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Bryan Herman. (From the Desert).

Michael Sieben

IT'S HARD TO SUM SHIT UP IN A PARAGRAPH, but Bryan was born to ride a skateboard. He has to. He is a teenage skateboard junkie. It's like how a pimp needs a ho, doctors need nurses...or junkies need heroin. Bryan needs a skateboard. Besides being the lead singer in our band, The Bakers, he's a big inspiration to me--whether it's with bitches or hammers, he has that I-don't-give-a-fuck-about-anything-except-my-skateboard attitude, which I admire a lot. Bryan has a missing tooth, cool hair, a good style, and he farts a lot. I'm glad he rides for Baker. Bryan is cool.

--Jim Greco

How's it been growing up with two first names?

What do you mean?

Bryan Herman.

It's cool.

What are some nicknames you've had over the years?

I haven't really had a nickname. More people call me Herman, though.

Do people sometimes think that's your first name?

Yeah, that's happened before.

When you were younger did you ever wish you had another name?

No. I've always thought my name was super cool.

Tell everybody your age, how long you've been skating and your sponsors, so we can get that out of the way.

OK. I've been skating for five years. I'm 16. My sponsors are Baker Brand skateboards, Emerica shoes, Pharmacy boardshop, Ruca clothing, Ghetto Child wheels and Thunder.

How would you describe your hometown of Victorville, California, to someone who has never been there?

Hootie-hoo! Let me think. It's kind of like how it sounds.

How would I describe Victorville? That's like unexplainable. It's in the desert. Meth labs everywhere, including my house. It's everything you don't want--very hot, not that many skate spots, but enough to live. It's the ghetto desert. It's cool. You could probably get into riding bulls out there easier than skating.

Have you ridden a bull?

I haven't. I rode a little mechanical bull, but that was it.

Now that you've traveled around the world, how would you rate Victorville?

On a scale from one to 10, like negative 10.

It's that bad?

Yeah. I've got friends there, and it's not that bad, but there are lots of fun places out there.

What kind of stuff were you really into when you were younger?

I used to ride bikes; I was into those for years. I also played baseball, a lot. Me and my brother were on the same teams. He was the catcher and I was the pitcher.

What kind of arm you got?

I'm a left-handed pitcher. I've got a side arm. We worked our way up. We were pretty good.

What's your hometown skate scene like?

At first it was just my brother, and I would always go skate with him. Sometimes he wouldn't let me, though. He'd tell me to stay put and I'd start crying. I'd put up a big fit. For the first couple years my skate scene was just my backyard on the flatground. I wasn't very good. I could do ollies and that was it. Then it turned into hanging out and skating with all my real good friends like Matt Allen and David Odle, and we'd just skate everyday and progress.

What was your first good board?

Honestly, I traded one of my bike sprockets for a blank board. I don't know what it was, but it was the best.

Did you draw your own graphics on it?

No, but I didn't have griptape for it at first, so I rode it for awhile without griptape. It wasn't very cool. But then my mom finally hooked me up with some griptape so I put it on, over the bolts, and then rode it for another year.

Those first boards last a long time.

Yeah, it's like they never got old.

How about the first trick you learned?

Well honestly, it was the kickflip that I was pumped on. But the situation was, I was in my living room. My mom would never let me skate in the living room, but she was gone. I was always too scared to land it on the concrete outside, so I was trying it in the living room and I said, "OK. I don't care what happens. I'm going to land it!" Then I landed it with two feet in the middle of the board, sticking straight up. My toes were facing the nose of the board, like, the worst kickflip, but I was so happy. I was running around the house screaming and screaming.

Were you always a fast learner as far as skating?

It took me a while to learn a lot of tricks. I would try to learn the kickflip, then I'd learn the kickflip, and then that was all I wanted to do. I kind of grew up by myself, so I had lots of time to work on tricks.

But was there a time when you started to learn lots of stuff really quickly?

Yeah. But there was also a time when I lost my kickflip. I couldn't do it. So I had to sit down and learn some other stuff. It's fun learning tricks. It's still fun.

Were you competitive with your friends?

No. I was never competitive with them. Me and my friend Sean used to go to these CASL contests and they were super fun. It wasn't like I was trying to prove that I was the best, but it was fun to go and skate and take your runs and hang out. I remember I was getting, like, fourth. I got first once, but I don't remember what I did.

Did you get nervous?

Not really. I guess I get kind of nervous when people are watching me--it's hard when you're the only one skating.

What was the first trip you went on?

The summer Baker tour was my first and it was the best tour ever. We skated lots of fun parks. It was the best.

