In- Depth: Brent Strittmater
From Wisconsin to Huntington Beach, working at a Brewery and skateboarding. I sat down with Brent over some beers and talked about his journeys. I have to say this is one hard working guy. After working a long weekend at the brewery he is always down to go out and give it is his all. Enjoy!
W: So what's been up since moving to LA? How’s the transition been?
B: It’s been good dude honestly I have always dreamed of moving out to California, so it was pretty intense moving out right after high school but honestly it was the best decision I probably ever made. That was 2009, end of September I think.
W: Hard to leave everything, but a good move?
B: Yeah I didn’t really have anyone out here. My sister lives out here but other than that the rest of my family is back in Wisconsin. So I had to stay with her for about a year, I had a bunch of homies that I moved out with, I think there was probably like 5 of us all together, so we all drove out here. Couple of the homies lived in LA, some in Hollywood, couple homies went out to SF. Pretty much after the first year everyone went and did their own thing.
W: Sounds like everyone was killing it?
B: Yeah, everyone who was out here was killing it, skating super hard, getting photos and clips. One of the homies, Travis Erickson, moved up to SF and was AM for Santa Cruze, he was killing it. And other than him everyone else dipped back to Wisconsin. Luckily my homie Sheffy introduced me to everyone, hooked me up with their numbers. He dipped out a few months after we got out here, so I didn’t know any of these guys to well. Like I had skated with them a few times back in Wisconsin, I just hit them up like, Yo dude I don’t really know anyone out here yet, let's go skate. It pretty much just went off from there. It was a trip because they all skated for Alumni skate shop, back in Madison, it was Dave Mayhew's skate-shop. It's so sick that Sheffy now owns Freedom Skate Shop in Madison holding down the skate scene and keeping the hype alive. Big ups!
W: So you grew up in La Crosse – its pretty small right?
B: Yeah it’s like 2 hours west of Maddison, right on the Mississippi. Right on the border of Wisconsin and Minnesota. But probably my senior year after skating with Sheffy for like 2 years or so he started taking me on little weekend missions to Madison, and he introduced me to David Mayew, Travis Erickson, Andrew Norris, Jack Richardson, Ryan Perea and a couple other homies. So that turned into the mission for the last few months of high school. Like every weekend we wold just cruise down there and skate.
W: When did you really start skating?
B: I started skating a bunch like pretty hard probably my sophomore year of high school.. Started working at the skate shop. So just going to school all day then going to work at the skate shop. They had an indoor skatepark so after shutting down I would skate the park all night. It was actually a pretty sick set up, especially in the winter. There weren't really any other indoor skateparks around besides Four Seasons park in Madison but that's not too close so it came through for the -20 to -40 degree winters.
W: What was the transition like to working at Progress brewery?
B: That's definitely a funny story dude. When I was working at the pizza shop the two owners of Progress would always come in because their brew days where Tuesdays at the time. I first met them as customers. I heard that a brewery opened up down the street but I had never checked it out. So they would come in every Tuesday, kinda got to know them a little and that they own Progress. I was cooking for them all the time, and since they're local the owner told me to give them a little discount and hook them up with a beer. So I would hook them up and everything and they kept on coming in every Tuesday and kind of same scenario as how I got into Cold Stone they saw me busting my ass like with customer service and everything. I was still living with my homie Geoff who introduced me to Brian who owns Rose City. One day he took me over to the brewery to check it out and beer was super good, prices were amazing and they are open an hour before and an hour after, so, perfect timing, a little after work beer (Laughs). So I would cruise through Progress a bunch, started talking to them, and over time they asked me if I was interested in working for them eventually. They explained the hours and tips and basic procedures. I was like fuck yeah dude like I’m down.
W: Lot better work environment?
B 100% those jobs definitely were pretty stressful but working at the brewery is just a way more fun environment and right up my alley. A major upgrade for sure haha.
W: Seems like you get to do some cool stuff at Progress. I can say from personal experience it's a lot tighter in there now from the first time I went.
