By House of Neil on September 2nd, 2015
Editor’s Note: This one goes out to Steve From Jersey who sent in some old English skate mags unsolicited. Thanks! – Kilwag. (P.S. Drop me an email, please.)
So welcome everybody to the new bay watch, covering the months of May-June 2015. It was a weird period, and a period that cemented some things that have been happening for a while now. Some decks that used to be considered “common” or not special are now commanding prices well over $1,000: a threshold, which used to be reserved for the big names from the big companies. It’s like the collectors with money have all of the big name decks they want and are now going to some of the more esoteric team decks. Or lesser-known pros. Or maybe it’s just me connecting dots that aren’t really there.
This month I’m going to review some recent (over the past 12 months) releases from three old punk stalwarts: Buzzcocks, The Rezillos and Stiff Little Fingers. Who had the most compelling album of these three old warhorses? Read on and find out.
First up we have Buzzcocks, who released their ninth studio album “The Way” in England in May 2014, although it wasn’t released in the USA until November. It was their first new album in eight years (Flat Pack Philosophy in 2006) and was funded by a PledgeMusic campaign. It is the first to feature new bass player Chris Remmington and drummer Danny Farrant. It has a disappointing 10 tracks, although pledgers did get an ep with 4 extra songs. The album is standard Buzzcocks fare. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. If you got any of their last 3 albums then you pretty much know what to expect. Short, spiky punk pop bursts. But as time goes on they tend to feel a little formulaic. As normal, Pete Shelley wrote half the songs and Steve Diggle the other half. The Shelley songs are the better ones: more to the point, where the Diggle ones are often sprawling and seem to lack focus. It’s not a bad album, but it is pretty average to these ears I hate to say. It sounds to me like they started writing after they got the funding and put together 10 songs in the studio. If I had to grade it I’d give it a 6.
Next up we have The Rezillos and their new album “Zero”. Believe it or not it’s only the second studio album, following their 1978 classic “Can’t Stand The Rezillos”. Yes they released a live album and then morphed into The Revillos, but that was not the real thing. The Rezillos proper broke up in 1979, but reformed with almost all original members to play some shows in 2001. They kept playing shows, and started recording new music again in 2008. A couple of singles followed, and then released this new album in March 2015. The sound is basically the same as their original sound: an upbeat, fast 60s sound coupled with science fiction themes and sci-fi flash. The songs are catchy and fun as hell, but it must be said that I was sad to see that 2 of the 12 songs has already been released as singles: “No.1 Boy” in 2009 and “Out of This World” in 2011. And the thing is, those are the two best songs on the album. It’s a good album, and a decent follow up to “Can’t Stand…”. In fact it sounds like it could have been recorded in 1979. That’s how little their sound has changed. But it’s certainly not essential listening I’m afraid. But it’s good to see them out there again and doing it. Grading it? I’d give it a 7.
And then we have Stiff Little Fingers and their newest album “No Going Back”. Much like Buzzcocks, SLF broke up in the early 80s, but they reformed in 1986 and have been an ongoing concern since then, releasing albums every few years. And again much like Buzzcocks, they have 2 original members still in the band, Jake Burns and Ali McMordie. Prior to this one their last studio album was released in 2003, but the ideas for the songs on “No Going Back” have been kicking around since 2007. It was recorded after a PledgeMusic campaign and was released August 2014. Quite simply put, this album is superb. It has twelve songs in all, and you can tell that these songs had been kicking around for awhile: they are polished and can stand with anything else the band has ever recorded. Of course they don’t have the fire of 35 years ago, but that has been replaced with power and skill and deeply insightful lyrics. All of the songs are different: there’s no set structure here. Some fast, some slow, some Celtic sounding, some not, and it’s the variety and pacing that makes this so good. There are very personal songs about depression, and politically charged songs about the economy and the bank bailout. The variety of albums the band released through the 90s and noughties were ok, but all had problems. But this does not. I can’t rate it highly enough. The worst thing about it is the cover art, which is drab and clichéd, and won’t bring any fans to the band that’s for sure! I give it a 9.
