Daddy bought a really nice beginner’s skate board for Mister on his seventh birthday, a killer deck from The Outfitter’s. While Daddy had done some skating (more to supplement his surfing), it was back in the days of the banana board, and he had left that part of himself far behind, interested in elbows and hips and generally getting around without a limp.
Active enough, I’d rather not gimp into my next meeting.
So, when Mister decided he wanted to be a skater, Daddy drew on his local sources for advice on a board.
“Don’t go cheap,” Jonathon King told me, known skater and nabob for the Skaters Coalition for Concrete (the guys behind the skatepark project), adding that the cheap boards from Alco or Wal-Mart weren’t just crap but dangerous. He recommended I spend a little more and pointed me to The Outfitters.
Karen Hoch (co-owner of the store) walked me through the process, fitted Mister for size and stature, found him a good starter board, one on which he’d be safe and the bearings would last him, well enough.
On top of that, considering Daddy had covered the skatepark story with no undue alacrity (a project near and dear to the hearts of the Hochs), we got a nice discount. And stickers for all the kids.
Little much thrills a child more than an adhesive piece of vinyl they can slap on notebook or book or expensive piece of furniture. Thanks, Karen!
Fast forward a few months and Santa stuffs a cheap-o mp3-player in Mister’s stocking and Mister then harasses Daddy to load music on the thing, two gigs worth. Daddy has dinner to make, homework to check, laundry to do, Law & Order: Criminal Intent to watch, while the mp3 languishes music-less (if you don’t count the single, crappy House cut pre-loaded on the player). Then, with a weekend free and no excuse (and a 50 free download card to spend), Daddy goes to town on downloads and burning disks to fill Mister’s gift from Santa.
First, Daddy had to determine what Mister wanted. Walking into his room, I asked him what disks he really liked, what had really hooked him the past few weeks (given my willingness to trash my own collection and palm off the dregs to my kids).
“Um,” he said, nervous being put on the spot, shuffling through disks and empty jewel cases, “Green Day, definitely, I want them, and these,” and, handing me a couple Punk-O-Rama compilations and early punk collections, added, “those CDs and some jazz.”
So, I set out to download and burn music for the young skater. Not a) young or, b) a skater, the task was… fun. Hell, I thought, he’s seven, there’s not much he won’t like.
And while some skaters (slash boarders) might take issue with some of these selections, I think, for a beginning skater, the stuff stands as a good start.
The Descendents, Milo Goes to College. You can have your Vandals or Butthole Surfers or Less Than Jake but The Descendents are the true crown princes of punk comedy. Sixteen songs (two minutes or less) of hardcore smirking. Either you get the jokes or you’re lame.
Bad Brains, Bad Brains. These guys started it all, four Rastafarians from D.C. who went from jazz/funf fusion to create some of the still fastest, hardest, craziest music ever, producing one of the best hardcore albums of all time.
NOFX, Punk in Drublick. Given Mister’s predilection for Green Day (the Jonas Brothers for young boys, I think), I thought this album would sit well with his tastes. Generic ’90s punk but an awesome example of that neo-punk scene, sans the stupid boy-meets-girl bull of Green Day indulgence.
The Refused, The Shape of Punk to Come. Probably my favorite hardcore album after Husker Du, Zen Arcade and The Minutemen, Double Nickels on a Dime (another column is due on those two albums). This album transcends the genre on so many levels. Mister might not appreciate them now, hip deep in legos as he is, but he’ll certainly appreciate them when he’s about to enter college. It’s an album that inspires me to find a pit and jump headlong into it.
The Clash, The Clash and London Calling. One of the disks I passed onto Mister was Burning London: The Clash Tribute which he handed to me, asking that I burn that for his player. Figured the real thing would get him started on the right foot. Not hardcore but definitely punk (especially on The Clash) and one of the greatest albums ever produced — London Calling is a revelation, one of my Desert Island disks, arguably the greatest rock and roll album ever made; a mix of punk, ska, jazz, pop, disco and just plain rock, there is no weak cut on the album.
Minor Threat, Complete Discography. Rather than uploading numerous disks, I figured I’d give him this, a complete overview of the band. Probably the quintessential hardcore band, Minor Threat challenges tastes refined by Green Day, which, I think, he’ll appreciate if he can ever afford to get on the slopes.
Fugazi, 13 Songs and Repeater. After Minor Threat lead Ian MacKaye broke up his band, Fugazi is where he landed. So, three (or four) albums of MacKaye’s music; life could be worse. MacKaye also started the “straight-edge” scene which eschewed all drugs (including alcohol and tobacco) and Fugazi isn’t featured in Rolling Stone because the magazine runs ads for booze and smokes. Not that I agree (being a drinker and smoker), I still admire his stand.
At the Drive-In, Relationship of Command and In-Casino-Out. If Albert Einstein had played in a hardcore band (as opposed to playing violin alone in his office while coming up with whacky theories of the universe), this would have been the band he fronted. His view of the cosmos, screamed with maximum volume.
Operation Ivy, Energy. On various compilations, Mister had Rancid to listen to (including a mix from Daddy’s Napster days); on Energy, Mister gets the best ska/punk ever. The two genres have always had a hand-in-hand relationship and this album makes that abundantly clear.
Bad Religion, No Control. Again, something from the 90s neo-punk scene where the ’70s scene was nodded towards and, ultimately, rejected. Polished and evolved, it’s more his punk than mine.
Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Fun House. Make with it what he will, it is punk years before punk was what it was. Revolutionary (produced by the Velvet Undergound’s John Cale) and a fist in the face of the rest of ‘70s hippie-dipped junk, Fun House opened the door for everything listed here.
Black Flack, Damaged. Probably the most influential hardcore album ever, Damaged took the scene to unprecedented heights — and created numerous inferior imitators. From “Rise Above” to “TV Party” (and all the rest), this defines hardcore.
Although I doubt many skaters read The SUN — much less my column — I’d love to hear what they think about what I put on my son’s mp3 player. In my mind, the shredding music is there but what do I know: I’m an old man (not in my eyes, in Mister’s eyes). Yet, I continue to listen to “new music” and find that, in our age of immediacy, we’re about where we were a few decades ago. So, if anyone thinks my list is lacking, I’d love to hear about it.
As far as Mister… after I filled his mp3 player, his reaction was: I don’t hear any jazz.
I need to work on that.