If you follow freestyle at all, then Trey Jones is a name that needs no introduction. In addition to making his way as a professional rider, wisely affixed upon the rosters of the Cult, Shadow, Vans, and Dan’s Comp pro teams, I discovered that this 6th generation native Floridian has some genuinely deep BMX roots thriving down in the alligator alleys and sweaty swamps of North America’s favorite peninsula. Trey is fully armed with an arsenal of creativity, a healthy work ethic and prominent early influences. I can’t emphasize enough how much I enjoyed our conversation and look forward to seeing Trey in the spotlight for many years to come.
Follow the link below to read the full text interview w/photos; scroll to the bottom to listen in on the raw Skype conversation, where Trey shares about his mid-school BMX collection, thoughts on media, collecting, friends, trends, history, where BMX has taken him and a whole lot more. Enjoy!
Interview and video by Paul Covey
Photos by Justin Kosman, Wes McGrath, Jeff Zielinski, Matt Coplon, Nick Tellez, Kyle Carlson, Cody York, Eric Bahlman, and Trey Jones
Thanks for doing this interview with us.
No problem man, I’m stoked to be doing it.
Cool. I had that Dead Memory shirt too. I haven’t seen that one in a long time.
My friend, James Covington, was getting rid of a bunch of stuff and he was like, “Here’s a bunch of shirts if you want them.” I was going through them, and he said, “Just take them before I second guess it!”
Yeah. Stoked! I posted a photo wearing it the other day on Instagram, and a bunch of dudes were freaking out. “Oh my god! Where did you get that!?” Blah, blah blah. So ya, I’m stoked on it.
That’s one of the raddest!
Yeah, it’s awesome.
So, did you break your phone yesterday?
Yeah, I was riding my backyard, and I didn’t even fall or anything. I just pulled my phone out, and it was just a bunch of lines. I was like, “dammit!” I didn’t know if you were texting me or not, and I wasn’t sure. Then I thought maybe I could text you through my girlfriend’s phone. But, then I didn’t have your number. I was freaking out like, “He probably thinks I’m just bailing on him!” And, I messaged Shad (Johnson) through my girlfriend’s phone, but I didn’t hear back. And I was just like, “Hopefully he got it.” But, ya, it all worked out.
Rad! Well, OK man. Do you want to just jump right into it?
Yeah, so is it going to be a video interview or . . . ?
We’ll see how it looks. I’ll probably transcribe it, but I’d like to do the video as well if it looks cool.
Cool, I’m down for whatever you want to do.
Rad! We could start off with some basic stuff, like how old are you?
I’m 23 years old; I’ll be 24 at the end of the month. (July 31st)
Cool. Happy Birthday!
Thanks man. Thank you.
Tight spot fakie tire-grab. Photo by Cult
Have you always lived in Florida?
Yeah. I grew up in Apaco, which is 20 minutes away from where I live right now in Longwood.
My family has lived in Florida for 6 generations, which is pretty rare because almost everyone who lives here either moved from up north, to escape the cold, or they’re from a different country or something. My family is pretty proud of being native to Florida. So yeah, I’ve lived here my whole life. I love it.
What do you love about Florida?
I mean, as I get older, I appreciate more and more things about it. I don’t know; it’s just completely different. It’s completely different than anywhere else I’ve traveled to. The more I travel, the more I realize how much I love it here. You know what I mean? The nature is just completely different. We have alligators and swamps, and all this stuff you can’t find anywhere else in the world. And also, like the riding scene is just completely obscure and weird. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized how weird it is. Going to California, and just seeing, like, that it’s very bland. You know what I mean? Then coming back here – there are no rules, you know? You can ride in the grass and all that crap. (laughter) It’s not a rule based area or whatever. But it’s awesome. I love it.
Jesco chillin’. Trey blastin’. Photo by Kyle Carlson
Do you ride in a lot of the small towns around there, or do you mostly stick to cities?
I mean, we kind of ride everywhere. The street sucks. It’s honestly bad. That’s kind of why, if you see any videos, you see us riding . . . like a tree, or some weird roof thing into grass. You’re not going to find, a perfect handicap rail next to a ledge that you can session for hours, or a school that’s just filled with stuff, you know?
I live right outside Orlando, but we’ll drive to Daytona and ride street around there. We venture out, and every once in a while we’ll get a wild hair to ride somewhere else. We’ll go out and ride around Disney World, and try to find stuff there. Also, I’ll go down to Tampa and ride with guys like Matt Coplon, because they have a lot of stuff in Tampa. Ya, it’s pretty cool.
But you’re always checking out different spots?
Have you ever wanted to live anywhere else besides Florida?
