Danny Wainwright

After an email interview went tits up over Xmas, this interview was done by Zac over the phone in Feb 04 …it took an hour. Some of the questions are from Ralph LD and others from the Crossfire and Sidewalk Forums…..this photo here was shot by Leo Sharp and robbed from www.vans.co.uk

so, let’s get on with it…

Name and number?

Geoff Capes mate!

Haha! I have not heard that name in years..like a bit of wrestling huh?

Later..be patient, haha!

Ok, lets get on with it starting from the beginning. How did you get into skating, and why?

My mate Pob back in Stroud where I grew up had a board for his Birthday and we used to share it and skate together, then one day Mum and Dad said to me, ‘check out what is the car’, and there it was a brand new board, you know, the Turbo 2’s.?

Haha! What was the graphic?

It had a Bruce Lee graphic haha! You know the sketchy ones you used to get in the market for a tenner?!

Yeah, I remember them.I had one to with Palm Trees on it! It was rad! But no one at that time had wide boards, so they were pretty rare back then huh?

Yeah, too true, I saw some kids on one once and I was like whoa! I gotta have one of those one day and try that man, and then a few years later, I hooked one up!

What about pro boards?

Back then, I used to just buy all of the second hand boards from locals kids cos we was skint..they used to call me Second Hand Dan! All the rich kids use the take the piss out of me! I used to buy people’s shoes and everything man!

Back then though, nobody even dreamed of becoming pro and having a career right?

No way! We used to drill metal on the back on it and spark the hills. You know, like blakeys.remember them at school?!

Yeah, everyone had Blakeys.what ever happened to them?

I have no idea. But we should get them going again man! That is ours, let’s trademark it haha!

What about Powell, how did the relationship come about?

Through Shiner.this guy called The Hawkins who used to hook up the teams and all that you know, I owe him big time cos he hooked me up, and got me on Powell.

So it was flow to start with right?

Yeah, Shiner were looking for people to represent Powell here, and also get someone on the Vision offshoot label that Chris Gentry and others were riding for, I can’t remember the name now..but all my friends were like, ‘yeah you should ride for Powell man’, so I just did it! I got a few boards for free and I was also getting flow from Jeremy Fox with Death Box, like jeans and the boards an all that, so he helped me out in the early days.

What about the original Bones Brigade Videos, did they influence you choosing?

Yeah, the opportunity to ride for them was massive, they were massive.

Yeah, I remember it was either Santa Cruz or Powell back then for me.

Totally man, …but the Powell videos were amazing, all those skaters, Ray Barbie, Chet Thomas etc, I used to record the music off the videos and go out skating with the soundtrack on in the headphones….the music was as important as the skating.

Do you have contact with George Powell?

Yeah, he is cool man, he arrives at the office from 12-8pm, he has his dogs in there and everything, it’s a cool set up over there in Santa Barbara, all the warehouse and factories are downstairs and then upstairs is like a massive open plan office, and everyone works in there, so you just go up there and hang out..

Do you get over there much?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I will probably go over there soon.

So what was your favourite era then?

I dunno.maybe when Real Skateboards came out, before it got all technical and slow and all that, you know.when all those Blind videos came out, Henry Sanchez, Chico Brenes and all those dudes man.that was THE era..

With the limits of skateboarding being pushed each day, do you think that somebody who wants to make it as a skater has to learn to discipline themselves and take care of their body?

Well the Americans who skate vert for sure..all of them are like full-on athletes, supplements, work out, if they get hurt, they get it sorted and move on, very different to here man! And street skaters, especially here in the UK.well, a bag of weed and a Pot Noodle will do, and if they get injured.well they get walking again and go skatin! That is the UK! Skaters here don’t take it too seriously, and that can be bad as well because we don’t get anywhere because of that..you know what I mean, we are not really supported because of that.

Do you think we are not supported enough then in the UK?

Well look at the contests here, barely anyone goes, you know! They are all like, ‘yeah I can’t be bothered‘.British Teams, or ‘so called Teams’.where they at?

Like say there is a comp in London or something, they are too busy drinking Stellas and playing chess in their cardigans and that..they are like, ‘whoa, I’m not into that’, which is fucked!

