Trevor Straub, AKA Pookie from Pookie and the Poodlez, is a skateboarder and musician from Oakland, California. After being rather in love with Pookie (it's hard not to be) and seeing him play guitar with Nobunny in Montreal, I really wanted to hear some of what he had to say. This super vibrant super-cutie is pushing boundaries in industries where being gay just isn't the norm (I'm really nodding here to skateboarding). He even attests to how skateboarding may have influenced why he didn't come out til 17. These are hard pressing issues in the industry, and I feel lucky to get to share Pookie's journey through skateboarding and music with you. To check out Pookie and the Poodlez, click here.
Get Born: How'd you get into music?
Pookie: I got into music through skateboarding… like the old Zero videos and Toy Machine's "Welcome to Hell" videos had sick songs from Iron Maiden ‘n stuff. So I had this shitty mp3 player and my brother used to load it full of soundtracks from skate videos from the early 90's. So whatever was on it, from Ludacris and other rap to Motörhead and Dio, I loved it all. And would pretend I was in whatever video part the song was from haha.
How'd you get into skateboarding?
Skateboarding is my first memory. I remember my older brother got a board and I would watch him skate outside with his friends… I thought it was SO cool! Then after begging Mom ‘n Dad to the point of complete exhaustion I got a shitty board from K-Mart and was very uncool… then I started getting kinda decent and my sisters old boyfriend bought me a whole complete for my birthday: a Santa Cruz mini board with a yellow bulldog on it, Independent trucks, Dooks risers, Shorty’s hardware, Bones Reds and Spitfire Classics! Still my favorite board I ever had. [My sister’s boyfriend] even built me a ramp to go with it! I lucked out being the youngest and always had cool older people watching out for me.
Do you think skateboarding influences the music you create, and/or vise versa?
Definitely! The first shows I ever went to were when I was 10 years old, at this church that had skate ramps in the back and I’d skate all night and listen to local punk bands play.
Tell us what you think about skateboarding taking up residency in punk and rock n roll?
I don’t know… honestly, they go hand in hand. This is the way I see it: I've only ever been into two things, music and skateboarding, and I get the exact same feeling from both. Like the first time I landed a heelflip I was alone on my street practicing all day, and after like 6 hours I finally landed it—no one saw and it was the best feeling ever. I ran up and down the street SO stoked and I didn’t need to tell anyone or say anything. Every time I pushed myself to learn a new trick I got the same feeling, like I just won the fight of my life followed by relief, and then relaxation. Same for songwriting and playing music; the first time I wrote a song I thought was good (alone in my room), I got that same feeling. I am constantly chasing this "feeeling"… Also they're both loner activities and I am DEF a loner.
How does skateboarding fit into your daily life?
If I feel like shit or something is mentally bugging me I go skate at the courthouse or the Bart station for a few hours and I feel way better when I get home. I broke my ankle—same one 3 times—so I cant do what I used to… I really wanted to be pro and when I was 12 I won the California Amateur Skateboarding League and was even sponsored by two boardshops and on flow for Osiris shoes… and Termite gave me a buncha shit too. I got to go to Woodward and skate one on one with Kris Marcovich. Caswell Berry’s dad was my sk8 mentor at the Vans skate park in San Jose, he taught me to handplant and gave me a lil’ skateboard necklace that I still wear all the time. I’m kinda bitter sometimes, like I wish I was still a full time skateboarder but its just not the same anymore… but I just found out Thrasher is using a Pookie song (Crushin’) in a video so that’s like unreal cool to me... so F-ING cool!!!!!!!! And I still skate to the weed clinic!!!!!!!!!!!
How does it feel being badass and transcending the machismo bullshit that can be the skateboarding world?
Oh I will be the first to say FUCK SKATEBOARDERS! The ones I grew up with were fucking assholes most of the time. I got picked on for being little and having my high pitched voice—I was very quickly labeled "Squeaks" at the skate park and was an easy target for the older kids… ughhhh I fucking hated it. Once I got good they let up a little but skaters are almost fucking jocks or some shit. I liked skateboarding ‘cause I didn’t need anyone else to do it; I could have endless hours of fun by myself and I was happy. I did have HUGE crushes on all the asshole boys though, haha I thought they were so cute and punk, but I didn’t even "come out" till I was like 17. Those jerkoffs at the skate park are probably a main reason for that. But whatever... let's just say I wish MEOW Skateboards were around when I was young. I would have been their biggest fan!!!! I hope those badass grrrls take over skateboarding!
What's it like being in Oakland, and can I come with?
Oakland is the best. It's been my dream since I can remember. I grew up in the 'burbs like 30 minutes outside of Oakland so I’ve been coming to skate and go to shows here since I was 11 or 12, and I’ve always wanted to live here. I live on Telegraph and get to see my heroes walking up and down the street or at a coffee shop or at Bart… I feel like I live in an issue of Cometbus [zine] that I read when I was a teenager. We have the best bands, best skaters, best artists, best swag, best weed, best attitude, and 924 Gilman [an all-ages volunteer-run music venue]. I love the Bay Area and Oakland. I was born here and I intend to die here too; it's my home. If the techie scum doesn’t push us all out…. [Just for the record, he said I could come with.]
What's it like being on tour with Nobunny?
Nobunny tour is my favorite thing in the world. I would and will follow the mad rabbit till the end of the earth and whatever is after when we jump off. I saw Nobunny for the first time when I was 15. It was after I couldn't skate anymore and had no idea what I wanted to do. After that show at Gilman I knew I wanted to be a part of this scene in ANY way I could. Nobunny's music saved me and a bunch of other kids, I’m sure. So to be on tour with them is the dream, literally, and now I’m living it. It's so crazy I can’t really describe it.
What's next for Pookie? And the Poodlez?
I’m doings some new music videos and I have a brand new LP coming out on Southpaw Records in April. I plan on touring as much as possible and spreading punk love to any willing to receive it!
If you could have the world remember you by one word or phrase, what would it be?