Words by Kevin Duffel
(As seen in our November, 2010 issue)
Almost every kid I started skating with quit at one point to pursue music; likewise, every musician I’ve met grew up skating. Perhaps it’s a strategy to capitalize on the chicks — skaters get girls but might as well double your odds and play in a band too, right? Despite the rationale, music and skateboarding are undoubtedly intertwined. Here are ten bands and the pro skaters they feature.
1. THE GOAT & THE OCCASIONAL OTHERS
Andrew Reynolds and Kevin Long
Comprised of more legit skate heads than any other band on the list, The Goat, consisting of Andrew Reynolds, Spanky, Atiba Jefferson, Shane Heyl and Beagle, have been shredding since 2007. I witnessed their public debut at Braydon Szafranski’s shoe release party a few years back, and while the mass consumption of free booze possibly inhibited their licks, they nevertheless got the crowd to “Luh Dat Shit.”
2. THE FACTION
Steve Caballero’s contributed far more to the skate community than most. In fact, Vans Half Cabs should singlehandedly warrant his standing in the Skate Hall Of Fame. One of his greatest contributions, however, was The Faction, a skate punk band he played bass for that primarily ran from 1982 to 1985. The band’s raucous two-minute scorcher “Skate And Destroy” instantly became a skateboard anthem upon release and found a spot on the soundtrack of Powell Peralta’s eponymous Bones Brigade Video Show.
3. THE MATTSON 2
Ray Barbee does everything better and with less effort than 99 percent of the population, all while wielding a gleeful smile. With a blend of breezy jazz guitar and light percussion, Ray Barbee’s homemade 2002 debut EP, Triumphant Procession, is as easy on the ears as his no-comply is on the eyes. Most recently, he collaborated with the jazzy Mattson 2 and released 2007’s properly titled Ray Barbee Meets The Mattson 2.
Sam Hitz and Darren Navarette
Sam Hitz and everybody’s favorite vertical vampire, Darren Navarrette, have thrashed and growled under the moniker Shed since 1999. They don’t care much about being “good” or anything conventional like that, as the following explanation about their songwriting process acknowledges: “It’s completely retarded. It’s like making a five year old do geometry.” Despite their unorthodox writing techniques, the songs are pretty rad over all.
5. FLOGGING MOLLY
Matt Hensley can do no wrong, and that’s probably why he’s in the most commercially successful band on this list. Flogging Molly, which Hensley plays accordion for (can he get any more badass?), reached number four on the Billboard’s Top 200 list with the 2008 album Float, has gone gold twice, and reached platinum status with 2006’s Whiskey On A Sunday. The band mixes traditional Irish folk with blazing punk rock ethos. In other words, it perfectly complements a night of Guinness and whiskey.
6. U.S. BOMBS
Duane Peters, another TWS legend, joins our list with his band U.S. Bombs. Although Peters has lent his raspy throat to several other bands, including Die’ Hunns and Exploding F—k Dolls, U.S. Bombs was his first substantial band. Judging by his massive following, Duane Peters has proved his music is as credible as his skating. Plus, you’ve got to respect a dude who can do the loop and then f—k shit up on stage in his downtime.
7. MIKE V AND THE RATS
Perhaps the most ubiquitous skateboarder out there, Mike V can officially add fronting a band to his infinitely long list of side projects. While he’s had a few bands, Mike V And The Rats, was probably the most memorable. For an old television special, Mike V aired over a tour bus while the rest of the band played on top, making Mike V And The Rats the most extreme band on the list.
8. FREE BEER
Tommy Guerrero may be killing it in the music scene nowadays, having reached number two on Rolling Stone’s 2003 “Best Of” list with his album Soul Food Taqueria, but he originally emerged on the music scene with Free Beer in the early 80s. Having the words “Free Beer” on a concert flyer typically draws quite the crowd, and thus the band quickly etched its way into the memories of San Francisco lurkers with party-themed anthems like “I Hate Sobriety.”
9. GREEN & WOOD
With an arsenal of amps cranked to 11, Ethan Fowler fronts the sludgy Sabbath-influenced band Green & The Wood. For live shows, Fowler wields a Gibson Flying V like a majestic axe and pumps out power chords and ear-piercing solos whilst banging his head (and feathery flowing locks) in perfect harmony. If you thought his back 3s were steezy, you ain’t seen nothing.
One-time Alva pro Mario Rubalcaba has pounded skins for various successful San Diego bands, including The Black Heart Procession, Rocket From The Crypt, and Hot Snakes. His most recent band, Earthless, floats through space with cosmic psychedelic instrumental jams, recalling the best early ’70s stoner bands. Ten-minute nods to the heavens are typical and there’s enough noodling around to satisfy even the highest of metal heads.