Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thrasher Magazine revisited


For me, it all started with the November 1985 issue of Thrasher Magazine. I was just getting into skateboarding when I walked into the local skate shop and stumbled upon this glorious mag with a sick photo of Christian Hosoi pulling an air over a graffiti covered car. I had never seen anything like it and once I started thumbing through the pages, I was transported into an entirely new world. Up until that point, skateboarding to me, had a very clean, California surfer dude, Nash Executioner riding, Ocean Pacific shirt, Jams wearing feel and image. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with all of that, but that definitely was not what Thrasher was about. Thrasher put on full display, the darker, grimier, harder, in your face side of skateboarding and to me that just seemed so much more interesting.


The more issues I bought, the more I found myself getting completely drawn into this "other side" of skateboarding. Seeing photos of dudes like Fred Smith with his spiked and bleached out hair and tattoo covered arms was an eye opener to say the least. In Thrasher, skateboarding wasn't just about skating the fine tuned halfpipes, the smooth dream like skateparks or the hills of the suburban neighborhoods. Those pages of Thrasher showed me photos of people skating anything and everything in their paths. I saw beat up old drainage ditches, cracked curbs, steps, broken parking blocks, beat up street ramps, roof tops and of course cars. Really there wasn't much that Thrasher didn't show people skating on.





Along with Thrasher exposing that rougher and rawer side of skateboarding, they also shined plenty of light on the music that fueled a lot of these skate sessions. Upon first discovery, I had no idea who any of these bands were that filled the pages of this magazine. I guess here and there I'd recognize a couple of metal bands, but all these skate rock and punk bands were completely foreign to me. What I did realize though, was that this was the music that skaters listened to and I might as well get myself introduced to it. By June of 1986 I decided to go for a one year subscription and along with that subscription came Septic Death's "Now That I Have The Attention…". Now if Septic Death isn't an eye opening, wall of violence and ear blasting noise, I don't know what is. It was one hell of an introduction to punk rock, I can tell you that.

From that summer of 1986 and on, I put a lot of focus into the band interviews, the Notes section, Igor's record reviews, the record ads, anything written by Pushead or Mike Gitter and just everything that was music related. I more than ate it up, I devoured it whole and kept on consuming. Of course I bought all the Thrasher Skate Rock compilations, which introduced me to so many incredible bands. Bands like The Big Boys, The Faction, JFA, TSOL, McRad, Boneless Ones, Beyond Possession, Corrosion Of Conformity, Accused, Gang Green, SNFU, Stupids and so many more. From there it was the snowball affect and I just kept hunting down and searching high and low for all the punk, hardcore and skate rock I could get my hands on.







As my music knowledge grew and my tastes were becoming more defined, it almost seemed like Thrasher was bringing me more and more of what I was taking interest in. I remember reading about bands like Dag Nasty, BL'AST!, Youth Of Today, Verbal Assault, Slap Shot, The Cro-Mags and some of those bands I was hearing about for the first time directly from Thrasher. By later 1986 and into 1987, I was picking up fanzines and getting even more in tune with the hardcore / punk scene, but it was definitely Thrasher that had introduced it all to me.

In 1989 there was an issue of Thrasher that had a killer BOLD photo in it from their second show at City Gardens in Trenton New Jersey. I was in that photo with my arms up in the air, screaming along like a manic fan while Matt threw both arms over the crowd to give a massive sing along. I remember seeing that BOLD photo and being so psyched that I ended up in a photo that appeared in Thrasher. That was a definite highlight in my life at that time. Then years later in May of 1993, my band Mouthpiece got a little write up in Thrasher and at that point I felt like I had really accomplished something. Here was the magazine that introduced me to the music that changed my life and my band was now being featured in it. My mind was blown and I almost felt like things had come full circle. I still look back on that as a major highlight from my years of doing Mouthpiece.




In closing I just want to thank Thrasher Magazine for everything they've done to expose me to some of the greatest stuff ever. Great skateboarding, stellar band and skater interviews, sick band and skate photos, phenomenal layouts and design, you name it and Thrasher had the best of the best. If you hadn't heard or hadn't yet checked it out, on Thrasher's website, they've got complete scans of all the early issues, 1981 through 1987. All those classic interviews, photos and ads that you remember are right up there in all their glory. FOLLOW THIS LINK and get on it. -Tim DCXX




35 comments:

Bleed to Paper said...

Such an awesome post. Thrasher had the sickest layouts—huge inspiration.

Handsome Pete said...

March 1986 was my first Thrasher. I had every issue from August 1986 - late 1996. Sold them all. Regret it.

Anonymous said...

Although I was never interviewed (sigh...), I was stoked when I actually got to start doing interviews for them, and really thinking back to my early days of reading and learning about bands. I wanted to give that back a bit. Granted Phelps is a trip.. (Boston crew too)...
I got that Septic death reocrd, and also Jaybird came with the sub in '89. I think the year before that was Sister Double Happiness. Oh well... Maybe I would like them now..

