The Lizard King Interview The Lizard King Interview

Lizard King is a household name in skateboarding, due in equal parts to his undeniable gnarliness, his obvious enjoyment on a board and his standing out as one of skateboarding's louder personalities. All of these make him an easy subject to interview, with stories for days in between sessions on Frontside Garden's transition section on both a board and a BMX when we caught up with him during the recent European Supra tour. Scroll down to check out his thoughts on coffee vs. booze, fans with Deathwish face tattoos and retiring into the mountains to ride bikes...

Can you introduce yourselves for the readers, names and where you’re from/started skating please?

I’m Lizard King, from Salt Lake City, Utah. What got me started was having two older brothers who skated, they had skateboards so I got one. Then after that I started going to school and older kids were skating. Drink of choice? Probably a Jack Daniels and ginger ale. That makes me sound like an alcoholic…I should probably say an iced coffee, with a shot of espresso in it, every morning makes my day.

It’s gotta be caffeine or booze really, hasn’t it?

Yea yea, coffee is mandatory, booze is a luxury.

You’re here as part of a Supra trip, how’s that been going?

It’s been fun – everyone’s been getting hurt and shit, but it’s tight. Everyone’s been shredding, hanging out. It’s nice because we’ve been hanging out a bit longer, ya know? Kind of getting to skate one place more. Normally it’s like ‘spot spot spot, drive, next spot’. The trip’s been good, everyone’s ripping…Lucien’s ripping the hardest.

Any idea what prompted the return to these shores after only a year since the last visit?

I dunno [laughs], I don’t make any decisions you know? They tell me where to go and I fucking get on it. But I like it out here, it’s fun and there’s cool people. I think that’s why, it’s easier for us to travel around. And everyone’s pretty cool, people don’t care too much about you skating – you actually can skate. They just don’t give a shit, they’ve got bigger problems.

How does it feel to be part of a shoe company who have managed to do a lot (putting out edits and regularly touring) in a relatively short amount of time, what with only forming 9 years ago?

I’ve been on the team for I think 7 years, shit’s been fun man. Fucking cruise, hang out, skate with all my friends which is tight. But they’re kicking a lot of people off the team, so we’ll see how it goes…no more Nick Tucker, no more Romar, no more Neen. Whatever, we’ll see how it goes.

So you’ve kind of already answered this, but I was going to ask – how does touring through Europe and the UK compare to a US tour?

It’s fun because it’s…I guess it’s different. In the US you’re in the US, when you’re here it’s more like everything you see and do is more interesting. I dunno if it makes you more creative, but I feel like it makes the day more exciting than just “oh here’s fucking Alabama” or some shit, or wherever. It’s like, you’re in London and people have accents. You know what I mean, it’s just more entertaining, it’s like you’re in the land of TV or something.

Above photo: Reece Leung

You’re not afraid of hurling yourself down something gnarly. What kind of routine does it take to maintain that kind of skateboarding, do you get on the Reynolds ice bath hype?

Haha naa, I just jump until I can’t then I chill for a couple days. A lot of the time I drink a lot – get sore, have a couple drinks, loosen up. I’ve been sober for six days now though, went in a little hard in Paris. But yea, that’s just how I skate too. I like trying to learn how to skate other stuff, but jumping down shit’s just the best.

With people like Lance Mountain and Chris Miller still ripping, do you feel like you guys will be still be eyeing up handrails when 40 or 50 hits?

Me, when I’m old? I dunno man, maybe when I’m old I’ll probably just quit skating and ride bikes in the mountains. I’ll always be down for skating, I’ll watch it for sure and have a pump around the bowl, but after that I think I’ll just be up in the mountains mashing dirt. I hope kids don’t think I’m dumb for saying that. Everyone’s like “Skate or Die” and I’m like, just live dude! Do whatever’s fun, just not…

Do whatever’s fast

Yea, like I go mountain biking, you’ve got 40 foot jumps and shit, I like it. It takes less of a toll on your body and you can stay healthy and in shape. But yea, I won’t want to jump down anything, I’ll probably just pump a bowl or something. Just try to stay fit so I don’t turn into a fatass…

What do you think the appeal is of Deathwish and Shake Junt to young skateboarders, and how does it feel seeing people with variations of tattoos based around the brands?