B: Yeah I am still tending the bar but helping out with more duties and more responsibilities and everything, keeping the place clean and trying to come up with ideas to improve the ambience of the place and the things we can do to be better for the customers. Make it more welcoming and inviting and comfortable. Like recently as seen in one of the photos in this interview, turning old barrels into trash cans and cutting some in half for planters, Going to be putting some hops in those, along with new patio furniture. Just stuff to make it more comfy and a sick spot to go to where it's relaxing and a good time.
W: Alright so back to skating, Since your most recent part in "Livin", what's been up since then. What's the Monday through Sunday look like?
B: I just recently got it worked out so I have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday off, which has helped out tremendously. I used to only have Tuesday and Wednesday off. Yeah so pretty much work Thursday through Sunday, Monday try to cruise a park, try and film if I can. Keep it more mellow. Tuesdays go film with Tommy, owner of Good Skateboards, working on a part for their first video, “Turn on, Tune in, Drop out”. We have been putting in work, no real dates yet for it being done. Just going out whenever we can trying to stack for it. I want to get another minute or two of footage for it. It's been super fun filming for that on Tuesdays. Other than that, link up with you and Unk, try and stack photos and clips whenever I can, been working on this interview for the fish files! Shout out to fish files! (Laughs) stoked to be doing this, definitely been fun. There definitely needs to be more of this!
W: You have a favorite trick right now?
B: Honestly the one I’m the most hyped about is the front tail, 270 to back nose blunt at Dwyer back to fakie.
W: Favorite beer?
B: Definitely a good IPA.
W: Specific, I don’t want some bullshit, best IPA in your mind?
B: I would say one of my favorite IPAS is Knee Deep, Simtra triple IPA, that shit is fucking amazing.
W: Tap, bottle or can for that?
B: Honestly any of them. Off the tap it's amazing. They're from Auburn in Northern California. But that's like one of the first things that got me super hyped on IPAs. We had it on tap when I worked at Rose City before I started working at Progress. Hands down knee deep IPAs are my favorite. If you find them anywhere try the Simtra triple IPA. You wont be disappointed. It's fucking amazing.
W: What song is getting you the most hyped right now?
B: Lately I have been getting into a lot of Appolo Brown. He does a lot of sampling from like old school records, like really old school fucking hip-hop kinda vibe like that and was it MF Doom and Masta Ace? They had a couple mix tracks, like Me And My Gang, Nineteen Seventy Something, those are some fucking dope ones. I have been getting more into the kinda old school, I don't know exactly how to describe it, kinda soulful like vinyl hip hop melody type shit.
W: Last song that was played on your iPhone?
B: Blue Trilogy by Cool G rap, that was from on the way over to your place.
W: Favorite spot to skate right now?
B: That rail against the wall in Redondo beach, I definitively want to go back there and mess around on something, even that out ledge at that church in Pasadena. Anything new that I haven’t skated before I always have the most fun with. That's one thing that I thrive on, being taken to new spots. Something I haven’t seen before, that's something that really brings the excitement, that's what I get most hyped on. Like you take me to any new spot and I will try to figure out how it works and what I can do on it or what I want to do on it or what looks fun.
W: Who has been the biggest person that helped skating wise since you have been here?
B: Honestly, Tommy De Maria and Tosh Townend from Good Skateboards. Like dude they have plugged it so hard. In general too just the whole good crew, they have all had a huge impact. Definitely Andreau Soptich, getting me in touch with Bill Keller, team BK, and getting me on the éS program! It was sick coming into something and all these dudes came together not knowing each other and everyone just clicked like family right off the bat. Tommy's working left and right plugging GOOD and all his riders. So thank you TD, fucking killing it!
W: What do you think you would be doing if you didn’t move here?
B: I have thought about it a few times, and I don’t really know. Honestly I think I would have just gone to college and then who knows. Pushing papers behind a desk or be a teacher. Honestly thank god I made that decision, I would be sitting in the snow right now not doing shit.
W: What did your parents do when you where growing up?
B: They managed a couple bars, and for a while they managed a camp ground. Now they have their own bar, Kings Corner in La Crosse, WI.
W: Anyhting to say for someone reading in a smaller town, trying to get out?
B: If you have an opportunity to get out, take it. Like it's always worth it. Even if you get out and attempt something and you go for what you want and it fails, at least you tried. You can't go through life without trying, if you want to do something just go for it. Just blindly go for it, everything works out at the end.