Interview: Chris Rye / Props Visual

I THINK MORE THAN ANYTHING, THE INTRODUCTION OF ROAD FOOLS REALLY HIT A HOME RUN WITH PEOPLE. IT WAS A ROAD TRIP, WHICH EVERY CREW WAS DOING, EXCEPT IT WAS RECORDED AND STACKED WITH AMAZING RIDERS. HOW DID THE IDEA FOR THAT SERIES COME ABOUT?

It was a time when things were dead for a few months and we didn’t have enough material for Issue 23. We already had the RV at that point, which we had been taking to places and events. I think it was Taj Mihelich maybe who suggested taking a roadtrip in the RV and making a full video out of it. We took the name Road Rules from MTV and mod’ed it to Road Fools, but I can’t remember if it was before or after the trip. The name may have come about back in Appleton, WI when I was editing it. Ron Bonner at UGP printed us up some stickers, which became famous because the crew was sticking them literally everywhere during the trip. I have the last remaining sticker in my camera bag.

THE FIRST ROAD FOOLS WAS SOOOOO GOOD. HOW DID YOU GUYS GO ABOUT PICKING THE CREW OF RIDERS FOR THAT?

We had been hanging out with Joe Rich, Taj, Sandy, Robbo a lot at the time, and I had actually just moved back to Wisconsin where I was living with Mark Hilson and Dave Freimuth. I don’t know if I really knew Jimmy too well at that point, but I think Joe and Taj suggested him so we gave him an invite. When Marco threw the idea for a trip out there, everyone agreed without hesitation and it was on.

DID YOU GUYS GET EVERYONE YOU WANTED ON THAT TRIP, OR WAS THERE SOMEONE WHO DIDN’T WORK OUT?

I honestly can’t remember. I think everyone we asked ended up on the trip.

YOU GUYS RAN WITH ROAD FOOLS, AND THEN MEGA TOUR CAME ALONG WHICH SEEMS LIKE A NATURAL PROGRESSION. HOW MUCH OF AN UNDERTAKING WAS IT TO GET MEGA TOUR GOING WITH SO MANY PEOPLE INVOLVED?

It’s pretty much a logistical nightmare ha! Marco deals with setting it all up, and after each trip his hair become noticeably more grey. The teams are responsible for their riders so we don’t have to actually manage the whole lot per say. The biggest trick is just getting all the teams to meet up on the same day at the same place. We shoot the intros and everyone splits off, sometimes not seeing other teams until the last day where we meet up for a final session somewhere. Then back at home sifting through all the footage, it’s sometimes challenging because you don’t necessarily know who everyone is. In the past I’ve had to print out screen grabs of each person from the intros and tack them up with names just to keep everyone straight!

WHAT GOES ON BEHIND THE SCENES ON SOMETHING LIKE THAT, THAT PEOPLE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT. ON VIDEO, EVERYTHING LOOKS SWEET.

Well, for editing Megatour we generally have to make up this wild grid that shows each day and each team. Then fill in these little grid boxes with what each team was doing and at what time of the day, just to keep it straight when putting all the clips together. If you didn’t do something like that you would literally lose your mind trying to piece together the timelines of each team. When we used to do 6 teams it was an overwhelming amount of organizational work to keep it all straight. To simplify things, we’ve dropped it down to 4 teams for the last few vids and that makes it much easier.

There’s also the problem of: what do you do if something happens to one of the teams? For instance, on MT8 The Come Up dudes got hauled off to jail for a night. Luckily they got out and continued with the trip. The wilder teams are always getting into crazy situations, like the time in Miami when a security guard hit Walter Pieringer with a Maglite…. at which point Shad Johnson ripped the digital camera out of their hands and proceeded to smash it into pieces. Shad didn’t remember it the next day. He gets these strange black outs when he gets angry.

IN PROPS’ ROAD FOOLS/MEGA TOUR HISTORY, THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN SHREDDERS INVITED, AS WELL AS DUDES WHO COME ALONG FOR COMIC RELIEF. HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS BALANCE?

It’s two-fold. One side is the experience of the trip itself, in which the antics generally keep the trip lively and everybody laughing and having a good time. The other side is the final video, which the stuff is usually kept to a minimal just to keep the video flowing at the right pace. It’s definitely a balancing act for sure. When editing you have to remember what might be funny to you (because you know these guys and were there) might not be funny to someone else (who doesn’t know these guys and wasn’t there). So that’s important to keep in mind when putting it all together.

