15 music videos featuring skateboarding

by Jesse Locke

January 31, 2014






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Living on Video is a weekly column that unearths forgotten VHS gems, Vimeo obscurities, and YouTube oddities from the musical ether—all obsessively curated by Weird Canada music editor Jesse Locke.

Skateboarding and music have intersected since at least as far back as Jan and Dean’s “Sidewalk Surfin.” Five decades later the crossovers continue, with one of the latest and greatest coming from Vancouver’s Eating Out. We’ve dug up 14 more examples, just ‘cause we can. Blow up the comments with anything we missed!


Eating Out – “That’s My Man”

The first video from this Nü Sensae/Peace/White Lung supergroup is a flashback to Freaks and Geeks-style middle school angst, complete with frontman Daniel Pitout caught inside a painful dodgeball game. It also prominently features some hallway skateboarding (and spray can) hijinks from a trio of bad dudes, inspiring this week’s theme.


Sonic Youth – “100%”

Before the twee rom-com about sentient operating systems, Spike Jonze got his start with this classic SY clip. A shaggily sideburned Jason Lee—who also steals the show in Spike’s skate/directorial debut, Video Days—provides the big pants/small wheels action here, combined with a bummed out house show and (imagined?) crime scene.


Coconut Records – “West Coast”

Speaking of twee, Jason Schwartzman’s musical project isn’t much to write home about, but this skate/performance art footage of the god Mark Gonzales is definitely worthy of inclusion. Bonus: Skate goofs from Schwartzman, Chloe Sevigny and more directed by the Gonz himself!


Old Skull – “Homeless”

These days an Australian baby shredding curbs in a diaper and bare feet is all the rage, but back in the late ’80s it was all about this novelty punk trio of nine-year-olds. Despite ragging on Reagan, the message of “Homeless” is a bit muddled, so maybe these pizza-loving crust kids are better left forgotten.


Devo – “Freedom of Choice”

For the title track from their third album, the masters of the music video hired the Z-Boys for some padded-up pool skating. Of course this is Devo, so it also includes freaky deeky masks, stop-motion doughnuts, and an army of clones in Parisian nightsuits.


Wolf Eyes – “Born Liar”

Michigan noise heads Wolf Eyes have been repping skateboarding for years, and this clip from 2013’s No Answer : Lower Floors proves they’ve got some ramp skills to back it up. Who’s gonna take the next step and unleash a skate vid with an all trip metal soundtrack?


Suicidal Tendencies – “Institutionalized”

Everyone remembers “Possessed to Skate,” but this one deserves equal placement in the loboto hall of fame. “Institutionalized” crams in warehouse ramp skating, flannel under a straitjacket, and a cameo from Twin Peaks’ Jack Nance. All he wanted was a Pepsi!


S.T.R.E.E.T.S. – “Let’s Get Rad”

This list wouldn’t be complete without Vancouver’s S.T.R.E.E.T.S. (Shorthand for Skateboarding Totally Rules, Everything Else Totally Sucks.)


Black Dave – “Rap N’ Skate”

Plenty of rap videos have featured skateboarding over the years, but Black Dave makes the most overt connection. Even if his rhymes are a bit phoned in, he makes up for it with stylee VHS footage of NYC and a mean kickflip.


Tom Petty – “Free Fallin’”

The 1980s skate boom resulted in all kinds of embarrassing/awesome crossovers, from Gleaming the Cube to Police Academy 4. Tom Petty’s glossy video definitely falls in the same category with its idyllic shots of California ramp skating, but it’s pretty hard to hate.


Panda Bear – “Comfy In Nautica”

Patrick O’Dell, mastermind behind the biographical skate series Epicly Later’d, took inspiration from the trippy surf film Crystal Voyager for this mellow cruise. Watching it now is a total 2007 flashback…


OFF!– “Crawl”

Yesterday, Black Flag announced their latest lead singer: pro skateboarder Mike Vallely. The timing with this article is apt, but if you’re gonna pick a side in the battle of the Flags, OFF! is still kind of a no-brainer. Keith Morris and co. get extra points for the “Crawl” video, a quick-hitter with some brutal bails from 2010 Thrasher SOTY Leo Romero.


Unsane – “Scrape”

Unsane also deserve cred as the mid-’90s originators of the skate bails video concept. “Scrape” was famously made for under $200 (swiping clips from Toy Machine’s Welcome To Hell) and apparently got a ton of spins on MTV back in the day. Trigger warning here: It’s still pretty harsh.


Dinosaur Jr. – “Over It”

The best part about this video? J. Mascis does all his stunts, including the painful-looking (but not quite “Scrape”-worthy) bail at the two-minute mark.


OPM – “Heaven Is A Halfpipe”

This one goes out to Josiah Hughes.

Tags: Music, News, Black Dave, Coconut Records, Devo, Dinosaur Jr., Living On Video, off!, Panda Bear, S.T.R.E.E.T.S., skateboarding, Sonic Youth, Tom Petty






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