It amazes me that bands like NOFX, Lagwagon, Strung Out & No Use For A Name (RIP Tony Sly) still get brought up in discussion even 15+ years after their prime and peak in popularity. It’s too bad the same can’t be said for all of the other Californian skatepunk bands that took influence from the pioneers and (many times) did the style just as well or even better than them.
This video perfectly represents the sound and aesthetic of 90′s SoCal skatepunk. I haven’t seen video quality this bad since I last saw a rerun of America’s Funniest Home Videos with Bob Saget or that one time I watched a Title Fight music video. If you hear someone mention NOFX or Lagwagon today, you probably automatically think “lol old people”, but to give an idea of how young this scene was at the time, this entire band’s lineup was in high school throughout the course of their existence. They played their farewell show on their last day of school before they all parted ways for different colleges.
Growing up, my musical fetish was unashamedly “skate punk with metal guitars” and Sick Shift did it better than any other band at the time. I really dig the riffs at the end and how they keep getting higher and higher.
Off The Record display the poppier side of the “skate punk with metal guitars” thing with this song. I’m hearing some Strung Out influence. I don’t think this album sold too well when it came out but I’m sure their label made up for it when they released Underoath’s Define The Great Line (yes, both albums were released on the same label surprisingly).
Craig’s Brother was another band on Tooth and Nail Records. Back in 1998, they released their classic debut album “Homecoming”. They took the template of the Fat Wreck sound and added their own unique brand of epic melodies and poetic lyrics. Apparently they came up with their band name because of one the members had an older brother named Craig who was popular and a jock, so everyone would refer to him as “Craig’s brother”. Socially awkward punk kids getting overshadowed by jocks – the story of 90′s skatepunk in a nutshell I guess.
Feeble was Travis Barker’s first band. There is nothing else worth noting about them.
Donuts N’ Glory can either be described as ‘really creative’ or ‘just weird’. Their zany instrumentation, abstract lyrics, and vocals that sound like Fat Mike on an acid trip made them stand out from other bands in the scene at the time. Despite releasing only one album in 1996, they have a small yet dedicated following (including the drummer of Thrice) that still back them hard to this day. Cult status.
Speaking of Thrice, before began playing post-hardcore and experimental rock (or whatever they turned into) and became one of the biggest bands in America, they started off humbly by playing skate punk in the late 90′s. When this EP shows up on Ebay, it sells for up to 700 dollars.
Cigar is a band that managed to gain a fair amount of recognition, probably through touring and being signed to a halfway decent label (Fletcher from Pennywise produced and released their album). I’m not sure if this moderate popularity has transferred that well into recent years because from what I remember, this was their “hit song” and it has less than 700 views on YouTube.
Although Fearless Records is known now primarily for being a scene label, home to bands such as Pierce The Veil, Breathe Carolina and Blessthefall, this band is an example of what they used to release in the 90′s. I’m loving the slap bass – possibly Seinfeld influenced?
Now that I mentioned Pierce The Veil, I have to bring up their little known past. Before changing their name twice and turning into one of the world’s leading fangirlcore bands, they were once a skate punk band called “Early Times”.
Over 10 years ago, I never thought I would be including Ten Foot Pole in a list of unknown or forgotten bands. They came up at the same time as the other first generation bands, they seemed to have a good sized following, and they were on pretty much the biggest label for their style at the time (Epitaph). The progression of their record labels pretty much sums up how much their popularity declined over the years – from Epitaph, to Victory, to Go-Kart Records… ouch! If the vocalist sounds familiar, it’s because it’s because he went on to form and sing in the band Pulley. Random fact: he was also once a Major League Baseball player.
Slick Shoes took a poppy approach to the skate punk sound, following directly in the footsteps of MxPx. I’m surprised more pop punk kids don’t jock them today. Also, I admire that their band name manages to reference The Goonies without sounding completely ridiculous (sorry Chunk, No Captain Chunk!, I still love you guys!).