Max Schaaf

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Though this Max Schaaf: A Day in the Life video from Fourstar is from '09, it's super inspiring. I remember getting pumped on Schaaf after watching one of the first 411 Video Magazines back in the early to mid-'90s. It was shot in Oakland, and he had this tiny miniramp in his yard or house, I can't remember which. At the time, it was Schaaf and Mike Frazier who were sort of big names in the vert-skating world, which had been on this huge downturn after the industry-wide shift in focus to tech street skating. He was mega cool then, and I still check out things he does all the time! Roll forever, Max!

City Indian

It had been a while since I heard someone mention City Indian, the 1980s era punk band from Osaka, Japan, when through my work as a magazine editor in the toy, art and animation industries, I met Mr. Funnyara, the owner of Astro Zombies toy shop in Osaka. Though we did not spend much time speaking, I always thought he had a nice and cool way of hanging out, and I always liked visiting his booth at San Diego Comic Con -- an interesting selection of items. Later, when I discovered that Funnyara was the frontman of the band City Indian, it all made perfect sense: I've since spent more time with some of the band's recordings and, not at all surprisingly, they're supercool!

Savannah Slamma

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This is one of the first skate videos that I owned back in the 80s. The soundtrack featured McRad and the Drunk Injuns, who are both still out there doing it. Steve Caballero's post-Faction band, Odd Man Out, also laid down some tracks. Years later, in 2007, McRad's mastermind Chuck Treece contributed the song "Weakness" to the soundtrack of my own documentary, Toypunks, which is about the influence of American punk culture on the Japanese street fashion and designer toy scenes.

These were formative times for me. Skating and the skate culture of this era helped shape the way that I see the world. It taught me the importance of individualism, progression, self-expression and fun. Thank you Lance, Gonz, Natas and Cab for inspiring, and thanks to the industry people who made these early videos for kids like me to pick up. I'm looking at you Mr. Vitello (RIP), Stacy Peralta, George Powell and C.R. Stecyk III.

This is a pic of the VHS tape that I picked up used for 5 bucks in 1988. It still works!

Thrift Store Indian

First American Motorcycle

This is a photograph of my great-grandfather John Swegle, who's pictured here on one of the earliest American motorcycles, the Indian, during his service in World War I. He was stationed at Camp Lee, Virginia. He was born in 1894, and my family believes this was taken in 1918.