Bones Brigade legend Lance Mountain discusses his early skateboarding life, hanging with Neil Blender and his introduction to art in this Stussy interview. This was shot in Japan where his ‘Never Grow Up‘ art show was hosted this year by Stussy‘s Shinjuku chapter to celebrate their 15th anniversary out there. Watch how the show was put together and much more from one of skateboarding’s most fun individuals.
London’s skateboard scene is vast but also has many hotspots that are far from being under rocks. If you look West to the likes of Harrow, you will find a multitude of talent on display and some wonderful characters behind the action there too.
This suburban area and London Borough is the home of Death Skateboards, the hosts of the original H-Boyz and the birthplace of many skate industry players that grew up carving the bollocks of one of London’s most historic skateparks. To this very day Harrow comes rich in history and has also spawned one of our favourite sons in David ‘Styley’ Steel.
It’s been seven years since we have featured Styley’s photography. In that time, he moved to Japan and then returned to work with Form Distribution, the dudes who bring the UK Girl and Chocolate Skateboards. As the year turned, David and his missus flew back to Yokohama-shi in Japan for another spell out there so we decided to Expose what’s been in his lens over the years and discuss the tales behind ten of his favourite photos. His work is beautiful, his face is probably smiling as he reads this very text and it’s a pleasure to know such a great fella. With that in mind enjoy his top ten.
Left: Styley crailtap’s some rough ‘crete. Photo by Si True.
Nick Zorlac, FS wallride grab off. Southbank, London.
Unsocial hours are always a part of photographing skateboarding. This was no exception. Nick Zorlac gave me a call with a mission to get a shot on the old section of South Bank. It had a massive wooden builders wall around it as they were demolishing it so the only way to get a shot on it was about one in the morning. Once in though we were able to use the builders wood to create a bridge over a massive hole they had dug which lay in Nick’s line and I found a massive ladder to climb up to get the shot.
John Tanner, Switch tweaked ollie to fakie, Sardinia.
Trips are always the advantage of working for a magazine. This spot was sick even though surrounded by used needles. No one really had anything for it though but just as we were about to leave John started playing about with switch ollies. The trip was amazing, just hanging out and skating sick spots with good friends and to come away with this shot made lying on syringe infested pavements worth it.
When I first moved to Japan I didn’t really know anyone but word got around that a foreigner (me!) was in town that took photos. Koji who owned Lesque Skateboards called me up and asked me to come take some shots with them. So the next day I turn up at his house. He greeted me then advised me to lay on the sofa to get some sleep. It was only 6pm. He told me that we’d be skating through the night as there was less security. He was right and we hit a tonne of spots. This was shot at about 4am just as dawn was breaking and the cops were waking up. One even turned up to bust us just as we were packing up! Five hours later I was in my school teaching English to kids with the worst red eye ever.
Horsey. Wallie Japan Grab, London.
So, posting this on my instagram is how Zac invited me to be a part of this article. I do remember we went to this spot to shoot a different trick with a different skater but Horsey started playing around with this wallie grab. I usually have an idea of how I want to shoot a shot but I always get more and more stoked the closer I get and start twisting to the camera to come up with a sick angle. The fish eye then changes it into something else that I hadn’t thought of.
Kevin McKeon. Bs Crail slide, Harrow, London.
FILM SUCKS! Seriously, digital made taking photos so much easier and enjoyable. Here is Kevin probably doing this trick for the 20th time. Not because he was bailing, no he was sticking every try- but due to my paranoia that I hadn’t got the shot as I was shooting on shitty film and couldn’t check it. I shot a whole roll of this (that’s 36 shots to those who don’t know what a roll of film is!) and most of them were useable with pretty much identical shots on each. Sorry Kev for making you do it repeatedly.
John Lindsay, thread the needle to Mayday, Yokohama, Japan.
One of my favourite things of being a photographer is just stoking friends who would not normally get a photo taken. John skated sick and he knew of this crazy spot with these blue bars around it with gaps that were just about wide enough to get through. I showed him a couple of shots of the angle I liked thanks to digital, and this just really motivated him to get the trick in the bag.
Lee. Wallie, Barcelona.
Lee just happened to be staying in the same shit hostel as us and came and tagged along with us one day. He knew of this spot pictured that he had found once during a massive skate through the city suburbs so to find it we literally had to follow his previous routes footsteps. This was back in the day when I didn’t have a roller camera bag so pushing through the streets with a 50lb bag on a hot evening was killer, but to end it with this wallie was worth it. If you’re starting photography now, invest in a roller bag and save your back!
Zarosh, fs noseblunt slide, Shirahata. Japan.
I grew up reading Transworld and R.A.D mags during the late 80’s to 90’s getting brainwashed by how skateboard photos should look. One rule always seemed to apply- green wheels really close to the fish eye. Stoked on the opportunity to keep the tradition going. Thanks Zarosh.
Santa Cates, fs grind, Harrow pool.
