Andy Roy is famous for being a wild and raw skateboarder and a psychedelically colorful personality always ready to start a ruckus. Where did the wild things go? They followed Andy Roy who was following Jay Adams, another legendary countercultural rebel. Roy has long epitomized the punk rock core of skateboarding, the DIY, middle finger to authority dirty grimy soul of American culture. He is a unicorn, a mythical creature–untamable, but one you want to believe in for the sake of us all. He is a performance artist, a shit starter, a robber, a swindler, a cuddle bandit and more. He is the kind of guy to make the most out of every fucked up situation that American life could throw at you. He threw it right back and it was covered in shit.
One more thing Andy Roy is and was, however, is an addict. He is also a boy who saw adult things too early, a father who didn’t know how to grow up. He is a boyfriend who truly loves his girlfriend. He is a man in recovery and full of all the potential of a human being.
I have never met Andy Roy, but I learned about him through learning about skateboarding which has become one of my favorite parts of our culture. I first became intrigued by his personality when I saw his Epicly Latered episode and felt so conflicted when I saw him stand up to Birdo at Derby when he was confronted for speaking his mind about Consolidated. I love the stand that Consolidated has taken against the corporatization of skateboarding, but here was Birdo seeming to protect his brand by confronting a skater who spoke his mind. I was confused. I know Birdo. I respect him. But in this encounter my gut went with Andy Roy. He seemed truer, purer in his approach. I still wonder about how that scene was edited. What don’t we know about how it went down? Maybe I was fooled by good video. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Next, I followed Andy on Instagram where I grew to love his voice. He would write these obscenely long rants but you could follow him perfectly and the picture he painted was vivid and clear. I quickly realized that the man was an artist, someone like Barney with the gift for spontaneous prose. I also saw that he loved his girlfriend and that made me like him that much more. It’s one thing to be tough, but another to be vulnerable. When you are in love with another human that vulnerability that opens up is so much more profound than anything else, and his ability to share that publicly put me on his team.
Now, the thing is, I might be falling for old Andy Roy tricks. He might be robbing me blind. He’s a pro at this game, but the thing is I believe him.
It was at the turn of the year that he got sober. The holidays are especially rough for people who live outside the box. If you are anti-establishment it is a painful time of year usually. As the story goes, his girlfriend discovered he had been using heroin and lying to her about it and she left him. He retreated from San Francisco, homeless and broke and went to stay with Bam who was still living wildly and had the means to make it happen.
I don’t need to repeat the story, though, because he tells it so well himself. Listen to his podcast Rip Ride and check out his episode with Brandon Novac, which goes into the details of his path to sobriety. Then listen to all the other episodes, and listen to his interview on the Nine Club. What stood out the most to me in hearing him and Novac talk about their journeys was Novac’s vision for the end of addiction. He said it goes one person at a time. One person gets help and gets clean and sober and then they help another and one becomes two and then they help another until it spreads across the country like the light of a new day. We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic. People are dying every day from overdoses. We need someone like Andy Roy to lead the way, and his podcast Rip Ride is doing just that.