These days, DJ’s are kinda like assholes, everyone is one – or at least thinks they are. Give someone a Macbook, a pair of headphones, and a bump of coke, and watch them flail around like they’re Skrillex. But Andrew Brown actually was one (a DJ that is, we’ll let you decide after reading his opinions whether or not he’s an asshole too).
As a young adult Andrew made his way from suburban DC to New York City where he spent 12 years DJing in nightclubs and hanging around the TF (Tompkins Square Park) where the kids all knew him by his DJ name: Roctakon. An opinionated writer and notorious shit talker Roc is also Quartersnacks‘ unofficial assistant music supervisor and, minus the Jesus stuff, basically the Lennie Kirk of DJing. Given his intersecting interests and mostly useless expertise we couldn’t think of a better person to take a look at some classic videos, talk some shit about their soundtracks and fire off obnoxious musings about this skateboarding stuff.
First up the Transworld Classic “Sight Unseen” for its 15th anniversary.
Sizzla “Haunted and Nervous” / John Cardiel
Cardiel. I love to salt, and I really wish I could say he doesn’t deserve it, that skaters feel all these ways about him because of the incessant Vans/DLX commodification or the heartstring pulling Epicly Later’d doc, but I can’t. He was/is the real deal and this part is amazing. It’s unbelievable how good this Sizzla song sounds with his skating. I fuck with dancehall hard, but all the Jah stuff in Reggae has always put me off. This is total bullshit because I don’t believe in Jesus, yet I can listen to a straight hour of Kenny Bobien records. I’ve probably been giving Jah the cold shoulder cause so many fucking crackers where I grew up in Northern Virginia got into Rastafarianism to justify their marijuana addictions. Those types are the worst, but still, who am I to judge another’s beliefs. Let god tell them to smoke the dank buds, shit’s not my business. So Cardiel. When he does that 50-50 on the Cardiel rail and the end I jumped back in my seat and covered my face, like when you see someone get the shit slapped out of them in a World Star Vine Comp. Yea, this part is a certified classic. Such an unexpected totally great song that fits the skating perfectly, probably because Cards chose it himself.
Blue States “Stereo 99” / Montage #1
God, these montages are terrible. This one sounds exactly like the Death In Vegas one in Yeah Right, only shittier. I hate this entire genre of music. Yes car commercials need music, that’s why people like Moby and Nick Drake exist, but humans shouldn’t be tricked into thinking this sort of stuff is pleasurable to listen to.
Tommy Guerrero & Gadget “Deep Sleep” + Cali Agents “Neva Forget” / Henry Sanchez
The Sanchez intro has a decent little background beat that’s not trying to be anything more than it is. And fire EMB footage that was in Questionable. What’s up with this little ledge he does the fakie 5-0 KF on? It looks like it’s somewhere at the top of the three stairs. Shit looks fun.
Oh man. Cali Agents. This skating is so sick but this song is so fucking terrible. Sanchez is a tough case. He’s one of the greatest street skaters ever, but he never really captured imaginations like his peers. Maybe it’s cause he skated to his own song and included footage of himself rapping in an SF bodega in Gold Wheels Got Gold, the video I purchased on VHS instead of Flip Sorry, a choice I stand behind to this day—Gold Wheels, Holla! There are probably a lot of reasons besides music supervision Sanch isn’t more revered, but damn, imagine if they’d edited this to say Ludacris “Phat Rabbit”? That’s just a random song that popped into my head, but any solid southern joint or Tunnel Banger from this era would be doing wonders for his legacy right now; “Hoody Hoo” gave Jamie Thomas his best part. But, even with the piece of shit indie rap track this part is still fucked. It’s funny, by never changing, Sanchez and Marcus McBride look totally ahead of their time in this. Skating fast, doing dope tricks (really feeling the 3 flip 5-0 line) this part is A + even with the trash backpack rap.
J Mascis “Ammaring” / Tosh Townend
Tosh, Tosh, Tosh. Man I was expecting this to stink of big box Element sell a thousand heartagram decks skateboarding, but this is really good. I also thought I hated Dinosaur Jr. after that terrible fucking Alien video that was five sixteenths D-J music, but this is emitting emo frequencies that my subconscious is really responding to. Perhaps it’s the perceived tragedy that is Tosh Townend. I have no clue how or even if tragedy intersects his story, but this song sounds like a warning and a premonition. Googled and it looks like he’s Born Again. It’s a bit illogical, similar to my stance on Jah, but in Skateboarding rippers-gone-god always seem to get shunned. If only they learned to keep their Jesus stuff to themselves they could stay cashing checks. Tosh is kinda hot, for a blonde. He has a little Huntington Beach Pre-Sheckler thing really working for him in this. I like this part a lot, some hammers, some lines, solid song that makes totally unexpected emo-sense. Good shit.
The Shins “Caring is Creepy” / Montage #2
Man, the terrible Shins song from the Garden State soundtrack in this montage. This sucks. This song is the theme song for people who pretend to be rad and alt, but then when you get them home won’t let you play with their butt and/or won’t play with yours. Garden State, a movie AND soundtrack for law/med school students who think they’re not like the other law/med school students. Skateboarding should be ashamed for this one.
The Stitches “My Baby Hates Me” / Dustin Dolin
Dolin. Punk ugh, fuck this shit. Oh god, this song is about drinking. Whenever I hear stuff like this I just think, “man white people are so stupid.” I’m not wishing the quick death of anyone here, but in like 40 years when all the people who think punk and skateboarding are intrinsically conjoined have died off, only then will skateboarding have truly come of age. But I do like Dolin’s skating. He’s a great hucker. Dude has, or at least had it. Sorta makes you wonder what would have become of him if he’d followed The Boss and Grecs into abstinence. Turn the volume down and enjoy the hucking.
The Moody Blues “Knights in White Satin” / Heath Kirchart
There’s glee in the way skaters like Dolin wing their bodies down shit. Possessed by self-loathing they seem content, almost happy to slam, glad to decimate their bodies for our entertainment. Not Heath. With him it’s never felt like a gag, never seemed to be about being unloved or unlovable. By doing so little talking and walking away when he did, he’s managed to seem totally unafflicted. Rather, his skating feels like destiny. Like he was sent by Jah, God, whatever you wanna call it, sent to skate like this. And destiny calls for a serious song. It would be impossible for him to skate to anything else. Sure Quartersnacks once set him to La Bouche, but there was even something earnest in that; it never quite feels like a joke. I would never listen to this this excruciatingly serious Baby Boomer rock, my dad listens to the Moody Blues, he’s a lawyer. But in the context of a Heath part it works, as do all the other humorless songs he’s skated to. Being chosen isn’t easy or funny, and higher calling slams can’t be soundtracked with gag records.
All in all I gotta say, Sight Unseen is a great video. Sick skating by multiple legends, some interesting and solid music supervision, and even the really bad Sanchez song is a window into the era. Recommended viewing.