Link to Robs MERTZWORLD website
1. Before you were skating with pros, who was the pro you most admired and why?
Well, I’ve been skating for 30 years now. Early on I admired Tony Alva then it shifted to Duane Peters and Salba, then later, Tom Groholski and Jim Murphy, then Jeff Phillips, Craig Johnson, Tex Gibson, and then guys like Mike Frazier took over.
2. How long was your professional journey and where did it take you?
I turned pro in ’88, then in ’92 right when skating died, I hurt my back and neck real bad on a 540 in Florida. I was out for almost 2 years.
3. What’s the most unbelievable thing you’ve ever seen?
That’s a tough one. I lived in my van for 4 years traveling up and down the east coast skating and there’s been tons of funny stories. Hanging with Craig Johnson so much brings many stories to my head. I guess if I had to pick one, it would be Le Grand Bournand in ’90. It was a huge contest in Europe where a zillion kids went to this little town with only a few police there. We were all hangin downtown playing pool when I smelled something burning, I looked to my right and saw one of Craig’s dreadlocks hanging in this light fixture on fire. I said “Craig, your hair’s on fire!” and he proceeded to rip it off the wall. The lights were connected all the way around the room so, they all started coming down. Some bouncers came over to try to contain Craig and then the shit hit the fan. We started throwing stuff and screaming and it started this unbelievable chain reaction that led to a complete riot with a few thousand skaters. The national guard had to be called in the next morning to contain it. Thrasher ran a pretty good story on it. It was insane. Too funny. I remember screaming “Rape and pillage, burn the village!!” from our hotel balcony…..
4. What’s been the toughest thing in your life to deal with?
Probably not having the support from my family to do what I wanted-skateboard. I kinda understand it now though. Skating wasn’t as accepted as it is now and they thought I was on drugs…..the whole situation was pretty lame. Groholski’s dad was totally into it. I thought that was cool.
5. Where is the strangest place you’ve called home?
Well, in 1985, I split Pennsylvania to live on top of the Clown ramp in Dallas for a while, then we went to Houston for the S.U.A.S. contest. After that, we got jobs at Gulf Coast Distribution, (thanks to Tim Piumarta of NHS), which is now Southshore, (yo Damien!), and for a while, we were living underneath this home run fence of this high school baseball field. Every morning, the gym teacher would take his class for laps and yell at us to split. It was in a kinda gnarly section of town. We’d hear gunshots all the time. We kept this big screwdriver plunged into the ground for our protection….like that would do anything…ha. That and living in my van for so long….
6. What does your setup consist of? Do you have more than one?
Right now, I’m riding one of our Status 8.5″ decks with some Indy’s and some of our Status 62mm wheels.
7. Tell us a good story from your tours in a band…
Our band tours weren’t as crazy. All the bands that I’ve been in have been mostly straight edge bands and there aren’t really too many problems…….lots of long drives and crazy shows….
8. What lays over the horizon for you? (The future)
Taking Syndrome to the top and skating tons along the way. I’m recuperating from shoulder reconstruction right now. I’m also doing a project record with some guys. That should be fun.
9. What would your ideal skatepark have in it?
Vert, Vert, and more Vert.
10. Was being from the east coast the biggest reason for not getting much coverage?
Oh, definitely. That and not caring if we got coverage. We skated because that’s what we wanted to do, not because we were looking for a job…..We didn’t care about anything. I remember after I won the Cedar Crest contest in ’86, we went to this girls house for a giant party, the next morning we came back and all the doors to my van were swung wide open. Everything we owned was stolen. My friend Ken, who was staying with me in the van, was like “should we just go home?” cuz we were only 5 hours from Pa. and I was all “No way, man!!”. The next few days we skated the Crest with no pads and I hung up on a giant alley oop indy over the channel and knocked myself out……
11. What is your favorite toy (besides a skateboard)?
My dirtbike, (’02 YZ250), or my drums and guitars….my recording studio at my house too….
Big what’s up to all my friends….Mosh brothers, Bernie O’Dowd, T.G. Murph, the Texas crew, Nash, Ben, V.P., McGill, Borst, Cab, Tony, Brando, T.J., Stanton, Donny Myhre, Frazier and the whole Fla. crew and anyone who’s let me stay on their floor….