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Interview and photos by Brian Brannon
For all out mayhem and pure gnarlitude, you can't get any punker than Duane Peters. He's been at it now for almost three decades, proving his deservance of the title "Master of Disaster" with every ride. As the singer for the U.S. Bombs, Duane leads the charge of an explosive old school sound. As an underground pool skater, Duane kills it daily with an equal mix of abandon and precision, just like he always has.
Where you at, man? What have you been up to?
Puttin' my new label together, Disaster Records, me and Trish. We're getting the Bombs' first record, it's going to be out on CD. Then a Stitches single, Static 99, The Spooky. Tons of shit, making music, got a new record coming out, playing gigs with my band, skating like mad. Just got back from Florida, which sucks. Tampa, the shithole of America. Everybody out there's on speed. It makes you think the whole fuckin' country's on speed. I get sick of dealing with those kind of people. Tinker Toy people.
You were down for the contest?
Yeah. As long as Beer City keeps entering me in contests, I'm going to them all. I don't care if I get last place. And they don't care either, as long as I'm doing good for myself and having fun. I have a blast, man. It's not serious now. I went in there with no routine and that's the way I like it. It's so fun that way, just not knowing what you're going to do and not caring. All I know is I'm going to acid drop and take it from there. Just try and stay on your board, and it doesn't matter no more. Throw on some good tunes and it's cool, 'cuz there's people there and you're having fun and they pump you up. It's like a gig.
You like riding for Beer City?
I love it. They rule. They're raw, they're punk rock. Their team is real small right now and that's good, 'cuz I feel one with all of them. Whereas with Think, I didn't ever feel part of that team. It was like I was put on a shelf for four years and everything that came out of those guys was an old picture of me, which is cool every now and then, but when that's all you see, it's like fuck, I'm still skating. Why don't you put a picture of me now in? It's all about now anyway.
What was your first trick?
When I started skating, my most important trick was style. You'd watch who you like to see and be conscious of your style, and if you had any kind of versatility, you'd have at least five or six skaters you watched. And through the years they'd change and that's how anybody that I know develops a style, they're conscious of it. And a lot of kids today don't give a fuck. Even when you fall, there's a certain way to do it. It's the kind of shit that's important. Then once you got that all down, it's tricks: edgers and grinders and ollies...
Who are some of the skaters you think are good today?
That Max Schaaf kid impressed the fuck out of me because he looked like he gave a shit about his style, number one. And, he doesn't even have to worry about it anymore because it's built-in. That's what the whole thing is. And he doesn't fucking bail. I mean everybody bails. But he holds on. That guy rocks. Smiley from Beer City, he's a cool guy, he fuckin' rules. Our whole team impressed me. I just met those guys. And Monk, he's fuckin' hot. They've all got pool skater styles. Jamie Rogers, hot kid. Who else rules? Mike Lohrman, he's always been one of my favorite skaters. Lucero, if he'd get off his fat ass, he's one of my favorite skaters. There was some Chinese guy at the contest that was really ripping but had kind of like a poop style that bummed out the whole gig. But he was going off. Neal Hendrix and Mike Frazier, I love watchin' them.
What have you got to say about heroin?
Well, a lot of people think it's cool, but I don't know. I've always said you've got to find your own way, but if you're looking for a way out, that's not it. But I wouldn't listen to anybody. I lost about ten years of my life to that shit and I'm still struggling with it. I'm clean right now and I'm just staying in the moment. Once you pick up a needle, you're fucked. Everyone falls in. It might take a year and it might take five, but there's more people falling in the bucket now than ever before. It makes you a thief, it gives you a bad perception of life, it turns everything around, it makes you not stand up for what you believe in.
How's the recording for then album?
It's been great.
What's that rockabilly song we just heard called?
"Beatle boot." It's about being an old pervert: "Roll over baby/Say hello to Daddy King/Adoption papers ready..."
And you got the ballad on there.
Yep, a couple ballads. Got some old war story songs, some cowboy type shit. It's got all kinds of shit. We wrote everything in three weeks.
You guys have put out a lot of stuff lately.
Yeah, we've got another single coming out on Outsider. Another single on Beer City, we're going to write it on the road. And then a comp for the homeless in Milwaukee. we're going to do an old Political Crap tune for that: "Rejected," for the homeless.
Where have you been skating?
Kelly's. Then skated Tampa for a week. That was cool, except for that contest.
What about the downhill run we did?
What about it? I could do that all day.
You were going pretty fast at the end.
Yeah, that's the first time I rode that board down there. I just want to keep building quivers. I got that old Santa Cruz slalom board too, just to add to the quiv.
