Mike Sinclair Interview
So, what’s your story, where are you from and where do you reside now?
I’m from North Carolina! I grew up skating in Durham, North Carolina. I come back all the time to visit the family and Raleigh/Durham has plenty of spots for the team riders to come out and shred while I’m here. My home on the West Coast is in Encinitas with my girlfriend Angie and our two pugs Chubbs and Lebowski.
You’re the Team Manager over at Tum Yeto. Does it ever get stressful?
I have fun with it so that keeps the stress level down. I do have a full plate over at Tum Yeto but I’m completely happy doing my job.
Is there anyone on the team you personally like going on tour and working with overall?
I like going on tour with all the riders. Some are cooler than others, some are lamer than others. I back all of those crazy motherfuckers.
So people know, are you the same Mike Sinclair as the one who was in Blockheads 1991 Recycled Rubbish and 1992 Debbie Does?
Ha. Yeah that’s me. They are so old it feels like a different lifetime. Those were fun times…
So in those days were you out skating with like Jason Dill and Jeremy Wray? How was that?
I was just back in North Carolina skating with my friends so I never really skated with the team that often. Dave Bergthold who owned Blockhead put me on but never asked me to come out to California so I just stayed in my hometown and filmed and traveled to contests around the East Coast. I did come to San Diego near the end of the Blockhead days and skated with Jeremy Wray. When I skated with Jeremy I knew right away that I was not going to be sponsored much longer. Jeremy was so good, he just had something special that I could never dream of having. Jeremy turned out to be a legend and from the first day I met him, I knew he had it.
Now that your running some things over at Tum Yeto Distribution can you see what the changes are from when you would get a package in the 90’s from Blockhead compared to the packages you send out to people now?
For sure, back in the day nobody really communicated with me all that well on any of the teams I was on. I made it a point when I started being a team manager to give the riders everything they need to succeed. A lot of it is just giving good advice and direction to these up and comers and not leaving it all in their hands. Some kids get it and some have no idea what to do without someone helping them. I always go out of my way to help my riders out with any and everything. I love my job so it only makes sense to go the extra mile.
You had a bet with Jamie Thomas to lose 60 plus pounds over the course of 3 to 4 months for $3,000. How did that turn out, did you win?
I had never been on a diet and just had my third knee surgery, I had put on some pounds. I was drinking 12 cans of soda a day and eating snacks all day long. Jamie said he didn’t want to see me get any fatter so he bet me that I couldn’t lose weight. I took the bet and just went for it, I won it no problem, I just cut out everything that I thought was making me fat and I won all the money. Jamie hates to lose so winning his cash was a damn good time. I gained all the weight back over the next year or two. Maybe Jamie will put up another wager this year, I should give him a ring and offer him double of nothing.
When you were judging the X-Games in Philly, Tas Pappas was flipping you guys off and wanted to kill you guys. How come?
Haha, I don’t even remember. I have judged that contest for the past 12 years and someone is always pissed about something. Usually it’s the vert guys who are the most pissed, they seem to really take getting judged to heart.
When about to leave to go on a tour and someone hurts themselves and cant make the tour. Does that ever irritate you?
No not at all, I get bummed when any of my riders get broke off. A while ago Nick Palmquist focused his arm and wrist. I rushed him to the emergency room and he had to go straight into surgery. I felt so bad for Nick and any of my riders that get broke, I have been there myself and it’s tough to get back to 100%. Nick Merlino sacked a giant rail recently but he’s doing fine, Dan Murphy was limping with a heel bruise and Dakota sacked a kinker. Dudes get broke it’s just part of the deal. At least I know my riders are putting in the effort but yeah it sucks to see anyone get broke off.
Is there any new videos in the works from Tum Yeto coming out anytime soon?
A video is always in the works over at Tum Yeto. We are throwing around ideas for the next Toy Machine video, a follow up to WTF! and possible a Dekline video in the works… The Pig Wheels EP should be out in a month or two.
Whats the difference between spiral mac and cheese and normal mac n cheese?
Spiral mac & cheese is my favorite. I used to eat it so much my mom came home from the grocery store and told me they quit making it and all they make is normal mac & cheese. I was bummed for years. Then I moved out and went grocery shopping for the first time and I found spiral mac & cheese, it was like 10 cents more but it’s worth every penny. Something about it tastes better. I’m fat, trust me I know good mac and cheese.
Do you think skateboarding is going to go downhill at all with all of these chain stores opening?
Not at all, I think skateboarding is more popular than ever and every kid seems to have a board or skate. The chain stores are just smart and trying to get theirs. I’ve wanted to open a shop in my hometown for the past 15 years but I’ve never had the funds to do so.
It’s screwing over the core skate shops, how do you feel about that?
Core stores will always have something that the mall stores don’t and that’s real skateboarders with plenty of knowledge and the history, plus the core shop is where the local scene builds. If these little kids stick with skateboarding they will end up at the core store eventually.
How do you feel about prank phone calls?
I love prank calls, I love it when I get pranked too. Playing on the phone is one of the best things to do.
Matthias Ringstorm and you guys were gambling what’s the story on this?
Matthias wanted to roll dice with me and a few of the guys I was sharing a hotel with at some random contest a few years ago. I believe it was Mike Frazier, Fat Bob, Jesse Fritsch and a few others. Matthias was getting a little cocky, so I said fuck it, everyone throw down $100. Matthias accepted the bet. I looked him up and down and called him out that he looked nervous. Matthais admitted he was a little nervous. He rolled a 1.2.3. which is a automatic loss and we all started crying from laughing at him so hard. He was trying to bankroll and got broke. Later he came up to the hotel room and tried to roll us again, I slammed the door in his face and he got so pissed he flew home. I always refer to the flight he took home as the “pink eye” since he most likely cried all the way home.
What happens when you sell a board to a kid in the mid 90’s instead of letting them buy one from the pro shop?
I did that at the Skatepark of Tampa and Brian Schaefer caught me red handed back around 1994. He picked me up by my neck and scolded me like I was 12. I think I was 20 at the time. I felt super bad about what I had done and Schaefer let me know how jacked it was to sell a board to a kid in his shop instead of the kid buying one off the wall. Brian always let me skate for free, put me up at his house and just looked out for me and all my friends. I never sold another board again after that day out of respect for Brian. Brian is a great friend and he has worked hard for what he has and I wasn’t thinking of him and his business at the time. What Brian did was make me think of others instead of myself and I’m glad he gave me a wake up call. Brian is a true friend.
How would you feel if you saw one of your team riders selling one of their boards?
It happens… I don’t like it. I usually tell them not to do it again and especially don’t sell a board to a kid at a shop or inside the shop or at the demo etc.
What happened to the Dog House in Durham?
It’s still here and they have great hot dog’s. I recommend the Old Yeller… hold the mustard.
So this is the end, is there anyone you’d like to thank?
I would like to thank my family for being supportive all these years and all the friends that I have met through skateboarding. I would also like to thank everyone who has given me an opportunity in skateboarding. I love you all!
Interviewed by: Bryan “Butch” Wright