Ok, onto business and the real reason that you are all here.
First up this month/quarter/period is this Z-Flex Jay Adams fiberglass deck from 1976. The board has never even been drilled, so I guess you could call it NOS< but it does have a lot of storage marks on the nose and the tail. The storage marks looks suspiciously like grip tape scratches, so I assume it was stored for the last 40 years stacked underneath a lot of other decks. It also comes with a certificate of authenticity from Dave Hackett. I guess Jay gave it to him in 76, and he sold it on recently. It sold for $1,414 on 20 bids.
Next up this month we have this Sims Dave Andrecht S-Ply stinger, complete with ACS Lite II (magnesium) trucks and Wings double conicals. The deck is in used but good condition, and it is the original fat and flat 11” model. Not a trace of concave here. It sold for $750 on 28 bids.
And here we have a Dogtown Bob Biniak “Rocket” deck from 1978. It’s in well work condition, although the graphics are clean and the bottom still shiny. That sticker residue should easily come of the tail. This is the second version of this deck: the glass bottomed version, and it also came in white and blue. It sold for $654 on 47 bids.
Here we have a Kryptonics Krypstik team deck from 1979. The seller claims that the deck is NOS, just having some stickers on it from the shop where it was discovered. From Venezuela no less! The routed channels are amazing, as are the wheelwells. This sold for $500 on 7 bids.
And here we have a Sims Taperkick from 1977, complete with Trackers and original OJ wheels. It is in really nice shape considering how old it is. The stickers do ruin the lines of this beautiful deck, but they are historic in their own right, so I assume they stay. I would probably try to relocate the Tracker one though. My favorite is the Tunnel sticker, although the Sidewalk Surfshop one is tough to beat! It sold for $481 on 28 bids.
And here we have another Sims complete. This is the Sims Lonnie Toft 10” model from 1979, and comes complete with Tracker Extracks and Sims Snakes. It’s pretty grubby but the rails nose and tailguard have sucked up the worst of the abuse. The stickers are nice and time accurate too, all apart from the Thunder Trucks one, which is horribly out of place here. This sold for $1,150.
And finally from the 70s this month we have this Dogtown Jim Muir Triplane from 1979. It comes complete with Gullwing Pro trucks and Kryptonics wheels. It’s in pretty rough shape up top and on the sides where some of the plies are pulling apart. But the bottom of the deck looks flawless, and the Dogtown Triplane type has a nice gradation from yellow to blue. The graphic is on the topside under clear griptape if you hadn’t figured that out. It sold for $890 on 28 bids.
So first up in the fabulous 80s section is this Zorlac Abrook “Ghoul” model from 1987. The deck is in mint condition according to the seller. This was a dual model for both Abrook brothers, Barry and Mark, much as the Godoy’s had a couple of combined models. I always thought this graphic was a good idea but badly rendered. It’s tough to see exactly what’s going on in that mess of a graphic. Maybe it looks better close up, but I’ve never held one so I can’t say. This sold for $511 on 52 bids.
Next up we have this Alva airbrushed fish deck from 1985. These decks were regular plain Alva fish shaped decks that were individually airbrushed by Mondo Beck at the Alva factory. No two were exactly alike, so I guess you were getting a one of a kind, but they all did look very similar. It comes complete with Trackers and Powell Peralta wheels. It sold for $425.
A few different Vision Agent Orange band decks went off in this time period, but this is probably the best of them. It’s from 1984, in NOS condition, never gripped or mounted. This one is actually the deck pictured in Disposable on page 240. The colors are bright and the yellow dip looks amazing. Close up it has a number of storage marks, but pictured like this it looks spectacular. It sold for $1,725 on 25 bids.
