Ben Grove 'Cover Stories' interview from Sidewalk 200

Ayumi Powell

From Sidewalk 200 – May 2013

 

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Ben Grove
Sidewalk issue 77 : February 2003
Cover photo: Horse

 

 

So Ben, tell us about that night – 2003, December 28th, minus 5, tops off…what can you remember about shooting the photo?
- F*ck man, that’s 10 years ago! I remember that we were out filming around the Birmingham/Bromsgrove area and that rail was at a school in Bromsgrove! I remember when I starting trying the kicky front board that Mr. Alex Moul was there and I think Vaughan Baker as well. It was taking me a while to do it and like you said it was the 28th of December so it was freezing! Alex and V-man buggered off and that pissed me off because I wanted to do in front of them, (laughing). I love a good show off! So eventually I just thought, ‘f*ck it, tops off and I’ll make it!’ If it works for Mr. Franklin Stephens then it’s good enough for me. It worked out eventually and I remember ringing Alex and Vaughan to say I did it and then we drove over to the old Brum park for a session. Mint day!

You kind of came onto the scene right in the middle of the ‘only hammers matter’ period in skateboarding – were you already jumping off shit and onto handrails before you started getting into magazines?
- My first videos were Unapromo, Playing Fields, Fulfill the Dream, The End and Misled Youth – so that’s all I knew.

JUMP
JUMP
JUMP…

Who were your inspirations back then to get you hyped up?
- Vaughan Baker, Frank Stephens, (that’s ‘Stephens with a PH and not a V because V is for c**ts’ – Frank’s words not mine!), Harry Bastard, Mark Channer, Paul ‘The Man’ Silvester, Alan Rush- brooke, Dave Mackey, Geoff Rowley, Alex Moul, Erik Ellington, Jim Greco, and not to forget the one and only Jimmy Boyes.

Didn’t Ollie Tyreman go around the country re-filming your hammers from the first Sidewalk vid?
- No, get your facts right Uncle Powell! He went round and re did all the stuff I did on THIS WAY UP, the first Note video! He even kickflipped the Asda 13 in Stockport that I didn’t land! Bad boy Tyreman – respect!

In Motion sort of launched you as a known skater – what memories do you have of filming for that with me and Chez? Did you see some good shit go down first hand?
- Filming with you guys was f*cking mega; it was like a dream come true when I was 16! Well good filming with you BP, and Mr. Barnsley Chez wasn’t too bad either, (laughing). If you have seen In Motion then you’ll know that I was there for pretty much most of the filming.

Baines has an interview in this mag and one of the things I asked him was ‘What’s the best trick ever done in Sheffield?’ and his answer was your rail into bank ollie – what have you got to say about that? Did you really only do it to ‘show off to Americans?’
- To start with, thank you Bainesy! Yeah too right I wanted to show off; it’s what I’m all about! And to do it in front of Jason Adams, Chet Childress and Adam Alfaro to name a few, yeah, why not? (Laughing), I remember I front boarded that rail at Park Hill flats and I smashed into a van and then got up and said to Leo and Chez, “lets go down there I’m gonna ollie the rail” and I did! That train journey home was a mad buzz…

How many of the best tricks that you’ve done have been motivated by you ‘showing off’?
- All of them mate!

What’s the best trick ever done in Manchester?
- It’s not technically in Manchester but in the city of Salford, the one, the only Tony Da Silva: switch frontside flip the Quays double set.

 

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What was the first skate photo you ever had printed in a skate mag? What about your favourite photo of yourself from over the years?
- My first photo was in Document mag! Taken by Stephen King in Liverpool at the Brian Summer (Littlewoods) gap! I had a skinhead, a Note tee on and some DC Lynx on that Tony had given me – they’d been repaired by a cobbler: Splodge filmed it as well! Note till I die!
My favourite photo has to be my backside tailslide 360 shuv with a Harry Bastard roll out!

What’s your favourite Sidewalk cover from over the years and why?
- Ali Boulala cover fo sho yo!

Are you still into spitting, eating lemons and drinking vinegar?
- Are really asking me that ya dick head? Course I am, (laughing)…

Talk us through ollieing the rail outside Flavour in Newquay: that had been tempting people for years and you were the guy who stepped up and stomped it – how did it feel?
- I’d been up all night – no sleep! Would you expect anything else? I was with an ex pro footballer all night getting on it. My boss from Oakley – Jez AKA The Man – sorted me out and sent me down to the rail and I just f*cking had it, standard! All about the NBD’s and having it over everybody in my path! The Grove way!

You’ve filmed a bunch of video parts over the years, which is your favourite?
- My Pusherman part, filmed by Joe Gavin and Sean Lomax.

What’s your favourite UK video and your favourite UK section and why?
- There are too many good parts!
Vaughan Baker in Unapromo,
Frank Stephens in Headcleaner,
Paul Silvester in Headcleaner…

You’ve lived in a bunch of different places – Holmes Chapel, Tipton, Manchester, London, Liverpool – what memories do you have of each of those places and which one feels the most like home?
- I’ve lived in more places than that mate. Stockton on Tees, dirty Leeds, York – but there’s no place better than Manchester.

Did Snowy really burn your kitchen down?
- (Laugh- ing), I forgot about that! He didn’t burn it down but it wasn’t far off. Ha, yes Snowy!

Do you think you’ll ever go back to Plymouth and do that 5050 that you had a photo in Document of?
- I’m Roy Keane to do it! If Vaughan pays for me I’ll go and do it! I want Magee to film it as well! My hat trick cover, yeah?

Who or what hypes you up to throw yourself into the ground these days?
- Helder Lima!

What’s next for you Grove?
- To knock out the gnarliest part I can possibly do. And to try and get my hat trick Sidewalk cover, (laughing).

Can you imagine a life without skateboarding?
- Yes, a boring one!

 

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Frontside boardslide. Seq – CJ

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