INTERVIEW BY STEVE OLSON
INTRODUCTION BY STEVE OLSON
PHOTOS BY STEVE PERILLOUX AND JOE HAMMEKE
The Lizard King is nothing like the emperor’s new clothes… Chuck yourself down something big, land it and ride away, lil boy…snatch a fly while doing so…Put it away in a cage, then the rage will be that of the energy that one may witness from the lil lizard queen himself…Is that a red lighter you’re trying to light my smoke with? Must be a Mark. Yeah, that’s right. Looks like a Mark to me.“IF I’M SKATING AND I SEE A RED CAR DRIVE BY, I CAN’T GO UNTIL I SEE A GREEN CAR DRIVE BY. GREEN CANCELS OUT THE RED. IF THERE ARE FOUR RED CARS, IT’S LIKE, “I’M NOT DOING THIS.” I CAN’T SEE ANYTHING RED WHEN I’M SKATING. IT FREAKS ME OUT.”
What is your name?
What do you mean your name is Lizard King?
[Laughs] I don’t have a real name. I’m over it.
So your new name is ‘Over It’?
All right. I’m just going to call you LK 2000.
Okay, LK 2010. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s pretty tight there. I lived right by downtown Salt Lake City, by Sugar House Park.
Sugar House gang?
[Laughs] Yeah, that’s right and the SLC Punks. Everyone always says that when they find out I’m from Salt Lake City.
You’ve seen the movie?
Yeah, it’s dumb as fuck. It’s the stupidest shit I’ve ever seen. The dude that made that movie is a douche. He ruined my town for a little while. Now I’m punching fools who say that.
[Laughs] Why did you start skateboarding?
I started snowboarding first. It snows a lot in Utah. I had a skateboard when I was a kid, but I just sat on it. I went butt boarding. There was a crack about six inches tall that was halfway down the hill in front of my house. I had this old school board with no nose on it, so I put a sled on top of it. I’d bomb down the hill, hit the crack, pop off the board and start sledding down the cement, hauling ass. It was sick. I used to put holes in the sleds and my mom would get so pissed. They had to buy new sleds every year.
Sledding is sick.
Sledding on cement is the shit. You get really fucked up if you turn over. I’m pretty sure that I’m the only person that’s ever put a sled on my skateboard. That’s like new Danny Way shit right there. Don’t you think? He hits the mega ramp, but I’m going to hit the mega ramp on a sled. I want to a back flip and one of those grabs he does, but I’m going to do a sledding tail whip. I’ll pull the brake handles, too.
[Laughs] Extreme sledding.
I like sledding. Do you like sledding?
I do. I grew up in Minnesota. I was sledding under the ice. You don’t even know. I should have died, but I’m still alive. I was pissed that I was so cold.
You got some hypothermia going?
[Laughs] Exactly. So you started snowboarding?
Yeah. Then in fourth grade, I knew all these sixth graders and they were the first people that I met that were a skate crew. They all skated after school. They let me borrow a board to learn how to do ollies. I could do an ollie the first day. I thought skateboarding was the shit. My two older brothers got skateboards and I was like, ‘Fuck you. I’m going to be way better at this than you.’ The mission was to take them out. It was brotherly rivalry.
Did they know about your hi-jinx at the time?
Oh, no. They had no idea what I was trying to do.
In Salt Lake City, it’s kind of straight with the Mormon scene, right?
I had a lot of friends growing up that were Mormon.
What’s the whole deal of having to go on a mission? You can’t drink Coke or coffee.
Yeah, but nobody really follows that shit until they get fully brain sucked into it. After they go on their mission, they’re fucked. A few people that have come back and become normal again, but most of my friends that went on missions won’t even talk to me anymore. I’m like the Anti-Christ.
You are the devil.
I don’t give a fuck about any of them. They’re all just a bunch of stupid pussies. They all used to smoke weed and party, and then they turned into Jesus people.
You’re telling me that the first day that you got on a skateboard, you could ollie. What about grind?
I didn’t figure out the grind thing for a little bit. I couldn’t do kickflips for a long time, but I could do heelflips. After a few years, I was trying to skate handrails. That was tight. That shit is pretty fucking scary. The first handrail I ever board slid was on a two-stair, but it had this kink off of it. It was a foot long kink, so I just board slid the flat part. I was so hyped. I used to skate at Starbucks. That’s why I have so much emotional attachment to that place. That’s my office. That’s where I get my business handled.
So you mastered the kink before the rail?
So you were taking advanced leaps, but you’re not a tech dude?
I can’t do anything tech. I’d rather just huck some carcass. If I’m trying to film a line, it’s so frustrating. I try. I give it 110 percent. I never learn shit. I always do the same tricks that I’ve known for five years now. I don’t ever try a kickflip crooked grind. A crooked grind is hard enough for me. I’ll do some 50-50s.
You truly dig skateboarding.
Fuck, yeah. I truly dig skateboarding. I don’t like anything else. People are like, ‘What are you going to do when you can’t skate anymore?’ I say, ‘I’m going to keep skating.’ By the time I’m an old man, I’ll have new titanium legs, but I’ll keep my wrinkly ass skin. I’ll look like an old man that can kick some ass.
[Laughs] Were there really that many dudes skating in Utah?
