WILLY AKERS

WILLY AKERS

WILLY AKERS
INTERVIEW & INTRODUCTION by THE CONFESSOR

So I just heard a story about Willie going down to FDR for one of his first times. It might be true that when he was 11 or 12 years old, he was down there under the bridge at the end of the universe under Eisenhower’s East Coast highway. Numbered odd for north and south, the highway is sandwiched between oil refineries and the Navy shipyard; it is not the ideal spot for an 11 or 12 year old to be. It’s not an ideal spot for an adult to be either, if they want to maintain respiratory health. Regardless, it is alleged that a man named Steve Faas was down there, and may have had a shaved head. Adam Young from Texas may have been there too, with a cowboy hat to boot. The older and wiser pair told Willy that he should worship Satan. If this were true, FDR would be an ideal spot for Satan to be, upon what should be or might be a superfund site, surrounded by fat drunks from New Jersey. I infer that Willie didn’t give a fuck because he was more than likely stoked to feel the concrete screech under his wheels and eventually heave his trucks into the chunky bricks as a “fuck you” to the world. I don’t know if people actually worship Satan in a serious manner or if it’s just something on TV, but I know my religion and where my temples are, and Willie has been my soul brother since I met him riding and will be until we can’t ride no mo. – THE CONFESSOR

Hey, what up, man? Are you down in Santa Cruz?
Yeah. I’m kicking it in Santa Cruz right now.

What are you doing there? Do you have people over there?
Yeah. My friend Colin Benson from Delaware lives here.

Oh, yeah. He’s Adam’s brother.
Exactly. He’s Delaware Adam’s brother.

Okay, I have five pages of questions for you.
That’s what’s up.

I’ll see what I can work in here. This is just going to be stream of consciousness. I just got a midterm back today from my European Art class. I’m hyped because I got an A- on it. He said, “This is great information, but it’s like you just fired it out of a shotgun. There’s no form. You wrote in the margins.” It’s kind of like what this interview is going to be. This is going to be me talking to you, and seeing how you’re doing. In one way, I have almost a big brother complex for you because there’s a lot of young kids that I saw coming up. Do you remember being in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the late ‘90s for the Beast of the East finals?
Yeah, totally I do.

I remember your pops was there and my pops met me there. He was hanging around reading science fiction. I’ll never forget it. You were young and you always used to skate with a helmet. I remember seeing you at FDR with your helmet on. Even at Skatopia, you had your helmet on. It was smart. I’m thinking about going back to the helmet, with my many head injuries and face shots. I freakin’ smacked my face at Glenhaven the other day, but yeah, I remember that.
That was a fun competition. That was sick.

It was sick! Tim Johnson was there, and all these other people. It was killer, right?
Yeah, it was super fun.

I remember you had AC/DC High Voltage and we both skated to that. That was killer. We were like, “Yeah! Let’s skate to AC/DC.” Your pops was going wild like, “Yeah!” I remembered showing up and your pops was like, “Yeah, Confessor!” I was like, “Oh shit, yeah, Akers is here, woo!” It was so fun.
[Laughs] Yeah, that was sick. That was a pretty rad event, in Knoxville. It was just skating. Everyone was there, and it was awesome.

I ended up blowing out my knee at that. Remember that doorway thing? It was a quarterpipe to a doorway gap to a wall to bank thing.
Yeah. It was gnarly!

I tried to boardslide to fakie into the bank and I stopped over the doorway and just fell to the floor and caught my knee all messed up.
Oh, no.

I just totally got up and was whimpering like, “Oh, this is really great. Yeah. I’m really doing good here.” Whatever, it was fun. We skated to AC/DC in Knoxville, Tennessee. That’s one of my memories of you.
[Laughs] Yeah. You’re the man. You’re the man that I remember.

Thanks. Here’s the thing. Everybody always says, “Why the hell do you skateboard? What’s the point? You get hurt.” If it weren’t dangerous, why bother, right?
Yeah, for real.

Anyway, I have a tendency to hog the conversation, so I’m going to start asking you some questions. You’re the man of the hour. I think I have a narcissistic problem here, so I’m going to start. I had some people from the East Coast help me compile these questions. Seriously, I don’t want to take full responsibility for this question myself, but they’re from the minds of East Coasters. That’s important…
Nice.

We know you’ve traveled all over. You love to travel. You spend a lot of time traveling around Europe. Me and these two other East Coasters want to know, if during your travels, you ever met up with any young ladies who might have given you some sting-ding from their spung-bung, which caused your willy to ache? Don’t hate me for this question. These are not my words. I collaborated on this question. I said I’d give you this question right out of the gate. Even though you may not answer this question, we thought it was hilarious. We wanted to make fun of your name. [Laughs]
That’s funny. I’ve never actually heard those wordings before. [Laughs] That was amazing. I’ve never actually heard about sting-ding.

Okay, watch you don’t incriminate yourself. You’re allowed to plead the fifth. This is a rhetorical question. The purpose of this question is to make fun of you a little bit. [Laughs] Did you ever see the Last Action Hero with Schwarzenegger?
Yeah, of course, I loved that movie.

“OCCUPY YOUR LIFE. THERE’S JUST SO MUCH OUT THERE TO SEE AND DO. DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF TO ANYTHING. THERE’S A WHOLE WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE OUT THERE. YOU HAVE TO LEARN THROUGH EXPERIENCE.”

My friend Big Hoagie wanted to know if you remembered the part where Schwarzenegger walks up to a guy and he goes, “Hey, are you a fahmah?” I’m doing my Arnold impersonation. And the guy goes, “No.” He goes, “Well, here’s a couple of acres.” And he kicks him in the nuts. You know like acres. He’s done aching. [Laughs]
I definitely do remember that. Absolutely. “Are you a fahmah?” That is crazy. I remember that movie so well. I used to love that shit. I’d watch it all the time with my cousin and brothers.

[Laughs] I just try not to be serious and I put it out there that I am a complete asshole.
East Coast.

Okay, we got those two questions out of the way. Where are you living now?
I just moved back in with my parents, so I could travel and save money and not spend money on rent. I’ve been traveling around. It’s been sick.

So you’re back in Delaware, right?
Yeah.

Where in Delaware?
Wilmington.

As we’re both from the East Coast, that’s obviously how I know you. I’m from New Jersey. You’re from Delaware. I think maybe New Jersey and Delaware might have two of the worst reputations as far as states go. People seem to hate New Jersey and Delaware, right?
Always.

New Jersey and Delaware get a bad rep. This is your opportunity to defend Delaware. What does Delaware have to offer people other than a tax haven for corporations? How rad is Delaware? Who do you know that’s rad from Delaware? Tell all these people about Delaware.
Well, damn, I wish I could have some cool things to say about Delaware.

Do you agree with me or do you hate Delaware? [Laughs]
No, no. I like it. I like it a lot. I think it’s a pretty cool place, but there’s not too much happening in Delaware really. Let’s see. Dogfish Head Brewery comes from Delaware. I think that’s the most amazing thing that comes out of Delaware.

There you go. There’s some home brew going on there. Plus, you have a few universities, right?
Yeah. Definitely. We’ve got the University of Delaware. Delaware is actually the state that learned how to mass produce the chicken.

What? That is some random information. Is it like Purdue?
Exactly. Purdue is in Delaware. Tyson is in Delaware. I pass them when I’m driving to the beach. Delaware also has phenomenal beaches. It’s a really awesome beach life.

You have the Benson brothers that grew up surfing there. Big Wes always tells me about surfing in Ocean City, Maryland. When people think of the East Coast, they don’t even think that there’s an ocean, but there’s a whole stretch of beaches from Maine to Florida.
The beaches in Delaware are excellent.

Okay, so, everybody, you need to quit talking shit about Delaware. What you know about Delaware is you blink your eyes in an hour on I-95 and you’re through it. People live in Delaware, people like my man Willy Akers and my man Adam Benson and his brother and his family. You’ve got Delaware Josh and Grant. Some of the best people are from there. I would defend New Jersey, but that’s a whole other thing. I could write a dissertation defending Jersey.
[Laughs] Yeah. Delaware has definitely got some amazing people. The Benson brothers are awesome. Delaware Josh is totally cool. Josh Marcinizyn has been my dog for a long time.

Who was telling me that growing up you and Josh used to go into 7Eleven to eat condiments?
No, hell no.

No?
I don’t know. Actually, Josh was into playing music, so he always had some kind of band going on and we would always go to his shows and rock out, punk rock. Pretty sick. We had a skate crew going. It was a couple people, like Ian Calder and the Disorderly Skate Crew.

So those are the guys you came up with in Delaware? Were you taking trips to Philly, New York and D.C. or what?
Oh yeah, all the time. We would always go to FDR. My dad was super, super supportive, so he would just drive us there everyday after school.

Oh, we’re all cool with your Pops.
Yeah. Definitely. He’s the man. He’s the best dude in the world. I love that guy.

How’s he doing?
He’s doing okay. He’s taking this gnarly medicine right now. It’s kind of messing up his white blood cells, so his immunity is super low, but he’s charging through it. He has one more month left on this medication and then he’ll be back to normal. Hopefully, a couple of things pan out with that. He’s feeling a little rough these days.

