The news that Jeff Grosso would be attending House of Vans, London as part of these 50th Anniversary celebrations came the day before I ventured down to the big smoke. Honestly, after it became clear that we had the opportunity for an interview and I was asked if I was keen to do it, I don’t think that the word “yes” could have left my lips any quicker.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, or what meeting Jeff would be like, well I had an idea but wasn’t sure how true to the preconception I had of his character it would actually be. Anyone who’s watched Grosso’s series ‘Love letters to skateboarding’ (for the minority that may not have, stop right now and go watch a couple of episodes before proceeding) would naturally assume that he’s both hilarious but also possibly fairly intimidating due by his no bullshit persona. It turns out though that whatever caricature the show paints of him isn’t in any way over the top; it’s a truly honest depiction and Jeff is every bit as funny and no holds barred as he appears on Loveletters.
Long live the waffle sole, the side stripe, the toe bumper and the red heel patch with “Off The Wall” that is always barely visible after months of skating the same pair of Vans. Finally, long live piss-taking: skateboarding’s most intimate love affair. Thanks Jeff!
Shit, bear with me just one second. I double record everything to be safe and my dictaphone is playing up.
Come on dude, you’re not fucking prepared! Let’s see what we got here…
[Jeff picks up my sheet of questions.]
Okay, sorted. Erm, can I get those questions back please? (Laughs).
Oh here, go ahead.
You went through some pretty gnarly surgery last summer. What was going on?
I blew my back out in December of 2014. I got back surgery and, well actually I blew my back out and then I was shooting massive amounts of cortisone into it so I could go on the Israel trip with Anti-Hero because I wanted to go: the 18 in the holy land? That’s fucked! I wanted to be there for that really badly. So, I was shooting massive amounts of cortisone into my back and then on January 1st I was putting a chain on a tyre because we were up in the snow and I twisted and blew the disk out of my back on the L5S1. In March I got surgery. It’s been a full year, they said that everything went well and all that and I could start to rehab it, do physical therapy and stuff. But in the meantime I had to give up smoking! And I couldn’t do anything so I fucking put on thirty-five pounds! So, I am now the guy who ate the other guy…