How did you keep up to date with BMX before the internet?
Zack: 'zines! Oh how I cherished my zine collection. It started out with a zine called ACC or Atomic Circle of Chaos. It was the best. It was done by a guy named Bill Keaggy who lived near me. I was totally amazed at the quality and content of what I was reading. He changed my life. He's got an awesome website now www.keaggy.com it's got a link to ACC. Through that zine I ordered every possible zine I could. I totally began to immerse myself in the CULTURE of BMX. I'll never forget the day I had a manilla envelope arrive at my house postmarked from Holland. I must have been 13 years old. It was called Fat 'zine...the cover was orange. That magazine alone really opened my eyes to how big BMX was. There were people doing exactly what I was doing on my bike on the other side of the world. Talk about a paradigm shift!
Has reading the BMX mags 10 times over helped with your BMX history now that you're on the mic shooting the shit? Zack: I think so. I just love everything do to with BMX. I love reading information. I'm like that robot in the movie Short Circuit.. .Johnny #5...I NEED INPUT. I have always had the ability to retain what I read and it does help when I am announcing. It's also funny when I call someone out on something I read 10 years ago too.
What events have you MC-d?
Zack: I've done the X-games the last 3 years with Grotbags and it's been amazing. Grots in the best and I owe him a ton. I've done a lot of the Baco comps. I just got back from announcing the Simpel Session contest in Estonia. I'd obviously like to do more.... I love announcing and I also know how important it is to have an announcer that knows what's going on.
You do several tours too, how does your boss see these trips?
Zack: My boss is super cool. He grew up riding BMX too so he understands. It also helps that as the announcer..I sometimes get more coverage than the riders.
What do you do at DK exactly?
Zack: Everything. My official title is Team Manager/Stunt Coordinator but I do everything. A common misconception about a company like DK is that there are 100 employees. We have about 16 people. So we all wear different hats. I take sales calls, answer the phones, pack orders, make coffee, manage the team, help with product design, annoy Scott Papiro, take your pick.
Who has taught you your magic tricks?
Zack: I have learned magic tricks from a couple different sources..namely Neil Strauss the author....you want to learn my magic? Read "The Game".
Does it get the ladies?
Zack: um.....no comment. Let's just say if there is a gorgeous girl at a pub and her options of men are:
A. a beer drinking football fan
B. A beer drinking basketball fan
C. A congac sipping BMX rider that can shoot fire from his fingers and make her purse disappear
- who do you think she's giving her number to?
Are you still rocking the spinners?
Zack: Oh lord....the spinners. I saw a website that had spinner wheels for BMX bikes and I sent them an e-mail to see if they were serious. They sent me one back and told me they wanted me to test the wheels out. I rode them for a couple weeks and owners flew to Ohio to watch me ride the skatepark. They were stoked. I was about to go on tour so they hooked the whole team up with them. We met up with the company in Vegas and shot some wild video and took photos. They wined and dined us and treated us good. It was just a joke though...the only reason that I was rocking them so much was because they were SPINNERS!!! That's my style. Especially in shows...I'd come out with spinners on my bike and kids would just lose it. I'm all about the shock value.
Who in your eyes is a great show rider?
Zack: Chris Gerber hands down. He is the best show rider in the world. I'll put money on that one. I've watched him flipwhip to front tire case in front of 30 elementary school kids. I've also watched him heel clicker backflip on a dare and flip double whip after losing in rock, paper, scissors. He's the best. Yeah folks. A close second is Whitesnake. He and Gerber are from the same town and I think they have the same chromosomes. Those boys know how to put on a show.
Do you think doing road shows is important for the brand, the riders and/or the sport?
Zack: I think shows are important for BMX, the riders, and the brand, in that order. I do over 250 shows a year and every single show there is someone that has never seen BMX in person before. Ask any rider when the first time they saw BMX was. We all remember it. I get to be that guy. Every show I do...someone becomes a BMX fan. It's great for the riders because if you aren't making the 2 grand a month in sponsorship money you can still make 200 bucks a show. 5 shows a week is a nice chunk of change for doing fufanus and a backflip.
What's the situation with the tattoo gun?
Zack: I pride myself on my tattoos. I've got some wild ones...I decided that I would buy a gun and spread the bad tattoos to others. It was 400 bucks on ebay. I've done about 10 myself. Still looking for more volunteers. It's fun after a few beers to bust it out and ink up some ladies.
Are you at the same level as the tattoo people in Estonia?
Zack: Not quite.....although it was sketchy. ( I wanted a tattoo when I was in Estonia and the hotel put me in touch with some dude that worked out of his bedroom) Mike Spinner was supposed to go with me but was too tired so I ventured into the Estonian night by myself. I kept thinking of that movie Hostel. I got to the address and kept having second thoughts...I saw the guy and he waved me down. His apartment was a mess and he gave me a tattoo in his bedroom. I was scared. It came out good though.
Tell us about Estonia and we'll wrap it up?
Zack: Estonia was the best experience of my life. I had never been to Europe before and it was the best time ever. The people were so wonderful and receptive to US riders. I felt like i was 13 years old again..meeting all these riders from Europe that I have seen in the magazines and videos for so long...guys like Mark Webb and Baz Keep. I can't wait to go back. I'll tell any rider reading this...if you make it to one contest all year....make it ESTONIA in 2008. I'll never miss another one. Did I mention that after my trip to Estonia I now HATE American women? Scandinavian women are the most beautiful creatures in the world. American women are fat slobs, Hot girls there are like fat girls in the States. They are everywhere!
Thanks: Moms and Pops. Thanks to everyone at DK for not firing me and trusting me not to screw up important stuff. All the DK Team riders. You guys are the best. Thanks to anyone that has been to a DK stunt show. Kyle and Chad@UGP, Povah@ Etnies, Mike@ OBMX, Allan Cooke, Risto@ Simpel Session, Grotbags, Kevin Jones, Mark Eaton, Cru Jones, and my little brother Adam. All the riders out there that are doing it for the love not the money. I would especially like to thank all the girls out there. You make it wonderful. A huge ass kissing thank you to Bart and Paul. You guys will never know how much you changed my life with Fat 'zine. You showed me that BMX isn't a sport...it's a culture. Holla.
Pics: BdJ/Brian Hunt/J-H Molsa/Dean Hearne