The Highway Murderers

THE HIGHWAY MURDERERS
INTERVIEW WITH MOBBY
INTERVIEW BY SCOUT JESSEE
PHOTOS BY SCOUT JESSEE

Sitting in a room… Face to face… The energy is high. Santa Cruz’s skate thrash punk band, with new album “Time to Die.”

The Highway Murderers are BUCK-throat, MOBBY MURDER-guitar, JOE KING-drums, CODY JOE-guitar and RIDDY 187-bass.

Hey, Mobby, how’s it going?
Good. I’m doing fine. I’m ready to answer everything.

Cool. How long ago did you start the Highway Murderers?
2000. My mom had passed away and she brought all my friends together. We started playing on the front porch because she liked country music and our music went from front-porch-punk-music straight into a bar and rock-n-roll-skate-rock. A lot of our sound just comes from that because we’re all skateboarders. It’s fast thinking. You gotta keep quick.

How did you come up with the name for the Highway Murderers?
Our homeboy, Casper, built custom Impalas and he built this ‘68 psycho Impala and he inspired me to come up with the Highway Murderers name because the look of the car was just a straight-up-drive-by-shooter-mad-mobile. He took me for a ride down Pacific Avenue in three-wheel motion and I knew right then that I had to come up with some kind of band to back that up, straight punker, lowriding, skateboarding outlaws.

That’s super rad. You guys have been around for a while and you’ve had different people in the band. Do you want to tell me the process of how it got started?
Originally, I was playing bass and then I started playing guitar because I wanted to learn how. Ry Anderson was the singer because he had all the words. His mom was a schoolteacher and she made him learn a lot of words. He had a mouth on him and he was really smart, so I knew he would be a good front man, plus, he was 6’3” and scary. Joe King was always bringing me albums of bands that he was in. I really liked playing guitar, but I never really played. It was all brand new to me when I went to Automodown, your dad, Jason Jessee’s place, and started playing with all of these people. It was your dad’s idea to get together and work on something. We never got around to it for ten years and then that ten years came around and that was right around 2000.

How old were you?
I was 30. It was perfect timing for all of us. Skateboarding was going big and we had that Highway Murderers crazy punk sound and it went perfect with Automodown, so we finally accomplished that goal.

Originally, it was you, Joe, Aron and Ry?
Yeah. I forgot to mention Aron Lucier. He’s a Santa Cruz skateboarder from way back. Joe King is from Campbell, CA, and he would always come over to Santa Cruz. We started messing around with guitar and then Joe would take a little riff that I made and turn it into a whole song and then I would learn it. We pulled out our first five-song demo at your dad’s shop.

How did Bucky and Riddy start playing in the band?
I’d see Bucky at Sunnyvale Skatepark skating around. We never really knew each other’s name. We would just skate really fast past each other. I always had my eye on him around the park and at punk shows because he was always thrashing something or someone. He was gnarly. I’ve known Bucky and Riddy since they were youngsters. We all met at Automodown. They shredded. Terrorized in skateboarding too. We loved them. Buck used to be in a band FDSH and Riddy was friends with Ry Dog. He was there in the beginning and he’s always been there. He and Ry Dog were close. As they got older Ry placed Riddy in the band knowing he was a good bass player and had played for a long time and came from musical background. Ry and Riddy both knew a lot about music. Ry then passed away. It was the hardest thing ever to take in. The last thing on our minds was to start the band back up. Before Ry died, he had already hand-picked these guys. He said, “If anything happens to me, I want you guys to keep going. Never stop.” We kept that dream alive. He was that kind of person. Hwy187 tradition. The guys were about to start another band because they had so much boiling up. We jammed and it was special. Riddy already knew HWY187 songs, Buck screamed into a mic and had so much energy it was insane. Joe and I said, “You’re in, it’s the Highway Murderers.” We have an older member, Cody Joe, “CODE 187” back in the band now too. Ry took him under his wing and he’s back in the band after doing a two-year prison term and then chose to enter a sobriety program on his own, which was a loyal move for the band and fans. We’re fuckin’ excited to have him back. Riddy, Cody and Buck are cycos that have looked up to The Highway Murderers and Jason Jessee since day one. Our new music is faster, louder, tighter. The guys come from a different breed like us. They’re pist off, loyal as dogs, foaming at the mouth to skate and they play real punk rock music.

I’m glad that you guys kept pushing and you’re still doing it. It’s awesome. Who is Joe Overlord?
Joe Overlord is Joe King. He was called Joe Overlord when he was the drummer in a band called Sketch, Simon Woodstock’s band. They had a good hit in skateboarding called, “Metal Mom.” I really liked that song because there were lots of cool skateboarders in it. It’s a good skate video and I like Simon Woodstock.

