Zero Club | Aug 2022 | Mark Fleming

1. Name / Instagram Account?
Mark Fleming @boy_george_strait

2. Age?
I’ll be 50 on Sept 13th (2022).

3. Where are you from?
Long Story, but I was born into skateboarding in 1985 in Honolulu, HI at 13 years of age. I spent my first 3 1/2 years of skateboarding there. Then my family moved to the Panama Canal Zone where I skated the next 2 years. Then a bunch of other places from Texas to the SF Bay Area back to Texas.

4. What’s your history with skateboarding?
Well, it’s been part of my life since 1985. It’s always been there, no matter what else was happening along the way. I’ve never “quit”. I have LOTS of stories, from having a pre-murderous dickhead Gator visit our ramp in Hawaii when I was 16 to doing two vert demos with team Alva in Panama when I was 18. Having moved around a lot too, I’ve made SO many friends through skateboarding. Life-long friends. I know skateboarding doesn’t owe me anything, but it sure has given me a lot to be grateful for, almost daily.

What role does it serve in your life today?
It’s usually part of my daily routine…I mean, when it’s not 108 outside. Ugh! It’s been a rough summer so far… skateboarding keeps me sane though. I skate on my lunch breaks at work, after family dinner and on weekends with friends. I skate more alone than I do with others, but I enjoy doing both. It keeps me in shape both physically and mentally, as long as I don’t wreck myself.

5. What’s your set-up, including shoes?
The last several times I tried ollieing anything over a foot, my back hurt for a week after. I’ve learned to adapt to my physical failings as an aging skateboarder though as they creep up on me here and there. That being said, I ride BIG boards. I can still have a lot of fun without ollieing and the 9”-9.5” boards are my jam now. Currently, I’m on a 9.4” El Huevo Heroin Egg with AF1 66s and OJ Elite 55mm 99a wheels. I use Lil Jawns rails and Swiss bearings. I just recently starting wearing Vans again. I dig the skate line. I had issues with the old vans and wore Nike blazers for years. Both are good to me. I’m always game to try out new shoes though. I liked the Busenitz, too.

6. What terrain do you like to skate?
Any and every terrain that is in front of me. I skate curbs a lot because they are pretty much everywhere you go, but I love ramps, bowls, ditches, whatever.*
*No handrails, stair sets, or flipping my board.

7. I’ve been to Texas. The curbs there are, well, questionable, at best. That said, you seem to have an insane amount of incredible curb spots. How do you find them? Was anything sold to the devil?
The struggle is real, y’all. 98% of curbs here have no skateable lip and are pure shite. I’ve found a few near my house fortunately, but for every 30-40 times I look for new curb spots, I might find one acceptable one. I just don’t post my failed explorations. The ones I skate by my work, I have made by going in before work and brick rub/clear coat/waxing them. I’ve “made” more curbs than I’ve found honestly. I’d sell my OG Samhain LPs to the Devil for cheap in exchange for a 20’ slightly angled double sided though. All day! If there was a Devil.

8. What stokes you out in skating?
Rolling. Grinding. Sliding. Carving. Speed. Floating. Slashing. Creativity. Watching others stick something they’ve been trying to get for a minute. Sticking something I’VE been trying to get for a minute. Skating with my brother or my son (or both) is the best. Hands down.

9. What could be better in skateboarding?
Texas curbs… But honestly, I really get sick to my stomach reading all the hateful comments about trans skaters I’ve been seeing. Part of me wants to believe it’s just 13-15 year-olds that don’t know any better, but it isn’t. I think it goes back to “jock mentality” and it’s just plain gross and unnecessary. Seriously bums me out. I wish I had something positive to say about that shit going away, but I just don’t know. It’s everywhere it seems.

10. What inspires you, in skateboarding, and life?
PMA. Positive Mental Attitude. It all starts with you. If you have that, you can get stoked on pretty much anything. I can struggle with this at times, but I always return to it. It inspires me to inspire others too.

11. What bands/music do you like?
I love so much music, but despise so much music at the same time. Ha! Tough question for being so direct and simple, honestly. 50s and 60s classic country, 50s and 60s jazz, 60s garage and psych, early 70s proto-punk and Kraut rock, late 70s to late 80s punk and hardcore, 80s and early 90s hip hop, 90s noise rock and indie rock, 90s garage punk, and whatever else is playing on my turntable. I will stay positive on this question and refrain from listing all the crap I hate.

12. What makes you laugh?
Mr. Show. Always Sunny. Curb. Tracy Morgan. Kids in The Hall. Rodney Dangerfield. Mitch Hedberg. Dr. Steve Brule. Richard Pryor. I really love to laugh. More than skateboarding. I laugh at my skateboarding too.

