It was about 4:00 PM on a Monday afternoon when I made my routine call to FTC to see what was going on with Ando. “I just hooked up a Rob Welsh interview,” he tells me. Stoked. I hadn’t seen Rob in about two years and there was definitely a lot to catch up on. I called him up, we met at the bar, and the rest is history.
48 Blocks: What’s an average day like for you these days?
Rob: I don’t know… get up, get coffee for me and my girl, then head back to the house and putz around and try to figure it out. Decide if I’m gonna go to the park and just skate or try to go film something. At this point I don’t wanna just go out and try to film stuff, if I go out I wanna have a plan and get something good.
What were the factors in your decision to move from SF to AZ?
Rob: I just got burnt, you know… I was here for over a decade. It started slow, but the City just isn’t what it was. I love this city, it’s great… but when Embarcadero got taken out, one of the major reasons I moved here was mangled. Then the next thing was Union Square, Black Rock, and Brown Marble…. then the Pier, then me, then everything. It just sucked, I couldn’t get motivated. I just started going on trips… skate trips. With my knee, I took a whole year off; I was like “I don’t ever wanna have to deal with this again.” I didn’t even touch a board for a whole year. About three months down the line, my buddy dies. It was just vicious, then five months down the line you’re so bored that you hit the bottle. I always had skating in mind, then I started going on trips with Lakai – just trying to get back on the horse. When I did start skating again the only option was to go down to the Island. We’d skate from our house and have a great time, bomb a couple hills, make our way down to Market street, hit a little spot and skate it for a second; then you’d get to the Island and play all your friends in skate then it’s like, “what do I do now?” Then you’re trying to not drink cause you gotta film and it’s 5:30 and you’re like, “hmmmnn let’s go get pizza.” So my life became like Groundhog’s Day, it was like bad news. So I went on the trip to Arizona and thought “damn, these parks are sick” and I met a girl… I really started getting excited again. It was a nice little change. I’m not saying I’m never gonna live here again, I love this city but for right now Arizona is probably the best thing for me. I did one summer and I’ll probably do another one, we’ll see.
48 Blocks: How’s filming for the Lakai video going?
Rob: I came up here two days ago and I’m probably gonna head back down to LA tomorrow and I’m leaving with two clips. If I get an idea, I wanna go do it, but the ideas are just few and far between. In my mind I got a little mental list of tricks that I wanna do. It’s just so hard to find spots, you know.
What have you been skating lately?
Rob: Just the same shit (laughs). You know, I been jumpin’ on these rails like “fuck, I wanna come back strong man!” (laughs) You ever seen a kickflip back noseblunt down twenty?
48 Blocks: Negative.
Rob: Neither have I…(laughs)
48 Blocks: Talk about the switch from the Cruz to Expedition.
Rob:All that shit goes back to Aesthetics. Shit, you want me to tell you the whole story?
48 Blocks: Yeah, tell the world…
Rob:Basically, that was another thing that fully took the wind out of my sails – when Aesthetics went down. It was Aesthetics, the knee, just the whole fucking thing bummed me out. Going to Zoo… fuck, that sucked. I just trusted Sal. I was like, “all right, I’m hurt.” I just did the two year contract with them then that was up. I was pretty psyched on what Santa Cruz had going on at the time, I talked to Jake and was like, “fuck it, let’s go for it!” It seemed pretty cool and I had intentions to get Joey aboard. I was just dying to get that Aesthetics feel. Now, I think I’ve found it with Kayo and Expedition – it’s sick! I feel like I went full circle, it boosted my morale and now I’m psyched.
48 Blocks: Yeah, those guys do cool shit. Was the Newport graphic your idea or there’s?
Rob:That was totally there’s. I’m pysched on it, I like the way clean basic boards look. I don’t know… don’t smoke. Basically I’m a pile of shit and I smoke a lot. (laughs)
48 Blocks: So talk about traveling, what trips have you been on lately?
Rob:I just been going on trips with Lakai and stuff, but I haven’t left the country since pre-knee. Everything is like pre-knee and post-knee.
48 Blocks: How is the knee?
The knee is great! I don’t even think about it anymore. When Lakai was going on a bunch of trips, when the budget was huge they were like, “hmmnnn, I don’t think we’re gonna bring this guy.” You know, early on in my rehab or my recovery, so all of my trips have been the cheapy hotel US… tours.
48 Blocks: Yeah, I saw on Crailtap you were on a trip with Guy, Mike Carroll, and all those guys…. you did a cross country trip.
48 Blocks: How was that? What’s it like skating with Guy? There’s been tons of pictures coming out and tons of people talking about his skating lately… everyone is pretty much just waiting for the footage.
Rob:He’s definitely fired up. I never really knew Guy that well, I never got to hang out with him. I’m obviously a fan, I think everybody is. He’s fucking killing it. I’ve been around for a few things, but dude he’s definitely got that fire. A lot of younger kids probably don’t really know.
48 Blocks: Speaking of Guy, younger kids, and weird shit… this is a random question; but there’s this contest on the internet that’s offering a thousand bucks for someone to recreate Guy’s Mouse part. Have you seen that?
Rob:Yeah, I frequent The ‘Tap on pretty much a daily basis.
48 Blocks: What do you think about that?
I don’t know, I didn’t really even think about it… I guess some things should just be left alone. I mean if you’re gonna put yourself out there like that, like “I’m gonna try and do it!” I mean come one… that’s pretty retarded.
48 Blocks: Plus a lot of the spots are already gone anyway… so is there any date for Lakai yet?
Rob:It was actually supposed to be out already, but I’m glad it’s not. I’m still trying to plug away and get as much as possible. It’s definitely gonna be worth the wait. I’m psyched, I can’t wait to see it… there’s a lot of stuff I haven’t seen.
