Skirting Disaster: Duane Peters Talks

How did Punk change skating for you? You and Olson seemed to lead the charge with your styles and Santa Cruz graphics.
Mini Shred had a Ramones tape and that was the first time I heard punk. It was so great! It gave me more attitude and a sense of identity. [Steve] Olson was the first known pro to cut his hair. He had just won SkateBoarder of the Year. Alva dyed his hair blue. We didn’t have one tattoo. We used green food coloring to dye our hair. People would say, “There goes the Martians!” I was getting beat up everyday. We called it “Going to the door to go to war.” Once you got to the skatepark—that was your [safe] zone. We needed recruits. We’d cut their hair [into punk styles]. “Let’s get rid of those dead worms.” I won haircutter of the year at one of the SkateBoarder awards. Olson had the first real punk rock board, which was designed after [Elvis Costello’s album] My Aim is True. I don’t know if he’ll admit that. I used the Blondie stripes.

Was the start of punk, around 1980, the peak of your popularity?
Totally. After that the money was gone in skating. I was 19 and my dad was calling me an old loser. I couldn’t afford rent on my $350 apartment. I was told everything was going down. I got a job as a dishwasher at a wedding reception place. I couldn’t handle it. Worked two weeks. Never got my check. Stole all the wine. Called it even. I tried to sell cars for my dad but I never learned how to write a deal. I was doing coke in the bathroom. I did a jewel heist down here [San Diego] with the drummer in my band. We robbed his aunt. I got a $50 check from Santa Cruz and I paid for our train tickets. We used the train’s headrest paper to draw a diagram of the house and planned it. We called from my Dad’s house in La Jolla until she was gone. We all wore black and wrapped our fingers in clear tape, went in through the bathroom, grabbed all her jewelry and I went to the kitchen to make us sandwiches and grabbed three bottles…

Wait, you made sandwiches?
We were hungry. I made some baloney sandwiches. The other guy had to pay off somebody so he got a bigger cut. I got $500 and he gave me his VW squareback and I lived in that forever. All you needed was a piece of hose and an empty milk jug. Pro skating had died for me. That was right when Hawk beat me, around ’82.

“Since being a prisoner is so hip nowadays …” Why isn’t DP doing ad copy in a mega marketing firm? Well, yeah … I guess there are a few reasons.