Dave Paine talks selling out, VG history, TJ Webber, Roof Gaps and Battle My Crew

200612_DAP Portrait1

Interview by Oliver Nermerich and Kevin Chow
Photography provided by Dave Paine

Hi Dave. Thanks for speaking with us. Please introduce yourself to our readers who may not know who you are.

My name is David Allan Paine and I’m 42 yrs old. I was born in Hartford. CT and I grew up in northeast Philly from 76-94. I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1993 with a BA in Communications. I paid my way through school by working as a sales rep for my Dad who had the Snapple account and then corporate Frito Lay. I moved out to California to run VG in 1994. I took ownership of VG in 1999 (BMC started as my first issue) and finished my last VG 23 and Best of 2 while I was still working at FUEL TV for 2 years.

Where are you working right now and what was the last thing you were doing before starting this interview?

I have been working at FOX/ FUEL TV since April 2003 and was one of the original producers to launch the 24/7 action sports channel. Right now? I just finished the final season of FUEL TV presents Camp Woodward Season 5 “ Stakes are High” this spring. I am currently closing down the final 2 episodes of the weekly new show I run called Action Sports Plus. (like the sports center for action sports for our channel) Right before this interview I had a script meeting, watched the minutes that are airing this week.

How did you originally get involved in rollerblading?  I remember seeing you grace the cover of “The Bottom Line” with an ill ass roof-to-roof gap.

I guess the whole beginning started in 1991 and 1992 street skating in Pittsburgh and also going to Shady Skates to rip. My friends all skateboarded and two of us rollerbladed as well. I was into the filming aspect of follow cam. I got back to Philly after graduation and sent a demo tape out to Shon Tomlin and Morgan Stone at Groove Inc in 1993 for VG.

David Allan Paine – 180 apartment gap cover of “The Bottom Line”

When and with whom did you have your last interview in rollerblading? 

I think my last interview was ONE and also a satellite radio interview with some cool kids out of Miami.

Since then, What’s changed in your personal life?

I have a wife named Irene who is the best, a dog zombie who is mellower than a monk, and a son named Keegan who just turned 1. I am very happy and proud. I have always wanted a family, but it was tough traveling for so many years to even keep a girlfriend.

From your perspective how has the skating industry changed since then?

I think the video business has completely changed as far as distribution and how companies release their content online. They have to keep the attention of the ever-growing knowledge and outreach of information available to the customer.
Some brands have continued on in the right direction and have shaped the new formula to run a skate company is this ever changing landscape of social media, distribution, and consumer isolation. This brand I speak of is one of my best friends and someone I respect the hell out of: Jon Julio and Valo.

You ran the well-known Videogroove video magazine series from 1995 to 2005 and released 23 videos. Tell us how the how this video magazine got started and why you decide to take an extended hiatus in 2005?

Good questions. Shon Tomlin and Morgan Stone started Groove Inc. way back in 1992 with Dare to Air and also won a sports Emmy for their commercial follow cam work. They hired me from the east coast when they saw my demo tape in 1993 to come be the videomagazine director starting with VG#2 18 Days. (See the anthology list at the end of this interview)
Around 2002-03 was the point where I was barely getting paid at all from VG. I know it’s hard to believe, but sales where so low that I could not even keep the doors open and pay myself. I got a lifeline again from my old friend and mentor Shon Tomlin who was going to be the Executive Producer of the new action sports channel called FUEL TV. 10 years and over 100’s of titles later, here we are. I would have never gotten VG22, VG23 and Best of Vol. 2 without having the income of my new job at FUEL TV. I spent my weekends and nights editing those final issues.

The VG series took you to places all across the globe.  I’m sure that you’ve made thousands of friends and seen millions of places that you couldn’t have ever imagined growing up in Philly.  Tell us, what were, say three of your most memorable personal experiences during the prime VG years?

