This installment of OTR is the first in a two part series of skateboarders and skate music. Andy Foster grew up in Roanoke and started skating in 1975 when he was 12 or 13. He considers himself part of the second wave of skaters, and though he has been off and on boards, he says that about three years ago he started back seriously and now he wants to skate all the time. Primarily a bowl skater, Foster’s favorite place to skate is California, and he would very much like to start up a skate shop in town. He also teaches lessons through the city at the Skate Park on McIntire Road. I asked him about the history of skate music.
Spencer Lathrop: Lay it on me.
Andy Foster: Skate rock follows a progression and when I started we were listening to the music of our older brothers: Hendrix and Black Sabbath. When punk music came in, we looked at it as all the same, whether it was The Sex Pistols or The Clash, and our older brothers didn’t like it at all. So it sort of bound us together. Henry Rollins of Black Flag skated, and so did Minor Threat. Jim Muir was a big skater and his brother Mike started Suicidal Tendencies, which brought out that whole urban California/Latino look that we didn’t know anything about in Roanoke. The look followed the music. Like when we were listening to punk rock and we all wore really skinny pants, and later I lived in Richmond in the mid-1980s and we started listening to Public Enemy, and suddenly everyone started buying the biggest pants that we could find. And we listened to lots of Butthole Surfers’ music. Then the skaters who were younger than me started bands, and that seemed like a new thing. I think that JFA was the first skate-rock band.
There have been some really famous skaters who have been in bands. Duane Peters, who was in The Hunns and U.S. Bombs. Here was a guy who was a pro skater in the 1970s. He dyed his hair blond and he was a punk rocker. Now he’s in his 40s, has no front teeth at all, and plays in Duane Peters Gunfight. Steve Caballero, who is just an amazing skater, was in The Faction in the early 1980s, and they are playing together again. Bam Margera, who had that show on MTV that wasn’t very good at all, is in a band called Gnarkill. Steve Alba, who was a pro in the late ’70s and a backyard pool fanatic, has been in Clay Wheels for a while. And Tony Trujillo is just a phenomenon, puts it all together—he was voted best skater last year—he has a band called USSR. Many of these bands have records out, and I have found a lot of the music on compilations.
Next week: The Argyle Team, who consider themselves members of the fourth or fifth wave of skateboarders, and Josh from The Elderly.