Tommy Guerrero Interview
By Chad Cordoza
1) Okay, let’s confirm or squash all rumors right up front. Word had it from back-in-the-day that you had a closet-full of the classic Air Jordan Nikes. Is this the case? And if so, how many exactly equal a closet-full?
Really? Strange how rumors start...never had more than a few pair...
2) Does your friend still sell maps to the skaters’ homes?
Did this question just get asked? He's a DJ, hardcore record collector, and beat maker…also collects/restores old cars. We’re working on some break beats together.
3) You’re in a band. Heck, you are the band. Which is better, a "rock" tour/road trip or a "skate" tour/road trip?
Seems to be one in the same…van/bus/plane, bad food, long hauls, lost at 4am, drunken nights, hangovers, good times/bad times, lame show/demo spot, inadequate promotions, store/club owner kooks, broken shit, sleep deprivation, etc. But being on the road can be cathartic as well…cleanse the mind.
4) You were the first ever street skater to have a "street" model and you were one of the pioneers of street skating. Do the skate kids of today know who you are and give you your due respect?
Some do. The hardcore skater always learns the history. These are the ones who will skate to the grave. I don't think respect is due...as long as they skate for the sake of it...
5) You played in a band that opened up for the mighty Black Flag. Got any good stories you can share from that show and/or that time of your life?
Don't even know where to start...here's a good one:
We (old punk band "Free Beer") were friends with Black Flag’s roadie (Mugger). So when they came to SF with Rollins - for the first time I believe - they stopped by the house and we jammed with Chuck for a while. Henry sat with my mom and talked for what seemed to be a couple of hours. She said he was a nice guy. We didn't know who he was except that he used to sing for S.O.A. Later that night they played and he came out like a caged animal that had just been released for the first time…insane! We were converted that night.
6) You and Jim Theibaud started Real Skateboards around the time a lot of skaters were starting their own companies and you’ve managed to maintain the level of ‘premiere board company’ all this time. How have you been able to stay on top of the industry with your products and team?
Jim is the man behind it all. The rest of us are just cogs. The only way to sustain an existence in skating is that you have to be a skater and believe in what you do...no b.s. You have to have relevant people around you as well…cats who know what's up and know how to bypass trends and hype, people who live it everyday. I'm not saying I'm one of them, but I ain't a sucker either.
7) Okay, speaking of one of Skatepark of Tampa's favorites, Jim Theibaud, do you still make him push around the ramp on his board to the spot when you want to skate a launch-ramp session?
Of course. TG don't carry/push/pull nothin’ for nobody! More like gurney to the emergency room…
8) All skating aside, do you like any other sports?
Skating’s not a sport...and no. I dig the athleticism of some sports though.
9) If you ask me, I think you stole the show and put up an Academy Award-worthy performance in Gleaming the Cube. Can you just answer the one nagging question we have had for years? What does "Gleaming the Cube" mean?
Good f!@king question. I think it was taken from a Neil Blender interview done by GSD. As the story goes, "Neil, what have you been up to?" Neil replies, "Gleaming the cube." This could be folklore, but I tend to think it's true.
10) All of these statements can be said when describing Tommy Guerrero: Tommy had flash. Tommy had flair. Tommy had fluorescents. Fluorescents? Yes indeed, fluorescents. Do you sometimes miss those crazy colored clothes you and the skaters of the 80’s used to wear?
Hellz yeah! The wine of youth my friend. You can do what ever the f!@k you want. And if you are an exceptional person you can influence others to look like a complete cornball and walk away unscathed.
11) Any parting thoughts?
I want to come to SPoT sometime and watch Jim kill it...maybe even skate a bit. Thanks to all the skaters who have supported my corniness for so long and continue to do so…I owe you a beer.