You seem to take comps seriously right? You have won loads of comps lately like Board-X, Turin Italy, and Montpellier etc. Is there a method to this, do you go to win?

I think about it a lot beforehand, a lot of the time I feel like I gotta do well, you know like there’s Vans, Powell etc, they want me to do well you know.

Obviously sponsors don’t push you into doing all of this, it’s up to you right?

Yeah, it is up to me, but you know, last year I really tried harder cos I’m 28 now man, and I wanna be seen to still be progressing, and doing well you know, so last year towards the end I was like lets do this, it’s on you know, I felt good about my skating, and the last 5 events I entered I won, so it felt good man.

Do you think loyalty to sponsors is important?

If they are cool with you. You have to build a relationship, you not gonna have no trust if you jump around, you won’t really know anyone that you are dealing with, I find it easier you know.I have been at Powell for like 10 years now, pro for 6 of those now..and Vans, the Team manager Pete is like one of my best friends, so I don’t wanna fuck him around, I just wanna represent, and do the best I can.

Do you think kids nowadays understand this loyalty too?

A lot of it is about image, being seen to be part of a fresh thing, it’s a funny one, I’m not really that bothered, you gotta sort yourself out; it’s hard to explain.

Talking of brands. If a big brand such as a mobile company or big clothing manufacturer wanted you as part of their team, would you take the money and ride or turn it down?

Well fuck, what other skills do I have man? I don’t wanna do too much crazy stuff.I did that thing for the BBC and I didn’t know what it would be like or how it would turn out…

Yeah, that looked good on TV, where you happy with it?

Yeah man! It was amazing; it won a Bafta as well! Best camera operator!

Was it a skater who filmed it?

Nah, BBC filmed it..i helped to choreograph it and all that, it was cool. We has to go to Northern Ireland 3 times, help set up the course, and then got to pick the riders for it, Frank Stephens and Ollie Todd you know, get the Vans boys in you know! I went to a meeting with Christian Stevenson and we picked 2 heads that would be able to do tricks all day solidly.we filmed all day, they got good style.

Frank has some good stuff going on right now huh?

Yeah, it’s about time to.

We heard rumours that there was a possible switch for you to Cliche, is this true?

Where did you hear that from?!! Walls have ears huh!

They did talk to me an all that, but I didn’t see it as being the right thing you know, I like what they are doing, but not for me man.

So what is the deal with the Wainwright pro shoe?

No love from Vans man.I got that one called “the Sums” that was amazing, and they didn’t even give me an ad or anything, they didn’t promote it and get it out there enough.

Would you want another pro shoe out?

Yeah for sure, it’s a big achievement to get a shoe, I’m surprised and I’m stoked I got that opportunity, I dunno if I will get that opportunity again but if it did, I would make sure it happened properly.

What was you contribution to the Customized Vans in the new Vans Shop in Carnaby street?

Yeah, I did a pair, I don’t know if it sold, but Stella McCartney’s sold for like £8000 or something and the Gallagher’s designed some, it was fun. We came to your jam afterwards man, it was cool.

Yeah, that was the best to date..

We came late to yours as we had to do our Vans stuff, and I remember getting there, hanging with some kids, went to have a skate and all the lights went off, I was like oh shit, we missed the main event man! But everyone was stoked on that jam, keep em up, they rock!

You are pretty cool with the kids right.don’t mind autographs etc

Yeah, and I will tell you a story why I am like that.

Go on then, let’s have it!

When I was little, I went to see the Wrestling with Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks yeah, it was sick, and after the fight, Giant Haystacks walked off, you know, and I’m all like running over to him, by this time he is at his dressing room, and I’m like, ‘hey man, can I get your autograph?’. And he looks at me and bellows at the top of his voice ‘ FUCK OFF’ and he is this massive geezer, I was gutted!

It happened to me with Henry Rollins once so I know how you feel!

You know what, if I saw Haystacks now man, I would thump him! Haha!

So you are into your art, would you use your own art for a board graphic?

I do a few bits and bobs, I like street art, graffiti, posters and stuff like that but I have never done a board graphic.

