Wednesday, 11 January 2012

intersection....






Plenty of you will have come across the names Tommy Guerrero and Ray Barbee on the music credits of Thomas Campbells surf movies, fewer of you will have recognised their names as two of the most influential street skaters ever. I was listening to one of Tommy's albums the other day and it struck me that they are the point where most of my interests collide, surfing, guitar, skating, music...

The Video part above is from "Future Primitive" and it was the first section of  american skateboarding i ever saw, it opened my eyes to what skateboarding was about, not long after getting my first board, sometime in 1988 i think. (although the film is from much earlier) It's actually held to be one of the first catalysts that kick started street skating as a "thing" distinct from ramp skating which was the dominant force within skateboarding at the time and it was massively influential, not only to skaters. If you think about it, the way good snowboarders (like nico mueller for example) ride the mountain, using natural hits as they flow top to bottom, it connects in a straight line back to Tommy ruling the hills of San Francisco. TG was my first favorite skater.

Fast forward a year or two and Powell Peralta released their "public domain" video. In this age of readily available web content it's difficult to explain just how exciting waiting to see the new powell video was, they were almost the only company making films then and virtually the only chance to moving pictures of skateboarding! Not far into the film was the black and white "rubber boys " section set to a classic skate punk track and featuring a young ray barbee. watch it here. One of the coolest things about this section was the flatland tricks (no comply's etc) that didn't need classic american urban architecture for us to emulate. I actually snapped the tape in the badly copied video of this film i had from rewinding and watching it too many times. Barbee is also significant in being one of the first african american skaters to become widely known.

So neither TG or Ray Barbee surf but they do know Thomas Cambell, part of the "beautiful losers" art scene and who originally worked as a skate photographer before becoming widely known for his art and surf film making. Through releases on his galaxia label and his use of their music in his movies,  both have begun to become known for their music as much as their contribution to skating.

Of the two, it's probably Barbee's clean bright jazz influenced noodling that i come back to more often. His tone and melody just say sunlight and mellow sunny happy days to my ears, whatever greyness my eyes can see outside the window. There's a pretty good introduction to him here or watch the clip below for a good introduction to one man, a tele, a bassman and a looper pedal!







7 comments:

HD said...

I remember TG just joining the Bones Brigade in 1985, and my Dad picking up his deck for my 13th birthday. Sadly he forgot it in a Taxi in Newport Beach, but managed to get it back just in time before travelling back to Vancouver. I quit skateboarding the following year, as we moved back to England and discovered windsurfing instead. Soemthing I always regretted. Funny to see how basic the skating is, as at the time it was mind blowing.

jettyholic said...

You shoulda seen the sessions at the PO curb in HB at this time or at pay n play. Jason and Ed and a few other guys you never heard of, like the skinhead kid who skated for circle A, were way ahead of Ray and the stuff in that video. Steve Saiez ripped tho and still does. Rodney Mullen was also doing high speed "freestyle" at the pier in Hermosa after work,I was always impressed with how far he had come from stationary freestyle, and how hard he was skating. He was inventing modern street skating and took alot of solid falls every night doing so. Too bad noone was doing much documenting of it or even seemed to notice.

CP said...

Mullen is a freak and a real visionary! Have you seen Killian Martins videos on the web? seems like he's following on from mullen a little.

Back then in the pre web days, we were so far behind the curve as far as knowing what was going on, the powell vids and an occasional dog eared copy of thrasher were all we had to see what was going on elsewhere. It's mad how far skating has come and how accepted it is now. I remember seing someone i knew first do a kickflip and being blown away, now it's almost the first thing people learn!

jettyholic said...

East Coast was level on vert but the street action at the time in CA was mind blowing, then guys like andy howell and later Scott Bourne brought it level again and spun it a new thread. Agree it was still far less corporate in 88 and it was still special when you got to see a new video. Mullen is a very intelligent fella and it shows thru in his skating. Tyler Warren linked to a recent video of him and he's still killing it, probably just gets up slower like the rest of us.

CP said...

aaah scot bourne had the black arm? used to love andy howell, i was really into the whole new deal thing when it started, partly cos steve douglas, a brit, was behind it. wasn't really until alex moul in the 91 or so that the top level here was on a par with Ca. Then there was penny, rowley etc!

i really enjoyed mullens book, worth getting on amazon if you havent read it. Clever guy but troubled and weird upbringing!

jettyholic said...

Yep thats Scott with his solid sleeves, he's a COLD crew guy,he's living in Paris now,sponsored by carharrt and writing. Neat little B&W vid scott bourne an American in Paris on you tube. Great skater could ride anything. Theres a consolidated video w him and arron and some others train hopping across the country and skating. Concept film way ahead of its time.
Steves a great guy other than his unfortunate familial ties to Chelsea FC ha ha. Hes actually able to skate again nowadays. horrid back problems.

jettyholic said...

wow just saw Aberdare skatepark it looks like it has a super surfy clover bowl, any of yall hit that place up yet?

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