Two hours east of Phoenix, on reservation land, skaters and musicians from far and wide are preparing to shred.
Sponsored by the San Carlos Apache Indian Tribe and Apache Skateboards, the MOVEMENT Skate Competition will take place in San Carlos, Arizona, on Tuesday, June 18. Up-and-coming New Jersey soul band The Jack Moves will provide the soundtrack.
Douglas Miles, acclaimed artist, concert promoter, and owner of Apache Skateboards, has been leading the effort to promote skateboarding in San Carlos for the past 15 years after his son, Douglas Jr., took up the sport and reminded Miles of his passion for “riding the concrete wave.” For Miles, the annual skateboard competition in San Carlos is a vital way to bring together skateboarding and music while providing a positive outlet for youth in the small town on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation.
“I’ve been doing events here with Apache Skateboards for at least 15 years," says Miles, 55, who grew up in the Phoenix area and skateboarded in his youth. He began organizing skateboarding events in 2007 when Brian Brannon of the legendary Phoenix punk band Jodie Foster’s Army (JFA) approached Miles about the band playing on the reservation. From there, the two friends concocted the first Apache Skate Blast, which has become an annual event.
"The most notorious events were when we brought out JFA, which we did for about five years in a row," Miles recalls. "I think having JFA here really kicked off a real great interest in music, especially punk music, here in San Carlos. We started to see more bands forming up here after they came up. It’s a small community, but we did see a small proliferation of metal and punk bands after that."
This year’s event also happens to coincide with Apache Independence Day, which celebrates the tribe's official recognition by the federal government. The skateboarding competition will begin at 3 p.m. while The Jack Moves will bring their '70s soul sound to the stage just before sunset.
Miles was surprised at how excited people in his community were about the early events. He feels that this year’s event with The Jack Moves will continue to build passion for music and skateboarding in San Carlos, even though the band's sound is very different from the skate punk of JFA.
“These two bands bring in an awesome level of performance and musicianship," he says. "With The Jack Moves, it’s not a pure throwback to '70s soul music, but they are heavily influenced by '70s soul and I started talking to their manager, J.P. Plunier, about them coming out to the reservation.”
The Jack Moves released their last record, Free Money, in 2018 and have a new single, “Money Clouds,” available now on Everloving Records. The band will visit San Carlos in the middle of a three-week tour that takes them from Oakland, California, to St. Louis, and their set on June 18 will be their only Arizona stop this time around. If you're in Phoenix and enjoy mellow sounds with a bouncy, soul vibe, you might consider making the trip.
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“They are definitely into it," says Miles of the band. "I think we’re going to shoot a music video around sunset and then they're going to get back on the road.”
Despite the short visit, Miles hopes that the success of the event will have a lasting positive effect. He's collaborating with Terry Rambler, chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, on an initiative to build a new skate park in town.
“It’s summer here, school's out, and there’s a lot of kids," says Miles. "Once I told (Rambler) about The Jack Moves and the skate competition, he is totally behind it. It’s perfect timing. There has always been an interest in skateboarding herec and now it’s something the chairman wants to do, so we support him."
MOVEMENT Skate Competition. With The Jack Moves. 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, in San Carlos.