Reverb: Band Of Horses


Skate nerd for life, Creighton Barrett, second from right. photo: CHRISTOPHER WILSON

Words by Kevin Duffel

Guy Mariano—pitch black, except for a sliver of light peaking through as he slides the warehouse door open—pops on the screen, and the chiming guitars and echoing vocals of Band Of Horses’ “The Funeral” mix to create the most haunting premonition of what’s to come. It’s hard to picture Guy’s comeback part in Fully Flared (his first proper footage since Mouse in ’96) starting any other way. Lifelong skater Creighton Barrett, the drummer of the band, discusses what it’s like to have one of his favorite pros use not one, but two of his band’s songs for one of the most beloved parts of all time.

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One of the best parts of all time, Guy gets down in Fully Flared.

You had two songs in Guy Mariano’s part in Fully Flared. Did you have a connection with Guy before that part came out?
No. Oddly enough, I had no idea that it was even going to happen. We were on tour and I kept getting these texts from a bunch of dudes I skate with, like, “Great job with the Lakai video.” I had no idea what they where talking about. I finally saw it, and was like, “Holy shit!” I believe it was Ty [Evans] who had a lot to do with it, because when Ty first started fucking with HD, he did that Daryl Angel thing on Skate Fairy. It was him skating to “The First Song” off our first record—which was mind-blowing to me because that song was so slow. I was stoked that the song was used at all, and especially since that Daryl part was so sick. But I think it was actually up to Ty. I’ve been lucky enough to skate with Guy a couple of times, but I’ve never had the balls to be like, “So, do you like our band?” [laughs].

So you had obviously seen Crailtap videos before Fully Flared, right?
Yeah, absolutely. Ever since I was a little kid, Guy Mariano’s been… Was Ban This the first Powell video he was in, or was that Public Domain? I think it’s Ban This. But yeah, I’ve been a Guy Mariano fan for forever. And all the mysteries surrounding him, and him not being around for forever, and then his first comeback part is not one, but two of our songs, I was blown away. I get goosebumps every time I watch it. I still can’t believe it.

“I’ve been lucky enough to skate with Guy a couple of times, but I’ve never had the balls to be like, ‘So, do you like our band?’”

I’m sure you’d feel the same way since you grew up watching skate videos, but a lot of kids get into bands by watching videos…
Yeah, dude. I’m 34 now, so I started skating probably in ’85 or ’84. All my sister’s boyfriends who skated had Black Flag bars and Minor Threat on their boards, so it kind of picked up with that. To me, the connection has always been there. The rest of the guys in the band who don’t skate now understand how emotional and how involved it is with it. It was cool with the Guy part to show them it’s not just someone using our music. It’s an actual extension of the art form, to a degree. I remember the first time I met Brian Anderson at Tampa Pro one year, we were talking about how you hear a song, and if you don’t even know the band but you know that song, and how you remember that skate part, or who was skating to it. It’s just this thing that embeds to your memory. I think that’s so fucking cool.

Have you ever had any kids come up to you at shows or anywhere else and been told they found out about you from watching videos?
Yeah, for sure. After our Infinite Arms record, we had this contest where people sent in a video part to one of our songs. I got to judge it. We had all these submissions, and the winner—or whoever we picked—got flown out to LA to go skate the Girl warehouse with Guy Mariano. I met a bunch of kids through that.

Seeing the reaction for Guy’s part in Fully Flared, do you feel it’s worth it for bands to give away songs for free for skate videos?
See, I’m a skater, so I say yes. But like I said, with the rest of my dudes, Ben—who’s the reason I’m in this band, and the reason this band is around in the first place—was at first, like, “That’s kinda weird these people are just using this stuff.” And I had to get him to understand that there’s this mutual admiration that goes with it, and how poignant it is with people to connect something together like that. So many kids who skate would probably never have heard our music any other way. To me, it’s probably the ultimate promotional tool. But also, these art forms are goddamn cookies and milk. They go together.

“It was cool with the Guy part to show the band it’s not just someone using our music. It’s an actual extension of the art form, to a degree.”

And you said the rest of the band has pretty much warmed up to it, right?
Yeah, totally. Unless it’s someone doing something purposefully without paying for it, or representing a product or something we don’t stand behind. But it is a business at the end of the day, so it can get weird at times. But for the most part, it’s awesome. It’s better than some other weird shit that’s not skateboarding, where people are trying to use our songs—they get shot down immediately [laughs].

Since Spike Jonze had such a connection with Fully Flared, and considering he also directs big Hollywood features, would you charge him for using your songs in his films? What’s the difference to you?
Yes [laughs]. It’s a good question. It’s hard from a standpoint of me also not being a business man. Generally they’re all vehicles for people to hear your music. These days, when the radio sucks, and you don’t have many outlets like you used to—I mean, you can get your band out there on the Internet—but as far as people using us in films and stuff, that really is our radio these days. Not like it’s always the best movies—like, we had a pretty big song on the Twilight soundtrack; it’s not always cool stuff. But since it is a business, and it’s something like a major motion picture house, they have the money. It’s not like they’re gonna nickel and dime us. We’re going to try to get something out of it because we know they have the money. We have a really great management dude who steers us in the right direction. Unless it’s something really wack, it’s never like, “No fucking way.” It’s talked about, and it’s reasoned with. It’s not as cut and dry as it may sound.

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Daryl Angel skating to “The First Song” in his Skate Fairy part.

You guys played at Tampa a while back. What’s it like playing to a group of skaters versus a normal crowd? Is there a different energy?
I would like to say there’s a noticeable energy, but the time we played Tampa, it was raining out and it was crappy. But I was just stoked. We were checking into the hotel in Ybor, and the first thing I see is, I turn around and there’s Omar Salazar and Stefan Janoski. I was in fucking hog heaven. I’ve been lucky enough to meet a lot of my musical heroes—and they’re fucking awesome for the most part—but I dork out when it’s pro skaters. Skating’s just so personal.

Is there any song you’ve recorded that hasn’t been in a video, but that you think would be good in one?
Dude, we actually do. We have so many. I would love that shit to happen. I guess for Pretty Sweet, there’s some bonus footage with a couple of our tracks off the new record, which I was stoked.

For more on Creighton and Band Of Horses, go to bandofhorses.com