How'd you end up getting on one of the best teams? This is the secret stuff all the kids want to know.

I'll really break it down. I didn't ever make videos or nothing. I didn't even worry about it I just skated. Then one day this guy comes up to me from Equal skateboards, this weird board company that makes these small six-ply boards. The biggest boards they made were like 6.5 inches. They were for midgets or whatever. I never got on the team, but they'd give me boards. Then one day, I started getting flow from World. Then I was at this trade show and I had my video and the Boss and Jim came up to me and said they wanted to put me on Baker. At first I didn't believe them, because I thought they were lying. But then I found out they were really cool and they hooked me up.

You were on flow for World?

Yeah. It was cool. It was free boards. It was fine. I was, stoked on it.

So did sponsorship kind of sneak up on you?

Yeah. Baker did, a lot. It snuck up on me hard. I really liked the video they came out with. I didn't have any goals, like, "Oh, I gotta ride for this Baker company," but it was just like, "Yeah, they're sick. Fuck yeah!" Baker's really cool, so I like it.

Were you nervous to be on the same team as some of your favorite skaters?

I was, but they made me feel less nervous. I just wasn't in the routine of going out and getting footage and shooting photos. I was in the routine of skating, but that's it. I think the first weekend I came out I didn't even really film anything. Then the next weekend I came out and kind of got it in my head, "Hey, I should film something." That's when I got that 50 on a 10-stair rail that was in Dustin's part. At first I think I was kind of nervous, but then it just got fun.

I'm sure you get a lot of questions from kids about Baker, so let's try and answer. some of them here. Is Baker and Bootleg the same thing?

No. It's the complete opposite. You know how you've got kids that want to be like the Pissdrunx? Well, Bootleg is trying to be like Baker. It's not like they're biting our style, it's just that Jay was with Baker before and he wanted to start a company, so he started Bootleg and it ended up being a lot like Baker. It kind of sucks, because a kid might think it's the same thing and really like Baker, but end up buying a Bootleg 'cause he thinks it's the same company. You can do whatever you want, but Baker's the original.' I'm friends with all the Bootleg riders, so it's not a big deal; it doesn't even matter to me. Me and Anthony Mosley go way, way back. I don't get to see him a lot, but we'll always be friends.

How did it feel when Terry quit?

Terry's my good friend and I wish he wouldn't have quit. Some things were going on at the time and I guess he thought it was the best thing for him, so he quit. It still doesn't change the way I look at Terry, though--he's my boy. He's keepin' his head on his shoulders, I'll tell you that.

Who is your best friend on the team?

I'd have to say Spanky. We've been hanging out a lot and we skate and get along. We've never had any problems. We're good friends.

What did you do to convince Kevin Long that he belonged on the team?

He was an amazing skater, right? So when I saw him I always thought, "He belongs on the team." He belongs on the team and he belongs with his friends. So I told him, "I think the best thing for you to do is get on the team." He had quit his sponsor and was trying to decide, and after a few of my little comments he made up his mind.

Do people ever lump you guys together?

Yeah they do. It kind of sucks in a way. We're not really all that similar. We're real good friends. It kind of sucks when people get us confused, but at the same time it kind of doesn't. I'd rather get confused for Spanky, for my good friend, than some other dude. Really, the similarities are pretty far off. It's mostly by people who aren't really paying very close attention. We kind of get sobby about it, because we both wish it would stop, but it's not really that big of a deal.

Does the team all skate together?

We get to skate together a lot. We're all really good friends. We just got to take an Australian trip together. That's what's really good about it because we're all really good friends. No one's got beef with anybody. We call each other up and hang at each other's houses. We don't always skate together, of course, but we skate together a lot of the time and that's what is really fun. Andrew wants you to ask me about my eyebrows.

Why, what's up with your eyebrows?

I don't have any.

Why not?

'Cause last night, while I was probably just sleeping, Andrew shaved 'em off.

Are you going to get 'em back?

Hopefully! Hopefully they'll grow back.

That's messed up.

I Know.

Who's got the biggest ollie on the team?

Probably either Andrew or Mike Maldonado. I would probably say Andrew or Mike. Possibly Mike, 'cause he's a beast.

Who's the funniest?

Lenoce--no, it's got to be Jim for sure.

Are you guys really in a band?

Yeah. The Bakers. I'm the lead singer. I'm the singer/songwriter. Spanky's the bass player. Jim's the guitarist, Andrew on keyboards. Knox on the drums.

What do you write about?

I've got a new song coming out called "Gear Crisis." That's just about the daily getup with the friends as I see' them--what's going on with their life and how much gear they need. It's' called "Gear Crisis." It's a great thing.

