#TBT Alex Broskow ONE #2 Interview (2006)

Over ten years ago ONE Issue #2 went to print and inside was a feature interview with Alex Broskow. At the time he’d just filmed for “The Meantime,” was skating on Roces skates, and I could be wrong but VX may yet have not received their cease and desist letter from naming their jeans the “James Dean.” But we didn’t handle this one alone. Sitting in on the interview were Wes Driver, Corey Casey, and Adam Johnson. So much time and blade history has come and gone in the intervening years that the information and opinions Alex (and AJ) share in this discussion have both been incorporated into blading’s underlying psyche while also being lost in our collective memories. But that’s what makes #ThrowbackThursday so fun, because it’s a great chance to dig up old content like this and share with audiences that may have never seen it before.

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Interview by Justin Eisinger, Adam Johnson, Wes Driver and Cory Casey
{photography by brandon smith & jeremy stephenson}

For a guy who chooses to keep himself based out of Lawrence, Kansas, the little ripper once known as “Grommit” has come a long way. He’s made it all the way from hanging out at skateparks, to, well… hanging out at skateparks. In that regard you might ever consider him a success story. A success because he’s a guy who stuck with rollerblading long enough to progress from amateur to professional, over a long enough period of time to learn to appreciate the perks. The result of all this experience is a soft-spoken young adult with a good sense of humor that we all know as Alex Broskow.JE

While waiting for Alex Broskow to call us back to conduct this interview, ONE sat around with Alex’s longtime accomplice Adam Johnson and talked about what sets Alex apart from his peers.

(The following interview was recorded on Nov. 1, 2006, at 9:24 p.m.)

Adam Johnson: Alex embraces rollerblading more than most professionals do. He’s out in the streets, he’ll skate by himself, or he’ll skate with his six best friends. But he’s there promoting rollerblading. He’s promoting his friends. He’s promoting everything about our culture. When he was 16 he dropped out of high school,
wore khaki pants and wife beaters all the time, and now he dresses completely different.

Justin Eisinger: Why does that matter?
AJ: It matters to Alex because he really cares about people’s images, and he realizes that you can’t get anywhere in rollerblading in the present day without an image. And he’s worried that his protege is gonna choose the wrong image for himself. He’s trying his best to look out for him, but he’s just worried that Michael (Collins) is making the wrong decisions. The same way everyone worried when Alex was Michael’s age that, you know, we need to make sure Alex makes the right decisions to provide for his future. Because you see these people and you realize they are the premier skaters in the industry, and you try to groom them.

JE: Do you think Alex has made the best decisions for his future?
AJ: I think Alex has made some really quality decisions for his future. I don’t know if dropping out of high school was a good decision for his future. I wouldn’t encourage anybody in rollerblading today to drop out of high school to pursue skating, but everybody is themselves, and whether or not you’re going to pursue college as a viable plan for the future really depends on whether you want to finish high school.

Wes Driver: Don’t you think once you get into a serious relationship that it sort of hinders you sometimes from going out on a monthlong tour?

AJ: It’s never hindered Alex. I’ll say that. He went to Japan… he’s gone all the time, and he’s really lucky with Erin because she’s learned to cope with the fact that he is gone 33 percent of the year. He’s there one or two weeks a month…

JE: Too bad he’s not in the National Guard; it would actually be less time and more benefits.

AJ: Ha, ha, exactly! You know what, John Kerry put it profoundly when he said if you don’t finish high school and go to college, you’re going to end up in Iraq. And at least Alex circumvented that…

(Phone rings)

JE: Hey, Alex, you’re on the phone…. We were just sitting around talking about you. You wanna do an interview?

Alex: Sure.

JE: You’re going to be on speakerphone, is that a problem for you?

Alex: No, no.

JE: Well, we were just talking to your friend Adam Johnson about your finer points as a professional. Where did we leave off?

