Interview by: AJ
Images by: Matthias St. John, and Jeromy Morris
WELL, BRIAN, IF YOU DON’T MIND, LET’S START THIS THING OFF WITH THE MOST OBVIOUS QUESTION: WHY DO PEOPLE CALL YOU B.FREE? AND, WHERE DOES THE NAME COME FROM?
Zack Gutweiler was the first person to call me B.free when I was in the 8th grade. At first I didn’t like it and people would always be like “WTF is B.free?”. It slowly started catching on, and next thing I know no one was calling me Brian Freeman anymore. Either it was “that black skater kid with dreads” or “B.free”. I’m just always fucking happy, even when I’m not happy, I’m still happy haha… I think everything happens for a reason and B.free isn’t just a nickname its kinda just explains me all in one phrase. Follow your Path of Heart and live your fucking life straight up. Everyone should be free.
SINCE THE BEGINNING OF STREET ARTIST YOU HAVE BEEN THE AMATEUR ON THE TEAM WHO HAS ACTED MORE LESS AS THE FACE OF THE TEAM. WITH AN ALL-STAR SUPPORTING CAST LIKE DON BAMBRICK, MIKE JOHNSON, BILLY O’NEILL, SEAN KELSO, COLIN KILSO, AND RACHARD JOHNSON, WHY DO YOU THINK YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO IS SYNONYMOUS WITH STREET ARTIST?
I didn’t think about it like that, the way I saw it I felt like it was my responsibility to help this new company to grow, so that’s just what I did. Whenever I’m serious about something it’s hard for me to stop and there is so much behind Street Artist that I want people to see it’s a whole lifestyle in itself and it’s like we are are getting to show that. It’s nice for people to be able to recognize me for being with Street Artist ’cause really all I’m doing is having fun.
YOU WERE ORIGINALLY A SKATEBOARDER, AND THAN YOU MADE THE TRANSITION TO ROLLERBLADING. CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT IT WAS LIKE TAKING OFF THE SHOES AND PUTTING ON THE BOOTS?
It’s like sex on my feet. Rollerblading is just more intiment, you feel everything, and skateboarding is more about timing. I still will hop on a skateboard, so don’t go crazy on me when you see me at a skatepark, I will kickflip the hell out of your board. Really though, rollerblading and skateboarding need to unite on something because we are all the same. Rollerbladers could be at a pro skateboarder’s party and you would never know cause everyone is vibing out with each other having mad fun doing the same shit. Just ’cause we have different kinds of wheels don’t mean we both can’t roll, you know what I mean?
I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU MEAN. JUST THIS PAST WE WERE HANING OUT AT MALTO’S CRIB THE WHOLE WEEKEND AFTER HIS ETNIES SHOE RELEASE PARTY AND ESCAPIST GRAND OPENING. IN KANSAS CITY THERE IS A GREAT DEAL OF RESPECT BETWEEN ROLLERBLADERS AND SKATEBOARDERS. THERE WERE EVEN SKATEBOARD PARTS IN MEMBER’S ONLY. NO REASON TO BE ON THAT HATE SHIT, JUST DO YOU, RIGHT? BUT YOU DO HAVE A UNIQUE STYLE AND WAY OF SKATING, WOULD YOU ATTRIBUTE ANY OF THAT TO YOUR TIMING IN SKATEBOARDING?
I hope my style of skating can be perceived as just looking fun and cool so people say “ I want try that,” that’s all that matters to me really and skateboarding let me jump into rollerblading a lil’ easier because I wasn’t scared to try rails and gaps because I already knew what it was like getting hurt. So falling wasn’t something I was worried about. It let me kind of mix the two up ’cause I could skate faster and jump on higher things.
NOW YOU ARE ROCKING ON SOME SLICK VALOS, WHAT’S IT LIKE SKATING FOR THE PRESIDENT, MR. JON JULIO?
Valos are the illest peirod. Julio IS rollerblading so skating for one of the Bosses just makes me think about the future, and where I see rollerblading being at, and who will still be there supporting you. I remember this past BCSD I was just skating around and next thing I know me and Julio just crashed into each other hard like “ BAMM!” It sucked so bad, and as soon as I realized what had happened and who I ran into I was just freaked out ’cause I though I hurt him really bad! Julio just got up smiling and said “It’s all good” and gave dap and hug and skated away. I straight up took my skates off after that, haha, I felt so bad and later I went over to the Valo booth and with out sayin’ anything Julio says “You good?”. He wouldn’t let me buy anything from the booth. Everytime I’d try he wouldn’t take my money no matter what he would just smile and say “take it.” This summer is going to be the first time we get to kick it. I’ll be out in Cali at the end of June to film for 4life. And it’s going to be my 21st birthday while I’m out there so I think were talkin’ about Vegas. I swear ima pull a hangover. I’m super juiced to kick it with the valoheads out in Cali for my bday. Julio is my nigga.
JULIO IS THE MAN, AND SPEAKING OF YOUR HOMIES, I KNOW THAT THROUGH YOUR PROMOTION WITH JUG YOU HAVE BEEN ABLE TO START GETTING SOME PEOPLE IN THE HIP-HOP AND RAP WORLD INVOLVED WITH THE PROJECT. CAN YOU SHARE ANY OF THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES DEALS YOU HAVE GOING ON WITH THE BUN-B, CURRENSY, PAC DIV, ETC.?
I can’t say too much about it all just yet, but just know that the right people are coming together to make big shit happen this year. Just keep your eyes open for Jug shoes in 2010. Austin is becoming a hot spot for music artists. It has always been a place known for music but now there are so many different kinds of music stopping through. Promoting Jugs right now has been crazy down here since I got them in this record store called Pirahna Records. That’s been opening new doors because once people see the shoes they want to know more about them, and that creates buzz for rollerblading.
ALSO, YOU WERE RECENTLY OFFERED A PAYING JOB AS AN AM FOR RAZORS, AND TURNED IT DOWN TO REMAIN FLOW FOR VALO. MOST PEOPLE DON’T HAVE THIS SORT OF DEDICATION IN ROLLERBLADING. SEEMS TO BE AN ERA OF ‘TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN.’ WHAT MADE YOU STICK WITH THE MAN WHO FIRST BELIEVED IN YOU OVER THE MONEY?
I’m just following my heart and what feels right. I’m just looking at the road ahead and I know what needs to be done and what needs to said. Money won’t bring you happiness; I’d rather have nothing and be happy, then to have everything and be lonely.
WISE WORDS FROM A YOUNG MAN. YOUR WORK ETHIC IS REALLY UPLIFTING FROM AN OWNER’S POINT OF VIES. YOU REPRESENT EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE AS IF WE WERE ALL TRULY A FAMILY, WHICH IS SOMETHING WE ENJOY ABOUT YOU. WHY DO YOU THINK YOU GIVE YOUR HEART AND SOUL TO ROLLERBLADING FOR FREE WHEN IT SEEMS SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE REFUSE TO DO IT EVEN FOR THE MONEY?
That’s just what I see through my eyes, like we are all one family we gotta have each other’s back no matter what. I think me growing up as an only child made me value friendships more because I was never really close with my family besides my mom and pops. So it was like my friends, my homies were my family. I wish I could have a bigger heart just to fit all the love in. I don’t see myself worrying about money, I think it makes it worse. I’m just gonna chill and wait. If good things happen then they happen, if they don’t, they don’t. When you die, that money ain’t gonna mean shit… but the fact that I lived my life the best I could, that will never die.