Wow, waaaaay to hard to make this list but I will do my best. The best thing about the job was exactly what you said, being able to travel anywhere and be with friends who take you on the best tour of every city and town you visit. The sessions we got to film became legendary VG camera courage.
VG’s Sunshine Tour – not sleeping, trying to get VG8 done and the tour off the ground at the same time.  This almost killed me but some higlights are: one month of touring, 3 snow storms, thousands of kids, one stray dog, police visits and pull overs in every state we visited, car wars, fireworks at 90 mph, maybe late once or twice but never missing a stop, and almost every company in the industry took part.
IMYTA PARIS and SF- I mean these two events are history in the making. What we did right in the backyard of the X Games was like a huge middle finger for all those who were blind to the rolling culture.
The first trip I took to Europe for a huge tour, not just an event. Germany, France and Switzerland with all my friends: Ryan Zlockie, Chris Garrett, Randy Spizer, Louie Zamora, Petty, Mike G, Erik Burke and Nick Riggle. (sorry for anyone I forgot) There were so many of us out there terrorizing the Europeans with our obnoxious American ways.

During 10+ years of video production you invented different video formats under the VG label such as the live format and the battle my crew series. Please explain our younger readers the idea behind these formats?

I was older when I got the chance to direct my own video magazine and had grown up BMXing and skateboarding, that influenced me in many ways. I mean I loved Props and 411, but I also did not want to copy them either. I think it was my way of throwing a little twist into the format. I like the different titles of the VG’s. You’ll notice they all have a particular meaning at the time they came out. Kinda of like a reflection of what was happening in blading at the time. Take VG NOT A WORD for instance. That was me being from the east coast and watching all of the Hoax guys being so flamboyant. I mean I was friends with all of them, but it just wasn’t my idea of style and how it should be. I wanted to make a statement with VG3 for the hardcore. I mean it was just the Hoax guys and us at the time putting out major stuff so it was really fun battling with them. Competition breeds excellence.  VG6 TOYS BENEATH OUR FEET was absolutely an incredible work of stop action titles for the sections. Tons of people loved that issue. The toys beneath our feet were the very vice that inspired those interstitials. VG14 LIVE was inspired by going to so many shows and seeing so many incredible bands; music and skating culture go hand in hand, they inspire each other. ECVG’s were something that one of my best friends Chris Majette and I always wanted to do, so we did it. I am so glad we did that, what a fun time filming those issues.
I think the most important thing to remember about all of the different themes and formats, for VG and my independent films, was keeping it fresh and interesting. I always want to put out the best skating first and foremost as the Video Magazine in the sport, but the bells and whistles is what separated us from the norm.

It seems like a lot of the OG’s like Louie Zamora, Randy Spizer, and Chris Edwards are getting back in the game, doing the thing they love which is rollerblading.  Now you’re bringing back the battle my crew format, which is some of the best news we’ve got this year! What inspired you to re-launch this series?

I have to say this has something I have always wanted to do since 2005 and had to contemplate life without VG for the time being. There was one man who proved himself worthy and had the dedication, patience and vision to make it happen, props to Fab! (Daniel Fabiano) He persuaded me to trust him. He proved to me he was willing to treat this with project respect and to do it the right way, the VG way. I also feel like rollerblading is ready and might possibly need it more than ever. VG 4 LIFE means something to me, it’s a part of me forever. It’s woven into my fabric as a person. BMC is really special because it was original inspired by the kids as a way to let everyone contribute and be a part of VG and rollerblading. BMC breaks down barriers and unifies crews past sponsors and geography. BMC series communicates to everyone on some level. That’s got to be a good thing. I think overall I knew that with my life and the career going full on right now, I needed someone to carry the weight and organize this thing. It’s takes dedication and hard work. I am going to do my part and handle the intro, call the OG’s to see if they can put together some old magic, and support Daniel in any way I possibly can.

What are the rules for the battle my crew format? What are the conditions to participate?

Please go to http://www.battlemycrewseries.com for all information on the BMC series moving forward. Daniel has come up with some great information on the rules and format, sponsorship packages for all to participate. I am very pleased with the start, now let’s all get to work and make it happen.

When do you plan to release the video  and what format will you release this? Online or DVD/Bluray?

Daniel and I have had one huge conversation on this and right now It’s going to be on a DVD format with a special code so you can not duplicate it. Daniel is paying homage to the old format to an extent so the kids can own it and touch it. There is going to be a special secured online voting system in place too so that it’s fair and true. NO double voting and ballot stuffing.

A proper old school grabbed 360 courtesy of BOX Magazine (R.I.P)

There are a bunch of blading legends working with you at the FUEL TV network.  How did they all come on board to work with you?