This is going to sound so ridiculous, but the closest place to home that I’ve ever been to where I was like “Wow, I could live here!” or that feels like home, was Hawaii. When you say that, it sounds so ridiculous, Like, ya! Anyone would want to live in Hawaii! But just the weather and being near the beach . . . it felt the most like home. There’s no cool guy scene. There’s no four peg – freecoaster guys. You know what I mean? Everyone there just shreds. But, I love going to Austin too. Austin is awesome, you know. But, I’ve never wanted to move.
That’s cool. I know you’ve been into BMX for a long time. How did you first get started? I’ve seen you in a jersey, and I’m assuming you used to race?
Ya, so my dad rode BMX when he was younger, in the early 80s. When I learned how to ride a bike, he took me to the track to see if I would like it. I was hooked on it. I was four years old when I learned how to ride a bike, so we started going to the track when I was four. Then, Chad Degroot opened Mission Skate Park when I was eight. One day my dad went into the bike shop, and he heard that there was a skate park opening down the street. The guy at the bike shop was like, “Ya it’s in this area.” So we went there, and they were building Mission. My dad worked construction at the time and told them that if they needed any help to let him know. So we would go there, my dad would help work on ramps, and I would ride. So I was riding Mission before the park was even open. I was hooked. You know? I was like, “racing sucks compared to this! This is way better. I can just do whatever I want.” And that was pretty much when everything changed. So I rode Mission for like four or five years, until I was 12 or 13. And then Mesh opened, Chad’s second park which was across the street. I rode there, and my life was forever changed. I actually live less than a mile away from where Mission and everything was. So, I live less than a mile away from where I started riding BMX. It’s kind of cool.
Right, you’re kind of in the Bermuda Triangle of BMX there.
Ya! It’s funny because even kids that live in like downtown Orlando, where everyone goes to ride street, will be all, “We’re going to Longwood today! Everyone meet up!” And it’s like, there’s nothing here! There’s not anything to ride! It’s just known as a BMX hub. Sparky’s is a block away – about half a mile away from my house, and then Chad’s bike shop is a mile down the street, right next to where Mission and Mesh were. There’s a ton of BMX in this little area. I grew up here and ended up buying a house here. It’s sweet. I love it.
That’s rad! Would you say your dad was a big influence before you discovered the skate parks?
Oh, absolutely. He’s a surfer though. He surfs and skateboards. That’s his main thing. He’d love for me to surf, but I’m just not really into it, or whatever. But, he took me to the track. He’d work over on this side of town, drive thirty minutes back to our house, pick me up, drive back over here, ride Mission until ten o’clock at night, then drive all the way home so he could get up and go to work the next day. He’d drive me to the skate park every single day. I remember one of his friends was like, “Why do you drive your kid to the skate park all the time? And he was like, “What do you mean? I love it! I love watching my kid have fun. If he’s having fun, then that’s what I want to watch him do!”
. . . I think about it now. Like, it’s SO much driving! Why would you do that, you know? But if you ever ask him about it he’s like, “No, It was awesome! I had a great time!” So, he loves it just as much as I do. Now that my brother rides, every once in a while we’ll get my dad to go out there and pump around the bowl or something like that. My parents have definitely been number one supporters of riding.
Has your brother always ridden too?
Kind of. So, he obviously was born into it too. He’s seven years younger than me, so I was already riding at Mission when he was born. He’s literally been at the skatepark since he was born. He was just around it. He always had a bike, and stuff like that, he was just never super-into it. He never – because it was like my thing. It was my thing and he was kind of following me around. Once he got to be 10, he was like, “alright, I don’t really want to do this, it’s just Trey’s thing.” And then, when he was about 13 or 14, one of his friends got a BMX bike, and he was like, “Oh, I can ride. I know how to ride BMX.” And they started riding together, and they had their little crew. It kind of got him stoked on riding again, because he could do it with his friends, and they could go out and ride. I’d already moved out at the time, so it was like “his thing.” And now, you know, he’s more into BMX than I am. It’s kind of cool to see him take his own path and do his own thing. But ya, we ride together every day. So it’s cool.
That’s awesome. When did you get your first real BMX Bike?
16 inch bikes weren’t really…like you couldn’t just go to the shops and buy a 16 inch Kink or Subrosa, like you can now. There were none. I had some crappy Magna 16 inch that I would ride at my house on a box jump that my dad made. Then, Haro made the Dave Mirra 16 inch signature bike. That was the first 16 inch bike that you could really ride. It had 36 spoke wheels, 3 piece cranks. It was legit! I had three of those, so that was kind of like my first real BMX bike.
2015 Vans HB Bowl Comp. Photo by Justin Kosman
I mentioned the other day that I was told by Vic Murphy that you have a pretty cool collection of old BMX stuff. Was that an accurate assessment?
