Interview by Heath and Granger: Circa- 2010? // Bomb Snow Issue 11
If you don’t know who Greg Stump is, you either don’t ski much or you’re a youngster. Stump had his stamp as creator, narrator, cinematographer, editor and musical prodigy on just about every ski flick worth watching in the 80’s and 90’s. Stump’s films gave rise to rippers including Scot Schmidt, Glen Plake, Mike Hattrup, Tom Jungst, Rasta Stevie, and many other heavy hitters. This interview provides insight into Stump’s world. Read, enjoy, be inspired. – Bomb Snow
Q: If you could be any animal in the world, what would you be?
The one I am…
Q: Describe a typical day for yourself in Teton Valley? what are your work hours like?
Very Ben Franklin… early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise… kidding sort of. During the edit crunch it’s pretty regimented albeit a late night regiment… I do all my own editing and narration, so it’s me on the board twisting dials and pushing buttons… always has been that way. So, lots of hours in the studio by myself thinking and trying things.
I love it. I started in the old school of cutting film… then editing linear video… now with non-linear (Computers and programs like Final Cut) it’s like someone took a pail off my head as you can try any idea with a keystroke. I often wonder if today’s filmmakers understand the relative ease with which they are able to create films? Part of the reason I can’t sit through any of today’s ski
movies is what I perceive as a lack of creativity and persistence combined with a slight degree of laziness. Most the film dudes relegate the editing to some intern… that would never work for me….
so I do it all myself and that takes months of concentration and fortitude.
Q: How did you meet Willie Nelson?
Stump: I was living in Maui where Willie and his family have a home and where his kids were going to school at the time… A small recording studio had opened up on the North Shore and they had been interested in doing some music videos with me. By that time, my music video credits included The Fat Boys, The Beach Boys, Dinosaur JR., The Art Of Noise, and Seal… I’d also just finished a SuperBowl commercial with Tony Hawk for Disney, so I was a pretty experienced commercial director for the Maui scene. The studio called and asked if I wanted to videotape a secret Willie Nelson show to be held at Willie’s buddy Jim Fuller’s famous dive bar, Charley’s in Paia. There was no budget, Willie had not granted clear permission to film, and I had no gear on Maui… nor any camera operators… so I went and bought tickets for my camera operators (read friends) in case Willie said no at the last minute we could still see the show, I gave my friends home video cameras, and trained them on what to shoot at the show.
Long story short, Willie blew the roof off the place and it was all filmed and recorded… Once I started perusing the raw footage, I realized I had to put this show together, budget or not… I did not meet Willie the night of the show and spent the next five months making the edit (which was wildly intricate as we used home video cameras which run at different and varying speeds so the edit was a massive amount of algorithms and I suck at math!). As I was building the movie, many of Willie’s friends saw the work in progress and loved it. They eventually forced him to watch the video. (Willie, forever the gentleman, had heard I was working for five months for free and figured there’s no way it could be any good as he knew nothing about me, so he did not want to see it with me present for fear of hurting my feelings if he didn’t like it.) Well, he finally gave in and met me and saw the movie which made the little bar show look like a mini-Woodstock on steroids! Willie loved it and sort of took me under his wing and let me film everything from his Fourth of July picnic in Texas with Neil Young, Merle Haggard, Los Lonely Boys, Grateful Dead… you get the picture… to his secret poker room on Maui with the likes of Woody Harrelson, Coach Don Nelson, Dennis Kucinich and the likes playing poker and doing all sorts of unmentionable things… I have hundreds of hours of unseen behind the scenes footage with Willie Nelson and friends which someday I’ll make something with… Getting to know Willie Nelson personally has been a career highlight to say the least… If I ever get famous, I want to conduct myself like him.
Q: What is you’re take on the ski industry today?
Stump: I’m really indifferent to the ski industry… always have been. Even though I certainly owe thanks, as my life has been way more fun and exciting because of skiing, I don’t think too much of the industry
as a whole. Let’s face it, if you are a brilliant marketing person, you go to work for Apple Computer or Electronic Arts right? I mean when you look at a company like K2 who purposely losses sponsored
skiers like the Mahre Brothers, Scot Schmidt, Glen Plake, and Kim Rieichelm and replaces them with guys who wear their baseball caps sideways and pants around their asses spouting sophomoric
bullshit in stupid, vapid, bro-speak… I just smile and laugh… idiots… those skiers built K2… not some suit in a glass tower… dumb.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Back under the palm tree in the South Pacific drinking ice-cold Corona with lime laughing my ass off!
