Sep 082009

Flipping channels one night last week I came to a screeching halt on the skateboarding documentary Dogtown and the Z-Boys. When this movie came out in the theaters I initially turned my nose up at it. I was never a skateboarder or had any interest in related “extreme sports.” That stuff always ran counter to my interest in team sports. My younger brother, however, has always run with that X crowd, and I do have a lot of interest in him and try to get my head around what he cares about. He loved the movie, so a few years ago I finally broke down and rented it. It was great! From now on, I’ll stop flipping channels whenever I come across that documentary, and I’ve since watched a few other documentaries on skateboarding and surfing.

My oldest son thinks I’m trying to relive my youth, but I tell him I’m not. I’m really trying to better understand my younger brother and prepare for the road I can see my younger son taking. Watching Dogtown and the Z-Boys again the other night I was struck by the marriage of music and extreme sports. What other sports have ever been so closely related to a form of music? I guess some extreme sports lean more toward metal than punk, but I’m not yet sure when one X Games competition requires the cueing of speed metal rather than hardcore punk. I know nothing about NASCAR. Are NASCAR docs fueled by some special country or Southern Rock mix of music? Is there any other equivalent to skate punk? Wait, what am I saying – skate punk is the direct descendant of surf rock, both in terms of the sport and, to some extent, the music.

OK, are there any equivalents to skate punk and surf rock? And whatever particular X Games sport is closely identified with speed metal…

Getting my head around the SoCal skater/surfer scenes has recently had the added effect of helping me tune into the music related to those scenes. I can hear how the music relates to the motion of the sport. I wonder if there’s a rhythm to the sport I love most, baseball.


  13 Responses to “Rock and Extreme Sports”

  1. Oh yeah, of course there is…

  2. Mr. Moderator

    Nice one, cher!

  3. alexmagic

    I’ll broaden the age gap a little more and bring video games into the discussion.

    Of all things presented on TV as sports, auto racing is the one I “get” least. Soccer’s not my thing, but I can appreciate the athleticism on display, etc. The appeal of NASCAR is genuinely lost on me, however. Still, some years ago, I played a NASCAR video game that had a soundtrack loaded with songs like “Flirtin’ With Disaster” and “Black Betty” on it, and I’m convinced I’d be a lot more inclined to watch racing if they’d play Ram Jam or Molly Hatchet over the actual races in the same way that you’re more likely to hear music played over coverage of the X-Games.

    On the skateboarding side of things, a skating game that came out this year featured “Death or Glory” prominently on its soundtrack, which I thought was pretty good choice, all things considered.

    On a related note, here’s how company tried to profile its gameplaying demographic for football, basketball, hockey and soccer this year:

    I don’t know what, if any, kind of music baseball lends itself to outside of our previously discussed at-bat/closer music topic. I think it kind of defies “soundtracking” in a way that other sports do not.

  4. I really enjoyed that documentary, too. That’s not my scene, but it did a very good job of conveying why it is exciting and who the heroes of that scene are. Someone made a scripted movie of that time based on those same guys, but I don’t think it did well.

    Another one in that genre captured the surfing sub-culture really well is called Riding Giants. You’d probably like that one if you dug Z-boys.

    Figure you might like a good surf movie considering how you and E-Plurb have always had a Bodhi vs. Johnnie Utah dynamic. Always chasing that ultimate ride.

  5. Riding Giants is spectacular. I just watched Endless Summer this weekend for about the 10th time. Have you ever seen that? It was made in the early 60’s and although it shows it’s age a bit, it is a classic. I recall Endless Summer 2 being pretty good as well.

    Mod, Let me know if you’re ever in OC during the summer and you want to take a crack at surfing. I can lend you a board. It’s hardly Dogtown/Riding Giants caliber but a long board on the Jersey shore can be pretty entertaining in its own way.

  6. Mr. Moderator

    Yes, chickenfrank, Riding Giants is the movie I was watching when my son asked if I was reliving my youth. I WISH!

    You’ve got it right with your take on the dynamic between me and E-Plurb.

    cdm, as naturally athletic and graceful as I am I’ve got really poor balance. I’m afraid that I’d crack my head open if I ever tried to surf. Maybe I’ll just write songs about all that stuff.

  7. I’d always assumed that Endless Summer was a teen beach blanket movie. I didn’t know it was a doc. Interesting. Depressing thread on the day after Labor day. The summer does indeed end. I’ll have to slap on The Other Side of Summer from Mightly Like a Rose to cheer me up.

  8. The correct name of that record is Mighty Like A Turd. Thanks to RTH, I’ll never call that record by its proper name again. Again, thanks!


  9. BigSteve

    Buck O’Neill certainly thought that baseball was like jazz, but he was a jazz head, and both were huge parts of how he experienced life. I can see where he’s coming from, but I wouldn’t think many players today know much about jazz, and I don’t think you can make the argument that the game has changed so radically from Buck’s era.

  10. TB, I think the re-issue will be under the Mighty Like a Turd title.

  11. Mr. Mod you always amaze me with this baseball shit! I can’t think of anything less Rock&Roll than baseball.
    oh wait…
    here it is…

  12. Baseball rhythm? That remix of Pachabel’s Canon with sampled spurts of Bob Stinson guitar solos done by Medium Joe a few years back.

  13. general slocum

    I think what you’re looking for, Mod, is Mahler. It takes fucking HOURS, and only somebody who’s totally immersed in the culture of it can sift through the featureless plains of inactivity for the nuggets of truly gripping entertainment.

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