Are We Not Men? We are Roommates!

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Ball and J.B., skate home-ies. Photo: A. Pastucha

I never would have thought that when Isaac Raymond and Mariano Wilson moved out of their parents’ homes and into a basement apartment in the Avenues, these two seemingly boyish men of the local skate world would have cohesively collided perfectly. They’re some pretty heavy hombres when it comes down to it. They come from a scene of people where everyone involved has a nickname that is constantly evolving. I’ve witnessed Isaac confidently introduce himself as “Ballsac” or “Ball” as if it were his birth name, and Mariano’s nickname is now “J.B.” or “Jabbles.” I personally enjoy skateboarding around with these two. They each have their own individual qualities on and off the plank of youth, all the while still sharing a smoothness that could only be developed through years of skating and challenging one another’s precision––or maybe they’re both just naturally stylish and happened to become buds. From what I know about the two, J.B. carries a more speed-driven style compared to Ball, who finds sanctuary in a more technical, impact-oriented approach. I sat down with the two talents recently in their apartment to have a little conversation and eat some mac and cheese.

SLUG: How did you guys meet each other?
Ball: I actually remember the exact day. It was the first day out of school in seventh grade, and we were skating Tyson Trevino’s backyard. He just skated down out of nowhere, and he had an afro and a Krew shirt on. I was like, “That kid’s a nerd … just kiddin’.” We skated that day, and we just started skating every day since then. It was tight.
SLUG: Was it skating that made you guys become friends?
J.B.: Pretty much. We were the only ones who skated in Bountiful at the time.
Ball: Well, we had other homies, but it was at school and they skated, but they all kind of pitter pattered out of it. It ended up just being us [who] were still into it.
J.B.: Until we met Yo Mikey, and some Woods Cross kids and North Salt Lake kids.

SLUG: Aren’t those kids in a gang?
Ball: Our gang! Fucking Kap Guns, a little skate gang. Kap Guns Skateboard Cult.
J.B.: True dat!

: Other than skating with each other, what do you do with your time?
J.B.: We’re getting Comcast soon, so I plan on watching a lot of TV.
Ball: I guess we drink with each other and smoke and whatever, you know? Hang out, try and play music, but we don’t really know how. Mostly skate, really.

SLUG: Who plays what?
J.B.: Guitar pretty much for both of us. Some drums.

SLUG: What is your band’s name?
J.B.: We thought of the name today. What was it, Ball?
Ball: It was the Miami Face Eaters.
J.B.: We saw the thing on the news about the guy that ate another guy’s face in Miami.
Ball: I guess you snort a bunch of bath salts and it makes you want to eat a homeless guy’s face. We haven’t made any songs yet.
J.B.: We just started the band today.

: All you need is a cool name. Look at Poison. They suck mega trouser bologna, but had a cool name and it worked out for them.
Ball: Totally. Fucking Bret Michaels got a TV show out of it with everything and hot babes.
J.B.: Maybe we’ll get something going in our 40s.

: If your lives were a reality show, what would the show be like?
Ball: What drunk teenage kids do when they get drunk. Actually, it would be a lot like Jersey Shore, but we mostly skate all day.
J.B.: So it would be nothing like Jersey Shore.
Ball: We don’t really live like them. We just kind of wake up, skate, then try to get laid. It works out sometimes.

: You guys finding any cool spots around your place in the neighborhood?
J.B.: We’ve got a rail across the street. Fun front yard flat bar. I still haven’t skated it, and it’s right there.
Ball: It has this little connector piece that kind of bumps you off of it back onto the sidewalk that’s really fun. There’s a bunch of little weird spots up here in the Avenues. You can find fun stuff always, so it’s cool. The hospital has good spots.
J.B.: I haven’t really skated around here yet. Just what I’ve heard from Ball.
Ball: He’s got the full-time job, so I’m just the searching-skate-spot guy.
SLUG: Kind of like a stay-at-home son?
J.B.: I watch over the place. The man of the house. I make sure no one steals the TV.
Ball: It would take, like, three guys to steal that old, heavy-ass TV.
SLUG: Who do you guys usually skate with?
J.B.: Yo Mikey, Dirk Hogan, Bambi, Burke Nixon …
Ball: Anyone, really. Cameron Starke, that Gabe dude. He’s cool as fuck. Super down-to-earth guy. SK801 homies. It doesn’t matter, as long as you skate, and aren’t a fucking weirdo.

SLUG: Speaking of weirdos, do you have any strange neighbors?
J.B.: Yeah, we’ve got a crazy neighbor next door.
Ball: The second day we were in here, we were skating this rock in the front yard that you can wallie off of, and we’re just waiting around until everyone is ready to go adventure around, and Max Pain is just chillin’ there, and out of nowhere, the neighbor rolls out of his house and says to him, “You touch my fucking rose bushes and I’ll slit your throat.”  Wow, right! We were skating a rock in our yard. We just left right after that. It was fucking weird.
J.B.: He flipped Bambi off the other day.
Ball: I hear from the landlady that they get crazy in the summertime.
J.B.: From hearing those stories, I’ve been looking the other way when I see them outside so they don’t talk to me. I don’t want them to know where I live.

SLUG: Besides crazy neighbors, what do you like to get crazy on when you’re skating?
J.B.: Tranny. Quarter pipes. Transition is the best.
Ball: I like to jump down stuff. I don’t know why something compels me to jump down things. It works out sometimes, until you get a heel bruise and you think to yourself, “Why did I do that to myself?” You can’t walk right for the next week. I can’t complain.

If you happen to get the chance to watch either of these guys on a skateboard, you’ll instantly know why they’re two of my favorite local rippers. All in all, they’re just all-around good people whom I’ve had the privilege to know in my life. Now go grind a curb!