Where do you start with Rob Smith? Well, due to his stature we will skip all the boring intro stuff and get straight into the facts. All you need to know is that Rob goes balls out in life, he rarely misses a Crossfire event, he is pro for Death and his possessions are kept in Manchester.
Before you read what could well be the funniest interview we have hosted in a while, it’s worth delving into the forthcoming Death Skateboards video that is scheduled to premiere in October this year. Get ready for what is hyped to be Death’s best video production yet.
So come on then Rob, spill the beans on your new section in ‘Ordinary Madness‘. So far, the entire camp has been water tight on this one…
I’m super stoked on my new Death part. My section is finished now. It’s so hard for me to film a video part because I’m constantly away on trips so the footage I film on them are already accounted for web edits. I have my own camera with me and try to get others to film tricks but it has slowly added up over the years. We also traveled on a Death trip for a week to film for the video which helped a lot. Some things have been used on web edits but mostly alternative angles.
Mark (Nicolson) has been working really hard on everyone’s footage over the last 4 years. I have been over to his house a bunch of times to see the progression and it’s really looking like the best video yet which is hard to believe after the success of the last video (Better Than Life). I’m really stoked on the soundtrack too. This is going to be my first real full length DVD video part so I wanted it to be exactly how I wanted it. I think my section will be a totally love-it or hate-it scenario so you” have to wait and respond. Skateboarding is all about a family and friend vibe and about having a laugh, that’s kinda the theme anyway without giving it all away!
OK, let’s get this First and Worst thing going. Simple one. The first time you stepped on a skateboard?
I must have been about 5 years old, I don’t know where I had ever seen one but I had got it in my head that I wanted one. I had my Mum and Dad looking everywhere for one, eventually we found a small yellow plastic board with built in wheels. I still have it, it’s on my wall.
In front of my older Brother, I tried to grind an old snooker cue that my Dad fixed onto a stand for me to skate I fell onto my elbow and went to hospital. He will never drop that ever in his life. Every time I speak to him: “What you up to Rob?” I’m on a skateboarding trip in New York! “Oh still jumping over Pool cues are ya?”
First deck you broke?
The first board I remember breaking was a Flip Arto Saari Zippo Lighter board. I was pretty stoked because I felt like a real skateboarder, but I was totally bummed when I broke my next board on the same day trying the same trick! That was an Andrew Reynolds Psychedelic Afro board.
I had a Blueprint one once.
First trick you made that made you realise you could be onto something?
The board snapper! I was trying a 360 over the spine to flat with no grab at Bolton Bones skate park. I tried it all day snapped 2 brand new boards, (I still have them). It got a bit of hype and people started to ask me for weeks, did you do a 360 over the spine to flat? I thought, wow, people are diggin’ my shit! Haha!
Worst trick you made that you wish you had not bothered to learn?
Pressure flips. I can do them at loads of variations. I can learn new ones easily kind of a bit pointless though unless in a Game of Skate!
First pro that you thought was ‘the shit’ when you started skating?
Kareem Campbell was my favourite before I started going down to the skate park then I got into more tranny skaters. Andy Scott and TNT too.
Did you know that Rob has a black belt in Judo Air’s? Photo by Rob Shaw at the Death ramp.
I can’t really think. All my favourites have always produced. I remember a DVS demo at Bolton- we were all hyped because Kerry Getz was coming, he was having a bit of a bad time on the demo day. That was all.
First time you got into trouble at school?
It was in the first year of infant school, it was called reception for some weird reason. Do they still call it that? Anyway, my Mum was ill one day and couldn’t bring me in, so my Dad had to come home from work to take me. It was a really snowy day and we turned up about half hour late. My teacher told us to go to the other side of the school to the office to sign in because the register had left. My Dad said “are you mad? It’s fucking snowing!” and he brought me back home. I got a bollocking the day after. My Dad never took me to school again. Haha!
There are too many to choose from. Every religious education class I’d be stood in the hallway after being chucked out for saying all these religions are a load of shit. It also happened in every I.T class because I would say “I can do all of this bullshit on the computer, it’s easy, give us something good to do instead of a fucking spread sheet!”. I was always in trouble for something.
First shit job?
I’ve never really had a shit job. I left school and started to work for my Dad as a plasterer. Full time for about 4 years, then I did a bit of skate coaching, and worked on Hollyoaks and other TV sets skating. Now I just skate full time which I’m so stoked on being able to do!
Worst plastering job?
