INTERVIEW WITH RON EMORY
INTERVIEW BY STEVE OLSON
INTRODUCTION BY STEVE OLSON
True sounds of liberty, liberty of sounds true, lost, never, sounds like, something true, T.S.O.L…
Tell me your name.
Where do you come from?
Monterey Park, via Huntington beach, via Long Beach, via Bellflower, via Lynnwood.
Were you born in Lynnwood?
That’s right – South Central baby. I’m from the hood.
“MY BROTHER WAS ARRESTED FOR BEING PUNK IN PUBLIC.”
What does T.S.O.L. stand for?
True Sounds of Liberty.
You guys got tattoos when no one else had tattoos. What did it feel like when it became a trendy thing and you’d see a bunch of kooks with tattoos?
For Mike, it’s good because he’s tattooing now, so he gets to capitalize on all these youngsters.
But the vibe you used to get was that it was dirty and not nice.
It’s definitely not looked at that way anymore. I went into a bank today to cash a check and they were just as sweet as ever. It’s definitely different. Back then, you got hassled or treated like a criminal.
Then you were into punk rock in the late ’70s. That was the same deal, no?
How was it getting called a fag and a weirdo?
You’d get all that stuff growing up at the beach. All the surfers and the jocks didn’t know what to think of us; even the bikers didn’t know what to think.
What about the lowriders?
They didn’t have a clue. The police had their little punk rock file. My brother was arrested for being punk in public.
Bob got arrested for being punk?
Yeah, at my mom’s old apartment building. Rock and Bob had the apartment next door and they were playing music too loud, and the cops came and took him to jail for no apparent reason, except for being punk.
Punk in Public?
They took him out of the house and mom was yelling at them, ‘You can’t do that!’ They told her to get back in the house, it was none of her business. They even went as far as saying the manager of the apartment building called and complained that the music was too loud, but she was the manager of the apartment building.
What about punk rock and skateboarding?
Surfing and skateboarding were my first two loves, in that order. Then this crazy music came out and none of us really touched an instrument until then. Most people thought we were fags. They didn’t know what to think because of the spiked crazy color hair, and all that. Skateboarding was more loose; it was a little more edgy.