Duane Peters: “I thought black and green was more German”

Besides sharing the same sense of rejection, why reggae and punk rock got along so well in late ’70s London was very simple : early punk-rockers respected how crazy and unconventional people like, say, Big Youth or Lee Perry dressed and behaved -unapologetically. An attitude that accompanied nicely a bunch of red-gold-green diamond encrusted teeth in Big Youth’s case‚Ķ
Fast forward three decades and meet Duane Peters for the first time. You’ll understand why the dude is as at ease in the 21st century as he would have been in 1977. Never mind the plad, never mind the past, Duane will display the most candy-colored headphones and rock shoes that’d make TK bland. The difference being that he doesn’t look out of place doing so, while you would. It’s called style. No wonder why when it came to digging five boards out of the little collection he managed to save from his darker years, The Master of Disaster didn’t disappoint… Short extracts below of the most entertaining two-hours monologue I’ve ever been served.

Excalibur Corn Dog (1975)
Art by Duane Peters

I lost my stuff so many times, some stayed with the mom of my kids, plus all the homeless shit. I got lucky when I got to save this one from my junk pile, it was in storage for 15 years at least.

When the Dogtown movie came out I was laughing cause everybody was coming out of the wood work, “Yeah I was there,” guys who haven’t stepped on a board in years. So it was funny to me, I was thinking it’d be funny if there was a character called Corn Dog. I imagined a scenario, saying he had been in prison for fifteen years. We were bored, I was living in LA and we had a video camera.

So we started going around Hollywood and Corn Dog thinks that Tony Alva and Jay Adams stole his trick, which is the “toe break”. He’s looking for Tony Alva to get his check, claiming that he got ripped off. So I took my teeth out and had straw hair, thirty years later he’s an old hippie guy, and I put the tongs on his hands cause back in the days guys walked around in tongs and they take their tongs off and use them as gloves. I just thought it was funny. It’s all on youtube.

Santa Cruz (1979)
Art by Jim Philips

This is the template for the green and black Santa Cruz board, which there were only 300 of. I quit Dogtown cause they were all going into rollerskates, and Fausto had me call Santa Cruz. So Madrid made the green and black board but at the time they had a bad batch of wood or something, I broke three boards in one day, I almost quit Santa Cruz for that. They even had people sending in their green and black boards to exchange them for the red and black board.

So. Olson already had the checker board and I was riding his while they were making mine and I wanted stripes. It was just punk rock. X-Ray Spex comes to mind, Blondie had that black-and-white striped album, but black and white was Olson’s already. Plus I thought black and green was more German, I’m half German, I used to be proud of it. It’s the beauty of being American, you come from twenty different backgrounds so you can choose, ‘Oh, I’m not Irish anymore,’ everybody and their mother is Irish since the Dropkick Murphys. We’re mutts.

This particular deck sat on the warehouse wall until maybe seven years ago. One of the guys called me up, ‘Hey, do you want this template?’ I remember seeing it when I walked up there drunk and saying, ‘They’ll never give up that board’. But they did eventually. From what I’ve heard, they also did a “King Olson” deck and a “Prince (George) Orton” deck. It looks like “drama queen” or “queer queen” but from what I understand they did these in the order that people came on on the team.

Skull Skates (2000)
Art by Tara Miller

Jak’s are the Hell’s Angels of skateboarding, biker gang style. They’ve been around since the late ’70s, early ’80s. Tom Scott’s the president, John Marsch started it but he’s deceased, he got hit by a truck. A lot of the guys are the San Francisco original street skaters. Gnarly.

They made me a honorary Jak’s in like 1982 or 1984 when I moved out there. You have your Jak’s vest and you wear your colors like in a bike gang. They’re all over the world now, you have to be petitioned to be on, you gotta go through a bunch of shit.

I just did a movie called Hostility Hotel with the second and third Jak’s from the first generation, too. Back in my day, man, it was kinda embarrassing to be a skateboarder and a punk-rocker, you didn’t wanna have a skateboard at the punk show. But Jak’s, they skate to the clubs and shows, to the High Beam or the Night Break, there’s always a Jak’s guy at the door that takes your board and keeps all the boards together.

Black Label Red Cross (2003)
Art by John Lucero

Lucero graphics. They didn’t sell real good but I can understand it, a lot of people think it’s because of the Jesus. I don’t know when religion and skateboarding cross-bred but to me, they’re completely separate. But to each their own, I don’t wanna shit on nobody’s Buddha.

To me it’s just very Sex Pistols and punk as shit, I love this graphic. The text behind it is from one of my songs from Never Mind The Open Minds. The cool thing with Lucero is that you talk about what you want and you give him a basic thing of what you want, and most of the times it’s already almost there. He’s got an insane sense of colors. Such a great artist.

Pocket Pistols cruiser (2008)
Art by Chicken

This one is kind of an offshoot of the second board I had on Santa Cruz, which I did and then Jim Philips fixed. He had these 80s stripes in mind, same kind of colors, just real simple, real old-shool looking, like the old days but we did our own thing still. Plus, Chicken does really good art too, he’s like Lucero, he’s got really good taste and he’s a lot into board quality.

I don’t have any idea if these boards sell nowadays, I don’t keep up. It’s like with record sales, man. I just learned to stop reading my own press and checking my board sales. It will affect your self esteem cause even if it’s really good, you’ll live off this good energy and as soon as it gets down, you’re gonna start going down.

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1 Response to “Duane Peters: “I thought black and green was more German””


  1. 1 Brent Timermanis November 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    These boards are amazing.


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Le boardnographe du phonographe

This is an archive for my eponymous monthly page in Skateboarder mag. Plus a few extras few and far between, whenever I get a chance...
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