Skateboarder Magazine – Red Bull: On the Road to Ruin – Feb/Mar 2012 Issue
We hit the road with Red Bull last year and cruised around the East Coast with a solid crew. Check out the original text and photos from our Feb/Mar 2012 issue below. You could argue that this was the issue the newly-famous ATL Twins gained their fame from!
Originally published in our Feb/Mar 2012 issue
Words: Chris Nieratko
Photos: Jonathan Mehring
Sometimes it’s hard to enjoy the best of times when they happen at the worst of times. This was the case when I got in a van full of Red Bull riders bound for Miami, leaving my wife holding our two-week-old baby while getting kicked by our two-year-old toddler in the dark days just after Hurricane Irene knocked out our power. Class act, huh?
I will say, in my defense, that I missed the first two cities (DC and Raleigh) because I stayed back until we regained power. By the time I jumped into the van dubbed the “East Coast Van” for the ride from Raleigh to Atlanta, tension seemed high. Or, rather, everyone in my van was high. But there was something foul afoot. Before I could ask what was what, Erik Bragg (The Mexican filmer) and Sheckie Poo (The Heartthrob) ran up on both sides of the van at a red light with bike locks and attempted to lock the front doors and sliding back doors together. Sheckler managed to get the driver’s side cinched up, but before Bragg could pull his lock taut I kicked open my door, smashing him in the face with the door and ripping off both passenger side-door handles. The light turned green, my door was still open and Shane Azar (the captain/acting TM) punched it. I nearly fell out onto the road.
“What the fuck is going on around here?!” I asked.
“Well, mate,” Shane, explained, “You’ve found yourself in the middle of an all-out van war. It’s East vs. West. We got Deily, Zered, Kieran Reilly (The Aborigine), me, and now you. And they have Sheckler, Biebel, Bragg, Nik Stipanovic (The Mute), Corbin Harris (The Aussie TV Personality), and the photographers Mehring and Andrew Peters.”
They brought me up to speed on what had already taken place: entire birthday cakes smashed across front windows, pancake syrup on door handles, stealing of car fuses rendering lights and radios useless. I listened and smiled. It had been years since I’d been in a proper car war. One of the best ones was the first year of Red Bull’s Seek & Destroy when we bought dozens of rolls of duct tape and duct taped a Scion top to bottom. Sadly, Scion didn’t think the sticky residue all over the brand-new paint was all that funny and they never lent us cars again. I don’t believe me telling them, “Listen, your cars suck; we’re trying to make them cool,” helped matters any.
My first suggestion was to stop at a hardware store in Atlanta and get four concrete blocks. While the West Van members slept, we’d go down to the garage and put their car on blocks and remove all four of their tires, then go to the front desk requesting room keys to each guy’s room and, like in The Godfather, we’d put the tire beside them in bed. Everyone loved it. Regrettably, each night everyone was too stoned to execute it.
But I will say the gag that won it for The East was quite magnificent and well-crafted. I’m not quite sure who thought it up. I believe it was Zered, but I’m not certain. Most of our stay in Atlanta was plagued by rain, but one of our dry days allowed for a few photos to go down. While Sheckler was working on a maneuver, Zered and I drove to an auto body shop he’d seen down the road.
“I have an odd request,” I yelled to the owner, “Got any broken windows I could buy off you?”
He shook his head, “No,” and looked at me like a fool.
“Then do you have any unbroken windows I can buy off you?”
“For that van?” he asked.
“Doesn’t matter,” I said. I could see on his face that my presence and my questions and my northern accent were annoying to him, so I appealed to the one primal urge that we all share. No, I didn’t give him a blow job! What the fuck? I said, “Look, we’re trying to fuck with our friends and scare the piss out of them. We want to make it look like someone broke into their car and robbed them.” He lit up like my house at Christmas and started laughing. “Hell yeah! I can help you with that,” Off he went to fetch us a pane of glass. If there is one thing all men have in common, it’s the desire to torture their fellow man.
Ideas are like assholes; they’re easy to shit out but it is the style and execution by which they are measured. And motherfucking Corbin Harris would not let us execute our master plan. He was on constant surveillance of his vehicle. He’d look at me; I’d smile back a maniacal smile. “It’s not going to work,” he’d say, “Whatever you’re thinking it’s not going to work.” I’d just laugh and say, “It’s already done.”
But it was far from done. For days we drove around with this massive window hidden in the back seat of the van. It was like having a new passenger and we were already cramped. We basically gave up a seat to the glass for the entire 14-hour drive from Atlanta to Miami because we were so committed to the gag.
In Miami, Corbin attempted to climb into the back of our van to wreak havoc. Little did he know he was inches away from the glass hidden under a towel. Mehring and I had to pull him out by his ankles.
At one of many ghetto spots, I thought I was going to finally be able to pull off the gag. The cars were across a busy street from the skate spot in a junky alley where you couldn’t hear a thing. As everyone went off to skate, I hung back. I pulled the glass out and attempted to smash it with my board. It’s rather awkward to smash auto glass while it teeters on the ground. After four loud, solid, ineffective shots I said, “Fuck it.” I wrapped the window in the towel, stuck it under the back tire and backed over it. It popped with ease and shattered into a million pieces, many of which were strewn across the alley. As I wrapped the debris in the towel, I heard heavy feet charging. In an instant, I was able to throw the glass-filled towel into the van and lock it before Corbin came around the van and tackled me. We wrestled for a few minutes, him asking what I was doing and me just laughing and denying any wrongdoing.