With the Highway Murderers, you also incorporate skateboarding and art and bring a lot of stuff together with your music.
We try to bring in American cars, like a lot of Chevrolets. Skateboarding goes with lowrider cars. It was natural to me because all my friends that were into skateboarding were driving Chevys and lowrider cars. They were always being turned over for cheap to the skaters who would trade skateboard stuff to get car stuff. With lowriding, we switched to black slammed cars and bringing speed metal and loud stereos while we skate, like street terrorism… the Driven.

What kind of car do you have?
I have a ‘73 Chevy Impala custom. Matt Karlene, who is a really good skateboarder, gave it to me. It was the best gift I ever got in skateboarding.

That’s super neat. What kind of message or ideas do you guys try to put out there through the Highway Murderers?
We just want to lift up everyone’s spirit and give everyone something good to skate to, to wake up juiced and really feel charged for the day. When you put on the Highway Murderers music, you want to go skate.

G.G. Allin, Devo or Rudimentary Peni?
[Laughs] I’d have to say Rudimentary Peni just because I like their music. It’s easy and catchy. It’s the same with G.G. I have a heavy influence from that style of guitar from Rudimentary Peni, Devo and G.G. Allin too. The Hated movie really had a heavy impact on the way I like to draw, but my graffiti is kind of messy and a different style. I listened to that kind of music and I draw a little differently. It’s a different style, but it really does have an affect on my flavor and how I do it.

It’s a total bummer that Bob Casale “Bob2”, the guitarist from Devo, died.
Yeah. I played Bob1’s guitar on our first five-song demo that went to Japan. It was our first Highway Murderers CD. Your dad had his guitar.

I remember being five at my house in La Selva and my dad would keep his guitar locked up in this case. He would pull it out and be like, “This was Devo’s guitar!” It was like his prize possession.
The Blue Cloud.

Yeah! It was so rad. I think he ended up giving it back to the guy.
He gave him $10,000 for it.

What? That’s hilarious!
He kept the case. [Laughs] I also play an Ibanez and that’s a very nice Ibanez guitar. It had many different functions and it was amazing sounding.

How do you guys do your music? Are there events that inspire certain songs?
“Some Of Us Like To Ride” was a song we wrote for Bobby Wass. He’s a skateboarder and he was your dad’s best friend. When he passed away, your dad came over, and we had just finished the music for that song and we didn’t have any lyrics. Ry asked me, “What do you think I should do?” I said, “We have to do a tribute song for Bobby Wass and we’re going to call it, “Some of Us Like To Ride” because Bobby would ride his motorcycle like a maniac. When I first met him, he rode his motorcycle in between two trees that he couldn’t fit through and bent the handlebars and broke his arm, but he still made it through the gap.

One time Bobby was at Automodown and he was all, “Scout, look!” He pulled the flap back to his finger and it was the whole entire bone. I was like, “Ahhh!” He was always hurting himself and it was intense. So that’s how you got that song?
Yeah. A lot of our songs were like that. It was major events happening like turning points. We were having fun when we made, “Kicking Fucking Ass.” That’s a good song. I played a riff and we were practicing and then Joe came back the next day with that song. I love that song so much.

That’s super perfect. I forget exactly which video, but there’s a clip where you guys are pulling out each other’s teeth. I wondered if you’re not going to the dentist or what’s the whole deal with that?
That was Nick Foster also known as Dr. Hater. He’s like my brother from another mother and we grew up skateboarding. He was on SMA. He’s a bad ass street skater and he was complaining to me, “My tooth hurts, Mobby.” I called Casper and I said, “Is your lovely assistant Chucky around? I need him to come over with pliers and pull Hater’s tooth out because I don’t think I can do it.” Chucky’s real name is Daniel Mastin. He’s a full-fledged family man and he’s part of the Highway Murderers car club. He was good with tools. He helped your dad build a ‘48. He could put a car together and take it apart no matter what, so I figured he was a good one to pull out a tooth. He came over and pulled it out in like two seconds and dropped it in my hand and then everything went fine.

Hater felt better after that?
He said that we pulled the wrong tooth out, but he felt better so it worked out. He didn’t bleed to death or anything. He survived really good.

Thanks to the hand of Chucky. When did you meet my dad?
I met your dad when I was 17 at Derby Park. We were all skating up the hip and I ran him over. I was going really fast and my nose on my skateboard was touching his tail and I was not going to slow down, so I ran him over and he thought that was the greatest thing ever. I crashed his skate and he’s all, “Hold on. I’ll be right back.” I was like, “Who’s this crazy guy telling me to hold on and he’ll be right back?” I’m like, “I own Derby Skatepark. I’m here every second.” He was like, “What’s your name? I’ve seen you around. You drive an Impala. I love you.” No one had ever treated me like that before. I’m used to fighting with other people around and getting hassled and the school always telling me to go back to school. I was young and I wanted to skate. Skating was everything to me. We would cross paths in Santa Cruz and everyone would be like, “Jason Jessee was just here.” I finally got to skate with him at a half pipe and it was a lot of fun. Then I realized that we had a lot more in common.