Drew Bachrach got work here as a Daily Habit producer after he did some work at the NFL network and then he went to DIRECTV. I then worked along side Drew for the Dew Underground series. I then brought Drew on last year to be one of my producers on the camp Woodward series and co-edit the series on the back end.
Shane Coburn came into fold 3 years ago when Shon came to me about Shane applying for a job under him in programming and development. I recommended him for the position. I was so happy to see him walking down the hallways every day. We have been close friends since my first week I moved to California in 1994. Shane is part of the original 714 crew: Randy, BK, Betor, Dan Jensen, etc.
Both of these guys are incredibly talented in what they do and I would support any decision they make in life. They are like my brothers.
Let me say one more thing about this question/topic. I think this is what you want to know. For all of the talented rollerbladers that have so called ”left” the industry. We never left? We just can’t do what we used to do because we got older and have to get jobs to live. We are more powerful and skilled now than ever. What, you going to get mad a Sayer Danforth because he is a sick ass Director of Photography for commercials now? You mad at Mike G because he is a lawyer up in SF? Are you hating on anyone who had to start their career? I am fortunate enough to know so many more people outside of the bubble and have more connections that might help rollerblading in the future? Who knows right? If anything, all of these people know I came from rollerblading and respect what I do. I mean we don’t live it every day anymore, but we are always following and supporting from afar. Maybe it’s our local contest we support or giving advice to a young filmer.
As far as rollerblading on FUEL TV or TV in general?  If you think Drew, Shane or myself have never asked or wanted ROLLERBLADING on TV, you’re dead wrong. How would you know anyway? We have always fought for it. The problem is we are not the decision makers, like we were in our other rollerblade industry lives. We have bosses with programming agendas. I know the truth hurts, but all I care about is looking myself in the mirror knowing I am trying.

Some people think that you, as well as some others at the network have “sold out”.  We asked Louie Z the same question.  Why do you think you get this flack from skaters, and how do you react when you hear things like this? 

I like it, let’s get right at it. Let em think what they want! I respect everyone’s opinions, but no one really knows the truth about any situation unless you’re in it. I think it’s funny they hate, something’s will never change.
Answer me this though, how in the hell is it selling out when you need a job to support yourself? … and it’s was an incredible job-DREAM JOB #2. Like I said before, my new job saved the last 3 issues of VG. How are you going to hate on that? I think most people in my situation would have just moved on, I was committed to finish what I started, even at the risk of my new job.
I mean, I grew up doing all of these lifestyle actions sports: BMX, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, mountain biking, etc… along with all the regular sports. I love it all. I am a filmmaker and enthusiast in all activities, music and culture. I got an amazing experience and TV masters at FOX/FUEL TV. I got to work with the best athletes in the world and expanded my production knowledge tenfold. I learned the art of storytelling and producing at a network level. I have managed crews of over a 100 people at a time with budgets of over 2 million dollars. I have gotten to do live TV for events, studio show, and own docu-reality series for the last 5 years.  In summary, we all need to grow as humans and in our craft. I was merely taking the next step.
I thank Shon Tomlin for always being a guiding force in my life and giving me my two huge job opportunities. I also would like to thank all of my true rollerblading friends who had my back and have never strayed from that friendship. VG is for life and life is all about the people you share it with.

Skating is beginning to see a bit of a re-birth 20 + years after the introduction of inline skating to the mass media.  In your opinion what should skaters do themselves to get more acknowledgements from the main stream?  Should blading even care about the main stream?

Great question, I think they shouldn’t care in the fact of how it affects their creativity or what they think they need to do to fit in. During our time of rollerblading in the 1990’s and 2000’s, many looked for the approval or skateboarders and the rest of the action sports community. Why? It’s understandable, but we should do our own thing. Stop bitching about and be about it. Rollerblading has always had the stigma of being “gay” or stupid. We all know that to be ignorant, but it’s the reality. Perception is reality, so until we change that perception it won’t change.
People like Chris Haffey are changing what people think of rollerblading by being on the Nitro Circus tour. That is a massive exposure tour where people watching might say, wow, I never knew. The only way to change people’s opinions is to be out there proving it on mass levels. Yes, I know being on TV would be a way quicker way of doing it. The problem is where? F…. it. Youtube, online, where ever you can put it. Keep it going, don’t ever stop or give up. It’s up to each generation of bladers to do their part. Support the companies who are doing it right, you’ll get more respect by just being yourself and that’s a rollerblader.

