Music's Lessons for Skateboarding

Music has been around far longer than man has. Birds where singing their songs while early mammals where still trying to steal dinosaur eggs for their next meal. Skateboarding has only been around for a matter of decades by comparison. As we undergo our growing pains i hope that we can learn some lessons from this timeless practice to avoid some hopefully unnecessary pains in our development. Music and skateboarding are both incredibly passionate artistic endeavors where we get to not only express ourselves but also escape. Both are constantly progressing and pushing the boundaries of what was thought possible.  Both have significant influence beyond their mediums as they effect culture and even fashion.  So what can skateboarding learn from our fellow creatives in another setting?

Most importantly is how we treat the next generation coming up. Musicians work to help develop their art in the interested youth. Mature musicians engage with kids first picking up an instrument. They openly converse with younger players about the joys of music.  They teach things to the up and comers. They play along with younger players because they know that people get better by playing with musicians that are better than you are. Musicians and music lovers alike both love to fuel the fire of musical passion in those new to the art. As you explore music you quickly realize what a huge world you have just entered and just how incredibly interconnected that world is.

Far too often the skate community does the exact opposite. How often at the park or local skate spot have you seen the older riders either ignore the younger skaters or even curse them out for being in the way? How are they going to learn the proper skate etiquette if not taught it by us older guys? What if you gave them a quick pointer on something they are trying? It's just a moment of you time but they will get better, be in your way less, and be more aware of you and what you are trying to do therefore more likely to not be where they now realize you are trying to be.

When you were starting out on your skateboard how awesome did it feel if one of the older guys acknowledged you, let alone talked to you? How much faster can you progress with even the simplest little tips here and there?  Not only will us treating the newbies and up and comers better help them become better but they in turn with grow a sense of respect and even admiration for the more mature and even the elder statesmen of the local scene.  This is how  to grow not just a scene but a UNIFIED culture.

By adding fuel to that fire burning in those younger than ourselves in skateboarding we raise the whole level of skateboarding with them. With these interaction our competitive nature can more resemble musician cutting heads with one another where you strive to out-do one another but in a sense of celebrating your shared art rather than in an attempt to isolate your challengers from others.

With more of a developed culture and less isolated factions we can prevent corporations from just sweeping in, buying things up, buying skaters up, making money and leaving nothing in return for skateboarding as we've seen consistently cycling throughout the short history of our art form on boards. How we interact with our developing youth determines the ideals of our skate community, the strength of skateboarding, and more importantly the future of skateboarding.

There is a lot the skateboarding industry can learn from both the successes and failures of the music industry as well but first, as skateboarders, we need to continue to focus on continuing to build ourselves a stronger culture to ensure the health of our life saving passions. We can keep it unique, we can keep it insane, but we need to keep it OURS.  How we treat each other will determine if we can keep it ours.


My Rules - GEF

If you don't know who Glen E Friedman is well fuck... get on the internets to learn because you've been looking at his pictures for years, then come back and join the rest of us here. GEF's pictures have been a huge part of skateboarding throughout it's history, and his pictures of the hardcore movement and early hip hop have been just as iconic.  His latest photo book "My Rules" will be carried here in the shop. To add to my anticipation they've put out this video teaser.  Ian MacKaye has been a huge inspiration to me throughout my life so to see these two giving some back story to a few of the photos has got me even more anxious to get the delivery to the shop.



Yowies & Chips

yowies We've been carrying Outdoor Technology since last year and it's one of ourfavorite "new" brands that we've brought into the store for you guys. I use the tags & turtle shell at home and at the shop - the sound quality is pretty great (especially the turtle shell bass), but one of their greatest items is also their least expensive, the Yowie. At under 10 bucks this thing guards your mug against the cold, wind, sun and helps to keep your goggles from fogging up. They're light and a stretch microfiber and we've got them in a bunch of different colors and designs.

turtle shell2They've also added Chips to their arsenal and we've got them in stock. These wireless ear phones actually slip right into the ear flaps in your helmets. You can listen to your tunes and answer your phone (if you want to do that while you're enjoying the powder that I'm SURE we're going to get this winter.

Instructions for the Chips



Unity Unity Unity

i've always liked the saying "nostalgia is the enemy of progress". i am not a robot though (man wouldn't that be cool though) and so fall prey to the throws of nostalgia from time to time.  The artist in me, the skateboarder in me, the snowboarder in me, the scientist in me, and the tech geek in me all love watching things progress and evolve.  i feel like we all should be pushing at the edges of things and testing our own limits. Unfortunately, a side effect (one of many i fear) of getting older is an increase in those odd nostalgic attacks.  When bands i love get popular i am always happy that they can finally make a living doing what they love, but nostalgia can kick in and i find myself missing the days of seeing them in tiny clubs with 200 people or less.  There's that selfishness of when they felt more like "my band" or when we'd all sing arm in arm between circle pits.  But that's progress.  My brain knows they all deserve success but sometimes my heart loses perspective. Damn nostalgia.

i know i've written many times about skateboarding's (and snowboarding's) growing pains and the many positives and negatives it goes through but my recent nostalgia concerning skateboarding has revolved upon the loss of unity. When running/working a skate shop you become, much like a bar tender, a confidant of those who grace your establishment.  i quite enjoy that role but unfortunately sometimes the tales told to me are of unfortunate occurrences.  The more people you have involved, of course, the more difficult it is to keep everyone on good terms. i understand that everyone has varying tastes and that's why we have so many different skate companies and terrain types but there seems to be such a sense of schism within skating now.  Skatespots are starting to get clicky and parks are starting to see attitudes pop up that previously were left in schoolyards.

There are a few ways to deal with this as far as i can tell:

1- Get old like me.  It seems that with every year on this Earth you find yourself caring less about what other people think of you. As i near 4 decades on this rock i really don't give a shit what you think of me.  At this point i know i'm not very good at skating but i'm having way more fun than you are. i always bring my board when i travel and got over worrying about what locals might think at spots around the world and just hit anything i can wherever i am.  There's no fast track for this method, so if you're a teenager this will not help you in the immediate future.

2- Konichiwa! There is a very famous snowboarder that i really didn't want to like. Then i met him. He is such a great fucking dude!  More often than not i've found this to be true.  Once you actually talk to someone it's a hell of a lot harder to hate on them. Just say hi! i know for us solitary and introverted characters that can be hard but hey, this is our scene we're talking about.  You've got to put a little effort into it. If you always took the easy way out you wouldn't be skateboarding so i know you are capable of pushing yourself.  See someone around frequently enough and say hi to them enough times, at some point you'll end up talking.  It's all good from there on out. No matter how different from you they may seem you all have skateboarding in common and that's a pretty big thing to have in common.

3- Teachable Moment. That grom that keeps dropping in on you or who's practicing his ollie right in front of that rail you want to hit... that once was you. You didn't come out of your mum's vagina the skater you are today.  Some older punk came up to you and talked to you and taught you the ways of the board.  Instead of bitching to you friends go up to that kid and explain to him the etiquette of taking turns dropping in. Go up, give them a couple pointers to help them improve, and then recommend a better spot around for them to practice what they're doing.  You'll become their hero, they'll get better, and you'll have the run you want to hit free and clear.  As a kid i always admired any of the older skaters that would talk to me and because of that i would be more mindful of not being in their way. (if they are on scooters however, swear away... there's no hope for them)

Skateboarding is ours.  If it's great it's because of us, and if it sucks it's because of us. Take ownership of this thing that we love so much and help make it and keep it the amazing thing we know it to be. Like Operation Ivy said oh so long ago: Unity Unity Unity!