By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
First things first. The Wetboys are not gay. They're not the Wetfags, or the Homo Skate Crew, or the Denver Dicksuckers, or anything else they've been labeled in the hard-core skater world. Sure, some of them wear tight pants. Yes, their name was cribbed from a gay phone-sex ad. And okay, they have a history of getting wasted at parties and making out — with each other. Whipping out their cocks, peeing on each other and ejaculating on stuffed animals. Slicing each other with knives. But all that was just good, clean fun. Drink, drink, kiss, kiss, cut, cut. If you don't understand, then piss off. It's a Wetboys thing.
Second. Wetboys like to skate where they're not supposed to. Right now, Jerrod Saba is sitting on the curb, staring across the street at a wall. He looks at the bank leading up to it. This spot could work. It could really work. The Wetboys could own this spot. Or at least molest it a little. Disrobe it. Expose its possibilities.
Saba is 25 years old but could pass for twenty, with a reddish shock of scarecrow hair set atop a matching ragged frame. When he, Twiggs, Trevor and Sweets rolled up to this spot, they could tell it was a virgin (un-skated) because no gray skid marks marred its pristine white surface. This is a rare find for the Wetboys, who've had their way with just about every skate-worthy patch of concrete in town since they announced themselves on the Denver skate scene six years ago. The only thing that's kept this patch off the radar so long is its location in a ghettoized enclave huddled against a freeway and railroad tracks on the northeast end of the city.
Saba watches Sweets push furiously, then ram his board in an arch up the cinderblock while planting his hands on the ground below, like a surfer turning in to a wave.
"Nice!" Saba says. "I've never seen that one before."
"First time I ever tried," Sweets says, straightening his fedora and admitting that he was inspired by a recent re-re-re-viewing of the '70s skate/surf styles in the Dogtown and Z-boys documentary. As he skates away, white paint flakes flutter in the afternoon breeze, which also carries a faint whiff of boiling animal fat from the nearby dog-food factory.
As Trevor, a wiry twenty-year-old in black vato sunglasses, squeaks his board into a frontside wallride — "Aw, yeah!" — Saba's brain returns to thoughts of filming, television producers, boom mikes and contracts. Liquid Theory, an L.A. production company, wants to film a pilot for MTV focusing on the crazy lives of a group of Colorado skaters. Local skater/acrobat/stuntman William Spencer and members of the Wetboys have been tapped as featured characters for the proposed reality show. The working title: Hollerado, a play on a two-year-old video.
But as the unofficial point man for the skate crew, Saba has had trouble balancing the needs of the production company with the opinions of his fellow Wetboys, who regard MTV as the pinnacle of corporate pop-culture lameness. Saba himself cringes at the thought of the Wetboys getting stuck in reality show-type reality with real/fake dialogue and real/fake adventures. "It would be cool if they would just let us do our thing," he says to his friends. "Not try to set us up on stupid little tasks or make it into some extreme-sports thing."
"Sounds to me like it's just the Real World: Denver, but with shitbags," says Twiggs, who's skating nearby, dressed in a filthy white undershirt and cut-off slacks that show off his blurry, homemade tattoos. As the crew's contrarian in residence, Twiggs has made it known that he wants nothing to do with MTV or any efforts to turn the Wetboys into professional skate retards a la Jackass, Jackass: The Movie or Jackass 2, the sequel.
Third. There's nothing professional about a Wetboy's life. It's not all about skateboarding, drinking and drugs, of course. Sometimes it's about chicks. Sometimes it's about music and art. But mostly it's about friends and fun. That's the one thing the hating-ass-haters out there can't deny when they watch one of the Wetboys' skate videos floating around the Internet: These dudes look like they're having fun.
An amorphous concept — fun. It's what people allow themselves to have when they're not trying to look cool or mature. Or serious. Seriousness killed skateboarding. Blame the corporations, blame ESPN, blame the well-meaning skatepark builders and YMCA camp directors, blame a society that took a perfectly worthless, childish diversion and turned it into something legitimate. Into an activity that people would consider to be — blehh — a sport.
For the Wetboys — about two dozen guys spread across Colorado and Arizona but mostly in Denver — skateboarding has been a kind of four-wheeled fountain of youth, a font of fun. When they all lived under the same roof — in a series of exceptionally filthy residences known as "the Wethouses" — they could use their boards to fend off the dour expectations of adulthood. But now, lacking a common pad, it's been much more difficult to round up the dudes for a good old-fashioned, waste-of-the-day skate session.