WORDS BY STUART GOMEZ
Kevin “Spanky” Long could be called the comeback kid. When he appeared in Emerica’s This Is Skateboarding in 2003, his part was fine-tuned and assured. For someone his age (just going into his late teens at the time of filming) to have that much power and natural style was extraordinary. Working with Miner and Manzoori to put together so much well-rounded footage elevated Spanky and ensured that he would be a huge part of skateboarding in the future.
The years leading up to MADE Chapter Two saw Spanky progressing and becoming Pro. Having grown into adulthood, he always managed to maintain that certain charm that drew all of us to him in the beginning. This is probably the key to his mystique—there’s a dichotomy that follows him around, forming this image we have of Spanky. Call it ageless. In his teens, he just seemed so young but he skated like someone with decades under his belt; then, as an adult, he still seemed giddy and young, and in some ways even more fired up than he was as a teen. He comes across as that kid we all know—the kid down the street who is always out skating—perpetually giddy and youthful. In a way, Spanky is the manifestation of that weird struggle most of us face as skaters, confronting the myth of “growing up.” Even when he’s grown up, Spanky hasn’t grown up.
Still, somewhere in adulthood, Spanky needed to take a break. The details of his hiatus aren’t important. What you should remember is that Spanky still has a one-track mind when it comes to skating. He still has room for making art and writing, but skating will always take precedence for him. MADE Chapter Two is his opportunity to meet his own high standards and to show the rest of us that the teenaged skater is always within us. Spanky’s back.
INTERVIEW BY ATIBA
How did you get on Emerica?
Shit. That was like twenty years ago, maybe thirty! I was trying to think about that recently. Basically, from what I remember I was just around Sole Tech a lot because Mikey [Taylor] and Paul [Rodriguez] were riding for éS. And then somehow I got my tape over to Justin Regan when he was the team manager.
Herman and I got on at the same time; we had an ad together. We were like “the little guys” at first then we started filming for This Is Skateboarding.
Wow, sick! Just ‘cause you were with Paul and them, right?
Yeah, basically because I had those guys cosigning. They got me in the door, really. We weren’t doin’ the same kind of shit but we were all buddies, so they would be like, “We’re going down to get our éS stuff. We should introduce you to the Emerica guys.”
Did you get introduced to Regan at that point?
Yeah, it was Regan. I might have had a “rep hookup” for a little bit. I was just kinda like… skating. Like now: one-track mind!
What is your favorite pair of Emericas?
I like the ones I’m skating now, these Westgate ones. I think they’re my favorite ones ever! [laughs]
Why is that?
When I was a kid, I would religiously buy Emericas—the Jamie Thomas ones, the old ones. Luckily, they had the rubber toe cap and I could skate them forever. I would save up my money to get the Jamie Thomas [model]. Those were the only ones I could skate. Period.
Is that really your favorite, then?
I guess so, yeah. I’ve had so many favorites over the years. I really like one of my shoes, I think it was called “The Spanky”. I’ve got a lot of favorites!
Yeah, you’ve done a pretty amazing feat! Did you pick your own song?
For this project, I didn’t. Now, and in the last year or so, I’m just skating. I’m just focused on skating. With a project like this, Miner has such a hand in it stylistically that I think of the music just like a score, you know? Almost like a movie. Luckily, it’s a song I really like from a band I really like. So it works out. But it’s not like I picked it, like it’s something that I’ve just been jamming. It’s like a classic “Emerica-style” soundtrack.
Hmmm… How long did you take to film this part?
It’s tough to say because, like, for me I feel like for a good portion of it I’ve just been working to sort of be in the video somewhere. And it’s only been a year where I’ve been pretty sure that I’ve been filming towards getting my own part. But there was a long period when it’s been like a “trial period” when it really kinda depended on what I can get. As far as legitimate footage, they put it in my hands whether I get “legit enough” footage. During this process I feel like it’s just slowly become more apparent that I’m working towards a video part.
As far as different video parts that you’ve filmed for, this probably feels a lot different, right?
It feels A LOT different! In the past it kinda felt like I was in a different place in my life. I was trying to appease the sponsors who I already essentially worked for and trying to earn my paycheck. This sort of thing, as corny as it sounds, is just to prove to myself that I could live up to my own potential as a skateboarder.
That sounds like a lot radder way to film a video part, to be honest.
It is, because I don’t feel like anyone is on my back. No one’s gonna pressure me harder than I can pressure myself. It’s still sleepless nights, but it’s my own standards that I have to live up to.
What would you say is the hardest battle that you’ve had with a trick for this video?
Here at the end, there’s a list of five tricks that I’ve been straight-up fuckin’ going to war—Revenant, sleeping inside of bears and shit! Seriously, some of it’s just bullshit. Like, going back six times because I don’t like the way I’ve been landing something. Like some LA High shit and Red Banks shit. I’ve gone back, like, seven times or something because you get there one day and it just feels like a wall. And then you get a small window of landing on it. You know how it is!
What about Emerica makes it such a tight team?
First of all, anyone coming into it has had to pass the test of being one of the guys; being part of the crew beyond any sort of fuckin’ talent or anything. I mean, that’s the ideal thing with any “family” kind of brand.
To me, it’s a company that means a lot to all of us. So, being a part of this team means that you’re gonna represent that brand with a certain level of integrity. That seems to be…
The “common bond”?
Yeah, the common bond. It’s hard to put into words.
"Made 2 Roll": 36 full-bleed pages of Spanky and the rest of the stars of Emerica's MADE: Chapter Two, in The Skateboard Mag 152.
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