I mean, I wouldn’t say I have an interesting collection . . . compared to a lot of dudes that are on Instagram that have their collections. No. It’s not that crazy. But, I guess to a lot of people, it’s pretty cool. I mean, on my wall right now, I have Chris Stauffer’s old King Frame. . . It’s Stuart King’s old bike company.
I have one of those that I got from my friend Joey. I got a Solid Killing Machine 3 days ago from my friend James Covington. That was Kevin Porter’s signature frame. I’m kind of looking around my room right now. I’ve got a ’94 Bully Hotrod. I also have a Capone (FBM), a Rebel Contender (Metal) . . . I have . . . this is probably my favorite thing: I have Vic Murphy’s personal Dirt Bros Patriot. The story behind that was: I saw this guy named Dustin that rides with Vic sometimes.
Ya, Dustin Orem. He had a 30 tooth Dirt Brothers Sprocket, on his bike. I was like, “Damn dude, that thing is awesome! Does Vic still have any of those?” And he was like, “Um, I’m not sure, but I can give you his number though if you want to ask him.” So, alright, cool! I got a hold of Vic and I was like, “Hey man, you know, I kind of collect mid-school stuff, and I was wondering if you had anymore Dirt Brothers Sprockets? They’re pretty cool.” He was like, “Ya, let me see what I got.” I didn’t really hear back from him, and I was like, alright. I hit him up a few days later, and he was like, “Ya, I think I might have some stuff. So I was all, “Cool. And if you have a Patriot lying around, I’d love to buy one.” He sent me a photo and it was of all these Patriots, and the American Flag one! I was like, “If you ever want to sell one let me know, because I would love to have one for my collection.” And he’s like, “Alright, cool.” And then I didn’t hear anything, and I was like, well I’m not going to bother him, you know.
Then three weeks later, a box showed up at my door, and there was a Patriot in the box, two 30 tooth sprockets, and a 36 tooth Dirt Bros sprocket, and this stem, and a bunch of other stuff, and a note from him saying, “Dirt Bros Rule!” And I was like, “holy shit!” Like, this is crazy!
Left, FBM Capone. Right, Dirt Bros Patriot.
Vic’s one of my favorite riders ever to watch ride. He has literally, the most unique style. I think he might have the most unique style of anyone to ever ride a bike. Ever. Just like, pure power and radness. I always try to look at that, and think, you know, how can I do that with my stuff? You know what I mean? It’s not even what you’re doing, but how you are doing it. And, I’m not talking about Mike Aitken style. I’m talking like, just straight raditude. Like everything down to the facial expression… But ya, I guess I’ve got a few things lying around, but that Dirt Bros frame from Vic is one of my all time favorites, for sure.
Vic is the raddest.
Ya, it’s cool.
Do you think many riders your age are interested in old BMX stuff or the history of BMX in general?
I don’t really care if they are or not. You know what I mean? I love it. You know, so umm…But no. My age? No. I don’t think very many people are interested in it. But, I just love BMX in general. There’s so much more to it than just riding right now. Even if you’re not into the history stuff, you’ve still got to appreciate it and understand what it is. I’m not the guy to go, “BMX was better back then,” or anything like that. But, it’s cool. I love it.
Sometimes it seems like embracing a broader spectrum of it makes it a more enriching experience.
Ya, ya. You know, BMX is so easy to watch now in 2016. All you have to do is Google someone’s name, and you see a video. And it’s like, “Alright, cool.” That’s awesome. It’s so sick that you can do that! But at the same time, I love searching for, like a Solid Killing Machine, you know? Like, “oh my god, I found the one! I found it!!” And then when you finally get it . . . to me that’s awesome!
I have a friend named James Covington. His name is @nativebikes on Instagram. He does Native Bikes, and those handmade leather seats. I don’t know if you’ve seen any of his stuff?
Left, Solid Killing Machine. Right, random seats/stems and the much coveted GT drop-nose.
Oh ya, sure.
He’s always been super-into collecting all kinds of crap, and I never really understood it when I was younger. I’ve known him my whole life. But I would always talk to him about it, and he’d be like, “I got this, and I got this!” And I’d be like, “ya, that’s cool man, whatever.”
And then I was online and I saw an ad for an old FBM Capone, and I remember thinking, “damn, those bikes were so sick!” I always loved the beer can head tube, and I always thought it was so cool. Then I was like, “you know what? I kind of want one.” So I hit James up and was like, “Hey man, do you have an old Capone?” And he’s like, “Ya man, I actually do.” I got it, and I was looking at it. I was so stoked. I was like, “damn, this is really cool!” And, I built it up. I instantly was like, “damn, I need to build another bike; I want to get another bike!” (Laughter) Now I have six complete bikes, and that’s not a lot – to a lot of people. But it was a lot to me. That frame, and the Bully Hot Rod that I have were probably the two first pieces I was super, super stoked on.
