How did you get the name pineapple? I got it one day at a Bahne skateboard team practice. I was about 11 years old. My good friend Joe Roper started calling me Pineapple. Not sure why, but it stuck ever since. I think the fact that he knew my parents were from Hawaii kind of played into it.
You seem to have deep roots in San Diego what parts are you from? I was born in San Diego 49 years ago. I grew up in Kearny Mesa. When I was in grade school, I hung out in Pacific Beach. I would hang out there after school and in the summer surfing and skating with Joe Roper. We hung out at San Diego Surf Shop by the Crystal Pier at the time. I went to middle and high school in Linda Vista. This was during my skate years. That’s when I got into lowriding as well.
So how many years have you been skating? A long time, I started when I was 8 years old, right around the 3rd grade. I skated for about 11 years. I took a break for a number of years and didn’t skate. That’s when I got heavily into lowriders, playing in bands and riding Harley’s. I started skating again when my son Shey was 6 years old. He’s going to be 16 this year.
What are your favorite moments in your career as a pro skateboarder? As a pro, getting my signature “Pine Design” model on Gordon and Smith. Being the first skater in San Diego to get sponsored by Indepen-dent trucks. The 2 covers and 2 centerfolds with Skateboarder Magazine are high on my list. The Lowrider Magazine feature in 1980 on my skating career and 1964 Impala was cool. In 1978, coming out of competing in the Hester Pro Bowl Series and winning the Oceanside Professional Freestyle contest, and skating in the Rose Bowl and Indy 500 Parades too.
Who were your Past Sponsors?I rode for Bahne Skateboards from 11 – 13 years old. I got on the team right after skating in the 1975 Del Mar Nationals which was the contest the Z-Boys showed up to. After that, I rode for Gordon and Smith Skateboards, ACS trucks, and Kryptonic Wheels (with Steve and Mickie Alba.) I then finished up my pro career still on Gordon and Smith, while riding for Yoyo Wheels, Independent Trucks, and Nike Shoes.
How’s your current skating going. I know some new pics are out there.Skating’s going good as long as I keep it in perspective. I try to skate as much as I can. I’m usually down at Washington Street most of the time. But I often head up to Clairemont Skatepark or Memorial skatepark. The coolest thing about skating for me now is that it allows me to hang out and skate with my son Shey a lot. I couldn’t ask for anything better.
How does todays skate industry differ from your era as pro skateboarder? Good or bad. I think there are more opportunities and choices now on how you “want to”, or “can promote yourself” as a pro to make money. What I really like is that there are a lot of skater-owned companies.
Who is your favorite current skater and if you don’t have one who are you most stoked on still? I have a bunch of favorites. Duane Peters and Salba still kill it !!! I’m always hyped to watch and skate with them. Peter Hewitt is probably my all-time favorite though skater right now. The stuff he does is rad and blows my mind … I’ve got mad respect for him! I’m hyped on the new generation of skaters like Tom Remillard, Raven Tershay and Grant Taylor. Then I’d have to add Brandon Perelson from San Diego. Kid rips, has a style of his own and pretty much does his own thing. Jake Reuter from Huntington Beach is definitely on the rise. And then I have to say my son Shey too. I’ve been getting fired up lately watching him skate. He keeps getting better and better every day … I think the fact that he skates Washington Street all of the time has something to do with it … he’s at the point now with it that he’s calling me out there ….
When did you get your first taste of riding a bike and what was it? I think I was around 27 years old, probably 1990. 1981 FXWG Shovelhead. The friends I rode with all had FXWG’s. Since we were all ex-lowriders and hot rodders, we carried that into how we built our bikes. Though, it wasn’t “low and slow” with our bikes . It was more like “low and fast“. We slammed them, and ran drag bars. We rode them like dirt bikes! Back then, everybody used to call us the “Drag Bar Boys”.
What do you think about the bike scene today? The scene’s different today than when I first started riding bikes. I think all those who ride nowadays, have their own take on it and how they embrace it, which is understandable. It’s evolved and changed just like everything else. For me, I can probably compare it to when I was lowriding in the late 1970’s. Back then, not just anybody had a lowrider. It was a culture and lifestyle. If you were into lowriding, you had to know, understand, and respect everything about it before you got into it, and that went along with it. You also had to deal with what came with the territory so to speak. With that said, I have a lot of respect today for all of those who rode before me, and who have lived, or still live the lifestyle.
LOW RIDER SCENE. When did you get into the low rider scene? It was probably in 1978. I had my first lowrider at 15 years old before I was old enough to drive. Check this out … since I wasn’t old enough to drive yet, only having my permit, my mom used to park it on the side of my high school and wait for me to get out. After school, I would meet her, ask her to get in the passenger seat, and then drive it home from school blasting the oldies like The Platters …
Tell us about your Low rider feature on your car? That was super cool !!! Cheech and Chong were on the cover of that issue. In 1980, Skateboarder Magazine did an interview with me. In it, I had pictures of my 1964 Impala that I was lowriding after my Monte Carlo. This guy, Salvador Casillas who worked for Lowrider Magazine back then, saw the interview and thought it was cool to see a pro skater into lowriding. I remember getting the call from him asking me if I’d be into doing a feature in their magazine on my car and skating.
Do you think the low rider scene will ever return the way it was in the 80’s with the mini trucks and the whole 9? There is a bit of it still in Japan. I’m not sure. Just like skating and bikes have evolved, so has lowriding. What I really dig is seeing the youngsters lowriding who have had parents and family with roots in it, going back to 14” Supremes with 520’s on them, and chain steering wheels. I got a lot of respect for them. Tell us about your brand and what its all about? Damon Mills and I started Patines Americanos on Cinco de Mayo 2006 at Washington St. skatepark. We were inspired by the guys doing Terror Skateboards and their DIY ethic. That in mind, it's become more than we set out to do initially and TY has added to their catalog. Damon is still the mastermind behind the scenes. Route 44 in SD and Joker's in HB still have exclusivityin their areas. It's a blue collar brand with skaters making boards for skaters!
Thanks for the interview Pineapple. Many thanks though to all my close friends (you know who you are), Patines Americanos (Damon Mills and Tum Yeto), N.H.S. (Independent Trucks and Rhino, O.J. Wheels and Alex Horn), Converse and Steve Luther, Route 44 and Matt O, and Joker’s in H.B., Element Cases and Bill Ruff. And much love and respect to Shey, Alethia for our son, Fuzzy and my family.
We would like to officially announce our involvement with the Born-Free 5 show this year. We sponsored the builders invite portion of the show last year and we are back to do it again for Born-Free 5! Over the past weeks we have been working with Gorgeous George and the BF5 team to craft the poster art to announce each of the builders. George blew our minds once again and we look forward to all that leads up to one of the best shows on this planet this coming June. Stay tuned for more details as we start following the builders progress and get our Loser Machine/BF5 party planned for March......
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Doug Barber AKA Q-Ball
Born 1949 in New York State, Q-Ball grew up in a military family all over the United States. He bought his first camera, and motorcycle 1965 in Okinawa Japan where he barely graduated from high school. Moving every 2 years made him a bit of an outcast. Though a little hard to handle his high school art teacher saw a glimmer of hope, and saved him from the fast track to prison.
He then attended The Maryland Institute College of Art on a full scholarship, thanks in part to his high school art teacher, and being poor. While attending art school he was inspired by the work of Danny Lyon “The Bikerider”.
After art school he was working in a Baltimore camera shop when he was approached by an officer of a 1% motorcycle club. The club was looking for someone they could trust to photograph the national mandatory run, and funeral for their sergeant of arms. That club then, and even today does not like having photos taken, but they wanted to honor the wishes of the family. After a final briefing by the president of the club, Q-Ball was allowed to record this major event, but all the film stayed with the club. This life altering experience got him hooked on spending the next 30 years sharing the road with the old school, and hard core bikers.
Q-Ball spent time as a patch holder riding, partying, and mixing it up with the good, the bad, and the ugly. Never regretting a moment, he found brotherhood, and respect for those who would make citizens cross the street to avoid them. As much as he loves the life as a biker, he is also a husband and father. To provide for his family he has spent years doing commercial work as Doug Barber Photographer, winning awards, getting published, and making a living.
In 2004 he was invited to show his biker photography at the The Susquehanna Art Museum in a show “Motorcycles & Art”. Since then he has had several shows, and even more invitations to show his work. His biker photography has been seen in many motorcycle magazines including a year of covers plus calendar for Hot Bike Japan. He has been sharing his work with the biker world on his web site VtwinBiker.com, but this is the first time his photography will be available as high quality reproductions.
For years he has been encouraged to publish a book, but many factors kept him from this dream. One nagging element was the words that may accompany the photos. His friendship with Eddie Sorez changed his mind and finalized this vision for this book. It was Sorez’s deep insight, and the living words of his poetry that made him feel that bikers would not be pigeon holed but expressed in a broad way. His hope is that this collaborative work will be accepted by all as a portrait of the human struggle for freedom, and expression.
More about his book “living the life” on www.VtwinBiker.com
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George let’s get the basics out of the way. We noticed the accent right away. When and where were you born?
I was born on a stormy March morning in 1984 in a little town in named Wendell, North Carolina. As they say… American by birth, Southern by the grace of God.
Who gave you the name "GORGEOUS" anyways....?
Tim, from Death Science and Show Class, started calling me Gorgeous George when he welcomed me into the family and it stuck amongst all the homies. I dig it due to the reason that I am by far one of the most beautiful people you will ever lay eyes upon. Haha. Obviously joking there! Honestly, I am just waiting for the WWE to send me a cease and desist on the name. Then I'll change it to George the Gorgeous.
Your style of art is very unique and seems to stand out from most bike and skate art we get. When did you first start drawing and realize your passion for art?
My brother was a total handful growing up, so my mom used to sit me down at the kitchen table with a box of dot-matrix printer paper and this old broken cover to a record player, turned upside down, and filled with broken crayon pieces. I would sit there while she cooked and kept an eye on my brother raising hell, and I'd color and draw anything from skateboarders to X-Men. It was there at the kitchen table I found that I definitely wanted art be a major part of my life.
Choppers and skateboarding are obvious influences of your art and I’m assuming a big part of who you are. What’s your background in skateboarding and riding bikes?
I have been skateboarding my entire life. Even though I grew up out in the country, we had a paved driveway and I used to ride my Scooby-Doo scooter all the time as a really little kid. It was one of those scooters that was a tiny skateboard with a t-bar that bolted to the board where the front truck is. I begged my dad to take the handle bars off, so I could just ride the board like my brother. From then it progressed to riding my brother's K-Mart, Valterra Melt Down board for years. Finally I got a complete set up in 6th grade. Think Board, Indy's, Spitfires, Bones Bearings, Jessup Grip. Man, that shit was rad! Totally changed my life having a real board that functioned like a skateboard should. Now I ride an old man set up, haha. 9" Anti Hero, 169 Indy's, 61mm Spitfires. Ya know, it's set up for ripping fast through all the awesome concrete creations that have popped up in NC in the last 10 years.
Anyway, now that I have bored you to death with technical skate shit, let's talk motorsickles. I became obsessed with motorsickles in art school and since I was so broke and couldn't afford a motorized bike, I made a rad chopper bicycle out of my Huffy beach cruiser. After that I would "rescue" bikes late at night from the bike racks on campus that had been sitting there for a long time and take them in my apartment and chop them, paint them, swap handle bars, tweak the frames and forks. There were bicycles and parts all over my apartment.
Once I graduated from ECU and got a job teaching art in public school, I found a cool little 650 Suzuki on Craigslist and me and my Old Man started chopping' on it and learning as we went. I was an awesome way to hang out with the old man and just see what we could come up with. He has this joke, that we are "Jack Leg." I'm Jack and he is Leg. Since his name is John he was "Jack," and me being 6'4," I am "Leg," hahaha. Now I am riding a 1983 XLH dubbed the Bologna Pony by my Death Science brethren. Obviously the huge wiener shaped sissy bar is the root of it's name. Some of Finger's finest work went into bending up that sissy bar for me. Super fun bike to ride and it's kooky look is an extension of my quirky artistic side.
Your blog rules and has a lot of interesting stuff. What’s your favorite fishing hole out your way and how often do you get out and fish?
Thanks! We recently moved to a tiny town in the North Eastern part of the state for jobs and it is situated where the Chowan River dumps into the Albemarle sound. We live on a creek that feeds into the sound and I have gotten into fishing a lot more since we moved here a year ago. I grew up fishing with my Old Man, but lost the passion for it when a driver's license allowed me the freedom to go skate all the street spots in Raleigh as a teenager. I have found our little private dock, The Honey Hole, to be a therapeutic release after a long day of teaching aggervatin'-ass middle school students. I still like to travel a few hours back home to hit up the ol' fishin' hole I grew up on, and hook some big ol' chubs.
Tell us about your knife and gun collection. I’ve seen some goodies on your site.
I'll tell ya man, I have never spent a dime on anything other than ammunition. Coming from a long line of proud, Southern, 2nd amendment supporters there are lots of firearms that have been passed down through the generations. Luckily, I have been trusted to take care of them to pass on to the next generation. One of my favorites is my Smith & Wesson .32 I received last Christmas. It has been in the family for years. Such an awesome little pistol with an amazing story behind it. But I'm gonna have to keep that story in the family, sorry.
You're heading out to Cali soon for Born Free 4 and to hang with Loser machine. What else are your plans for the rest of the year as far as art and riding go?
Ride as much as possible. Skate as much as possible. Fish as much as possible. Hang out with my Death Science Brothers as much as possible. Oh, and me and my Ol' Lady, Melanie, are getting married in December. Definitely looking forward to that party!!!
Skynyrd or Maiden? Pabst or Coors?
David Allan Co. PBR!!! However an ol' Colorado Kool Aid is good every now and then.
Let's keep this short and sweet. We're a big fan of your work and stoked to have you on board at Loser. Is there any words or thanks you want to give ?
Definitely a huge thank you to you guys: Adrian, Paul, and Chris at Loser Machine/ Dark Seas! Thanks a ton for the opportunity to get my art out there for an exponentially greater amount of people to see. Huge thanks to my wonderful woman, Melanie, for her constant love and support.
Gigantic thanks to my parents for always encouraging me to just be myself and do what feels right and true. Huge thanks to all of my Death Science family: Tim, Matt, Vander, Jason, Fingers, Jay, Billy, Benji, Kyle, Josh, Wesley, Ray, and Murphy-- some of the most amazing and wonderfully unique characters that I am proud to call family. Thanks to all the dudes who contribute to Show Class and make it the true chopper rag it is. Thank you Clarke for the non-stop positive love. And to anyone who has ever liked my art, supported my art, bought my art, or told anyone about my art, you are heroes and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
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