Industrial Profile 8/10/2011

Dave Carnie - The Top Four Rocker Dudes That Look Like Dave Carnie, Plus An Interview

The Top Four Rocker Dudes That Look Like Dave Carnie, Plus An Interview.
By Cullen Poythress

Dave Carnie is a hulking, bear of man. He’s got long black hair, a thick beard and is of above average stature and girth. He kind of resembles some type of rugged mountain man who chops down trees for a living, resides in a remote cabin in the forest and perpetually smells of campfire smoke and pine needles. That, or one of a small handful of famous rocker guys from years past.

For the purposes of this article, we’ve created a side-by-side comparison of four rock and rollers we feel most closely resemble Dave in both appearance and, as you’ll see, in spirit. It is, of course, possible we’ve left out some notable potentials, but like any exclusive list, cuts had to be made. If you have any suggestions as to other famous rock and roll stage men that resemble Dave please shoot us an email at and we’ll consider your submissions for our forthcoming article, Four Additional Rocker Dudes That Look Like Dave Carnie.

Dave Grohl. Obviously they share the same name. No-brainer there. Grohl has chops on the drums; Carnie has chops with a pen. Drumsticks and pens are similar tools of expression in both form and function, but not as similar as the signature jawline and thick upper lip mustache these two share.

Jim Morrison. Morrison was the Lizard King; Dave now writes about Lizard King at his new marketing job at KR3W and Supra. Morrison went on acid trips; Dave goes on skate trips. Both dudes it seems, as the lyric suggest, can do anything—trippy.

King Diamond. This one might be considered a stretch, but squeeze Dave into some leathers and throw on some corpse paint and we’d argue you’ve got a dead ringer. Even if you’re not convinced, surely you can agree that fronting an epic metal band like King Diamond definitely seems like something Dave might have done in a former life.

The Guy From Monster Magnet. Perhaps the least well-known rocker of all those presented, Dave Wyndorf, of psychedelic ’90s heavy metal band Monster Magnet, is arguably the most outwardly similar dude to Carnie. Again, no-brainer on the same name, but when it comes to looks it’s uncanny—Wyndorf and Carnie are unofficial rock and roll doppelgängers.

Carnie recently accepted the position of Senior Director of Marketing at One Distribution where he oversees both KR3W and Supra. There’s an interview about that below, and a whole lot more. Don't miss it.

How does it feel to be working in the skateboard industry as a marketing guy after so many years of working in editorial?

It’s not much different. Working in editorial is marketing in itself. You’re trying to sell a magazine and trying to create content for it. Working in marketing for a company like Supra and KR3W poses the same challenges. Since I’ve spent so much time in publishing, I relate everything to the magazine world. That’s my schema. For better or for worse, that’s how I look at all marketing. I treat it as a magazine. Is this an interview? Is this a feature? Is this a letter response? A cover? I’ve found that working in marketing and working at ad agencies is a similar process. It’s a team of people who are trying to come up with something creative, fun and interesting that people will think is cool.

What does marketing mean these days? It seems the term, especially in the skate industry, has come to mean doing everything and doing nothing. Is that accurate?

I’m kind of new to the idea of marketing, and this is the first time I’ve had a marketing position in skateboarding, but you bring up a funny point. All the people I know that work in marketing in skateboarding, their title doesn’t really match what they do. I’m not really the best person to talk to about the philosophy of marketing since I don’t have a whole lot of history. My title at Big Brother alternated every month. I was Grand Puba, The Führer, The Shaw or The Queen. With Supra and KR3W, I’m senior director of marketing, but I don’t think of what I do as marketing; I think of it as making fun. I’m trying to make cool shit that the team likes. I’m writing content, working on store manuals, and working on opening up new stores. There’s a lot of shit to do. Marketing is such a weird term. It’s very vague. I don’t like to think of what I do as a job as much of it is an extension of what I do already. I’m fulfilled by making shit with a team of people that’s interesting, funny, engaging and entertaining.

What’s the relationship between being a marketer and being an editor? Is being on the other side of the table weird for you? Is it strange having to sell people or products you might not like, agree with or otherwise tear apart as an editor?

