Considered a skateboard hero by many, a very humble Gino Iannucci always looks at his peers and the younger generation as equal talents. The Long Island native has been known to skate and party on both the east and west coasts, and has been a friend of Mighty Healthy’s own Ray Mate for over 25 years.
How does it feel to be every kid’s skateboarder hero?
If a younger kid thinks of me in terms of skateboarding in the same light I thought of my favorites, then it’s pretty sick. Still, my main concern and goal once I turned pro was to have the respect from the other pro’s out there.
What defines a good style? When I say style I mean on and off the board.
I always said good style on the board is not faking in any way. When you find yourself in the zone when skating, going for it with intensity, then pure style appears cuz there’s nothing else on the mind. Off the board…I guess that’s personal taste. You plan what you wear but you don’t plan how you look on a board so it’s two completely different things.
I just realized that you and I have been friends for quite a long time. How many years has it been exactly?
Damn son, we’ve known one another for almost 25 years. Quite a while.
How does weather affect your day?
Weather is funny. Fact: I’m depressed when it’s cloudy or raining. Still, love a heavy thunder storm once and a while. Snow is overrated unless up at Mt. Snow boating. It’s nice to see it come down for a couple days but after that I’m out!
What was it like growing up skateboarding with Erik Rossetti, Keith Hufnagel, Keenan Milton, and Ben Liversedge?
It was a lot of fun of course. That was the crew, as well as others like Mike Hernandez, Chris Keefe, Jones Keefe later on, Nickerson, Jimbo going way back, Alvin, Buscemi, Slide, Justin Dueno. Days seemed to never end, morning to night skate, joke, prank, all unforgettable golden years. We were all either skating Long Island or Manhattan or Queens, cuz that’s where we were from. We all spent so much time with each other that there was no filter whatsoever between us all.
Tell me some good old stories about growing up in the golden era of skateboarding.
Memories of Lucero’s house—I think of Skip Pronier over a lot hangin’ with Pat, some parties, a lot of beer and bongs. Most of all it was my introduction to California. The beginning of skating a lot of spots I’d seen in videos. Hunting Beach High, Irvine, Costa Mesa. I skated with Dill all the time so we became good friends although he was a bit younger. Through him I met Jeremy and Jonas Wray so we’d all go out skating daily. It was the beginning of this whole pro skater thing.
Jason was trying an odd trick down the six or seven at Huntington High, switch backside big spin heel flip (feel like a retard spelling that out). He landed on it but the board shot out and after rewinding the footage a hundred times he smacked the side of his head twice then finally laid the cabbage down for a third. Out cold for a few seconds, kinda scary. He got up and was walking into garbage cans. Trying to get directions back to Lucero’s house from him when we left was impossible. Next day he was good.
Is it me or did Arsen change over the years? Do you remember when he used to talk like a surfer dude? He would say “bitchin” all the time.
Arsen, yes, my man from my first days in Cali. I met him through Dill and we been friends since. Always the mellow guy but real, no extracurricular, and yes he liked the word “bitchin.” Even got him on tape shouting the word when we paid a visit to XLarge in LA circa like ’91-‘92. Guess we were all overcome by all the suede Adidas and Puma’s on the rack. Like kids in a candy store! “These are bitchin!” These days it’s, “These are bitchin yo!”
What was it like working and riding for Natas Kaupas company, 101?
The best! We had four riders, we all respected each other; we had one of the best times ever running a team who we all respected to the utmost. What more can you ask for? With Natas in front there was never a doubt that 101 was ill.
What was the Juice Bar?
The Juice Bar, yes! A little juice bar in front but a weed spot out the back, if you had a card of course. Just down the block form Astor Place on St. Marks. Perfect for a quick 25-minute drive from Long Island—get a couple sacks, check Astor, see who’s chillin’, skating, smoke, drink, skate, shoot the shit.
Do you miss living in LA with Keenan and Eric? I used to love coming to visit you.
I miss a bit of the days we all lived together in Huntington Beach because we hadn’t started to party so hard yet. We skated every day, smoked tons of weed, and chilled. I can say in all honesty I don’t miss the LA days. Yeah, we had so many good memories of parties and friends visiting from all over, but the partying took a toll and the only thoughts that come to mind from those days are dark. Erik was someone I didn’t have to worry about, but Keenan I basically watched deteriorate through alcohol and whatnot. It wasn’t any fuckin’ fun seeing your friend abusing himself to the extent Erik and myself saw. I wasn’t a saint either, but I had a real true worry a lot of nights and mornings weather he was OK or not. Skating was good then, but fuck those days! I enjoyed going back to NY more to have good times with my boys.
Talk about that time you hung out with Mobb Deep…and went to Red Lobster.
That was interesting! A friend of ours knew Prodigy’s cousin. Went to the same school or whatever. I was doing the Axion thing. I assume it was my friend’s idea, and I was fully down as well to approach Mobb Deep or P through his cousin to get them some shoes from Axion and rep ’em. So we set up a night to all meet up and politic. We ended up getting dinner at Red Lobster, drinking whisky, and talking shoes. It was pretty cool being that I was heavy into Mobb then and still today. They were at the top of their game then, and kinda intimidating knowing there was probably a mac in the engine.
Do you miss Keenan Milton?
Of course, but the old days. Pre LA!
Where were you when your first Nike commercial came out? I remember seeing it when we were at our Vermont crib. We saw it on a Sunday while watching football…we were so psyched.
Another awesome memory! I was in county doing a 30-day skid bid. I seen the commercial come on the TV during a football playoff game.
Are you working on anything right now?
In LA working with Federico Vitetta on a short film for Red at the moment.