BLADE LIFE: An Interview with Anthony Gallegos
I met Anthony at my first Monday night skate in Long Beach, a week before Christmas 2008. My first impressions of him were that he was a nice, approachable, all-smiles guy with ridiculous tricks. A year and a half later he’s still that same person, with an ever-growing trick vocabulary and an uncanny ability to skate virtually any obstacle put in front of him. His style has been described as smooth, ninja, fearless, unexpected, gangster, creative, progressive and crazy. He amazes me every session, and what’s more surprising is how humble he is. He encourages everyone around him to skate their best and above all else, have fun. It shows in his skating, and anyone who skates with him can clearly see how much he revels in strapping into his boots.
Here’s some insight into my friend, Anthony Gallegos. — Jonathan Labez
First, the basics. Tell the readers about yourself, on and off skates.
My name is Anthony Gallegos, I’m 23 years old, from Bellflower, CA and I’ve been skating for about 13 years. I love skating, wine, music, good food, books, anime, video games, movies, etc. Much of my time is spent in the greater LA and Long beach area, either skating or working. Most people I meet find my ethnicity a mystery being that I look white and my last name is Gallegos, but I am Guatemalan and Salvadorian. My long-standing nickname which most people know me as is “Wiener, and I will probably have to take that nickname to the grave. I have an obsession with one day skating and living in Korea, and I love to travel when I get the chance, but it’s not often because I rarely have a destination or funds.
A little-known fact about you is that you’re going to school to be a wine maker. It’s not the first thing I’d guess from looking at you. In fact it’s not even on the list of guesses. How and why did you get into vinification?
Yeah, the funny thing is that I used to hate wine back when I was a rambunctious underage drinker. Even so, it was cheap and easily obtained so I found myself drinking it a lot. Eventually, when I drank enough wine to develop a meager palate I started to really appreciate the subtle and grand distinctions between different wine regions and varietals. Soon after I happened upon a wine that opened my eyes to a new world. It definitely wasn’t a Grand Cru Classé or a Screaming Eagle, but it was completely different from anything I had up until that point. Needless to say at that point I became a follower of Bacchus and a definite oenophile. I enjoy learning about wine and I fell in love with viticulture. I am growing my own grapes but it’s just a hobby as of now, considering my location and skills. It’s like learning a new language, but damn is it fun and rewarding. I will be moving up north soon to immerse myself further into the world of vitis vinifera, hopefully one day producing top notch, enjoyable wine so that maybe one day even more people will get to enjoy the pleasures of wine.
On top of your love of wine, you also make music, which I found out about last year while we took that trip up to San Francisco. What sort of beats do you enjoy making?
Ha ha, that’s a definitely just a hobby for me. I tinker with my synthesizer/sequencer, a Roland EMX-1, and my sp-404 sampler from time to time, but I haven’t sat down long enough making music to be satisfied with anything I produce yet. I leave most of the music making to my very talented friend Vincent Martinez or niceguyxvinny, who’s natural talent takes his music to levels I have yet to reach. When I do make music I like to make hip hop influenced music and electronic tracks.
You live over by Bellflower, but you skate in Long Beach. From my vantage point living in Los Angeles, the scene in LB is a thriving one. I think Monday nights are a testament to that. But I want an insider’s look. What’s your take on the Long Beach scene?
Well, being that Long Beach is a budding skate scene and where most of my best friends are, I would have to say that I spend more time there than anywhere else. I can definitely tell you that the locals play a big part in keeping the Long Beach rolling scene a positive and growing one. Although no community is without its problems, I feel like any problems we have, we will overcome and become even stronger. New rollers and skate parks are sprouting up often, we even recently acquired a new skate shop causing a big buzz in city as a whole and leaving people curious and interested in what we do. We are always doing our best to welcome as many people into our rolling community and keep it positive and fun. I’m proud to say that most of the Long Beach locals are doing a good job in representing rollerblading properly in the diverse beach city. If you’re ever in or near Long Beach you are more than welcome to come to Monday night sessions.
When you skate, you have a keen eye for unusual objects and landmarks. I oftentimes see you wandering around a spot, combing through the landscape for anything untouched or unrealized. I’ve wanted to ask this for a while now — What are the factors that go into skating these creative spots? is it a conscious effort or just how you look at things?