Dan is always full of ideas and somehow I got roped into this one! We headed to the park at about 11pm and started to paint through the night. We had to allow the paint to dry before skating it. So during the day Horsey and Steak kept an eye on it so no one entered the pool. Then that night I met back up with Dan to shoot the long-boarded fs grind. Once shot, Dan insisted on then painting over the snowman bits in white so that no one could shoot the same shot. This was the most amount of work for a photo I’ve ever done but definitely one of my favourites and I’ll never get over the buzz of seeing my photos as covers up in the magazine racks in skate shops.
Vivien Feil, BS 180 over fence, Japan.
Vivien came and visited Japan a few times just as he was setting up Magenta Skateboards. In between discussions of why the French are the superior race and explaining why spending his life savings at the arcade playing Street Fighter he would bust out the sickest tricks with the best style. If you look carefully in the bottom right corner of the photo you can see mount Fuji’s silhouette.
If you liked this, follow your nose to Rich West‘s Exposed feature.
Many bands find it very difficult to mix metal and electro/dubstep together, but not Crossfaith. They mix the two into pure beauty.
The Japanese 5-piece use electric sound effects to add catchy melody and unique, well formed structures and have clearly developed since their debut album ‘The Dream, The Space’ released back in 2011.
‘Jagerbomb’ was recently released as the band’s first single from ‘Zion’. The song consists of head-banging riffs and deadly screams that can drop a man dead. They somehow manage to make heavy screaming music into something that you can jump around as if you were a kangaroo.
‘Dialogue’ starts with a slow, tense electronic beat which reminds you of old school rave reminiscent of the late 80’s scene and ends with some epic wob. Only time will tell whether they’ll fit in with the UK’s hardcore scene, as they are set to support Bring Me The Horizon on their UK tour this April so put that in your dairy and look out for the EP which is out now.
Some of the Blueprint Skateboards team have arrived in Japan this week to tour various parts of the country. If you would like to keep up to date with the travels of Marty Murawski, Danny Brady, Paul Shier, Jerome Campbell, Neil Smith, Sylvian Tognelli and Tom Knox then head over to this blog where you can view photos from Tognelli’s lens.
Punk rock in the late 70’s was said to have come from the UK. The Sex Pistols claimed the tag at that time and propelled the image of bored, rebellious youth as we know it. Looking back to the roots of this anarchic disposition it’s easy to pick up on the fact that their influences and many other household names we know today from the punk genre such as Iggy Pop and The Ramones to name just two, took their inspiration from the garage rock scene that spread through the suburbs of American youth culture in the early 1960’s.
Back then rehearsal rooms and studios were not a luxury like in today’s cities, so setting up your gear in the family garage, shouting the odds through a microphone and making as much noise as possible was the order. That spark, that uprising brought Garage Rock (also known as Garage Punk) into the underground, ignited by a network of bands taking their pre-rehearsed tracks into local venues and releasing 7″ records to reach others in different areas and quite literally exploded as the sound of teenage rebellion.
This sonic throwback of the surf rock scene spawned one of the best bands of all time from Tacoma, Washington called The Sonics and knowing that they were in town for the Meltdown Festival curated by The Kinks frontman Ray Davies, Alex Penge hooked up with Rob Lind (saxophone and vocals) and Larry Parypa (lead guitar and vocals) before the show at the Mint Hotel in London to find out more about the band who are said to have kick started the ‘punk’ movement.
Welcome to London. Are you looking forward to your upcoming show at Meltdown with Wire?
Rob: Very much so, yes. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Have you met Wire before? Have you played any gigs with them in the past?
Rob: No, we’re aware of Wire’s great reputation, but we have not heard of them.
Larry: …which is why when we went in there (for the sound check) and adjusted all our amps for them. So it wouldn’t sound like crap!
Tell me more about the Washington garage rock scene where it all started off. Apart from The Wailers (your manager, Buck Ormsby’s band), were there any other bands that fell under the radar?
Rob: The Pacific Northwest which that area is called was a real a hotbed for rock and roll bands. There were lots of good bands. Lots of good people came out of there.
Larry: Like Jimi Hendrix?
Rob: Well The Ventures did have a great reputation and a lot of worldwide hit records when we were young guys starting out. We liked their music. There was another band called The Frantics.
Larry: Uhh ho, gee!
Rob: They were killers. They were real good. But they didn’t really get much notice outside the local area.
You were famous for your pioneering recording techniques and arguably influenced a generation of garage rock revivalists. Did you at the time think that this technique was going to catch on and influence a lot of people?
Larry: There was no choice. We didn’t have any choice at the time. There was only two-track recording available. Mono sound on the first record. We didn’t have four-track until the later albums.
So it all started off just trying to get the record out in the first place?
Larry: Well it’s a standard, you know. We played live essentially. It wasn’t like each person had their own track and if they made a mistake they could redo their bits. We just went in there and usually did the band all at once. Then the vocals would top it off later.
Rob: It was a two-step recording process. Step one would be to roll the tape. Step two would be to play.
Rob: Those recorders were in a variety of different recording facilities. We’d go in the studio and whatever was in there we’d use.
Larry: I think (the recording) of ‘The Witch’ was in a radio studio where they cut the ads and somehow gave us the room to record. It wasn’t in the real recording studio I remember?