The worst job was with my Dad in the local area. We were both up a ladder plastering a wall and then two guys broke in, one with a baseball bat, the other with an iron bar used for weight lifting! The guy with the baseball bat hit my Dad over the head and he fell of his ladders, I got hit on my legs by the guy with the iron bar and I fell off my ladder! I managed to avoid any more hits by using my ladders as a shield. My Dad got a few more hits to the head but managed to stay up dodging swings, eventually the guys left because the police were most probably on their way.
I phoned an ambulance for my Dad, his head was badly cut open and pissing blood. He got a few stitches and was all good. We went back the day after and finished the job, this time we took our own weapons! Haha!
Rob Ollies Detroit. Photo by Bertrand Trichet.
First time you realised you could hurt yourself on a skateboard?
I kind of always knew, growing up watching the bails sections on Tony Hawk’s video games and Jackass, but I first realised when I had to go into school with a plaster cast on both arms.
Breaking both of my arms at the same time. Trying the 360 over the spine again to show off my new trick!
Potato Wheels hahaha! Nah, I loved the idea, but I only ever got 1 set of wheels. I had loads of t-shirts stickers and a few decks that they printed.
First time you saw a heel block?
I learnt heel block at Bolton Bones back in the day. I had seen a photo of Rogie doing one on a DIY quarter in Preston in Document mag and that got me on it originally I think.
Last time you didn’t make a heel block?
I have never, not landed a heel block!
Watch Rob’s fascination with Heel Blocks in this video montage.
First known teenage crush on a celebrity female?
Ermmm…I’ve always fancied Jennifer Aniston from a young age, I still do!
Worst? (guilty pleasure)
I found myself in a tattoo studio with Eddy Belvedere and our friend Paula when I was 16. Paula went first because she had others and she must have been 20 years old. Eddy waited because he had an idea in his head he wanted to get an image of. I went in clueless. The guy said “what do you want?” I said “ermmm…”Looking around the room I saw the alphabet written out with other symbols !@£$%^&? And I thought, shit, I don’t know….whilst looking at the question mark? So I said, “erm, i’ll have a question mark because I cant really think what to get!” He said “where do you want it?” I just pointed at my forearm and there it went. By the way, Eddy pussied out and didn’t get a single tat for at least the next 5 years..but I gave him his first tattoo as payback.
Most people would say the cock tattoo down my leg, but I like that one. It’s a great way to start a party rolling. I would probably have to say the worst tattoo is the first Independent logo I ever got. It’s on my chest and it was the tattooist’s first ever tattoo. It scabbed up a lot and now it’s off-shape and raised up, plus I have another 2 independent tatts and they’re done really well.
Rob scaring the kids as usual, this time for Mark Churchill’s lens.
First band you got into?
I grew up listening to a lot of old rock music and punk. I got into Limp Bizkit and Eminem growing up, but my first big band I loved and always will is Slayer.
Worst? (guilty pleasure)
I like Justin Beiber’s music.
Jesus Rob. OK, first gnarly fight where a bone was broken?
I had my nose broken once and it was really snapped and on the other side of my face. I had a few girls screaming “oh god Rob, what the fuck, you need to go hospital now!” I said, “fuck that, i’m gonna do the guy in!” I ran back into the fight, I got a kick straight to the face, I got up and ran at the guy pushed him into a moving taxi and lay him on the bonnet and repeatedly punched him until he had had enough. As I walked away, the girls and a few of my friends were laughing, they took a photo of my nose, and the kick to the face had straightened it. Stoked! No hospital! Someone did have a before and after photo, I would pay good money to find those photo’s.
Too many. Worst fight for me was getting arrested on 2 separate occasions. Worst fight for other person – some massive dude beat up my mate in a bar, the bouncers had my mate and the guy outside speaking to them, I just walked up to the guy and punched him once. He fell to the ground and was snoring. I said to the bouncer, I know I’m not allowed back in but can you just get my coat for me please?! We left the bar 5 minutes later and the bouncers were still trying to wake him up!
First time you dressed up as Lil Wayne?
At the Crossfire Halloween party last year! Nobody knew it was me – nobody!
Worst time you dressed up in anything?
I fucking love dressing up. The first time I met Zorlac from Death I was wearing an all-white suit covered in blood. Also my Nanna knitted me a pair of pants, jumper socks and hat all black and red stripes.
First time you puked?
I don’t ever puke but I did puke on last year’s Death summer tour after deep throating a banana and eating glass!
I drank diesel straight from the petrol station pump on a Death tour once!