You’ve filmed with the best skaters in the world.  Who was the most impressive skater that you shot with?

Chris Haffey , period! (honorable mentions: Rob Guerrero, Randy Spizer and Jon Julio.)

Rapid fire: What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear these words:

HeadCaseLive – JULIO
Australia – MY FRIENDS and the America Down Under and Parties!!
IMYTA – JULIO and for the people!
Perspectives – A side project with one of my best friends that I always wanted to do, check!

Do you still keep a keen eye on skating edits and videos?  What new videographers have impressed you with their filming/editing skills?

Yeah man, I watch as much as I can see and check out. I really love all of the Valo stuff. Chris Majette of course, Adam Johnson, Brandon Negrete, Carl Sturgess, Connor O’Brien, and I could on and on. Obviously, I love it all and want to support all of the guys who helped VG over the years.

Who was the most under rated skater that you filmed over the years?

Vinny Minton.

On to another important subject, shy are the Phillies in dead last right now with one of the biggest payrolls in Major League Baseball?

Ahaha The Phillies…what a letdown this year so far but I saw it coming on the last swing of the post season against the eventual World Series champs with Ryan Howard blowing out his leg. I think it’s because they underestimated the Chase Utley injury for one and let Wilson Valdez go. The three mega aces are not pitching well or are hurt, except Cole Hamels who is the kingpin. I think the Phillies got old and fast this year especially with all the injuries to the big guys. Brutal, but I am diehard. I was at the 1980 World Series win! I took off from school to be at the parade. I was there in the 90’s when we sucked and also early 2000’s. We are not even at the all-star break yet, let’s see what happens the rest of the 90 some odd games left.

How often do you blade these days? Who do you blade with?

I skate with my dog a lot. I skate spontaneously late night when I get the urge or early mornings before work. It’s not easy new baby and with a job like mine. I have been blading a few times a month lately, sometimes more. Sometimes less. I skate right now right up the street at the veteran’s hospital ledges, Stoner Park or Venice park. I always skate when I am at Woodward in the summer. Randy Spizer came out for a visit to camp this year while we were filming and we got down. Thanks roomie.

He’s still got it!  DAP with the roll in.

Who’s better at hoops, you or TJ Webber?

oooooooooo, I am going to have to say we are an incredibly close. I want a rematch with TJ and B Love. I am not going to say, but if Webber wants some, he knows where I’m at. Miss you TJ. Let’s ball.

Titles under Videogroove Videomagazine/Groove Inc.

1994 The Bottom Line
1994 Videogroove – An Inline Skate Magazine
1995 VG 2 18 Days
1995 VG 3 Not a Word
1996 VG4  Puppets of Destiny
1996 VG5  Supernatural
1997 VG6  Toys Beneath our Feet
1997 VG7  Media-ocracy
1998 VG8 Ocho
1998 VG9 Back to Basics
1998 VG10 Metro
1999 Best of VG  Volume 1
1999 VG11 California Dreaming
1999 VG12 Battle My Crew *(owner)
1999 VG 13 On Tour
2000 VG15 BMC 2
2000 VG16 – East Coast VG Volume 1
2000 VG17 California Industry Issue
2001 VG18 BMC 3
2001 VG19ECVG2
2002 VG20 ROOTS
2002 VG21 BMC4
2003 VG22 Coast to Coast
2004 Best of VG Vol. 2
2005 VG23 Delegation of Authority

Other Skate/ Commercial Titles from Videogoove Videomagazine Productions

1995-2002 Colony of Summer Video magazine 1-7
1999-2003 IMYTA Contest  Series 1-6
1998-2002 Salomon Team Videos “Focused” and “Burning Bridges”
1999 “Talent” Music Video – Andy Kiddoo
2001 The Lab Commercial – Orange County Anti Mall
2001 Rye Airfield Skate park Commercials
2002 Rolling Video Game – Voice overs pre produced segments for the video

DAP and the VHS video collection.