The Complete and Uncut Geoff Rowley Interview

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“I had a dream last night. It was the most messed-up dream I’ve ever had. The aliens were attacking the world, the sky was going all purple, and the clouds were coming down. I tried to hide in a dumpster with this girl, and I realized it wasn’t going to work, so we climbed out of the dumpster and went into this abandoned house. It was a dead, depressing scene. We went in the attic and stayed there for a little while, then we went outside thinking everything was going to be okay, but it wasn’t. It was all grim and sketchy, and dead quiet, and there was still no one around. I was following the girl around the side of the house, I looked at her ass, she bent over, then I just bolted.”

Ed: Were there any spots on the sheets?

Geoff: There were lots of spots.

Tell me about the Las Vegas incident. What happened to you, including the impending court tribulations that go along with it?

I was in jail for two days, and they charged me with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, and failure to obey a police officer. I had to go back to Las Vegas for a court date, pleaded guilty, and they’ve basically given me six months’ probation and a 500-dollar fine, and that’s about it. I have to go back to Las Vegas again in December, and then it ends.

From what I gather, these supposedly tough cops, who are gnarly and badass and fight gangsters and stuff, were crying about their ankles being sprained because they had to chase you?

Yeah, basically two of the cops fell over, rolled their ankles, and were crying like little babies. They wanted to take me for whatever they could, when I hadn’t really done anything violent or bad. All I did was try to get out of the situation by just skating off. I have the cop being totally rude to me on video, and I have me running off the screen on video. In it you can see how I wasn’t being obnoxious or particularly rude.

You’ve had to pay lawyers and go to court for skateboarding, do you see that as part of the job of a pro skater?

This situation was really exaggerated. Even after they’d caught up with me and spoken to me, I hadn’t done anything wrong other than skating off. Nothing worth putting me in jail for two days and making me go to Las Vegas three times, and making me think I was going to do time, and making me pay all this money. It’s cost me at least five-grand just for this incident.

Five-grand? Holy shit!

Well I’ve had to fly to Las Vegas twice already, and I had to pay a lawyer two-and-a-half grand. I’ve got to go to Vegas again in December, so I have to fly there again and pay for hotels.

That’s so much cash, man!

And to deal with the stress. You know what I’ve been going through with all that crap¿I just don’t need it right now. I’m on probation for six months. I have to go back to Vegas and tell the judge I’ve been a good boy, and then he’s gonna end it.

You’re on probation in the driving world, too.

Yeah, I’ve been having a bad six months. This is gonna make me sound like someone who can’t control their actions, but I can control my actions! I’ve just been going through a rough six months. I had a bit of aggression, so I got some speeding tickets, some illegal U-turns, and I’m about to be a … what’s it called?

A negligent driver.

I’m right on the edge of that. But that’s good, and who cares?

Do you think these laws against skateboarding are justified?

Sometimes they’re justified, but a lot of the time they’re not. They give cops the power to do stupid things to young kids, like take their boards away and make them think they’re doing bad things, when in reality they’re not doing anything bad or negative. They’re doing something that’s positive, but they’re getting in a lot of trouble for it. They’ve only just started to build parks to help that problem, but in this area¿around Huntingt Beach¿they really need to build a proper outdoor skatepark that kids can skate every day. There’s too much conflict. And then parents get annoyed at their kids for getting in trouble. Something needs to be fixed along those lines. I don’t know what, but something.

A lot of people were stoked on the 50-50 you did in that Vans ad, it’s a pretty big ledge to be throwing yourself down. What pushes you to do something like that?

Personal problems. Right now all the things I’m doing in skateboarding aren’t really just because I’ve got some bee up my ass. Truthfully, I got dumped by my girlfriend, who I was fully in love with, and my only release is going out skateboarding. It has seriously helped me push myself as far as I can go. I really do not care if I get hurt. Right now all I care about is pushing myself as far as I possibly can, and it’s sad to say, but she’s basically what made me do that.

