Jereme Rogers is unique. Despite standing just short of 5 foot 10, this Bostonian rises well above the competition as video parts and contest placings will attest.
Skateboarding aside, Jereme is still a larger than life character and this might be due to a strong belief in himself and the big Him upstairs.
Ralph L-D didn’t beat around the bush with this one; Jereme gets quizzed on the PJ Ladd video fallout, his love of God, his jewellery and those tattoos. Read on.
Uhhh… Yeah! So, Jereme how did you get into skating?
(Laughs) Who me???
Yeah, tell us the 5 W’s of your beginning with a skateboard. Who got you into it? Where..?
Some friends of mine were skateboarding in my neighbourhood, and you know you kinda pick up what your friends do. So, there’s the ‘Who?’ ‘What?’ has to be a skateboard because that’s what I ride!
What was your first board like?
An old school board, like they had newer boards at the time, but my step dad gave me this big, old fat Vision board, or some craziness… 8 ½ inches wide! 9 inch trucks! Independents! Then, ‘When?’..? 1990- something..98? I was 13 at the time. So, yeah I was 13 then and I’m 21 now so if you guys want to do the math. It’s 2006, 8 years ago- 1998!
Damn 1998! That’s like 411 number 50 or something???
(Laughs) Yeah! And ‘Where?’- Boston. That’s where I started.
Well, I played plenty of other sports, like baseball, gymnastics, I used to snowboard… I did plenty of other stuff, but skateboarding was fun. It’s like a nice bit of independence where you can get a real sense of freedom whenever you want, wherever you want.
Were there many skateparks around Boston back then?
Nah, not really. There was this one place called 8-Ball that I went to a lot because it was in my town. And then for the most part, I would just go into the city everyday because there were good street spots in the city. I skated there everyday for a couple of years.
Living on the East Coast where you have a winter and a summer, did you find that helped your skating at all?
No, not at all! It only makes it harder because of the snow and rain.
I guess, but if I had grown up in Los Angeles, I probably would have skated a lot more… But I’m glad, everything worked out for the best. I’m happy I grew up in Boston because in LA you have to drive everywhere, whereas in Boston you can skate around the city all day. I’d stay in for the city for up to 12 hours a day just pushing around, ollieing up curbs, do a little boardslide… That was helpful, but everything has its pros and cons.
You blew onto the scene through your part in the PJ Ladd video. What was your reaction when you saw the kind of hype that video generated after its release?
I never read any of the reviews or anything, but kids would tell me stuff sometimes. I don’t know… It was cool.
When you were filming for it, did you have any idea it would be so big?
No, I had no idea! Towards the tail-end of filming for it, I was in the process of getting on Girl and had to film stuff for ‘Yeah Right!’, so I didn’t really concentrate on giving the PJ video my best footage. I didn’t think it would explode like that. If had known, I might have put some of my better footage in there, and like that it might have helped even more with getting on Girl. I just never expected it to blow up like it did. I should have known because PJ is so amazing! (Laughs)
So you were in the process of getting on Girl at that time. What was that like, being approached by someone like Girl who wanted you to ride for them?
It was amazing! But they didn’t just say, “We want to turn you amateur for Girl” right away. The way Girl works is they’ll flow you product, take you on tour, basically like a test period because they care about personality and how you are. Jeron (Wilson) hooked me up because DVS was doing a tour…
DVS are always touring dude!
(Laughs) Yeah, they’re always on the move! So they were on tour and Jeron saw me skating at this one demo, he started sending me boards and it just went from there. I went on the DVS tour with him, then I went to LA for a little trial period with Girl and they were psyched and put me on. So I was already on before the PJ Ladd video came out.
Who inspires you when you skate?
Ummm..? Eric Koston… PJ… I used to like watching Lil’ Stevie (Williams) a lot back in the day, but I don’t know how much he’s skating nowadays..? But, mainly Koston- He’s my favourite. PJ also. I like Paul (Rodriguez) because he skates a lot.
Do you hang out with Paul much?