When you were growing up, was Electro music a part of your life? Did it start there?

Yeah, of course, we all used to Break Dance, I had my name on the back of my tracksuit and shit, haha..

That’s funny!.What did it say?

‘Mini D’!

Haha! ‘ Class!

Yeah man, that was my tag, I was about 8 years old or something!

We used to have sessions in school cos they had great polished floors, where did you kick out the electro jams?

Well I used to live in Coventry and we used to take over these abandon garages and we took 2 of them over, we had a bed in there, lino and a beatbox, it was great!

Where you into skating then?

Nah, I was into BMX but I never had a good one!

Yep, same here! So what about music, tunes always have played an important part of art, skating etc, what is on the stereo right now?

Hear ya go (turns the stereo up) , Trojan Dub right there man! Loving it!

So what are the fave musicians in your life?

Oh, whoa that is one hell of a question, this is gonna take a while.lemme think.hmmn…Biggie Smalls will be in there, Mobb Deep, yeah, some Jazz in there to.I reckon Robbie Coltrane..

You like your chilled stuff then?

Oh dude, fuck yeah, well I’m a stoner innit so, you know, nothing hectic! Snoop would be in there..OG Snoop, Doggy Style!

Have you ever made your own tunes?

Nah, lots of friends of mine make tunes but I have never really gone for it, Bristol has a really good scene for music, and I’m into that for sure.

Tell us about 50-50? How did it come about in Bristol?

It’s the bomb, the best, it’s the most original, skater owned yo!

Did you start up on your own?

Nah, me and Sid man. I won some money at Generation 97 and Sid got some money together, we put a business plan together, and the bank helped as well, and we got it all up and running and started with nothing.

What about distributors?

We did not get support in the beginning from distributors, people like Shiner were really supportive, and slowly after about 6 months, people started to come around you know, obviously the shop will do well because of who is involved, people like Alan Rushbrooke was there from the beginning, everyone knew about it and now it’s no problem at all, we get to choose what we wanna do now.

What’s the future for the skater owned shop vibe?

Yeah, there should be like a recognized group of shops you should got to, skater owned, or shops that support the scene and put something back into skating, cos there are a lot of shops that just stock shit, and happen to be a distributor as well so they are just undercutting every other shop the stock to, like that Osiris shop in Bristol. We used to sell their stuff and then all of a sudden they open a shop right next to us, they sell it cheaper than what we can buy it for so why would people wanna buy it from us, it’s tough you know, but that is life.

And chain stores?

Well, 6 months in, the Legends shop in town is closing! It can only be good to for the scene. It’s bad, of course, but it’s good because it filters it back to what it was in the beginning.

Are skater owned shops doing enough for their local scenes?

Yeah, Sumo, Ideal and others do that I know, I can’t speak for other shops, but we organize demo’s, contests, make flat bars, take them out for the kids, we have the ramp at the back of the shop that people can skate, people come in and watch videos, it’s like a meeting place you know, and we don’t just sell the kids products. Kids don’t really know what to buy when they come in sometimes, so we teach them what is good and what isn’t. Say for example if some fat kid comes in, I’m not gonna sell him a super light! We just be cool and fair to people.

What is the future then for 50-50?

Who knows, we are just waiting for these other irrelevant shops to get out of the way so we have a bit more room to do things. We have great support from local skaters, wearing the shirts, and even parents like the vibe; we will try and keep that going cos it’s all good.

What about the 50-50 brand?

Yeah, we wanna get that out there more, do more stuff with artists instead of just logo based stuff. We got 4 people working on stuff right now. Science is one of them, Eko with a graffiti crew called TCF, and another friend of mine, Sick Boy,who’s doing boards right now and another guy called Parish who writes for TCF as well, all these guys are well known round here.

Nice..so let’s talk about ‘The Ollie’!

Ahhhh, I knew it would come up! Haha!

How does it feel to hold the record?

Stoked man, it’s tough but, ollieing 40 inches – I can it every day pretty much and I know other people can, but over 40 inches is hard, it’s a real push..

Do you think you could break it?

Back then I was into ollies but now, I try a different style of skating, new tricks you know?

What about switch then?

