215: Mike Vallely first invert at The Barn 1985…Mike Spotte talks about Rodney Smith, Mike V, DJ King Weep and skating in NJ.

Mike Vallely The House of Steam

Mike Vallely circa 85 First Vert Invert The Barn NJ

Photo Mike Spotte

Jason Oliva The House of Steam

How vintage is this!! Thanks MS for this one. Mike V back in the day at The Barn.

Checkout this amazing video of Mike’s Skate career.

  • Notice the Tom Groholski deck he is riding and the amazing footage of Tom’s back yard ramp (only video I have ever seen)
  • Have you forgotten what a crazy good vert rider Mike is.
  • The ollie at the Brooklyn Bridge banks over the divider and onto the off ramp makes me miss NYC and Weep.

You rule Mike!!! Thanks for all you support of The House of Steam!!

..its nice to have a bodyguard.


Now everyone go see REVOLUTION MOTHER…so says The House of Steam:

Revolution Mother the House of Steam

Photo Derek Rinaldi


Mike Spotte here

Ah, I remember that day well. Cold as a witch’s tit in the Barn. I can still recall pulling the trigger on that shot and thinking “holy shit, I think I caught it”! Being the pre-digital days and a grom with no money, it would be a few weeks before I would get the prints back and show them to a psyched Mike V. Not sure if I gave him a copy back then, but I attended one of his demos at Charm City skate park in Baltimore in 2004 and gave him copies of that shot and others. The look on Mike’s face was priceless and similar to the one he had when he pulled off that first vert invert and when he saw the print for the first time.

My introduction to the central jersey skate scene began when I got a job at Freestyle Surf Shop in Woodbridge Center. My manager, Rodney Smith (SHUT Skates!!)set me up with my first rig, Sims Screamer, that I ticked tacked all over the store, house and parking lots every where. From day one, Rodney took me (and others) under his wing. He didn’t care if you couldn’t keep up with him or what tricks you could or couldn’t do, it was “just skate man”, “have fun”. That’s what we did…

One day, Rodney tells us of some ripper groms in Edison that we should go skate with. We roll up to some parking lot across from Tops Appliance and jam with these bros for hours and hours. They all ripped! There was George (G-force) and Mike Dehr, Al, Kevin, Don and of course this skinny blonde kid with shins that were bloody knee to ankle named Mike V. That blonde kid stood out as far as talent goes, but those other guys were no joke. Don (sorry, forget the last name) was sick. He and Mike would go trick for trick while the ‘no ways’ came from the rest of us.

Mike Vallely Noside skate jam

Mike Vallely Noside (Edison NJ) Skate Jam 1986

Photo Derek Rinaldi

Some of the best times (for me) were when we piled into mine and/or Rodney’s cars and would drive to the river banks at Rutgers. After spending hours there, we’d hit some downhill in the close by parking garage before tormenting the crew at Stuff Your Face or the White Rose late night. Every once in a while Murph would come down from his dorm and be joined my Tommy G. and Chuck to session with us at the River Banks. I can’t speak for the rest of the guys, but when those three joined us groms the excitement level and pure fun of skating elevated to levels unknown.

Many more memories/stories from those days at the Barn, Tommy G’s ramp, Spotte Banks, the Ditch as well as our trip to visit Mike V. in Va. Beach and getting chased by the feared Va. Beach Ninja Gang, that will have to wait for a later day.

Jason, your site rocks! At 40, I am as passionate about skating as I have ever been. I was never the most talented skater, and am not able to get out much with the exception of hitting Lansdowne for an occasional carve, but I love skating to my core and your site has brought back so many memories! Keep it going!

One side note: I never knew Weep while growing up in Jersey during my skating days. It was not until I moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to snowboard for a couple of years. I able to hook up with him after Rodney gave me his contact info. DJ King Weep rocked the Valley and was (and still is) loved by so many there. I would stroll into Mountunes where he worked and he’d pass me on to the newest shit to ride to. My best Weep story was when we rode together one day and decided to hit Corbets Couloir early after a nice dumping of 6” the night before. We roll up to the ledge, I hit the goat path with one turn and I’m in. Two turns later in flat light, and I’m on my back head first doing a 40mph dealth slide for 300 yards down the Couloir finally coming to rest in Tensleep Bowl. I sit up, glasses frosted over inside and out, shaking and almost in a panic. Along comes the calm Weep stopping just uphill of me saying “that was sick” and his calm demeanor. Good old King Weep sat there with me for about a half hour (on a sick powder day) until I stopped shaking and was confident enough to stand a make a turn again.

