Brannon: [Phoenix has] great skate terrain: the ditches, the banks, pipes, all the empty swimming pools that would pop up when the snowbirds kicked the bucket.

Neil Hounchell (drummer, Soylent Green): The type of punk that came out of Phoenix is a direct result of that skating mentality — hard and fast. One time, there was a pool over on Seventh Street and Missouri, and TSOL came out from Los Angeles. I remember the property owner came out with a gun, and you'd swear the lights flicked on and the cockroaches just — fssss— took off as fast as we could. It scared the Jesus out of us.

Rob Locker (AZPX Records and Skateboards): I have skated more backyard pools, full pipes, ditches, ramps, street spots, and crazy homemade shit than anyone really cares to hear about.

JFA, dropping on the cover of the Blatant Localism EP, from 1981).
JFA, dropping on the cover of the Blatant Localism EP, from 1981).

Location Info


Hollywood Alley

2610 W. Baseline Road
Mesa, AZ 85202

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Mesa


JFA, Father Figures, and Asses of Evil are scheduled to perform Saturday, October 15, at Hollywood Alley in Tempe.

Cornelius: The one thing we did have was with other skate-rock bands, bands that said they were skate rock. We were like, "Do you skate or don't you skate?" The first time we went to Texas, and we had never played with the Big Boys. We heard they were a big skate band. [They asked us to skate] and we were like, "They really skate," and we were all stoked [laughs]. They weren't one of the bands just talking the talk.

Oh, yeah, there were bands that would say they skated, but they didn't really skate. The most famous thing of that was the Henry Rollins ad for Independent Trucks, and he's like, "Yeah, I ride 'em," and he's riding the skateboard, but no one has ever seen him skateboard before or since.

Sversvold: We actually put out the quote-unquote JFA challenge in, I believe, our first Thrasher interview. We called out anybody who [said they skated]. The Big Boys, The Necros — [they] were always good. They skated with us. I believe Ian [MacKaye] from Minor Threat skated with us. Henry Rollins actually skated a little bit back then. We met him three weeks into joining Black Flag, and he was just a kid. The one that we had the big problem with was Suicidal Tendencies. Mike Muir [vocalist, Suicidal Tendencies], in the video for "Institutionalized," they got Natas Kaupas — he was basically the stunt double for Mike.

He was calling Brian and making death threats: "We're gonna send a bunch of guys to your show and eff you up" and all this stuff. It was pretty stupid. Mike Muir's older brother later became Brian's roommate in San Francisco, when Brian worked for Thrasher; he's the owner of Dogtown Skates. I met [Muir] a couple times, and he seemed like a [good] guy, but he was a pretty rich kid. He didn't skate, and we called him on it, and he got pretty insulted: "You saying I can't do this?" Well, then come skate with us. And he didn't. We just wanted who [were] what they claimed to be — very simple. What's the worst that could happen? You go skating and have fun.


Brannon: Don and I both started writing separate stories for Thrasher [and became] regular contributors. They would assign me to write about some skate contest, and the story would be like: "Well, the skate contest sucked, so we went and skated this pool. There are a bunch of clowns walking around in neon helmets and stuff — they look like kooks to me, the ramp sucks — so we hit this pool and it was rad. Christian [Hasoi], Salba [Steve Alba], Tony Alva, we had a rap session.

Cornelius: I did a tiny bit [of work for Thrasher]. [Brian and I rented a plane with his pilot friend] and we flew over Phoenix looking for empty pools, taking pictures of the potential spots and chasing them down later, and skating the empty pools [laughs]. While we were doing that, we got chased by a police helicopter. We were flying too low, and the police helicopter came by and kind of shooed us out of the area. That was written up in Thrasher, in '83.

Pendleton: In '84, I started writing tour diaries [for Thrasher]. It was like the whole country. It was like the Warped Tour before there was a Warped Tour. We could go to New Mexico, Texas, all through the South, up through New York. Everywhere we went, there would be these skater kids.

Placebo Records: "The JFA era was the Mad Gardens era."

Lerma: This is where Tony Victor [Placebo Records, Madison Square Gardens] came in. He was promoting those shows. So he would find the venues, and he would always put out a flier at the record stores. "Hey, guys, you screwed up the last one, so once again, don't drink in the parking lots; don't get in fights." You know, stuff like that. [He opened] Madison Square Gardens . . . The bands would play in there. You can see on the cover of This is Phoenix, Not the Circle Jerks — that's Madison Square Gardens."

Pendleton: Once Mad Gardens started, it's funny, because people don't realize how nice it was to have a place to play. People, like, took it for granted: "I'll just start a band with three of my friends and get a gig at Mad Gardens." And I'm looking at these guys going, you don't realize, but for years, there was nothing like this.

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Great story! I was living in Michigan in my skater days. This makes me feel a bit old I might say. I got a JFA tape with my Thrasher Magazine subscription way back in the late 80's

Michael Brooks
Michael Brooks

Great story. I'm gonna miss the show and I'm a little bummed. Big class reunion for all the knuckleheads I used to hang out with back then. Have fun boys!


Well done! That's a huge story to tell in three pages so, obviously, everything the sources couldn't make it in. I think if a reader was paying attention, they can easilly see the context of Mr. Locker's comments; that they were intended to relay the lack of organized, legal skate spots back in the '80s. Kudos to the New Times and the writer for recognizing this as an important part of Arizona's musical and cultural history.


Great interview and article. Those were some great times back then at Mad Gardens.

But what's up with rob locker's egocentric, irrelevant, and out of place statement about how he has skated more shit than anyone cares to hear about? So what, from what I know of the individuals in the room, most of them could claim the very same thing. It just came off as a sad "hey, look at me" moment.

Rob Locker
Rob Locker

I agree with egocentric, irrelevant and out of place in the article. I answered a lot of questions and that answer is from a question that said what was your favorite skate spots in the eighties. Didn't feel like typing a book. Let me just add that I remember and APPRECIATED every spot and am still shredding today. -Rob Locker


My apologies Rob, I completely forgot to take into account the editing that the PNTs does to writers articles and the inteviewer as well. I should have remembered when I was interviewed by PNTs and their selection of quotes out of context made me look like somewhat of a dork. Jason, please be more careful in the future as your intention failed imho. I will say that Robs honor and integrity remain high with his humble response.

Jason P. Woodbury
Jason P. Woodbury

Furthermore, I plan on using more quotes for a blog post on Friday. Rest assured, I wasn't trying to paint anyone as egocentric, just include as many diverse voices as I had space for.

Jason P. Woodbury
Jason P. Woodbury

Hey Rob, I appreciated that everyone took time to contribute. I used that quote to try and express exactly what you said, that you guys "made" and appreciated your spots. Sorry if it seems out of context or choppy. I easily could have used everything everybody said, but I didn't have space for it all!

Rob Locker
Rob Locker

Here is the rest of the answer they didn't bother to publish: All I will say is that I appreciated and enjoyed every last one of them and I didn't then and today I still do not take that shit for granted. What drives me nuts today is we now we have a whole generation of skateboarders that take all the awesome stuff they have to skate for granted, like it's their god-given right to be there and act like an asshole. They have no idea what it's like to have NOWHERE to skate. That is what is so great about being a skateboarder from my era. We wanted to skate so bad we made it happen, at all costs. Everything we skated back then had a very limited life-span. That's where the appreciation comes from. These municipalities can take these million dollar skateparks away in a heart beat, kids today don't understand that.

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