25 Years of Wez Lundry

I used to skate 7.6 miles round trip from my house to my closest shop just to buy Thrasher, hang out, spend money I made mowing lawns on anything skate-related, bug the guys who worked there, and after The Bones Brigade Video Show, watch skate videos. The first issue of Thrasher that I bought in a store was September 1983, it was $1.25, and the next time I went to the shop I bought the three or four back issues they had. My first subscription was in 1984. Like most lifers, I read every word, studied every photo and ad, tried to emulate what my heroes did and wonder why Seattle didn’t have places to skate like I saw in the mags. My early years of skating involved mostly just rolling down hills (and an early slalom contest when I was seven!), but I had just started skating quarterpipes and would soon skate my first halfpipe and pool. Thrasher became a guide to what was possible. –Wez Lundry

Wez1 750pxLundry’s first words and photos in the mag, Feb 1994

Wez 2 750pxSeattle’s Hat and Boot in its original and easier to skate location. Danny Minnick kickflips to fakie as Chad Vogt looks on

I’m a lucky guy. One reason I know is I frequently get people asking me stuff like “Hey, can you tell me how I could write a music column in Thrasher too?” To which my stock reply is, “Sounds great. Then what would I do?” So yeah, but no. 

Wez 3 750pxHometown band Zeke makes the mag and goes on to fame and misfortune

Wez 6 750pxAnother hometown favorite, the Gloryholes

I’m lucky because I get to go to shows and shoot bands and sometimes talk to them, although growing up in the punk scene means that the wall between performer and audience shouldn’t really be there. The only times I’ve really fanned out is interviewing the three surviving members of the MC5—Wayne Kramer, Dennis Thompson, and Michael Davis—in 2005 and Radio Birdman in 2007. Billy Zoom of X was by far my mostbizarre interview—it was his 50th birthday, and he started out asking me what I thought we had in common (implying it wasn’t much) and then asking me if I liked MGs (the car, not Booker T. and the MGs) and then explaining how England had rationing after WWII which justifies the poor quality electronics (by Lucas) on British cars and bikes and then telling me he no longer rode a scooter after the helmet law was passed because it messed up his hair. Fucking guitar legend status, though. I’ve since interviewed both John Doe and Exene, both were great, which means DJ Bonebrake—you’re on my list. One of the strangest interviews was with Mooney Suzuki when they had their hot minute in the early 2000s. I interviewed them at a venue before their show, which held 2,000 or so people, but only about 150 showed up. When I asked them about establishing credibility with their early releases on small labels such as Estrus, the full ego and obliviousness manifested with a return question: “Why is it okay for hip-hop bands to sing about ‘bling bling’” —he literally said “bling bling”— “and not us? Why can’t we want to be rich and have gold?” To which I thought, Dude, you’re in a garage band playing to 150 people tonight, and the aesthetics and philosophy of the genres are completely different. I’m also lucky because every once in a while I get to travel to cover music. Austin for a couple years in a row was a blast. The Las Vegas Psych Fest was honestly a bit much although there were some stand-out bands, but the best part was having a camera bag and pass and being able to sneak beer in all weekend and avoid paying $10 a beer at the Hard Rock. And I get to go to Puerto Rico in a week.

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Wez 5 750pxFish tacos? Must’ve been code for something. Hosoi blasts in Basic, Navarette’s first photo in the mag, Jordan Richter lofts FSO, Andy Mac in the nude

I’m lucky because sometimes I get music in the mail to review. For the record, I also buy a lot of stuff on my own. And yes, I still listen almost exclusively to records—the repeated death knells of vinyl from the ’90s and ’00s and the ’10s “resurgence” notwithstanding, it’s still IMHO the best and coolest format—but I am not above checking out the occasional download or even CD when people still have the gumption to make them. Sorry, I don’t own a tape player anymore. Speaking of CDs, the ’90s was a glorious time because it coincided with the explosion of CDs and the years after “the year punk broke.” A few punk and “punk” labels got huge and I would get 30-40 or sometimes more CDs a month. Most were crap, but I could trade them in for records of bands I thought were interesting. It was a weird time because I had friends in bands on those labels, and wished them well because fuck it, if you are going to be a musician you should bloody well be able to make a living. The downside was the music festivals and “punk” shows in arenas with screaming pre-teens whose parents bought them studded belts and Manic Panic at Hot Topic. A quote from a Thrasher article I read when I was a kid stuck home: “Punk rock is like corn, every year there is a new crop.” Too true.

