Bart's Big Adventure on the Wolftrap Road
Bart Jones is one of skateboarding’s true characters. He’s been in the game for over a decade, where he’s earned a reputation as both the life of the party and a frenetic road warrior. Last summer he hit the cross-country beat with a ragtag crew of rippers from the East Coast like the coal-rollin’ handrail destroyer Ed Duff and the double-threat singer/skater Reese Salken of Wolftrap Road. We hopped on the line with the veteran photographer for a hilarious recap of their high-impact rip through the heartland and more wild times from his years behind the lens.
The whole crew brings the pain from Philly to LBC. Don't miss Bart's bangers
So let's get up to speed, dude. What was the idea behind the three-way blend of Phat House, Wolftrap Road and Diesel Degenerates?
I think that everybody who was on that trip kinda saw it as their thing. When a big company puts a trip together, that’s like building something with its own infrastructure. This trip was more like those dudes building a blanket fort. Ed’s into all his truck stuff, so he’s like, Diesel Degenerates, then all the Pennsylvania kids are all Phat House. And finally Reese thought he was gonna go on tour, so he’s like, Wolftrap Road Tour. So then we're like, Okay, I guess we're just doing all of those. But before that, some of them were just planning on going on a cross-country summer fun trip. After a little planning, I think they realized, ‘cause of COVID, all we could really do is skate. And all I had been doing was hanging out with my girlfriend and watching CNN, so it was my first time going back out.
Who Started the trip initially?
Reese and Ed were talking about doing a cross-country trip for a while where they hit their old hometowns on the way out west. With COVID goin’ on and everything else being canceled, it just seemed like the time to do it. A handful of guys got the invite, and with Kyle also down to drive out to California from the East Coast, a small convoy was formed.
Did any companies kick in money for the trip?
Not really, I don’t think so. Maybe some of the boys’ sponsors got them a flight or some per diem but definitely no trip-as-a-whole" backing. Thrasher and Element sent us out a couple boxes of gear, though. I really try not to have to pay for any garments, so after I was kitted, most of that stuff got given away at various Waffle Houses to random employees and patrons.
Early in the trip, Kyle Walsh cools off with an unlandable boneless
For those that don't know, what is Phat House?
Phat House is a crew from the Philly area, maybe a little New Jersey and Delaware or something like that too. I think they might even have an actual skate house/base/headquarters as well. When I asked Pat Carmody—who was on the trip—what Phat House was, he jokingly told me, "It was an attempt to be the East-Coast Shep Dawgs." Pat Claims he’s the boss of the crew, Ed is the lieutenant, Billy Cox is the honcho, James Klimek is the producer, and Julian Heller is the art director & the most dedicated member. Phat House is doing it though: They’ve put out at least three videos and have done a bunch of trips around the country. They did some trips through Europe, China and Japan too!
On this trip, who was in each crew?
I guess all the East-Coast guys: Kyle, Ed, Austin, definitely Pat and Chris are Phat House. Reese is Wolftrap Road, which is also his band. and Diesel Degenerates is Ed’s thing. Ethan Loy worked his way in there too.
So it was a big squad. Where were you all staying? You guys had a dirtbike with all your stuff.
Dude, they were bringing the dirtbike into the AirBnB and revving it to wake people up in the morning. It wasn’t a big deal to me, ‘cause I’m not that noise sensitive.
Robert E. Lee wasn't the only statue in Richmond to come down after the events of 2020. This bank to ledge under the J.E.B. Stuart monument had to go too. Austin Leleu, kickflip front 50-50 on some contested Virginian concrete
Trading off documenting duties, Austin gives Ethan a handout
And Ethan comes back for a mean frontside noseblunt pop out
Were they good houseguests?
It’s funny ‘cause Ed comes off a little like a rocker or something, but he’s actually really tidy and respectful. Keep in mind, the Airbnb was in his name. As much as it seemed like things would be kinda rowdy, it really wasn't. We would be skating all morning and into the evening.
What about going out? Did they get rowdy out of the house?
I wasn’t going out with those guys at night so much, ‘cause I was trying to keep my pod small or whatever. But one funny thing happened in Nashville when Dee Ostrander was showing people around. I guess Kyle was out smashing those electric scooters. I don’t know how to feel about that. I’m not saying that’s wrong or anything. But he had this whole technique to focus the scooters where he’d throw it up in the air and then jam it into the ground. So he’s doing that whole thing and he gets arrested. So he’s sitting there under arrest, and then someone with him just talked to the cops and they let him go. After he had smashed up those scooters, they we’re just like, Okay, we’ll let him go.
