Stehly goes to school at Northern Arizona University now, majoring in mechanical engineering. The only remnants of the thrilling-for-a-few-months skate invasion are the Shred Shop sign still visible on Beale Street, the various no-skating-allowed signs above the sidewalks, and the excellent selection of skateboard videotapes for rent (Splendid Eye Torture, Future Primitive) among the other titles (Guy Eaker's Bass-Fishing Secrets) on the shelves of the Video USA store. "I'd say the most popular of the videos we've got all-around are the ones from Wrestlemania," says the clerk there. "But those skater videos do rent quite a bit."
CRAIG CHASTAIN LEFT Kingman in the late Seventies and came to Phoenix to work in record stores. His return to Mohave County coincided with MTV's debut. Not long afterward Chastain opened Boulevard Records, Kingman's only significant outlet for recorded music. The big K mart out on 66 stocks the Top 40 and country, but Boulevard is where kids go to get anything else. