Dane Burman's "Hope to Die" Interview

DaneBurman TitlePhoto: Hodge

Dane has a history of being a hardass who does heavy grinds. In this interview he opens up about childhood tragedy, his newfound vulnerability and even the secret weapon that made his death-defying 50-50 possible—from our October ’20 mag.

DaneBurman photo 3Backside blunt, held high through the kink     Photo: Hodge

I saw a photo of you the other day and was reminded you have a lot of shitty tattoos. Is that tattoo in the middle of your chest a Volcom Stone?
No. It’s a similar shape, but my best friend Kyle is an artist and he makes these sculptures that are Virgin Marys with crystals through them and it’s one of those.

Is it covering up a Volcom Stone?

Okay. It looks kind of like a cover up.
No. You wanna have a closer look?

Have a close look at Dane's incredible new part for Zero

No, it’s okay. Sorry, I’m sure they’re not shitty at all. Which tattoo is your favorite?

Probably that one. Just because it means a lot to me, I guess.

It’s a Virgin Mary with crystals coming out of it?
Yeah. But I mean, it’s like my best friend’s thing.

Sounds pretty spiritual.
I’m not really spiritual; it’s just a little bit of a connection to my best friend. I’ve also got his name tattooed right next to it right here and then his name again here and then his name again here. I’ve got a half a love heart with a K on my ankle and he’s got the other half.

DaneBurman photo 1Big Boy Foy got it frontside, but like a cunning dingo, Burman goes in for the backside attack     Photo: Hodge

That’s a good friend. Seems like a lot of tattoos, though. Is he more than a friend?
No, I’d say we’re best friends.

You guys go way back?
Yeah, I don’t even know how long now, probably since I was 16. I’m 33, so what is that, 18 years? Is that math wrong?

That’s close. Seventeen.
Seventeen, yeah.
Dane Burman Quote Is this guy trying to demo our faces off and get on the team?What’s your best Kyle story? 
A long time ago we were on a Zero trip where we went to Woodward. His dream was always to go to Woodward as a kid, ’cause we grew up skating together and he’s by no mean a talented skateboarder of any kind, like not sponsored or anything like that. He was just the homie that skated. I told him we were going to Woodward and I was like, “Hey, man, fly out to Philadelphia from Australia, join the Zero trip and come to Woodward with us. It’s gonna be sick.” And he just booked his flight and flew out and met up with the Zero team and came to Woodward and skated with us all week with the little kids and stuff. But it was funny ’cause when he first showed up I think some of the dudes on the team looked at him like, Is this guy trying to demo our faces off and get on the team? Then we got to Woodward and he couldn’t ollie the five stair at the skatepark. So as soon as people saw him trying to skate they were like, Oh yeah, he’s just funny and cool.

DaneBurman photo 2There will be wax! Dane plays a little frontside Colorado hold-‘em     Photo: Seidler

What was the highlight of his Woodward week? Did he backflip into the foam pit?
No, but by the end of the time we were there he boardslid the six-stair rail at the park. So he went from not ollieing the five to boardsliding the six so he had a good time.

If he’d had Woodward as a kid he could’ve been a top pro.
I’d say so, yeah.

dane shitty tattoos SEIDLERNot your average tough guy     Photo: Seidler

What’s your stupidest tattoo?
Fuck, I got a lot of those. I don’t even know. I got one on the outside of my calf down here that’s a little lizard that I was like, Oh, this’ll be fun to do and then as soon as I started doing it, ‘cause I did it myself, I realized it was in such an awkward, shitty place to tattoo myself that I kind of just rushed through it and hoped it was good enough. I got it done and I fucking hate it. It’s a really shitty lizard.

I see you’ve got a lot of words scribbled on you, too. Are there any that are especially ridiculous and/or meaningful?
Um, not super of either really. They’re just kind of floating through the middle there somewhere. I’ve got “fuck off” on my knees which doesn’t mean anything. It’s just some tough-guy stuff but I’m not tough. I’ve got “no hope, no future” on my stomach which is from a Scott Kane Bootleg ad back in the day. I always was a fan of Scott Kane and Bootleg so I did that one. That’s kind of it for the words, I think.

dane burman 5050 to hubba Staples V2 BURNETT 8 2020Dane takes his copers and shitty lizard for a hell of a ride. Frontside 50-50 onto the concrete kink     Photo: Burnett

So let’s talk about this trick at Staples. That’ll probably be the takeaway from this particular feature. I had forgotten this, but I looked in your last interview from 2017 and there’s a picture of you fighting the security guards at that spot trying to skate it. How long have you been trying this crazy grind?
I don’t know. I saw it a long time ago and went there and tried to do it for I think maybe my No Cash Value part, which I don’t even know when that video came out. But I tried it for that and every time you go there you get five minutes max and it’s like a 15-stair into the back of a hubba. So you get there and you just have to go and try it. There’s no warming up, there’s no dancing with it to see if it works and it’s an aluminum rail that doesn’t really grind. It’s kinda wobbly; there’s a bunch of things that suck about it. But anyway, every time I’d go there I’d get kicked out really quick. One time I went there with Milton and he got like properly arrested there. Security held him down and had his hands zip tied behind his back and stuff. Then the cops came and they were like, What the fuck are you security guards doing? You can’t arrest someone. You’re just security guards. They made them let Milton go but it was a big deal. Back then I went back four or five separate times, then filming for this part I was like, That would be something cool to go back for. So I went back, I guess it was another four times again with you, right? Did we go four times?

dane copers BURNETTHot Topic colorway copers coming soon     Photo: Burnett

Maybe. You wanna talk about your secret weapon? Burman’s advantage?
My copers?

Yeah. For the kids, explain what copers are.
Copers are this really stupid thing that was invented, what was it ’70s? Eighties?
Dane Burman Quote The copers were the biggest ticket to successEighties.
Eighties, okay. Before people realized that you just gotta be really tough and grind through some shit. But I didn’t feel like being tough and that aluminum didn’t want to grind. No matter how much wax I put on it, I kept front flipping into the hubba. So I was like, Fuck it. I put the copers on and the copers were the biggest ticket to success there.

They’re plastic truck guards.
Yeah, the plastic truck guards, they got me down the thing. I can’t remember what brand they were. I don’t even know why I had them.

DaneBurman photo 4Switch crooks at Burnett’s alma mater. Fuck a book     Photo: Hodge

They were a really shitty off brand. They were kind of a bolt-on. I hadn’t seen any that bad.
They’d just been sitting around my house for years and there were so many times where I looked at them and I was like, Why do I have these? I want to fucking throw these things away. But they came in handy.

No regrets?
No regrets.
DaneBurman pullquote 3So although I’ve always enjoyed your company, I’ve kind of known you as a bit of an asshole. Which is why I’ve been so surprised lately with your digital presence where you’re seemingly setting up an endless self-help line. Is this a kinder, gentler Burman we’re seeing?
I don’t know. I think a lot of people see my prickness or my forward and openness as a kind of prickness. Because a lot of people are very, I guess worried about the way they’re gonna be perceived and the way they talk to people so they put on a fake, super overly-nice thing. Not even overly nice, just like, they’ll just keep quiet about things that might annoy them or bug them. I’ve always been kind of honest even though it’s been to a fault, obviously. A lot of people don’t like me because of it and I think that’s just a product of the family I grew up in. I see my family like once a year when I go back to Australia. The last time I went back, I hadn’t seen my mum or my brother for a year. The first thing both of them said to me was, “Oh, you’re going bald.” It’s like, Oh cool, good to see you guys as well. It’s been a year and you told me to come out and see you guys and the first thing I get is some shit about the way I look and how it’s deteriorating. Thank you. And I realize everyone in my family’s been like that—my grandparents were like that, my mom’s like that, my brother. It’s just like part of what I grew up in and it kinda fuckin’ sucks. It’s a pretty toxic, shitty thing to grow up in. I didn’t grow up in a close family at all. I never grew up in a family that was super affectionate—no hugging, no “I love you,” nothing like that at all from anyone. I think it turned me into this very cold, honest, sterile kind of person—not personality but just the way I talk and the way I think and the way I let people know how I’m feeling. And it’s kind of a shitty way to be, I think, and it’s something that I’ve realized more as I’ve gotten older. I just don’t want to be that person anymore. I want to be more of someone that can—not help people but like, if that option was there where I could have talked about things like this when I was a kid maybe I wouldn’t have turned out as such a prick.
DaneBurman photo 10
So part of you trying to change is by reaching out to help strangers?
I’m down. I’ll talk to anyone. But it’s funny, though, ’cause sometimes I’ll put out something on my Story or on my Instagram like, Hey, you got anything that’s bothering you, hit me up. Anything at all, whatever, and I’ll get hundreds. As someone who’s battled feelings of anxiety and depression and things like that in my life, you read all of that and it fuckin’ kinda hits me pretty hard, too. Sometimes I feel like, Maybe I shouldn’t have done this. Maybe I’m not in the best place right now to answer all this shit and I’ll sit there for days answering people. It’s pretty heavy. I never ignore any of the messages no matter how little they are.

Dane Five0LCC HODGEBetween the direct message sessions, Dane helps himself to a frontside 5-0     Photo: Hodge

I think a lot of times people just want to know that somebody’s listening even if you don’t have an answer. ’Cause you are not a medical doctor.
Not at all. I never am the type of person that’s like, You should smoke a bunch of weed and feel better about whatever. I’m just like, if someone comes to me like, Hey, I feel really depressed or I’m thinking about killing myself, the first thing I’ll say is, Tell your family; tell your friends; get some fuckin’ help. I’m not the person who’s gonna try to fix it. I’m not trying to offer any actual medical advice.