When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time and it suddenly ends, you’re not at peace with yourself. You don’t know what to do with yourself, you’re not sure what’s going to happen. My only release from my head problems is to go out skating and basically kill myself and keep getting back up and doing it again. And I’m gonna do that for quite a while.

You were saying that pushing yourself is something that’s happened recently, but before this happened, it wasn’t like you were a wuss. You’ve been going strong since you guys came over here from England. What keeps you motivated?

I just love skating, and I always do it for that reason. I never go out to get coverage, then not skate for a week, then go get more coverage. I skate for myself. If I go through phases where I get sick of shooting photos, I try to lay off and just skate for the main reason I started in the first place. But lately it hasn’t been like that, it’s been full-steam ahead. I have no motivation problems whatsoever right now. I’ve got too much motivation, which is good and bad, because it means I’m getting hurt a lot, but it also means I’m doing a lot of stuff I never thought I could do.

But I don’t just jump on big ledges and handrails every day; I like to skate all kinds of little stupid things¿curbs and whatnot. But I get full release on the big stuff.

Let’s revert back to 1992. Geoff Rowley, the skater kid, living in Liverpool. What was your typical day?

Typical day was a Saturday. I’d wake up around 7:30, and I’d go out the door at 8:30 to meet my friend at his house¿8:30 … in the morning! Going skating at 8:30!

Which is amazing now because we never wake up before noon.

No, I don’t go skating at 8:30 anymore. But back then I’d wake up at 8:30, go meet my friend, and we’d get the bus into town. We’d be in the skate shop all day hanging out looking at boards we wanted, watch a video, then we’d go skate, eat lunch, then skate again. By 5:00 or 6:00 we’d get the bus home, eat more food, and go skating again all night. That was pretty much every Saturday and Sunday, and every day after school. I did that for five or six years.

And your parents weren’t bummed on you?

My dad was a little bummed when I stopped playing soccer, but no, they didn’t get bummed on me until I started getting a little older. They started wondering whether it could really be a career or not, and if I could get anything from it. But when I moved to America they realized I was getting a lot from it and that I was happy.

And when you showed them the magazine cover and the paycheck …

Yeah, and when I told my dad how much money I was getting, he just laughed at me.

What are your opinions on the subject of religion?

I don’t have any religious beliefs. I used to go to church on Sundays when I was younger. I’m not Christian. I’m not anything; I just believe in being a good person. I believe in well-being to other people. Other than that, I don’t need any religion to keep me going. But it’s okay if you do need that, and a lot of people do. I think it’s good that they do that because it keeps them in touch with reality.

Is there a heaven or a hell?

Most probably, yes, but whether it’s the same as what’s described in the books, I don’t know. I just don’t feel like I need to worship or pray to anybody¿I know what’s right, and I know what’s wrong, and if I make mistakes I try to rectify them, and that’s all anybody can do.

Do you believe in karma?

Yes, I do. I believe if you’re bad to someone and you do bad things, you’re going to bring badness upon yourself.

Do you eat at McDonald’s?

No. I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s since I was twelve.

Tell me about your eating habits. I mean I know you’re a vegan …

Well, I’ve been a vegetarian since my thirteenth birthday, so ten years.

What started it?

My friend Martin gave me all these really exaggerated leaflets, probably about McDonald’s meat processing, and how they kill the chickens, and slaughterhouses. So I stopped eating meat, and since then it’s been a gradual road to being a vegan. Probably from hanging out with you, too, I suppose. It wasn’t particularly about animals, because I’d already been a vegetarian, but the rest of it¿the dairy products¿was just a progression for my health. I don’t like to buy animal products, but I’m not 100-percent strict. I don’t base my whole life around it. I’m not your vegan police who’s gonna throw it in your face.

You’re one of the people I think of as a good professional, because you do a lot of stuff. You do the coverage part, the demo part, and you skate contests. Do you see yourself as a role model?

