Skateboarding was derived from surfing, and in turn, skaters adopted surf music. The guitar-driven instrumental music that was the soundtrack of the beach also began to migrate further inland, to the skateable hills of Torrance, California. Soon skateboarders began looking to distinguish skateboarding as its own cool subculture, and films like Skater Dater (1965) presented a soundtrack with aggressive songs like “Skaterdater Rock” and “Skate Out.” Magazines such as Skateboarder started featuring music sections, and the idea of “skate rock” existing as its own genre continued to grow. Early on, the majority of the music skaters were listening to was not performed by skateboarders, leading to many corporate characters trying to cash in on the scene. Countless awful bands were formed by companies who merely recorded disco and funk tracks with skateboard imagery slapped on the album covers. To counter these lame musical attempts, skaters in the eighties turned to different types of music to reflect their skateboard subculture. Ska, hardcore, new wave, rap, and punk began to influence the look and sound of skateboarding. Bands like The Big Boys used skateboard imagery on their handbills and records, showing what most skateboarders actually looked like—a mix of punk and hardcore, and not the California dayglow fluorescent style popularly portrayed in mainstream media. By the mid-eighties, the big three skate rock albums were released: Thrasher Magazine’s Skate Rock 3 compilation, Pushead’s hardcore offering Cleanse the Bacteria, and the metal-influenced compilation Welcome to Venice, released by Suicidal Records. These albums were recorded largely by people who actually skated, and this punk/hardcore/metal sound went on to define skate rock throughout the eighties and nineties. Canadian bands like DOA, Beyond Possession and SNFU also made a huge impact on the skate rock scene, and that tradition in Canada was carried forth into the 2000s by band like S.T.R.E.E.T.S., China Creeps and, more recently, the “dub-skate” sounds from The Sorcerers. Skate rock today is influenced by many things, and no one sound defines it. Original Bones Brigade Tommy Guerrero’s punk-influenced yet soulful music can appear beside Andrew Reynolds and The Goat, Lavar McBride’s rap, or Darren Navarrette’s Shed. The originators of the skate sound might not recognize the current ambassadors of skate rock. Easy accessibility of media has caused current skaters to be influenced by broader types of music, and what defines skate rock today is less the sound of the music, and more the fact that real skateboarders are creating it. We’ve tracked down some of the hardest shredding musicians and asked them how their two arts have collided.
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