you?
How long have you been skateboarding?
I’ve been skateboarding since I was eight. I guess that’s 15 years, maybe.
You’re an Oregon boy now though, right?
Sure. I like it here.
What do you like about Oregon?
I like everything about Oregon. I like everything that I don’t like about California. I like the seasons. I like the skateparks. I like the movement. Things are getting done here.
All right. I didn’t write down any questions. We’re just going to wing it.
We’ve got ‘Jersey’ AKA ‘The Confessor’ in here as well. He’s going to talk to you later. He knows you really well, too.
So you work for me sometimes. Do you like building skateparks with us?
I make them smooth.
You’ve been learning a lot. I tried to fire you once or twice, but I couldn’t do it.
[Laughs] I appreciate everything you’ve taught me.
You’re too good. You’ve got skills.
Thanks for the opportunity.
We just got done skating the bowl at my house. What do you think of that pit?
[Laughs] It’s not deep enough.
[Laughs] 11, 12, 13-foot… I thought that was standard.
It’s awesome. Everyone that I tried to bring out this weekend, besides the Confessor, bagged out first thing this morning.
What’s up with that?
Some people don’t like riding 13-feet.
On a day like today, with it raining, there are no other options, so I don’t see why people wouldn’t want to be here, unless they have a girlfriend deal or something like that.
Yeah. Or they think that underneath the bridge is dry. I’m ready to build shit. I’ve got all my material. I’m ready to go.
Tell me about growing up down in Calhookey.
[Laughs] Pacific Grove is south of Santa Cruz on the southern tip of Monterey Bay. I grew up without a skatepark for some time. When they did build us a skatepark, it was really crappy. That was cool though because I had to find stuff to skate. I’ve got some friends there that still skate. I like going back there.
Well, Peter, I hate to put you on the spot like this, but didn’t you rollerblade before you got a skateboard?
[Laughs] It’s funny that you mention that. My first set of blades were Variflex and my first skateboard was a Variflex. Rollerblading was a big scene. It hit town like an epidemic. They sold them in Costco so everyone had them.
How old were you?
I was seven. We’d all go to this alley and jump this ramp they’d built for rollerbladers. Everyone was there. I’d like to say that anyone that rides a skateboard that says they never tried a pair of rollerblades is a damn liar.
[Laughs] I’m sorry. I have never put on a pair of rollerblades. So then you threw them away and got a skateboard?
I hate to put you on the spot like that but it’s true though. We give you a lot of static about that. I used to roller-skate a bit back in the day. I’d go to the roller-skating rink and it was really loud and hesh. I used to get into speed skating. I was in the 12-and-under speed skating and I was the ruler. Once I was in the 12-and-older speed skating, I’d always lose to Rocker Dan. He had his hair flying all over the place. You’d slam into the speed wall and all of these rocker dudes were just out of control. I was going like 100 miles an hour. It was great, and then I started eyeing up the skateboards. Later on, when we were working in Indiana, we all went to this roller skating rink. Ben Schroeder was involved in building the Bloomington, Indiana skatepark as a consultant, so Schroeder was all in the mix. I said, ‘Schroeder, we’re going to the roller skating rink.’ He said, ‘I’ve never been roller skating in my life.’ I said, ‘We’re going.’ So we got him in there and got some roller-skates strapped onto his legs.
What size roller-skates does Ben Schroeder wear?
I think they were size 14 or something. It was pure comedy. He was even more awkward than I was. I used to rule it when I was a kid, but by then I was having a hard time. I’d do the hard push with one foot and I looked like I was handicapped. Schroeder was charging it. I’m trying to paint the picture for people. If you can imagine big Ben Schroeder out there in the middle of the roller skating rink, you know what I’m saying. He got it dialed after a while.
How did you get the job with me building skateparks for Dreamland? I don’t even remember.
I was working at High Cascade for the summer as a skateboard coach. One of my friends, Jamie, got me that job. I was at the last session before I got fired for letting this kid bomb a hill. The wrong chick saw this kid bombing the hill when we were following him along in the camp van. This kid was from Arizona and I don’t think he had ever bombed a hill in his entire life. He rode this sketchy board with loose hardware and I don’t think it was even his board. Anyway, by the time I got back to the camp, I was fired. They tried to break it to me all nice, but I was really disappointed because I would have been there the next summer.
They thought you were trying to kill one of their campers?
[Laughs] I guess they couldn’t really trust my judgment after that one.
[Laughs] I’ve seen you go down hills. I wouldn’t trust your judgment either.
[Laughs] It was a no common sense decision. It just so happened, that night, Sage and Jim Ratsman wanted to grab a beer with us before they continued on to building a park in Madras, Oregon. I get back to camp and I’m fired. I’m packing my stuff, and my buddy Jamie that got me the job was pissed. He was more pissed than I was that I got fired. Later on, we were sitting at the bar when Sage and Ratsman showed up. I think Jamie might have nudged them and asked them to get me the hell out of there and that was it. I went with them to Madras for a week, and it worked out for the better.
Well, you’re a young guy and you’re traveling around skateboarding. What do you do for fun other than skateboard?
I take a lot of pictures. I like to hit the golf ball. I like to surf sometimes. I like to hang out with MandM and those guys. I like to build stuff out of concrete because it’s skateable when I’m done. I like to hang out with my dog and my girlfriend. It’s a simple life.
What do you like about skateboarding?
[Laughs] Well, Peter, I enjoy skating with you because you haul ass and you hang on to lines that you shouldn’t really hang on to. You put your feet in the middle of your board and sketch out and still pull it off. Where do you primarily prefer to ride?
Between the trucks.
[Laughs] You’ve got one foot on your tail and one foot between the trucks. I meant, what terrain do you like to ride?
[Laughs] I like going down steep hills. Around Portland, it seems like all of the hills lead to the bridge, so I end up there. I like skating the bridge.
It seems like some people ride better when I bring my amplifier and crank music. Do you like really loud music when you skate?
Yeah. It’s a hype. It gets everyone back in there when they don’t think they’ve got anything left.
I clocked you at about 35mph going down a hill one time. What’s the best speed you’ve got downhill?
Someone told me I was pushing 40mph one time. I don’t know. Maybe the accelerator cable was busted.
Wait. There seems to be a discrepancy here. You ride really loose trucks, so how do you do that?
[Laughs] I don’t. They’re loose, but they’re tight. When I first found pools growing up, my buddy Zarosh and I would see who could ride them looser. We were boiling bearings and cutting them and trying to loosen them up.
You still ride them loose.
When I first moved up here to Oregon, the parks were so fast and the trannies were so big, that it led me to tighten up. I ride them pretty tight now.
Well, I’ll have to make an inspection after this interview, and see how tight they really are, because I don’t buy it.
Is there anything that you want to say to the masses of people that are going to read this? Do you have any shout-outs? Do you have a positive or negative message to relay to all the kids out there?
Stay on top. Keep rolling. People fall off, but you have to keep on rolling. My shout-outs are to everyone that keeps me on top. I thank you, Mark. You gave me a job. That’s awesome. You taught me all kinds of stuff. Shout-out to Ed for teaching you. Thanks to Mick and Murdy for keeping the boards rolling for us.