Then you started going to Automodown and that’s how the whole band started?
Well, he pulled Casper, me and Nick (Dr. Hater) over to the side and he said, “Mobby, wait out here. I’m going to bring Casper and Hater on Consolidated and we’re leaving Santa Cruz and we’re going to start our own company.” It turned out that they got on and had the best boards. The best skateboarding I had ever seen in Santa Cruz happened shortly after that. Your dad was the man because he had the choppers and the vision. He said, “Mobby, all you need is a chopper and you need to go skate.” It was 1990 and I was like, “I just want to keep skating. I don’t care about motorcycles.” He’s all, “You have to. It’s the only way.” I was more into Chevy’s and he was more the motorcycle man. When I was out on my route driving dumpsters and garbage, he would pass me hauling ass like 100 miles an hour on his bike. I was like, “I don’t have to ride like that. I can’t ride like that.”

So you never got into motorcycles?
I like them, but I just never rode them.

What are some of the craziest jobs you’ve had? You worked at a vinegar plant?
Yeah, I drove a semi. I like to drive the big trucks. I’m just working on drawing now pretty much. I don’t really like working. [Laughs] I’ve had a lot of roughneck jobs like brick laying. I’m a mason, so I can do that all day long, but I don’t like it. I have a bad back from it. Driving trucks pretty much destroyed my back so, in 2007, I had back surgery and that stopped everything. Once I got back on my feet, skateboarding and art has been my main deal.

Tell us more about your art.
It’s graffiti pretty much, bombing Highway 187 or Highway Murderers and drawing skulls and RIP stuff for Ry Dog and Dr. Hater. It seems like it’s really coming through in a lot of my artwork now. Since high school, I’ve always drawn on everything. My shit is messy and crazy, so it took a while for it to develop, but now it just pours out of me.

You’ve been drawing and painting on skateboards and now it’s artwork for your t-shirts and stuff like that, right?
Yeah. It’s going on skateboards, t-shirts and stickers. It’s a lot of Driven, Automodown and 100% Skateboarder.

Do you want to keep pushing it and taking it farther?
That’s our plan. Jason and I are planning to make all kinds of stuff. He has an arsenal of photography that I can do graphic arts on that people will love for posters for their house, like custom shit.

That’s rad. It’s something you’re passionate about. When did you first meet Ry?
When I first met Ry, he was living in a hearse that Simon Woodstock gave him. I had to go knock on the window and wake him up and he had a clown suit on. I don’t think it was Halloween either. He was just dressed up like a clown driving a hearse. He was drinking a lot and he had like 24 beers in there empty and it was his first day of work. Because I gave him the job at United Rentals, I had to knock on the door and ask, “Are you coming to work today or what?” That’s when we started planning the band and came up with the name.

What’s a normal day for you?
I wake up and turn on Consolidated, Kings of Promotion and I watch you flip everyone off. That’s my favorite thing to do. Then I watch Neil Blender and I press ‘pause’ and I draw his face and then I play it some more and look at these things that your dad did in that video. I analyze every clip, like the guy with the taxi shooting and pulling the gun out all bloody. I draw that picture and make different ideas, so I’m not always drawing Highway Murderers. I like to draw all kinds of shit. I’m always running around the town on my bicycle and my skateboard. When I get tired of drawing, I just keep moving. I don’t sit down too long because then my back is fucked up and I can’t skate.

What kind of bike do you have?
I have an old GT cruiser frame, but it doesn’t have any paint, so there are no decals on it and it’s all rusty. It’s a lowrider bike, but it’s a big cruiser style one with no suspension. I took out the spring and the springer fork and lowered it, so everything I have is a lowrider or lowered or custom.

What things make you uncomfortable?
Sometimes girls make me really uncomfortable, unless they have really good intentions for me, then I’m really relaxed.

Do they usually not have good intentions?
Sometimes they take me for a ride and then I say, “No, you can’t. I’m driving.”

I guess that will go to my next question. Has anyone ever clasped their butt cheeks for you in applause?
One time, when I was driving by the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, that happened. Someone was dancing on the side. I looked the whole time. I shouldn’t have been looking, but I did. [Laughs]

If you had to pick one theme song to be the title of your life, what would it be?
“Let’s Get Murdered” because when you’re with your friends, you really want them to be with you when you die. When you say “Let’s Get Murdered,” it has a good ring to it. Let’s go for it. Let’s go live. Go thrash. Stay strong. Take a beating and then come out smiling, missing a tooth or two.

