You said you’re on the road right now. Where you at?
I’m living half way in between Vegas and California and right now I’m going to skate pools with that dude Ozzy, he’s kind of like the dude who Tony Hawk or Lance Mountain call to find a pool. He was in the Army and then he was like the head staff at Woodward East for awhile, and that’s where I met him first, I wanna say that was maybe 92? And now he does landscaping and drains pools on the weekends for all the skaters.
So he finds abandoned ones and cleans them and everything?
So here’s the catch, he doesn’t do abandoned ones anymore. What he does is he’ll find a pool, he’ll walk right to the door and just talk to the owners. Like “Hey, I work with these skaters and I’m willing to drain and clean your pool. Just let us skate it.” And he’s always got permission pools lined up, it’s pretty fuckin crazy.
How long have you been on the West Coast? You’re from New Jersey right?
I lived in New Jersey for like ten or twelve years, but I was born in Africa, then I lived in England, Holland, and then we moved to like Connecticut, New Orleans, Florida…
How did you end up working with Powell?
I was shooting photos and I was talking to the brand managers over at Bones, and I was giving him photos and I found out they were hiring for a position with Powell. So I applied one year and didn’t get it, Eric Olson got it but then he quit after a year, so I applied again and got it. That was like eleven or twelve years ago.
So you gotta go on a lot of tours with the team? What takes up the most of yr time?
Yeah if there’s a tour I’m organizing it, I’m driving it and basically doing the whole deal. I’ve laid out ads before, and for the last ten years I was shooting photos, but after Stacy came through and did that documentary with Charlie Blair, they were kind of like ‘hey you should shoot more video’ so I picked up a video camera and I haven’t really been shooting a lot of skate photos anymore. Definitely more filming, photos have been on the back burner except for really gnarly things. But most times I’ll have a photographer come on the session as well and I’ll shoot the video. Kinda been making instagram and web edits, just trying to document the guys left and right. It’s actually kinda fun.
Does it ever get gnarly having to drive a van full of dudes around?
It just depends on who you have. I had one kid that was kind of an alcoholic, so every morning it was really hard cause he wouldn’t get up, and I’d have to go push him off the bed and kind of drag him to the van. He was just holding everybody up. Then having to baby-sit him at night!
Nobody wants to do that…
Once we were in Canada, and that kid, man he actually started getting hookers. He got so drunk he was picking up hookers at night, and then another day he was passed out in the van and everybody drew on him and he had this big red nose and shit all over his face and he wakes up and walks into this store and starts hitting on this old lady in line, just looking so harsh. I couldn’t imagine what this lady was thinking.
Have you had to set ground rules for the van?
Nothing really strict, sometimes I’ll say last one in the van doesn’t get a soda, or if you don’t finish your food you gotta pay for it. But I’m just fucking with them the whole time.
Where was the last place you guys went to?
It was all the way out to Wichita, Kansas then up north to Canada, and then all the way back down. It was like a two and a half week trip. It was cool.
Crazy, any crazy stories from the road?
So the “let’s go skate 3” trip we were driving out and our first destination was two days away. So we’re kind of coming up to Vegas and I look at the filmer and I’m like ‘we got extra space in the van and I got this flow kid in Vegas, let’s get him in here.’ So I call him up and give him 45 minutes to decide if he wants to go on this three week trip, and the kid’s saying he’s got work and he can’t. Then he calls me back twenty minutes later and he’s like ‘I just quit my job, my bags are packed. Lets do this.’ He hops in the van, we drive for a day straight and we get to Amarillo, Texas. If you ever drive through Amarillo on the 40 there’s a perfect water park with this big half pipe. So we go over there and start skating this thing, and next thing I know a cop pulls up. He calls us over and starts calling the owner. The owners on vacation and so his friend comes through and charges the two dudes still skating it with $100,000 in damages! The guys going around pointing at every little thing in the park saying that we did it. This is where it gets fucked up. Because of that charge and just because Texas is so strict, they threw Charlie and Lance in jail! Dude Texas is so strict it’s minimum 180 days if you get caught with a joint! I’m like wait a minute, I’m half way to the first demo on this trip and I’ve got two dudes in jail. I basically had to get a hotel and rent a car, send the rest of the dudes on their way in the van, and wait until the following day to bail them out of jail. So the next day I got to the bail bondsmen and he’s laughing at me like ‘do you know where they are? They’re in the worst jail in Texas…’ It ended up costing a total of like $20,000 including lawyer costs, and flying them back out there for court and shit. And that’s all out of George’s pocket to keep these guys from having records. All that hassle and money just to get one clip on a water park no one had ever seen.
That’s an expensive clip.
Yeah man, when I first started they sat me down and told me I’m allowed to get three trespassing tickets a year and they’ll pay for them, but that was the max. I literally had a budget for trespassing.
So this might be a hard question but what’s one of yr favorite photo’s that you’ve shot?
Oh, Dahmer doing an ollie. It was the first one I got published. I was interning at Big Brother and I showed Kosick my photos and he didn’t want to look at them. So I walked over to Skateboarder, cause their building was right across the street to talk to Mike Ballard. Jamie Owens was like an intern then too, now he’s the editor of Transworld. So I show Mike the photos, being super shy, and he’s like ‘oh I’ll take this one that one and that one, and here’s some film.’ It was something like a hundred fifty rolls of film! I walked out of there like holy shit, what do I do!
So did you ever have photos published in Big Brother after that?
Yeah I had a Chris Cole interview when he was on World Industries, we did a Jersey article too, oh and also a trip to Japan with 5boro.
How was interning for Big Brother?
Well I mean Chris Neiratko’s from Jersey and he had skated my mini ramp and somehow I found out about that so I hit him up and asked him if I could intern for them. He said sure, and so I was basically staying in LA and going over there once a week and doing whatever he told me to do. Sometimes he’d have me wrap his Christmas presents and silly stuff like that. Kosick was actually just starting Jackass at the time, so I got to watch them do all that shit.
Did you ever meet Larry Flint?
No, but I did get a lot of Hustler magazines from working there. Carnie had a whole cabinet just filled with different nudie magazines and at the time there was no internet so I was hyped. I’d just grab a bunch and run out.
What was the last job you had before becoming a TM?
Nothing. I went to college, and handed out flyers on the weekends. I guess I worked some skate camps and stuff in 93 and 94. I built the Visalia skatepark with Tim Payne, and then worked as a counselor for a few weeks. That was cool, I had Karma Tschoseffs kids in my cabin skating and smoking weed and shit.
So who would you say is one of yr favorite skate photographers?
Daniel Harold Sturt and Gaberman. Then Nick Bryant, he shoots black and white wildlife,
he’s not a skate photographer or anything. All my favorite dudes shoot black and white, I don’t know why I shoot anything in color.
Have you ever been locked up?
Yeah, me and Dan Pensyl got locked up for skateboarding in Philadelphia! The cop was like ‘hey man you need to tell them that you’re guilty or you’re gonna get fucked.’ and tricked us into think we’re guilty and we had to go to night court. It was so weird.
Yeah we got locked up, then had to go to night court, and then got released. We were just skating some random spot by his house, not even Love or anything.
I hear a lot of young buls wanting to be team managers Any advice for them?
Uhhhh, get a skill. Probably more video now than photo, but have something before you apply for something like that because they’re going to ask you to do other stuff then just manage the team. A lot of team managers film nowadays, and it’s always better than if you’re just sitting there when you’re out with the guys.