Well, if they’re any young amateurs or regular skate kids out there who want to try and be a professional skateboarder, then yeah, I hope they would take heed of going to demos and trying to do good in local contests. All that stuff’s important because it helps build the foundation for being a good professional skateboarder. I don’t see somebody who doesn’t go to contests, doesn’t do demos, and doesn’t show their face around as being much of a professional, really. I don’t see the point of someone going out and doing a gnarly trick, and then just being in a video doing that. I don’t see what that does for skateboarding, other than an older skater kid appreciating what he’s doing. I don’t think that’s being a good role model. So I hope I would be considered a decent role model. I try my best.

You guys Flip are gonna start something that everyone in the world’s been waiting for. The first …

The video.

Yeah, what’s going on with it?

We’re just filming our video, and when it’s done, it’s done. There’s no time limit, there’s no date being set, but I can pretty much promise you that it’s gonna be out next year. I don’t want to pump it up too much, but basically we’re gonna do the best we can.

It’s gonna be good!

And when the video comes out, I’m going to be a partner with Jeremy Foxx in Flip, so you can be sure I’m gonna have a lot to do with it.

Flip has been doing a good job lately collecting some of the best young kids for the future of skateboarding. Do you think in the future they’ll be doing things you only dreamed about before?

I hope they do. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to do the stuff that’s going on now. Who would have thought people could do such big rails? So yeah, if everything goes how it has been, they have to be doing the craziest stuff. I don’t see why not. We’ve only got three amateurs. We’ve got an American from Davis California named Eric Brockman; he’s doin’ good, but he has to get into his skating a little bit more. We’ve got a little French kid with dreads called Bastien who tries to rap in your face. I’ve never seen any little kid like him; he’s so into skating, and I just love him. We’ve got one other kid from Canada who’s only been on the team for s okay if you do need that, and a lot of people do. I think it’s good that they do that because it keeps them in touch with reality.

Is there a heaven or a hell?

Most probably, yes, but whether it’s the same as what’s described in the books, I don’t know. I just don’t feel like I need to worship or pray to anybody¿I know what’s right, and I know what’s wrong, and if I make mistakes I try to rectify them, and that’s all anybody can do.

Do you believe in karma?

Yes, I do. I believe if you’re bad to someone and you do bad things, you’re going to bring badness upon yourself.

Do you eat at McDonald’s?

No. I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s since I was twelve.

Tell me about your eating habits. I mean I know you’re a vegan …

Well, I’ve been a vegetarian since my thirteenth birthday, so ten years.

What started it?

My friend Martin gave me all these really exaggerated leaflets, probably about McDonald’s meat processing, and how they kill the chickens, and slaughterhouses. So I stopped eating meat, and since then it’s been a gradual road to being a vegan. Probably from hanging out with you, too, I suppose. It wasn’t particularly about animals, because I’d already been a vegetarian, but the rest of it¿the dairy products¿was just a progression for my health. I don’t like to buy animal products, but I’m not 100-percent strict. I don’t base my whole life around it. I’m not your vegan police who’s gonna throw it in your face.

You’re one of the people I think of as a good professional, because you do a lot of stuff. You do the coverage part, the demo part, and you skate contests. Do you see yourself as a role model?

Well, if they’re any young amateurs or regular skate kids out there who want to try and be a professional skateboarder, then yeah, I hope they would take heed of going to demos and trying to do good in local contests. All that stuff’s important because it helps build the foundation for being a good professional skateboarder. I don’t see somebody who doesn’t go to contests, doesn’t do demos, and doesn’t show their face around as being much of a professional, really. I don’t see the point of someone going out and doing a gnarly trick, and then just being in a video doing that. I don’t see what that does for skateboarding, other than an older skater kid appreciating what he’s doing. I don’t think that’s being a good role model. So I hope I would be considered a decent role model. I try my best.

You guys Flip are gonna start something that everyone in the world’s been waiting for. The first …

The video.

Yeah, what’s going on with it?

We’re just filming our video, and when it’s done, it’s done. There’s no time limit, there’s no date being set, but I can pretty much promise you that it’s gonna be out next year. I don’t want to pump it up too much, but basically we’re gonna do the best we can.

It’s gonna be good!

