Cher Strauberry; Like Talking to a Friend
interview and photos by Diego Jimenez!
April 5, 2019
A few months ago, one of our writers had the chance to sit down with skater & musician Cher Strauberry at her recent book release. A transwoman, and one of skateboardings most revolutionary figures today, she’s still constantly exploring her style and identity, all while taking the internet by storm. We could talk about this incredible wxman and her already HUGE list of accomplishments almost forever, but it all sounds a bit better coming out of her own mouth anyway.
So - today we’re here at The Glitterbox.
Yeah, that’s our house. There’s hella cats everywhere. One night we had a show and people threw glitter so it was just like a big glitterbox - cat hair and glitter everywhere.
You have your book release here today, what can you tell us about the book?
The book is every zine I’ve made in the past six years.
That’s kind of a long time.
Yeah. it’s a lot, it’s over 200 pages.
It’s taken you six years?
I mean it’s just a compilation. Zines normally only take me a night or two when I make them because I’m kind of neurotic - I have a thought and I gotta get it out.
Where can people get the book?
From State Fabric Press.
You’re also playing with twompsax tonight.
Mhm, outside the bus.
That started out as a solo project, right?
Yeah, it’s all me - I record and play all the instruments.
Do you perform with a full band?
I have a full band, but they can’t make it tonight so I’ll be playing solo.
How do you like playing with other people opposed to by yourself?
When I play by myself, the band never messes up (laughs) but it’s also hard, I don’t know. I just don’t really have time to wait for anyone. If I wanna tour I just go on tour. If there’s something I wanna do then I’ll just do it. But I like having a band, obviously, because no matter what you just can’t get that band feeling when you’re just playing by yourself.
Your album ‘i h8 me’ just came out, can you talk a little bit about recording that?
I recorded it all in my friend’s basement in El Cerrito and on my walkman in my room. I just had my friend, Jesus - who I’ve known since I was a little kid - record me on a 4 track and I played all the instruments myself.
How many different instruments do you usually use?
Only bass drums, guitar, vocals, and sometimes keyboard.
And you went on a little California tour with Unity recently, but left right before San Diego.
Oh yeah, is that where you’re from? San Diego?
Yeah, my friend came for the trip from Cleveland and I went back with him so he didn’t have to ride the bus back alone.
What can you tell us about being on tour with Unity?
That was sick, we just went everywhere and did queer skate days. Like we were here at Rockridge, or just wherever, and it was super fun. That was my first skate trip I ever got to go on. It was just like skateboarding all day. Every gas stop we went to everyone jumped out and started skating. It was super fun, I was just with these 25 gay kids running amuck skateboarding. It was the best.
Did you guys film anything?
Yeah we filmed a bunch. We have a whole edit coming out soon. I got props from Erik Ellington at the Baker skatepark. I was hella hyped - it was so sick.
What’s your favourite city to skate in?
I have hella fun in downtown Chicago, honestly. Downtown Chicago is like a fucking skatepark all on its own. You get kicked out from every spot, and you only get like 3 tries, so it’s kinda more fun too. You can see where the security guards are sitting, and where they’re gonna walk out from to kick you out. When I first started skating again, I lived in Chicago, so I would just go to downtown maybe twice a week with these two kids I met and have so much fun.
What’s your favourite city to play shows in?
Any small town. Duluth probably? Duluth, Minnesota or Minneapolis. Duluth is so small - if you go and play a house show they’re just stoked.
Your favourite band you’ve played with?
Honestly, I’m not sure. I feel very jaded by the punk scene. Everyone’s kind of a dick, unless they’re like 15-20 years older than me, because then they get everything that I like or the influence or whatever. No one plays music like Blatz or anything anymore; all the bands I grew up on, no one even knows who they are. I don’t know. Favourite band I’ve played with is probably The Cowboys. I went on tour with them right after I got obsessed with them. I just pitched it to Nobunny because he was looking for bands for me to tour with, and I was like “We should ask these kids, The Cowboys, they’re my favourite band right now.” And yeah, they said yes. After being super obsessed with their record for a month I got to see them every night for a month. It was sick.
When was that?
Like 3 or 4 years ago? 2016.
And how long have you been touring/playing music?
Since I was 16.
How old are you now?
So 10 years?
Woah. I didn’t even realise that. I guess it has been 10 years.
It was weird. She filmed it all in two days. She was out here (bay area) and was like, “What are you doing? Can I come with you?” And just randomly asked me questions. But yeah, that was crazy. I didn’t think about the stories I was telling at the time, it just felt like I was talking to a friend. It was pretty loose and chill.
It was on Girlgaze and Thrasher. How has that made you feel?
I’m still kinda riding that wave as we speak. It’s been insane. I’m a little overwhelmed. There’s lots of things going on via the internet for this one right now. There’s a ton of people coming to me for advice. All of a sudden I’m this trans spokesperson for skateboarding. I had no idea. I was trying to be under the radar, just practice skateboarding and lowkey transition, you know, but I mean it’s cool. It’s good and bad. It’s good because all I wanna do is play music, and if all of this leads to more kids knowing about my music and playing more house shows then I’m all for it. But I could say it’s bad too because I get like 20 death threats a week from motherfuckers just being like, “If you come to my skatepark I’ll kick your faggot ass!” Some guy got so pissed at this one dude who was talking shit on me that he was like “I see where the fuck you’re from, I’m from like two towns over! If I see you at our fucking skatepark I’m gonna fuck you up for that girl!” Honestly, I’m so backed. I have such a big family and crew. I really try to be nice to everyone I meet too, so I’m not really worried about it. I do have zines of screenshots of every fucked up thing people’ve said to me and my ex girlfriend. And I’m not trying to spread hella hate around but I am trying to spread awareness. So I guess there are negative things that come along with the internet too. And there’s a bunch of dumb stuff like people trying to steal your imagery and stuff like that. But I did just get sponsored by Vans. And Deluxe (Distribution) gives me pretty much whatever I want. It’s pretty sick. And all of that is just because of Instagram videos.
Do you have a dream sponsor?
I want to be sponsored by Flower Beauty. That’s Drew Barrymore’s makeup line.
Is there anything you want to leave readers with?
If you want to support me, buy a book. Support trans people and what they’re doing because a lot of them don’t have support. Keep your friends close.