Did you intend to start collecting things, or did that just happen? Do you collect other stuff?
I was never like, “Man, I want to have a room full of crap.” You know? (Laughter) I always rented. Once I bought a house, I had this extra bedroom. Me and my roommate at the time were like, “We’re just going to call it our man-cave, and fill it full of bad-ass stuff.” Then it just kind of started rolling where I’d go to a thrift store and I’d see a Hank Williams Jr. bobble-head, or just something ridiculous like that. I’d be like, “Aww, this will go in the man-cave!” It kind of started snow-balling a little bit. Now I’m like, addicted to it. I’m addicted to looking for stuff. Just old VHS tapes, Shaq-dolls, and just random crap like that. But you know . . . on the wall…I have my dad’s first BMX frame. To me that’s awesome. There’re not very many people who can say they have their dad’s first bike. That bike changed my life. It changed his life. You know what I mean? So it’s kind of cool to be able to have something like that. My girlfriend always gives me crap, about having too much crap. And I’m like, “Listen, in twenty years, it’s going to be awesome that I have every Cult frame that I’ve ever had. It’s going to be cool that I have my first prototype Cult frame. You know? In ten or fifteen years that’s going to be sick! Obviously, to a lot of people, it’s not that valuable. But to me . . . you know, I love it. It’s fun. It’s a good way to waste money when you don’t need to. (Laughter)
That’s cool! Let’s change gears here. Who are some of your favorite people that you ride with?
I ride with my brother Jabe, and his friend Alex. Those are my two guys that I ride with almost every single day. I ride with Colt Fake a lot, because he’s always motivated to go out and ride or film. Some of the guys I ride with are like, Chad Degroot, Mike Andrews, a lot of old school BMX guys, Matt Coplon. A lot of the older Florida guys. It’s actually funny, because if you’re over 40, you are actually more motivated to ride than a lot of the guys that are 30 years old. The guys here that are at the 30 year mark, they don’t want to ride at all. They’re just like, “Nah, I’m good.” (Laughter)
Hypnotic curved-wall-ride in Treys backyard with Matt Coplon.
What’s it like to be a part of something like Cult or Shadow?
Every person that rides for Cult or Shadow . . . you know, all these guys claim, “We’re a family. This isn’t a brand, we’re a family.” Blah, blah, blah. I can honestly say that every person that is on Cult or Shadow, they are like my best friends. Those are my guys; you know what I mean? I’ve been with Cult since day one, and I’ve rode for Shadow for the past 7 years. Those two brands, I don’t know anything else. It’s not like, “Oh ya, I rode for Wethepeople for a little bit, then I rode for Felt for a little bit, then I rode for this company.” It’s not like that. We’re in it for the long haul, and that’s it, you know? I guess, even filming for Talk Is Cheap, Let ‘em Talk, and the Shadow Video, it was never like, “Alright, this is going to be a HUGE video!” This is going to be a big thing. It just kind of happened. We were just going on a lot of trips, and we were riding and filming, and it just kind of happened.
Ronnie (Bonner) and Robbie (Morales) are both completely opposite people. They are literally polar opposites when it comes to business standpoints and the way they run stuff. But they both work perfectly. It’s really good for me to see what Ronnie does and what Robbie does, and to have both sides of it. But, they both. . .dude, they both got my back, and it’s awesome. I’d never want to ride for two other brands. I couldn’t complain about one single thing from either brand. It’s awesome. Everyone on the team . . . everyone on both teams, (they) are my best friends.
Cult Crew from the book, “The First Five Years.” Photo by Jeff Zielinski
How does that compare to something like Vans or Dan’s Comp?
I would be wearing Vans even if I wasn’t (sponsored). Any BMXer knows that even if you don’t ride for Vans, you’re still probably going to wear Vans. You know? So the fact that I get to ride for them, for a living is even better. You know? That makes it ten times better. Dan’s is incredible, because they really help me out. A lot of people don’t think that Dan’s has a face to it. But like, whenever I make shirts or want to go on a trip but can’t afford it, I ask them to help me out, they’re like, “Ya, Sure! What do you need? How much do you need?” Like, “We got you.” You know? So riding for both of those companies is perfect. I mean, it’s not necessarily so much of a team, you know, it’s more separated. But when it comes to dealing with Scott Towne at Dan’s comp, that dude is the best. There is no other dude that kills it as hard as he does. He’s on the ball about everything, and if I ask him for anything, he’s down. (Jerry) Badders is out of his mind at Vans, but he still kills it too, you know? It’s awesome.