What’s your favorite conspiracy theory?
That aliens are in the clouds and we can’t see them. If you’re watching long enough, they will show you they’re there, so I try not to look. Your dad is always telling me there’s a lot of shit out there. I’m not sure yet. I don’t think I want to know. If I did know there was something crazy out there, I might go to the park and do a 540 right now.

What are some life lessons that you learned that had an impact on your life?
Being in the Highway Murderers, I have to live by a code. I don’t try and fuck my friend’s old ladies. I don’t drink too much. I try to keep a balance. I don’t do shit that I don’t want coming back on me. I just keep my nose in my own business and keep my nose out of other people’s business and keep everything balanced as good as I can because it gets wild when you get involved with all kinds of people.

My dad always says to be kind, regardless, and if someone fucks you over, fuck them.
Yeah. He’s been through some really tough fights and some gnarly shit. He lifts me up when I think everything is falling apart. He helps me remember that we’re all fucked and we all have to get through this together. We have to stay close and take care of each other.

That’s true. Life wasn’t made to be easy and you need support. What other funny stories can you tell me about my dad?
Just getting a phone call in the middle of the night, “Mobby, I ran out of gas.” So I bring him gas and then he gets ten feet down the road and his belt flies off. “Mobby, I gotta drive home backwards.” He had to go down the freeway like 15 miles backwards where you’re not supposed to drive. I’m helping him, so I’m looking crazy trying to drive backwards down the freeway. On our way to a show, when he really wants to go, he would put on this clown nose and when no one was watching, he’d get out of the truck while it was going down the hill, cross through the back of the bed, somehow, walk behind his truck and let go of the steering wheel. I think he took a bungee cord and pulled the wheel down straight and he had this little trick where he would just hold the wheel and get out of the truck and go down the hill. He got out of the truck and put on a clown nose and got back in on the other side of the truck while he was going about 60 miles an hour. I was scared for him. I was like, “What if he falls off his truck? Look at him.” He was running right next to the guardrail an inch away, so you could barely open the door and he still did it and he made it. It’s just crazy, off the wall random stuff like that. One night I found his truck in the back of an alley where we played the night before. He was nowhere in sight and I was like, “What the hell is going on?” Then I got a call from him asking if his truck was still in the alley the next day. The night before he said he had to take a taxi home. Somebody dosed him with something and he couldn’t drive. He said he had an outer body experience and flew home. He said he was flying over the concert. I saw him there for one minute wearing a red coat with white gloves on.

With bunny teeth? [Laughs]
Yeah. He had bunny teeth and a crazy hat.

At least he was safe, right?
Yeah. Somehow somebody found him and got him home safe. He said he flew home, so I believed it. He is a sorcerer.

[Laughs] You’ll never know. Who are some of your heroes?
Johnny Cash, first of all, because my mom played Johnny Cash for me when I was four years old until I was about thirteen. She played all the songs and she was really good at guitar, so I think her playing it for me gave me an ear for guitar playing and matching sounds with the drums and vocal work too because I can sing a little bit. I listened to a lot of Kiss when I was young. I liked AC/DC and the Sex Pistols. In fifth grade, I got wind of a bunch of punk records and punk music. Dr. Know has been a big influence on my skateboarding and playing guitar. Dr. Hater was a big inspiration because as far as skateboarding goes, I skate possessed because I wanted to be like him. He skateboarded and ollied head high and it was just natural style and no effort. I admired him for that and his art. His tagging and drawings and everything that I knew was unique from him. I wanted to be that way my whole life. Corey “Casper” Chrysler was another hero. He was a paver. I think he paved the way for skateboarding and a lot of sick skateboarders. He was my left-hand man and Dr. Hater is my right-hand man. We went through this life together. Casper worked hard and he inspired me every day. I guess it’s beyond hero though. Corey Chrysler was the sickest, most talented fucker there was. He had the biggest impression on people who knew him and knew of him. He was a family man, a solid friend, pro skateboarder, most innest custom car builder and artist with the biggest heart. The Chrysler family took in many youngsters and friends under their wing. Corey and his family are loved by so many, and Corey’s name will remain the talk of the town, “Casper Ghost” aka Corey Chrysler. We all morphed together like brothers. Even though Ry, Hater and Casper are dead, they’re not dead because they live in every drawing I do, so they are still inspiring me.

You keep them alive.
Yeah. I like country and punk music. The Beastie Boys had an impact on me when they were playing punk music when I was in sixth or seventh grade. I liked their fast weird sounds. I didn’t like them, but I liked that sound and that led to weird shit. I would turn on the TV and there would be MTV all day long and I would look at my Lance Mountain skateboard and I would just take off on that thing and go find a ditch and skate. Crazy shit has just come into my life and stayed there like Impalas and punk music and just anyone having fun. When I play music and see skateboarders running in circles and slamming and screaming and yelling our music, I can’t top that. It makes me feel all those inspirations come together and morph out through the music. Your dad helped that because he opened up the doors to say, “Here’s the world of art and you can make all this shit and play music and do what you want to do here.” And we did.

