Riley Hawk, like all white, teenage Americans, makes stoner rock in his garage and is afraid of big-booty video girls. Unlike other rich stoner kids, though, he actually does stuff. I talked to him about why he sucks at being rich.
The author, with the stoner's father. Photo by Matt Price
I’ve always said that if I ever become the son of someone rich or famous I will fall off the face of the earth and live out my days staring at the sea. Doing stuff sucks. Some days I stare at the clouds and daydream about all the things I wouldn’t do if I were rich. I wouldn’t climb a tall mountain. I wouldn’t jump out of a plane. I wouldn’t write the great American novel. I wouldn’t go to Paris, Madagascar, or Mozambique. I wouldn’t even chew my food—I’d pay someone to chew it for me and spit it into my mouth like a bird.
And that’s why Tony Hawk’s son, Riley, annoys me. I don’t get that kid, nor do I understand what his problem is. His dad is rich—possibly one of the richest skateboarders of all time—and still Riley insists on doing shit. Over the years, he’s become a great skateboarder, like his dad, and he’ll probably go pro one day. He even quit his dad’s company, Birdhouse, to ride for Baker to show he can make it on his own. If I had a dad who owned a skateboard company I would make him turn me pro as soon as I was able to speak, and I sure as hell wouldn’t bother learning to skate. I’d just have him buy me the best skater in the world, a la Richard Pryor in The Toy, and inform the skater that he was now me and would be changing his name to mine and putting out video parts for me. I think Nyjah Huston would look great with my haircut.
Photos of Riley and Figgy by Ryan Allan
On a recent trip to Tony’s southern California home I asked him what Riley was up to, and he told me to go into the garage and see for myself. I was annoyed to find Riley jamming out with his buddies like he wasn’t rich as all hell. Now he’s playing music? Give me a fucking break. What’s next? Getting a job? Riley Hawk is seriously the all time worst at being a rich kid. And his dad is a total enabler. He’s LETTING Riley skate and play music. If I were Tony I’d be like, “Listen! We’re rich! Cut the shit and stop acting like the peasants!” But no! He encourages him. I asked him what he thought of Riley playing music, hoping he’d be pissed that his son was showing initiative, but instead he said, “After one minute of jamming, it sounds like they repeat the same thing... for HOURS. But maybe I just don't get the melodic nuances. I like the creative atmosphere, though, and there is always someone to skate with. But I could do without the parking issues and dog shit everywhere.”
Fucking whatever, Tony. Pay a homeless guy to pick up the dog shit. No, better yet, pay a homeless guy to eat the dog shit while you make it rain on him. Go spin another 900, bro.
Here’s an interview I did with Riley about his music in the hope that he would drop the act and admit he was just pretending and actually paying someone to play for him.
VICE: How would you describe the music you make in your old man’s garage?
Riley Hawk: Usually, when it’s me and my buddies, I’d describe it as just a bunch of friends who don’t really know what they’re doing, trying to make music. I’ve played for a couple years, but we don’t know anything about what keys to play in and all that kind of stuff. We just go for it.
Tell me about what you’ve got going with Figgy? Are you a band? Or do you just jam out?
Figgy is in a couple bands. At his house they have a place where they jam, but they got in trouble because it was too loud. I had all this stuff at my house, so they started coming over and practicing here. Whenever people are over, it just turns into a jam with everybody. It’s usually me, Figgy, and Austin on drums—he’s the drummer in Figgy’s band, Harsh Toke.
That’s a great name for a stoner band. Do you guys have a stoney name for your band?
No, we’re not a band. Everyone just hops on whatever instrument and messes around.
Do you have to be stoned to make stoner rock?
I don’t think so…
But it helps, right?
Yeah, I guess. I mean it is called stoner rock.
Are you guys just fucking around, or are you trying to make it big?
No, no way. I’m just fucking around. But Figgy’s band is super good. They’re actually making a record right now.
What does your dad think of your music?
I don’t know. He’s usually out of town when we’re being loud, just because when he’s here we don’t want to play loud and bum him out. But whenever Figgy and those guys are playing it sounds just as good as any other band these days, so it’s not a bummer to hear good music.
He told me he’s bummed on it. He said you guys suck!
