This was a little piece that a client brought up the other day. He didn't know I'd written this piece for diCe magazine a few years back, and referenced it.
I was humbly flattered.
I share it with y'all here.
On the first day of 1889, there was a total eclipse. It was on that day that Wavoka, a Nevada Paiute Indian, ascended to God and returned with a message. The devotional words he brought back to his brethren instructed the faithful to dance a sacred dance. The dance, known as the Ghost Dance, would bring back all of their dead fathers, grandfathers, their sacred hunting grounds, and all that had been lost to the encroaching society. It spread across the Western United States. The movement was crushed when their spiritual sacred hoop was destroyed during the massacre of Wounded Knee in December, 1890.
The revival of the Paiute Ghost Dance began 90 years later, also in the Western United States. This time, the dance was centered on a drug addicted fuck-up from the Dogtown Tribe. This unlikely messiah, Jay Adams, surfaced between various troubles to inspire the faithful. The new movement centered on a wooden plank that was used to break the gravitational planes. This dance also wanted a return to a better time, when these dancers, known as skaters, would have their sacred hunting grounds returned to them.
Or so I envisioned it through a fog of psychedelic drugs and angry sentimentality.
It started for me in late ’79; I was eleven and had been skating for six years. I told my older brother that I would have a Wally Hollyday skate pool in my backyard one day. The drugs came later.
In the meantime, the lavish skate parks that were our sacred hunting grounds fell under the blade of “progress”. We were a tribe torn asunder and left for dead, much like the Indians 90 years earlier. The worst insult was having to live among the straights and scramble for places to skate. Vacant houses, not so vacant houses, and especially motels became our sacred hunting grounds. We perfected methods of deception and stealth to ride the great transitions of a concrete spewing society in decay.
These were the 1980s; it was my time of anger and psychedelic vision quests across the Western United States. Against all odds, I survived and later used my angst as an energizing force for my artwork. Success came slowly, but resulted in a security that manifested itself in my wife and me owning our first home. The visions I had more than twenty years earlier never left my mind. After a lot of scrambling, I found Wally Hollyday, brought him out of retirement, and had him craft my very own bowl.
Construction took three years due to site issues and legal wrangling, and during that process in 1999, I realized that my current deck and wheels weren’t going to be worthy of my new grounds. It was at that time that I started producing decks for “Shitbird Skates” and wheels for my Speedlab Wheel company. It was the first company to produce a line of original modern pool wheels and a few classics for the 21st century. Since then, a score of companies have followed suit, some even re-popping some of my re-issues of classic 80s profiles.
It seems the skate-dance of the faithful has manifested itself in a plethora of new grounds/parks/private bowls and skate gear. Even our fuck-up visionary Jay Adams is out of prison and leading the way out of darkness. I encourage anyone who has a shovel to pick it up and break ground. It’s your sacred duty as a skater to live the dream, fire up the barbeque, and buzz tiles in your own ground.
SomethingIs about to give I can feel it comingI think I know what it is
I'm not afraid to die I'm not afraid to liveAnd when I'm flat on my back I hope to feel like I did
And hardnessIt sets in You need some protectionThe thinner the skin
I want you to knowThat you don't need me anymore I want you to knowYou don't need anyone Or anything at all
Who's to say where the wind will take you Who's to say what it is will break youI don't know Which way the wind will blow
Who's to know when the time has come aroundDon't want to see you cry I know that this is not goodbye
It's somewhere I can taste the salty seaThere's a kite blowing out of control on the breeze I wonder what's gonna happen to youYou wonder what has happened to me
I'm a manI'm not a child A man who seesThe shadow behind your eyes
Who's to say where the wind will take you Who's to say what it is will break youI don't know Where the wind will blow
Who's to know when the time has come aroundI don't want to see you cry I know that this is not goodbye
Did I waste itNot so much I couldn't taste it Life should be fragrantRooftop to the basement"