Captain of the Diesel Degenerates, Ed Duff puts down a front feeble before rollin' coal
When you are actually with the crew, how do you feel like you fit in? Are you one of the squad or are you like a visitor?
It depends, but I think more or less I’m there just kind of documenting. When I see other people on skate trips with a photographer, I pay attention to that shit. I'm like, Oh, he's like one of the dudes. He's skating and hanging out with them. He’s an old friend. And then I’ll see another team and I can tell he’s just there to cover the story. But on this trip, ‘cause I was fresh out of my quarantine, I had crazy COVID anxiety. I just wasn’t used to being around a bunch of people. So it depends. I do feel a little older, which is fine. I’m still psyched to be around these guys; I like their hijinks and I think they’re funny.
Kyle Walsh adds this curvy backside 50-50 to his scooter-littered trail of destruction
Hi-vis hats make the cop's job easier
So you went from Pennsylvania to Long Beach. How’d the crew deal with the Southwest summer heat?
I do better for whatever reason in the humid heat. I just like the heat rash, I guess. It’s funny because we got into St. George where it was 115 and people were still skating. Then we drove down to Las Vegas when it was officially 117 and everyone just stopped. That two-degree difference was the dealbreaker. We just called it there and went straight home.
Bart lurks behind the leaves while Austin kickflips in Charlotte
Connor Robins bar hops on a magic front board pop over
How sensitive are you about your position in skating?
Oh, why? Is this gonna be making fun of me because I'm lame or something?
No, but I have a question that's not very nice.
Why don’t you ask the question and I’ll see if it’s offensive or not.
Wolftrap double-threat Reese Salken frontside 50-50s through a Mockville, NC kinker
If the truck's in the lawn, Ed's hoppin' on—a feeble, that is
What's the deal with being like 40 years old and still going on homie trips instead of making inroads with P-Rod? You’ve been in California for fucking ever.
I actually have an answer for that. I'm just kind of slutty, for the lack of a better word. If someone hits me up to do something and it's skating, I'm going to be down. This might sound kind of corny, or cheesy or trite, but just in case life actually is a YOLO situation, I'm trying to get out and skate everywhere and everything still. Also, I just really like taking pictures. I’m not the nearest little bit sick of taking photos of skating. When someone’s trying something and I’m setting up, I’m fucking giddy. You know when there’s the old dad who wears the weird white leather shoes and the cargo shorts? We deal with a lot of this in skating, where there's the guy that's like 50 but still trying to be cool, and it's just like, Oh, boy. But I'm not here to judge. I’m just down for who and whatever. If you thought I was gonna be sensitive about that, then we're doing pretty good. I do shoot with a lot of people, though. Not P-Rod, but that’s ‘cause I’m just a random to him.
"No skateboarding on church property"? Sorry, God, this rail was too sick to skip. Ethan Loy, multi-level boardslide
He's a vengeful God after all
That makes sense. You’ve been in the game for a while now.
I'm just kind of lurking in the background waiting for my set.
You've gotten some breaks and you've gotten some hits, but overall how has the skating game treated you?
That's a funny question. I'm gonna say at the end of the day, it's treated me pretty okay because I've gotten pretty lucky. I hardly had ever traveled or left the country before skate stuff. And even with less things going on, I feel like the momentum of what I had going on has kind of carried me. That kinda goes back to the “yes man” thing. The only thing I ever turned down was when I had a choice between going on a trip with Mike Vallely or a World Industries trip. There's like the older dudes who have jobs in skating, like Jon Coulthard and Oliver Barton, and then there’s the younger kids, like Papke, who are just hustling. I'm kind of this weird in-between. But as far as skating treating me a certain way, I think there’s a funny quote that probably Phelps used to say, like, “skating doesn’t owe you anything.” Obviously, why the fuck would skateboarding owe me anything? That’s not a thing. And, dude, do you know how much fun I have going out skating?
Austin Leleu says yes to a crusty crook pop over in Nashville
Reese spins a back 360 in his favorite Slipknot tank top
If I can get one little bitter complaint in there as far as things treating me, it has something to do with me being someone who's super psychotic and works hard and is excited about things, but somehow I come off as a complete clown on the outside. I really honestly thought that skateboarders out of all people would be a little bit more understanding than that. I feel like some of the time that I worked for a law firm or something. Skateboarders, as you know, are supposed to be like freaks, geeks and weirdos. But they're just not having it. You might disagree though.