Sticking with the band deck theme, here we have a Zorlac Big Boys pig from 1985. This is in a very similar yellow dip to the Agent Orange, but is in even better condition. This truly is NOS. They were making this deck as early as 1983, but this particular deck says 1985 quite clearly on the topside graphic. Was the 1983 version the very first band deck? This sold for $1,085 on 40 bids.
Here we have a Sims “Buzz” team deck from 1987. There were two versions of this deck: the mini sized “Slight Buzz” and the full sized “Full Buzz”. This is the mini model. It is in NOS shape, never griped or mounted, but it does have storage marks and scratches etc. The graphic features a grem looking bee balancing on a skateboard, complete with kooky painter cap etc. The full bleed background graphic is nice, and the colorway is bright and vibrant. It sold for $462 on 16 bids.
Now here we have a Vision Mark “Gator” Rogowski “Swirl” from 1984. The deck is NOS, never mounted or gripped. It has a few storage marks but very minor ones. This is really really clean! And this maybe the most iconic of the colorways too! The black and white gives a lot of #D depth to the swirl, and the blue box is simple and understated. Not many decks can be considered classic, but this one checks every box. It sold for $1,400 on a Buy It now after 19 minutes.
Here we have a Powell Peralta Tony Hawk “Birdclaw” from 1989. The deck is absolutely mint and in the most desirable colorway for this board. The black with subtle purple forest background is stunning, and the pink and green main graphic over the top is bright and vibrant. This really is a wonderfully rich work of art: too good to be skated on and trashed really. It sold for $1,649 on 40 bids.
Here we have a Vision Joe Johnson “Hieroglyphic Circles” from 1986. The deck is in good used condition. It has a lot of wear on the tail and nose etc., but the graphic is in great shape overall. So it’s not outstanding condition-wise, but the colorway is astounding. The silver dip with full bleed gold background makes it look really special, and then overprint that with the black circles and the rich green and blue main graphic? Amazing. It truly is a great looking skateboard deck. It’s just a shame that it isn’t NOS. It sold for $500.
Now this is a deck that has exploded in value over the last 2 years. It’s a Santa Cruz Jeff Kendall “Atom Man” from 1989. This one is NOS, never gripped or mounted. It does have some storage marks and some discoloring on the stain on the topside. But the graphic side looks amazingly clean. I never really cared for the graphic: it looks like something that should have been purely black and white and gracing an MDC album cover to me. If it weren’t for the halo of color around the head this would be very monochromatic. But I’m just quibbling I guess, because like I said, this has become super popular. How much so? Well this sold for $1,475 on 59 bids.
And here we have what might have been the biggest bargain seen on eBay for some time. Obviously it’s a Powell Peralta Lance Mountain “Future Primitive III” from 1987. The deck is in really good used condition: it barely looks ridden. I love the colorway on this one. The yellow stain combined with the silver mottling really makes it look like an old cave painting. It comes complete with what look like Trackers and Santa Cruz wheels. Now here’s the bargain bit: some jammy bugger got in a Buy It Now for $350. Stripped down the deck alone is worth almost 3 times that! SO yeah, keep checking your eBay feed every 15 minutes!
Here we have a Schmitt Stix John Lucero “X-2” from 1987. The deck was gripped and drilled but never ridden. SO it’s basically NOS but with some character. The grip job was really nice on top: jigsaw shape puzzle pieces. The colorway is great, and overall this is a great looking deck. It sold for $515 on 12 bids.
Now here we have an Alva Jim Murphy “Street Outlaw” model from 1989. The deck is NOS, never gripped or mounted. It is in a wonderful gold stain, which makes it look special, and the primary colors of the main graphic really pop off of it. The barbed wire background is an interesting motif and the main graphic of the handcuffed hands is a strong statement. I have never really thought too much of this deck before, but this one is pretty special. It sold for $425.
