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Skateboarding News

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Steve Olson

Still Punk as Fuck?
Steve Olson: Punk as fuck

Back in 1977, skateboarders were long beach-bleached-washed haired surfers with Ocean Pacific or Hang Ten tee shirts and were listening to The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Heart and Tom Petty. SkateBoarder was the only serious magazine and the playground was Southern California. Suddenly, everything changed. The Z-Boys at Dogtown started fighting against the Badlanders in the Valley and Steve Olson was in the middle laughing his ass off. When Duane Peters and Steve Olson popped into the skateboarding scene, everybody noticed. Alva and his clique, Salba and his cuates and Steve Olson introduced all of us to hardcore punk rock skateboarding.
Back in 1978 I got to ride the OG DogBowl a bunch of times with all the Boyz...In this photo I'm jamming a high
 speed frontside carve and Digging it! Blue Vans and Riding on of TA's "Model T" Proto Types with Bennetts and
 Road Rider 4's. Those were some special Sessionz and Dayz I will never forget...” Steve Olson

If not for them we would still have long hair and would still try to improve our nose wheelies on flat wooden boards. Steve Olson was one of the few skaters that changed the history of skateboarding forever.

A good 10 years after Steve Olson started to skate; it was backyard pools all around the way. Before that there was plain sidewalk surfing and then came the first skate parks. In Steve’s words, “they were insane I was probably around 14-15 back then and we used to skate ditches, empty pools and whatever the streets had to offer us. All of a sudden there was concrete-like-sculpture, kinda like a manicured skate thing for us to ride on! It was sick!” One after another, it was a time when empty backyard pools were discovered. There was a pool off Garden Grove. The pool was inside an asylum and that's how it got its name: the Fruit Bowl. And that was at the Fruit Bowl where Olson met Waldo Autruy, Jay Adams, Tony Alva
Steve Olson came into the skate scene around 1976. By 1978, he was Skater Of The Ye ar.
By 1979, he had changed the look and soundtrack of skating from hippies to punks.
Steve is the best skater to ever turn a skateboard.” – Lance Mountain
and Warren Bolster with photo sesh going down. Later, Olson started to do photo sesh with Jim Cassimus, Ted Terrebone, and Craig Fineman. Thanks to those sesh, Olson got instant recognition with a pic in SkateBoarder when he was barely 16.

Quickly, Olson got sponsored by Wayne Brown Skateboards in Huntington Beach. Then he started riding for Powerflex Wheels, Harbor Skateboards and Foam which turned into Powell Peralta with Ray 'Bones' Rodriguez and rode for Bones. Ray Bones was down in Skatopia and both just ruled the USSA. Then the Santa Cruz team, supposedly the best amateur team, came down to the Concrete Wave, in their motor home with their matching jerseys, they just fucked 'em up hard.

The same year in 1978, he was SkateBoarder Skate of the year and won SkateBoarder’s poll Awards. Tony Alva was so pissed off he did not win that he throw his second place trophy into a trah can. Recalling Tony Alva and Jay Adams, Steve said that “There were major egos and major attitudes. You think they're bad now. Tony Alva. He wrote the book. TA was like Mohammed Ali or Cassius Clay, whoever you want to go with.”

Then, in 1979, he got an interview in SkateBoarder July issue. And in a recent interview for the September 2008 SkateBoarder issue, he recalls that this old interview: “was the worst thing ever. The layout was whack and the photos they used were terrible. I didn’t like one photograph in that thing.”

Around 1979, Steve, along with Santa Cruz teammate Duane Peters, was one of the first skateboarders to get into the burgeoning punk rock scene. Like Duane Peter's first Santa Cruz pro deck with the caution stripes graphics, Steve's checkerboard pro model was an icon in skateboarding around the turn-of-the-decade.
Do you know a lot of cats that made both the cover of SkateBoarder and Thrasher?
Steve Olson at Dorris pool. Thrasher Cover 1983. Picture Glen Friedman.
But on top of skateboarding, Steve did a lot of different things. When skateboarding came to a brutal end at the turn of the 80’s he played in punk skate rock band. He actually played guitar since he was teenager. The first skate rock band he played bass was The Hoods and whose guitarist went on with TSOL for which he also sang; small world… Punk rock was coming up in skateboarding! He recalls that “I heard some shit at the first pool contest thing, like the Ramones, Mink Deville and some Pistols! It was insane. And I really got into punk rock: I cut my hair and dyed it blonde which freaked people out.”

He also played in The Jones, CASH, and he currently plays guitar in a new band called Drag City Racing and plans another record with Dante Ross. Before Tony Hawks and Chris Miller, Steve had a son pro skater: Alex. Both of them appeared on the cover of SkateBoarder. Way before anybody got the idea of a skateboard blog, Steve was already into IT, as the poster boy for “Mr Lucky” appeared in all of Excite’s commercials, print ads and even on a Billboard in Times Square, New York.

Steve Olson had a skateboard company called SOS which he quickly dynamited to avoid selling off to Nordstrom. He worked as the head of advertising for Jimmy-Z whose brand was just relaunched a couple of weeks ago. He is a fixture at Juice Magazine where he regularly writes articles and interviews old school pool-riders since 2000. His arrival at Juice opened the gates and the mag was flooded with such legends as Jay Adams, Jeff Ho, Christian Hosoi, Herbie Fletcher, Dibi Fletcher, James O'Mahoney, Ted Terrebonne and Dave Duncan who are now regularly contributing their expertise to the cause. He played as an actor in several movies, including Thrashin’, Colors, Buster’s Bedroom, and more recently Machotaildrop.

At the height of MTV, He was one of the first skater to appear in video clip (together with Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, Dave Andrecht) filmed in location at DelMar Skate Ranch with Devo. Later he appeared in clips for Green Day. Gator had his photos with INXS and Tom petty and Steve Olson had photos with DEVO in SkateBoarder magazine!

And it’s not over, if you take a look at 2011 issues of SkateBoarder mag (yeah, this year’s issues), you’ll regularly see pics of him. Steve is still shredding pools like crazy and he is still doing photo sesh with Glen Friedman, take a look at Ozzie’s Blue Tile Obsession’s website to see what I am talking about. So happy birthday Sir Steve Olson…

Steve Olson’s quotes are excerpts of Juice Magazine and SkateBoarder magazine.


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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Wednesday, August 24, 2011 


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