One of the campaigns I worked on at the last agency I worked for was for Carl’s Jr. That was one of the first times where I had that feeling I was selling shit that I didn’t like. It was a bunch of shit I didn’t believe in. I didn’t like working with the brand, the company and the people that worked at Carl’s Jr., but I lied to myself in order to do it. Sometimes when you do an interview for a skateboard magazine, it might be with a pro that you don’t particularly like but everyone else does. So it’s like, “Forget about how I feel about it.” Sometimes these projects tend to be the most entertaining and the most fun because they’re challenging. With Carl’s Jr., it sucked so bad and was one of the most difficult things in the world for me to do. I tend to treat everything selfishly. It’s not that I don’t give a shit about the consumer or who’s buying, because I do, but when I’m the creator I’m not looking to the future. I don’t have the foresight of where it’s going to go. Like right now, as I’m doing this interview, I’m not thinking about what people are going to think of it. I don’t have that kind of foresight. I tend to do things for the fun of it and get what I want out of it—writing funny copy for Carl’s Jr. or whoever. If the company I’m doing that for happens to be something that I like, it’s great. I’m not plagued with a sidecar of guilt. I guess I lie to myself a lot when it comes to selling and focus more on the team aspect of trying to create. Carl’s Jr. is raping the planet with its horrible hamburgers, but I live in a culture and society where I don’t feel like fighting that fight. You can decide that you want to go live in the woods and live off the land, but unfortunately I grew up in an urban environment and don’t have those skills. I’m left with dealing with the culture that I live in. This is how we make money, and if I need to lie to myself a little bit about it, then so be it. It’s not like me sitting down and deciding not to write about Carl’s Jr. is going to change anything, because it’s not. We have to be realistic here. I like shiny things and I like alcohol and it costs money, so we need to make a living somehow and we have to do things like that. Fortunately I’m working for a company now that I’ve been a fan of since its inception. It makes it really easy on me.

People were definitely buzzing about the press release announcing your employment at Supra and KR3W in which the word fuck was used, according to my count, more than twenty times. What was the story there? Does the industry need to use that word more? Are we selling ourselves short?

There was no fucking story behind it. Like a lot of things I do, there’s really not much planning. I’m going to sound like a cocksucker here, like Gwyneth Paltrow or something, and talk about my art. Salman Agah and I were looking at a press release that went out recently for Josh Friedberg when he became the IASC president and we were both just giggling at how boring and stupid it was. If you look at action sports press releases and press releases in general, who reads them? There’s nothing funny going on in them. I’m a fan of fucking with minutia and fucking with things that no one ever fucked with before. When I was at Big Brother we treated every aspect of the magazine as an art project down to the little postal code on the back of the magazine. I want to bring quality to everything and make it entertaining. I just wanted to make a good press release. It seemed like doing something really retarded like that was the best route to take. I don’t think it was the best route to take. I’m actually kind of embarrassed by it.

How come some people can get away with jokes like that and others can’t? Like some comedians can tell certain jokes and get laughter while other dudes who tell the same joke will get crickets?

There’s a lot of stuff I’ve gotten away with over the years. A friend of mine once said to me that he’d write something with honestly and authenticity and he would get shit for it, but if I did it, I wouldn’t. I will get in a fight with anybody and I don’t care if I win or lose. I will usually lose and it doesn’t bother me. That might work to my advantage. You can beat me up really easily, but it’s kind of funny to me to get beaten up. Maybe I have that kind of immunity. How are you going to hurt me? I really don’t like passive-aggressive behavior. There are a lot of feelings hurt in skateboarding all the time, and a lot of times people don’t express their feelings about being hurt. I’m not mean-spirited. It’s all about shits and giggles. I’m not talking shit or trying to cause shit, I’m just having fun. I have a sense of humor and that’s the realm I live in. I live in the world of humor. I make a point to not be mean-spirited. Skateboarding, as cliché as it is, is like a brotherhood. Everybody knows everybody and so it doesn’t behoove you to fuck with a relationship with anyone in skateboarding because it’s going to come back in some way or another.

Old guys always seem to hem and haw about how great Big Brother was. Was it really that good, or are old dudes just jaded, nostalgic and longing for their glory days?

I don’t want to be the person that represents Big Brother. Big Brother died in 2004. It was a great magazine and there was so much talent that came out of it, but I don’t want to be like Glen E. Friedman and live in this fucking little period of the past for the rest of my life. I’m always flattered by those dudes and I do meet them. I call them fat old fucks. That’s why I started Fat Old Guy Skateboards. FOG made more sense from a marketing perspective. I always get asked about what I think of The Berrics or Street League. Skateboarding is constantly in flux, and it’s always going to be changing. It’s great for people to hold on to their era. I grew up skating in the ’80s and that’s my era, but I’m not one of those fat old fucks who’s at the park, and I fucking hate these dudes—the old fat bearded dude who dragged his Lester out form behind the lawnmower because a park got built down the street. These guys don’t have the skill anymore, so they start focusing on the components and tools of skateboarding. “What size wheels are those, bro?” Or that thing where they spit feathers out, “It’s kinda like the old Upland.” Waxing nostalgic about the old days is fine and good up to a point. I’m frankly more excited about what’s going on in skateboarding now. We had a really good time when we did Big Brother, but it’s already been done. We did that. It’s time to move on. There’s other great things in skateboarding now. It’s moving in a different direction.