Oh Rob! OK, for those who don’t know, explain Carve Wicked for the first time?
Carve Wicked is something your born into, you can’t just become a true carver, you either have it or you don’t. Origin: Newport. The paid laugh continues to spread across the whole of Europe and soon will conquer the world.
Current gang members include myself, Sam pulley, Danny Way, Jake Collins, Ryan Sheckler, Sox, Rune Glifberg, Tom Bailey, Denis Lyn, Andy Scott, Joe Gavin, Manhead, Lee Dainton, Sam Beckett and Jeff Grosso. There are some more members if you know the carve you know who they are. Carve on brothers.
Quote: “Carve Wicked is a way of life, not a blunt blade but a sharp knife” (Danny Way)
The Worst time you Carved Wicked?
This edit features the CRV WKD crew getting stuck into the DC Embassy.
First DJ set?
I played out at NASS. Big one for my first set, but I smashed it mate!
Worst DJ set ever?
I played at the Supra Stand at the Bright Tradeshow with someone else’s tunes and on CDJ’s that I’m not used to. I’d drunk a whole bottle of rum, lots of champagne and some Jager. I don’t remember what I played but it must have been bad!
Download Rob’s latest Dogger mixtape here featuring a mix of DnB & Electro etc
I think my first and last creation would be my room at my parents house. I’ve been creating in this room since I was born- my first drawings, my first airfix model, now I’ve created a room for creation. I have a studio set up for making music and video editing. I have my Technic’s 1210’s and my Tracktor Kontroll s4 with a 1000W P.A system. I have my tattoo “studio” and a 50” TV with surround sound. There’s lots of art on the walls, skateboards, canvas’s, photographs etc. All the stuff I have collected for the last 23 years is in my room.
I pulled the head off a stuffed Lion King character, turned it round 180’, stitched it back on, painted its tail like a cock, and attached a string that runs around its cock and through its stomach and out of its back. On its back it reads, pull my string. When you do it gets a hard-on!
Detroit style Boneless. Photo by Bertrand Trichet.
First time you were kicked out of somewhere?
Religious Education Class.
Pfwww. I’ve been kicked out of every bar I’ve ever visited! But, I did get kicked out of Corby skate park during the UK champs. I pissed on my snapped board in the bowl, had a fight with Eddy Belvedere, then went mental at the after party- jumped off the balcony, threw some glasses, tried to fight someone, headbutted my mate and hid from the police! Then, when I turned up to skate in the final I was not allowed in. I had to sit in the car park for 8 hours in the cold.
First time you met the Death team?
I did a demo with them at Revolution Skatepark in Broadstairs in Kent! Was a rad day!
When I met Cates for the first time, my life went down hill from there.
First trick that you filmed for ‘Ordinary Madness’?
I never filmed anything intentionally for the video, just being at places to skate with someone with a camera or give someone my camera when I have a trick in mind, then get hold of the footage and send it to Death HQ.
Worst trick filmed?
Gap-out off a ledge, to 5-0 on another ledge on the first day of a Death trip. I broke 2 metatarsals in my foot and fractured my cuboid. Thankfully crazy Pete drove me from Sunderland all the way to my door in Manchester!
First time you gave up booze?
I gave up in March was going strong until July. I felt much better for it. I have been drinking in moderation recently but have stopped again now. I had a bit of a scare. I was on tablets for a stomach ulcer and I had to have a camera put down my throat – it was fucking horrible. I feel loads healthier and my bank account is much healthier too. I figured that having more money enables me to skate more, and I only cause trouble when I’m drunk, something bad is going to happen to me sooner or later if I carried on the way I was carrying on. It’s come at a good time, my sponsors are more supportive than ever, it’s 2012, it’s our last year! Make it a good one!
Worst time in your life that you should have given up?
I broke up with my girlfriend last year after I came back from the States. I did it because I just wanted to get fucked up and drink myself to insanity and not have to worry about who else I was hurting. After 3 months, I had a wake up call and thought what the fuck have you just thrown away?! We had a house together, we had an amazing life together and I threw it all away for booze. She moved down to London, and ever since I’ve been picking up the pieces. She decided to forgive me and things are going good. I am in London a lot now to see her and I also have the bonus of being able to skate with everyone in London. Plus, I get to go to the Death house more often to see the boys. Everything is good again. For those 3 months I was a selfish cunt, but I’ve had my time to throw everything away for booze. I should have done this a long time ago but NOW is the time to love and skate!
Watch the new Ordinary Madness trailer here: