Meet the Nieratkos

Skateboarding's Most Violent Team Manager Has Mellowed Out

By Chris Nieratko

No matter how you try to spin skateboarding into an organized sport tailored for the Olympics, one fact remains: in most of America, skateboarding is an illegal activity and a crime. That’s what’s so cool about it. It’s rebellious. And you know what rebels like to do? Drugs. Lots of them. So if you don’t like skateboarders doing drugs openly (especially with a California marijuana license) I suggest sticking to basketball or golf where the role models are into mellower things like rape and misogyny.

One of my favorite rebels of all time is former Deluxe Distribution (makers of Real, Anti-Hero, Krooked, Spitfire, Thunder, and Venture) team manager and enforcer/OG Sick Boy Mickey Reyes. Over his long and storied career Mic has been known to knock out a very large and healthy cross-section of pro and amateur skateboarders. Over the past decade, however, Mic has mellowed the fuck out. I attribute this to his being Super Dad to his daughter and wanting to set a good example. Or maybe he’s on the devil’s lettuce, that evil pot that is the bane of our society? Who knows? All I know is I still wouldn’t mess with him.

Last week Deluxe released its free InstaREAL app for its hashtag #mellowthefukout. (Did you know you can’t curse in actual hashtags? Real found out the hard way after printing a couple hundred tees and a few thousand stickers.) It got me thinking about Mic, the guy who I think has mellowed out the most at Deluxe over the years. I gave him a call and asked him to retell me some of his favorite fight stories.

VICE: Which is scarier? The truth or the urban legend of Mickey Reyes?
Mickey Reyes:
The old Mickey is scarier. I’ve mellowed out a little bit in my old age.

Are you scared of the old Mickey?
Yeah, sometimes I scare myself. On those three-day benders I really scare the shit out of myself.

What made the old Mickey so scary?
Geez, I had way too many knives, loaded guns in every room of the house, and I was completely paranoid. I should start smoking weed with John Alden and mellow the fuck out.

But weed is frowned upon in skateboarding, Mic.
Oh, I know! I think you can lose your job over it. What’s funny is the rest of the crew seems to be smoking weed and are fine. No one is talking shit on them or firing them.


Photo by Brad Handel

In your team manager days did you ever kick anyone off the team for smoking weed?
No, I’d actually score weed for the guys when they were in town. We’re a weed-friendly state, in California.

Would you rather have a rapist on your team or a pot smoker?
Definitely would rather have a pot smoker on the team. I’d be scared to have the rapist on tour because I’d have to kill him. Andy Roy was a rapist, but he just raped and violated himself.

What are some actual reasons you’ve had to kick people off the team?
Because they’re kooks and they talk about themselves too much. Some of them think they’re Mark Gonzales and you’re like, “Nah, dude. You’re not as good as him. You’re cut.”

You’ve also been known to get violent when people quit the team?
It depends. It’s the beat in and out mentality. You get whooped to get in and you gotta get whooped to get out. It’s the old school in me.

Who have you punched over the years?
Everybody. I took Jim Thiebaud’s tooth out with a Swiss Army knife. Actually he jumped in front of it when I threw it, so it was his bad.

How about pro skaters? Who have you punched?
All of them. Everybody who rides for me. I think I stabbed Cardiel once too. In the leg. That fucker carries a lot of knives, too ,though. He’s a nut.

Is there anyone you’ve punched who you wish you could unpunch?
No. I’m perfectly fine punching Tony Trujillo’s face in. What a weirdo! He freaked out on me on an airplane because I was sitting next to him and there were a lot of empty seats and the plane started to go and he’s like, “Move so I can lay down!” I was like, “Wait till we take off and I can take my seatbelt off,” and he spit in my face. I was like, “Oh no, dude! Fuck this shit!” I jumped up and started rabbit punching his face. Then the stewardess came and he started freaking out on the stewardess and started calling them a bunch of names and so the guy did an emergency landing and brought the plane right back down and got us arrested. We spent the night in jail in Detroit. It was really weird because it was the same jail where the guy who was trying to blow up the plane with the shoe bomb went and so they thought we were terrorists. He was like, “You were fucking around on a plane? We know how to take care of you.” I was like, “Fuck you. I’m not a terrorist, dude. I was just punching some kid in the face. Who cares?” He became nice later on and gave us some bologna sandwiches, so I used that as a pillow.

Didn’t you punch Ethan Fowler once?
Ethan? I don’t know. He got pretty crazy when he was drinking. I remember when we were at Tobin’s house and he was freaking out and I think I punched him in the back of his head for being stupid. That kid won Munster at 16! He was such a ripper—and still is—but back then he was a beast.

But he still had to get punched.
Yeah… you know what? I haven’t punched you yet.

The night is young, my friend.
I’ll see you at the trade show, motherfucker!

Luckily I stopped going to those circle jerks. That’s where you’re always punching people at. Didn’t you knock Josh Beagle out at a trade show?
No, I think I gave someone a board to go punch that dude in the face and they went over there and did it. It was pretty awful; they caught him off guard, and he got it pretty good in the eye. Poor guy.

Who has given you the best punch?
Jasin Ferris hit me pretty hard, and I saw stars. Another time Julien Stranger cold-cocked me from the side at a bar and knocked me off my bar stool; I didn’t see it coming. So he got me pretty good, fucking asshole. I’ll make sure I don’t go out drinking with that fucker.

Any other good fights?
This one was rad! I was on tour and Kelly Bird was not having Matt Field anymore. Matt was bothering the shit out of him for days on end, and after a week Kelly just jumped over the seat and put a pillow over his face to shut him up, and while holding the pillow he started rabbit punching the shit out of Matt’s face, over and over through the pillow. It was amazing. Fields tried fighting back but he couldn’t. Kelly just whooped on him super fast. Matt ended up taking off and flying home.

How has the role of the skate team manager changed or mellowed out over the years?
Now I don’t have to go on all these daily trips with these youngsters because they’re just going crazy on their own. We have amazing skaters so I’ve got Alden and Bram on the road with these guys. I get to pick and choose what trips I go on. But I think the TM position now is that you have to be a filmer and a photographer and then you just end up being the TM. It’s not just being the credit card holder having a great time at the strip club anymore. Now you’re out at four in the morning with your head down in a camera while somebody skates an 18-stair. It has definitely changed.

Guys are getting fired now from running shoe companies for smoking pot. How would you say skateboarding has changed?
Skateboarding is constantly evolving, but the basic shit is still there: having fun and skating with your bros. What people are skating is changing and the tricks are gnarlier. But I think having these bigger companies trying to dictate what you’re doing in your life kind of sucks. But it’s big money, big cheddar, so don’t Instagram a photo of your ball or you might get fired. Or do it and smoke some weed and just mellow the fuck out.

To download InstaReal go to http://realskateboards.com/mellowthefukout/download.

http://www.dlxsf.com/

Follow Mic on Twitter @mickeydlx

More stupid can be found at Chrisnieratko.com or @Nieratko

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