Way back in May 2008 Europe Skate was able to hook up with Jeff Greenwood, the man behind Concrete Disciples (along with his partners Christian and Ray).
Concrete Disciples has always been one of our main sources of input and we respect the amount of energy and time that has been put into keeping the site up and running while having a normal job.
Jeff took the time out to answer my set of questions which gave me a lot of insight into what makes up Concrete Disciples and Jeff’s opinion about skateboarding today.
All the pictures are from Concrete Disciples or MRZ (thanks guys, hope it’s okay and the pictures are just right for this interview!)
Could you tell us in a few words about your background (name,age,where you from,what you do).
I am Jeff Greenwood, a skater from the suburbs of Los Angeles, nothing very glamorous, and I started skateboarding in about 1982 on a big board.
I’ve been skating pretty solid the whole time until a couple years ago when my back gave out and I went through hell for a long time before getting cut open and fixed.
I run the Concrete Disciples website which got its start in 1997 as Skateboard Northwest while I was living in Seattle Washington. I work a regular job for a big internet company full time and run Concrete Disciples with my partners Christian and Ray on the side.
Concrete Disciples has been around since 1997 which is quite a long time for any website.
What got the whole idea started and how has the entire concept developed over the years?
The idea came about because skateboarding was in the dark ages at the time and I got introduced to the internet.
I saw it as a great medium to share information on the rare places to skateboard. Some, lame by today’s standards, parks started to pop up around Washington and Oregon so I thought getting the word out cheaply would help everyone in a lot of ways.
Who wants to spend 3 hours driving to a shitty spot you heard about from some random person that said it was awesome?
But, at the time it wasn’t enough to get it online.
Most people still weren’t going online. So me and lots of DIY skaters in the Northwest decided to try to make a small magazine called Concrete Disciples.
We were not satisfied at all with the local Action Sports rag that was in the area at the time. This is also how the name got switched eventually to CD. Skateboard Northwest didn’t fit it when I moved back to Los Angeles in 2000 and Concrete Disciples was a much better name.
It just kept on growing into the monster it currently is today.
The Death Race 2008 was your latest sponsored event which is already the third death race held by Concrete Disciples. In July 1999 you put together the Revolution Street Contest which also had an original contest format.
What moves you to do your contests just that bit different than other contests?
Man, I really didn’t think hardly anyone remembered Revolution Street. It was pretty fucking out there as a concept and we somehow pulled it off. I kind of always get spooked throwing events, I always think someone is going to get killed and sue me for life.
Why do we do contests? I like the comeradery and chance to see ripping.
I hate the whole judging aspect because it always seems to be fucked by favoritism, localism or politics in the end. At least with a Race its just skater vs. clock. No judging.
With Revolution Street we had a Video Premiere party and gave out ballots to the attendees/skaters in the contest to vote for a bunch of Viewers Choice Awards. We try to make our events fun, we don’t pressure anyone to compete and we always got skating going down outside a contest, like a bowl jam or something. We don’t do them for profit. We always end up spending more then we bring in, but if we gotta buy our friends a keg of beer, that aint going to be a bad thing.
After the story with ESPN calling vert off and then putting it back into their contest series this year, the “Vertical Skateboarding – 1975 – 2008″ article by Christian Cooper was posted on Concrete Disciples which clearly states the disapproval of big industry (ESPN) of getting involved in skateboarding.
As you’ve seen the development of skateboarding in the last few years, where do you see skateboarding heading?
Is the big fall yet again ahead or is it going to get even more mainstream?
I see skateboarding heading into a fall right now but I don’t think it’ll be like the last 2 times where it was really dead.
We have so many public parks this time around that wont be going anywhere so there will be places to ride. I think the big shakeout will be the Big Industry. And I can’t wait. Seeing all the skateboarding ‘stuntmen’ getting used like little pets in a circus is a disappointment.
The big X Games type guys are so secluded now, they rarely skate out in the general public. No one can relate to them anymore and they wonder why they can’t sell a pro deck? Those pros have so much talent and they hide it in private warehouse sessions.
They’ll get hurt the most when the BIG industry pulls back on them purse strings. But on the flip side, skateboarding is also so much more accepted and ingrained in our youth that attitudes have improved prospects for long term revival/survival.