Original SMA Natas Kaupas first model decks NEVER come up on eBay, so when one does I am going to show it, as weird and beaten up as it might be. Here is a case in point. It’s a first model Natas, but personalized and hand-carved by Skip at the SMA “Factory”. It was personalized for Tony Converse whoever that is. It’s tough to tell from this picture, but the side ridges are actually indented too, so there is rippling on the bottom of the deck. It’s really cool looking. The graffiti clearly ruins a lot of the value of the deck, but it can’t detract form what is clearly a very, very rare deck. It sold for 833 on 26 bids and is probably the closest you will ever get to owning a first model Natas.
So let’s continue with the early SMA Natas love. This is a SMA Natas Kapuas “Panther II” from 1985: an original SMA, not the later NHS version. It has the gradation in the leaves, the different colored side rails and the wheel wells. It’s in well used condition as you can see, but the graphic is all there and the colorways is exceptional. It sold for $800
And here we have another SMA Natas “Panther II”. And again this is true SMA model, and this one is NOS condition: never mounted or gripped. But the graphic is missing the black screen and that’s not the first time I’ve seen one of these with that problem. I’m assuming that Skip sold seconds from the woodshop and that’s how these got out. The lack of the final screen didn’t seem to matter however, because this one sold for $1,500 on 13 bids. Rarity rumps beauty every time.
Now here we have a deck that is always highly sought after by a certain band of collectors. It’s the Sims “Pharaoh” team deck from 1986. This one was set up and ridden a little, but appears to be in very good used condition. It was obviously a novelty deck when it came out, and no self-respecting skater would have bought this to actually ride back then. But little kids probably did, and now it has an enormous kitschy collectible value. We all remember seeing it and laughing at it but we all remember it! This sold for $1,100.
And here we have a BBC Jeff Phillips “Devilman” from 1989. The deck is in mint condition. The combination of the bottle green background stain coupled with the red, orange and yellow main graphic is outstanding here. The graphic idea is laughable and the concept is poorly rendered, but that is to be expected, as it is a BBC deck. But let’s put it this way, this is about as good as this graphic could possibly look! It sold for $739.
And here we have another Jeff Phillips, but this is a Sims Jeff Phillips “Tie-dye” from 1987. This is NOS, never gripped or mounted, and in a fantastic black dip, The crazy bright colors of the tie dye graphic look awesome here: it’s a mesmerizing blend of color and texture, much like the original Dr. Who title graphics from the 1960s and 1970s! This would be an incredible addition to anybody’s collection. This one sold for $2,125 on 30 bids.
Here we have a Town and Country “Primal Urges” team deck from 1987. It’s in good sued condition. Normally I would say to remove the plastics, but in this case they really add to the deck and I would keep them on there. The yellow all round ties in nicely to the yellow in the graphic. The stickers are nice too, but I would probably remove the G&S from the tail. This is a really clean and nice chunk of mid-80s silliness. It sold for $790 on 22 bids.
Oooh, and here we have a very interesting colorway on this Kryptonics “Krypstik” team deck from 1985. The original was flat on a pig shape. As you can see, this deck has concave (it says so on the tail) and has a blunt, longer nose. The primer gray dip is a really interesting and cool base color. And then add the vulture and bright red blood, and you have the best looking Krypstik that I’ve ever seen. The deck is NOS, never gripped or mounted. It sold for $989 on 26 bids.
Here is another deck that has an excellent colorway. It’s a Santa Cruz Rob Roskopp “Target IV” from 1987. The deck was gripped and had rails put on it but was never mounted and never ridden. So the deck is basically in NOS condition. I would definitely remove the rails here: the blue is too distracting, and they take away from what otherwise is a phenomenal colorway. The pink dip and fluorescent greens, blues and yellows look absolutely amazing. Look at the blow up on this thing. The screen work was incredible too: there are so many ways this could have been fucked up, but the printing is super clean and super clear. Beautiful deck. It sold for $1,025 on 7 bids.
