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Brian Sumner: "I like doing screwed up stuff". (Heads).

Did you prepare a response for the Ice question?

Not really, I just knew it would come up. They called Birdhouse trying to get someone to try out their product. My hair was always in my face and I had never really put anything in it, I always liked it when it was dirty 'cause it didn't fall in my face. I tried it and liked it; you just rub it in and your hair doesn't flap about. I met the guys and they were cool-they used to skate and had tattoos. They wanted to get more into it, put me in ads and on boxes of shit.

That's pretty sketchy, huh?

Well, I guess in many ways. I knew that by riding for this company people could get bummed on me but if I didn't then it was kind of like I wasn't doing what I wanted to do. I realized how for so long there has been this bubble around skateboarding, everything is somewhat controlled. You have to fit in somewhere, yet in every interview everyone says that skateboarding is about self-expression. I'm just trying to flow with everything. I do things for myself and coming from Liverpool, being a skateboarder, just that was taking a step. Kids there have such a bad attitude; picture me, 14, skating down the street in the baggiest pants. Kids would shout shit and it didn't bother me. I knew that if they couldn't handle me wearing baggy pants, or didn't try to understand, then their opinion was irrelevant. With Ice it was the same. I talked to Geoff about it ages ago and he just said, "Stuff like that can hurt you." I just figured I would do what I do. Any kids reading this, do whatever you want; someone else's rules are someone else's rules. Don't be controlled. I just think of a saying: "What someone else says about you isn't your business." Ice did run bad ads though.

What's worse, Ice or Danny Boy?

Danny Boy is just a ramp company, Ice is just a hair care company who ran a sketchy ad of me, so none of them, You, for being a dickhead.

What else has been going on in your life?

I pretty much became a husband and a father in one year, so basically I had to grow up a lot.

Was it tough?

Yes, very I've had a few crazy years; I have grown a lot though. I was really depressed for a while, bummed on life, I delve into things. I bought a house in HB, my son is two-and-a-half, and I did some acting and made a trick tips video. I skated all the time, but by myself. I would just skate Vans or Volcom every night. I just got around too many people who I was trying to help out so we could all help each other, but it just got crazy. I learned about being too open and how some people don't respect one another. In Liverpool, if you treat someone like shit you just get punched.

And what about skating?

It's the best right now, I finished all my projects just in time for the New Year. I just got right into it again. I've been skating with Geoff, Apples, Donny, Matt and Leo. All those guys just go skate and have fun, and at the same time get stuff done.

Who's the best skater to come out of Blighty?

Geoff and Tom.

Did you grow up with Geoff?

Liverpool is fairly small and the skate scene is very close; he was busy but I got to skate with him enough. If he hadn't been around I never would have wanted to get sponsored. The first contest I entered he won and I got third in the under15's-he also got me my first sponsors and got me out to California. I can list things he did at least eight years ago that you could put in this mag today Geoff has always been one of my fave skaters. Respect.

Are you excited about the new blood over at Birdhouse?

Yeah, I'm down for Birdhouse. People are close-minded towards it; it's easy for people to write it off. It's easy for people to say Tony sold out but it's stupid; the guy skated when he wasn't making anything from skating, now it's just peaked and he's in the right place. He holds back on so much shit, he could be everywhere if he wanted to sell out. I don't feel like anyone on Birdhouse is faking it, everyone just does their own thing. It's all just skating. Donny getting on was fate-I was just getting over all this drama in my life and wanted to get serious about skating again. He wanted to find somewhere to do the same. I called him and said that I was getting on my shit and wanted to get Birdhouse out there. I told him that Birdhouse isn't into people who just want cash or aren't really down for the company. Companies like that end up falling down, and we want this to be secure. Now we're about to go tour and have been filming for the video due out in 2003/2004.

Did it change when Berra and Heath left?

That was just an eye-opener. Right when it happened it seemed to get certain people stoked...not other skaters 'cause everyone keeps to their own, but all these industry flicks. I realized how sadistic people in this industry are. Just last month in Thrasher I read something about Birdhouse board sales. I know no one at Thrasher works for Birdhouse so it was some pussy who actually works in the Blitz building. All those people who make fucked-up shit-talking ads -- not just about Birdhouse, about anyone -- should just drive to whoever's house it is they have a problem with and just speak up. You can measure someone far more by their actions than their whispers. It changed Birdhouse when they left, obviously, two pros less. For me it was minor. I like those dudes. I skate with Heath all the time but if they weren't feeling it they weren't feeling it.

What's your take on all these young whippersnappers jumping on huge rails and jumping down massive stairs?

It's good for chiropractors and painkillers.

What direction do you see skating going?

It's getting more well-rounded, more skateparks and pools again. I would like to see more mini-ramp skating. I have all these amazing memories as a kid, watching the Plan B mini-ramp section, and then seeing a mini-ramp contest at Radlands and watching Gershon Mosley just kill it, all these grabs and tweaks. Back then I had only seen street skating; I must have been 14 or so. I wonder now if a kid today could watch that section or be at a contest like that, if they would be as stoked. Let's call up Wade, Howard Cooke, Andy Roy, Cardiel and whoever... what was that video? Jim's Ramp Jam. That was awesome.

Are you still a fan?

I am, I always will be. Skating has grown so much. All these companies starting, everyone's getting paid more, magazines are thicker and whatnot. As it shrinks again these other things will shrink, you'll just have the core companies and there won't be so many people around. It's just the cycle.

If David Gilmore, Saves the Day Chris, and Morrisey were lined up against a wall and about to be simultaneously executed and you could only shield one of them from the impending onslaught of bullets, whom would you save?

Chris 'cause he's my friend and he hasn't had his day yet.

Will the next video feature skits?

My shit will. I like doing screwed up stuff; Klein gets so into it, why wouldn't we do it?

Who can we expect to see in a cameo roll? Perhaps Ralph Machio or Henry Winkler?

Just as jacked as we can get.

How did Tony Hawk feel about the Matt Allen puke ad?

He wasn't stoked. We were on some road trip when Matt first got on--it was a long drive and everyone just started drinking--Matt went overboard and that was the ad. I guess I just found it funny and pushed Klein to do it. It went from these three-page silver trick ads to three-page silver puke ads of an am.

Anything you want to say?

I wish I could thank everyone who needed to be thanked, but I am sure they know who they are. To anyone still here, be yourself and always follow your heart. Think about it and don't screw people around. If you have goals, "Try and you might, don't and you won't." Take care, and thank you Lord God Almighty.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:skateboarder
Author:Pommier, Scott
Publication:Thrasher
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2003
Words:1468
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