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  • Chuck Treece Interview

    By Michael Cornelius

    Chuck Treece Chuck Treece's influence on both skateboarding music can't be ignored. As both a pro skater and prolific musician Chuck defines what skaterock is all about. He is a driving force behind McRad and has sessioned with nearly countless musicians from Billy Joel to the Bad Brains.

    I tracked Chuck down for a short interview.

    What is the history of your skateboarding career?

    The span of my sponsored career was 1982 till 1990. I started out with Madrid skateboards, Gull Wing Trucks and OJ Wheels. From there I went to Santa Cruz Skateboards, Thunder Trucks and OJ Wheels. I had a pro model on Sure Grip and then after that I got boards flowed to me by Powell-Peralta care of Stacy Peralta, and that was the last company I had an affiliation with as far as any endorsements. I also rode for Ollie Wheels and Airwalk Sneakers. For the past three or four years, I have been getting boards from Real Skateboards care of Tommy Guerrero and still riding Thunder trucks and Spit Fire wheels and needless to say, I am riding Old School skateboard products out of Philly….reason being, there will be a McRad board coming out on Old School skateboard products, care of bullockboards@aol.com.

    What was the highlight of your pro career?

    The highlight first was turning pro and being around one of my favorite skates and friend in the world, Tom Groholski. We spent a ton of time skating together in amateur competitions and doing a ton of demos both amateur and pro. So, my involvement with him has been the highlight of my career because he was such an inspiration. Also, taking a trip to Televiv, Israel and skating over there for a week straight for a skate demo called California Wheels. I was the only skater amongst three BMX bikers out of California.

    Why did you get out of pro skating?

    The reason why I stopped competing on a pro level on street competitions is because skating at that point was taking on a new direction and I felt that there was no way that I could keep up and do justice for the companies that I was representing, but if they ever have an old school contest within the next five years, I would be down to compete.

    What are the roots of McRad?

    The roots of McRad for one, is the hard-core scene of early '83 in Philadelphia. Our main influences were Bad Brains, Theater of Hate, The Ruts, Scream, Minor Threat, the Decendents and all other bands of that era both punk rock and hard core with jazz or reggae influences.

    Has there been material re-released?

    YES!! Just recently…we have re-released Absence of Sanity on Uprising Records, which is distributed by Lumberjack and Revelation Records. There are also live tracks on the record…19m songs in total…so please everyone, if you see it get it or if you want it/need more information contact mcradband@hotmail.com and definitely check out www.subhoodz.com/mcrad

    How did you get hooked up to the skate videos?

    Stacy Peralta was the hook up for the skate videos that I have been musically involved in. It started out with the release of Absence of Sanity in 85-86 and after that, Stacy Peralta was in charge of putting the bands that were on Beware Records that were slotted to go on the Savannah Slamma Contest for a soundtrack to go along with the skating in the contest. We were one of three or four bands featured in that video. From there Stacy invited me to do music for Public Domain, Ban This and Propaganda. Public Domain was the most famous for McRad out of all those videos because it featured songs Weakness and McShred, which featured Ray Barbee, Steve Saiz and Eric Sanderson. The rest of the videos that I played soundtracks for were just as important, but not as ground breaking as that first street segment. I also did the music for both of Tommy Guerrero's parts in Ban This and Public Domain.

    Have you considered doing more music for skate videos?

    Yes…and we have already started by being involved with the new Hurley Skate video with the song Weakness for Mike Vallely's part. Also, there will be a McRad video coming out with random skaters and spots with 5 or 6 songs off of the re-release of Absence of Sanity. Most of the footage will be from FDR, Love Park and other east coast and some west coast skate parks. We are definitely looking to put new material in up and coming skate videos. Be on the look out for the old school skateboard team video also featuring McRad.

    When did it hit you that you have become a sought after session musician?

    In 1993-94, I had a chance to play on a Billy Joel remix called River of Dream. I played bass on that track and from then on, I knew I had a future in doing studio work with producers in New York and Philly.

    What session or recoding stands out in your mind as something you are really proud of?

    Recording my solo record on Caroline Records titled Dream'n. I did all the recording in Los Angeles and the experience in general was both good and bad and I felt that propelled me to me of a mature song writer, producer and musician of my own ideas which in turn makes things a lot easier for me now…to write and perform music with McRad. That album was recorded in 1990.

    McRad

    What was the best band to work with?

    First and foremost, McRad…. and that undoubtedly the Bad Brains.

    I also wanted to give a real big thank you to Rob Di Joseph and Dave Doran who are the bass player and drummer respectively for McRad. We have experienced the loss of our last drummer, Andy Morris, and for his loss of life, we are here to continue on with McRad and making everything all right in his absence.

    Touring with the Bad Brains had to have been a trip…how did that come about?

    Well, the reason for my involvement with the Bad Brains started in '89 when I auditioned to sing for them. Obviously, I didn't make that spot, but through trial and error and also gaining a friendship with Doc and Daryll in time when they were signed with Epic Records they needed me to come in and fill up a hole that was left when Mackie decided to leave the band. Touring with the band was incredible…musically it was the best I have ever felt playing music as a fan of hardcore music and a fan of the Bad Brains.

    What projects are you working on now?

    The projects are…a solo home studio record all produced, arranged and recorded by myself called TENT on 215 Records due out in January. Also, I am playing drums with the Suburban Hoodz out of Philly and McRad will be recording new material by mid November for a new release sometime in the summer along with newer live footage of the band. For more info on underground projects that I have going on in Philly, email me at mcradband@hotmail.com

    Any final thoughts?

    I would like to give a shout out to Shawn at Uprising Records…the other members of the beginning part of McRad, which are Tristan, Ethan, Zeke and John, and also to everyone out there who has supported McRad from '83 on. Thanks to Old School Skateboard Company, Elite Skateboard Shop and Fairman's Skateboard Shop and also FDR Skate Park for putting Philly back on the map. To my kids…two here and one in the belly!

    © 2000 Skateboardwedo Productions