Anyone in Long Beach can tell you that skating street in Long Beach can be difficult at times. We do have great skate parks and a few historic spots (i.e. Cal State Long Beach), but when you can’t skate those spots for a good number of reasons, or don’t want to, then your options quickly become very limited and you will find yourself skating really shitty spots. Locals are often creating new spots, recreating old ones, or skating things differently. As for me, I really don’t consciously look for creative spots or try to skate things in a weird way to be different. Skating in Long Beach, where spots are limited, I suppose I realized how fun it was to approach obstacles differently. I feel like when I roll I’m completely uninhibited and I skate however I want. I just skate the way I enjoy skating, and I skate spots because they’re fun to me because rollerblading is meant to be enjoyed. I don’t think I will ever get bored with rollerblading because there are so many different ways to skate a spot; rollerblading truly makes the possibilities endless.
Touching upon that last question, which skaters did you admire growing up?
Ever since I was a grom up till now I have admired my friends the most. Among pros my favorite has always been the legendary Chiaki Ito, not to mention Jeff Frederick, Abdiel Coldberg and Tat Nasu, who technically wasn’t pro, but was on that skill level.
How has that list changed as you have evolved and grown as both a person and skater?
The list has only grown, many new friends and personalities in rollerblading has made it more diverse and stronger than ever before. Jeremy Soderburg has definitely influenced me the most; he is a powerful force in rollerblading and has a positive personality. Other than that, everyone I skate with influences me. I mean, it seems impossible not to be influenced by just about every person you encounter. The thing I love about watching others skate is that when someone is having a great time skating, it reflects upon their skating and you will see them progress and their skating mature into something wonderful to experience. Because everyone is different you get a whole spectrum of styles and creativity that is unique to rollerblading. It’s easy for me to say that I have no clue what kind of a person I would have become if I never encountered rollerblading.
Lately there has been a bit of emphasis on well-being and pre-skating stretching. This year alone, there was the Blading Wellness series, Demitrious’ strengthening tips, or Rob G’s thoughts on Footagetape. Before you skate, do you prepare?
Ha ha ha, holy shit no one’s ever asked me that. Let’s just say that I have nothing against preparation or blading wellness, but I honestly don’t care very much about it. I suppose it’s because I’m still relatively young and lazy. I’m just so used to rolling up to a spot and getting right to skating I suppose. That’s how I grew up skating and old habits die hard.
After a session, how do you like to chill out?
I like chillin’ with friends, tasting wine, watching movies, playing games, reading, generally vegging out, and enjoying life after a good day of skating.
Any last thoughts, or anyone you want to give a shout out to?
This can potentially be an incredibly long section, so I’ll keep the shout outs short. I want to thank everyone I’ve ever skated with including locals, close friends, and people who believe in me and my skating. My sponsors: Fifty-50, Xsjado, INRI, and LFR for supporting me. All the readers for reading this, you Jon for all the work and making it possible, and ONE magazine for the opportunity. Special shout outs to BDC for being the biggest and the baddest. Just remember to never lose the love and stay fresh! Cheers!
Interview and photos by Jonathan Labez
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Damn man this was a sick interview, great questions and photographs well done jon and anthony
biggest and the baddest
Great interview. Rolling just get richer and richer. SO much variety, so much to choose from… Anthony is one of those on the top of the menu, great words, great tricks, great pics, Good Job ONE.. I need to extend my subscription
He’s dope. I remember him from way back. I love the crossgrabbed backslide. Nice color tone.
Anthony should be on Xsjado more officially than Kevin Yee. Need more humility and selflessness with the people who represent. His rolling does all the talking :)
His rolling = Anthony’s rolling! Stay up and stay grounded!
you would love St Helena skatepark!! there are vineyards everywhere surrounding it (as well as plenty of wine tasting) and it’s also a pretty rad park. maybe y’all should take a Napa tour haha
Thank you for all of the overwhelming support! And I love St. Helena I never knew that they had a park! Are there really rollers out there? I would love to know so that I have some friends nearby when I move to Santa Rosa.