There are things you'll hear about while growing up that will remain with you for a lifetime. Today's case in point being the Green Door. I first heard of it early on in my teens while dumpster diving at the home video store where I'd spend all my hard-earned paper route money on VHS rentals. I was particularly fascinated by the cult films, especially those in the schlocky bowels of the horror and sci-fi genres, and whenever I discovered a new director I'd not only ingest their entire filmography but I'd chase the associated rabbits down each and every hole I could possibly find*. Where am I going with this? Well, David Cronenberg was one such director I took a shine to and I started off with Videodrome** (1983), which proved to be a real mind fuck as a kid, and from there I devoured Scanners (1981), The Brood (1979), and, the whole point of this random ass intro: Rabid (1977), starring Marilyn Chambers, who made her screen debut in the seminal pornographic film Behind the Green Door (1972)—yes, the very same film that Jackie Chan popped into the video player in his car in The Cannonball Run (1981), a trivial reference that had me convinced all my stars were in perfect squalid alignment.
Anyway, this past January when we got the whole StrangeLove squad out to San Francisco for a week of skateboarding in pink shoes, we were in the area of Union Square when Ty mentioned that The Green Door was just up the street a few blocks, thereby bringing my big dumb life full circle. But enough about me and my issues. Here's Ty! —Sean Cliver
Are you a Carolina kid? I mean like born and raised, because I know you spent some time in San Francisco for a while.
My mom is from Napa Valley, CA, and I was born in Fremont, CA. Moved to South Carolina when I was two and lived in Sumter until I graduated high school.
When did you start skating? Do you remember your first board?
January 1, 2000. My uncle bought my cousin and I our first complete. It was a Nash board with plastic trucks from Champs Sports.
Who were the skaters in your area then that had an influence on you?
Tommy Lopez, Cory Wilkinson, John Bazen, Dusty Yauilla, Chris Jacobs, and Wes Cobb.
Who was your first sponsor?
Nobyl Skateboards and Krew clothing… haha. Even though most of the clothing sent to me were taken from the body piercing store it was sent to—don’t ask until you go to Sumter.
You were, I think, the first person on the StrangeLove squad. How’d that come about?
Yes, as far as I know. My best friend Drew Adams and Tyler Tufty spoke of it being a new company and asking if I’d be interested.
But you were already familiar with Nick [Halkias], yeah?
Yessir! I randomly met Nick in, I think, 2007 at his old office in Atlanta while traveling with Cory and Jack at Continuum Skateshop, and then we ended up hanging out for the first time in San Francisco at the Omar shoe release. When I originally got on StrangeLove we didn’t even realize who each other was until we spoke on the phone for the first time and we were like, hold on, don’t we know each other?! Haha… he’s the shit. Can’t wait to see that man again.
Photos left to right: Ty and Nick on some Area 51 shit; Ty with his award-winning contest gear.
The Red Bull Mind the Gap contest in Atlanta. What do you think you’d have blown on a Breathalyzer test following your 2nd placing?
Hmm. At least a 1.5? I probably drank 15 beers and a bourbon at Claremont before even skating.
Speaking of that contest, I was most impressed by your outfit. Was that intentional or is that just how you roll on a day-to-day basis?
No, not very often do I rock the tracksuit, but I wanted to be flashy considering how drunk I was at the time. Thought it fit the occasion.
Well, you certainly stood out amid the usual sea of black clothing. What’s your day job?
Geoscience Group as an engineering consultant, full time, 8am–5pm, and most weeks I work night shifts 10pm-8am. Basically I cook dirt for a living.
Photos left to right: Drew and Ty, one has no dirt while the other cooks it for a living; Ty, on the dirt-cooking job.
Back to San Francisco. What exactly goes on behind the Green Door?
Ohh… the Green Door is an extraordinary place. Basically, walk in pay them 60 dollars and they bring out a group of girls for you to choose from. Once you’ve chosen your girl they walk you through a dark hallway to a room with a shower, massage chair, and actually a really nice robe to wear. They ask you to shower, then lay down naked. You then receive a breathtaking—depending on the buzz and time of day—massage for about 20 minutes and that’s when they ask you if you have money for “fun time.” I’ll leave the rest of the story for you to conclude.