48 Blocks: What else do you have going on right now besides Lakai?
Rob:Basically Just skating, I’ve become a full-blown skate rat again. I mean I have been for awhile…. but just film, skate, and stay out of trouble I guess.
48 Blocks: Who have you been skating with out in AZ?
I got a couple older kids that I skate with, dudes my age. They’re into the same type of shit, very low impact… I think you guys call it flat ground. (laughs) We just practice and kinda make fun of each other, it’s pretty sick. We’ll just go to parks and mess around, I’ll try to work on tricks. You can just go there and skate, the only thing you gotta worry about is some nine-year-old with headphones flying out of the bowl.
48 Blocks: What have you been rocking in the ipod lately?
Rob:Just the same shit… I got a little variety going on. No playlist, I just got random.
48 Blocks: You still tailgating out in AZ with your truck?
I actually miss street BBQ’s. It’s sick, at the house I live at we have a swimming pool and we gotta grill… it’s BBQ season right now, so it’s good that I’m not down there and I’m up here filming. If you put a steak in front of me it’s a whole different story!
48 Blocks:So what do you have planned after the video drops, vacation?
Rob: I don’t think you can vacation in skating now with Youtube and all that shit, you gotta constantly film. I don’t even know, my main focus right now is to get this part.
48 Blocks:So what are we looking at right now, what do you got… two minutes, three minutes?
Rob: I don’t know, we’re talking a strong fifteen seconds. (laughs) Nah, I don’t know, we’ll see. It’s kinda up to everybody on the team. It’s like there’s Mike, Rick, Guy, they’re like the foremen – they’ll probably go through all the footage.
48 Blocks:What’s it like filming a video with those dudes in it, are you feeling the pressure?
Rob: Are you fucking kidding me?! What kind of question is that…(laughs)
48 Blocks:Obviously you feel pressure, but what’s it like… those are the dudes. We’re from the same generation and grew up watching the old Plan B, World, Blind, and early Girl videos. What’s it like making a video with all these guys you looked up to?
Rob: Thanks, cause I really didn’t want to think about that. (laughs) I don’t know, it’s kind of weird I guess.
48 Blocks:Like skating with Sanch or something, like damn…”there’s Sanch!”
Rob: Yeah like that, when I first met Henry I was kind of nervous or whatever, but then that wears off and you become friends..
48 Blocks:Speaking of Henry…
Rob: I saw him the other day it was awesome!
48 Blocks:I definitely want to plug his clothing deal, Magik Inc… you are riding for that?
Yeah, he hit me up on Myspace… that’s how good friends keep in touch nowadays. Anyways he asked me to ride and I felt honored, it was like when Mike Carroll asked me to ride for Lakai. Henry’s a legend, of course I would want to ride for his company.
48 Blocks:You still talk to Sal?
Rob: Yeah, I just ran into him the other day. I was down in LA doing my taxes, being responsible… I went down there to see my accountant and checked out his shop. I fully cheated on FTC though, I got some shirts… I had to, it’s Sal! It’s on some man shit, I like it.
Ando:I saw the store, it’s tight!
Rob: Yeah, it’s sick… they got this block in LA on lockdown.
48 Blocks:It’s Diamond, SLB, and Supreme right?
Ando: The Hundreds…
Rob:Yeah it’s pretty dope, it’s a good place to hang out – you know you’re gonna run into somebody.
I don’t know how much you have to do with it, but do you guys have any eyes on anyone from the former Aesthetics team for Expedition?
Rob:Joey and I are so new… I would never want to go in there and say, “hey – this is how things are gonna be.” I respect what they got going on and I want to be a part of it and they came to us, but our relationship is so new. Maybe in the future, I don’t wanna go in there and flip the whole thing. I just want to add what I can ad to the company.
48 Blocks: Have you been back to Maine or the East Coast at all lately?
Rob:I went back last summer for like a week, I don’t even remember what happened… like a Barmitsva or something. (laughs) Who knows, I just went there; maybe I wanted a lobster.
48 Blocks: Are you feeling your age at all, are you gonna keep on going?
Rob:Who wants to give up the job? You’re gonna do what you gotta do. I mean eventually I’ll bow down graciously, but I think I got a few more things to offer. When it’s time to hang it up, I’ll hang it up. I’m not gonna be one of the dudes that like, “I wanna go bigspin everything.”
48 Blocks: So from where you came from ’til now, compared to someone who’s just had to live a normal life and work a job…
Rob: Well most of us have had to work a normal job…
48 Blocks: I mean with the amount of work that you’ve had to put in, how hard would you say it is?
Rob: To be a professional skater?
48 Blocks: Yeah, compared to someone who went to college to be a lawyer or something.
Rob: I’d be a four time decorated lawyer.(laughs)
48 Blocks: Like Johnny Cochran or something…
Rob: Yeah, Like come on… it would a lot of doctorates! (laughs) The amount of hours you have to dedicate to skateboarding to be at a level where you can film stuff that will impress people is enormous. You have to log a bunch of hours. You punch in and you punch out. It’s good that it doesn’t feel like that, cause you obviously love skating and would do it regardless. I can’t even imagine how much time it takes, it’s really something that you don’t think about cause you’re doing what you want to be doing. I probably sound like such a hambone right now.
48 Blocks: Did you get anything on Hubba?
Rob: Like in my whole life? (laughs)
48 Blocks: Recently, when the caps came off… I heard a rumor that you came out here to do something.
Rob: I can’t answer that.
48 Blocks: You don’t have to say what… you can just give a yes or a no.
Rob: I got to see some stuff. You know, you win some you lose some…
48 Blocks: Cool, this interview is pretty diesel – anything you want to say to wrap this up?
Rob: Just skate, that’s it.