[laughs] It’s fucking crazy, I’ve seen dudes with Deathwish tattoos between their eyebrows, on their face, fucking everywhere. Shake Junt too, crazy shit. It’s kinda like Deathwish turned into a cult or something, followers everywhere. I dunno man, it’s cool and shit but…I guess if you’re a fan you’re a fan ya know, it doesn’t matter, like so many people have Independent tattoos but don’t ride for Independent. It’s not like I can say something about it, but maybe just watch where you get it…and don’t get it on your fucking face. You have to get a job one day. Think about your decision, before you make your Deathwish tat decision…don’t put it on your fucking face! But we’re down, I appreciate the fact that they care enough to get it, which is even crazier.

Talking of tattoos, which mean the most to you and which were homemade, drunken ones?

Well the ones that mean the most to me weren’t drunk or homemade – the mum one because I love my mum so much, then I have one for my grandfather. We used to call him Grandpa Gator, they used to call him Grumpy Gator but then he got all nice. So that’s another one…the Lizard King tat is cool. Then I have other shit, like Salt Lake on my knuckles – where I’m from, roots, and I really like that place. As far as shitty tattoos, I got a fucking joint tattooed on my hand [laughs], it’s there for the rest of my life which is fucked. Then I have other shit too, like 18 and over [waggling his fingers], I got a lot of shit. I beat the Nuge in a game of tic tac to on my arm while we were drunk…I dunno, I like ‘em all.

Drunken tattoos are sometimes the best ones anyway.

Exactly. I like the RAD one too, that was my favourite movie as a kid. Rad the BMX movie, you ever see that?

Naa I haven’t.

Really?! It’s all about the 80s, you know biking was super big back then, there’s a place they ride called the Hell Track and it’s fucking sick. I used to ride bikes a lot as a kid and shit, every weekend I got to rent a movie and I’d rent Rad. Or films on how to ride motorcycles, because my dad’s a big motorcycle dude and I always wanted to try and impress him. And I’ve got a space invader, because I like invading people’s space and torturing everyone.

Above photo: Jeremy Adams

Can you tell us about your Wicca wedding?

[laughs] Oh man…yea I met this chick, I was 24 or 25, she was like, 40. Hot as shit, sexy as fuck and I was just mesmerised, so yea, we had a witch wedding. Then I came out here on tour, came back and she was crazy…so I never went back [laughs]. I just kinda disappeared on her…whatever, it was fun for the month that it lasted, then it was dead after that.

So Erik’s just released his Crown Vulc shoe, with one colourway only available in specific skate shops. I wanted to ask what you thought about the place of skater-owned shops in today’s skateboarding landscape?

[pause]OK, from my standpoint? I mean it’s hard, they only put our shoes in skateshops ya know? Which is cool, I fucking get it, but I dunno…when you have a kid, and all this responsibility – someone else to provide for – you want your shit to be sold other place too. I love skating and I want to support skating, but I also love my kid and want to support my kid. So as far as the money aspect goes, I want my shoes to be sold at Toys R Us, I don’t care. Who fucking cares, honestly? Kids can talk shit on me, I don’t give a fuck, but at the end of the day skateshops are super important to me too and I love skating. I think it’s rad that it is like that, but I also think it fucking sucks. Like Nike, Adidas, they’re sold fucking anywhere. I dunno, they act like it makes us more unique, but it doesn’t really do anything. A lot of skate stores I go to don’t even carry Supra, or give two fucks about us, right? So it’s different for me…that’s a goddamn real opinion too. All these shops act like they care about skating but they don’t carry my shoe, or fucking Erik’s shoe, so at the same time fuck you! If you want us to support skate shops and it’s only core skating and people are hating on all these other shops it’s like, fuck you. If you want us to support you, fucking support me. That’s what pisses me off, people are always like “you support all this dumb shit”, but these people support me too. If skateboarding was only in core shops we’d be out of business, there wouldn’t be skate companies

People see it in black and white…

Yea, and the world’s made of colours man! If you can’t see them all, you’re a fucking idiot. So fuck ‘em…do what you want, sell my shoe fucking everywhere, take me to the fucking candy shop [laughs]

Above photo: Reece Leung

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