Tony Hawk Foundation, Boards + Bands

What do pro skaters do with the boards they skate and destroy? They turn them into skateparks. Tony Hawk and renowned singer-songwriter and musician Ben Harper came together today for a press conference at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles on Friday to discuss a very special project, Boards + Bands BoardsAndBands.org.

A member of the nonprofit Tony Hawk Foundation Board Of Directors, Harper conceived the idea to use pro skaters’ old decks to write song lyrics on and raise funds to build positive recreational outlets for at-risk youth. “I’ve always felt that skateboards are one of the best canvases for art, and noticed that wear and tear only made them look cooler,” said Harper. “I was at Tony’s place and saw a note that a friend of Tony’s had written on a board that had been skated. And being a musician and a skater, it just seemed obvious.”

The Boards + Bands fundraising initiative merges the worlds of skateboarding and music to benefit the work of the Tony Hawk Foundation. Hawk invited a select group of professional skateboarders to donate their personally ridden skateboards and submit the name of their favorite songs. Harper then sent those boards on to the appropriate artists with one simple message: “Please write the lyrics to this skater’s favorite song on his skateboard, and we’ll use it to create more skateparks for kids.”

The chosen recording artists have hand-written the lyrics on these one-of-a-kind skateboards, which are being auctioned at BoardsAndBands.org. The skaters and artists who have collaborated include Bucky Lasek and Adam Yauch, Rodney Mullen and Ben Harper, Jamie Thomas and Bob Dylan, Mike Vallely and Tom Petty, Steve Caballero and Metallica, Bob Burnquist and Ben Harper, Lance Mountain and Jimmy Cliff, and Tony Hawk and Paul McCartney.

“This is literally a dream come true,” said Hawk. “When Ben Harper first approached me with the idea, I was skeptical because the list of musicians requested was legendary. But they came through, proving that skateboarding’s reach is even broader than we imagined.”

Funds raised through this effort will benefit the Tony Hawk Foundation, which supports at-risk youth through the creation of public skateparks in low-income communities across the U.S. Proceeds from the Bucky Lasek/Adam Yauch collaboration boards will specifically benefit a skatepark project in New York City. These skateparks are safe, sanctioned places for youth to come together, form communities, and practice the sport they love in a healthy environment. Since 2002, the Foundation has helped to fund 512 public skateparks in 50 states.

The Boards + Bands auction will close Thursday, December 13 at 7 PM (PST).

All of the skateboards included in the Boards + Bands program are on display during this special auction at The GRAMMY Museum at LA Live: 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015 (corner of Olympic and Figueroa). Museum hours, admission, and other information can be found at grammymuseum.org, or by calling (213) 765-6800.