Skateboarding is an art form that is often overlooked, and even more-so misunderstood.
Skateboarding, like art, is a self initiated expression. Not reliant on a team, there is a special connection between the skater and their board. Similar to the way a painter has a special connection with their brushes. Although, a skater expresses themselves through complex physical movements by means of balance, grace, and guts. And instead of producing a piece of art by means of a pushing brushes across a canvas, a completed piece for a skateboarder is a complex trick (with your board) that is landed with grace and style.
As one can imagine, because of this, skateboarders are highly creative people when on and off their boards. This is not just apparent in the individuals who often take on other forms of artistic expression such as photographers, visual artists, designers, free spirits, art directors and much more… but even more so when you see the environments that they like to surround themselves with for inspiration.
For instance, spend 10 minutes in a skateboard shop you can get a real sense of the culture. The walls are always decked out with top-notch photography and graphic design, art on each skateboard deck, beautifully edited skate videos, cutting edge fashion, and the latest in music. It’s practically a contemporary art gallery for the youngsters. Mind you, everything is being sold for commercial reasons, but if you take a moment to actually analyze the real culture behind what they are selling, you will realize that skateboarding is a sport/pastime/life style that breeds creativity.
This week we put the spotlight on Glen Coy, the owner/operator to the only independent skateboard shop in the Coachella Valley, Epidemic. We are proud to announce that come this March, Epidemic will have been in business for 10 years. And whether Glen wants to admit to it or not, it is obvious that his shop is a second home to many and creativity breeding hub, for sure.
So, without further ado, I bring to you the man with the mostest… Glen Coy…
In the beginning, it was my High School friends Justin, Mark and Dan that helped me out with everything. But over time they moved on and I stuck with it. There were a few young kids that ended up hanging around the shop every day. They were only 13 or 14 years old at the time but they are still around the shop helping with team and photo stuff almost 10 years later. I don’t think we would be here today if it weren’t for Brian Evans (www.brianevansphotographs.com) and Mark Brucks. And of course, my family. They are all involved on a daily basis. There are so many people that helped the shop, it’s impossible to translate to others how important they are to me and the shop’s success unless you’re one of them.
So, how did the name, “Epidemic”, come to be?
We were dumb teenagers and thought it sounded cool?… I wish it wasn’t so widely known or I’d change it. Oh well…
Were there skate shops in the desert when you were a kid? What were they like?
Sports Fever was the only real skate shop at the time. There was a store called Dillion’s in Palm Springs that sold shoes and stuff, but no decks. I was always too poor to shop at either of them. We were always limited to hand-me-downs and buying last seasons stuff at Ross.
What was your first deck?
A neon green Nash board from Toys ‘R Us. We were pretty poor when I was little. I always wanted a Mike McGill Skull and Snake board but never got it.
Whats the best trick you’ve ever landed?
I fell off a fence trying to get inside a school to film Milo once and broke my jaw on the curb. Does that count?
What are you top 5 skate spots in the desert?
El Ranchito, all the schools in Desert Hot Springs, Nellie Coffman Middle School, Palm Springs Skatepark, and the Verbenia wash on Interstate 10.
Who are some of the skaters that influenced you? Who are some people that you are a fan of today? And why?…
Everyone that skates or does anything remotely productive on a daily basis is my motivation. It seems like there is such an apathetic mood towards everything nowadays. I get so psyched when I hear of people like Luisa Marielli, Adam Moore, Brian Evans, Sarah Scheideman, Alf Alpha, Alex Callego and Juan Galvan. I get more influenced by people that are getting shit done and going outside their comfort zone to make this desert better and more enjoyable. As far as my favorite skaters go, I’d say Reynolds. Always. Can’t wait for the Stay Gold video premiere!
Tell me a little bit about the desert’s skate culture since opening Epidemic. How has it evolved? What is it like today? And where do you see it evolving?
When we opened up our store another bigger store opened at the same time. Between the three of us it seemed like there was a good group of kids coming up in the desert. Since then it’s really changed. We’re pretty much the only shop around with a legit team and doing events. The Palm Springs Skatepark has really helped grow the skateboard community as well. Kids will lurk there all day just getting better and better. It’s pretty awesome. Without that place skateboarding in the desert would be pretty weak. I wish the city would open it up a little bit more and let us hold contests on a consistent basis.
I just hope kids realize how important it is that they participate in everything that has to do with skateboarding that is put in front of them. For example; shopping at your local skateshop and not the mall, showing up at special events and having a good time, keeping the skatepark clean and safe so the city won’t threathen to close it, etc etc…
Epidemic is located in Cathedral City, a city that doesn’t have a skate park. Is there a need for one there? Do you think they will ever build one?