Well, everybody, good thoughts to Willy’s dad. Good karma, good vibes for Willy’s dad. We love Willy’s dad. He’s the man.
Yeah. Definitely. I hope he pulls through. He has the strongest will power I’ve ever met out of anyone, so I have full faith that he will make it.

We love your dad. Your dad was so supportive, man.
Yeah, he would take us up to FDR almost every day, which is where I would run into you and skate with you all the time, down at the park.

Do you remember Timmy O’Brien?
Yeah, he’s been skating around.

Yeah, he’s been out here for a long time. I think he’s from Harrisburg, but he might have lived in Delaware. He was in Philly for a long time and he was telling me the other day that he used to go down there with Tad. Tad is a good friend of ours from Philly. They said they used to go down to the park early in the morning before the bunker wall got built. He was saying they would go down there early in the morning and your Pops would be there with you and your two brothers?
Yup. I have two brothers, Bubba and Ray. We skated together all the time.

How are they doing?
They’re doing great. The brothers are killing it right now. Actually, my little brother has been skateboarding a lot. He beefed up for football. He was playing football in college for a good bit.

Oh, that’s good. Scholarship?
Yeah, he had a full scholarship for playing football. He’s not playing football anymore, so he doesn’t have to worry about being hurt. His coach would kill him if he rolled up with a broken ankle from skateboarding.

So he has seen the light.
Yeah, he’s totally skating again, so that’s pretty awesome. I can’t wait to get home and ride with him again. It’s going to be sick.

That must be awesome to have a brother you could go skate with?
Yeah.

Or maybe it would be super competitive. I don’t know, but that’s sick. I didn’t even know you had brothers. Timmy was like, “We used to go down there and we’d see Willy and his dad and his two brothers down there.” I guess you guys were really young, right?
I think I was 11 when I had my first FDR experience. It was good. It was before the bunker. I remember going there and I think they were working on it. There were huge rebar sticks just sticking out of the ground.

Wow. You must have been stoked. It’s almost like you’re at a party with some older kids when you’re really younger. Or it’s like you’re going to Harlem for the first time or something. That’s kind of a harsh drug metaphor, but I always find drug metaphors are fitting to skateboarding because skateboarding is so addictive, you know?
Hell yeah. That was good.

That’s just how I’ve always thought about it. Tell me about the first skateboard you ever got. How did this whole thing get started with you?
First skateboard, my dad got my older brother, Ray, a skateboard for Christmas. His birthday is on Christmas, so he got a board for Christmas. It’s kind of crazy. My dad was born on the winter solstice, my brother was born on Christmas and I was almost born on Fourth of July.

Whoa. That’s trippy.
My mom’s birthday falls on Thanksgiving every four years.

I don’t know if that’s spiritual, but that’s random. You guys are lined up in a calendar way or a Masonic way. I’ve always sensed an element of spirituality in your skateboarding, so that’s interesting to me. [Laughs]
Definitely. It’s pretty cool. I think it’s pretty interesting too, especially with the planetary alignment going down right now.

That’s right. There was something here last night, like the solstice. There are so many hippies here. I can’t even keep track of all the stuff. We both have hippie tendencies though. So you got your first skateboard.
My first board wasn’t even my board. I would just take my brother Ray’s board all the time and he would skate and I would just follow him around everywhere because I wanted to skate too. I thought it was the coolest thing and I would just run around behind him. My birthday came along in July, so I had to wait another six months until I got my board. My dad took me to Henry’s, the local skate shop, and I picked up my first board. Henry’s was a half bike, half skate shop. It was pretty funny, but it was pretty sick. It was skating distance from my house. We would end up going skating around there. Once I got my board, I was pushing around with my older brother all the time, everywhere around the neighborhood.

That just warms my heart. I’m not even joking. Once you feel that, it’s on. I feel like in society, skateboarders are very unique. Listen, you’re from Delaware. I’m from New Jersey. Right now we’re talking. You’re in Santa Cruz. I’m in Portland. We’re still in America. Compared to a lot of other people that take traditional paths, you’ve had that pure joy of just rolling down the street with your brother. What more is there?
Yeah, it’s really amazing how far a plank of wood will take you. It’s never ending. It’s always something to do.

I just want to ask you one more thing about your dad. So you were riding for Scum back in the day, right?
Yeah J.P. hooked me up. J.P. is the man. He hooked me with a board when I was in California a couple years ago.

Eternally grateful. Thank you, J.P.!
Hell, yeah. Big thanks to J.P. He got me started. He got me sparked up with Cholo. It was awesome. That was cool. I’ll never forget.

He’s such a ripper, and such a solid dude.
I got to skate with him this year. He came back to Philly, and I skated with him at FDR. It was awesome.

Oh, sick. Have you been skating with Faas lately? I’ve been seeing all your pictures.
Yeah. Faas is on fire. He’s killing it.

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