Yeah, we skate together and hang out. I used to live with him for a while.
I see your tattoos and it’s pretty obvious that you’re religious man.
Yes sir! Fully committed.
When did you start getting those done? When did God come into your life?
2 years ago, I started acknowledging God a lot more. It’s only been recently since I met my new lady – that I’m getting married to – that I’ve been fully committed. In committed I’m saying like I abide by what He tells me. I don’t smoke or drink, I don’t really cuss… I go by these little commitments. Through obedience comes blessings, and the more I obey and do right for Him, then the more He’ll do right for me and my skateboarding and such.
So, it wasn’t through Paul that you got into God? I know he says he goes to church a lot and stuff…
No. When I was living with Paul, he was already religious and going to church a bunch of the time. The whole time I lived with him I just denied it and didn’t have any interest in religion whatsoever. It kind of came on on my own. I don’t know…
When I was in England I met (Christian) Hosoi…
Hosoi is a Deacon at the church I go to, and his friend Jay is the Pastor there. He’s a really good pastor and he talks about skateboarding sometimes which is really funny! He’ll compare God to skateboarding like commitment, for instance when you’re dropping in for the first time with a board- You put your foot over the bolts and fully commit to it. When he makes comparisons like that it’s fun.
Speaking of Hosoi, he’s someone that has seen it all and lived the ups and downs of life. Do you ever take time to look back on skatings past and try and learn from it?
Hosoi sure has! Most of the stuff we do now has already been done by people back in the day. Like a lot of today’s ledge tricks, they were doing on curbs. Nobody today is coming up with anything that new anymore. Most of the stuff has been done already in the old Plan B videos. I don’t go so far as to watch old videos with those 9 inch boards and stuff, but I will watch them for kicks. If I want to check back on history I’ll probably look no further than 10 years ago, 12 years ago, Plan B, stuff like that you know?
To my knowledge, I don’t think anyone’s done that 360 spin grind thing you did in ‘Skate More’, so no need to worry there!
Tell me, skateboarding has been through some hefty slumps in the past- What would you do if it happened again tomorrow? Do you have a back up plan for the future?
Whenever I’m out of skating, I’ll be going to Bible school studying to be a Pastor. Maybe start up my own church..? I don’t really know… But definitely something to do with the Ministry. When the time comes, God will put me there and I’ll do what needs to be done.
I’ve noticed by reading your tattoos, you obviously have a strong belief in your abilities and great self esteem, like “Fear no man” or “God” and “Fear” on each of your hands. Have you ever gotten any strange reactions from people when they see your tattoos?
Nothing too bad. I’m sure that people say stuff, whatever they want to say but I don’t really value Human opinion because at the end of the day I’m just skating and I’ll be in the industry anyway. You can’t please everyone, and I’ll just skate and be here for as long as I live. Then I’ll die and go to Heaven where I’ll be for a lot longer then here, so I don’t really have time to worry about what people think.
Aren’t there any tattoos that you regret having done?
No. None at all!
They’re special. Where do you get them done? Is it always the same dude?
Yeah, it’s always the same dude. Lately I’ve been going to this guy on Sunset Boulevard because it’s good to go to someone that you know is good. If I’m getting a tattoo done on my neck or hands, I not going to risk it and go to some random tattoo club! (Laughs)
What was your first ink?
I got these Boston and Los Angeles signs done first, right here on my forearms.
You’ve also got a lot of jewellery. What’s up with that? What was the first item you bought?
Ummm…? Even like back in the day, I always had some little silver chains and stuff. When I started making decent money, then I got something nice which was this Techna-Marine (Sp?) watch. They were kind of popular a couple of years ago with a big face and rubber bands, like a diving watch with diamonds embezzled in the face. I got that when I was 17 or something, then I got that Girl chain when I was 18 years old.
Do you splash out on the jewellery, or do you only pick specific things, like the Girl pendant or something that has personal meaning for you?
What do you mean by splash out?