We definitely need one. The rad thing is that we have the best City Council. They are backing us 100% on trying to get a park built. Most recently, the city has a grant submitted to try and get some cash for a park down the street from the shop which will include a small skate plaza type area. We are talking with them to try and make it a bit larger. This is where we need the skaters help showing up at City Council meetings. You can add the shops Facebook to stay up to date on these meetings, if you’re interested.
I understand that Epidemic is it’s own brand and that you have your own skate team. Who is on your skate team? And what does it mean to ride for Epidemic?
Our team consists of Jared Huss, Bread Juice, Alan Everage, Milo Rivera, Georgie Hathaway, TC Graves, Tanner McFarlin, Jake Devine, Andrew Jaymes, John Gomez, Nathan Klipfel and Landen McMillon. They are some of the raddest people I have ever met. We take a lot of trips out of town to film for videos and take photos for our marketing stuff. I can’t even describe how amazing these trips are. They make sitting in the shop for 10 hours a day 6-7 days a week worth it all. It’s nice to have friends that have a common interest and goal and that are so easy to be around.
*the Epidemic Skate Team
Who is Alan Everage? And what is his apetite like?
Alan is really tough to describe. He’s like none other. He eats 3-4 fast food meals a day. All his Facebook status updates talk about food. He’s famous on Myspace. He stalks amature skateboarders. He can drink 5 beers in under a minute. He’s banned from the shop’s bathroom. The list goes on an on. He’s probably the nicest person you’ll ever meet. If you’re ever having a BBQ make sure to stop by Stater Bro’s Meat Department in Cathedral City and have him hook you up!
Can you tell us about any girls in the desert who skate?
I don’t think there are too many? There was this girl that used to be able to kickflip back in the day. She serves beer at the Ace Hotel now.
What does the future hold for the Epidemic Skateboard Shop/Team? What can we look forward to?
10 year anniversary in March! So excited for this. I never thought it would go this far when it all started. Rey Romero (goochdrool.blogspot.com) is working on our new video for the Anniversary Party. Hopefully everyone on the team can get a part for that. It’s been pretty had due to school and work and everyone getting older and having more responsibilities. We’re trying to plan a couple big trips to Arizona, San Fran, Ohio and New York again to try and wrap the video up. I’m just glad that we have such a good group of people behind the shop. I couldn’t do it without them. As far as the future of the actual store, I think we’ll just continue to do what we’ve been doing for the last 10 years… supplying everyone with the best products with an actual soul and culture behind it, throwing the best parties, premieres, events, supporting skateboarding in the desert, and supporting our employees, riders, and friends as much as they support us.
So, let’s talk more about you. Aside from running your shop, I gotta say that I am an advid follower to your personal website, www.theeglencoy.com, and really dig your photography work. I think you’re a talented photo journalist. I saw that you recently traveled to China and Korea? What was that like? What sources of inspiration did you pull from that trip? What did you learn about yourself?
I would never, ever call myself a photographer. Georgie, who works at the shop, convinced me to take a 35mm photo class at College of the Desert last year and it just grew on me. Then when we started going on trips I thought it would be fun to try and document everything going on. I guess my website is just a way to organize the photos. I have a really bad memory so it’s kind of nice to be able to look back and see everything in order. I’m kind of excessive compulsive.
Korea and Hong Kong were amazing. I got the travel bug pretty bad. It was my first trip to a foreign country so it was a huge culture shock. Korea was definitely my favorite destination of the trip. It has a really cool big city feel with a more relaxed, layed back atmosphere. Everyone there is super clean, well dressed and polite. They have a huge sense of pride for their country. It was really inspiring. It almost makes me want to sell my Toyota and get an American car…. almost. I learned two really important things during that trip. The first being that I need to take more time off work and see as much of the world as I possibly can before I’m too tied down to other stuff. The second being DONT MISS YOUR FLIGHT IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY.
You are hosting an event this Tuesday, August 31st, at the Ace Hotel’s Commune. It is a feature length skate video that Emerica is releasing titled, ‘Stay Gold’. Can you tell us what you’re looking forward from Stay Gold? And what other features to the screening/party can we look forward to that evening?
This is going to be one of the best skateboard films of all time! Emerica, in my opinion, is skateboarding. It’s hands down, the most legit company around. All you have to do is watch some of the teaser videos on YouTube and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I know everyone says this about their events, but you won’t want to miss this premiere. Plus, its at The Ace, with a bar, and a pool!
Epidemic Skateboard Shop is located at 68802 Ramon Road Cathedral City, CA
Their upcoming event, screening the premier of Emerica’s feature length skate video, is this Tuesday, August 31st in the Ace Hotel’s Commune. Doors open at 7:30pm, come early for a good seat. It cost $5 to enter at the door. Presale tickets can be purchased for cheaper at the shop. 21+ can drink. Everyone can jump in the pool after, so don’t forget to bring your bathing suite with you.
For more information on Epidemic Skateboard Shop, please visit: