The Cold Call with Brian Delatorre
It's been a bit of a rollercoaster year for Habitat Skateboards pro, Brian Delatorre. He made the necessary life-change of getting sober to better himself and his skateboard career just as his sponsors Habitat Skateboards and Habitat Shoes were swallowed whole when their parent company, Pacific Vector Holdings, filed bankruptcy. Luckily, Habitat was able to find a new home with Tum Yeto Distribution (home of Toy Machine and Foundations Skateboards) and Delatorre was able to get on Converse's skate program on a flow basis. We caught up with Brian as he drove across the U.S. to relocate to San Francisco to discuss all the changes in his life and the legend that is Fred Gall.
XGames.com: It's been a year since I interviewed you last. Are you still pro?
Delatorre: Ha! Yeah, I'm still a professional skateboarder. Just skating and filming. I've been sober for a year and I'm going to keep that going for a little bit. I'm not putting a date on it really. It's just something that feels good right now so I'm going with it.
What prompted that? Did you destroy a hotel room or something?
Nah, I just saw what it was doing to me and my knee was feeling weird and I was sick all the time and all I could think about was just partying. I still enjoy having a good time but I'd rather have a Shirley Temple instead of a whiskey on the rocks.
I imagine Freddy Gall frowns upon that.
He doesn't even know. I haven't hung out with him since I was drinking in Philly with him. It should be interesting when we do hang out. He's definitely going to try and make me drink but I'm definitely going to have to decline.
How do you think he's able to maintain that stamina after all these years?
I think that he's built up a tolerance and if he didn't have that in him, he would probably fall apart. He needs it.
What's your best Freddy story?
I was in Miami visiting my family when he was living there and we were trying to get into this club at the time called Moki. He knew the owner but he was like, "Yeah, Fred, you can't come in. you're underdressed." Fred was like, "What the hell? Ok! Let's go." He went back to his place and he puts on this suit and this wig and these tinted sunglasses and flipped the script on the whole situation. He called himself 'Frederique Francisco.' He walks into the club and the owner doesn't even recognize him and lets him in. He ends up on the speakers, dancing and fist pumping. He got kicked out three times. Somehow he kept sneaking back in over and over.
People have been talking non-stop about the Alien Workshop situation with guys leaving and them putting the company to bed. How come no one was talking about Habitat when discussing the new ownership?
Because Habitat wasn't losing riders. Alien Workshop was losing main dudes. The staple of the company is the riders. My theory was that we needed to plan trips together. Get everyone together like in the "Photosynthesis" days. We can't capture that era because it was a completely different time but we should've been traveling together as Alien Workshop and Habitat just like Girl and Chocolate.
If I'm going to put all my eggs in one basket I'd say put 'em in Fred Gall.
You're crazy as hell! You know what? Freddy saves lives. So he can definitely save jobs. So I'd put my faith in Fred. That's a good a theory. I just know Habitat isn't a leaky ship. Joe Castrucci is still a part of it. Without Joe and Brennan Conroy, there would be no Habitat. They're the dudes.
Before Habitat went to Tum Yeto Distribution, were you stressing out at all?
A little bit but not too much because Joe put us at ease. He wrote us emails and told us, "You guys aren't getting checks this month but I'm working on it. Everything is going to fine. I'm not going to let 16 years of work go to hell." He went to California and stayed there until everything got solved, until [Rob] Dyrdek got us out of debt with Pacific Vector and wrote up a new contract for Tum Yeto. Joe was not going to leave California until everything got solved. Power moves. Life hammers. It's skater owned and operated -- I feel great about it. It's a shame that we couldn't keep Alien and DNA alive but it's a new chapter and I'm really excited to be a part of it. And I don't have to work at a café again. At least not yet. I'm actually moving back to San Francisco right now.
Well, you have a new check now with Cons, right?
No checks yet. I'm back on Cons and I'm repping the company and I'm stoked to be a part of it and we'll see what happens. Time will tell. I was just in Berlin with those dudes and we had a great time.
But you're a professional skateboarder, are you pulling the big bucks these days?
Hell no. "Stay core, stay poor," as Brennan so eloquently puts it.
Do you have to borrow money from Stefan [Janoski] now and then?
Yeah, he gives me a credit card at the beginning of each year and I just use Stefan's credit card. Jess, his girlfriend, hooks it up too. They take very good care of me. No, I'm kidding.
Would you be one of Stefan's janitors at one of the many buildings he owns if skateboarding doesn't pan out?
Absolutely I'll clean his toilets and cook him food. I'll do whatever it takes to get paid. I've done it before and why not do it for dear friends of mine?
Is it true that he's such a golden child for Nike that they have people carry him and Jess around New York City so their feet never touch the ground?
So I've heard. They have these huge body builder dudes that carry him and Jess around the city with their cat and everyone bows to their knees and they praise them. I'm kidding. They're the most genuine and humble individuals I've met. They give me great personal and financial advice.
What kind of financial advice does he give? Design a timeless shoe?
Usually we'll go to a really fancy restaurant where each plate is $60 and then we'll talk about how that would not be the best way to save money.