Skateboarding is an interactive art. If you want to enjoy the physical sensation of riding a skateboard you have to pick up a board and go for it. The beauty of music to your ears on the other hand, is that it can be enjoyed without ever picking up an instrument. Given that your average skateboarder is accustomed to physically controlling their art, it makes sense that many great skateboarders are unsatisfied with simply listening to music and take matters into their own hands. Video parts can be the most complete glimpse in to how a professional skateboarder views the world and this is just a small sampling of pros that took full creative control of their part by creating their own soundtrack and skating to it.
1. Matt Rodriguez – iPath Summer Promo 2005 by iPath
Matt Rodriguez has a collection of parts where he uses his own music but this is a personal favorite. The cuts of him playing a variety of instruments blends seamlessly with his skating. This is the last section in the excellent iPath Summer Promo of 2005. It must take an immense amount of confidence and control to play all of those instruments yourself and blend them together without sounding like garbage. Likewise, Rodriguez has total control of his skateboard as he flies around on trucks that are loose nearly to the point of falling apart. One gets the feeling that for Matt Rodriguez skateboarding and music are all part of a bigger, more soulful system of living that most of us do not have access to.
2. Ron Allen – Hokus Pokus by H-Street
Ron Allen’s eerie vocals on his section in H-Street’s Hokus Pokus contribute to the unique quality of his skateboarding. Allen has always been a one of a kind personality in skateboarding and even today, away from the limelight, has continued progressing at the age of fifty. Ron never gave into trends and always did the tricks he wanted to do. That is why over twenty years later this video part still seems avant-garde. Even among the select skateboarders that have used their own music for their section, very few have dared to put their vocals on display. Ron Allen always took chances and is a legend for it.
3. Chad Muska – Guilty by Shorty’s
Chad Muska is the poster boy for late nineties/early 2000’s hip-hop excess. He came from nothing and got everything, all with a ghetto blaster on his shoulder. His music is an extension of this lifestyle and while he didn’t create the songs in his part, he did select and physically mix all these songs together how he wanted them. In its own era Muskabeatz made complete sense. If it seems a little off now, it’s because you weren’t there to feed off the enthusiasm of one of the most positive auras in skateboarding. The mix is chaotic and all over the place production-wise, but that perfectly personifies the man himself. At the time, Muska seemed to be everywhere you looked, attacking every spot with his bottomless well of energy. This section, and the message at the end of it, tells us that skateboarding is all about having fun, but it doesn’t hurt to have kids screaming your name while you do it either.
4. Tommy Guerrero – The Real Video by Real
These days, Tommy Guerrero is known as a mellow guitar player/company owner. However, in his younger years pioneering street skating he was just as wild as any of the younger pros today. This section from the first Real Skateboards video documents a transitional period for TG. The tenacity to show that he can still shred comes through in the screeching music by Tommy and his brother Tony as well as the way he attacks the hills of San Francisco in a wife beater.
5. Mark Gonzales – Non-Fiction & Real to Reel by Real
Gonz comes up in any and every conversation about anything in skateboarding. He did not pick up an instrument for either his Non-Fiction or Real To Reel parts but contributed to their music in other more avant-garde ways. In Non-Fiction he conducts the Mark Gonzales Five perfectly during a long jazzy number that complements his long improvisational skate part. In Real to Reel, he performs a spoken word piece over his own skateboarding. In the hands of any other skateboarder this would be a complete disaster and probably grounds for banishment from professional skateboarding. However, Mark Gonzales proves once again that he can do no wrong and ends up with two classics.
6. Lance Mountain and Neil Blender – Ban This by Powell Peralta
They did it first and they made it look more fun than anyone since. Blender and Mountain remind us that skateboarding at its best is about goofing off with your friends. The raucous music they make does not play over the entire section, but is simply a piece of the puzzle of a good time. An average day for our three heroes consists of dressing up, band practice, painting, building ramps in the living room and messing around at the local curb spot. Their noisy music, sketchy boardslides and bail footage show us that you do not have to be a master to enjoy yourself. The important part is to do it your own way and have fun.
7. Ben Krahn – Wizard Bloody Wizard by Blood Wizard
Ben Krahn’s skateboarding is a rare mix of precision and faith. He knows exactly what he wants to do on his board but also has the faith in his abilities to accept whatever happens during the trick and often times ends up rolling away from things that look like they are about to go terribly wrong. The music Krahn plays over his skating is serene and powerful. The song chugs along at an even pace as he maneuvers under, over, around, and through a myriad of obstacles, many of which have likely never been skated. He is a teacher who lives out in Oregon and his “outsider” status is evident in this video part. For one thing, it literally appears outside of the rest of the Blood Wizard video, after the credits – but it is also characterized in the alternative tricks, spots and music selection. All in all it is a beautiful eight minutes of cinema by a jedi on a skateboard and was the inspiration for this article.
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Skate with your friends. Talk to your friends. Most of all, tell them you love them. We miss you, Ben.