Ethan jams up and back Smiths down in Raleigh
Actually, my perception of you has been the same since I’ve known you. When I was younger, you gave me hope that I could have a job one day.
Is that like, If this guy can do it, I can do it? Because this is not the first time I've heard this.
There are two things: You don't have the presentation of a workaholic, but you have the work ethic of one. And then there’s the fact that you are a character. And as much as skaters praise characters, they want to be cool more than anything.
I'm 40 percent joking, but I kind of thought that I was gonna come out to California, and I’m gonna rub elbows and hustle a little and it would work out. But coming out here, I would get so pissed sometimes. It makes my blood boil. It makes me livid when someone comes out here to skate and they have no money; they have no plans; they have nothing planned for someone to film them and they're asking you to take them to the grocery store or where to get weed? You know, where they just try to jump in on the session, but then try to turn it to where they want to skate? When I came out to Arizona, before I met you, I had all my camera stuff. I had a crew. I had a generator. I had lights. I had all the tools. This sounds so overly righteous and trite, and everybody in Arizona happened to be super nice, but I didn't think anybody was gonna help me. I was out almost every day and every night, lighting up spots and skating. But then I figured that I would come to California and hustle and do the thing—kinda try, but kinda not try. I thought, Give it a couple years and you’ll be rolling around with the cool guys. And it just never happened. Then more recently, I've accepted it. I was like, Yeah, you're just not gonna be that dude.
Kyle Walsh hustles a 50-50 in Nashville
Yeah, I get that. I’m still interested in the reputation, as I have it on good authority that the first naked body Burnett ever saw on Instagram was yours.
Jesus Christ. And I try to talk to Burnett through email all professional. It's like, Who are you kidding? When you were like, Do you think skateboarding has treated you well? Did someone insinuate that maybe it hasn't?
No, but I think I’m getting at the idea that for the quality of your work, there’s a world where you’re more integral to a company or the industry machinery. But there's also this huge part of the equation in which you're one of the wildest people that I've ever met, and that anybody who's met you has ever known.
I’m not though, dude. I feel like you know this deep down.
Bart's wild side may be debatable, but Austin's boardslide clearly makes him a maniac
I'm not saying that you're reckless or that you're unprofessional. I just think you are operating on two poles. The first time I saw you skate, you blunt fakied a massive quarterpipe, then someone showed me a video of you flipping over a couch. Soon after, I started to see a portfolio of what I consider top-tier photographs.
I don't know if you're complimenting just to make up for the bad side of things, but I'll take it.
Reese Salkin rides a rail longer than an old country road, frontside 50-50
Bold creative choices across the board
K-Walks is the last one at the party with Ethan Loy and Kyle Walsh, triples boardslide
Do you think you’re not a wild man?
I’m 41 now, so not anymore. I’m like domesticated. I will never get as drunk and crazy as I have in my past ever again. And I don't miss it on a daily basis. A lot of it has to do with just health and wellbeing, but also I have a long-term, serious girlfriend right now. You think I'm gonna go somewhere and blackout and get naked and be crazy? No! I’ll scare her the fuck away! I also realize how people will judge me. I know there's only one photo on Instagram you’re talking about and it's not fair to me, and I'll tell you why. It was Brockman on a Zero trip. I was minding my own business, changing after swimming—super shriveled up.
It's the Costanza thing?
Yeah. And we were on like a tour bus and there were bunks and stuff. I’m minding my business and Brockman’s psycho ass took a picture of me and put it on Instagram! At the time, I didn't really care because I wasn't self-conscious or nervous like that. I just thought it was funny. I will admit, once all the fucking Yari sisters got tagged, and all the Kardashians and a million other girls I know, I was like, Fuck. But I didn’t think it was a big thing then, because it was just like, It’s the skateboarding culture or industry/world game, it doesn’t matter. I look back on that stuff at least once a day and I’m like, Fuck. Because now, it’s a little too late in the game. I mean, I've made a website and a logo and I’m obviously also trying other means of photography and being more professional. I’ve gone back and deleted about 500 posts, but some stuff is just out there. Anyway, yeah, James Brockman, who I’m friends with, has done some of the most fucked up stuff to me. That was fucked up he posted that photo of me. Then also, not that long ago, I'm in the fucking pool and he just takes his dick out and starts pissing on me.