AJ: We were saying that Alex’s relationship doesn’t influence his ideals when it comes to rollerblading, and the fact that he does what he sees fit, not only for himself but the people surrounding him. And that he makes good conscious decisions when it comes to skating. Did you hear any of that Alex?

Alex: (Laughs) Kind of…

AJ: We just said you’re a badass who doesn’t give a fuck what it takes, he just skates and lets his skating talk for him. And doesn’t give a shit about what people say, like the kids on Be-Mag…

Alex: Hello…

AJ: Shit, talk to Justin!

JE: So Alex, what were you doing just now before we called?

Alex: I was at the skatepark, actually, and my phone was at the house charging.

WD: So you’re a pro skater that actually skates during the week?

Alex: Dude, this was my second time today. I skated like five hours today.

WD: That might actually qualify as a career…

Alex: Two different skate parks, and with two different dudes.

JE: How often per week does that happen?

Alex: Usually every day, unless I’m too tired or something, got some other shit going on.

JE: How long you been doing that?

Alex: Skating?

JE: No, going to the parks so much.

Alex: Pretty much as long as I’ve been skating. I try to skate everyday.

JE: Something I haven’t seen you talk about anywhere is the change in your career and your sponsorships in the recent past – like with Roces. You’re also more involved with Vibralux, or more visible. How has that been treating you, and what’s it done for you on a day-to-day basis?

Alex: Well, I don’t get paid a lot to skate anymore, but I don’t know if anyone does really. So I don’t know if that’s a problem. I don’t travel as much skating for Roces, so that’s good and bad. I like being at home and hanging out with my friends, but I also like getting around and skating cool shit. As far as Vibralux, me and A.J. are running it, and it’s a lot of fun, and we get to make cool shit and try to help the industry.

WD: What’s Charles Dunkle and Roces doing for you these days?

Alex: I haven’t talked to Charles in awhile, but…

JE: Isn’t he your team manager?

Alex: Charles? No, it’s Jon Julio.

WD: Jon Julio is the team manager for Roces? I thought he was running Valo.

Alex: No, he does both.

JE: Oh, I don’t think anyone knew that, exactly.

WD: They do now…

Alex: There you go.

JE: OK, cool. So I guess the answer to Wes’ question is nothing. So you gonna get a pro skate from them anytime soon? That black and brown thing or what?

Alex: That’s just a prototype that I’ve been skating, just to skate something different. That skate might not even come out. If I do get a pro skate it would come out probably next year, and different colors.

WD: Do you like the Roces skate?

Alex: I wouldn’t skate it if I didn’t.

AJ: It’s been brought up before that Roces hasn’t changed their skate design in over six years. Are you going to maybe help them design a new skate?

Alex: Well, they did change their skate design a few years ago, but nobody cared.

AJ: I know, but I’m saying they came out with the best skate ever – the M12 – back in the day, and it revolutionized the sport, but are you or anyone else on the team going to head up revolutionizing the sport again?

Alex: If the sport gets money again there would be a new skate design. But if there’s no money, they’re not going to spend money to make a new skate just so no one would buy it. I don’t see anything wrong with the M12, they work, but if I could have a different Roces, it would be like a Fifth Element.

WD: You’re saying there’s nothing to change.

Alex: Yeah, if I could skate a different skate it would be Fifth Element-looking, basically the same as the UFS M12, just a little bit meatier, with a little more room in the foot area. Same skate, different look; it would skate the same and everything.

JE: What is it about the Fifth Element that you like so much?

Alex: I don’t know, I think it was the cool color ways they had back in the day.

JE: So you liked Dawn Everett or Robert Lievanos skating in the women’s skates?

Alex: Robert Lievanos looked the fucking sickest, man. He always had some cool colors I remember only seeing on him and nowhere else.

JE: Who’s ripping shit up these days besides yourself?

Alex: Besides me? Like here, or anywhere?

