Skateboarding has had a huge effect on my life and I still consider myself a skateboarder albeit, probably not the same way other people deem themselves skateboarders or what other people think skateboarders are. This is true as well for say punk rock. I think of myself as a punk rocker but the definition of these terms is very specific, very subjective. My relationship with skateboarding in the 70’s, when I first started, was a way to develop the ability to redefine the world around me, so skateboarding became a discipline and everything in the world changed in terms of how it applies to a skateboard. For instance, the other day I went outside and somebody had dumped a bunch of water in the alley and it had frozen, so I had the thought, even though I don’t really ride much anymore, but I automatically thought of skateboarding and that’s just how my brain works. Rain weather has a different relationship if you’re a skateboarder, sidewalks, swimming pool, curbs, banks. I was walking in the Washington D.C. subway system and the walls have a smooth curled transition and there’s a railing there and I thought about if I was to ride up that transition what the compression would be to get to the vertical flat. So in other words, I think that skateboarding taught me how to look at the world in a different way and to relate things in terms of how I was going to approach them. When I got into punk rock, it was the perfect tool to redefine because the approach we were taking, I don’t want to say we were trailblazer’s necessarily because others had done punk rock before us, however, coming out of Washington D.C. where there wasn’t an established punk scene we really had to figure it out. We’d put on our own shows, put out our own records. It wasn’t as if we were coming from a music industry town. None of our parents were in bands and nobody really had any idea of what to do. What we did have though, was the ability to look at a situation, look at the circumstances, the textures and environment and figure out how to make it work and I think skateboarding definitely played a role in developing that talent. I should point out that though skateboarding and punk rock/hardcore are often thought of as synonymous now, when I first got into punk rock, I kind of had to get a divorce from skateboarding because at the time, the people in my world who were skateboarding were just not kind about punk. A lot of the guys were kind of like jocks or rocker dudes who would call me a fag because of punk. I obviously didn’t like those attitudes, they were never interesting to me. So getting involved with punk rock, I didn’t hang up my skateboard necessarily, but I did stop being a part of that. A few months later, I started noticing skateboarders like Alva, Jay Adams and Duane Peters were getting into punk and it was an interesting parallel of evolution. I was never a great skateboarder, I was reasonable at best but I didn’t really give a fuck, that wasn’t the point for me. The idea of skateboarding for me was to have a practice in which I could be with people in unusual settings and spend time that way. In recent years, if I don’t have someone to go skating with it’s not as interesting, it’s not as compelling. There’s a park near the Dischord house and during the day it’s pretty busy, but if you go during the morning it’s pretty empty. So I had a thought of going to ride a pool at 8:30 in the morning by myself but then knocking myself out and it being 2 in the afternoon before the kids came in and found me. So if I’m not with somebody, I’m not as called to actually do it. I do however still think about skateboarding a lot. It’s funny, like a lot of things, skateboarding, rock n roll, punk rock or anything else, it’s filled with loathsome characters and terrible attitudes and really abusive practices, but that’s neither here nor there. From my point of view, I think I can approach skateboarding and think about it in a way that is really constructive and all the bastards can’t take it away from me.
This is a great answer to a question asked by Nate Newton of Converge and I relate very much to the answer. Skateboarding is huge in my life I don’t skate as much as I used to but I fully still consider myself a skateboarder.