The Chronological History of Skateboard Video Soundtracks

Words Mackenzie Eisenhour

As with almost any sub-culture-music, and the trends, attitudes, vibe, and sense of belonging that come with it has historically been as important within skateboarding as the activity of riding a skateboard itself. With videos, generally having been the widest means of A/V communication available to our squadron of members over the years (be it Film/VHS/DVD/MPEG…or whatever), and video part soundtracks being the major active ingredient in spreading the newest collective trends and matching them with your favorite skaters-a number of key genres, bands, and periods have defined specific movements within our years making videos. The following is a brief breakdown of those movements, including videos, parts, impact they may have had, and those credited with launching them.

Skaterock or Die: Circa 1984-1989

“I was outta my head. I was a surfer. I had a skateboard.” -Black Flag, Wasted (1978)

Key Videos: Any 80s contest video (i.e. Savannah Slamma 1 through 3, Ohio Skateout, etc…) Santa Cruz, Wheels of Fire, Santa Cruz, Streets on Fire.

Key Bands: The Faction, Black Flag, Drunk Injuns, JFA, DRI, Suicidal Tendencies, Agent Orange, Odd Man Out, etc…

Overall Impact: “Skate or Die!”

Comments: Skateboarding and garage punk were in bed like Sid and Nancy.

Synthesized In-House Production: Circa 1987-1990

“Click” -Michael Cook, Untitled (1989)

Key Videos: Powell Peralta, The Search for Animal Chin through Propaganda

Key Bands: Skate Master Tate, Chuck Treece (McRad), Rad Boys, Johnny Rad, etc…

Overall Impact: Very professional. Powell had an actual “Music Director” (Dennis Dragon). Lots of Commissioned tracks. Less Punk. Sounded expensive.

Comments: Think Tony Hawk slo-mo with colored lights footage in Ban This.

Dude, Send in Your Tape: Circa 1988-1991

“With a Gun and a tear, gun and a tear, you’re going down.” -Kirk and the Jerks, Gun and a Tear (1989)

Key Videos: H-Street, Shackle Me Not, H-Street, Hokus Pokus

Key Bands: Kirk and the Jerks, Sub-Society, Wonderful Broken Thing, The Cry, SWAT.

Overall Impact: Lowest budget possible. Local bands with no record deals became cult classics (i.e. Sub-Society) The absolute opposite of Powell during those years.

Comments: Not just punk rock. Anything from borderline folk music (Wonderful Broken Thing) to bay area rap (SWAT)

One Band, One Video: Circa 1981-1986

“All I know is that I don’t know nothin’” -Operation Ivy, Knowledge

Key Videos: H-Street, Not the New H-Street Video, Life, A Soldier’s Story, New Deal, Useless Wooden Toys, A1 Meats, Dancing in the Dirt

Key Bands: Operation Ivy, The Odd Numbers, and NOFX

Overall Impact: Operation Ivy blew up like Anna Nicole Smith. Rancid-born out of Op. Ivy went mainstream. The Odd Numbers added a softer, mod side to skate video soundtracks. NOFX went mainstream.

Comments: At least 50 percent of the tracks on each of these videos was from the same band. As a result, you began to identify each company with each respective band.

Golden Oldies: Circa 1991-1994

“Oh baby, give me one more chance.” -Jackson 5, I Want You Back

Key Videos: Blind, Video Days. World Industries, Love Child. FTC, Finally…

Key Parts: Guy Mariano (Video Days), Chico Brenes (Love Child and Finally)

Key Bands: Any Motown, Jackson 5, Beatles, Steppenwolf, Dianna Ross, Sade, etc…

Overall Impact: Smooth Motown tracks matched the more fluid, line-based skating at the time. Skaters started raiding mom and dad’s record collections.

Comments: Mainstream music in skate videos was unheard of before Video Days.

San Francisco Hip Hop: Circa 1992-1996

“People think I’m nasty just because I eat the cat.” -Hieroglyphics, Taxi Song

Key Videos: Plan B, Questionable, Plan B, Virtual Reality

Key Parts: Mike Carroll (in both), Sal Barbier, Tony Fergusson, Sean Sheffey

Key Bands: Hieroglyphics (Del, Casuall, Souls of Mischief, etc…)

Overall Impact: Hieroglyphics owe Mike Carroll some residuals.

Comments: Carroll’s part in Questionable also introduced the Beastie Boys to skate video soundtracks.

Heavy Metal Parking Lot: Circa 1992-present

Key Videos: Plan B, Questionable. Plan B, Virtual Reality. XYZ, Eastern Exposure, Underachievers.

Key Bands: Iron Maiden, Metallica, Black Sabbath,

Overall Impact:

Comments:

Classic Rock Revival: Circa 1995-present

Key Videos: Zero

Key Bands: The Who, The Chamber Brothers, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd

Overall Impact:

Comments:

Punk / Glam Revival: Circa 1999-present

Key Videos: Baker 2G,

Key Bands: The Misfits, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols,

Overall Impact:

Comments:

Anything Goes: Circa 1991-present

“People think I’m nasty just because I eat the cat.” -Hieroglyphics, Taxi Song

Key Videos: Plan B, Questionable, Plan B, Virtual Reality

Key Parts: Mike Carroll (in both), Sal Barbier, Tony Fergusson, Sean Sheffey

Key Bands: Hieroglyphics (Del, Casual, Souls of Mischief, etc…)

Overall Impact: Hieroglyphics owe Mike Carroll some residuals.

Comments: Carroll’s part in Questionable also introduced the Beastie Boys to skate video soundtracks.