If the articles in this 30th Anniversary Issue teach you anything, it should be that skateboarding has evolved leaps and bounds over the past three decades. It should also make clear that key individuals—pioneers—served as central catalysts to these massive advances. Ray Barbee’s addition to the Bones Brigade in ’87 and subsequent appearances in Powell Peralta’s Public Domain (’88) then Ban This (’89) represent some of the most critical junctures in our short history. On the heels of Steve Steadham, Ray cracked the façade of what had been more or less up to then a white-bred pastime. He also showcased some of the first conscious line-based flatground street skating ever. And unlike the neon glam beach volleyball styles of the ‘80s vert scene, Ray’s casual attire and cruising lines through LA sprawl set the table for city kids of all stripes and colors to make skateboarding theirs in the two decades and change since.   

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« Skaters and Drugs Outtakes: Eric Dressen & Tony Alva »

Been a minute, but here are some more raw quotes from Skaters and Drugs. Short and sweet, this is what Eric had to say on the topic back in '02. I was a huge Dressen fan as a kid and was lucky enough to get to skate with him during the '90s West LA Hot Rod crew days and call him a friend today. I still don't think Eric gets enough credit for being as influential style-wise as he should. Easily one of the top 10 most influential styles ever in my book. Photos: Thatcher/Brittain —ME


“They should have been called ‘Drugtown and the Z-boys.’ All those dudes were all on drugs. Every guy I grew up with around there that was a pro skater was on drugs. It was everywhere. You’d eventually retire and then just get more fucked up. I saw it happen to every dude and it happened to me. I was terrible.”

"Just from the ‘70s, everybody did drugs. It was like the tail end of the hippie movement. Nobody thought drugs were bad back then. And then you basically become a rock star, and its sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. It all goes hand in hand."

"Christian (Hosoi) and I would go smoke a joint in the parking lot before all our runs. I never skated a contest where I wasn’t stoned. I remember being at the Munster Championship Contest in ’90 and Colby Carter and I were smoking before the heats or whatever and I kept winning all the qualifiers. Right before the finals I didn’t go smoke and I ended up getting second. Colby was joking around saying I would have won if I smoked more weed. He was probably right."

"Jeff Phillips won the Vision Psycho Skate contest on acid. It was like full strobe lights, 3D projection screens, the Red Hot Chili Peppers playing on the platform, and there’s Jeff skating amazing on acid."

"The new kids are headed for it. I don’t think they’ll be able to handle their drugs as good as we did."


Eric's part in Speed Freaks ('89).


Since Eric's was short and he mentioned Dogtown I figured I'd post Alva's full collection of quotes to corroborate Dressen’s story. The name for this site actually came out of the following TA text. At the time he said something like, “Deadhead hippie Rasta dude” and I remember thinking Dead Hippie would be a cool name for something. Also bare in mind this text is over 10 years old. I know for a fact that TA no longer smokes weed today just for the record. Photos: Friedman/Stecyk



“We were like 70s, dude. So we were like acid, coke, Quaaludes, taking crazy pills like reds with a malt liquor. I think at times drugs enhanced the whole thing. Like back in the early punk rock days, it just made it way more intense. I mean when you’re that age, and especially back then, you could kind of get away with stuff like that. I mean that whole decade was a trip. But, if your taking acid for 20-30 years, dude, your brain is going to start morphing. If you have some weird shit going on, or you’re a little wishy-washy in the head, it can fuck you up big time.”

“A lot of people consider marijuana a drug and I disagree with that. There is a huge segment of the skateboarding population that use marijuana as an herb to better their lives and get in tune with their environment both physically and mentally. Once we erase the stigma that weed is a drug, skaters will no longer be labeled as druggies. By en large, the skateboarders out there are not using drugs like cocaine, heroin, and speed. That’s only in the extreme situations like with Jay Adams or Hosoi. Those are serious street drugs that will take you down no matter how baddass you think you are.”

“To them, stoners will forever be that unmotivated Spicolli type fuck up. They listen to somebody talk about the positive effects of marijuana and they automatically tune it out, ‘Oh, Alva’s talking bullshit. Alva just needs a crutch. He’s a Deadhead hippy Rasta guy. He’d have been better without it.’ They teach drug addicts to call it ‘marijuana maintenance’. But I’ll keep saying it. If you’re a spiritual person, marijuana can be extremely positive.”

“I just hope that people educate themselves and learn more about it. Legalization of marijuana has been a long overdue thing in the world. I get hassled so hard any time I go through customs because I have dreads and there’s a stigma to that.”

“The label is wrong regardless. As you find out when you really look at skateboarding, there are dudes completely on the other side who are completely straight edge. And they have to deal with the druggie stigma all the time. The key is to let everyone do their thing. Skateboarding is all about, ‘to each his own’. Fuck what anyone else thinks about us.

“To teenagers, drugs seem like some sort of adventure. Its just one of those things you just have to do to get out of your system. I’m a parent too, and I don’t advocate doing drugs to young kids. But if my kids ended up trying chemicals or something, the best thing you can do is communicate with them. Most parents did drugs at some point too so talk to your kid and pass on what you learned. The best and only thing you can do is talk to them.”

“Skaters are just tough motherfuckers to begin with. I think they just subject themselves to things almost as guinea pigs. It’s the ‘fuck it’ mentality. They’ll try anything. Overall, there were a lot of funny stories and good times that involved drugs but at the same time there was also somewhat of a negative shadow that got cast over it later. Too many of those dudes ended up wasting their lives chasing the dragon, trying to score another gram of coke, or just wound up dead. I think eventually, you know, all that shit just gets tired.”


Tony in Dogtown and the Z-Boys ('01)


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