Now here’s a deck that you don’t see very often. It’s a Santa Cruz Special Edition “Fish” team deck from 1986. I’m not quite sure what prompted SC to release this model, but they appeared to release oddities like this every year: the Bullet for example or the Psychotic Eyes deck. I would assume that it was a cheaper pricepoint deck, maybe sold as a complete, but again I’m guessing. Whatever the history, this one is very popular with a lot of people. This one is pretty beaten up and well used, but it still sold for $350.
Now here we have a Dogtown Ben Schroeder “Big Ben” deck from 1988. The deck is NOS, never mounted or gripped. This is the mini model which is a little less desirable than the full size, and also seems to be much more common. This graphic shows really well on the natural wood. There is nothing to distract from the classic Dogtown graphic, this one combining the Dogtown cross with the famous clock in London. It sold for a large $300 on a Buy It Now after about 16 hours.
Here we have an Alva Fred Smith “Dragon Rider” from 1989. The deck is NOS, never gripped or mounted. It is also in an excellent colorway: red stain with green, blue and silver main graphic. I have always loved this deck, and this colorway makes it even more desirable. I wonder if it would look even better if the background graphic went full bleed all the way down the tail? Actually I’m thinking not. The plain red tail actually makes the main graphic stand out. So I’d keep it just as it is. This sold for $510 on 17 bids and is worth every penny.
Now here we have a Town and Country “Zoner” team deck from 1984. The deck is NOS, and as you can see it is the typical pig shape from that period. The graphics are also very simple and very surfy: white dip with geometric shapes and one simple company graphic. It’s simple but very classic. And VERY collectible apparently, as it sold for $1,525.
Here we have a NHS/SMA Jim Thiebaud “Joker” deck from 1989. As you can see this is the generic villain version, not the one that looks like the actual Joker from the Batman movies. There used to be a huge price difference in those two decks, but over the years that difference has disappeared. Now nobody really cares! This deck is mint in shrink, and although the colorway isn’t the best, a mint Thiebaud is very rare. It went for $2,025 on 20 bids.
Talking of mint Santa Cruz decks, we have this “Oops IV” deck from 1990, also known as “The Tramp”. Like I said, this is mint in shrink, but the shrink is ripped in places. Again, the colorway isn’t the best, but apparently the fact that it is mint trumps everything else. This sold for $1,200.
And finally from the 80s this month we have this Zorlac “Mask” team deck from 1988. There were a couple of different versions of this deck: a mini version that had side cuts and a background graphic of Zorlac bats, and this the full sized version. This deck looks massively wide across the front trucks and very skinny across the tail. Maybe that’s something to do with the angle of the photograph, or maybe it really is that way. The deck is NOS, never gripped or mounted. The graphic is ugly and the colorway isn’t great. But it still went for $1,175 on 30 bids. So there you go.
First up in the 90s section this month we have this Powell Peralta Lance Conklin “Love and Rockets” deck from 1993. It’s in very good sued condition. Actually from the bottom it’s tough to tell that it was ever ridden at all. It sold for $636 on 29 bids.
From 1990 we have this Santa Cruz Mike Conroy “Fortune Teller” deck. The deck is NOS, but does have a slight warp. Not that that should matter anyway. The thing looks awesome! Shiny black dip, super bright graphics! That’s a very solid board. It sold for $1,177 on 34 bids.
Here we have a G&S Mark Heintzman/Kris Markovich “Heintzovich” collaboration deck from 1991. It incorporates the Heintzmann ketchup logo and the Markovich fries logo from their own 1990 decks in this combined pro model. It’s a very clever idea and I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it before have I? The colorway is pretty blah, this sold for $500.
Now here we have an H-Street Matt Hensley “Hornblower” from 1991. It’s NOS, never mounted or gripped, but it does have some storage marks and a split on the side. The colorway isn’t the best thing ever, but it is a very rare deck, and this one is signed to the right of the crown. It sold for $1,810 on 2 bids.