When will the public be able to hear this?

We're working on a couple songs right now. We should be bringing them out pretty soon here. We'll probably keep it underground for awhile, keep it on the DL until we, get. our shit down. Then we'll have the album.

Who has the worst temper?

Spanky. He throws his board and cusses and rips his shirt off.


No. Never. He never gets mad. He's really a clam skater. I've never seen him freak out.

What's the worst thing you've ever done when you got mad?

I've broken my board before. It happens, people get mad. I don't like to break my' board. It's stupid.

Have you ever broken someone else's?

See, if I tried, I probably couldn't do it 'cause it's hard for me to break boards. I'm not big enough. If I tried it would probably just make me look like a fool, 'cause I wouldn't be able to do it.

Have you ever gotten so frustrated with skating that you've wanted to cry?

I've wanted to cry because I've been so hurt. I've tried to make myself cry because it hurts so bad. I rolled my ankle on a noseblunt slide and I was seriously trying to force out a cry. It didn't work.

Has anything changed with the team since Jim and Andrew got off the sauce?

It was always fun before, but now that they're not doing it they have a lot more fun. They skate more instead of being sick or whatever. They're out having fun; it's almost the exact opposite. From being able to skate here and there and being sick all the time, to being the healthiest person and skating hard every day. It's just way better. It helped them a lot, they focus a lot more on what they want to do.

What's your take on drugs and alcohol?

Rock on, man! No. I'm totally kidding. I've done it before, but I don't need it, for sure.

What was the best and worst parts of living in the Emerica mansion?

The best part was I didn't have to pay rent. It was free. The worst part about it was I would get stuck there all day and never get to leave. I didn't have a car and it was so far up on the hill. It was tortuous. I had to skate a flat bar in the backyard all day. In order to leave I had to scrounge up 10 bucks then bomb this big hill, which was fun. It was pretty far. I'd skate down this big hill and then I'd go down there, do what I wanted to do, and skate around. Then I'd have to use that money, that 10 bucks, to get a taxi to get back home. It was too hard to walk up that big hill. In order to leave the house I'd have to have this whole master plan or I wouldn't be able to get home.

What's the craziest thing you ever saw go down there?

One time I had to get this 15-foot ladder and put it up to Andrew's window 'cause I didn't have any keys or nothin'. Also, I had to climb up these stairs and climb out onto this tiny wall to get into my bathroom window which was this little baby window to get in the house, If I fell I'd have died. I had to do it every day, almost. One time Mumford came over and they were havin' a couple drinks here. Mumford was having fun and he was hanging on the outside of the stair railing and was going to jump out to a chandelier that hangs like 20 feet over the floor. He wanted to swing out on the chandelier, I guess. Luckily Erik stopped him, 'cause he seemed pretty committed to do it. He would have gotten messed up when the thing pulled out of the ceiling.

You've told me you had a rough time growing up. What advice can you give kids who are in similar situations?

I'd just say keep your head up. If you don't like what's happening to you, try and deal with it and if you can't, just try and let it slip away. Don't worry about it as much as you should. Try to relax. Don't let it get to you.

Did skateboarding let you deal with unpleasant times at home?

Yeah. It helped me a lot. It lets you focus on something good.

Why did you drop out of school?

I didn't do it on purpose. I just had the opportunity to go on this tour. I came back and the school year was almost over and I didn't go back. Then there was the whole summer and then the next year I just didn't enroll. I just kind of stopped going. It's hard to start back up again when you've been out for awhile. I can't really control it. I can't say I'm not going back, and I can't say I am.

Do you worry about it?

I liked the educational part, but all kids know school is boring. They say that if you want to survive in this world you have to suffer through the boringness of school. I guess you do. If you want to be somebody and take care of yourself you have to go to school, but I wish they could make it a little more fun, you know? Why does it have to be such torture?

What's the worst trouble you ever got in at school?

I was at school and I had saved up a bunch of World product, just a bunch of stuff that I couldn't use and then one day I decided I was going to have a product toss. I told people I was gonna throw stuff out on Friday and they were freaking out. Kids were so excited that they were going to get something for free. So I got all my stuff together and went out at lunch time and there was a very, very big crowd of kids. I just started throwing it out and everyone was going crazy. It turned into a gnarly riot. I saw the principal coming so I kicked the box over and ran. The place went crazy! Later, when I was in the principal's office there were these kids going to the nurse's with split open foreheads and stuff. People got messed up. Two weeks after that I saw a kid who only had half a sticker on his folder. He couldn't even get a whole sticker because people were fighting over them so bad. They charged me for trying to start a riot at school. They suspended me and then tried to expel me because me and my brother were kind of known for being bad at school.

