Sunday, March 25, 2012

Interview > Ivan Greene > Pudge Knuckles

Right, as we're writing reviews and have been busy with some side projects you've probably seen that the name of a coffee company has come up a few times in the last month or so. Dave Bursey if you watched his interview talks about them and I've mentioned them in a few videos that are about to be posted. Why you might ask are we even bothering to talk about a bloody coffee company on a site about climbing holds?? Because it's run by Ivan Greene, the man from the Gunks... you know that big ol'mofo that climbs really hard!?! Yeah him, he's a strong climber AND he co-owns Pudge Knuckles!! Plus we love our coffee over here and it's what we've been taking to the gym and it's what fires us up late into the night as we edit and write reviews.

So we had a little chat with Ivan:

1) Name and job
Ivan Greene - Creator and owner of Pudge Knuckles and I'm a rock climber. 

2) You're a sponsored athlete right? By who?
Yes. Currently I am with Adidas Outdoor, Evolv, Edelrid, and team Pudge Knuckles :)

3) As a climber you're probably one of the most focused and intense people out there, much like Obe, your charisma and drive work well when on camera; what are your goals for climbing?
Well considering I have ADD, it's nice to thought of as focused.

Intense yes for sure. Intense like Obe haha. Obe and I are like brothaz from other mothaz. My goals for this upcoming season regarding climbing are... send all of the projects I started working on in the fall up in the Gunks. I found so many new, inspiring lines that are at a new level for me. And a new level for the Gunks. It has turned me on again to what an amazing place it is to climb and how much potential there is for new lines. You will see... I will send  you some pics and vids. There are some already up from the fall.

Other then that, I am writing the new guidebook for Bouldering in the Gunks this season. And really excited to get the Pudge Knuckles climbing team set up! I know so many climbers who are roaming around with those hands... those knuckles.. those PUDGE KNUCKLES!!! No one has ever had true
pride in our swollen fat ass fingers before. Now we can finally walk proud with the chubby digits!

4) You're a big ol bugger as well, do you train for climbing or climb to train?
I'm a big bugger? Is that a reference to my previous porn career? If so, who the hell showed you those films.. and why would you watch them??!! Hmmmn, maybe you are talking about the size of my fingers? Well, I am not big into "training". It is probably my biggest weakness. I have always been pretty uninspired at climbing gyms. Though I do like hanging and having good sessions with my friends, or just playing around in a bouldering cave making up problems.
Back when I was doing route climbing competitions, like 1968 or something, I used to train a lot.. doing laps up and down in the gym. That didn't last that long and the motivation for me for comps was never there authentically. All in all I just don't spend much time on it.  But get me outside on a project I am psyched on and I can be there all day and night.. in the cold, with headlamps and hand warmers in freezing temps. Or in the middle of the hottest days in the summer. I don't give a shit usually about conditions as long as I can be outside climbing or exploring new areas. It's what I have always loved. A few years ago I got really into Parkour for awhile. Oddly because I had arm surgery from rupturing my bicep and all I could do was run and bug out in the urban jungle. It was a form of high intensity ninja like movement that really got me pushing limits in a different way. It was a different flow from climbing and the almost static power of hard bouldering. It was an all out fast paced, high risk, all encompassing flow that felt perfect. Until.... I got really badly injured (torn ALC, destroyed meniscus, torn MCL, and bone fragment damage) and had to have knee surgery last fall. The doctor says I will probably never run again, let alone flip over rails and land on concrete for hours at a time. He even said I should stay away from bouldering because of the impact.. but that aint gonna happen.

 5) I suspect that you know Urban Plastix, the new NY based hold company, have anything to do with them? (if so what)
Yeah... I started shaping holds with my boy Pete. We both really love creating holds. We were planning on going into biz together but I had to bounce to start Pudge Knuckles and he went on to do UP. I'm really psyched for him because he is one of the best shapers I have known and he's really passionate about it. A true gift when talent matches passion. I haven't kept up with what he's been doing specifically with UP but I am sure if he is shaping.. it is f-in dope!!