If you brought Big Brother back now, would it resonate with people in the same way? Or was it a special time and place? Like, for me, I always remember the epic Plan B of the ’90s. When it was relaunched, it was rad and all, but it didn’t have the same magic for me as it did the decade before.

Big Brother should never come back. We’re all too old to do it. That was our twenties, and everything changes with age. Bands are a perfect example. No band is as good as its first album. Metallica is probably the best example of a band that started off fucking gnarly and turned into complete suck. It ends at Ride The Lighting. I call them teeter-totter albums. That’s the album where the fulcrum is. It’s a fulcrum album. Every band has this fulcrum album where they go from cool to suck. Master Of Puppets is where you can hear the chance coming and then And Justice For All. Iron Maiden did the same thing. I think Plan B has done quite well for itself in its resurrection. They have a dream team. They have so many of the top dudes in skateboarding plus the legends. I find it just as exciting as in the beginning.

For me, it’s hard to overstate the impact Big Brother and eventually Jackass seemed to have on America. What nerve did that show touch? Was it like you guys gave America a license to act retarded?

[Johnny] Knoxville always responds to questions like this as it being for shits and giggles. I can and have sat around and analyzed it—’cause I read books. [Laughs] [Jeff] Tremaine always makes fun of me when I try to get philosophical. It is what it became, but I’ll tell you one interesting thing that contributed to the success of Jackass: A lot of it is the talent, but a lot of people don’t realize that Jackass and Big Brother started at the same time that video cameras and point and shoots became available small enough and cheap enough for two idiots like us to get. Bam used to always get bamboozled by people at bars who would be like, “My fucking brother did that shopping cart shit way before you.” Bam’s response would be like, “Yeah, did you film it?” No, they didn’t. That was the difference between us and the kids who’ve been doing this in the millenniums before us. Boys have been doing that shit for ages; we were just the first to document ourselves. The camera gave purpose to the nonsense.

What makes a good writer?

At this point, with the amount of editing I do, a good writer is someone who doesn’t spell every word wrong and has a good grasp of grammar, sentence structure and can type. That’s how writing looks to me right now. Texting and email seems to be eroding language, but at the same time it’s exciting to see so many people reading and writing. It’s interesting to see this absorption of language like with the whole Kindle thing. People are reading books, but I don’t attribute it so much to literature as much as there’s this shiny new toy that people can read books on even though they don’t want to read.

Whose writing do you appreciate?

Authors I love and who’s influencing me? [Pauses] Who’s the lady that wrote Eat, Pray, Love?

I don’t know…

Elizabeth Gilbert. I actually know her name. That cunt. I actually want to do a Jackass stunt, “Hi, I’m Dave Carnie and I’m about to read Eat, Pray, Love.” That lady sucks.

Isn’t that like a feminist book or something?

Yea, she’s a cunt. She went to India to find herself and fucking cheated on her husband with some Indian dude and then dumped that dude. I haven't read it, I’ve just heard the stories. I’ve probably got it all wrong, but I need to read that.

Are there things you look for specifically in writing or authors?

It’s such a cliché word, but authentic. To give an example of a dude—Michael Sieben. He used to do some work with Big Brother and has a new column with Vice right now. His first post had this self-reflexive element to it—writing about writing—which I always find funny. It’s a rather sophomoric device, but also very effective when used properly as he used it. He wrote about nothing happening. It was funny and it was really well written. I’m always impressed with people who can take nothing and through writing can make it interesting. The real writers that do that are people like James Joyce and Beckett who can really take the whole self-reflexive, writing about writing to the next level. I met some guy who thought James Joyce was an alien.

Finnegans Wake?

Yes. That’s my favorite book. I finally finished it last year actually after reading it for I don’t know how many years, maybe fifteen.

Describe your evolution as a writer? Is your take on writing and subject matter different now than it was fifteen years ago?


Come on. When I look back at shit I’ve had published, I almost always cringe. I’m like, “Fuck, that sucks.” Do you ever do that?