He has super neat advice sometimes about just doing whatever you want and making it happen. He says he’s breaking down walls and building bridges. Exceeding mental barriers and pushing the limit. You can do absolutely anything you want and nothing matters. It’s true. I remember I ran into you once at Kong’s Market and you told me about how you went to go get a house and you guys just kicked everybody out and brought a dumpster?
Yeah. That was a junkie house that we took over. Ry and I threw everyone out and we took over the house. We never paid rent. We just started living there and then Kong was like, “Hey, do you guys want to pay the rent?” After three months, his wife was all, “They don’t live here!” We got kicked out and we cleaned the whole place up and filled it up with a dumpster. I didn’t want to pay for the garbage, so I just dumped it there. Since they were kooks, I’m like, “You guys clean it up.” Ry Dog was like, “We gotta go!” We strong-armed the house. That’s true. Everywhere we go is a Murder House. There’s graffiti on the walls, we’re burning down carpet and there’s broken glass everywhere.

What’s your sign?
Gemini.

Me too. Radical. We’re crazy. We have split personalities. What’s the best advice you could give a five-year-old?
If he’s at the skatepark, do a 360 boneless. There was a five-year-old there that I taught how to do a 360 boneless and he does them now. He does them in front of me to say hello and he lands them every time, so that’s probably the best thing I can tell a five year old. [Laughs] “Look at this, Mob Dog!”

What about your favorite show that you’ve ever played? Which show was the most fun for you?
The most fun for me was with Dead On Arrival. Joey Shithead ordered a Highway Murderers shirt, medium with no sleeve, so I got it to him quickly. The reason that show is my favorite is because I really like D.O.A. This other kid from the band owed me money and he paid me three times the amount that he owed, so that paid for the shirts that I had, so I took those shirts and gave them out to everyone at the show. When I get to give shit away, it’s really cool to see everyone happy.

What would you say would be your greatest accomplishment?
Probably staying sober through all this.

I’m going to high five you right now because that’s rad.
If you work on everything in small increments every day it adds up in the long term. If you’re drinking all day, you can’t get that amount done. Rewarding yourself without lying to yourself is part of it. People think they’re killing it and then they get slammed into their face. I’m weary of that. Stay humble. It’s important. I want to talk to everyone no matter what the problems are. We’ll figure it out. We’ll help you.

You have such a big heart. I feel like when people have hard times they always come out the sweetest because their arms are more wide open to being humble.
You know how life really is. When you’re sober, it just seems like everything is overwhelming and it will never get done. At the same time, I don’t let opportunities slip away. I keep opening doors and keep going through and try not to take on too much at once. I keep a large sound because that’s my ultimate goal. My biggest reward is when I get to play my guitar. I like to turn it up really loud and hear Cody’s haunting guitar squealing and Riddy play his bass like there’s no tomorrow. Joe has so much sound coming out of that small drum kit and Buck sounds like a demon from hell.

Where do you want the Highway Murderers to go? What would your dream be for you guys?
I would like to be on one of those late night shows and just crank up and play “Let’s Get Murdered.” We’d play it really loud with flashing lights and then we’d just disappear.

Would you be wearing Murder Masks?
Yeah. Ultimate fashion.

What about Jerry Springer?
Anywhere.

Saturday Night Live?
Saturday Night Live would be mine. I missed my opportunity. I should have been friends with John Belushi. I think we would have gotten along great. We both understand punk rock. He would have been my drummer.

I love the Dead Boys and Black Flag.
I love Black Flag. When I first listened to Black Flag, I didn’t take it off my headphones all through high school. When it came time to graduate, I was still listening to Black Flag. I was skateboarding and didn’t want to stop listening to Black Flag and I didn’t graduate. I kept skateboarding all the way through, so Black Flag has a big influence. Bl’ast! really got me going in my younger days. I wanted to be in a band because I was always seeing their shows. The Melvins had a big impact on me too because they were playing so heavy and their loud sound. It really laid into me because that was the only thing I could get on the street like that. I walked right into a show, seeing Bl’ast! and The Melvins, and it was just the most random, sickest sound I ever heard in my life. I listened to a lot of Bl’ast!, Black Flag and the Melvins. I listened to that same Black Flag album over and over again.

“We’re Gonna Have a TV Party Tonight! Alright!” [Laughs]
That shit is still ringing on in my head.

