Street Music

Videos lay down soundtrack for the skateboard generation

Shortly after the film's intro, "2-Tight" Thomas' segment comes on, with the Underground Kings track "Murder" playing. Underground Kings was chosen, Heyl explains, because they're Texas gangsta rap, and Thomas hails from Texas.

Wilson's part begins with long runs along the concrete banks of a ditch on the west side while soul crooner Bill Withers' "Use Me Up" brings some mellow funk that matches Wilson's flow and flips. Then Young Bloodz' "Shake 'Em Off" kicks in, a crunked-up gangsta rap that's paired with a montage of shorter trick clips.

"We set it up to lots of different songs. Some worked, some didn't," Wilson explained to me. "We were trying to have a long drawn-out song for the pushing, the long runs, and something faster for the clips. Choosing a song for a skate part is such a pain in the ass, such a hard decision to make. People are gonna relate that song to you, even if they're not hearing it in the video."

Air time: Local skateboarder Randal Wilson stars in Shake Junt.
Peter Scanlon
Air time: Local skateboarder Randal Wilson stars in Shake Junt.
Deck seating: The skate rats gather 'round at Cowtown.
Peter Scanlon
Deck seating: The skate rats gather 'round at Cowtown.

Shake Junt ended with white words on the screen again, declaring, "Pour it up! Let's do this!" The assembled crowd of mostly teenage skateboard kids went wild in appreciation. Given the median age of 15 or so, most of these kids had probably never heard Black Sabbath's "Supernaut" or Al Green's "Here I Am;" for them, these songs will be permanently associated with the riders who shred to them in Shake Junt.

"I was really nervous, y'know," Heyl told me the day after the première. "We hit that place with all kinds of music. At some points I was looking around, and every time a home team member came on the audience was up in the air yelling."

Skateboarding's relationship to music has changed a lot since the days when I was being paid to slap grip tape on decks; where it was once myopic, it's now as varied as the personalities of the riders. Shake Junt proves that, setting down the soundtrack for Heyl's homies' salad days.

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