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Meet the Nieratkos

Fancy Lad Is Still the Best Thing in Skateboarding and That Will Never Change

Skaters everywhere want to be Fancy Lads and men and women alike want to bed down with the good-time guys from Bean Town.

Chris Nieratko

All photos and .gifs by Rob Collins (@robcollinsphoto)

A little over a year ago, I interviewed Boston-based CEO/comedic genius/Burger King employee Nick "Big" Murray about Fancy Lad, his ragtag crew of merry wheeled pranksters, and declared them the best thing in skateboarding. Naturally, my words are taken as gospel in the skate world and suddenly the Fancy Lad boys were all the rage. Skateboard distributors around the globe were emailing me to find out how they could buy their boards, skaters everywhere wanted to be Fancy Lads and men and women alike wanted to bed down with the good-time guys from Bean Town. It was only a matter of time before they outgrew the skateboarding community and some Hollywood fat cat came knocking. Luckily it was the funny folks at Adult Swim who first caught wind of the Fancy Lad fad that was sweeping the nation. The late night comedy network asked if Big and his boys could capture lightening in a box and bring their brand of humor to the masses for a one-off web special. The temptation of fame and fortune lit a fire under the Lads' asses that resulted in VIDEO HISTORY, the crew's pièce de résistance.

Now it's just a matter of time before all the likes and views and comments are tabulated so the Lads can finally sell out and say goodbye to their shitty jobs for good. Next stop: Hollywood.

Until then Nick is still working at The Home of the Whopper. He was able to pencil me in for a 15-minute chat while on his lunch break to discuss his missed opportunity to be in the new Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Fancy Lad's beef with Weezy, their take on skateboarding's inclusion in the 2020 Olympics, and the Lads' fancy future.

VICE: Last we spoke you were working at Burger King. What has changed since then?
Nick Murray: Nothing much. We all work the same jobs. I think people aren't embarrassed to utter the words "Fancy Lad" anymore though.

How did this whole Adult Swim thing come about and what exactly does this clip mean?
They were commissioning us to make them a skateboard video based on the comedic values of House 2 and FL3. This clip means that we as a crew no longer have to feel bad about our existence, like some second rate skate-citizen. I think it reinforces the fact that a lot of our fans don't even skateboard. It is showcasing the tip of the iceberg that could be considered a new genre in skateboarding. I consider it "art comedy" with skateboards as the props. They were just looking for a short video pushing the idea of fun and creative tricks including our board manipulations and seeing how far we could take it, what they got was a Fancy Lad masterpiece. I think it fits in well with what they are doing already.

Will there be a Fancy Lad show on Adult Swim?
I would love it if there were. There are no plans for any such thing as of now, but I think it could be possible if there was a public demand for one. It could be the only way to lift a group of dysfunctional misanthropes nearing their late twenties/early thirties out of poverty. I would love to work with them again, they are the only television broadcasting network I respect.

Was there a Hollywood meeting about Fancy Lad? What did you wear?
The Hollywood meeting took place in the restrooms outside of the office where Jackass was conceived. I made sure to dress in OBEY gear head to toe that I had altered with the words "no one" after "OBEY," to show that I would bow down to no sponsor... except for them. Also, this gave them the impression that I didn't even need their money. When I shook their hand and they saw a stick and poke of a heart-o-gram, that's how they knew I meant business.

Fancy Lad's 'FL3'

Why film all new skating? The mainstream has never seen your Fancy Lad videos. Why not just reedit old FL footage?
You know, we talked about this possibility a lot. I thought if re-posting the same clip of Fiske eating gluten free meals over and over wasn't putting asses in the seats, we should probably try something different. Be here now. Mike Lindquist once ate a bowl of Nacho Cheese Doritos as cereal with Mountain Dew as the milk. Do you think they would sponsor us? I'm holding out for kombucha.

Should we take this partnership with Adult Swim to mean the Fancy Lad crew is now rich? What was your first big purchase?
If by rich you mean enough money to buy a 2003 Van off Craigslist, then yes. Please if you are reading this and you have a floor for us to sleep on, let me know, we will stay with you on tour, we have no other place to go. I also wanted to possibly fix our scratched fisheye lens. I am reluctant to fix the lens because of that trademark Fancy Lad watermark that comes with it. I'm sure we will fuck up the new lens as well though.

What did it feel like to sell out? Was it rewarding or could you still hear your heart breaking over the sounds of Adult Swim making it rain all over your face?Every time I am cleaning the toilets at work now, I think to myself, Man, this feels great to be rich and famous.

In this edit you incorporated some CG with the toast cooking on the skateboard. What was that like to step out of your comfort zone?
CG, does that mean computer generated? No, we hired Emeril Lagassi to make that toast now that we are so rich, because we love BAM!

You're lumped in with the Beez Crew and The Golden Egg guys under the awful moniker of, "Avant Gnar." How do you feel about that term? And is there beef with any of those other weirdo crews? Do you guys ever meet behind the high school and rumble to see who is the weirdest?
I actually coined the term "Avant Gnar" in an e-mail to Michael Sieben one time as a joke. He ended up using the phrase in Thrasher's "Trash" section while describing A Golden Egg and paid me per word. $0.75 each. Totaling the lump sum of $1.50 altogether. I still have the screenshot from my PayPal. It was the first and only time I ever got paid for my writing. So, I figured I was on to something. Beez and Egg and Lad usually have rap battles behind the high school, but they always end up going into the song "Lose Yourself" by Eminem.

The new Tony Hawk video game was released this week. Tell the story of how Fancy Lad's contract negotiations to be characters in the new game were sabotaged by the pariah known as Little Wayne?
It's true. Tony had contacted us a while back begging us to be in the game as "hidden" characters, which I thought was all well and good, even though I told him we don't like to hide who we are from no one. Then we caught wind that Lil' Wayne was gonna be in the game. We used to be friends, Lil and I, until one day I saw him at JKWON and he refused to give me a bite of his shawarma, like he was offended that I had asked in the first place. After that he stopped accepting my invitations to games of S.K.A.T.E. at the Berrics and wouldn't even respond to my DM's. So, I told Tony, I said, "Listen, man, it's either us or Wayne of little." He said Wayne had workers' rights because he was part of some sort of union or guild or something. So he picked Wayne. Anyway, THPS 2 is probably a better game anyhow.

As shitty a crew of skaters as you guys are I still feel like you skate better than a lot of pros out there today. I'm sure you agree. Who are some pros you think suck?
I don't think I'm better than anyone, except for Ryan Sheckler, T-Puds, and pretty much everyone who had parts in the new Plan B video, except Pat Duffy. But isn't there enough room for sport and art to coexist as two branches of skateboarding's legislature?

Sadly, it was also announced this week that skateboarding will most likely end up in the Olympics in 2020 . What's your take on that? I heard you've already begun working on a series of Anti-Olympic propaganda. What can you tell us about that?
I thought that we already had the Skateboard Olympics... it's called Street League. But hey, seriously folks, aren't there enough sports out there without having to cram one more by compromising the integrity of an art form that its participants are too afraid to acknowledge in fear of sounding pretentious?

There's never enough. We're worse than Galactus when it comes to consumption. So what's next for Fancy Lad?
I'm hoping Tony Hawk will decree Fancy Lad a national treasure.

And not to get all existential, but is there anything that can not be kickflipped?
Can I kick it? If you can kick it, you can flip it.

Follow @Fancyladskate or go to Fancyladskateboards.com

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