I'm in love with adventure, with the modern world, with rocknroll, not with Massachusetts, but once with a girl from Connecticut. I'm passionate about passion. I'm serious about being serious. I get emotional about being emotive. I love being in love. Actually, no... I love the idea of being in love, but I'm not so sure about it in the practical sense. (Can you convince me?) One of my long time acquaintances is having his 40th birthday party in a few weeks. It's the time again when I start thinking about having kids and having a family and commitment. At one time I sort of thought I was there. I was wrong. It's become a common thing with guys of my generation... too many damn interests and not enough focus on one. What to do? Give up things I can count on? Well... yes, if it's right, I would... I did it before and it wasn't even right, except I didn't want to face that... OK, too much rambling. Do you make sense? Does it matter? Is this just another way to avoid being serious?
I've had a couple people ask me recently if I was sick and dying or suicidal. They asked because I've taken to using expressions like "Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think," and similar others. I really don't mean these things in a morbid way. It's actually just a way of trying to express the fleetingness of life, and how it's important to live each moment as if it were your last. Or at least to make the most of each moment. Hope for the best, plan for the worst, sort of. I've just had dear friends die, and I feel that the lessons I learned from their passing must continue to be important to me. And so I share some of them...
Modern Lovers and Suicide Check Out
Punk Planet has been a source of fairly consistent entertainment and education for me over the last 7 years or more, and they've recently compiled a book of their favorite 25 interviews. It's called "We Owe You Nothing; Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews." If you're into reading stuff from people like Noam Chomsky, Winston Smith, Jem Cohen, Ted Leo, Steve Albini, Henry Rollins and Black Flag, Thurston Moore, Jello Biafra, Los Crudos, and Ian MacKaye, then this book will give you some of the best interviews of these people that I've seen. Here's a completed unauthorized excerpt:
Daniel Sinker/Punk Planet: How else (has your taste for the unorthodox) manifested itself?
Ian Mackaye: How hasn't it manifested itself? Bascially, I've done everything not by the book [laughs]. All through my life I've done things in an unorthodox way. **** When I was a kid, we formed a skateboard team because we liked to skateboard, not because we were particularly good or because we had sponsorship. We just did it. I started skateboarding in the mid-70's and a lot of people thought, "Oh, it's just a sport." But it's not just a sport. Skateboarding was about redefinition. It was like putting on a pair of filtered glasses--every curb, every sidewalk, every street, every wall had a new definition. I saw the world differently than other people. Everything had completely changed because I was a skateboarder. It really helped me understand the idea of redefining what's been given to you. I've always been interested in saying, "Here's what's been presented, now how does it work and how can it work?" Skateboarding was such an important part of that. ****I had given up on playing music by the time I was fourteen or fifteen years old because I wasn't a trained musician. I didn't think I could do it because it seemed that everyone who did it were professionals. That's why punk rock was so important to me. I realized that here was a space that I could operate in the way I wanted to which would never go over with mainstream people whatsoever. To find that space made so much sense to me. It was so much a part of the rebellion that I was feeling with skateboarding. Punk rock seemed like a logical place to go next. ****Ironically, at the time I thought that skateboarding and punk rock never mixed. They totally did not mix in 1979. I stopped skateboarding as much because my skateboarding friends were totally not into punk rock and my punk-rock friends were not into skateboarding. It wasn't for another year or so that skateboarders finally started becoming punk rockers. Now the two are almost synonomous. But at least for a few years, they seemed opposite; they seemed to be at odds with each other. To me, though, there was a totally logical, natural bridge between the two. I was so happy when Tony Alva cut his hair off. I was so pleased. I thought, "Wow, it wasn't just me." That made it seem more logical.
This Ian MacKaye interview excerpt is from "We Owe You Nothing; Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews." The book is available from punkplanet.com, where you will also find a reliable source of socio-political and punk rock information. Recent issues include articles about the occupied West Bank; Brett Gurewitz's drug addiction and learning to love life again; Vagrant Records' "story;" punk rock porn (and all the implications you can guess at)... Each issue contains a good mix of political and musical articles, and the best seem to be politically aware musicians rolled into one (Ian MacKaye, Jello Biafra, etc.) The book is published by Akashic Books, New York.
Ian MacKaye Interview Excerpt Check Out
Well, it's already the 24th and I haven't written in this thing all month. There've been some other things added and fixed on the site, some new links, to Sessions, and to Britt Parrot's M.E.S.S. (that's Mid-Eastern Skateboard Series) site, and the Sten Guns micro-site, and we're working behind the scenes on a couple other things, too. Between that and skating, playing music, traveling, and other stuff it's been hard to make big strides, but I'm getting there!