Weep rocks! We rode the rest of the day and for the next two years we laughed about that every time.


Jason Oliva The House of Steam


Killer stuff Spotte!!

Thanks for sharing…Mike Vallely, Rodney Smith, Weeps…all top on our list at The House of Steam.

Be sure to checkout SHUT’s website(cool interview of Rodney by Mike V) and see how Rodney and gang are going to revolutionize skating….again!


This just in!!!!!

  1. Mike V Says:
    August 24th, 2007 at 5:25 pm eHouse Of Steam…
    I’m truly honored to be featured here on this site… You guys (Murf, Tom G, Tag, Bernie, Jay, The Kane’s, Rod etc… etc… ) were my heroes. This shit means more to me than most anything else in my skate career… Being acknowledged by the real motherfuckers…No stopping until I’m dead.– Mike V

Speechless…. – Jason O

Backward’s Bernie O’Dowd says watch this video!!

Checkout all the post comments below!!


East Coast Pride by Tom Groholski

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27 thoughts on “215: Mike Vallely first invert at The Barn 1985…Mike Spotte talks about Rodney Smith, Mike V, DJ King Weep and skating in NJ.

  1. Wil Mayfield

    Mike truly is the most influental skateboarder alive today. He has changed the lives of man and continues to do so on a daily basis. If I could invite him to come skate my ramp at my house, I would. If there is anyway at all this could be delivered to Mr. Vallely, please do. Mahalo to Mike and the drive crew for inspiring my Dad and I to keep skating. He helped dad get back into skating without even knowing it. Dad had a double knee replacement and is still skating.
    Mahalo to you Mike,
    Michael and Wil Mayfield

  2. Jarrid

    hey mike. i think that what u have done 4 sk8in sk8in all the tears that u hav been around is awesome keep rockin man.

  3. Holly

    Your journey through skatin has been a cool one.For sure
    I don’t know what u were talking about though when u said u were never really good….YOUR AMAZING!lol

  4. Taylor

    I had the opportunity to speak with Mike here in AZ while I was affiliated with SITE Design Group. He was a part of a large tour that came to AZ a couple of times. I was shooting photos at Chandler of Mike doing a frontside fastplant over the hip. Mike would turn to me and say “Look I’m doing it Murf style!”

    No matter what if you’re down with skateboarding Mike is a friend BUT if you have east coast roots he’s even more down with you.

    Mike has carried the Tom’s east coast torch with great pride and style.


  5. Dennis Kane

    Let’s just say the retinal scanner must have been down that day. Mike V. was a Total Mad Man/Kid. Jim and I recall the first time he showed up. In fact, we actually remember first day of every person who ever showed up (that means you too)!

    Let just say, Vert was not his forte (although that obviously changed). He skated with like crazy and we all thought he might kill himself. Now all we can say is, we knew him when…

    Damn glad he showed up!

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  8. Mike V

    House Of Steam…
    I’m truly honored to be featured here on this site… You guys (Murf, Tom G, Tag, Bernie, Jay, The Kane’s, Rod etc… etc… ) were my heroes. This shit means more to me than most anything else in my skate career… Being acknowleged by the real motherfuckers…

    No stopping until I’m dead.

    — Mike V

  9. Bernie O

    Mike is rad! If I could skate like him I’d actually go street skating. He looks like he’s having fun when he skates street and rides with a power and aggression like he were riding one of those big barn sessions with fuckin’ Overkill blaring out of the broken-ass boom box. With that I’m going to take a long lunch and go to the skatepark and listen to Overkill on my ipod and do an invert in honor of our NJ bretheren.

  10. jasonoliva Post author

    Nice Bernie!!

    2:28 on that vid…killing vert and CCCC
    The skating on pearl street by Golman Sachs makes me miss my old neighbor.

    I dug the infinity wheelie too.

    jason oliva

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  13. Colin

    man its cool to see old photos of mike
    I wish he would come back to jersey though
    that would help the scene alot
    btw are there any vert ramps near morris county ?

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  15. yabo G

    Jersey was a great place to skate back in the late 80’s early 90’s. Who remembers Launch Ramp on rt 27 or ADC skates in port reading? There was that other spot at the Inman lot by easy video too… many good sessions at springwood pool, clothworld parking lot, man some good times..


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