BETWEEN LUSCIOUS LEE WADE AND MCGOO’S FAT SUIT, THERE HAS BEEN LOTS OF WACKY SHIT THROUGHOUT THE YEARS. WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE MOMENTS WHEN IT COMES TO NON-RIDING HIJINX?

Matt Beringer puking with the horse head on in Road Fools 8. That in my mind was one of the funniest things I have ever witnessed in real life. Also when John Heaton smacked a piece of pizza on Steve Crandall’s hand on the same trip. Crandall just looked really confused, glanced up at Heaton and asked “Why did you do that?” Stew and I find that especially hilarious for some reason. When Biz got challenged to run up that desert mountain on Road Fools 9… that was hilarious. Of course Robbo’s finger bike show from Road Fools 5 is up there. Steve Crandall aka Buck Choklit and Leland Thurman aka Luscious Lee Wade from RF2, I mean where they come up with this stuff?

DO YOU THINK IT GOT TO A POINT WHERE PEOPLE WENT ON TRIPS JUST TO FOOL AROUND, AND RIDING WOULD COME SECOND?

Maybe with a couple people a few times, but generally the main invited riders know they’re there to ride hard, and want to ride hard. People are always fooling around, that just comes naturally when you get a large number of BMXers together. Sometimes we can use those antics in the video or bonus sections anyway, so it’s all good. Marco’s pretty strict about people getting rowdy in the rigs though. He has owned all the rigs we’ve ever had, so he’s the one who has to pay for maintenance and fix shit if it gets broken.

HAVE THERE BEEN ANY TRIPS THAT JUST DIDN’T JIVE OR GO WELL, DUE TO PERSONALITIES OR WHATNOT?

There was some tension between Dave Mirra and Rick Moliterno on Road Fools 9. Both those guys have pretty competitive personalities, and when mixed with alcohol you had Rick tossing Dave out of the rig door one night, while the whole crew looked on in disbelief. Dave smashed the shit out of his head on the door jam on the way down, then couldn’t remember it the next morning.

Road Fools 2 had some tension between Marco and some of the dudes. He almost took the bus and left! One other time he threw Chase Hawk out of the rig by his hair because he was underage drinking in the bus. “Old Marco” was kind of a bastard, “New Marco” is a bit more laid back. Ahh, what good times though. If you get the right mix of personalities the trips can become these wild reality shows ha ha.

  • Chad Moore

    Great interview, I wonder from time to time how those dudes were doing. So good to see they are keep afloat!! So much of my life was influenced by Props videos, its crazy. LOVE.

  • I grew up on Props; spending up to $40 (Canadian) to buy an issue, memorizing quotes from Road Fools and following in their nomadic footsteps. Very cool read. Keep it up (Defgrip & Props).

  • C. Doyle

    I used to save my lunch money to buy issues of Props. The one with the Kris Bennett interview was my favorite.

  • Mike Yaquinto

    Loved Props videos as a kid and still do, keep it up cause everyone knows when a props video is coming out its going to be good.

  • LandonP

    Good interview, I definitely won’t ever get sick of the Props videos

  • I used to buy every issue of Props from issue 3.
    and watched every issue more than 10 times.
    Props has been a super BMX information source for us in Japan.

  • Jeff Sack

    I have several boxes of VHS Props issues in my basement. The credits were always the best. We’d quote dudes at our local trails… Miron calling out Stauffer, JRP on taking a shower, Reynolds on clipless pedals… Such great memories!

    The one with the C. Doyle interview where he wants to be a meteorologist when he grows up is my favorite.

  • Peterg

    Props created some of the best memories and friends for me. So thank you!

  • Craig R

    I feel honored to have been a part of Props. That was a great time in my life, and they were part of it. Amazing.

  • Rob j

    Great interview! Props was also an incredible source for new music growing up. I remember pausing vids, trying to figure out the band names and going down to the record store with a list of music I wanted.

  • Dylan

    Props should do a re-release of the early years. Maybe a special dvd that has the whole first year with some bonus stuff; it could have a little insert that shows the covers on individual pages with an old Props sticker or something. I think a lot of older guys would buy these because it is very hard to find these old issues these days.

  • south bay dre

    good read.

  • Emsea

    Did anyone else find the messages printed on the tabs inside the covers?


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