Ethan stayed on the huck train for the trip—half-Cab front Smith
When the bandana's on, the hammers go down. Kyle Walsh, boardslide
What the fuck?
And that’s the thing where I might’ve used to be like, That’s funny. But now that’s just too crazy, even for skateboarders to understand. So well, that sucks that the first naked man on Instagram Burnett saw also happened to be a skateboard photographer.
Won't be the last, probably.
I don’t know what you think I’m up to lately.
Breaking out the lights and genny, Ethan hurricanes an old Zero spot
Not you, I’m just saying it’s not the last weiner he’ll see.
Yeah, I don't get as wild anymore. On my first few trips 13 or 14 years ago, I was a little more straight-laced, but later in my late 20s I felt like I was a kid going on bigger trips. Everyone was kind of wild and it was more like a stage to be wild. I'm blaming some of that on skateboarding and skateboarding trips, but I’ve aged.
Sometimes that reputation can be hard, too, when you meet people who have heard what a party animal you are.
Yeah, so when you hang out with people and you want to be mellow, they're like, What's wrong with you? You're boring.
Takin' a break from the streets, Reese and Connor go doubles in Denver with a boneless and back Smith
It’s gotta be weird to manage those two sides of yourself. For instance, if a TM is lining up a trip, going through photographers, it might be Papke, Seidler and then your name comes up. Well, if someone doesn’t know you, other skaters in the crew might say, “Oh yeah, he’s the best ‘cause he can have a good time,” or they might know about these Brockman instances and wanna steer clear. For the record, one of the funniest things you’ve ever done that I’ve heard about is you asked, “Why is it okay to pee in the pool, but you can’t pee into the pool?” And you stood on the deck and peed into the pool.
I stole that from my friend Jimmy, so I gotta give him credit.
But you know what I mean. A new squad might just want to smoke weed with Tiago and the reputation would not be the vibe for them.
You know what’s funny, I feel like weed alone has pulled me away from skateboarding. That stoney energy and whatever I’m on do not mix. It’s like oil and water. But sometimes if I'm just comfortable and up to my antics, the stoney kids love that trash. But a funny thing talkin’ about that peeing in the pool thing, I went on a trip with Canadians. They had this TM who kept telling me something about, Hey, we’re whatever distribution and you can’t be acting crazy up here or breaking stuff. And I was just like, What’s he talking about? What does he know? And then he told me he had heard about a time I was on a Birdhouse trip, horse playing, and knocked over a $1,200 vase. Tony was there. So we were in this nice hotel and shattered a vase. But somehow the TM in Canada heard about that.
Skatestoppers can't halt the Wolftrap Road show. Reese Salken, feeble pop over
Did Tony pay for the vase?
No, I paid for it.
Was he mad about that?
No, not at all. I mean, he wasn't gonna pay for it. But I go, “You know how it is when you were younger? You guys used to get into stuff like that, right?” And he's like, “Not really, no.”
What's your relationship like with Tony Hawk?
I mean, if I was trying to talk to someone outside of skateboarding, I would flex. I’d be like, Look, he follows me on Insta. We’re good buddies. But I think that I’m acquaintances with Tony Hawk, at best. But years ago I used to talk to him quite a bit. I was on his satellite radio show.
You called in?
No, they had a whole fucking studio at his headquarters in North County—like professional. And then he had me go in and tell the same story I told you about breaking the marble vase.
Keeping the tank tops alive, Ed opts for camo on this front feeble to fakie
What’s up with that tie-dye Santa Cruz tank top you slept in for years?
It’s a comfortable shirt. I was thinking it would be funny if I was telling myself that I didn’t get a job in skating like I wanted to because I was too wild, but actually it was just the Santa Cruz tank top. Why do you remember that? I tried to sell it on Instagram for $436.87.
How much did you get for it?
I didn’t sell it. It’s packed away somewhere. What’s funny is there’s a thrifty look that’s kinda cool in skating now. There’s a couple different looks. If I’m feeling put together and crispy I’ll be in a button up and some chinos. But if I’m feeling a bit more staggered and wild, you’ll see me in some multi-colored sweatpants and a tie-dye tank top—which is also kind of its own style of not giving a fuck. On the trip I’d say most dudes were more on that weird bandana flare and shit like that.
Ethan Loy jumps the Grand Canyon's little brother in Utah
What do you think about the current skate photo game? Or is there anything you regret from your rollercoaster ride up to it?
