But can you do a handstand?

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The Bones Brigade Audio Show

Rating –

Growing up in the 80’s I remember dreaming of owning a skateboard. I never had one, I had nowhere to ride it, but I did buy A LOT of magazines and wish. By the mid 90’s I actually got a skateboard, but I was always drawn to the 80’s style and so (obviously) the legendary videos by Powell Peralta pro team, The Bones Brigade.

One of my all time favourite skaters (Frankie Hill) mentioned on Instagram that he was appearing on a podcast called “The Bones Brigade Audio Show”. I knew I had to check it out at the first opportunity. So with great anticipation I subscribed and pressed play.

So what’s it about?

Starting in 1982, Stacy Peralta and Craig Stecyk released 6 full length Bones Brigade videos, and more that are sadly unknown nowadays. In doing so, they not only defined skate culture and action sports videos, but also inspired millions of kids to go out and skin their knees.

Each episode, hosts and Bones Brigade fanatics Larry and Matt go over each of the videos in order. They are joined by some of the guys who were in the industry at the time, from team riders to graphic designers, event organisers and filmmakers. The discussions cover what went into producing these iconic films, and they share anecdotes about the riders and the spots that became so famous to people who would never actually see them in real life, let alone skate them.

They kick things off with “Skateboarding In The 80’s”. This was ground zero for the bones brigade. Made as an advertising short to be played in skate shops, it laid the blueprint for the videos to follow. I love the anecdote about how Steve Caballero himself copied the VHS that the guys watch. All for the princely sum of $20!

Is it any good?

This show really presses my nostalgia buttons. Even though it’s a nostalgia I experienced vicariously from the end of an unpaved road in rural Wales. I didn’t get to actually watch a Bones Brigade video until the mid 90’s. My affection for them is undeniable though. Even rewatching them now (just to follow along with the podcast discussion), they still get me stoked to want to ride again. The excitement and feeling of just going out and having fun, whether you are amazing or not is contagious. It’s something sadly lacking in modern day skate videos. It’s just a shame that all the nice boards get bought up by people wanting to hang them on their walls.

Despite the epic runtime of each episode (regularly sailing well past the 90mins mark), you never get bored. I say you, I mean me. With most podcasts keeping well below a 60 minute runtime, there can be a danger of losing concentration. Their love of the films is so contagious that the time literally flies by.

 Both Larry and Matt are great hosts. There’s loads of little details they mention. Easter eggs that would have easily been overlooked when the younger version of you was watching and getting psyched to go skating. 

There is also the fact that these videos genuinely chart the development of skating. In the early videos there are no flatground ollies (because they weren’t invented yet). Imagine that! No ollies! Then there are ollies, but no kickflips. These are really important events in the sport.

Final thoughts

Obviously a podcast dissecting the video output of a single skateboard company is the very definition of niche. Therefore it won’t be for everyone. There’s lots of jargon and name dropping that won’t mean anything to a lot if you. If you have a love of vintage skateboarding though, then this podcast should be at the top of your essential listening list.

Last week I reviewed the Metallica podcast and bemoaned the fact that it was sterile and basically an advert for the band’s business interests. This however is fandom done right. There is no hokey product placement here, just a great respect for the subject matter.

I’ve spent the last few days bingeing on this series and I really can’t wait for them to get to my personal favourite, Ban This. I notice that one is a three parter. That will definitely be a days listening well spent!

You can get The Bones Brigade Audio Show here:


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