Steve Berra: “Chuck Palahniuk wore the shirt at a bar, and someone was like, No way, I know who Steve Berra is!”

[This alternative intro didn’t appear in Skateboarder and was written at the time when Steve had that really weird rash thing going, remember? Internet centuries ago. Like, nine months.]

When I was 17, I had to work in my village’s communal wine plant. Being enthusiastic about this thrilling way to earn a living, I decided  after a few days of labor to claim I had a triple hernia whenever there was extra physical work to be done, so that this dream body could keep on being destroyed by skateboarding exclusively.
Apparently my acting worked, since the boss called my dad saying how he was sorry and felt bad for the excruciating pain I was in, you know, from the triple hernia. This and a fake depression to be able to be discharged of my army duties were the worst excuses I’ve ever come up with.
Having become an expert in the “I wish I could but I can’t” field, I was sure I spotted Steve Berra trying to pull one when he started postponing the interview for this page week after week, under the pretext that “he was really sick” and that “he had this really weird rash”. Not buying it, dude. In France we say, “you don’t teach the old monkey to make faces.” Steve even went all the way to putting fake rash make-up on every time he was being filmed for The Berrics’ website, the sole purpose of this being to make me believe that he was actually sick, and to postpone again. Great acting, JJ Dominguez! Anyway, we finally ended up being able to do this. But I couldn’t help him carry the five boards he was to talk about. I had a quadruple hernia.

Foundation Tomato (1994)
Art by Cleon Peterson

“Look at how flat those things were, man. Basically, I was such a fan of the Wonder Years, the TV show. And on the very last episode of the show, Kevin Arnold’s dad  is wearing a shirt that just had a tomato on it.

I thought it was so sick that I asked Tod Swank to have a board with just a tomato on it. It’s one of my favorite graphics ever, especially the version that has wood grain instead of the blue.”

Foundation Sara Gilbert (1996)
Art by Sara Gilbert

“At the time I was going out with Sara Gilbert, she was playing Darlene Conner in Roseanne. She was going to school in Yale and I was living in NYC and Connecticut, I was living with her for three months. We’d stay in NYC four days a week and in Yale the three other days. And so basically we were talking and I was like, ‘you should draw a graphic.’ Actually she might have drawn some stuff and told me, ‘Hey, would you ever use one of these for a board graphic?’ From my memory, most of them weren’t that great but I saw this one and I thought it was just really sick. I’m not sure if it has a meaning or not.

The piece of paper I still wish I had to this day, and I don’t, but at least I have the board and the shirt they made out of it. Cleon Petereson put the background but the rest is all hers, it’s her hand writing and everything, she wrote all this. It’s funny, I talked to her not too long ago when I was going through the boards for this article. It’s one of my favorite boards ever because of the aesthetics it has and because of my love for Sara.”

Birdhouse Fight Club (1999)
Art by Sean Cliver

“In 1999 the movie Fight Club came out, and I really, really loved the book, I loved the movie, Chuck Palahniuk is my favorite author, David Fincher is my favorite director. So I told Jeremy Klein I wanted to do a Fight Club board. He passed the idea along to Sean Cliver. This is the soap from the movie, it was on the posters because the narrator gets involved in a fight club with a soap salesman, Tyler Durden.

Anyway, I actually had a chance to give a box of these boards and a box of shirts to Chuck Palahniuk, he was super stoked, he wore the shirt. He told me that he was at a bar once wearing it, and someone was like, ‘No way, I know who Steve Berra is!’ I haven’t kept in touch with him, but we were friends for a brief period of time, in 1999-2000. He wasn’t mad at the rip-off, he was psyched.”

Alien Workshop In A Hurry (2003)
Art by Don Pendleton

“Pretty much anything Don Pendleton draws I love. I never ask Don about the meaning or anything but his work always ends up being perfect. Even though this one aesthetically might not be my most favorite, I love how Don managed to perfectly sum me up : “Living, breathing, rushing, pushing in a hurry.”

As you’ve been seeing, I’m always on the run, so conceptually this is one of my favorite boards. He really pegged me perfectly, I thought it was pretty funny when it came out. When I got on Alien I stopped paying attention to any graphics, cause I knew I wouldn’t even have to worry about anything. I’d never have to approve graphics, I’d get a new board in the mail, it’s awesome, that’s it.”

Alien Workshop Trooper (2006)
Art by Don Pendleton

“Again, this is Don’s art. It’s just so amazing, such an amazing piece of art, you can just hang in on your wall. The thing is, I don’t have any of my Mike Hill boards, and I do have a few favorite Mike Hill boards, but  the ones I’ve had in the recent years are kinda scattered all over. After Don left, Mike has been doing all the boards, but that was right when things got really crazy for me, doing my movie, stuff like that, I’ve been bad at keeping up. Especially right now, I think the Workshop boards are really as good as they were when Don left. Mike Hill’s killing it design-wise right now.”


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Le boardnographe du phonographe

This is an archive for my eponymous monthly page in Skateboarder mag. Plus a few extras few and far between, whenever I get a chance...
Absolutely shameless, unrated boardnography, exposed! -minus the Ebay guilt. Enjoy the visite...

_Seb Carayol
Memory Screened Inc. and subsidiaries' CEO



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