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.
May 31, 2017 2:52 pm
is this a fake?
i havent read it yet but,c’mon!
let’s see,let’s see….
May 31, 2017 3:49 pm
Yes, it is real. Look at the team member list. When has so much talent been on one team? Mr. Lee, where is your sense of humor dude? This tongue in cheek “field manual” was intended to provide some answers to “FAQ” and an orientation for young skaters. Camp Motherhood was one of our more interesting and fun events. It also created the world’s longest rail slide, special ramps built just for the event, and a pretty fun time. MV may or may not have dug it, but most everyone else seems to have had a good time. Your way of presenting this shows a certain “cool guy hater” bias who’s time has passed.
December 28, 2018 3:00 am
Telling skaters what color shirts to wear and how to place their stickers strategically is anything but cool. Part of the reason Powell Peralta went under not long after this stupid manual guide, is because you weren’t cool to the skaters on your team. Most of them didn’t know you because you made no effort to connect with them. Your business model of not knowing and thus not understanding skateboarders led to your company’s downfall. Had it not been Rocco it would have been someone else. No evil genius was needed.
May 31, 2017 4:00 pm
May 31, 2017 4:07 pm
How you know Jenkem ain’t Big Brother:
When George Powell clobbers you on your own comment page.