When I was in my teens, I took part in the massive counterculture and hella-extreme sports movement known as… skateboarding. All tongue-in-cheekiness aside, this venture helped shape me during an age when you’re most impressionable. While I was indubitably below average amongst my peers, not to mention those flying about at the Gravity Games, my experience included a tight-knit group of friends that embodied some traits I still try to adhere to: acceptance, positivity, loyalty, affability, and persistence, to name a few.
Although I haven’t tried to turn back the clock and step on a board in quite some time, those years have had a profound, longer-lasting effect on me in the form of music. I was introduced to countless skateboarding videos and became enamored with not only the actual skating part of them, but also by the songs used. This opened up a whole other avenue of exposure and exploration in music that probably wouldn’t have occurred if I hadn’t grabbed that piece of plywood and feebly attempted kick-flips in Bobby’s driveway.
My friends actually made a video that documented our escapades, and the songs were eliminated from it due to copyright law forever, I thought. However, the sound seems to be back just in time for the post! Disclaimer: I can’t seem to find my brief cameo in it, which is kind of ideal since I was laughably inept compared to them anyway.
To put flair and artistic effect into skateboarding videos, the featured skater usually chooses his or her corresponding song choice–this opened up a whole new world of Limewire that I didn’t even know existed and spanned so many different genres. Anyone from Slayer, Interpol, Placebo, The Cure— hell, I even heard my first Beatles song (“I am the Walrus”) via a cover in Geoff Rowley’s Flip: Sorry bit. The genres introduced weaved a lengthy vertical, with influences from early punk-rock, to 90’s hip hop, 80’s synthpop, and everything else in between. You had your long-hair headbangers; your baggy T, New Era rockin’ hip hop enthusiasts; your skin-tight rebel rockers; your classic rock aficionados…the list goes on. Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and skateboarding is truly a great exemplifier of the notion.
The aforementioned artists and genres were among my personal faves and lead me on to similar artists along the way; many of the qualities can still be found in the more modern material and sound in music today. So, without further ado, here are some of those dope tracks that define “skateboarding and tunes” for me…
Is there a phase in your life that defined an entire body of music for you? Share yours with us in the comments!
**I want to dedicate this post to my longtime compadre Bob, who was a trillion times better than me at skating and still had the patience to always kick it (pun…intended?), and was the main influencer in exposing me to all of these vids and coinciding songs.