So far everyone else that I’ve asked this question to they’ve all come back with nothing, but I’m positive you’ll have something—especially since you have SF experience: What’s the craziest thing you’ve witnessed out there in the streets?
This is a tough one when it comes to SF. Honestly, you see crazy shit every single day there. Actually, in Charleston, SC, I had a drunk frat kid run up and steal my friend’s board while we were filming and run into his house and lock the door. I tried chasing him down while carrying the VX I was filming with—got it all on camera—but he managed to shut and lock it before grabbing him. I walked across the street in disbelief before realizing the microphone on the VX had been broken off while grabbing for the kid at the doorway. Needless to say, I lost my shit considering the camera wasn’t even mine, so I proceeded to walk back to his house and kicked the front door till the entire doorframe fell into his house. Finally the guy walked back down yelling at me for kicking his door in and without hesitation I knocked the dude out—one punch, right there in his doorway—walked up the stairs got the board and walked back to the car and left.
Rumor has it you have a hard time keeping things in your body. For example’s sake, like the time you threw up on a lady while getting off a plane in NYC and then when you pooped yourself after slamming on a double kink rail in Paris. What’s up with that?
Yeah, I projectile vomited covering about six rows of the airplane before everyone got off in NYC. I was cussed out by about everyone on the plane as I exited—wasn’t a good trip at all. On the Paris trip I got food poisoning from eating cereal all week without realizing France has unpasteurized milk. I was sick for about four days and couldn’t leave the bathroom. When I thought I was better, I met up with some people at the Supreme store and tried to grind a kinked rail… went heel-side, landed on my back at the bottom, and immediately shit my pants. Had to run across the street to a cafe and wipe my legs to my ankles and throw away my boxers. I’ll never drink that milk again.
Well, if it makes you feel any better, I was on a DC Eurosupertour in 1998 and had the exact same food poisoning episode in Paris. Only difference being I was just walking down the street when I shit my swishy DC shorts. If you were to unabashedly fan out on any pro skater, who would it be?
Photos: Follow Ty on Instagram (@dtbloty) to see his rolls of film defy the digital age.
Do you ever feel like you’re the reason Kodak or Fuji are still in the business of making 35mm film rolls? How many do you go through a month?
I wish. They never show me love online. Depending on events, I probably go through anywhere from 15–40 rolls a month.
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the importance of Blacksheep to the North Carolina skate community?
Ten, definitely. Our squad, just producing footage, traveling, meeting, and skating with everyone all over NC, does the most. I never really see other crews travel quite like we do.
In terms of world records, how high do you think the length of time it took to get your “Gold Rails” line ranks up there?
It took me almost two years to do those three tricks that I can do every try, but either security, board break, or just get smoked enough to not be able to try it anymore. I’d say I tried it total of 400 or more times and countless trips with Drew to the point where security knew what his car looked like and would kick us out the moment we pulled up.
I’m gonna go out on a blind limb with this one and hope for a pleasant surprise: what is the “Golden Corral” story?
Oh my, where do I even begin… my dad is a contractor and he seems to only hire the wildest of characters. So this guy Robbie claims his dick is 9 ¼-inches with its own rib cage, immune system, etc. Long story. But we were sitting at Golden Corral when the waitress walks up seeing Robbie has made a giant plate of food—mind you, it is a buffet—and says to him, “That’s a mighty big plate for such a small man!” And he responds with, “Baby, I’m eating for two!”
Fair disclosure: Drew gave me all the fodder for this interview. Care to share any dirt on him?
No dirt here. Drew Adams is a god. That man has basically run his was new Honda SUV to the ground for the squad, and gone out of his way filming more than anyone I know while becoming a father, husband, and buying a house all at the same time! He has done a lot for me with skating and with myself all around. I’ve known him for about nine years now and I’m thankful for every day.
Virus permitting, where should we all go on our next StrangeLove trip?
In the US, NYC; out of the US, Paris.
Well, don't take it personally, but if we do manage a Parisian lark I may have to slip some of that milk back into your system, because a diarrhea slam on film would be absolute gold.
* Not an easy feat in 1984, sans interweb, but where there's a will there's a way and I always knew how to find the bottom.
** Unfortunately this flick has since been ruined for me due to the Republican antics of James Woods; however, Debbie Harry still rules (thumbs up to HUF for securing that collaboration a few years back).