JE: I don’t care. Who’s on your radar? You, somebody else, maybe someone in Czechoslovakia…

Alex: The only people I can think of ripping it right now would be in The Meantime video. That’s who I think’s ripping hard. I think it can appeal to anyone.

JE: What’s going on in the sport right now? There’s rumors about everything, what do you see?

Alex: I don’t really see anything because I live in Kansas. What I see are my friends at skateparks, and a lot of skateboarders, and that’s really it. But industry shit, it’s hard to say. It seems like it’s the same, it seems like it’s growing… it seems like it’s skating. I don’t care really…

AJ: Are you excited about Vibralux being sold in a skateboard shop in Kansas City?

Alex: I’m very excited. I go there to buy gear sometimes, and I started talking to the manager, and he checked out the line. He said they’re going to pick some up.

JE: Do you think that’s a step in the right direction, trying to bridge the gap between skateboarding and rollerblading?

Alex: Yeah, I mean, definitely.

JE: There are some people who think the time for rollers to be so concerned about skateboarding is past, or it’s in some way sort of hurting us, because we’re concerned about it. You must feel differently…

Alex: People mean we’re trying to compete with them, is that what you mean?

JE: Well, I don’t know. I hear people say different things, like that us being concerned about what they say validates what they say…

Alex: Shit, I don’t care what anyone says. I’m still going to rollerblade just the same. They can call me fruitbooter all they want.

Cory Casey: It seems that someone as gifted as you are at rollerblading might get the idea to go try another sport where you might have a chance to make more money. Have you thought about that? Or why did you choose rollerblading?

Alex: I kind of joke about it, “Give me three years and I’ll get there…” ha, ha, but skateboarding is fun because I kind of know how to do everything on rollerblades. But on a skateboard I can learn a new trick every day. Rollerblading has almost gotten too natural to me at certain times.

WD: Natural being easy?

Alex: Not easy… but, yeah, easy.

AJ: You’re the shit in rollerblading and you know it.

Alex: No…

AJ: Nah really, deep down, I know that you know that you can do anything.

Alex: If I want to do something, I know I can do it.

AJ: There were times you told me you were going to do something, and I didn’t believe you, and you did it just to spite me. And I can’t wait to see “The Meantime” because I know it’s going to be one of those sections… you’re not predictable. I know skaters like Aragon and others have been bagged on because people know how their sections are going to turn out every time. Every time you put out a section it’s a mystery, and I think that upsets a lot of the rolling community, that they can’t predict what sort of section you’re going to put out – whether you’re going to do a toe roll or a true top soul 720 out, because you explore every facet of rollerblading. I think that’s what makes you popular, and creates a lot of hate in the community, because you’re not a predictable rollerblader. You’re the go-to guy. You can do anything. You can be in anyone’s video and still have an impact.

WD: Do you agree with what he said?

Alex: Wow, that was cool. Damn, I agree. I think that’s cool. I do switch it up from section to section. Skate new obstacles, different styles of tricks so it’s not handrail after rail, or ledge, gap, ledge.

AJ: Everyone knows you and Farmer can do switch ups down flat rails, but I would have been sick of seeing that by now.

CC: Your new section in The Meantime seems to be pretty awesome. Maybe it’s that you’re skating with a lot more authority than you were in the past. You make things looks a little easier than they used to be, but how do you pick and choose tricks to highlight for different sections?

Alex: With The Meantime I liked my part a lot because it’s really fast, and some of my parts haven’t been like that – quick clips and cuts. I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do. I’d make a list for when Brandon (Negrete) would come to town, and then go out and get what I’d been thinking about.

JE: Cool, and we should wrap this up. Anything you want people to think about?

Alex: Just keep skating.

AJ: Why are the James Dean 2 Jeans coming out in January?

Alex: Because we want to look cool.

JE: What about the forthcoming video The Best of Broskow?

Alex: I want to change the title. Can we call it The Worst of Broskow?

[The END]

Order a print copy of ONE #2 HERE

Order the brand-new print issue #23 HERE

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