Dude, you know that guy Javier Sarmiento who rides for The Firm? That guy has the biggest switch ollies! He switched ollied this thing in Japan that I just ollied, it was fucking massive.seriously!

With the highest ollie, highest switch ollie, longest ollie and $10 000 games of SKATE, what’s next?

There was something recently, a long ollie comp at ASR, I heard about it, but I think all that stuff has calmed down now a bit, it’s media induced you know.

Do you think such competitions are good or just a mockery of what skateboarding is all about?

Nah, I think it’s really good, but in proportion. The ollie thing was good because it had not been done for years, and they shouldn’t bother do it for another 10 years, until there is a whole new batch of skaters and new techniques.

Could we see more competitions like this in the future ‘ any invites to new ones?

Well, look at the loop with the gap, who knows what is next. The Americans are good at doing all this stuff.

Have you ever been tempted to move ship to the States?

Not really, more than ever now. Sometimes I think why did I not go there for a bit, but there is still plenty of time, but it’s really different out there than the UK. The whole lifestyle wears you down you know. The sense of humour here is great, and the way people are, they tell you straight here, over there it’s like one big game. I used to go for like a month or 2 and then come home which was cool, there are always invites, I reckon I will go back soon, Powell ask about when I’m next visiting now and then.

After making the pilgrimage to the States and then returning to set up shop in England, do you think Europe has a chance to compete with the American skate industry?

Yeah, Europe is on fire right now, has been for a while. Support it!

And finally..

Some Questions from the Forums..we asked online community if they had any questions for you and these came back!

Do you think you’ll be remembered as “The Dude Who Did The Ollie”? – Dave1

Haha, probably i don’t know !

Why R U the only skater to have a pro shoe that actually lives in the UK?
– Arry

Cos the UK don’t get no love man!

How come he hardly gets coverage in the big american magazine ?
– Arry

They always over the same people, the same places every issue so i’m not missing out, plus i live here man, i got the 50-50 for life.

Are you still obessed with Vanessa Paradis?
‘ Frontside Rocker

That is a funny one man! I did an interview years ago, it’s funny someone remembered that ! ‘ I saw her on TV the other day, and she’s not looking so hot these days! When i was 16 yeah!

Also what are Powell doing with those graphics? Does he have any say? I think they’re awful!
Spanky

I could not agree more mate ! i don’t have a say.hey have you seen my new one, it looks like a prehistoric corn on the cob !

Has having a name 1 1/2 times as long as ‘Danny Way’ had any beneficial impact on your career?

Did Jason Lunn ask that question ? Haha ! He is great Jason, big respect.

Who do you idolise in skateboarding ?
– J Hetfield

I don’t idolise anybody man, but dude, great skaters, – so many i don’t even know, from back in the day, all of those amazing videos.style man, i love watching stylish skaters. Someone with flow.

Fave session?

Whoa, that is a hard one…Will Ainley, Frank Stephens – all the 50-50 crew man.

Why wasn’t your section on Day in the City 3 because i didn’t see his section on the premiere
‘from Tyler

Well, i didn’t do one..Will Ainley did, but it didn’t get on there.

If there was one thing you could change about your career so far what would it be?
– Rom Skater Andy

I would not tried that handrail in the Raggy Video that i split my nuts on man, yeah, that for sure !

Who’s the most annoying & hard worker of the 50/50 ams?
– Deegwaad

Oh boy, they ask some real sick questions..I’m stoked they wanna know about the crew though, it probably would have to be Little Dan Wileman for both, they are all annoying, a bunch of idiots ! But Dan is the most annoying for example we will be out skating and he will be like – “Dan have you got a bearing or whatever or “can i borrow you knee pads?”, and he will borrow them and not give them back or something..Big Love though Dan!

Any shouts, plugs weblinks or general abuse to people you know reading this?!

Yeah. Thanks if you take time to read this.

Thanks to all the kids for their questions and yeah, of course Big Ups to Crossfire for hooking this up and pulling us all together.

Support Skater Owned! – DW

Danny’s recommended links include:

50-50 Skate Shop online at www.5050store.com

And some Graf sites well worth checking out at www.woostercollective.com and www.ekosystem.org