Q: How about your favorite ski porn you didn’t create?
Stump: First of all, I’ve never made ski porn… my movies, immature or not, have at least had some feel for being entertainment… I’m neighbors and friends with most the TGR guys and love the action they get…
Steve and Murray at MSP do a great job… I really don’t and can’t watch ski movies from the modern era… rather go read a good book… or beat myself with a blunt object.
Q: You mentioned Empowerment as one of the best things you can do, please elaborate…
It’s true… look at all the artists and athletes who I found and empowered… Glen Plake, Scott Kennet and Zudnick, Kim Riechelm, Mike Hattrup, Johnny Liquid Speed, Troy Jungen, Tom Jungst, Jimbo Morgan,
Kevin Andrews, Lynne Wieland… my brother Geoff… Scot Schmidt was discovered by Gary Nate for Warren Miller but didn’t really break out until being in “Blizzard”… Hell, both Tony Hawk and Laird
Hamiltons’ first appearances in a film were for me… then the Photographers… Bruce Benedict, Christian Begin, Christian Schneider, Ace MacKaySmith… they all started 16mm motion because I put a
film camera in their able hands… shooots, there was a time when Seal would claim his big break in North America was from being in “Groove Requiem: In The Key Of Ski” when his first CD broke out
here in the States… I used Bjork before she was famous… most that ZTT music nobody outside of England knew about… I love to see my friends do well!
Q: What writer or director were you most influenced by?
Terry Gilliam, the only American in Monty Python who made “Fisher King”, “Life of Brian”, and the amazing “Brazil”, and Rob Reiner.
Q: You’ve teamed up with Micah Black and Ryan Gillentine to Create Blizzard Cinema Works, can you tell us more about the Clockworks Studio space you have and some funny shit that goes on behind closed doors?
Well, it is the nicest physical space for an edit bay I’ve ever been in… bar none… L.A., New York, London… our room rocks, and technically we have a very happening scene. We built it by editors for
editors… Funny shit? Drop by for a” Sunday Slow-Roast” when Micah is cooking Russian Kabobs with “Petron Sauce” and brace yourself…
Q: have you ever been miss-quoted?
Stump: All the time, but non as severe as Rob Story’s Skiing Magazine article last year. I am friends with Rob and like him lot’s, but he really fucked us in the ass with miss-quotes and down right fabrications…
there was a ton of libel in the article… but in his defense, he was trying to create something that did not exist for his editors at Skiing to perpetuate some kind of “Bad-Boy” image to sell magazines.
I only do written or electronically recorded interviews now… no guy with a note pad trying to keep up anymore…
Q: What do you know about the pro-conscious development party?
I made it up for Rasta Stevie…
Q: When does your newest film “ Legend of Aahhh’s” premier, and where?
Stump: Not sure yet as we are going for a major theatrical release… so we are at the mercy of a studio distibutor to a degree… We may do a ski town tour next fall… It really depends on the quality of the film…
If it’s as cool as “Dogtown”, we’ll see you all at the Metro-plex!
Q: Can you give us a glimpse into the soundtrack of your new film?
All stuff you’ve never heard of except “Death Cab For Cutie” and “Prince”… you’ve heard of them. It is a musical feast…
Q: is there anything you’ve wanted to put in a film but couldn’t?
Stump: Yeah, the goof-ball opening we shot for “Legend”… it’s freakin’ hilarious but just did not fit in the film! Too much of an inside joke that was reminiscent of other ski film openings… so I reluctantly
cut it… for the better.
Q: Will you ever resurrect the Glen Plake Helmut Cam?
With today’s small cameras not a chance… that thing weighed 12 pounds…
Q: What’s your favorite apres ski bar? why?
Boy!? So many choices… The GLC in Whistler is great mostly because of Mike Varrin and his amazing staff. The bottom of the Grand Montet in Chamonix can be pretty frightening…
The Mangy Moose in Jackson when “Menace” is allowed in can rock… They are all fun when me and my entourage of miss-fits are around!!! Ha Ha!
PEACE OUT! -Greg
Here’s some other relevant link Stump’s debut: http://espn.go.com/action/freeskiing/story/_/id/8400370/greg-stump-unveils-legend-aahhhs
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