I think some of the most brilliant and genius people that have ever lived have been fucked up on drugs.
I’ve seen it and I know the warning signs and how things decline or escalate out of control and then people lose control of their whole life. Addiction is alive and well. It’s powerful stuff. I’ve seen close friends deal with it and rise above out of it, and some not, same old behavior.

What about when Ry Dog got out of prison and the band was there?
Well, Ry Dog stole a car and drove across the United States. When he came back, he got busted and went to prison right when we were going to start the band. Instead of doing five years, he did three, so he got out early. We planned it like, “We’re going to do the Murderers.” He did get out of prison and we had a ‘Welcome Home Ry’ party and we played like four or five songs before he even sang. He came to the party and he was like, “Alright, this is my band. Let’s do this!” He got out of prison and came right into the band. We got our first four songs and once we figured out the lyrics, we slowly worked our way up. Next thing you know, we’re recording five songs at your dad’s place.

What are some of the worst bands that you ever heard?
I have a hard time hating on musicians. I really even like the worst things. I like Michael Jackson and the way he died and burned off his hair and I think that’s pretty bad music. I like Michael Jackson because of the one glove, and the moonwalk was some cool shit.

Totally. What was the first album you ever got?
Kenny Rogers, “Know when to hold ‘em…”

Do you have any shows that are coming up that you’re playing?
Bl’ast! was talking to me about bringing the Highway Murderers to L.A. They said that it’s way overdue and L.A. is just waiting. They want us to open. Bl’ast! Mondo Generator. They’re super tight. They’re all very sincere musicians and everyone plays so damn good. They all care about it a lot. We were always the band that came and saved the day if other bands didn’t show up. Most of our shows in the beginning were just leftovers like, “Hey, can you guys come play tonight?” We were eager to play, so we would do the bars a lot.

Do you want to start booking more shows and stuff?
Yeah. We’re booking a lot of shows, L.A., San Francisco, Oakland. There are a lot of motorcycle riders out there that want to see our band and they need the gear because it’s made for them. A lot of people ride motorcycles and skateboard now.

It all meshes together.
It’s sick. We want to go to Japan. That’s our big awesome deal going there. Felem Skateshop is where we want to go and play.

What is one of the hardest things you’re dealing with right now?
Putting together an art show. I want to save up enough art and put an art show together so that everyone can get some sick Highway Murderers art, like a canvas or a skateboard or something that fits their personal life, their custom life, that they’d like to see hanging on their walls. I can make anything that would make someone stoked, like a Highway Murderers clock or Highway Murderer dolls or whatever kids play with. I want the Highway Murderers everywhere. I’m going to start making Highway Murderer guitars, but make it so, at an art show, I can show everyone the art that I make. Making art makes my life more comfortable and it might make someone else really stoked too.

What has gotten you through to where you are today? What has really pushed you to keep pushing?
Just feeling everything that life has to give you, bad or good, and sharing it all with people and their ups and downs and bringing kids away from drugs. When I see them struggle, they know that I am looking at them like that. They want to hang out with me, but they can’t because they have something else to do. When I see a young kid going that way, I try pulling him back and keeping him with us because we support sobriety. If partying gets out of hand and you’re going too far with it, you need help and you need your bros and we’re there for you. We’ll pull you back and straighten shit out. We’re good at that. We’ve been to hell and back.

That’s super neat.
We have all these young kids that are shredding at skateboarding. They just don’t want to stop doing what they’re doing. They have to find other things to do in life. I’m not saying don’t do anything bad ever in your life, but know when you have to start pulling back.

I totally get it.
I see that a lot and it happens. Sometimes we can just help people and coach them along because we all struggle. We all share that together. Everyone can know that we’re all on the same page. Let’s all do this and make it sick.

It’s true. What was your first time riding a skateboard?
I was six years old and there was a little curb that I used to skate. I had a banana board and I used to try to ride down the curb. There was grass on one side, but it was like a little jump, so I started to learn how to ollie. By the time I was nine, right down the street was an empty pool and Tony Roberts was there filming a surf and skate video. I’m a little ten-year-old kid with Ruffy kneepads carving the bowl and learning how to skate. Keith Meek and Rob Roskopp showed up and they were like, “Hey kid, this is how you skate.” They were just grinding the crap out of this pool. It was some lady that ran the Begonia Gardens in Capitola and it was inside her flower shop and no one could see us. There would be ten or fifteen skaters in there, like Tom Acevedo, Keith Meek, Tony Roberts, Rob Roskopp, me, Chris Chapman and a couple of other heads from around the hood. We’re all throwing buckets of shit out the window. We emptied the whole pool and wiped it clean and then the Capitola cops came and poured oil in it and told us, “Damn skaters, get out of here.” We were like, “No, we’ll just clean it and keep skating for another month.” We did and that was my introduction to skateboarding. Pool skating is my favorite. Street skating was also number one because I had to street skate to get to the pool, so there was always stuff to skate on the way. That was the beginning. In fifth grade, I got a Lance Mountain board. I love Lance Mountain, Jeff Grosso and Jason Jessee. They are my favorite skateboarders ever.

