The Truth About Music: Play It Loud

"What's hot, what's not, and whats next in pop music"

A Special Connection Between Skateboarding & Music

George Carlin once said, “Respect is not given. It is earned” and with all things in the Carlin catalog of idealisms, this should be ranked alongside life’s golden rule. In an age where we dole out praise for less than worthy individuals who’s contributions to society are nothing more than a one hit wonder or a moronically bleak reality show, that respect is less than available from most people with a brain capable for abstract thought.

To those who earn their places in popular culture’s annuals of warranted celebrity, the gifts they offer the world can be things that can change the face of how something is felt, how mountains of understanding can be changed through one persons, art, music or sport.

Mike Ness did it with Social Distortion, singing songs about a long road through Hell and back. One man, a guitar and a lifetime of discontentment changed what people could classify as what a punk was and could be. Carlin, the master of human observation did with words and thoughts, he made people think while he made them laugh. David Sedaris showed us that a geeky kid with no real sense of accomplishment could live a colorful life, escape from the Carolina hills and somehow, through all of his weird rollercoaster tales, become one of the most successful and hilarious writers in the last decade.

Glen Danzig helped turn an entire punk culture onto horror themed magic. Explaining through gruesome lyrics and distorted screams, that sometimes, the world does, in fact need a little evil. Mike Vallely is one of the rare athlete’s to cross this line. To create an understanding to the masses what a cultural significance is through four wheels rolling on pavement. Art through what the cops like to call “destruction of private property.”

While a lot of pro skaters are now millionaires with instant name recognition, some lose sight of what they are. Being a skater isn’t about driving a flashy car or wearing a hat with a soda logo on. It’s about the elements of style, the possibility that any surface can be grinded, ridden or used as a launch pad for a body with a piece of wood under their feet, complete with wheels spinning and bearings burning. Mike V never looked away, he looked forward and into his future. He saw the world as a big, skateable land full of possibilities. When the scene gave birth to street skating, Mike, along with the other dogs of concrete saw a chance to revolutionize what a lot of parents and adults called “ a stupid fad.”

Over 20 years later, guys like Mike V and Tony Hawk are still putting out boards and shoes to kids whose fathers rode boards years prior. So much for a fad considering a sport that’s popularity only grows as the tricks get wilder and the personalities riding get just as crazy. Kids flipped through dog eared pages of magazines like Transworld and Thrasher just to see their hero’s jumping the wall of the Brooklyn Banks, sticking a jump over the Californian rooftops. We salivated over the idea that one day we could do this too. Guys like Mike V took the time to explain what the art of skateboarding was, and kids who are now skaters themselves, camera guys, every day joe’s or even writers, never forgot those moments.

But this isn’t only about skateboarding it’s about respect. It’s about knowing who are and what you love. Never forgetting that while some of your friends might be on the tip of everyone’s tongues, you’re still a legend in your own right. For as many people whose names have been painted on a deck, few have known the pleasure of seeing their iconic graphic tattooed on a body. Search the endless limits of the Internet and you’ll see plenty of purple-blue, big horned elephants. Respect.

While hip hop and punk have been the soundtrack to skateboarding for as long as anyone can remember, it’s always refreshing to see one of the people who used Black Flag’s anger or Bad Brains introspective innovations to further their worth as a man and a pioneer when a new style of skating was incubating in the womb. It’s another, bolder statement to step in front of the microphone and have something to say when countless people can hide behind someone else’s message. Respect. When someone bleeds substance, it’s feral and desirable; it’s fire. It’s something that all people can attest to when they’re planning their own dreams. Mike V never lost his fire and it continues to engulf him.

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