Vans shoes left to right: fresh, hesh, trash.
And grips. Does that support you, or do you have to do other gigs?
No, riding is all I do. I can’t thank both Ronnie and Robbie enough to be able to be in the position that I’m in, you know what I mean? And I work my ass off, you know? If I’m not working on a project, I’m not doing my job.
. . . I always hate to refer to riding as a job, because it’s not. It’s not a job at all. I mean, I would want to do this right now if I wasn’t making any money at all. And as far as my signature stuff goes, my signature grips were the first thing that I ever had. I had just gotten on the Pro team for Shadow, and I was seventeen years old at the time. Ronnie was like, “You want to do a signature grip or something?” And I was like, “Whoa!” From there it excelled to cranks, a seat, and all this other stuff. It’s awesome. I can’t be more appreciative of those two guys for every single thing they’ve done for me. They’ve allowed me to be in this house right now, you know. (laughter) So, I can’t complain at all.
Backyard sessions are the best. Photo by Matt Coplon
That’s awesome. It seems like with a lot of riders, there’s not that same perspective, but you seem to have a really good attitude about things. Where do you think that comes from?
It probably comes from my upbringing. My dad used to work construction, and now he does landscaping. He goes out and works six days a week in the Florida sun. It’s the most miserable thing ever. Every day he gets up at 5 o’clock in the morning. He goes to work; he works a 12 hour day. He doesn’t complain, and he never says it’s hot. He never says it’s raining. He just works his ass off.
He always says: “Don’t be a sorry ass! Don’t be a sorry ass!” And, I’ve always thought about that. Whenever I go on trips and I see guys like. . . I mean, whatever they want to do; I’m not saying it’s wrong or whatever. . . but whenever I see a guy that’s just smoking weed, and just complaining like, “Oh this sucks!” Blah, blah, blah . . . I’m like, “DUDE! You are on free trip to Barcelona and you’re smoking weed complaining about anything? You’re an idiot! How are you even complaining about this right now? We are killing it! It does not matter what happens right now; we are killing it!” Like when we were in Hawaii (for the Cult trip). I was like, “Dude, it does not matter what happens on the trip. We’re in Hawaii, riding our bikes, for free! This is so bad-ass! We could go ride a curb; I don’t care! We’re in Hawaii for a BMX trip! This is unreal.” (laughter)
I just try to be positive, and a lot of people get jaded about riding and burned out. There’s no one else to blame about any of that crap except for yourself (sic). I could complain about, “Oh all these kids that are all salty”, or that there are all these rules to BMX. But instead of complaining about it, I’ll just do the complete opposite and just tear it all down. You know what I mean? I don’t give a damn. I don’t care if someone thinks that my riding “doesn’t count.” Like. “Oh wow, an Instagram comment says it doesn’t count.” That literally means nothing! And I see guys that get so upset about it and so mental about it. I’m just like, “That’s not the comment’s fault. That’s your fault! That’s your fault for caring!”
I guess my dad has just always told me to suck it up, don’t be lazy, and don’t be a wimp.
If you’re a professional bike rider and you do it for a living, you should never be complaining about anything. There’s literally nothing to complain about. Especially being a pro rider, it’s all in your court. Especially now. If you’re not going out and putting in effort, putting out Instagram stuff, and filming video parts, that’s your own fault. And then I hear from Ronnie and Robbie. They have been a good guide of like, “Hey, do this, but, don’t (do this).” You know, you’ve got to play the game. You’ve got to go out and do stuff for RIDE and The Come Up. You have to do all that stuff, but you can do it in your own way. You don’t have to completely sell out like, “Hey Cool Hat! Cool Hat! Check It Out!” You don’t have to do that. You can do your own thing and do it in your own way. I don’t think a lot of people understand that, if that makes any sense at all.
That’s awesome. No, that makes tons of sense. I can’t help but look at your video collection there to your right.
This isn’t all BMX videos. I’ve got like Weekend at Bernie’s, Jurassic Park, and Smokey and the Bandit. Stuff like that.
Sure, but it is all VHS?
Ya, it’s all VHS. I love it.
Are there any old bike videos that you like to watch?
If I’m just zoning out I like to put on a video. I’ll put Forward on or Mission of Nonsense. Something that I’ve seen a million times, so I hear the song, I kind of hum it. I know what’s going on, and I remember the parts. Any Props. Blueprint. I love Blueprint. It’s a great video. All the Bacos. BMX VHS tapes are the hardest to come by. Those are harder than bike parts because: either you were younger and threw them away because you didn’t care, or if you have them – you want them.
