The Crown Coalition - Jim Greco
MAY 16, 2013
The Crown Coalition
Presents Jim Greco
House of Hammers
It’s just a few months into 2013 and veteran pro, Jim Greco, is having a year that most skaters can only dream about: he released his fifth SUPRA signature shoe, the Hammer; he finished editing The Deathwish Video that included an epic part of his own; and he just completed construction on his own private skatepark, The House of Hammers. SUPRA sat down with Jim at one of his favorite Korean BBQ restaurants in downtown Los Angeles to chat over a grill with meat on it in the middle of the table. Friends Willy Santos and Jeremy Klein were also on hand.
…Yeah, I’m very satisfied with the video.
Photography by Jacob Messex, Ben Karpinski, and Shad Lambert
So The Deathwish Video premiered the other night. After you’ve had a couple days to reflect, are you satisfied with how it turned out?
Yeah, I’m very satisfied with the video. It’s a straight skateboard video. It’s not about all this crazy cinematography or all these gnarly cameras, it’s about the skating that’s been going down.
What about your part, isn’t that the first part you’ve had in like seven years?
First full part I’ve had since Baker 3—six or seven years, yeah.
With information being transmitted so fast these days, how do you feel about the traditional skate video and skate video part? Can it survive?
It depends on what you put out. I like to use the internet for putting out small little things, like my SUPRA commercial, and I like watching Thrasher with the cool edits they have of trips here and there, but I’m not the hugest fan of filming an online video part. I like to work on that for a while and present it as a video. But there’s definitely validity to having single video parts for sure because kids’ attention spans are so short—I can see the reason why people are doing it. I come from a time where you work hard for a video part and you don’t just give it away on the internet. You give it a proper premiere, you give proper time to film it, etc.
There was a rumor back when you first got sober that you used to have a graph or something on your wall that you used to use to chart your progress for video parts. Did you have anything like that to help you organize this video part?
No. I had no organization like that. I just had ideas of tricks I wanted to do. I’d go out with my mind set to get some of those tricks, but it started to morph into getting other tricks. But then I got hurt during the process and I couldn’t jump down big stuff for a while so I was challenged to be creative in another area of my skating, which was like ledges, and banks to ledges, and other more technical aspects of skating that I’ve always been inspired by but never devoted the time to actually learning.
There’s some Jeremy Klein/Hook Ups influence in your skating lately as well, yeah?
Oh yeah. For my SUPRA ad, yeah, big Jeremy Klein/Hook Ups influence. I just like fastplants and how they look. I got the idea of course from seeing Jeremy do them first and from always skating with him over the years. Being a good friend of mine, we skate together every other day.
…I always wanna do something new.
Speaking of that fastplant, what was the story with those security guards?
So I originally wanted to do it on this seven-foot phone booth on Sunset Boulevard. We showed up at six o’clock and we set up everything, a shopping cart and a piece of wood, but it was too uphill, and too weird, so we pulled the plug on that packed up and drove the van to Chinatown to check out this other one that I had found—which would become the Transworld cover. We had everything set up by probably 7:45. Then these fuckin’ security shitheads that are contracted by the city and we pay for with our tax dollars who ride around in cars and waste gas all day and sweep up a bunch of bullshit but don’t clean up anything—they do all this bullshit and get paid to bust our balls over skating or putting up art or whatever. Yet they can’t touch you. So halfway into getting the fastplant on the shack I was starting to get hassled by these guys. They were standing in front of the ramp, they parked their car in the way, their Segue—is that what it’s called?—they tried to park all this shit in the way and I just swerved around them and did it. And then I told them to fuck off.
Jeremy: Didn’t you run into a guy too?
Yeah. Ran into him.
Nice. Music is a big part of your life and you obviously labor over the songs for your parts, but what were some songs that didn’t make the cut this time?
Uh, Johnny Cash, “Hurt.” But I don’t want to give away too many song ideas—
Willy Santos: Because you’re going to use them for your next part.
Do you have another part in you like this last one?
Yeah, but I don’t want to make a repeat part. I always wanna do something new.
Well you succeeded in this last part you put out.
Jeremy Klein: Yeah, you got everything in there.
Willy: 540 nose grind.
Apparently your 540 nosegrind was the highlight for Willy because that’s like the tenth time he’s said it.
There were also some dark slides in your part and we heard you spoke with Rodney [Mullen] and got some advice from him. What did he say?
Since Gonz did the jump slide one, and Rodney did ‘em in all his parts, I always wanted to learn that trick. So getting hurt afforded me the opportunity to focus on learning that trick. But in the process of learning it, I was having trouble coming out, and so I texted Rodney, “How do you do it?” and he gave me a tip, and I learned ‘em.
What was the tip? You probably won’t be giving away any secrets seeing as you could probably talk about that trick all day long, but there’s only going to be a handful of people that will know what you’re talking about.
I had the first part perfect, but for the dismount he said, “Use the ball of your foot.” I started to do that and it worked. So I wanted to get a dark slide down a handrail for my video part. Rodney had said he had tried it, Chris Haslam had tried it, but no one was able to pull it off. I was like, “I’m trying to get it,” and Rodney said, “Text me when you get it.” But that’s kind of where our conversation ended. Rodney is a great guy. He’s one of my biggest influences in skating. He’s so ahead of the game. I love watching all his parts. He’s the best.
What else did you learn while you were hurt? You got into art and tagging, right?
I don’t really tag. I do some wheat pasting of, you know, art I make. It’s fun. It’s a rush. Just like skating. You search around for the right spot to do it, you find it, you do it, you get away with it, and it feels like a rush, just like landing a trick. So in my down time, if I’m hurt, or at night if I’m too beat to skate, I go and do that.
Jeremy [who has been setting up an Instagram account for Jim]:
House of Hammers, @houseofhammers, there you go. I’ll text you all the info. You already have six followers.
You just set up an Instagram account?
Well, it’s not my Instagram, I don’t have an Instagram, it’s for House of Hammers [his new skatepark].
Speaking of houses of hammered, Pat Conlon [SUPRA] mentioned that you had expressed interest in opening a bar? Is sober Jim Greco thinking of opening a bar?
Pat Conlon owns a bar in New York [Epstein’s Bar] and I was like, “You live out here now, people drink, a lot of people I know drink, might be a good idea to open a bar.” But it never actually came to fruition.
Jeremy: Wait, when was this?
This guy Pat that works at SUPRA, he owns a bar in New York that does pretty well. It was just something we talked about over lunch.
Jeremy: You just got another follower. Seven now.
Can we talk about House of Hammers? Is this skatepark public knowledge now?
Yeah. I built a skatepark. There’s been no photos, no video, I just finished it a month ago. It’s got Seventh Street banks with a fence, it’s got a Wilshire 15, it’s got a UCI replica of the gnarly block and rail, it’s got a cool six-stair and curb, bunch of hips, a vert wall, handicap ramp, it’s got a China Banks but mellower with a bowled corner—I just basically designed and built my dream spot to skate.
When you built the replicas, like the Wilshire 15, did you go to the spots and measure them?
I made a smaller version of the Wilshire just so it’s easier to skate and I’m not killing myself.
Did you take measurements for any of it?
The Seventh Street banks. It’s exactly Seventh Street. The bank to bench is perfect. I gotta go back to my car after this and it’s only like a mile away from here, you should come see it.
Let’s check it out.
You can check out The Deathwish Video at iTunes, and Jim Greco’s signature Hammer is available at better skate retailers and suprafootwear.com.