Dave Schiff runs the Grenade warehouse in Portland with an iron fist. He’s an East Coast transplant who was born to thrash. A wicked man who was put on this Earth to instill fear in the hearts men, women, children, and hippies across the globe. We cautiously reached out to him to get the lowdown on the snowboarding powerhouse that is Grenade Gloves.
How did Grenade come about?
Grenade started as an uppercut to the jaw of conformity. We saw a lot of people who were becoming jaded with the scene and with the industry, we wanted to put an end to that and breath some fresh air into the lungs of snowboarding. So we did just that, we were a bunch of sarcastic East Coast kids with mohawks armed with spray-paint and stencils spreading the word that we haven’t forgot where the roots of snowboarding came from and that we wouldn’t relinquish control to the masses trying to exploit our lives for their own capital gain. If anyone was going to be making money it was going to be us draining their pockets. We wrote the rules and the checks so we were in turn untouchable. All our friends have always been so down for the cause. I don’t think any of us at the time had glove sponsors so we made a pact. We swore we wouldn’t wear any gloves until the first Grenade prototypes were finished, even on the coldest days in Vermont and New Jersey we would ride bare handed.
Besides Matt, Danny, and yourself, who were some of the first people involved?
7.5% Jared Slater he was our filmer for all the original movies, Tim Karpinski he is now our head of the design department. Greg “Mini Bike Jeske was always getting the photos. Bryan Walton is fabled to have actually designed the Bomb Logo; he also did a lot of the original design work. I myself wrote the manifesto in our catalog, I’m pretty proud of that actually besides that I directed some of the movies and helped with design. Matt is a freaking genius! I don’t think enough people realize how much he has put on the line for this company nor do they know the time invested into building something like this from the ground up. Nicole has always been the glue that keeps us together; she gets the job done in clutch situations. Danny is the epitome of a snowboarder, as a businessmen he has a keen sense for recognizing new talent and keeping the team fresh. All our original team Kyle Clancy, Lane Knaack, Zach Leach, Colin Langolis, JEFF FUCKING ANDERSON god rest his soul, Corey Smith, Eddie Wall, Jason Bayne, Charlie Morace, Scotty Arnold, Travis Rice, Ross Powers, Matt Downey, Bobby George, Rham Klampert, Shawn Durst, Jesse House, Kevin Casillo, Sketchy-D, Nima Jalali, Kevin Sansalone, Mark Reily, Brian Regis, Nickey Wieveg, Max Wieveg, Dega and Patrick Swayze. This was the crew, no one could come close to this team back then or now.
How do you come up with the names for all the gloves?
All our gloves have always been named after personal experiences, places we have been and have course our friends. I think the first glove that really stuck to my brain was the Pinski. We were at the 2001 X-Games and our current head designer Tim Karpinski was in a league of his own for partying. When Danny won the pipe that year he was asked about his run and was quoted about his Cab 9 as, “Also known as a Switch Kasserole with cheese with extra Pinski sauce. That comment got Tim so excited he took his partying to the next level. We found him the next morning with two black eyes, reeking of whiskey and wearing socks on his hands for gloves. He was still half in the bag, when he took off his hat he revealed to us a skullet, which is a mullet but completely bald on the top. To top it all off who ever did that to him had placed all his hair in a bag in his pocket with a tube of glue so he could paste it back on if he wanted to. He went on to rub the socks under Peter Line’s nose, which is the one of the funniest things I have ever seen. If you want to see a picture of it find the first catalog we have ever put out, it’s impossible to miss it.
What’s been the best selling glove?
I am proud to say my pro model “The Holy Schiff was the best selling glove for a couple years. However the “CC935 is the longest running series here at Grenade, it’s the best spring/pipe glove on the planet.
I heard Grenade’s branching out and doing moto gloves with Deegan and the Metal Mullisha?
There has been talk of doing a glove with those guys. It makes sense since we already make a damn fine example of a Moto Glove. Both our companies out look on life are quite akin. Getting Deegan and The Metal Mullisha behind a project like that would amazing. If we do it TWS will be the first to know.
We’ve heard rumors of Grenade snowboards more than once, any chance of hard goods in your future?
There are always lots of rumors circulating about us. I have heard we have been bought 3 times now. One of those happened to be about Grenade Snowboards. If we ever do make snowboards they are going to be the best ones out there, I don’t think the industry is ready for that yet. We are however making a ton of skateboards for our shop The Office. They are reasonably priced, have great shapes, radical art and mad pop.
What’s the situation with the Section/TechNine merger? I think most people were under the impression that was a done deal.
It’s funny a lot of people did think that was a done deal, they also thought we were selling Grenade to them as well. The true story was the start of a distribution company between our brands.
Those guys are all really smart and have done well with their brands, but the fact of the matter is that we have always been our own bosses. I don’t think we were ready to start answering to a superior. We have built this company on being independent which is a very rare thing these days. It makes me feel good to know that I can come to work completely hung over and high five Matt go to my desk, take a nap and then get some work done. Grenade is the best work environment ever!
Most famous person you’ve seen wearing Grenade gear?
The most famous person in Grenade this year was Eddie Murphy. We traded him a Ground War Jacket for that red leather jump suit he wore in Delirious. The biggest douche I saw wearing Grenade gear this year was K-Fed. That Hoodie he was wearing in US Weekly was actually a hand me down from Justin Timberlake. He probably slept in the streets and begged for vanilla lattés from Starbucks wearing that after Brittney kicked him out.
What’s next for the brand?
Marketing wise we are really going to be pressing hard with the TPS Report Video Mag. TPS 4 should be out on shelves soon, we’re going to continue on with that and make it the best we can. A possible tour, one similar to the “Grenade Strikes Back Tour” but this time in Japan may be in the works as well. Grenade Games will be bigger and more bad ass than ever next year as well. For the line we are working with some really amazing artists for the G.A.S. (guest artist series) stuff. We are also going to make some heads spin with our Beer Goggle technology, we’re on the verge of cracking the secret. We just keep blacking out and forget to write it down. We are also going to be the first glove company to introduce see through gloves, we’ll incorporate that into our women’s outerwear as well. Oh last but not least Tennis…there are huge things happening with tennis. We love wacking some balls.