They’re all amazing.
They’re my favorites. All that shit has been a big influence on me because your dad would cross paths with me throughout my life around Santa Cruz and he was really fast all the time. He skates really fast. He would kick off and be gone and you wouldn’t even know where he went and then we’d cross paths again and it would be sick. It would always be like, “Check out this panhead. Check out this ‘48 Chevy pick up.”

What do you consider the perfect life?
Well, there has to be some type of struggle going on. It has to be trying to do something hard, psychically or mentally, where you face some kind of resistance where you have to be pushing. If I don’t feel like I’m plowing through something, then I don’t feel right in life. I feel comfortable when shit is being destroyed. I just live that way and I think that way and I believe it and I’m pretty sure that’s how it comes out through my guitar. It’s sticking with the stuff that I really like and not changing it around too much. It’s comfortable. You don’t want to ever step in shit in your life, but you have to sometimes. It’s one of your dad’s really gnarly things, like stepping in shit. If somebody has a dog and they’re shitting around where he’s working, he can’t stand that. If he steps in shit, he flips out. He throws wrenches from Watsonville all the way to Santa Cruz.

Yeah. That’s gross. Is there anything else you want to say or that you think you should get out there?
Well, being in the Highway Murderers has brought everyone together. When my mom died, my biggest fear in my life was that I was going to be alone. The day that she died, I felt like I was going to lose my mind and never make it back and it didn’t happen. Everyone came together. They were like, “Mobby, we’re playing in this band.” I was so confused. I was like, “How am I going to play guitar? I can’t even think about how to play guitar. My mom’s gone.” I think she watched over me and all my fears that I thought were going to come down on me never did because everyone came together for me. All my friends that were living in Oregon and L.A. and different places all came and stayed by my side and we made it through all the hard shit and I never really felt alone. I felt like she was protecting the Highway Murderers the whole time. I still think she is because some shit is just too amazing to elaborate on. I like to make sure that everyone’s happy. It’s very important that everyone’s okay in the band.

It’s nice when you can just let positivity flow to each other instead of negativity.
Yeah. I attract crazy people.

You know how you said your mom was watching over you and how everyone came together and how you think she sent people to you?
The reason I think she has Hells Angels watching over me is because a Hells Angel saved her. A friend of mine, Justin Herret, who’s a Hells Angel, found my mom wondering by the Cove in Santa Cruz and brought her home while I was working. I came home from work and he was there waiting with her. I was like, “What’s this Hell’s Angel doing at my house?” She had that connection. Later on, another Hell’s Angel came into my life and his name is Monster. He’s a 6’8’’, 500-pound bencher. He watched over me through shaky times when things were kind of scary for me and then they became calm. He was there helping me and he just made everything okay when things could go the wrong way and it all got balanced out. I think that my mom watches that. People come into my life for really good, positive reasons and I take their information and apply it to my own life to make my life more functional and fun. No disrespect to nobody. Respect is number one to me.

How did you guys come up with the album, Time To Die?
Time To Die was already in the song, but the lyrics weren’t there, so I figured that would be a great name for the album. It was actually a lyric in a song that we didn’t use. Our drummer, Joe King, came up with it. He’s right. We have had a bunch of deaths we have gone through. There are subliminal messages in all of our songs. The shaky times were there and then they were gone. In the middle of feeling like I couldn’t keep playing after Ry was gone, that shaky time, all these great people came together to help. When I hear Bucky sing, I hear Ry haunting through it with him and then I feel more comfortable because I know he’s still there.

Have you known Joe as long as you knew Ry?
Yeah. When I first met Joe King, he had gotten arrested for doing graffiti. He was spray-painting “Ozzy” on a bridge and the cops saw him. I thought he was a local street tough, so I wanted to be friends with him. We started hanging around and, with him being a drummer, it was a perfect opportunity for me to learn how to play guitar, because he was always banging on shit. We really had a lot of fun playing acoustic guitar and making up songs while we listened to The Accused and got inspired to play. We made a song called “Bats & Bones” that was inspired by a riff from The Accused. We turned it into a really fast speed metal song. That type of fun was always relevant with Joe. Joe was always like, “If you’re down for fun, let’s make it happen.” Joe King is a mechanic. He knows how to put things together and write lyrics so that everyone can understand it easily. He’s really a good friend of mine. He’s right along Ry Dog, a good 20 years deep. A lot of my friends are deep like that. I’ve been running Santa Cruz hard for a long time.