Really? I guess we need to step our game up.
He said the first minute sounds good but after that it sounds like the same shit over and over and over again.
Yeah, those guys go for like 20 or 30 minutes straight on the same song; it gets kind of gnarly.
On one tune? You’ve got to be high to play the same song for 30 minutes. Who’s your inspiration, Phish?
They’re like the even shittier Grateful Dead. They keep playing and don’t stop.
I’ve never listened to them. I’m not too big a fan of the Grateful Dead. I don’t listen to them.
That’s good. They suck. Usually stoners listen to that crap.
No, I couldn’t really get into that.
Your dad also complains about the parking and the dog shit. Is it actually dog shit, or is it dude shit?
No, it’s definitely my dogs. He just hit me up the other day saying I need to be more on top of the dog shit. It’s hard because my dad’s backyard is huge. There’s so much grass, it’s hard to find where my dog is going every day.
Do you wipe your dog’s ass with the toilet paper you keep stealing from your old man?
No, definitely not. There’s just a bathroom right in front so if there’s none in my room I go in there and grab some. But he just showed me this closet area where he keeps all the rolls, so I stopped stealing his.
I like the vision of Birdman finding out the hard way that there’s no toilet paper on the roll. Your dad is pretty rich, does he just use rolls of $100 bills to wipe his ass?
No. I think it’s just like whatever, standard stuff.
No, like fives, I think. I’m just kidding. It’s just standard toilet paper like everyone else.
Does your dad ever act like an old guy? Does he come in with the robe on and yell at you kids to turn down that racket?
No. Never. If he does text me and say it’s loud I’ll turn it down. But usually we try to play when he’s not at the house.
Does he ever ask to do vocals on one of your songs?
My dad? No. We don’t even have a microphone. I think it would be embarrassing if we had a microphone. Maybe we can get him to sing on one of Figgy’s best track and send you the recording.
How big of a burden is it to be Tony Hawk’s kid?
I think it’s rad that my dad skates. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
When it comes to street skating, you look better on your board than your dad. Do you constantly remind him of that?
Ha! No, I don’t think so. Maybe for street, but on vert I’m nowhere close to what he’s doing. But I remember there was a time when I was doing a street trick that he couldn’t do and he was tripped out by it.
I have a photo here with a bong in it. Is that basically another instrument for your stoner rock?
I don’t really smoke with bongs. I don’t like them too much. They’re kind of intense. My friends usually come and go with them.
They travel with a bong?
Some people do, yeah.
In a car?
Yeah, I guess it has to be in a car.
Do you know how bad your car would smell if that spilled?
That’s very true. It’s high-risk bong transportation.
I did a beer bong with your old man. You ever try to get him high?
No, never. And I’m not a big drinker so I’ve never even done a beer bong myself.
So your dad can out-party you?
Yeah, definitely. I’m sure he could.
Does your dad play any instruments?
I don’t think so. I’m not sure if when he was younger he did but now I don’t think he does.
Does your uncle, Mike Hawk, play any instruments?
Uh, no. But my step dad was named Mike. His last name wasn’t Hawk, though. It would’ve been awesome if he was named Mike Hawk.
I’m a huge fan of Mike Hawk!
I know. So many people tell me that I should name my kid Mike Hawk; that name always comes up.
Do you have any groupies for your band?
No, I have a girlfriend. I’ve been with her for over a year now.
So she’s your groupie.
I guess so.
Tell me about the groupies on the Asphalt Yacht Club trip you went on in Miami.
Dude! I don’t even know how to explain it. Stevie [Williams] just has a bunch of crazy chicks out there. I have no idea what any of those chicks’ deals are. I remember the first night we were there he went out after skating all day and we just kicked back. We were in this huge house and I was sleeping on the couch downstairs and then at five in the morning I hear a bunch of people come in. He was with a bunch of chicks he had met at the club. They partied from then until nine in the morning. It was pretty torturous.
I heard they were half-naked big booty video gals and you were quite uncomfortable.
No. My friend Russell was going around having them do all sorts of shit like a full on music video director. It was funny.
Here’s Riley in the latest Thrasher Skate Rock clip:
Previously - Inside the Writer's Studio
For more Riley go to http://www.asphaltyachtclub.com/