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Skate or Die!

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There was a time when skate culture and punk culture ran parallel to each other. In California in the early 1980s, the skateboarding movement developed alongside the up-and-coming west coast punk scene. Pioneers of punk like Black Flag, The Germs and Youth Brigade became the soundtrack for the pioneers of skate.

Juggernaut punk label Epitaph had its humble origins as a skate-punk niche label. Bands like Bad Religion, U.S. Bombs (fronted by legendary kamikaze skater Duane Peters) and NOFX made up the backbone of Epitaph’s roster. And who could forget Pennywise’s hilariously bad, angsty skater video for “Same Old Story”?

Duane Peters: Working on breaking his own bones with some style
  • Duane Peters: Working on breaking his own bones with some style

Almost an off-shoot from Epitaph, Fat Wreck Chords, initially started off as a skate-punk label as well, releasing classic material from Lagwagon and other bands closely associated with the skateboarding scene. Since that heyday of the early 90’s, however, punk and skate have gone their separate ways, but they still get back together every now and then. Recently, Wyoming pop-punk act Teenage Bottlerocket has attempted to reunite the two scenes with their infectious hymn "Skate or Die".

Unfortunately for us in Indiana, we are thousands of miles away from the Californian skate and music scene. In Indianapolis, if you want to hear music, you have to start a band. If you want to skate, you have to build your own skate park. All of the skate parks in Indianapolis are tucked away in our remote suburbs - except for the Major Taylor Skate Park.

A new group of bike and skate advocates has recently formed to help push to get a skate park built in King Park in mid-town Indianapolis. Considering the lack of urban skateparks in the area, this is an exciting development. I see plenty of kids skating in vacant parking lots around the city and I think it would be great to give them something more than curbs and bus stop benches to work with.

Given the long history between punk and skate, I think that this is something that should be of interest to the local punk (and hardcore and metal) scene. For more information on the new park, go here and stay updated on upcoming events!

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