That night it was decided that A) We needed a ringer to get the West’s car keys and B) We either had to remove Corbin from the vicinity or execute him. The Americans asked Shane, “Who from your country knows he’s here? Who will miss him?”
We opted to let him live and instead get him drunk. The next day Corbin and I sat poolside drinking our rum-filled breakfast. “We should just stay by the pool today, fuck it,” I said, “Let those other guys go skate. Let’s stare at tits and get wasted.” Corbin agreed, and when he went to the bar for another round of drinks I texted Azar, “Corbin Harris has been eliminated.”
With the one non-stoner eagle-eye removed from the equation, everything fell into place. Joel Meinholz, our tour guide and ringer, had the West guys park the vans two blocks from the warm-up spot. Mid-session, Joel asked for the car keys, saying he’d left something in the van. Joel then passed the keys to Zered and Kieran who skated over and emptied everything from the West van (video cameras, still cameras, iPods, porn, bags, everything) and hid it in the East van. They completely rolled down the driver’s window and spread broken glass all over the outside and inside of the van and the window track, then rejoined the session and waited.
After an hour, it all hit the fan. They walked up and were instantly stunned. The horror, the horror…all was lost. Tens and tens of thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment gone. All the photos and footage from the trip gone. Laptops with homemade pornos gone. No one spoke. If you listened closely you could hear the West silently crying inside.
Ten minutes passed before the shock wore off and the police were to be called. At that moment, Zered went into their van, fired it up and rolled up their driver’s window. It made no sense to the victims at first, but then the laughter erupted from the East members. It was then that heads dropped and The West conceded defeat.
That night, after lighting off hundreds of dollars worth of fireworks on the beach for our final night, we gathered around the hotel fire pit with beers and recounted the various heartbroken looks on each guy’s face as they saw the broken glass. “That prank cannot be topped,” someone said.
“No, it could’ve been topped,” Bragg said.
We all looked in his direction.
“At one point,” he started, “when we were thinking of shit to do to you guys, Sheckler (who had left the trip a day earlier) said, “Fuck it! Let’s just burn their van to the ground. I’ll buy another one.”
Yes. I’d have to agree. Burning our van to the ground would’ve taken the cake. And I believe he would’ve actually done it.
I’ve traveled the world with some of the most handsome, charming men to ever ride a skateboard (I count myself amongst their ranks), and none have had the superhuman ability to make panties drop like Sheckie Poo does. The first night of the tour, more than a dozen Hooters waitresses were pulled back to the party room in the attached hotel. Any guy that didn’t have a wife or girlfriend caught their fair share of orange-clad shrapnel.
Each city was this way. A gorgeous gal would try and give the gift of herself to Ryan, and he would simply re-gift her to one of the other fellows. One of the most classic moments was when one sorority girl was getting grinded from behind on a dance floor in Raleigh while the skater played hide-The-hand. He whispered to her, “You want to get out of here?” She replied, “No, I want to fuck Ryan.” The Aussie gave her the most forceful pelvic thrust ever seen and launched her across the floor and flat onto her face.
So the legend of Ryan Sheckler grows. No longer the crying teen looking for a chill girl. That youth has been replaced with a 21-year-old.
THE ATL TWINS:
My skateboarding travels around the world have introduced me to more than my fair share of colorful characters, but I’d be hard pressed to think of anyone, or rather any two, more unique than Sidney and Thurman Sewell (a.k.a., Sid & Thurm, a.k.a., The ATL Twins). These ganster-ass twins from Atlanta share the same bed, wear matching outfits, only bang the same girls, were both engaged to the same Penthouse Pet, and are both looking forward to marrying the same woman and being the father to the same child.
Biebel met the duo on a previous Girl trip and called them as soon as we arrived in Atlanta to kick it in their high-rise apartment overlooking downtown Atlanta. I stayed at the hotel because I wanted to have sexy iChat with my wife (I really get off on watching her breastfeed.)
Later that night when my roommate, Jonathan Mehring, returned reeking of a medicinal aroma and said, “We just met these twins that sleep in the same bed and only fuck the same girl.” I said I had to meet them. So, the next day a play date was set up at their apartment, due to inclement weather and, therefore, no skating.
When we walked in, there was a butt-naked (except heels) black girl walking around as if it were no biggie. Should’ve guessed she was a stripper. It’s ATL Twins policy: strippers only. Later that night, three more strippers came by and they completely disrobed as casually as if they were merely removing their coats. I believe the young, mute Aussie named Nik felt his first pair of boobs (albeit fake ones) and had his first make out that night.
These guys are classic. They finish each others’ sentences. They bang hot strippers. They skate (had tricks in the last Zoo York video), and they’re about to blow up. I did an interview with them while I was there and it instantly went viral. Within days, Harmony Korine cast them in an upcoming movie starring James Franco and Selena Gomez. The producers of “The Jersey Shore” are interested in doing a reality show on them, and they’re part of Yelawolf’s entourage who, with Eminem’s help, is about to be a household name.
And you can now say you knew them before anyone else.