You've got a lot of longboards.
Yeah. I got more out there I'm going to put together once I get bearings. One of them I'm going to put together with a fifteen-inch wheelbase where it'd be real small for a longboard. I just want to start building different longboards, shit like that.
Mike, ask Duane about the old days.
MIKE PENDLETON: We don't want to talk about the old days.
DUANE: Yeah. We're over the old days.
MIKE: We're just lucky to be alive.
DUANE: We did some pretty fucked shit.
MIKE: It's all a blur.
Would you do it all over again if you could?
I don't know man. I don't think so. A lot of it wasn't by choice. There's no guidelines to life, you just do what you get dished out. There's a lot of ditch time in there, some fucked shit, but there's a lot of fun too. Too many people burning each other on the streets. Everybody's out for themselves, it just gets old. You constantly got to watch your back. And somebody's always out to burn you, when you've got nothing, too. They're still looking to take you down further. It just gets old, it gets miserable. You just get burnt.
Why do you like Elvis so much?
We went to Memphis, stayed in the ghetto, and everyone lost their minds on Elvis. We ate nothing but steaks and Elvis burgers. I just started collecting Elvis shit form there. I used to totally hate Elvis and now I'm fully into the guy. We got a song called "Rocks in Memphis" on the new record.
What's the gnarliest hill you've ever bombed?
Third Street in Laguna. That's the gnarliest. That and Signal. I never went down that though. I watched the first Signal Hill contest and it scared the shit out of me. I saw so many people beef. They didn't have the roadblocks too much together and there was traffic coming through on the bottom. There were cars going by that didn't realize a downhill contest was going on. And I mean there were people getting speed wobbles and eating shit bad. Then there'd be a car coming across and a guy had the max speed at the bottom having to dodge out into the car.
MIKE: Guy Grundy.
DUANE: Yeah. He was a kook. He had a mustache. He worked at Anaheim skatepark for a while, in the little box.
MIKE: His arm was all fucked up though, or was it his leg?
DUANE: No, he was alright. Are you talking about the one guy who had one leg? Do you remember that guy from big O?
MIKE: No. I thought it was Guy who had a Teflon elbow or something.
DUANE: I don't know, he had a mustache. Remember the one-legged guy at Big O?
MIKE: Yeah. He had those crutches.
DUANE: Yeah, sticks. That guy used to eat shit in the three-quarter pipe. You'd go, "Oh my God, what is he going to do?" And he had to slam with those crutches that hang onto your elbows.
He'd be, "Here I go man!!!"
Fuckin' chin first with those things, they'd slam him and he'd just be a mess with his crutches all over. One leg. Just carving was all he could do. He'd be on a slalom board. There used to be so many disabled kids skating all the time.
Joe Hardy, he beat me in a contest in the halfpipe at Lakewood. I got beat by a guy with no legs.
Okay, yeah, I know that guy. A couple of stubs. They'd just sit on their boards and fully hold on. They went everywhere on their boards. There were like three of them at one time, they had like a little gang going man. See a bunch of stub people when you pull up and just go, "Yeah, stubbies are here."
MIKE: Don't drop in on them, they get pissed.
DUANE: Yeah, let them go. It then became real cool, you never even thought about it after a while. But that one guy, he used to get right there on the three-quarter, carving back and forth, everything would be cool, and then he'd just go a little too high for the carve and then it would just stop right there and it'd be, "Whoa!!!"
What's your favorite pool of all time?
Cherry Hill egg. Then the kidney at Cherry Hill. Marina Del Rey keyhole. Big O capsule.
MIKE: Fruit Bowl?
DUANE: The Fruit bowl was unbelievable.
What about Upland?
Upland was killer. I liked all those bowls, I liked Whittier a lot, I liked Boulder.
Did you ever just get haired out by that shit? Like Upland, the Combi Pool was huge. Just charge or what?
You had to. If you were a puss, you weren't going anywhere. They were making bigger pools all the time, like the Monster Bowl at Lakewood, it was lame. They kept making huge jokes, but the Combi was killer, it was a well-built pool. The Alba brothers had so many lines there. You couldn't be a puss. Everything that got made, you had to charge.
As well you should.
Yeah, and if you got peer pressure, you can't even think about being scared. After that, it's like anything, you get used to it. The Combi I remember not feeling big anymore. It's like Kelly's pool, people go there and freak out. You go there from Chicken's pool and it seems big, then you skate it for three days straight and it's small again. But that pool has got so many lines, there are so many things that need to be done there still. That's why I like going there.