A lot of guys don’t want to let go of old VHS tapes. Or if they are letting go of them, it’s all the popular ones that everyone has, you know, like – How-To Basics with Fuzzy Hall and certain Props issues that everyone got at every single contest for 2 years straight. I love collecting VHS. It’s fun, because it’s hard. That’s why, whenever I see Shad’s collection, I’m like, “holy shit!” That dude . . . he put in some work for that, because that is a lot of freaking videos.
VHS archive, unused Rood Fools & Nowhere Fast boxes, and Jesco.
I bought over 50 videos from Van Homan. I bought his whole VHS collection. That was kind of a crazy one, because he posted on Instagram: “Today I’m selling a bunch of videos if anyone wants them, but you have to come get them.” He was in Philly at the time. I texted him immediately: “Hey man, I want them! How much money do you want for them? Will you ship them?” Van was like, “Sorry dude. I’m not going to ship them. It would cost me over a hundred dollars to ship them down there.” I knew I was driving to Bethlehem a month later, so I asked him to keep them for a little bit longer at his house and I would come by, pick them up, and give him however much money he wanted. Van said, “Ok.” He ended up dropping them off at (Steve) Crandall’s house. I went there to pick them up. I just paypalled Van a hundred bucks. He didn’t want anything, but I was all, “Dude, here. Just take a hundred bucks. It’s the least I can do.” It’s crazy because I’ll get out an issue of Props, and it will be Van on the cover. Like, this is HIS video! This is HIS copy of this video and he’s on the cover of it! A lot of them aren’t even opened. A lot of them still have the subscription things. One of them had a Mat Hoffman Pro BMX sticker inside . . . all these old stickers. It’s cool. I love all that shit.
2013 Dew Tour Real Street San Fancisco. Photo by Cody York
The first time we met you were filming with my friend John Andrus at Autumn Ramp Park during a 2009 JOMOPRO practice session. You were just shredding. Do you remember any stories from the JOMOPRO contests? What were the first contests you remember going to?
Wow! Ya, I remember that. I mean, the BACO contests at Mesh were always our local contests. Those were insane. It was just wild in the streets. At Mesh, Chad let anyone do whatever they wanted. He didn’t care. Me being twelve, thirteen, or fourteen at the time, and all these guys running around half-naked, throwing off fireworks and stuff inside the skate park . . . I was just like, “Whoa. I’m just here to ride!” (laughter) So those were my first contests.
I got on NIKE 6.0 when I was fourteen, and Mark Losey said, “I think you should check out this contest called JOMOPRO. I think you’d really like it.” So, he talked to my mom about it, and we went. And ya, it was awesome. I may have entered amateur. I think I did decently well. That was the first time I saw Tom Dugan ride. It was pretty crazy watching him, because he would hit the ceiling every run. Then I didn’t hear about him for another three or four years. But when I did, I realized, “oh, that’s the same kid from JOMOPRO.”
After the first year that I went to JOMOPRO, I came home and I had an e-mail from Robbie (Morales). He said, “Hey man, I loved watching you ride at JOMOPRO. Can you give me a call?” That’s when he asked me to be on Fit. All that kind of unfolded. I rode for Fit for a few years. Everything fell apart, and when CULT started, He asked me to ride for CULT. It’s kind of funny that you said that, because JOMOPRO was kind of a big stepping stone for me. It was a pretty big thing. But, ya those contests were awesome.
That’s rad. Do you like going to contests?
Ya, I love it. I enjoy them. I grew up in the indoor skate park contest era. That was just what you did. It was La Revs, it was Metro Jams. Like Edwin (De La Rosa) wouldn’t say, “Nah man, I’m not going to that.” He’d show up and kill it, and Dave Osato would be there, and Dave Mirra. That’s three guys that are completely different, and they would all go to the same event. I grew up in that era where contest are just what you did. You just showed up and rode. I never had a problem with going to contests, I always enjoyed it. I know how to ride a contest, if that makes sense. I’m not going to go out there and try one trick the whole time; I know how to put a run together. I think they’re fun, and I like trying to find something different to do. I’m actually going to that Huntington Beach Bowl Contest at the end of the month. I’m excited for that, because it’s one of the only contests I do each year. So I’m stoked for that.
2012 Texas Toast Street Qualifying. Photo by Ridebmx
Do you think that in the future, people might collect parts from this modern era, maybe even some of your signature parts? Do you think people will be interested in things from this era of BMX?
Ya. Absolutely. I always say that in twenty years, any of this stuff is going to be valuable to someone. Because, I mean, BMX is so young. If you think about it, the oldest stuff is from like the early 70s. That’s young compared to a lot of things.
Sprockets & flashback to Cory Nastazio and adolescent Trey.
Do you remember who was on the cover of the first magazine you saw?
