SK88: Old School Skateboard Playlist

Best years of my life? 15/16 years old, skateboarding all day and hanging around with my friends.  It was the late 1980s, and the days of the 180 Boneless, No Comply and learning to Ollie.  Back when kickflips were the raddest trick in the car park – except we called them “Ollie kickflips” back then.

This was also the time when I started to really veer off the obvious track as far as music was concerned.  Skate videos and Thrasher magazine began to open up a whole new world of music.  Sometimes these bands would enter the mainstream a couple of years later; sometimes they never did.

I remember hearing a great song on a Vision video.  I had no idea what the song was called, but worked out from the credits that it was most likely performed by the Descendents.  I recorded the song onto cassette off the TV as there was no other way to hear it.  A few months later, on a skate buying trip to Manchester, I stumbled across a record shop that stocked a few records by the band.  I had to buy one: taking a gamble on “All” as it featured a song called “Coolidge”, which fitted the lyrics of the track I loved.  I was so stoked when I got home, played the vinyl and heard the song I was hoping for!  Great album, all in all.

This practice of researching and hunting became a big feature of my relationship with music ever since.

Skating all day, then listening to music in the evening was a big part of my teenage years.  This playlist is designed to reflect those days: music I enjoyed back then and became the soundtrack to that time.

Some songs featured in skate videos (McRad, Odd Man Out).  Some were checked out after I saw them advertised or reviewed in Thrasher (The Cult, Misfits).  Others were just part of the current soundscape, and are forever linked with those halcyon days.

Here’s the playlist I made, split into a two CD format:

Part 1

  1. McRad – “Weakness”
  2. Odd Man Out – “Four Thirty One”
  3. Descendents – “Coolidge”
  4. Sex Pistols – “Holidays in the Sun”
  5. Devo – “That’s Good”
  6. Black Sabbath – “Paranoid”
  7. Motorhead – “Killed by Death”
  8. Faith No More – “We Care a Lot”
  9. Misfits – “Astro Zombies”
  10. Hard-Ons – “Don’t Wanna See You Cry”
  11. The Stupids – “Skid Row”
  12. Beastie Boys – “She’s On It”
  13. Circle Jerks – “Wild in the Streets”
  14. Spermbirds – “Something to Prove”
  15. Dead Kennedys – “California Uber Alles”
  16. Suicidal Tendencies – “Possessed to Skate”
  17. Generation X – “One Hundred Punks”

Part 2

  1. The Cult – “Wildflower”
  2. The Damned – “Love Song”
  3. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Higher Ground”
  4. Fishbone – “Freddie’s Dead”
  5. Iggy Pop – “Cold Metal”
  6. GBH – “Too Much”
  7. Mudhoney – “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More”
  8. Ramones – “I Just Wanna Have Something To Do”
  9. The Stranglers – “Peaches”
  10. Bad Brains – “Soul Craft”
  11. Gang Green – “Church of Fun”
  12. Metallica – “The Thing That Should Not Be”
  13. Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Purple Haze”
  14. Rolling Stones – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
  15. Jesus Jones – “Never Enough”
  16. The Skids – “Into the Valley”
  17. Fugazi – “Blueprint”

Some of the above tracks I owned on vinyl or cassette back in the day; some I found in later years.  There are still plenty of other bands from skate videos that I either still haven’t tracked down, or as I didn’t own them at the time I’ve omitted for now.

Instead, this is a basic playlist to represent my late 80s skateboarding days, boiled down to the bare essentials.  I hope you enjoy and these bring back some memories.

And this sin’t an exhaustive list: how Anthrax and Run DMC didn’t get included is baffling.  Maybe I can expand with some more for a Part 2…

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #3

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 21st August 2015

And we’re back spinning wax in the Queen’s Head pub in Mold.  The crew and I made the trip, armed with stacks of vinyl, for our fifteen minutes of fame playing records.  The premise is simple:

  • Two turntables and all the equipment to spin your discs, plus PA
  • A 15 minute slot to play whatever you like, so long as it’s vinyl

Plus there’s a bar for drinkies, which helps if you need a bit of dutch courage to get up and get your DJ on.

The crew and I – Adam, Greeny and Ben the Swede – made sure we got there early this time.  Good job we did, as the throng of vinyl faithful had grown and the list of would be DJs was growing.  Nice to see this event gaining popularity – the cult of vinyl grows ever stronger.

Here’s my set:

Killing Joke – Pandemonium

The title track from Killing Joke’s classic 1994 disc of the same name, this tune boasts a devastating bass and rhythmic rumble.  “Pandemonium” erupted from the speakers and announced the start of my set in crushing style!

The Stooges – I Wanna Be Your Dog

This slice of messed up Detroit proto punk is a Stooges classic.  Ron Ashetons wah-wah guitar and Iggy’s snarl show just how great this band were.  I first investigated the Stooges as other bands I was a fan off (Sex Pistols, The Damned) had covered their songs – so I picked up this compilation to learn more.  I was instantly smitten by this dirty racket and never looked back.

Descendents – Clean Sheets

I first heard the Descendents on an old Vision skateboarding video, soundtracking a fantastic Gonz section.  This was the late 80’s, and with no Soundhound I had to work out from the credits what I thought the song was.  I figured it was “Coolidge” by the Descendents.  A while later I found some Descendents albums in a Manchester record store, and took a punt on the “All” album as it contained the aforementioned track.  Luckily, I was right.  For this occassion though, I decided to play another piece of US pop punk genius from the same album, “Clean Sheets”.

Temple of the Dog – All Night Thing

To finish off the set, I brought the pace down with a mellow number from this Seatlle grunge super group.  Featuring members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, this LP really takes me back to the early 90’s.  A must have for any fan of alt rock from the period, you can read up online how this recording came to be.  Chris Cornell’s vocals are sublime here, showing to great effect how he would become the best vocalist of his generation.

Greeny hadn’t organised any vinyl (again), so it was Adam up next with another varied and entertaining set.  His was unfortunately cut short, due to the number of people who’d turned up necessitating a reduction in playing time.

  • Natalie Prass – Violently
  • David Bowie – Absolute Beginners
  • Otis Redding – (Sittin’ On) The Dock of theBay

I have to say, I’d forgotten how good that Bowie tune was.

Finally Ben the Swede took to the decks and span his tunes, with a “guess the odd one out” theme.  He played:

  • Jimi Hendrix Experience – Wait Till Tomorrow
  • Fleetwood Mac – Isn’t It Midnight
  • AC/DC – Girls Got Rhythm

I believe the last song Ben intended to play was A rainbow song, with Ronnie James Dio on vocals.  Can you guess the odd one out?  Answer below…

So another superb night of music at the Queen’s Head.  We heard some great music, made some new friends and went away to scout for more quality tunes.  Here’s to next time!

The Halcyon Dreams blog is here, where you can find listed (very helpfully) all the songs played on the night.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.