And when the video comes out, I’m going to be a partner with Jeremy Foxx in Flip, so you can be sure I’m gonna have a lot to do with it.

Flip has been doing a good job lately collecting some of the best young kids for the future of skateboarding. Do you think in the future they’ll be doing things you only dreamed about before?

I hope they do. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to do the stuff that’s going on now. Who would have thought people could do such big rails? So yeah, if everything goes how it has been, they have to be doing the craziest stuff. I don’t see why not. We’ve only got three amateurs. We’ve got an American from Davis California named Eric Brockman; he’s doin’ good, but he has to get into his skating a little bit more. We’ve got a little French kid with dreads called Bastien who tries to rap in your face. I’ve never seen any little kid like him; he’s so into skating, and I just love him. We’ve got one other kid from Canada who’s only been on the team for a few months, who we got from looking at a Canadian magazine. We saw one sequence of this kid doing a kickflip lipslide on a bar¿he’s only thirteen¿and I could tell just by how his feet were placed that he looked like he was gonna be a good skater. So we checked him out and put him on the team. His name is Andrew Gordon, and I’m very, very stoked on him as well. We’re lucky.

Arto isn’t very old himself.

Arto’s gonna have no problem whatsoever. Geoff laughs That’s pretty evident right now.

Am I wrong when I say Arto is a bitch?

Arto’s a really, really nice kid. We’re the luckiest people in the world to be friends with Arto. He’s a very, very honest person. He’s got his problems¿he’s a little annoying¿but he doesn’t mean it. And besides, everybody’s annoying when they’re that young. But he’s got a talent with his skateboard that not many people have, and he’s so young. You give him too much crap; he really is a good person, and I would rather have him on my team right now than anybody else in the whole skate industry.

Do you have anything else you want to talk about?

No, I don’t need to end with any props or nothing like that. That’s quite a lot of interview, isn’t it? I forgot got to talk shit, though. Swift said I could talk shit on anyone. These are Swift’s exact words: “You can talk shit on people, just don’t talk shit on any of the advertisers.”

You could get your ass kicked.

I know I could get my ass kicked, but I don’t care about that.

Who do you want to talk shit on?

I don’t wanna talk shit on anyone, this is all positive.

You’ll get bad karma.

Exactly. I don’t need to talk shit on anyone.

But it’s a good ending.

Yeah, just transcribe it. Let’s make sure we put Swift’s name in there.

All right.for a few months, who we got from looking at a Canadian magazine. We saw one sequence of this kid doing a kickflip lipslide on a bar¿he’s only thirteen¿and I could tell just by how his feet were placed that he looked like he was gonna be a good skater. So we checked him out and put him on the team. His name is Andrew Gordon, and I’m very, very stoked on him as well. We’re lucky.

Arto isn’t very old himself.

Arto’s gonna have no problem whatsoever. Geoff laughs That’s pretty evident right now.

Am I wrong when I say Arto is a bitch?

Arto’s a really, really nice kid. We’re the luckiest people in the world to be friends with Arto. He’s a very, very honest person. He’s got his problems¿he’s a little annoying¿but he doesn’t mean it. And besides, everybody’s annoying when they’re that young. But he’s got a talent with his skateboard that not many people have, and he’s so young. You give him too much crap; he really is a good person, and I would rather have him on my team right now than anybody else in the whole skate industry.

Do you have anything else you want to talk about?

No, I don’t need to end with any props or nothing like that. That’s quite a lot of interview, isn’t it? I forgot got to talk shit, though. Swift said I could talk shit on anyone. These are Swift’s exact words: “You can talk shit on people, just don’t talk shit on any of the advertisers.”

You could get your ass kicked.

I know I could get my ass kicked, but I don’t care about that.

Who do you want to talk shit on?

I don’t wanna talk shit on anyone, this is all positive.

You’ll get bad karma.

Exactly. I don’t need to talk shit on anyone.

But it’s a good ending.

Yeah, just transcribe it. Let’s make sure we put Swift’s name in there.

All right.

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