I remember one cover when I was young, that when I first saw it, I was like, “holy shit! That’s awesome!” It was a BMXPlus! with Corey Nastazio doing a superman-seatgrab. It was shot straight on, and his bike was literally above him. He was stretched out. I remember being like, “That’s bad-ass! That’s BMX! “ But also because Nasty was my favorite rider of all time. My first ever race clinic, when I was 4 years old, it was 1996. It was a DK race clinic. Neal Wood, Robbie Miranda, and Dusty Weideman came to our local track, and they had a DK Dirt Circuit that weekend. It’s funny because I work with Neal Wood on designing Cult stuff now, and he was the first pro that I ever saw in my entire life. It’s pretty funny that it worked out like that.
Cory Nastazio had just gotten on Bully, and he was a local kid around here. He was from West Palm, and we’d always see him at the track. And, he ended up winning the DK Dirt Circuit, beating TJ Lavin and all these guys that were already in the X-Games. And, I remember that burned into my brain. I remember seeing his orange Bully and being like, “oh my god! That dude is bad-ass! He just did a back flip right in front of me! That was the most insane thing I’ve ever seen in my life!”
Somehow I got the VHS tape of the contest, and that was my first BMX video that I ever had. I still have it. It’s awesome. I got to know him (Nastazio) pretty well. I sent him a photo of the Bully. I was like, “Hey man, this is supposed to be the bike that you had at that contest.” He was super-stoked. My 4 year old self was like, “holy shit! I just got to say that to Cory Nastazio!”
Left, Bully Hotrod. Right, Trey’s signature Stone Cold frame from Cult.
Your frame graphics were sort of reminiscent of the Bully Hot Rod right?
Ya, absolutely. We were trying to figure out what to do. I was sitting in this chair and looking around, just looking at everything. Like, “Man, what can I do?” I saw the Bully, and was like, “oh my god!” Then the wheels just started turning. I was like, “I could do Jesco, my dog’s face, but like the Bully guy, he could have the same eyes, and the nose ring, and it could say “Cult” like is says “Bully.”
Then I told Robbie, and he was like, “Alright, cool!” And I was like, “Really? You’re going to let me make a neon-orange frame with flames on the side of it as my signature frame!?” And he was like, “If that’s what you want, then that’s what we’ll make.”
Actually, (takes a frame off the wall) I have one right here that I have that’s never been ridden before. It’s got the Jesco on the front.
Trey’s Stone Cold Frame promo. Photo By Cult
I’m pretty stoked on it. I look at it all the time, and I’m like, “holy shit!” I can’t believe that I actually have one of these.
Cool. Sounds like you ride with a good mix of riders, and you’ve got a balance of influences, but what do you love about BMX?
What do I love about BMX? I don’t know dude. I guess, just the feeling of hauling ass down a hill, going really, really fast, with a bunch of your friends next to you. That’s it. That sums it all up. Like, there’s nothing you can say that’s going to explain that feeling. I just love the culture of it. Why are people into cars? Why are people into music? Why do people like playing music? You know? You can’t explain that. It’s just what I love, and it’s all I know. I’m not qualified to do anything else; that’s for damn sure! (laughter) My girlfriend always asks me, “What are you going to do after BMX?” I’m like, “More BMX!” I’m not qualified to do anything else. I have no idea about doing anything else besides only BMX stuff.
You graduated high school right?
Ya. Barely. But ya, I did graduate.
Did you take any classes after school?
. . . Dude, I hated high school so much. I was at the point where I was traveling so much, and hanging out with guys that were 25 or 26 years old, that when I went to high school, l was like, “You guys are all dumbasses, because none of you guys have a clue what the real world’s like. You guys don’t know anything. You’re worried about going to a party on Friday night. You don’t even realize that means nothing. Like your world is as big as this town! You’re so ridiculous!”
I just couldn’t see myself going back to school. I have a hard time learning something that I don’t think I’m going to use, you know? That’s why in high school it was so difficult. Like learning chemistry, I was like, “This is stupid! I don’t even need this.” I can’t absorb this in my brain, because it’s so stupid.
I just couldn’t imagine going back to school. Maybe when I’m way older, and I have to. But right now, I want to live life dude. I don’t want to waste time with bullshit like that. I want to be killin’ it. I want to do something.
2016 Vans HB Bowl Comp. Photo by Nick Tellez
Would you change anything about BMX?
