Welcome to Gino Iannucci’s interview from the “A Chat With…” article featuring Gino Iannucci & Chico Brenes published in a brief glance issue 67 printed edition, in which he talks about Poets Brand and the collabo project with Chico Stix, about his longtime friendship with Chico, his first memories about skating at EMB in the 90s, about becoming dad and more. He got the cover of this special issue, shot in San Francisco, which is his second cover on abg. Thanks for your kindness and inspiration Gino.
Photography: Jason Fong @fongstarr Interview: Davide Biondani @davide_biondani @abriefglance
Starring: Gino Iannucci @ginoiannuccipoets
Do you remember the first time you met Chico?
First time I met Chico could have been on my first trip to San Francisco back around 1993. If not, then it was once we both arrived in Los Angeles. Specifically it is hard to remember the exact moment.
You’ve been friends for a long time. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about him, and what’s one of the best memories of your long-time friendship?
I think about EMB and the impact San Francisco had on street skating. I think about a few videos that I was very influenced by such as “Love Child” and “New World Order.” Chico was right in the middle of all that. One of my favorite styles on a skateboard. Memories that stand out are simply the early days of getting to meet the whole crew from SF or LA. Starting to link up more and more frequently to skate the same spots, and meeting up at night to do the party thing. We all ran with the same people to the same spots whether skating or chillin’.
What’s new with you? Tell us about Poets. In the last interview we did together some years ago you were about to start it. How has the project developed and what’s the vision behind it?
What’s new is I just became a father. First child and it’s amazing. POETS is going good, I’d like to believe in it with more consistency and since we began to wholesale to shops worldwide the brand has grown in visibility.
The vision is just being true to myself and skateboarding. Taking anything and everything I’ve absorbed from life and trying to send a message through the brand.
a brief glance issue 67 front & back cover. Photos Jason Fong.
You’ve lived through some of the most creative skateboarding eras, what do you think the new generations are lacking from skateboarding back in the days, and what would you like to have had back then of today’s skateboarding?
The new generations are missing the general hatred people had for skateboarders. There was an extra layer of the mentality in skateboarders where we always knew we were doing something so special and passionate and that people just didn’t understand, and we didn’t give a shit if they didn’t. Even our own family looked down at us. It was very difficult in that aspect but once again, they just didn’t understand and we just took it on the chin.
I guess what I’d like to have had would be just the opposite of what we didn’t have, the respect most kids seem to have an abundance of now.
Thinking back to the reasons that made you start skateboarding and fall in love it, if you were 12 today, would you be attracted to it in the same way?
Hard to put myself at 12 years old today. I think it would be the same. Regardless of any outside bullshit, skateboarding I think would be just as attractive. Maybe???? Hmmmm…
Pivot to fakie. Photo Jason Fong.
Who came up with the idea of the POETS X Chico Stix collab and how did the whole thing go down?
I stepped to Chico about doing something together. I was very attracted to what he has been doing with Chico Stix, he has made things look very enjoyable when it comes to riding a skateboard. He seemed to have something I’ve been searching for or have wanted for a long time which was fun doing it. That feeling I had when I was young. So I contacted him in hopes I can have some of that bled back into me and I did. It was such an enjoyable project and I hope to do more of the same.
Who took care of the design and graphics? And what’s the idea/concept behind them?
It was Chico’s idea to do a Rugby which I loved. The Rugby means a lot to our era of street skating. To match the strip pattern from the rugby for the board was Chico’s idea as well. He definitely made the creative process for this very easy. It was very heartfelt for me. I just came up with the shape for the Retro.
Why did you choose the old school shape for the board?
I chose the old shape because that’s what I saw Chico Stix has been doing. Going back in time and skating older type shapes, and in doing so he seems to have found a joy in skating and I wanted that for myself. Like I said earlier, the Rugby seemed to be a great idea that was very fitting.
Gino at Fort Miley, SF. Photo Jason Fong.
How did skating the old school board feel? Did it take some time getting used to?
It was interesting the first time I set up the board. I hadn’t ridden a shape like that since back then when it was new and original. Hard to get used to the short nose but very nice to feel the old days under my feet.
How was working with Chico?
Working with Chico was a pleasure. We got to reconnect after a long time. We skated San Francisco for a few days and I hadn’t been back there for over 15 years. Felt really good, more than I can express here.
Why did you choose San Francisco to film the promo clip and shoot the photos? Great choice by the way.
I chose SF because that’s where Chico is from, that’s Chico Stix territory and I wanted it to be there. I wanted to skate some iconic spots I hadn’t skated before such as Fort Miley, etc. Just felt right.
Fakie kickflip at Fort Miley, SF. Photo Jason Fong.
It’s surprising that you never skated Fort Miley before that. How come?
No, I never made it to Fort Miley. I’m not sure how that happened being that I’d always heard about it and seen footage of the spot. I guess the gravitation to EMB and the surrounding spots was too strong. It was great, such a nice spot, very secluded and scenic as all of SF is.
When was the last time you skated EMB before this? What’s one of your favorite memories of the OG EMB days?
While visiting SF we did stop by EMB and had a coffee. We sat and reminisced a bit. The last time I had been there might have been with the Chocolate crew while on a road trip filming for “Hot Chocolate.” I hadn’t skated EMB since the first days visiting there which was around 1993. Memories that stand out were first showing up there and the anxiety mixed with excitement knowing how much of a Mecca that spot was. Skating the double set, hubba hideout, then the Gonz gap a few hours before catching a flight back to NY.
Skating EMB with a local OG legend like Chico must have been amazing.
Skating with Chico was great. At this point in life, knowing exactly how both our careers have gone on for so long and the roots of each of us, his being SF and EMB etc, it was a deep feeling rolling through EMB and Union Square and Fort Miley. It’s something I can only feel and can’t explain. How much he means to skateboarding, SF, and myself. It was definitely an appreciation in the moment.
Manual backside revert. Photo Jason Fong.
In the clip you were skating in Asics shoes… is there something boiling in the pot with them?
Yes, I have been wearing this one pair of Asics I’m really feeling at the moment, but nothing boiling. Thank you to Kaspar.
What’s next for you with Poets and in general?
Next for POETS, keep it moving! Thank you Davide and A Brief Glance!
Thanks a lot Gino.