Thursday, 12 June 2008

Bow down: Mark 'The Gonz' Gonzalez

The Gonz has to be one of my favorite all time riders and also one of the most influential street riders of all time. He was the reason I took my brakes of in 98' and learnt barspins and fakie tricks. All of his tricks looked amazing from the simple (frame grab fakie) to the insane (tree ride to flair). He is almost as well known for being a bit of a character in BMX from his acting debut on On The Down Low, to his various outfits at the MTV & old Hoffman BS series to his odd ramblings in his interviews. BMX certainly needs more characters if you ask me, everything is so serious and hammer orientated in mags and videos these days, where is the fun?
Here is a time line of the Gonz over the years which I nicked from 23 Mag, if you are a younger rider and you dont know who I'm talking about get a copy of On The Down Low, still one of the best videos to date.

1992 Cover : Ride US #2 december 1992

1997 Mark Gonzales is now riding for S&M after using them on his own for as long as he can remember.Gonz also got hooked up with Puma shoes. Above at the MTV street contest in Austin, one of the best 'real' street courses to date.

1998 Classic Gonz. One-footed frame-grab fakie at ESPN X-Trials round 1. Photo by Mark Losey.

1998 On The Down Low- still can't believe its 10 years old!

Mark Losey, : At the MTV Sports and Music Festival in 1999, Gonz completely lost his mind. He took a bus for three days to get to Memphis, TN, from Phoenix, Arizona, for the event, and he brought one very important item with him: a chicken suit. The night before the event began, MTV held a riders' meeting where Gonz got on the microphone and said, "I have a few social issues I want to talk about," and then he rambled on about Chicken McNuggets for ten minutes. Later he went to the MTV Real World house, hung out in the hot tub while still in the chicken suit, and then he ended the night by running down the street naked. The story doesn't end there. The next day Gonz went to the motocross jumps, got naked on top of a landing, and then got punched by MXer Mike Jones. Gonz got banned from the rest of the event, but he still managed to get beat up by Danny Way before the weekend was over.

Cover and interview in Ride US #51 august 2000.

Mark Losey, : I always thought Gonz was crazy, and while shooting his interview for issue 51 it was confirmed. One night while we were at his apartment at two in the morning, he was playing all kinds of instruments through a loop machine while chanting, "Do you love Satan?" Half of what Gonz does is just to mess with people, but I can honestly say that he freaked me out. A few years later we did a story about dads and asked pros to send in photos of them with their kids; Gonz sent a photo of his son that looked like he was dead in an alley.

Mark Losey, : In 2001, Gonz came by our office and said he wanted to shoot an x-up fakie footplant on a wallride in Huntington Beach. The only thing wrong with this scenario was that he didn't have a bike. To him, this wasn't much of an obstacle, so he went over to S&M and "borrowed" Chris Moeller's bike for a few hours. Gonz was riding for S&M at the time, and he's the only rider I know that would steal his boss' bike.

2hip has added the GONZ from Arizona to the flow-list in october 2004.

2006 Holy Gonz on the cover of Ride US september 2006. Shopping-cart mower while wearing Z's jacket. Photo by Jeff Zielinski.

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