DaneBurman photo 5Spots so good you’d swear they were some YouTuber’s bullshit. Boardy across the ravine     Photo: Hodge

I didn’t know about this, and again I’ve known you for a long time, but like many people you have a family tragedy in your childhood. Do you want to talk about that?
Yeah, I’m down. I think it’s something that a lot of skateboarders probably from my era had some shit like this. Because at the time skateboarding was definitely one of those outcast-type of things and I definitely grew up, as I was saying, with a family that wasn’t super close. When I was ten my dad killed himself and I grew up without him. He was someone that really meant the world to me and I didn’t really think about it until I got a little older that he was an alcoholic and he obviously suffered from depression and he went through all of his own battles and he dealt with a lot of shit. But he was someone that was super important to me. He bought my first skateboard for me. He took me to all my first skateparks. Because my parents were divorced or separated as a kid, I’d spend every weekend with my dad and it would always be things that I wanted to do. He was someone that would definitely go out of his way to do a lot for me as a kid. I remember as a kid I heard about this campground that had these cool lizards that one of my friends went camping at and they caught these lizards up there and I was like, “Dad, I wanna go camping here so I can catch these lizards.” It was like a 14-hour drive and he was like, “Alright, this weekend we’re gonna drive up there. We can camp up there and catch lizards.” So I mean, he did a lot for me as a kid. Losing my dad and not having him growing up, it definitely kind of fucked me up and it made me a lot colder, I guess more closed off. I think that probably attributes to why I wasn’t in a close relationship with my family as well ’cause I kind of shut it off a little bit. I guess that’s where I really turned to skateboarding. I already skated at the time and obviously there were a lot of kids I skated with that had very similar shit, like grew up without both parents or abusive relationships with their parents or whatever. There were nights where I was like 12 or 13 and out ’til four in the morning skating with friends. That’s not really a thing that kids in very close, loving relationships did. 
Dane Burman Quote I like being alone and I like being on my own.So what have been the struggles as an adult trying to come to terms with that stuff? Or I don’t know if you can come to terms, but what’s it been like living with this?
I don’t know if it’s coming to terms with it but it’s a lot of realizations about why you act the way you do and why you are the way you are. Obviously my whole life I’ve felt like I was chasing something or wanting something or needing something in my life and I’ve definitely filled voids with things that obviously aren’t real. I definitely spent a lot of time pursuing girls and being like, Yeah, I’m gonna hang out with girls this weekend. It’s gonna be great. And it wasn’t like a healthy relationship with any of them really, you know, it’s always something to fill the void and it’s a very selfish way to treat another person. I don’t want to be that person forever. In the same way I don’t think I ever want to be in a proper relationship either. I like being alone and I like being on my own.

DaneBurman photo 6Is jumping off a roof a cry for help? Maybe, but it’s Burman so it’s hard to say     Photo: Hodge

Well, I appreciate you talking about that. Let’s talk about this Zero video and the return of the Cobra, Chris Cole. 
What do you want to know about it?

So Chris Cole, he’s back. How did that happen from your perspective and what does it mean to you?
I think it happened pretty naturally. It’s something that obviously, if you look back through Chris Cole’s Instagram or anyone’s Instagram where there’s old posts for the last however-many years, there’s always like, Go back to Zero. Especially with him being back on Fallen it’s like people wanted that nostalgia back. It’s like, We want that guy back; this is the way things should be; this is what’s all right in the world. I think he just moved away from the contests a lot and he’s been street skating a lot and I’ve been skating with him a lot just ’cause we’ve always remained friends through all of it since he was on Zero in the first place. So he and I have been skating a bunch and then obviously he’s been talking to Jamie about it and it just kind of fell into place. It seemed right, right at this time it was all making sense. I don’t think Cole was happy with Plan B for the last few years so he quit that to do his own thing. Skateboarding doesn’t need another board company so he was like, You know what? I’d rather not do a board company. Then yeah, he just ended up back in the fold.

DaneBurman photo 7Howard grind in Denver. Cardiel crooked this     Photo: Hodge

He’s always come across as pretty stiff. What’s a relaxed Chris Cole like among friends?
Really, really funny. I don’t know, I think he’s fucking hilarious. He seems like the kind of guy who takes everything really seriously. As you’re saying, he’s stiff. But I swear he takes nothing seriously; it’s all kind of a joke. He’s pretty fucking funny. I like hanging out with him. He’s always cracking good jokes. They’re always really corny and he’s super nerdy. He just plays into that personality really well. I like it a lot.

