The Rob Gonzalez Interview
Listen skateboards, LRG video and holding down the LBC
Rob Gonzalez just dropped a stellar part in the new LRG video, "Give Me My Money Chico." Together with Danny Montoya, Gonzalez is in the process of growing Listen skateboards and may just have a new, widespread, distribution deal for the brand shortly after this interview drops. With a deep bag of tricks, solid spot selection and style for days, Gonzalez is always on point. We checked in to see what he's been up to lately.
What's going down with Listen?
It's going good, we got some big plans for 2010 and have been talking to Syndrome Distribution about re-launching the brand. There've been a few legal obstacles in transferring everything over, so it has taken a little longer than expected, but it's looking like Listen will have a new home at Syndrome.
Who's on the squad?
The final squad will be announced when we officially re-launch in the coming weeks.
For a while, you and the LBC were doing Listen out of Danny Montoya's house, right?
Yeah, we have a workspace in the back house at the Toya compound. It's basically the art and marketing department/warehouse. It just allowed us to weather the credit crunch and slump in our economy the last couple of years. We operated on smaller, more manageable scale and only sold to a few key accounts. It kept us afloat.
That's a real skate company.
We dedicated our lives to skateboarding, and that's all we know. Gotta keep doing what we love.
What's the plans for 2010 and Listen?
A new video, some new team riders, and a lot of skateboarding and fun.
Will Vern Laird be coming back to make your next video?
Vern is family, I will always film with him, but Vern's got big plans, he's blowin' up on the Team Manager circuit. He's in demand.
What about getting Mark Nisbet to do the next one?
That would be epic. Whatever Nisbet puts together is solid. He's a true artist.
Is it true that you will do anything for $1.00?
Maybe when I was like 12 years old and ghetto. I was poor and the older homies used to torture me and make me do all kinds of crazy stuff when I was younger. I was smart though. I'd make them pay me. They'd tell me stuff like "Go grab that chick's a**" or "Drink this whole bottle of hot sauce" and I would do it and come up on loot. The amount of money depended on how gnarly of a stunt it would be. Anthony Oglesby used to make me do craze sh**t.
Was it the 508 video where you ate a rotten banana?
Ha ha! The homies found an old rotten banana in the gutter and filmed me eating it for like three bucks. I took my three bucks and went straight to Taco Bell. I was hyped. That was back in the days, though. Back when I was a broke little kid, hanging in the streets. Dirty lil' skate rat days, when five dollars would last you a week: 99-cent Value Menu style.
Can we find that footage online?
Probably not. That was on VHS. That stuff's like a dinosaur. There's probably like 300 VHS tapes in the whole world nowadays. Even in ghetto places like Mexico and Nicaragua fools are all up on Blue Ray and DVD's.
Was eating that gross banana really worth it for just $3.00?
Hell yeah! I was hyped. I was grubbing 59 cent Taco Bell burritos for days. I was ballin'!
Who is the OG Lakewood/Long Beach crew?
Damn, that's a hard one because there have been so many different eras and skaters that have come out of Long Beach over the years. Eddie Reategui, Ron Chatman, Steve and Marco Saiz were the crew holding it down in the mid to late '80's. They were all pretty big time pros back then. I would fan out on those dudes all the time. The main '90's Long Beach crews were the 508 crew and the Sellouts crew. A lot of good skateboarders came out of those crews. Dudes like Jason Rothmeyer, Cesar Singh, Ryan Bartsma, Danny Montoya, Brian Paz R.I.P.
How many pros do you think live in Long Beach right now?
There are a bunch of pro's here now. It's like a free for all. It's cool; everybody who lives here is really mellow and respectful. No kooks. You'll get chased out of Cherry Park quick if you act up. It doesn't matter who you are or who you ride for.
Who was the first pro you ever met in Long Beach?
Eddie Reategui. He was pro for Alva at the time and that was like a hardcore tough guy skate company. Those dudes were bad. I saw him at Lakewood Mall in JC Pennys. I fanned out on him and asked for an autograph. He was hella cool.
When was the last time you saw Eddie Reategui?
Damn, not for a while. I think I saw him somewhere random like Outback Steak House.
Give me a good Long Beach Larry story.
There are so many good Long Beach Larry stories. We used to call him Typewriter Larry, because he used to talk super short and fast and would stutter sometimes. When he was talking to you, it sounded like someone was typing on a typewriter. His mom was a super dope artist and his whole family was really talented and eccentric. One day he came out skating in these sheer, floral, woman's pajama pants. Everyone was bugging out on him, but he was just ripping. He filmed a dope line at the Belmont ledges in woman's pants. No big deal.
You still got that turtle, Speedy, from your old "411" video part?
Nah, that fool ran away. He's lurking the streets somewhere. It's funny too, because that 411 video came out like 10 years ago and people still ask me about him all the time.
Have you ever had any other pets?
No pets. Speedy running away broke my heart. I will never own another reptile or pet. Speedy ruined me for other pets.
Who was the guy you slapped with your board griptape side to the face?
There've been a few incidents in my high school days. I don't really want to speak on it, but we just had crazy graffiti beef back in the day. High school was rough. Everyday was a battle: skaters vs. jocks, graffiti crew vs. graffiti crew. It was tough. Thank god it's over and I'm a grown man who doesn't have to fight or watch his back every day.
How did the LRG video turn out?
Good! Everyone worked really hard on it and it's a good feeling to see the final product come out the way it did. We had a great time filming the video and I think it shows in the final edit. The LRG homies are like my family. Good peeps.
I hear there are some new additions to the LRG team.
Yeah they just put on Tom Asta, Billy Marks and Tommy Sandoval. I'm hyped. I think everyone shares a common opinion about what they think LRG's image is, that it's a hip-hop and Rasta company or something. With the addition of these dudes, it just makes the whole thing a well-rounded, solid skate team. It's everything. It's skateboarding.
Words of wisdom from Rob G?
You gotta blow it to know it.