It was a lot of fun. Obviously, the best thing was all the travel. But the stuff I regret outweighs that shit. I don’t think it’s too late. It’s not that I did nothing, I just wish I did a lot more. I used to be out shooting five days a week. I used to have a mountain of article ideas that never happened, or that someone else did that I didn’t because I thought they were too stupid and no one would ever do them. Like there was this WKND or Frog trip with the layout of an US Weekly.
It’s a Worble piece.
Was that your idea?
Takin' the alarm clock out for a spin
No, I think it was Tom Mull's.
That’s so funny, ‘cause I love looking at those magazines. And I’ve always wanted to do something like that, but couldn’t think about bringing it up to anyone. Like, they’re gonna think I’m stupid. And then that was a thing where I’m like, No fucking way. I just wish I planned more trips, too. I planned a trip to South America with no budget and ten people and it went off without a hitch. I really enjoyed that. So I should’ve kept that momentum going when I got back from that, ‘cause who knows? Maybe I’d be a photographer and a TM or something? And then just wishing I had the resources to do more experimental film stuff. I did a test where I printed a few pictures on gold, but that shit’s like $80 a picture.
Pat Carmody wallies over and out on the last session before Long Beach
Dusty and crusty in Sin City
How’d you shoot the film photos on this trip?
Oh, they’re fucked. I shot them on a toy Lomography camera on Velvia slide film and then cross processed them. I also had to push it a couple of stops because it was 100 speed film. I know cross-processed stuff is kinda wack or trite in analog photography, but whatever. I just thought it was fitting to be shooting on the toy camera in the dead of summer, just like, Let’s make this look even crustier. I’m gettin’ kinda worried about this interview. Is this gonna be my last one?
No, this is your rebrand! You’re gonna be shooting with the stars! You got Nick Mathews in Chicago, or if you get on a session with Aidan Mackey, you’ll be a made man.
Is he the ginger one?
I don’t think we should say that.
Am I not allowed to say ginger? I’m ginger.
That’s a good point. So what’s next, now that you’re off the Phat House, Diesel Degenerates Wolftrap Road? I heard you were maybe gonna look into photo teaching?
I'm just being honest with you, that would be awesome to tell you that I had a Chad Knight situation lined up. I’m not even sure what he does, but he looks successful. I always thought that in skating, That big job’s coming. It’s on its way. It’s gotta happen. You’re gonna be the guy who’s gonna be a TM or company photographer. But it didn’t happen. And now I’m thinkin’, Oh shit, that might not happen. And I’m getting older, so I wanna buy some things. I want to buy a house; I want to buy my girlfriend a ring; I need a new computer; I need a new car. So now we’re up to what, a million bucks? Before I started shooting skating, I never looked up how much people made doing it. You’d think I would’ve. I looked into EMT stuff, but seeing what they deal with for what they got paid, I thought I might be better off at Chipotle for that pay. I applied for a darkroom job at a college and I didn’t get it, which that one hurt. I’ve been shooting all sorts of other stuff with my girlfriend who’s a successful interior photographer, so she’s been a lifesaver. But also, I'm not gonna stop shooting skating. I just bought a bunch of new shit.
You’ve been on some good trips, so let's close it out with how this one stacked up.
The cross-country trip was good! I have had way worse for one reason or another. Granted, seeing some new culture is always great, but as far as some classic Americana, this trip was a hit. I always think of different categories that make a trip great: numero uno, everyone just makes it from point A to Point B in one piece; no arrests made or anything like that; spots were good; skating was good; productivity was good; accommodations were good; lots of jokes and hijinks goin' on. You don’t wanna be sittin’ in a quiet van full of serious people. Food is a big one for me on trips, but we hit some staple spots. And as far as Waffle House and stuff like that goes, I love that trash. My phone did completely conk out about halfway into the month-long trip, which was fine. It was kind of a nice refresher, but I did find myself just staring into darkness on those long late-night drives. The other thing is, it was just so fucking hot out, but then again we’re taking a trip through the country during July and August, so what do you expect?
Well, I’m stoked to do this. I’m a fan. I’m a friend. I’m glad you made it across the country with this talented gang of guys. I'm excited to see the new phase of the rollercoaster and I’ll eagerly await the P-Rod exclusive.
Sounds good. Thanks.
When you spend all your time behind the camera, it's hard to get a photo of yourself. Luckily, we caught the man in a candid moment, clad head to toe in quality gear. Bart's had a hell of a run in this game and he ain't done yet. Stay tuned for more Photo: Loy
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