Pedro Carvalho said...

Amazing post.
Thrasher's a huge part of why I got into hardcore.
The first time I heard about Mouthpice was this little feature. Being isolated in Brazil at the time, I was like "wow, a NEW sXe band, fantastic!"
I had already got some issues as gifts from grown up people, but the first Thrasher I ever bought myself was the one with Underdog and Leeway. Around that time (89), I also got one with a Bad Brains feature, circa Quickness. As well as a TAD interview, but, who gives a shit about TAD anyway.
Thanks for the link as well, I didn't know they had these old issues online.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I think that Danzig cover is the only non skateboard front cover pic I've ever seen on thrasher. Believe it or not, that mouthpiece article was my introduction to your band tim. Prior to that I really wasn't aware that there was a thriving straight edge scene so close to home. I still have that mouthpiece as well as the ressurecton articles stuck in a scrapbook somewhere. Cool post. I never saw that YOT article before.

Timothy said...

Thanks guys, glad to hear that you dig the piece. I was smack dab in the middle of writing this Wednesday night when Ben's Ian MacKaye/Minor Threat contribution popped into my inbox. Obviously I dropped everything to put that up instead. This was fun to put together though.

Tim said...

Fausto Vitello RIP

laurent said...

thrasher is to transworld what flipside was to MRR

Brushback said...

thrasher is to transworld what flipside was to MRR

Oh, yeah-- Flipside was way more fun to read AND got me far more pumped up to get on out to shows and check out bands than MRR.

Benj said...

awesome post, tim. thrasher is what got me into punk/HC too. i loved reading pushead's articles and reading the record reviews. i also got stoked every time i saw a city gardens shot in there - ken salerno seemed to have a lot of live shots published in the late 80's. they used to do a "bouncer of the month" column, and one time it featured city gardens' own big ed (?); i was super stoked to see an article on the same dude who had booted my 14-year-old ass out of a city gardens show just months earlier. thrasher has stayed true to the connection between the less mainstream side of skating and underground music, which is why it deserves a lot of respect in this era of big money skateboarding and sound scans.

Anonymous said...

summer of 87 was my introduction to hxc via thrasher - still have my old copies. nothing like puszone. always thought the best old hxc 'zines got some influence from thrasher. so awesome.

Ben Edge said...

That Mouthpiece feature in Thrasher was my introduction to the band as well. It was also my introduction to the re-appropriation of Malcolm X garb by straight edge kids. I remember going to Spike Lee's short-lived clothing store on Melrose trying to find anything with an X on it, and I was too late on the draw.

I cut out the photos of Underdog and Bold, and had them on my wall for years, and I was stoked that the Bold photo eventually became the cover shot of the discography.

Other notable bands who got full pages in Thrasher were Farside and Into Another (if anyone has the Into Another piece, please post it on Livewire).

I just gave all my skate mags away to ROA a few months ago, at a time ironically that I'm skating more than I had been for the past six years. No regrets so far.

Joey said...

Thrasher came along at the right time. Skateboarder had turned into Action Now and it was just horrible, covering shit like beach cruisers, bmx, and rollerskating. Thrasher came out and it was just hardcore. Larger size newsprint and it had everything a true skater would want in it.
I don't check the magazines all that much these days, but regularly check the Thrasher website.

Tim (not McMahon) said...

My favorite was May 1982, where Pushead basically lists all the active US hardcore bands he can in an article. I bought so many records based off that article.



Juice is to Thrasher, what Thrasher was to Transworld.

Sean said...

Awesome ode to Thrasher. It was my gateway drug as well. It all started with those Suicidal Tendencies ads.

Anonymous said...

Verbal Assault's "SCARED" is what introduced me to HARDCORE back in '88. It's too bad hardcore music today isn't as wonderful as it was back in the late 80's.

Stark-Arts said...

i don't think it's the music that is not as wonderful in general - I think it's the kids. Anyone that lived through it knows the scene got cliquier (sp?) and cliquier and there was less of a feeling of community as time went by...
For me the late 80's are the golden age but that is because I started going to shows in 86 - like the 60's are the golden age of rock for my parents...
It's really the crowd that has changed for me...

Mike Garceau said...

I had two skate photos in July of 1987 printed in "Photograffiti". I was hyped.

Esteban™ said...

which issues has the slapshot and cro-mags interviews?
i remember a london trip skate article where some pros meet up with cro-mags and harley lines up some drinks for them at a club or somethign as well.

T-Edge said...

I'd like to see a Flagman interview someday soon, or even a commentary from Time. I'm pretty sure a lot of people would enjoy it as well.

T-Edge said...

(from Tim*, not Time!)

justine said...

4 kids in my family, all die-hard skaters. To end the bickering between us my folks got 4 subscriptions. I think all the photos you posted were cut out and on my walls and posted in my locker! I wish I still had some of the old issues! I think it was 1986 that I got my name in Thrasher for winning a skate contest. I was on cloud 9!

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