I never want to look back on the way BMX used to be and say, “It needs to be like that.” But, the only thing I would change is that I wish that I could go to a contest and guys like Scotty Cranmer, Daniel Dhers, and all those guys would be there. And then all the Brandon Begins, and the Dakota Roches, and all the street guys . . . would all be at one contest, and they’re all enjoying each other’s company, and they’re all having a great time together. You know? I feel like the Metro Jams and the La Revs and all that stuff I was saying earlier . . . you’d have a guy like Jay Miron blasting a 540 on a quarter-pipe, and then have Edwin and Vic (Ayala) on the side; and they’re grinding and having a great time. When you’re around someone, at the same contest or at the same event, you have mutual respect for each other. You understand, “Okay, oh I get it. This guy’s cool, he’s super nice!” There’s not like this split like, “I’m a street rider.” “Well, I’m a park rider.” There’s no middle ground. I think that pros have taught kids to be that way.
And what it comes down to is that guys are embarrassed to be seen riding ramps, or their embarrassed to be seen riding street. It’s like, “Stop worrying about how cool you look and just love it.” No one is perfect. Every single Instagram video put out isn’t going to be a cinematic masterpiece. You know what I mean? Just put something out that’s just a normal, human thing. I guess I wish that more riders were open-minded to everything. Like, if I got invited to a vert contest, I’d go ride it. (laughter) I don’t care. I’ll go ride a vert ramp. I love those guys. I think what they do is awesome. Or if I got invited to a Dew Tour Park contest, I’d go do it.
That would be rad.
I’m probably not gonna go send a double-whip over the box jump. But I’m gonna go do what I do, and I’m gonna respect those guys for what they do.
What would be your vert moves?
Definitely just a straight disaster drop-in. (laughter)
Yes! (laughter) Do you still listen to heavy metal?
Oh ya. Definitely.
I’ve got one for you: What’s the best Metallica album from the 80s?
Well, the only good Metallica albums are from the 80s. That’s the first thing. (laughter) If I had to say my favorite Metallica album from the 80s, either Ride the Lightning or Master of Puppets. One of the two; it’s right in the middle. Because, And Justice for All is getting too commercialized a little bit. (laughter) And Kill ‘em All is almost like a different band. So I’d say either one of those two, somewhere in the middle.
That’s a good answer. Who is the gnarliest rider, in your book?
When I think about the word, “incredible” in BMX, it’s definitely Colt Fake. He’s definitely the most incredible human I’ve seen ride a bike . . . as far as going for something, and not thinking about the consequences of whatever, and either completely dying, or landing it – both are completely fine with him. It’s never like, “Nah dude, I’m not doing this. I don’t want to get hurt.” It’s never that. It’s, “OK, ya I’ll do it. Ready? Alright cool.” And then he just goes, and he either ends up knocked-out on the ground or he rides away. And everyone is like, “holy shit! That was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen!” I’ve said it before, that he could be in Sean Burns’ shoes. He could 360 any gap that Sean Burns could jump straight. I’m convinced that he is one of the best bike riders to ever live. He actually just filmed a part for X-Games Real Street, and I can’t wait for people to see it. Because he does some stuff that’s incredible, and he finally got the credit he deserved for it.
Is there anything else that you’d like to talk about that we haven’t covered?
I guess the reason I started collecting mid-school stuff is that I completely realized that there’s a whole other world out there. There are other parts to BMX besides riding. There are other things you can do. Like, collect stuff, you know, and build bikes . . . It’s fun to piece a bike together and just look at it and go, “damn, that’s sick.” You don’t have to ride it. It’s almost like building a car or something like that. You just look at it and you’re like, “damn, that’s bad ass.” I just love BMX, man. I just love everything about it. I hate when people are negative about BMX. When people are negative, or they’re fake, or they try too hard to be cool. That’s my three . . . you know? Just be you. Just be real. Just be who you are and don’t give a shit about anything else. Just have as much fun as possible, and kids will see that. You know, kids can see through all the BS, you know what I mean? Kids know when you are being real. They know whenever you’re just being a normal dude. I don’t believe in faking it. I don’t believe in that. I believe in just doing what I love, and I don’t give a damn if anyone likes it or they don’t like it. Like, I’m just going to do what I do and that’s it, you know?
Do you have anyone you would like to thank?
Definitely my mom and dad, and my grandparents. I would not be right here, where I am today, if it wasn’t for them. Ronnie B and Robbie Morales – I owe my life to them. My girlfriend, Jerry Badders at Vans, and Scott Towne at Dan’s Comp. Everyone. You and Shad for doing the interview. Ya, thanks a lot man. I’m stoked to get to do this, because I don’t get to talk about mid-school stuff very much, you know what I mean? What you guys do is a like a very niche crew of guys. But if they are into it, they are real into it, you know? So, I’m stoked. I love everything you guys do.
Again, Thanks so much! I hope you have a good evening, do well at the Vans Contest, and have fun.
Cool man! Thank you so much.
Alright. Hollar if you are ever out in San Diego.
Will do man. Later!