6) Inside or outside (Ups and downs of both)
Haha.. see above answer about training. I guess the best things about inside climbing are the friends and good vibes. It's cool to see a bunch of peeps climbing and having good music and a positive vibe at a gym. Feels great. And it can be fun pushing each other and buggin out. Outside... don't know where to start... it's infinite. I love climbing outside... always have. For me this is climbing. 

7) Home gym... which one is it? (as in where you climb in the winter)
Right now I have been pretty focused on Pudge Knuckles. Building the cafe and launching the brand. We just got the website up and these crazy Canadians and Japanese have been ordering our coffees like it was laced in crack (I'm not sayin' it aint). So I gotta stay on the 'grind". Peeps need the beans.. so I gotta keep roasting and coming up with the new freshness. But if I have an hour or so, I bust over to Chelsea Piers to hang in the cave. And I don't know how it's been in the north pole where you guys are.. but down here this winter has been..well, not winter. Up until I got mad busy last month, I was climbing in the Gunks straight through. And I'm planning on getting back out this week at least one day. 

8) Now, lets talk about something that we're super stoked on.... Pudge Knuckles... care to explain the ethos of it all?
WE ARE ALL PUDGE KNUCKLES! Have a sip.. just one. Just ry it.. come on... it can't hurt ::))) I will explain more... later. But for now, lets just enjoy it! 

9) So a climber making coffee... interesting, how did this start?
Bro, probably like you.. I've been making strong ass coffee since before I started climbing. Obsessed! Just one of them things. I met my partner in PUDGE, Hartje Andresen, climbing. We were both always psyched to climb and always met for coffee before. Or one of us would bring some coffee out to the crag and boast about how this was the serious shit. We were in the process of trying to find the best coffee maker.. her being from Europe, she boasted about this company that made the most ridiculously good machines. So we tried finding them. The only way we could track them down was through a distributor. He told us to meet him at this roasting spot out here in Brooklyn and while we were waiting for him to show up I started looking at the roasting machines. Hmmm... the idea came to me. I asked the roaster guy a million questions and by the time the dude with the coffee machine showed up Pudge Knuckles was born. I was like damn... I can create my own blends and roasts of coffee. Instead of the endless search for good coffee, I could create the strong ass climber coffee. Just how we like it. And so it was.. I left Red Bull and decided to do my version of energy drinks. The Godfather of all energy drinks.. coffee. Hartje and I spent all last year learning the art and mastery of the bean. Then bought a friggin cafe full of all the dopest coffee machines to make the PUDGE. 

10) Lets talk about the coffee itself, Dave sent me a bag of the Organic Dark. Now let me set something straight, I love coffee, people have been trained to not even speak to me in the morning until I've got a coffee in my hand... and I drink a lot of coffee, today I had my first cup and I was sold at the first sip. I had two mugs of coffee before work and I didn't touch another one all day... and I drink coffee all day. So tell me about this coffee, get all coffee geek on me!
That, my friend, was our first blend. What we did was invite a few dozen of our climbing friends over and tasted about 6 different roast and blends we had come up with. By the end of this highly caffeinated research project, everyone loved that blend. Two organic beans... one from Peru and the other from Sumatra. Roasted to that specific taste that you now know as EAST COAST THRILLER. I had to name it after a high balls boulder problem here in the Gunks. It's like the same feeling 
you get!!

11) So how hard was it to set up a coffee company?
Oh boy... thank god I have a mental illness that makes me want to do hard things. Explore new experiences. Climbing has taught me this... If I am going to do something harder and more bad ass then anything I have ever done before I had sure better be ready to feel it. And to push through... to push, knowing that the vision becomes reality. The first sips you had of PUDGE make it that reality bro. 

12) Coffee and climbing go hand in hand for you?
Always has... always will. 

13) How do we get your coffee in Canada?
PUDGEKNUCKLES.COM baby!! It works. Or just go to Dave's gym :). Or raid your stash. 

14) Whats in the future?
Let's just see about that...

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