What I mean is do you just go jewellery shopping for the hell of it, or are you like (Rob) Dyrdek who once said that each item of jewellery he has he earned through contest winnings and hard work?
I mean right now I only have like three pieces… I don’t keep loads of stuff on, I’ll just wear a ring, a watch and a chain and I don’t need anything else. I know what I’ll get in advance, and maybe if I’ve won a contest then that’ll be when I go get it, but I knew I was going to get a DVS charm. I just got this DVS pendant made recently because I’m getting a shoe out with them and I’m committed to them.
Do you think you might get some gold fronts?
Nah! (Laughs) I like them, but I don’t think so!
Say you found yourself in a spot of financial trouble or something, what would be the first bit of bling to go?
Ummm…? I guess I could sell my watch a make a good little money off that! (Laughs) Just try and keep the DVS chain the longest because that’s my sponsor and means something to me. I’d work my way backwards, like watch, ring, chain… But I don’t plan on being in a spot of trouble!
You must be saving the money too! You can’t just spend it all on jewellery and tattoos?
I have a house that I’m saving money for …
You bought a house?
Yeah, in Santa Monica. So, every month the mortgage that I put into that is saving money because I put it in the bank and it earns interest.
Did you ever believe skating could take you this far?
I didn’t know to this extent! I knew right since I started getting decent at skating that I wanted to skateboard professionally. Anything that I have pursued in my life, I’ve been pretty serious about. I have a light weight competitive spirit- not to the point where I’m a sore loser, but I will try and do my best, me personal best! So, I expected something, but I didn’t expect this much!
So you’re satisfied?
Yeah, I’m satisfied with my skating and I don’t really care if someone else is out there getting way gnarlier as long as I’m alright and on my point. I mean, everyone has those times when they slump and are a little rusty, I just try and sustain and remain on point, always getting better than you were two days ago or something.
Do you still hang out with the guys you grew up skating with?
A couple of them. I just skated Boston recently with a couple of the guys, this dude Zeb and Steve Costello. I skate with Eli (Reed) and PJ too.
Were there some problems after the PJ video came out? Did everyone disband?
People left because of Sam… Nothing too serious, but for starts PJ or anyone didn’t get any money after the release which is not a big deal to me, I don’t care, but it was PJ’s skating that sold that video! So, that guy made a lot of money off of the video, and then they made that other ‘Texas Chainsaw’ or ‘Boston Massacre’..? Whatever that thing was called… It was a crazy video because they used old footage of us which they weren’t supposed to use. We didn’t ride for them anymore at that point.
So things are a bit sour now..?
No. I still like the dude a lot who owns Coliseum skateshop, but he didn’t even… (Sighs)… There were two guys that own the shop. Then this one guy Arty sold his share to Matt who in turn made the Colisuem videos do good. Them Matt turned Coliseum over to his kids and Arty went ahead with his ‘Boston Massacre’ thing. So if I’m sour with anyone it’s Arty.
What do you do outside of the pro gig? I heard you’re big with MySpace right now..?
It’s just a way to talk to kids and stuff and give some response to any questions they might have.
You have a lot of fans hitting you up there?
Yeah, I have like about 20 at most on there that are good friends, then there are..? I have 1848 friends on there right now when I checked this morning. Maybe 40 of them are real friends and the other 1800 are just random kids I don’t know..? (Laughs) But I talk to them and answer their emails.
There are some girls, but I don’t pay no mind to them. I’m getting married and I just answer the kids emails, be nice to them and give them a chance to communicate with a pro.
So, what do you do in your free time man?
Ummm…? I skateboard.
What are you, a skate machine???
(Laughs) No, I don’t skate all the time, but I skate pretty much everyday. I just hang out with my lady, read the Bible and speak to to God. I try and get closer to Him and develop my relationship with God.
What do you plan for the future?
Skating. Do it to the point where I can retire off it, then be a pastor and see where God takes me. I’ll be moving out to Atlanta, Georgia, soon. When we get married we’ll move into a house I have down there, so it’ll be ready for us in February. Get married, open my church down there..? I don’t know.