When I was putting together Boob I started to edit and thought it was fucking retarded. I remember there were a lot of exclamation points. Apparently I was very excited when I was younger. I will not use exclamation points now. When I use it now it’s out of sarcasm. I’m making fun of the exclamation point when I use the exclamation point. But I was using them then in every other sentence. I wanted to rewrite a lot of the pieces and bring them up to speed and up to modern times, but then I was like, “You know what? Let it stand. Let’s look at what little Dave used to do.” It’s really not that much different than big Dave. I’ve learned more about the rules of language and how to write from experience and from reading great writers. I just kind of write about what happens around us. With Jackass, we were filming and photographing our lives. There’s no real need to get overly creative about it. I enjoy doing that. Marc McKee, in the early days of Big Brother, started a no fiction rule in the magazine. I broke that a few times. We were living such a fucked-up life and I still kind of am that I needed to record it. It’s fun to write about it.

As I get older, I find myself caring less about certain things and caring more about other things that a younger version of myself probably wouldn’t have cared about. Does that describe your experience as a writer?

I used to really like Coors and now I’m really into white wine and wine in general. I find it strange that I went from Mickey’s and Coors to wine and that I could actually drink malt liquor at one point in my life. I wouldn’t be able to touch it now. I think it’s weird how that taste has changed and you can kind of amplify that into other areas of one’s life.

I’m the same way. I used to drink Old English when I was a teenager, and when I sip it now I can’t believe I used to drink that stuff.

I like food writing now too. I’ve dabbled in that for a little bit. I’ve been wanting to start a food magazine for some time. I’ve always wondered if that’s a symptom of getting older. I kind of treat it like how we treated skateboarding at Big Brother. We don’t actually write about skateboarding. Writing about skateboarding is stupid. It’s like trying to describe the color red to a blind person. It’s ineffable. Food writing is similarly ridiculous. Food publishing is kind of funny right now ’cause it’s in its infancy and everyone is so on their own tits about it. People don’t know how to approach topics, and the popular angle they’ve all chosen is to be up on their own tits about how awesome everything is. I’ve been envisioning creating a magazine that’s like a Big Brother of food magazines. Food is obviously the subject matter, but really you’re just writing about the nonsense surrounding it and the personal stories and experiences.

What else, if anything, has changed?

As much as I like going on tours, they’re few and far between now. While I skate on them, I’m fucking old now. I’m 41. I cornered Ken Block in an interview for a snowboard magazine one time. I asked him, “You own one of the biggest skateboard shoe companies yet you don’t skate. How am I supposed to respect you?” I’m good friends with Ken and he had one of the best answers ever, which at the time wasn’t as pertinent as it is now. He said, “When I do something I want to be the best at what I do.” In running DC, he got into the business of running a shoe company. That was his passion. His skating fell off. When you don’t skate every day, when you step back on that thing it sucks to try and relearn tricks. You have that fucking survival stance and it feels awkward. In 2001, when I got hit by a car and my leg was shattered into seven pieces; I eventually got back into skating, but it wasn’t the same. I started getting mad at the fact that I couldn’t skate anywhere near the level I used to skate. It started pissing me off because I also want to be the best at whatever I do. I was never the best at skating obviously, but not being able to achieve the level of skating I was at before the accident really fucking upset me. That’s why kids stop reading in school and miss out on the beginnings of their education—if they can’t read very well, they fucking hate school. If you’re not good at something, it’s not fun to do.

You were a school teacher for a bit, right? What was that all about?

It’s a complicated story, but little kids mostly. It was a state-sponsored reading program where I would teach at UC Berkeley and UCSF and various schools around the Bay Area. There would be various classes I would teach. There would be first and second graders and my job was to get them stoked on reading, then we’d move up to junior high and high school students where I would teach them to read and study better. At that point, though, they’re beyond getting stoked on reading. It was remedial classes, I did have some remedial retards, but I also had nerds.

Actual retards?

No, not actual retards.

Like learning disabled then?

No, they weren’t even learning disabled. They were just bad kids who had fallen through the cracks. I’m entirely convinced from that period in my life that being able to do well in school starts really early and has a lot to do with the parents’ attitude towards reading. I think getting kids into reading and stories and language sets them up for success for the rest of the academic career and lives. If you can read well, you can make your way through the school system at a fairly high level. It doesn’t take much effort. I had a great grade point average. I was at 4.0 in high school; in college I was in the upper 3. Somethings without much effort. Our education system is retarded, it’s just rote learning.

Does it upset you the illiteracy rate in America is higher than it’s ever been?

I was really passionate about that when I was a teacher. I was really pissed off about Ritalin and ADD.

I used to take that shit when I was a little kid.

I can tell.