Rob: “Go in here boys and knock yourselves out!”
Were there any other cover songs that you were thinking of covering for the ‘Here Are The Sonics’ album that eventually never made the cut?
Rob: No, I don’t think so. ‘Leave My Kitten Alone’ (by Little Willie John) wasn’t on that album but we liked that song a lot. We don’t play that song anymore. Half a dozen songs that we played regularly on those albums we don’t even play now. We also have a new record with four original songs and we’re playing those in our sets now.
What was it like sharing stages with bands such as The Beach Boys and The Shangri-Las?
Larry: It would be interesting if you asked The Shangri-Las what they thought it was like sharing the stage with us. We really screwed them over. They were doing their own tour and we were doing our own tour. Somehow an agreement was made that we were going to back them up in their songs. I don’t know why, but we didn’t learn their songs and it didn’t turn out too well! They still remember that.
Rob: We probably appeared with The Beach Boys more than any of the other big acts. We got to know them pretty well and saw them a lot when they came to the Northwest.
Larry: I think The Kinks was my favourite act to play with. I was most impressed with them.
Rob: I’d have to agree with that too.
Larry: I remember they were wearing a lot of black, they had a sinister sound and they were moving. Those guys were really something!
Rob: Back then the state of popular music in the States was really anaemic. We were up in the Northwest playing hard. I remember one day I was in my car driving down the street, I didn’t know who The Kinks were as they weren’t famous at the time and someone on the radio said, “…here’s a new record from England”. [Rob reinacts the opening of ‘You Really Got Me’]. I heard that and almost ran off the road! We all got on the phone together, “…did you hear what those guys from England are doing?! Holy cow!” After that we learnt a bunch of their songs. We loved them.
So, was it an honour meeting Ray (Davies)?
Rob: It was. We did a short tour with them when they came to the Northwest and met them at the Spokane Coliseum back in the dressing rooms. I want to choose my words carefully here. There were a numbers of large acts (and we played with most of them at one time or another) that were good in the studio but when they played live they couldn’t hold their end up like they could in the studio. The Kinks were probably even better live than they were in the studio. That’s why we liked them so much. They were great. We thought that “those English guys are just like us”!
Over the years there have been many covers of your song ‘Strychnine’ ranging from the likes of The Flaming Lips to The Cramps to The Fall. Which cover would you say is your favourite?
Rob: To be honest, I have not heard many. Actually the best version of ‘Strychnine’, the absolute best version of ‘Strychnine’ that’s out there is by this band called The Sonics! (laughs)
How was the recording process for your new EP ‘8’? Are there any plans for any more future releases? An album release maybe?
Larry: All we have to do is get together and work them out in one recording, we just haven’t done it yet and haven’t tendered to business really. We used that particular studio (Sound House studio, Seattle) and recording engineer (Jack Endino, who worked with Nirvana, Mudhoney and Soundgarden) for the EP because we wanted something that was unprocessed, by going in and getting that one-take type of song. We didn’t want to overdo it. In fact, we play the new songs differently now to how we recorded them. We wrote the songs, went in to record at the studio and now play the songs live a little differently.
Rob: The live performances have definitely adapted those new songs from the studio. We are definitely planning on making a new full length album. We’ve been on the road almost constantly during the month of June. We’ve spent three weeks in France and Belgium and then ran back across the States to Long Beach, California for the Ink & Iron Show, which was a really big show. Then we had two days to wash clothes and come back to London.
Larry: Then we come over here and the weather’s exactly the same as it is in Seattle!
Rob: If you want to know what the weather’s like in Tacoma and Seattle, it’s just like this!
Are there any tours or festival appearances planned for the future?
Rob: We actually had a tour set up this past April in Japan, starting in Tokyo, but they had that unfortunate disaster over there and the tour got pushed back. What we’re understanding now from the Japanese promoters is that we’ll be back over there for late Winter or early Spring time. We’re sad about that as we have a big fan base in Japan and are all looking forward to going over there.
Finally, what music are you guys listening to at the moment? Do you like any current British music?
Rob: I like all different kinds of music. There are bands that we play together with at these shows that we’ve never met before and become friends with. One I can name in particular is The Detroit Cobras. They’re great guys and girls and we had a great time working with them! I worked out a t-shirt swap with the bass player, so I’ve got a Detroit Cobras t-shirt and he’s running around Detroit with a Sonics t-shirt. We know The Fuzztones quite well and have performed with them in the past.
We’ve become friends with a number of different groups. In my case, most particularly The Hives from Sweden. We’re pretty good friends with them. I exchange emails with one of the guys. When we played Stockholm a year ago they surprised the crowd and came out and did the encore with us. Pelle (Almqvist) sang ‘The Witch’. Rock musicians aren’t supposed to say they like anything apart from rock music but I love Cajun music. I also love listening to Bluegrass.
When we were here the time before last, one of the groups that opened for us was The Horrors. As a matter of fact, I think they’re even more popular now than they were a couple of years ago. They had a big record out I understand? Nice lads.
Larry: Yeah, nice guys. Pete Doherty was supposed to make an appearance also. But he shunned us off! Everyone expected that though!