Zered Bassett has been about the game long enough to have plenty of good stories and know how the skateboarding industry works. In a recent interview with Skateboard Story, Zered talks about everything including his struggle with alcohol and getting sober, leaving Zoo York, losing sponsors, his new project PaperSkaters, contract issues, Ben Raemers and ditching his Red Bull hat.
The interview is conducted by Zered's former Zoo York colleague Ben Oleynik and so allows Zered to open up on lots of issues and gives us an in depth look at most of his career and where he is right now. Zered's honesty is admirable and any skateboarder can take inspiration from his hard work and dedication to skateboarding.
Something I’ve always admired about you, and I’ve told you this before. A lot of people are lucky to have one big moment in their career, whether you’re talking about skating or not. But you never gave up on what you wanted. You’ve been able to have like 4 careers: early Zoo days and Vicious Cycle, young veteran Zoo days with that crazy State of Mind part, then Expedition, and now Alltimers. And it’s not like “oh this dude is just hanging on.” You’re thriving. It’s amazing to watch.
Fuck, thanks, man. It’s been a wild ride. I think a lot of people just listen to the TM or the person that’s putting them on. I think a lot of people don’t think for themselves or know how things work or they don’t know how to navigate through things as themselves. A lot of people react way too quickly, like “oh this is in now, so I’m gonna go do it”. You just played yourself. Why did you do that? People need to think for themselves. People will get on a company and start to dress a certain way and act a certain way to fit the company. But then the company ends and that’s now your image. Where do you go from there? I don’t want to sound harsh, but a lot of skaters are like puppets. They’re just in their costume, doing the thing they think they are supposed to do. There needs to be more passion than that. You need to think things through.
After the three and half years off drinking, was it hard to stay off it?
Well, after the three and half years, I started having a glass of wine with dinner. And then it turns into, someone asking to go for lunch at 2pm and me asking if they have wine on the menu. It got to the point where I was slipping back in. So I’d be doing 6 months on, 6 months off. And then over the last two years, I felt myself really slipping back in. So as of a few months ago, I made the decision I just want to skate and be healthy.
Also, me and my lady recently got a new place where we have a lot more space and I have an art studio with this big printer. So I finally have the space that when I’m bored I can create shit. Whereas before, when I got bored I would drink. Now I can use that energy in a good way, instead of self-destructing. It took me a lot of years to learn why I was doing the things I was doing. I need to be able to spend my energy or idle time doing something or I self-destruct. Some people’s brains run so fast, they use alcohol to slow it down.
Check the full interview at Skateboard Story here