I’m lucky because people send me zines in the mail all the time and although I only write about a small fraction of the ones I get, I dig checking them out. I started doing Pool Dust zine in 1988 after I sprained my neck at the Yakima, WA, skatepark. That same year I got hired at Fallout, a punk record and skateshop in Seattle where I stayed behind the counter for ten years, working my way through college (as well as working café and catering gigs), and listening to records, selling skate shit and reading books and comics all while surrounded by a cast of characters that left me with a lifetime full of stories.  I had a brace and I couldn’t skate for a while, so I took some photos and skate stickers and went for it. In 1992 I used student financial aid money to buy a Canon T-90 (at the recommendation of Bryce Kanights), a couple lenses and a flash and got decent enough to shoot bands and skating. I had met some of the Thrasher crew through skating on road trips and in contests and they were cool to me. And doing a zine and documenting stuff led me to want to work for the best skate mag in history. I kept shooting with a T-90 and submitting film until 2012, when the guys at the mag told me I was the last guy submitting film and it had to be digital from here on out. So I got a 5D Mark II and I liked it. I’m lucky because it all worked out. 

I’m also lucky because I get to stay low profile. I’ve never lived in San Francisco, never had to worry much about the day-to-day business of the running of the mag. Sometimes Burnett or Sieben lecture me a little on the “media philosophy” side, which I usually know but which I also sometimes forget or don’t care about. 

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Wez 13 750pxA move to Phoenix in the late ‘90s meant more pool riding and philosophizing

Most of all I’m lucky because I am a skateboarder. Throughout all of this time I get to skate with my friends in the places I’ve lived and visited. I grew up in Seattle and witnessed the birth of DIY with Burnside and West Seattle and Monk and Red and everyone, building and making our own shit. I spent 20 years in Phoenix, skating pools all year long with an amazing crew. I spent a couple years in Boston and a few months in NYC, finding ways to beat the weather and skate with tight-knit dudes who make their own shit happen too. Skateboarding has gone through some trippy changes and dark times. The early ’90s was rough—tiny wheels and huge pants, the purported “death of vert”—but we survived. The X-Games and Dew Tour and stadium shows and all that shit have been weird. The Olympics? WTF. The explosion of Mega Ramps with Danny and Bob—nobody saw that coming and it’s insane. The reformation of skateboarding into a predominantly skater-owned industry. But what I’m fucking psyched on right now is the appreciation of the ATV. Grant Taylor, Ben Raybourn, Greyson Fletcher, Pedro Delfino, Kader Sylla and so many others are continuing to blaze the path that dudes like Wade Speyer, Chris Senn and John Cardiel set down. And the fact that I’m not getting any younger, seeing dudes like Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero, Jeff Grosso, Chris Miller, Salba, and so many other older dudes who are ripping into their 50s and now even their 60s. Fuck yes. Thank you Thrasher and thank you skateboarding.

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Wez 10 750pxMore philosophizing, but it still rings true. Sometimes it’s good to take stock and see where we are, where we’ve come from, and where we might be headed

When I first started shooting with a T-90, I took a class on black-and-white photography. I learned to develop and print. But I shot so much that sometimes stuff fell by the wayside. The photos here are ones I shot in 1994. The black-and white Burnside photos are all from one roll. Talk about history.

Choppy 750pxChoppy Omega gets a little footloose with a blunt

Curtis Hsiang 750pxCurtis Hsiang, blasting high on the pillar, one of a kind. Rest in Peace, Curtis

little Stevie 750pxLittle Stevie was little back then…

Neil H 750pxNeil Heddings ruled Burnside as his home turf, heelflip frontside air

OSage 750pxOsage Buffalo under the bridge

punk wall 750pxNascent Burnside taking shape in the early years

sarge 750pxDanny Sargent is OG PDX, but split for SF a few years before coming back to grind under the bridge
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