When skateboarding hit a major mainstream peak in the ’80s, Powell was primed to reign, having already assembled Bones Brigade, one of the most legendary and marketable teams in skate history. With the likes of Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero, and Lance Mountain as riders, the Bones Brigade was pretty much an unfuckwithable force that Powell took pretty damn seriously.
Powell got so structured that there were even rumors of a secret Bones Brigade Team Manual, that was apparently given out to all the riders outlining the responsibilities of a Bones Brigade rider. An almost mythical text, the guide was seen by few outside of the Powell Peralta inner circle and the riders themselves.
Well, dreams do come true, when we were randomly sent a scanned version of the brand’s bible, the mother of all employee handbooks, the Powell Peralta “Operation Motherhood” Field Manual, published in March of 1989.
As you peruse this incredible artifact, you’ll often question whether or not it’s real, let alone if it’s actually serious, especially when talking about the “barracks” and how said Brigade Member must “chew and swallow their manual, if caught behind enemy lines.” As you can see, that didn’t happen, and whatever the fuck was going on with Powell back then was a sharp contrast to Steve Rocco’s practices a few years later, namely funding, fueling, and all around supporting debauchery and all-around awesomeness.
The guidelines laid out here in militaristic jargon were allegedly the tipping point for superstar Mike Vallely to bail on Powell’s corpo vibe for the loose, provocative, and generally “fuck it” attitude of SMA World Industries Rocco Division, or whatever the hell it was called at the time.
To be fair, not all of the suggestions are bad. In fact, there are plenty of sponsored skaters who maybe wouldn’t be in jail or generally fucked if their employers tried to help them out a bit with some guardrails, just probably not in the form of telling them they are child soldiers in some bizarre skull-and-bones army.
So, here it is, the actual “rank and file” of the staff and riders, the rules about where to put your stickers, why you need to use rails to preserve your graphic, and even T-Shirt color suggestions, that ban white but support fuschia. Yes, this is real.