Skateboarding and Music – Part 1

There always has been a strong connection between skateboarding and music, whether it is mostly associated with the fashion of skateboarding or actually what is played during competition. Music has always been around the skateboarding scene since it was first developed.

The addition of skateboarding to the Summer Olympics in 2020 will open up the sport to even greater audiences and bring more attention to it. There have been many influences that skateboarding has already had on art, film and music and this greater recognition may see bigger connections.

It was the music videos that first picked up on skateboarding as a representation of youth culture, and the music was selected to fit the coolness of the kids that were skating. If you turn the sound down from a skate video then most of the magic fades and it is not as powerful. In this blog we look at some of the greatest musical associations concerned with skateboarding history.

Kevin Long – Baker Has a Death Wish

Kevin Baker’s combined with the Leonard Cohen’s Who’s by Fire was inspired by a Jewish prayer that was sung on the Day of Atonement. The video is strong and foreboding, yet it is hypnotic, and the viewer cannot keep their eyes diverted.

Paul Rodriguez – Yeah Right

A classic track from 2003, that really highlights skateboarding as the main feature. It all starts when the camera positioned at a really low angle picks up at Rodriguez’s feet as he prepares to take off for a move, the camera captures all of his great technique when he performs the kickflip. The music starts the instant he lands, almost like dropping a needle on a 12-inch piece of vinyl.

Chico Brenes – Finally

FTC is part of skateboarding history as it is the legendary skateboard shop that emerged in the late 80s in San Francisco. The video is one of the earliest skateboarding themed videos, and even the cover for the VHS tape was designed by legendary Del the Funky Homosapian. The action features a seventeen-year-old Chico Brenes in action set to the classic Sade track Smooth Operator.

Guy Mariano – Watermelon Man

The video clip was actually entitled Mouse, and was set to a remixed version of the 1962 classic Herbie Hancock track Watermelon Man. The remix is far funkier which is perfect for a soundbite to Mariano’s action. Guy Mariano’s moves are nothing short of stunning, and his technique borders on perfection. There is a section of the film that sees our hero kickflipping from one roof to another.

Rodney Mullen – Virtual Reality

Rodney Mullen has always been one of skateboarding’s experimentalists, there are some who say that without Mullen there would be no flatground ollie, kickflip, 360 flip and many more. His coordination is almost beyond compare and added to his almost cavalier attitude made him a skateboarding legend. Thank god we have video footage to remind us of how good Rodney Mullen is actually is. The musical background of Jim Croce is perfect and the end of the clip is part of skateboarding folklore as Mullen’s board is slowed down so people can see just how many spins it completes in slow-mo.