Life’s Been Good
Words: Brian Peech Photos: John Bradford
Oh, the life of a 17-year-old skate phenom. Exotic trips, car crashes, Texas prisons, fancy meals and five-star hotels, breast-flashing floozies in every town, home schooling from the tour bus, all-night parties and evictions. Kinda reminds me of that Joe Walsh song, “Life’s Been Good.” But I’m an old man who remembers such tunes, and young Dylan Rieder is not—he’s just hitting his prime and about to make a hell of an impact.
I was having a hard time coming up with questions for this interview, but after some research I found out you have a fan club.
A fan club? Really? You sure ’bout that?
Yeah. I learned that you’re a single Capricorn with green eyes and “pretty brown hair.” By the way, your fans were devastated when you cut it.
Well, half that information right there is completely wrong. My eyes aren’t green and I’m not a Capricorn. What the f**k? Where’d you get this from?
Your fan club’s Web site. Here’s a quote from its message board: “I love Dylan so much. He’s so hot. I think if I met him I’d pass out right there.”
Girls are f**king crazy, huh? I’m really not much of a looker; I’m more of a dirtbag. I didn’t know I had that effect on girls.
The site claims to have a gallery of naked photos of you.
Sweet. I’m pretty sure I don’t have any naked photos floating around.
I didn’t check ’cause I don’t really swing that way. And it would have made this interview more awkward than it needed to be.
What the f**k? I wanna find out who did this shit. Hunt ’em down.
Someone told me you are a dark kid. Why would he say that?
From what I hear, I get dark when I drink. I don’t think I do, but I don’t remember much from when I’m drinking. But I’m pretty mellow; I don’t party it up too hard.
Well, then what happened in Texas?
That was bullshit. I was trying to get into a bar with a fake ID. The bouncer was all inspecting it, and I was trying to get it back, but he threw me out and started yelling a bunch of shit. Next thing I knew, the cops were putting me in handcuffs. I spent a night in a Texas county jail. I guess in Texas when you’re 17 you’re an adult.
What’s a Texas jail like?
Shitty. Full of f**king crackheads. Fat muscle dudes. Using your shoe for a pillow. Dudes so packed in the cell. And it’s so cold in there. They took my jacket and my shoelaces. I couldn’t even call anyone because you can’t call cell phones from jail and I didn’t know anyone with a house phone number. It was definitely a life lesson, a real smack in the face. I never want to go pack to prison; I’d rather go back to school full time. Now I’m dealing with all these fines and have to take drug and alcohol classes. It’s pretty tight. I’m psyched, oh yeah. But I’m gonna stay outta trouble, keep skating, keep occupied. There’s nothing to do in Costa Mesa but skate anyway.
So you’re in Costa Mesa now?
Yeah, I was living with my dad in Westminster, and we got evicted. My dad’s super chill and didn’t care if I had a bunch of friends over at our house. It wouldn’t get too outta control. We wouldn’t be raging, but our neighbors were f**kin’ Nazis. They started a petition around the neighborhood to get us kicked out and I guess it went through. My dad’s cool; he’s pretty young. I love him, y’know? He’s like a good friend. He’s helped me out a lot.
Jail then eviction. Kinda sucks.
Yeah, but it’s cool. I moved in with my friend Mark Oblow, the team manager from Quik, and he helped me out a lot, too. Living on my own is definitely a new experience, no one to do my laundry anymore. Where I’m at now, I definitely have to do more chores. My monthly bill is decided upon how many chores I do.
Mark’s got you doing the labor?
Yeah, but it’s cool. He’s got a dope-ass pad.
That’s good that you moved. One of your fans says she knows where you live.
People are making up stuff. I think I know who it is. I met some girls about two years ago on a Birdhouse trip to Canada. They were complete f**king nutcases. Chicks are crazy on tour; they just throw themselves at you. You get off a giant bus and they’re like, “Oh I’ll get naked for you right here…Let’s do this…” It’s like, “Wow, you’re crazy. You don’t even know who I am. I could have some crazy disease like AIDS.” I don’t, but they don’t know that. Anyway, I got a girl. I’m faithful.
You’ve been filling out. When I first saw you, your wrists were about as thick as my thumbs. What’s up, man? You juicing?
Yeah, I sprouted up. Smoking weed obviously hasn’t stunted my growth. I think it had the opposite affect.
Does Reese Forbes have you running around the block with ankle weights?
F**k no, but he’d probably like to. I’m sure he does it. That dude’s gnarly. His hand can crush your skull to smithereens. But he’s a great guy, man. Him and Oblow are pretty much the only reasons I am where I am today. He’s super cool and mellow. He definitely looks out. Almost like another dad or a big brother.
Are you stoked with Rasa Libra?
F**k yeah. Birdhouse was dope, and those guys are my homies, but I just didn’t see myself going anywhere with them. Reese told me about Rasa one day, and all those dudes are super cool, a new fresh company.
Was winning the Damn Am a big deal?
I’m psyched. I like that my sponsors are psyched. I don’t go to contests expecting anything, and I personally don’t like them, but I’m not gonna get completely wasted the night before and not do my run ’cause that’s just disrespectful. People do that, and it’s lame. Whatever, it’s a contest. It’s a skate day and it gives you more exposure. It’ll only help you out. You might as well try hard while you’re there, get your run over with and then go party with your homies.
How has traveling been?
Going on trips with Nike and Quik has been the best—going to the best places, eating the best food. We don’t get per diem, so that kinda sucks, but it’s better that way. You could spend a whole week of per diem during one meal the way we’re eating on some of these trips. I went to Oz, the Czech Republic, South Africa and some crazy places I never thought I’d ever go to. Like, I didn’t know they had cement at some of these places. I thought it was just dirt and monkeys and shit.
You get your license yet?
I got a car now, but driving definitely gets old after a while. A lot of my friends don’t have cars, so I’m driving them around, picking them up, but it’s cool. It gets me from point A to point B. You definitely need one in Orange County.
How’s your driving?
I got in a car accident recently, but it wasn’t my fault. Some guy rammed me because I was tailgating him. Straight-up rammed me. We were making a left, and this guy was daydreaming, so I tailgated him and went out onto the wrong side of the road to go around him. He sped up and turfed his car into my back right door and made me spin out all over the place. This was two days after I got outta jail, and I was so pissed. I seriously wanted to grab my knife and stab him in the face. But the cops came and sorted it all out. All I was thinking was, “Where’s my knife? I’m gonna stab him in the head.” I’m not an angry person, but shit that dumb guy. So, yeah, I went to jail in Texas, got rammed by a car and got evicted. My life was going to shit for a little bit. But it’s better to get the dirt out of the way and have sunny days for the rest of the summer.
And for the rest of the summer?
Just chilling, working on a Nike video and a Transworld video part, just skating, trying to shoot photos. Hopefully it will all come together. I’m just glad to be skating instead of playing some sport. Gotta keep doing my own thing.