You know we’ve kind of talked about this before but you’re never on top forever. How do you feel about Zero and where it’s at right now? What do you want to do with your career and with Zero?
I mean, I could do this for the rest of my life. I’m stoked. I love it. I’m in Zero a lot. I’m pretty hands on with it—I’m hands on with graphics; Jamie’s always asking me about team guys and what I think the plan should be with guys. Even the editing process and other people’s stuff, he talks to me about it. I love being as involved as I am. It sounds crazy to say, but I’m one of the veterans there now. Because I still remember being a flow kid that got told I wasn’t allowed in the van on the weekends sometimes. Now I’ve been there one of the longest. It’s me and Tommy. So I’m stoked on where I am at with Zero, for sure. I think Zero’s doing really well right now. It sounds crazy, but I feel like all the small board companies have been doing insanely well during the pandemic just because they’ve been so straight to consumer and they obviously make more money that way. So all the board companies are just killing it. There’s all these people sitting at home with nothing to do and they’re like, Well, I guess I’ll buy another board today. So yeah, Zero’s doing good like that. I’d like to be skating like this for a long time still. I obviously just don’t know how long that can last. I feel better than I did a year ago, though. I hurt my knee really badly and I took almost two years off. That was pretty shitty for me. I think that was a big realization in my life that like, Holy fuck, I might have to do something else now. I was super depressed, super bummed on everything. I’d gotten let go from Volcom, had no shoe sponsor, had nothing going on. I could barely film a trick, could barely skate without pain because of my knee and I thought it was over with. I was like, Well, that’s the end of me. The things that have got me through have been these outside sponsorships. Like I was sponsored by this CBD company for a while and that was great. They were paying my rent and paying my bills. Now I do Liquid Death and Liquid Death’s great. It’s a lot better for me than the CBD thing just because I’m more involved and because they’re way cooler. So that’s great for me right now. I’d be stoked if I just had those two—Zero and Liquid Death for the next five years and I’m good. I’m paying rent and I’m making money so I’m happy.

dane and orville BURNETTOrville was kind enough to give Burman a song and some extensions for the night—what a guy!     Photo: Burnett

Talk about using the Orville Peck song in your video. How did that happen?
Well, I’d been introduced to Orville’s music through social media and enjoyed it a lot. Then I found out he was a Zero fan, and more specifically a Jamie Thomas fan. That got me extra stoked, so I started listening to his music more. Just through listening to him, posting clips on my Insta Story and tagging him, we started talking. He was such a rad human that I wanted to try to bring our worlds together a little more. Almost the entire filming for this part would be me rounding people up to go skate in the mornings and I’d always have Orville blasting in the van to get the vibes right for the day. I think Vin might have suggested skating to it, or maybe I did. I can’t remember, but either way we got the rough edit from Vin and it was looking cool so I pitched the idea to Orville and Jamie and they were both hyped. There had already been previous loose talks of doing an Orville board with Zero too, so we planned it all out to drop right around the same time and things worked out perfectly. I couldn't be more stoked on it. Orville Peck boards on the Zero site!
Dane Burman I love simple tricks done well and done big and scarySo there’s lots of hot new trends out there. Who of the new kids and trends are you liking these days?
I don’t know. I’m like so, not old school but like middle school. I’m so middle school with skateboarding. I love simple tricks done well and done big and scary. That’s all I wanna see. It’s all I love to see and that’s my favorite type of skating. So when I see that new Mason Silva part, it’s amazing. It’s great. Like that’s the shit I wanna see. I mean, he’s not necessarily a new guy. He’s been around forever.

DaneBurman photo 8You’re never alone in a pipe. Especially if you’re everybody’s ride home. Stale for the crew     Photo: Hodge

Yeah, I feel like that kind of skating can never go out of style.
Yeah, you’d think that, but then there’s dudes out there that skate like that and they’re getting left in the dust. It’s like no one will sponsor that; you can’t make a career out of skating like that really anymore.

It’ll come around. Stick around for the long con. So back to your balding, are you holding out for one more beautiful head of hair before you call it quits?
No, the hair’s done, I think. I was with Wiggins the other day, Chad Foreman, and the first thing he said he was like, “I really like that you shave your head even though you don’t need to.” And I was like, “I’m pretty sure I need to.” When it starts growing out up here it’s real thin. I can kinda get away with it without too many people questioning it, but I don’t know. I’ve shaved my head my whole life anyway. It always seems like I’m either bald or have long hair so I’m happy with being bald. It doesn’t bum me out or affect me. It’s not like I was one of those people that was stressing about one day I might be bald.

Bald is beautiful.
Yeah, it’s questionable.

DaneBurman photo 9Zero or Die… til death! Smith grind for all the gnar lovers still out there     Photo: Hodge

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