I can’t be the only person whose life was irrevocably changed by Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. From kickflips to punk rock, the franchise’s first few games were must owns for young sk8er bois like me, making us at once consider backpacks with pre-busted speakers (thanks, Chad Muska) and chunky Osiris shoes. But more than that, they revived a dying culture, made skateboarding cool again and against all odds, got 13-year-olds into Primus.
Seventeen years on, it’s those soundtracks that endure, from Goldfinger’s incessant “Here I am, pretending I’m a Superman” to the fifth game’s odd KISS tie-in. The game’s cartoonish exaggerations on the sport have long faded, thanks to superior games like Skate (which itself have gone AWOL) but its imprint is everlasting for dudes whose beards have grown in and whose knuckle tattoos are due for a second touch-up. And while Millencolin, Bad Religion and, inexplicably, Powerman 5000 all got a boost from the game’s popularity, no song is more important today than Lagwagon’s “May 16.”
For me, the song was a barrier breaker. The first concert I went to without proper parental supervision was a Lagwagon gig at Toronto’s Kool Haus, where I inexplicably got whiplash headbanging (???) and was mesmerized by Yellowcard’s violinist’s on-stage antics. That. Dude. Loved. BACKFLIPS.
Anyways, happy May 16th.
Go do a kickflip.