Here's The Story Behind The Most Popular Band Boards
Skateboarding and music have a long and intertwined history, with both cultures influencing and inspiring each other over the years. One of the most notable ways that these two worlds have collided is through band board collaborations with skateboard companies. These limited-edition boards feature iconic artwork and designs from legendary bands, making them highly sought-after by both skateboarders and music fans alike. In this article, we'll explore the history of band boards and some of the most noteworthy collaborations between bands and skateboard companies, including Metallica, Tupac, Beastie Boys, and many more.
The Misfits boards
The Misfits boards are some of the rarest band skateboards in existence. In 1986, a magazine ad in Thrasher magazine caught the attention of skateboarders everywhere, advertising the deadliest thing on wheels - two very rare Misfits boards for sale through the band's record label. These original graphics were created by Pus Head, an artist with a long legacy in the skateboard art world.
Although the quality of these boards was not top-notch, they remain highly sought after by collectors. If you can find someone selling them, be prepared to pay a small fortune for one.
In the 1990s, the Misfits collaborated with the skateboard brand Scarecrow on a series of boards, which also gained popularity among collectors. More recently, Zero Skateboards teamed up with Misfits for an official collaboration featuring original Pus Head artwork. These boards were available in stores for only 120 minutes before selling out completely.
Zero Skateboards has a reputation for loving music and has partnered with several other bands on collaborations, including Iron Maiden and a potentially unofficial Nirvana board. The Misfits boards remain a beloved rarity in the skateboarding and music worlds, and their enduring popularity shows no signs of fading anytime soon.
Metallica x Zorlak
The relationship between Metallica and Zorlak dates back to the early days of the iconic thrash metal band. Brian Schroeder, also known as Pus Head, was responsible for creating most of the artwork for both Metallica and Zorlak. This connection paved the way for a series of successful collaborations between the two entities.
Zorlak, a skateboard company based in Texas, was founded in 1984. Its founder, John Gibson, was a skater himself and wanted to create skateboards that catered to the unique needs of the skate community. He brought in Pus Head to create the graphics for his skateboards, and the partnership proved to be highly successful. Pus Head's artwork was unique, edgy, and highly coveted by skaters all over the world.
Meanwhile, Metallica was rapidly gaining popularity with their aggressive style of music and unique image. Pus Head was the perfect artist to create graphics for the band's merchandise, album covers, and promotional material. His artwork became synonymous with Metallica's brand, and fans would eagerly buy any merchandise that featured his designs.
The Metallica x Zorlak collaborations started in the mid-1980s and continued well into the 1990s. The graphics on these skateboards were highly sought after, and today, they are considered rare collectibles. Some of the most popular Metallica x Zorlak collaborations include the "Pushead 2" skateboard deck, which features a gruesome monster with a Metallica logo on its chest, and the "Damage Inc." deck, which features a skull with Metallica's logo on its forehead.
In recent years, Metallica has continued to collaborate with skateboarding companies. One of the most notable collaborations was with Powell Peralta, the legendary skateboarding company that has been around since the 1970s. This time, Metallica opted to use the artwork of Vernon Courtlandt Johnson, also known as VCJ. Johnson is one of the most influential skateboard artists of all time and is best known for creating the iconic Ripper graphic.
The Metallica x Powell Peralta collaboration featured several skateboards with classic Metallica graphics and VCJ's unique artwork. The response to the collaboration was overwhelmingly positive, with fans eager to get their hands on the limited edition skateboards.
The Metallica x Zorlak collaboration is one of the most successful and long-standing brand and band collaborations in the skateboarding world. It brought together two iconic entities that shared a passion for edgy, unique, and rebellious art. Today, Metallica continues to collaborate with skateboarding companies, keeping their image and brand alive in the skate community.
Beasty Boys x Girl Skateboards
In 2019, the Beastie Boys teamed up with Girl Skateboards to release a series of limited-edition skate decks featuring graphics inspired by the band's discography.
The collection of Beastie Boys x Girl Skateboards decks was designed by Mike Hill, an artist and skateboarder who has worked with both brands in the past. The graphics on each deck pay homage to different eras and themes from the Beastie Boys' music, such as the album covers of "Licensed to Ill" and "Hello Nasty," as well as the iconic "Sabotage" music video.
One deck features a cartoonish rendering of the band's faces against a backdrop of a giant boombox, while another deck features the silhouette of the Statue of Liberty with the Beastie Boys logo superimposed over it. The graphics are vibrant and eye-catching, embodying the band's signature style and irreverent sense of humor.
The Beastie Boys x Girl Skateboards collaboration was more than just a way to create cool-looking skate decks. It was a celebration of the shared values and attitudes between skateboarding and hip-hop culture. Both subcultures have always been about challenging the status quo, expressing individuality, and pushing boundaries. The Beastie Boys were pioneers in their genre, much like how skateboarders were pioneers in their own right, carving their own paths and creating their own culture. The limited edition decks quickly became collector's items, selling out within minutes of their release.
Biggie x Tupac
The rivalry between East Coast rapper The Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie, and West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur is one of the most well-known beefs in hip-hop history. Unfortunately, their feud ended in tragedy when both rappers were fatally shot in separate incidents in the late 1990s. Despite their untimely deaths, their legacies continue to live on, not only in the music world but in other realms, including the skateboard industry.
In recent years, Primitive, the skate brand founded by pro skater Paul Rodriguez, has released a series of collaborations featuring Biggie and Tupac. These collaborations pay homage to the late rappers and showcase their iconic images and lyrics on skateboard decks and other merchandise.
The Biggie collaboration was released on May 21, 2018, which would have been the rapper's 46th birthday. The collection features several skateboard decks, clothing, and accessories adorned with Biggie's image and lyrics, including his famous quote "It was all a dream" from his hit song "Juicy."
Primitive continued their homage to iconic rappers with a Tupac collaboration a few years later. Released on June 16, 2021, which would have been Tupac's 50th birthday, the collection features several skateboard decks, clothing, and accessories with Tupac's image and lyrics, including his famous line "Only God can judge me" from his song of the same name.
While some may question the use of the late rappers' images and lyrics for commercial purposes, Primitive's collaborations have been well-received by fans and the hip-hop community. The brand has been commended for their respectful tributes to Biggie, Tupac, and other legendary artists, including Bob Marley.
Primitive's collaborations with Biggie and Tupac serve as a reminder of the profound impact these rappers had on the music and cultural landscape. Through these collaborations, their legacies continue to inspire new generations of fans and skateboarders alike.
So here's what we learned
The collaboration between skateboard companies and music artists has resulted in some of the most sought-after skateboards in the industry. These collaborations are not only cool for skaters and music fans, but they also offer a unique way to showcase and celebrate the connection between two of the most vibrant cultures of our time.