First, congratulations and good luck to Phil Esbenshade, the notorious Phil E., who had his first born a few short weeks ago. Although a conversation about names ensued, "Max" won out over "Sweeper." Good job, Phil! Get some sleep!
Same for Terrin from Boilermaker, whose wife just had a baby! Don't know the details--or even if it's a boy or a girl-- but congratulations, Terrin! Good job!
Sten Guns are playing with Powerflex 5, The Hunns, and the Faction at the Transworld Skateboarding twenty year anniversary party. Should be a lot of fun, but probably pretty nerve-wracking, too. And of course, all of this is contingent upon Lance Jr. getting his grades up! No music unless he gets a C Minus on the next progress report. We should be called C Minus.
Anyone care to start a pool on who will be Thrasher's Skater Of The Year?
Independent Trucks is doing a coffee table type book which should be out towards the end of next year. With the history of Independent Trucks and pretty much every good skater ever (except T. Hawk) being part of Indy at some point, expect good things.
I have to write once again about how good the Locust is live. Although last night's show wasn't as spectacularly funny as some of the other shows I've seen recently, they are always so tight and on that it's frustrating, as a guy who wants to be that good. It must be hard for them to constantly top themselves, but they always do. And (International) Noise Conspiracy was great, too, although they definitely suffered from poor house sound at the Glass House. It got better a few songs into the set, and then stayed there, not sounding too good, especially when the second guitar player was playing, as opposed to when she played keyboards. But they wowed the crowd anyway, and it was pretty amazing.
The new Digital Video is out, and Mark Appleyard has another amazing part. To think it's all stuff that was either not used in the Flip video or filmed since is to realize that Appleyard is definitely prolific, even at 19. Whew...
Found a good new guitar store near the house, which is always nice--don't have to go to Guitar Center anymore! It's called Rockit Music, it's in Brea right off Imperial Highway, and it's a good shop! Lots of good Gibsons and Fenders, a decent selection of amps, really good prices, and they're willing to order anything. Plus, no Guitar Center hassles with depressed failed rockstars. (Although, I do have to admit, that the people at the Brea Guitar Center are the best staff of any GC I've ever been to. Nice, actually helpful, and mostly without attitude. The girl Kelly at the door is hot, too! Was that sexist?)
One more thing to add: certain people just make me feel so proud to be part of whatever this little scene is. People who are nice, warm, and just full of goodness, doing kind things for others. Sometimes I get warm and fuzzy all over, and it makes me want to be that way to others. Niceness is contagious. Try it sometime.
The city of Upland built a park for SAlba. It's got a perfect halfpipe, fullpipe, and bowl, along with a completely sub-par street area. But don't go there for the street course--the full pipe and bowl were designed by Steve Alba and are amazing. Well worth the visit. Skate the fullpipe, kiddies!
There's also a really good street park in Asuza that is worth skating--lots of ledges, stairs, banks, and rails. Definitely worth checking out, even if there's not a lot of tranny.
Babies, Indy, The Locust, etc Check Out
Call for directions!
Found a New Secret Pool! Check Out
California passed a helmet law for skateboarders under the age of eighteen, effective January, 2003. Pretty lame.
My friends Andy and Lisa got married today. It was a really cool wedding, great music, tears of joy, laughter, good food, and good times. Congratulations, lovebirds!
Now Playing: Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, "XRay Style and the Art of.." whatever it is. So good.
Short Randumbs Check Out
Sex Pistols! Holy Moly. I could sit here and write what I'd consider a very interesting review and rant about how in awe I was, but I'm sure it would end up being very borish and self-absorbed, so I'l just keep it short. The Pistols sounded like I'd hoped they'd sound--tight, loud, with that amazing guitar tone and total wall of sound that somehow actually does come across live. Paul Cook was so on it, and Glen Matlock--well, I was bummed that he fingerpicked the bass, but he's good as hell. They did every song from "Bollocks" except Sub-Mission, plus Did You No Wrong, No Fun, Stepping Stone, I Wanna Be Me, Belson Was A Gas, and a funny encore of Hawkwind's "Silver Machine." So good, so glad I went. Other bands I enjoyed hearing/seeing were Bad Religion, Offspring (gasp!), Blink (gasp! gasp!), Buzzcocks, Social Distortion. I'm bummed I missed the Circle Jerks and GBH. Anyway, it was a good day, and thanks to my friends Ian, Jeremy, and Ryan for the hookups. Oh my goodness.
Sex Pistols! Check Out
I wrote a favorite song list a few weeks back, and of course every time I hear one of my favorites, I wonder 'is this on the list?' Well, three more than weren't on the list: Three Mile Pilot, "Slow Hand;" TSOL, "Flowers By The Door;" and The Tubes , "Talk To Ya' Later." I'm sure there'll be more soon enough.
