The flop house has a long and storied history in skateboarding. Skateboarders, generally speaking, are poor dirtbags, and so cramming seven or eight dudes into a three-bedroom apartment (along with any of the roommates' buddies who happen to be cruising through town on a given night) and living off of ramen, Schaefer, and the collective dissapointment of roughly 14 different parents is a common arrangement in the skate world—one that isn't even typically a source of shame. Every once in a while, when the stars align and the residents of the house are all really good at riding their skateboards and/or filming skateboarding, these houses will release a skate video. A few years back it was 6 Newell Street in San Francisco, and now it's a place simply known as The House.
There have been a lot of great skate videos coming out lately, but The House Video has to be at the top of the list. It's the kind of film that made me fall in love with skating in the first place because it makes you feel like you live at the house too. By that I mean it doesn't hide the lives the people were living while filming. Along with top-notch skating there are clips of guys getting their asses kicked, breaking TVs in their own house, and blacking out while skating. Most importantly, there are people lighting stuff on fire.
Smashing televisions might sound like the wrong reason to get into skating, but it was what I could relate to when I first started. It's skating's ultimate one-two punch—you get to skate, which is the most fun thing ever, and then you get to meet like-minded people and destroy some shit.
I spoke to T-Mo, a former house resident, and Aaron Chillen, the video's creator, about the history of the house, day jobs, and beating up a rollerblader.
VICE: Can you sum up the history of the "house" in The House Video? What other videos has it been featured in?
Tony Miorana [T-Mo]: The compound started about 20 years ago. Phelper was one of the original tenants. It’s been through three generations of skaters. Fuck, probably about 50 different roommates over the years and countless couch surfers. It was in a bunch of old Thrasher videos.
How long have you lived at the house?
I lived there for about five years, from 2005 to 2010.
How did you get down with the 18?
Tony Alva got me on!
AntiHero is a working class favorite, but you’re the only pro on the team with an actually day job. Is that right?
Andy Roy, Albino, Body, Gut, Patlanta… they all got full-time jobs, too. Cardiel’s a DJ for hire. Holler at ‘em!
What job are you currently working?
I've been working on Alcatraz Island going on a year now. Graveyard shift.
Who were your roommates when you lived at The House?
Most of the guys in the video were my roommates.
You seem to be the ringleader of the Jabrozos [the crew of dudes who live or have lived at The House]. Is that a fair thing to say?
Jabrozo is another word for dumbass, so in that sense I’m guilty. But really nobody's running the ship.
Can you give us a brief rundown of the people in the video?
Let’s see here: We got Chef, who pretty much starred in the fucking thing; Harry and Squirrel are always getting some, whether we're building or skating; Albino is a wrecking ball; then we got East Oakland's heavy hitters Donte Smith and John Stallings shutting it down; Body and Gut are sprinkled in; Ponytail and Acid Alex's part with the circus act music is amazing—fucking click-clack-paddy-wack trick selection; DJ Gaudin, this motherfucker, the boy is good; all the random transients like Bravo, Massimo, Sprackleyard… Everyone in there killed it on and off the board. Good people to waste some time with.
Who coffined the rainbow rail?
What is the most fucked up thing in the video?
That'd be Chef with the roll-in off the roof into the ramp. He tried it on three separate occasions—multiple attempts each time. Completely blackout—he has no memory of any of it. On the last one he knocked himself out cold. We revived him and sat him on the couch. I told him what happened and he goes, "Fuck you. I didn't do that."
Why did the guy in the beginning of the video get head-butted?
Fuckin’ Chef again. That was a 30-pack challenge from P-Stone—beat up a rollerblader. Ended up being a nose-break challenge. Priceless.
I think now would be a good time to bring up your charity work in Detroit. What’s up with that?
Detroit is Joe Brooks’ master plan. He had a guy who bought cheap houses and land through grants. Joe got all these artists together to paint skateboards and Pat Miller from Chiipss Skateshop auctioned them off. He brought us out and let us build whatever we wanted. Local skaters and not-so-local alike would come work and party with us. We started a non-profit 501c3 skatepark company called Gauntlet Skateparks. We're working with Pat Miller to build more spots all over Detroit. Land is cheap and the city is epic! I can't wait to go back. Holler at Chiipss.com if you want to help. We got big plans for the D.
OK, back to fun stuff. When I went to Marseilles I was bragging about being on the Beauty and the Beast tour. It didn’t go over like I had hoped, and the French kids told me they were scared of the AntiHero team. Why do you think that is?
Because the French are weak! Arrogant fuckers get cracked. I'm just kidding. But seriously: fuck France.
What has the overall response to the video been like?
I just got back from the Skate Rock tour from Detroit to New Orleans and people had a lot of good things to say. Mike Carroll had a premiere at his house—that’s an honor. The video is highly entertaining. It’s like a car crash and I still like watching it.
What is your favorite new video, besides The House Video?
Video Days, Fucktards, Sight Unseen, Barfly, Consolidated Number 1, Super Troopers, and I like those Beauty and the Beast videos, too! They should make more.
What’s next for the House guys?
Well, we got The House Vid DVD coming out, and it comes with a free board. We've been working on the next project out of Squirrel’s zone, The Clubhouse Movie. Same cast, more dumb shit, and maybe a little skating too, just to change it up.
Thank you, Tony!
VICE: Hello, Aaron. Why don’t you start by telling us who you are and what your history in skate filming is?
Aaron Chillen: Skate filming? I grew up in Kansas City, making skate videos with [Ernie] Torres and Peter [Ramondetta]. They kind of got me hooked up with the job at DELUX, so I moved out to San Francisco. When I moved out there I moved into the house where that video took place. That’s basically it.
What can you tell me about The House?
When I moved in Jason Phares was living there. Jason, T-Mo, and Josh had all moved in about a month or two before I moved to the Bay Area. My plan was to just crash on the couch for a couple months, but then I wound up getting a room.
Can you go into a little bit about the history of that house?
Last April we had a 20-year anniversary party, so I guess it's been there 20 years. A bunch of people have lived there—I know [Jake] Phelps lived there at some point.
There was a lot bigger ramp earlier on, like eight or nine feet. We had a big photo of Cardielle going through the rafters on the wall over there. That was pretty epic. It doesn't look real. T-Mo might know more of the actual history of the spot than I do.
What or who is Jebrozo?
Jebrozo… I don’t know. I guess it’s just like a shithead. I’m not sure where the actual term came from. I just remember that T-Mo started calling everybody Jebrozos at one point and it stuck. Might have been an It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia reference. We were watching that for a while.
Julian Stranger was living at the house at one point, right?
He was there for about three years.
But there’s no footage of him? Why didn’t he make it into The House Video?
He’s just more low-key. I have a clip of him working on the ramp, and I figure I'll put it in as a bonus or something. He’s not worried about the spotlight or anything like that.
The overall feeling of the video is similar to the first skateboarding videos I saw in 1993. The House Video really feels like Bay Area skating. It isn't goody-two-shoes, like a lot of things you see in skating nowadays—especially the videos.
That video is just supposed to sum up the warehouse scene in a little skate video. There’s so much more footage I could go through. I’ve been joking to everyone that I’m going to make a VHS copy that’s three hours long, at least for the people at the house. Ken, Tony, Josh, and I lived there together for at least four or five years. It's a big chunk of our lives. The House Video is like a yearbook from that time.
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