There’s a big skate scene out there. When I was growing up, there weren’t any concrete skateparks, but now there are more than twenty parks in Utah. Everything is really close, so you could hit five parks in one day and skate all the way into the night. It’s amazing training ground. Each park has the local kid that skates there everyday and just kills shit. There are people out there just ripping the gnarliest shit.
It seems like the snowboard kids can actually skate as well?
Those are the ones that are the best snowboarders. They’ve got that smooth ass skate steez and they blast. They ain’t scared, man. I knew this dude Jeremy Jones when I was growing up. I always thought he was just a skateboarder, but he’s the best snowboarder. I didn’t find that out until I was 13. He’s such a gnarly skateboarder and snowboarder. Marc Frank Montoya is another G’d out dude. I saw him skating bowls and doing some six-foot frontside airs. I thought he was just a snowboarder. He’s got some banging ass steez. All of my homies that are pro snowboarders all skate. I grew up skating with them. They know how to shred really good. I just got over snowboarding.
You don’t snowboard at all now?
Sometimes I’ll just strap into my shoes and go shred some handrails with friends, but nothing other than that. It costs too much money. It’s like $60 a day. I’d rather buy a sack of weed. That’s going to last me longer than a day, hopefully.
What about backcountry snowboarding?
When I was a kid, I used to go out there and build jumps. I would hike all day long from jump to jump.
When were you born?
1984. I’m 23.
I was just thinking that in ’74, we were building jumps between Snowbird and Alta. It took three hours to get to the top and ten minutes to get down. The ratio was whack, so we built a big kicker and threw ourselves upside down.
[Laughs] In snowboarding, you can go huge. I go to a park up on the mountain and hit all the rails and boxes, but I don’t fuck with any of the jumps. I know I’m going to get broke off. I can skate handrails and I know how to fall on that shit.
What do your parents think about skateboarding?
My mom was the one that pushed me the most. I had a counselor ask me in the eighth grade what I wanted to be and I told him I wanted to be a pro skateboarder. He told me that wasn’t a realistic thing that could happen. That was a dream. He made me go through this list of careers and pick one. I had to pick out my future off this piece of paper that was printed off this computer. I was like, ‘What the fuck? I’m in eighth grade and you want me to pick a career? Can’t I go back to lunch and hang out with my homies? What the fuck, dude?’
After I told my mom about it, she went in there and bitched him out. She told him that I had friends that make $200,000 a year off snowboarding. She said, ‘Don’t ever tell my kid what he can do. He’s never coming to you again. Don’t talk to my kid again.’ So I never had to go see that dude again.
I was hyped.
Did you finish high school?
Yeah. I dropped out for a second because I wasn’t feeling it anymore, but then I met this dude. I used to live with this family up in Snowbird for the winter and they knew a teacher that did this alternative school for bad kids. The teacher did this class that was super hard to get into. It was this trailer home schooling type thing in the parking lot of the college. The teacher was this hippie dude that wore tie-dyed shirts and had long hair.
Did he smoke weed?
No, but he drank beer. I met him on the mountain one day when I was building a jump to rail. This hippie dude walks up with his backpack. His name was Darryl. He sat there and clowned us for a minute. He was like, ‘Let’s see what you guys got.’ He was talking shit. Then he started walking up the mountain. A few hours later, there was the sound of a bunch of cans hitting each other as he came walking down. He had been up on the mountain drinking beers. He had a whole 12-pack of empty beer cans in his backpack because he was a hippie and didn’t want to litter. Then he came over to our house to have dinner. He got hammered and we were just chilling. It was so fun. Then he let me in his class and that’s how I graduated. I had to sing, ‘I’m a Little Teapot’ in front of the whole class with all the actions. My class had to vote me out in order to graduate. My homies were all so bummed because I got to graduate early. The teacher was down with the skate thing. I ended up going to school for an extra two weeks because none of my class would vote me out. The day after I graduated, I got a ride to California. That was six years ago.
Did you have any sponsors then?
I was getting flow from Think. Then they got a new team manager, and I got kicked off. Then I got on Hollywood, because I stayed on Hellrose with those dudes. They all rode for Hollywood, so it was pretty much automatic. I’d never met any of those dudes except for James Atkin and D.J. Chavez. I had only met them twice. I called DJ at six in the morning and he happened to be away. I got directions to his house and told him I’d be there in a few days. I showed up there at 6:30am and knocked on the door. I said, ‘What up fool? I’m moving in.’ I met all the crew. I met Nguyen, Richie [Belton], J-Roy, Jason Masse and James Atkin. It was on after that. I got on Hollywood. Then Hollywood went out of business and they started Hellrose. Instead of going to Hellrose, I called up Josh Beagle and asked him if I could ride for Pig Wood. He was like, ‘Hell, yeah!’ So he put me on the team. I wanted to make money though and they wouldn’t pay me so I quit and skated for Think again. This was after I met Fausto and he was pretty cool to me. He would give me money and tell me to go and buy his daughter some dinner and drinks. I would take the money and just go party. It was so fun. I was getting treated hella good in San Francisco for a little while, but Think is not my style. I’m not some G-Unit dude. I’m not ‘Mr. Do A Bunch of Shit and Have You Hate on Me’. Now I roll with the Baker and Deathwish fools. It’s a tight ass family of homies. That’s the best thing that ever happened to me.