13. Favorite books/movies/tabloids?
I am a fan of non-fiction books. Most of the time I read books about music, bands, record labels and such. Just finished the book on SST records, “Corporate Rock Sucks” and it was great! Also just finished the Bob Odenkirk memoir, which was also great. Movies? Well I was 5 when the first Star Wars came out, so I am all about the original trilogy. Asides from Rogue One and the Mandalorian, I haven’t been too stoked on any “modern” Star Wars stuff though. I’m not as much of movie buff as I am with music though. Nowadays, I like movies that are like 90 minutes long. Any longer than that and I will fall asleep, dad-style.

14. Major injuries?
Many! I’d prefer not to talk about that too much though. It’s part of the game for sure, but it really bums me out. Just recently sustained a head injury that put stitches in my forehead, and that was not the first time. Ugh. I will be wearing a helmet from here on out.

15. Outside of skating, any other passions/interests?
Music. Big time. Making it and listening to it. Been making albums/songs and playing live music almost as long as I have been skating. Almost always with my brother too. Went on several tours over the years, still play out locally and got a couple of our old band’s songs into tv, movie and video games! Music publishing rules. I even sent you a CD once of some stuff I,ve done my myself in recent years!* Also been buying LPs as long as I’ve been skating. Have probably 4000 or so. If it’s good, I like it!
*He did, in fact, send me some music, and it fuckin’ rocked. -Chris

16. Skating as a kid vs. skating as an adult over 40…talk about the differences and similarities.
We used to skate ALL DAY as a kid. Typical summer day in Hawaii: get up early and skate to the bus stop. Meet up with my friends at the next few stops. Get off near Pearl Harbor and take a ferry across the bay to this big uninhabited area with slabs, banks, curbs and random fun things everywhere. Make it back to the Hickman hanger in the afternoon and skate launch ramps for a couple of hours. Then skate back to my neighborhood and ride the 7’ half pipe we had in the woods behind our house until it got dark. AND NOT EVEN FEEL BAD AT ALL the next day.

Typical day now: Somehow get through a 2 1/2 hour sesh, but feel it for DAYS...or get a quick hour in and feel ok the next day. Honestly, there is no “typical day” now. I skate when I have windows to skate. I’m a dad, husband, and boss. We have a large house that takes up a lot of my time too…It’s tough sometimes, but you can always find time to get a little sesh in if you really want to do it. Even if it’s 20 minutes. What both do have in common though is that that stoke I get from it. It’s still the same. Even after 37 years of doing it.

17. Favorite skate videos?
Future Primitive was the first video I ever saw. It is still my favorite. Shackle Me Not changed the game though. I remember doing a caveman to boardslide down the rail thing on my front porch immediately after watching it. Skate videos are still fun to watch, but I don’t really have any favorite modern ones. I watch ‘em all though.

18. Favorite skaters?
Current - Grant Taylor. Spanky Long. Louie Lopez. Ace Pelka. Jesse Lindloff. And so many more! So many rippers. All those curb dogs from “the video,” too.
All Time - Blender, Gonz, Phillips, Cardiel, Speyer, and some of my friends that went pro - Panama Dan, Forrest, Danny Gonzalez. Skating with those last 3 definitely helped push me to get better.

19. Favorite skate graphics? Worst skate graphics?
I had 4 Blenders (2 coffee breaks, 1 driver, and one praying guy) as a kid. I loved any graphics he did back then. Still do. Loved the Pushead Zorlac stuff dearly, too (the same “skull” graphics blender made fun of in that old G&S video). Ironically, the Blender and Zorlac shapes were all kinda crap, but it didn’t really matter as much back then. I’m a fan of FOS and the Egg line of graphics as of late. I am not a fan of any of the Hook Ups graphics at all and the boards that just say B A K E R on them do nothing for me either.

20. Who should we interview for the next episode of the Zero Club?
Dan Van De Mark! I wanna hear his story. Love all his old photos from the 80s and his current vids he posts.

21. Your Ramp. Raney Beres. Discuss.
Well Raney and Rye grew up here in SA and I was friends with their parents, both very cool folks. I knew them from playing in bands over the years and seeing them at shows. The Beres brothers had a mini ramp in their backyard growing up, but it just sat for years after the they both moved to California. Raney’s dad, Andy, offered me the sheet metal off of it for the ramp I was building 5 years ago. All I had to do was remove it and haul it away. It wasn’t my first choice as a final layer, but “free” was a hell of a lot cheaper than gator skins or skatelite. I actually dig it now (when it’s not summer) Best part about the sheet metal is all the graffiti they did as kids on it that it still faintly there. There is an “Anti Hero” tag you can still see that’s pretty historically awesome I’d say!

22. Last words?
Thanks for inviting me to this party Chris. I’m looking forward to skating with you in a couple of months! Gonna be epic!