Now here we have a Powell Peralta “Liberty and Justice For Some” team deck from 1991. It’s NOS, never mounted or gripped. This is an amazing looking deck in maybe the best colorway for this graphic. Plus it comes with the original ink drawing of Uncle Sam that forms the basis for the graphic. Sean Cliver penned the graphic if you were wondering. This lovely deck sold for $1,000.
Now here we have a Blind Jason Lee “Silly Animals” deck from 1991. The deck is in excellent used condition. There are some smears on the bottom, and the griptape has even been removed. So basically it’s looking about the same as an NOS deck with some storage marks. This sold for $1,500 on 19 bids.
Oh Boy! Here we have another Blind Jason Lee, but this time it’s the “Jason Lee Grinch” from 1990. If you were looking for this deck, then you better have been prepared to go large, because this one had it all. It is NOS, and in the best colorway for this graphic: Xmas red and green. It sold for $3,425 on 41 bids. It started at $250 if you were interested.
Here we have a Chocolate Keenan Milton “Cod Liver Oil” deck from 1998. The deck is mint in shrink. I’m not sure if this was part of a series or not, but if not it should have been: different riders got different old school remedies. Keenan Milton decks always do well at auction. If you don’t know who he was, he was a very well loved young skater who passed away in 2001 following an Independence Day party. RIP.
Now here we have a pair of Powell Peralta Wade Speyer “Beavis and Butthead decks”. The top deck, “Couch” is from 1993, while the bottom deck, “Hot Sauce” is from 1994. Both decks are NOS, and would complete any Beavis and Butthead collection, looking particularly good on the wall above a couch. Note that the top deck is drilled for both old school and new school truck mounting hole patterns, while the bottom one is new school only. The top one must have come out right when the change was going down. Also note that the hair color is reversed on the top one: Beavis should be the blond one. Supposedly after the second one was released MTV sent out a cease and desist, so very few made it out into the wild. They both sold for $600 apiece, going to the same buyer.
Here we have a large assortment of vintage 70s wheels and spare parts. Amongst the crap there are 4 Gullwing HPGIV trucks, sets of UFO wheels, Bennet truks, Lazer trucks, Roller Derby and Sun Dancer wheels. Plus elephant wrenches galore. It’s an intetesting mish mash of stuff, and probably because of the Gullwings this went for $612 on 20 bids.
Here we have an original Santa Cruz Jason Jessee t-shirt from the late 1980s. It’s in very good condition. And was worn just once. It does look very clean with no yellowing of the fabric and none of the obvious problems you see with old shirts that were worn and washed repeatedly. It’s a Stedman size M, which equates to a size small today, so I guess it’s not going to be worn, probably being put into a frame next to the matching deck. That could look very cool if well done. , A lot of people must have wanted to do that, because this sold for $372 on 17 bids.
So about 10 years ago there was a new company called Punk Rock Skateboards. They made a big splash for about a year, putting out numerous band themed decks, and reissuing graphics from old pros. They also put out some CDs and had a pretty good team. But then just as quickly they vanished without trace. Most of us old timers viewed them with amusement at the time, never buying any of their stuff, but getting their stickers in everything from magazines to mail-order boxes. Their most elaborate deck was probably this mint Kevin Staab “Pirate” rehash. It is super bright, but says PRS instead of Sims. I wish I’d taken them more seriously now because this deck sold for a large $420 on 12 bids. Holy crap. Instant nostalgia/collectability!
Vintage sets of Z-Roller trucks always sell for big money, and I’m not really sure why. Are people buying these things to actually mount and ride? Or to put on their fireplace and stare at? This set sold for $319 on a Buy It Now in under 12 hour. Were they really that fondly remembered? Around our scene they were viewed as a big joke in much the same way as the Mark Lake Nightmare deck. .
More next time.
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