More Favorite Songs Check Out
Sex Pistols are tomorrow! Thanks to longtime friends I've somehow fanagled my way onto a guest list and backstage pass for the show that features Blink, Circle Jerks, Bad Religion, Adolescents, TSOL, Pennywise, Offspring, GBH, New Found Glory, Unwritten Law, blah, blah, blah. I've seen most of those bands and am only mildy interested in a few of them. But also playing are X, the Damned, the Buzzcocks, and the Sex Pistols. I've heard the Damned have been horrible the last few tours, but X is always amazing, I'm looking forward to the Buzzcocks, and the Sex Pistols I'm so amped about. I missed them in 1998 and didn't care--I was afraid that seeing them would ruin my longstanding appreciation of them. But that was really stupid, I realized not too long afterwards. So thanks to the Queen's Golden Jubilee, the Sex Pistols decided they needed to reclaim the jubilee for their own. (The Queen's Silver Jubilee, in 1977, was during the heyday summer of punk rock, and the Pistols played on a barge on the Thames river during the Queen's celebration to rousing mixed reviews, and to the dismay of many in England.) So they played in London about 6 weeks ago and figured since they'd practiced, why not do this show. Whatever, I'm excited. Another chance to relive my childhood and be a music geek! Don't think I won't be getting autographs!
Sex Pistols Are Tomorrow! Check Out
Paul Rodriguez, one of my favorite skateboarders and all-around good guy, quit City Stars to ride for no one, then made the decision to ride for Girl early this week. Good move for Girl! Mikey Taylor is still the man on City Stars--he just turned pro. Congrats, Mike! And by the way, Kareem Campbell is one of my favorite people. We have absolutely nothing in common except a love of skateboarding and some peripheral history, but the guy is gold. Brilliant gold.
I still haven't written about Woodward, and I'm afraid that the more I put it off the harder it will be to write. But there's so much... I went with my good friend Mark Holder, and even though I think our experiences were very different, we both found at Woodward what I think a lot of people don't find--only a certain person can handle it there. Good people and good times are abundant there for me, and always have been. Warmth begets warmth, or something like that. And this year was no exception. Actually, even though there were less of the crew there when we were there than usual, the people we spent time with and met were amazing. Jonah Owings, Buzzy, Ryan Wilburn, Barker Barrett, Mike Frazier, Alan Russell, Shannon, Erica, Jen Wolf, Nate Wessel, Ruben A., Alexis, Dave from Florida, Erich Browne, Furlong, Mark Podgurski--the list always goes on. And meeting Rachael and Elena was very nice-- blooming friendships that I'm stoked on. And, I even saw Margie and Nina and met their wonderful families. What is it about that place that is so amazing? OK, I'm getting choked up, I'll stop. Oh, yeah, one more thing. Mike Frazier and his chess tournaments are so amazing--he gets a group of campers who know how to play chess and organizes round-robin matches to determine a camp champ. Pretty damn cool.
ASR came and went. Cool things were seeing video footage of Elissa kickflipping 12 stairs, the Emerica video teaser, and something else... what was it? I guess that's about it. Outside activities that rocked were the Coup D'Etat across the street put on by Alien Workshop, TumYeto, and a host of supporters, and the Etnies party with TSOL and the Adolescents. On the bad news list were the Osiris Wet T-shirt contest (I heard from people there), girls who tease, companies with racist names, and disrespectful people. Oh, well!
The Clash played at ASR, and the Sex Pistols are playing this weekend. What's going on?
Woodward and ASR Check Out
Gosh, it's been a while since I've written in this thing again. Maybe that's good. It means I'm out living more an outdoor life and spending less time in here sitting down for long periods of time with bad posture and not stretching my back, which means when I want to skate I'm in pain and can't. But September always brings this last-few-weeks-of-the-summer near panic and I try to make the most out of outdoor activities while I can. Actually, this year has been really good for this, as I've tried and succeeded at living as much as I could, rather than just passively killing time. Very little TV, lots of music, a fair amount of skateboarding, a lot of traveling, meeting a lot of people, and a lot of days to feel good about accomplishments. But everyday that goes by when I don't write in this journal, even for a few minutes, I also think about missed opportunities to share good things with friends known and unknown.
What is it about the fear of facing a tough task that seems easier or better than the eventual realization that you've made someone's pain a lot worse than it could've been? I got stood up pretty harshly recently by someone who I thought was beyond that. I hope that... I hope for good things, and I work to make them happen. And I can live with that.