It’s cool that you have that in your life. Is there anyone you want to give thanks to?
Thanks to Ry Dog, his family, Riddy, his family, Bucky, Joe King and his family, Nick Batista, the Chrysler family, Swillivision, lots of girls and their families. [Laughs] Mobbing chicks, Bill’s Wheels, Automodown, Derby, Fox Park, Ben Lomond, all the skate shit around Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Skateboards, they kept me skateboarding all my life, with new wheels, trucks and bearings and whatever I needed. I never had to ask for any skateboard stuff. I always have a skateboard. Thanks to Steve Yearsley for teaching me how to street skate when I was young. Thanks to pro skaters, like Hosoi. All skateboarders have a heavy impact on me because something that we all share is that we love the skateboard and pushing skateboarding is hard. We have to keep it going. The music helps propel all that for me. John Cardiel is also one of my favorites. Thanks to skateboarding and everyone in skateboarding. They’ve definitely had an impact on me because I want to skate with them and I want to play music for them. It’s not too hard to go to L.A. and San Francisco and Oakland. We need to hit those places. Those are the goals I want for the future. I want to get the art show with your dad and get everyone all the gear they want and bring them a bunch of new stuff for this year and really break it out in a good fast fashion. I want to give a Highway Murderers skateboard to all those people in skateboarding. Your dad, with all the stuff he makes, everyone needs at least one thing from your dad. His struggles are a little different than every normal person in the world. He has different struggles, but he never puts it on me. He’s always looking out for me and I look out for him too. No one is going to mess with him and he isn’t going to let anyone mess with me.

It’s a big loving relationship.
Yeah. To this day, he holds his ground in what he stands for. It’s amazing and he brings the best out of me, that I knew I had in me already, but I couldn’t get to it. Sometimes you need somebody pushing you from a different angle, like having Riddy in the band. That pushed my guitar playing to a whole new speed and a lot faster and crisper. Bucky singing is a lot more cracking and Ry Dog’s screams and roars are just layered in there. Your dad said if G.G. Allin, John Cardiel and Ry Dog had a baby, it was Bucky. He came out with the power of those three in skateboarding, screaming and musical talent. It was at a time when Bucky needed it and Riddy needed it and I needed it. I needed to bring Joe back. Now we’re more mobile. We’re able to maneuver a lot better now. I want to give special thanks to Corey Chrysler [R.I.P.] and the Highway Murderers family, friends, fans, skateboarders, Japan and everyone that supported us along the way. Thanks to Jason Jessee, Bill’s Wheels Skate Shop, Tsuyoshi from Felem Skate Shop in Japan, our #1 supporters. Thank you.

When you brought up Ry being at one of your shows, I was standing next to where you guys were selling merch and you told me how he had run around the block and beat up four different people. He ran, and then beat up one person and then got in a car and drove away and then beat up another person and then he showed up at the show. I was like, “What?”
He was the nicest. He’d treat you like the nicest woman and give you a napkin with your beer and treat you with the most respect. He was able to do that. He could flip out one minute and then be cool in the next. That goes with being a Gemini. One time, me and Ry left the bar and went to 7-11 and the lady was like, “Can you help me get this guy out of here? He wants to steal beer all night and I’m getting tired of it.” Me and Ry Dog were like, “Alright, we’ll throw him out of here.” I grabbed a can of tuna off the shelf and threw it over my shoulder and hit him in the head with it and then Ry Dog kicked him in the ass and made him crawl like a crab across Ocean Street. We were a terror team. We liked to run around on the streets and, if somebody was being threatened, we’d tear that person to pieces. He was such a good puncher because he was so tall. He could hit someone from so far away and they wouldn’t even know.

I heard one time that you karate kicked someone and that your feet can go above your head.
Yeah. That’s where John Belushi comes in. He’s like a really flexible guy. He was doing backflips in The Blues Brothers and that had a big impact on me. I’m a flexible guy.

Do you have any broken bones or sore knees right now or are you good to go?
I’m good to go. I went to the doctor and they said, “You’re a strong human. You’re fine. There’s nothing wrong with you. No sickness. No broken nothing.” My last injury was a broken collarbone and spinal injuries. It took an eight-hour surgery to correct all that shit. Luckily, skateboarding had me physically strong enough to heal from something like that. When I got back on my skateboard, everything came back. It was trial and error. I had to skate a little bit, fakies all day, and no carving until my back got better and, next thing you know, I’m carving the pool and now I can skate all day long if I want. That’s my favorite thing to do.

What are the other things that keep you happiest?
Seeing everybody at the show. Seeing all the faces and talking to everyone and being with everyone there. The minute before I get to go play, it’s like the most adrenaline. When we are just about to play, it’s like getting ready to go as high as you can. I love to see all the people. I’m really happy around tons of chaos. I like it when the band is together and it’s showtime. Hit us up at our website, www.thehighwaymurderers.com.

 

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