Did anything good come out of the product toss?

Yeah. There was this girl I liked, and she started talking to me more. She smiled at me through the window when l was in the principal's office. It was kind of cool being the superhero and winning the girl.

What's it like to be on your own at 16?

It's cool, in a way. The good part is at 16 you're maturing and that's the time when you want to get out of there the most. It's cool because I'm doing it, I'm out. But at the same time I still have my mom, who I get to see still. It's kind of like starting early. The bad part about it is you don't have your parents. You've got to have responsibilities. If you don't do something it won't get done. You've got to pay rent. You've got to have a job. I like it better, though, because it's working for me.

What's the worst injury you've had?

I just really hurt my wrist. You were there! It's so bad, Mike! It's so bad, it's been hurting my neck! It's like the blood stream is going up to my neck, like the nerves or something.

Man, go get that checked out!

The pain goes all the way up my neck. It's like, "Oww!" and shoots up my neck.

That sounds sketchy, you should get that looked at. We don't want you to end up with a baby arm. What about your BMX accident?

Oh yeah. I was riding my bike and the handlebars came off. The handlebars came off and the gooseneck comes to a point and it's real sharp. It came off and I landed on my knees and the gooseneck came down and, well, you know.

It caught you in the groin?

Yeah. It was real bad. I had to get stitches in some parts. It was bad. There was blood everywhere. Everything's all right now. It was horrible. That was one of the worst injuries, by far.

Tell me about this new Emerica video you guys are working on.

It's gonna be good. It's my first part and I want it to be good. I've been working really hard, so hopefully my part will be cool. The video's going to be amazing, though. It's coming out very soon. It will probably be premiering by the time this comes out. The guys who are making it, Jon Minor and Mike Manzoori, are good people and are going to make it come out real nice.

Does skating ever feel like work to you?

Nope. I never think of it like that. I just think, "I'm going to go skate." I think if I thought it was a job I wouldn't be as good because I'd be too stressed out.

How does it feel to have kids recognize you now?

Well, when they're not mistaking me for Spanky it's great. I'm kind of shy, so it's sometimes hard to talk to complete strangers. I'll always be nice to 'em. The first pro I ever saw was at a Zero demo. I got a t-shirt signed by Jim Greco and Jamie Thomas. Ethan Fowler was there. I got an autograph from them and then figured I'd leave them alone. I don't care at all when people want to talk to me. It kind of makes you feel good. I never thought it would happen to me.

Do you ever think about when you might turn pro?

If I never do turn pro, it doesn't really matter. It's not going to eat me up inside. It's not a goal I want to get set to. It's just so fun right now that if I set my goals any higher I might just crash. It's so fun right now that I just want to concentrate on that rather than have a goal to turn pro. If somehow they turn me pro, that's their decision. I'm not going to go cry to them and say, "Oh, you've gotta turn me pro!" I'll take each new challenge as it comes.

Who is your favorite skater over 30?

I'd have to say Edmund. Ed Templeton. I like him a lot. He's really good and he's got a really great attitude. I like hanging out with him.

Under 16?

Matt Allen, probably. I just grew up skating with him. He's one of my favorite skaters. That little kid Torey that rides for Shorty's. That kid's amazing. He's, like, 12 years old.

What's the meanest you've ever been to someone?

I really don't try to be mean, because when I was younger everyone was mean to me. I get in bad moods sometimes, but I don't ever try and take it out on some-one else. I don't want any enemies. If I'm ever mean to someone, I really regret it, so I try and just forget about it.

What do you. worry about the most?

I'm just worried. I'm worried in life in general.

Favorite place to skate?

Australia. Number one, positively!. It's every spot that's in the US combined into one city.

How was this summer in Spain? What happened?

Me and Spanky were in Germany and we wanted to go to Barcelona cause we heard it was good to skate. So we .went down on the train with Mark Waters, who works for Sole Tech. He was leaving after a few days but we ended up staying for three weeks. We basically just got dropped off so we were on our own for three weeks. Enrique Lorenzo saved us. He took care of us and let us stay with him. It was so sick. We were on our own, It made me feel really good to be on my own in a foreign country. We'd just skate around and check things out.

In your opinion, what are some good. rules for living?

Good rules for living? Well, don't do anything stupid. Be good to your friends, Always try and do the right thing. You know what the right thing is, always stick to it. No matter. what, do the right thing.
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Author:Burnett, Michael
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2003
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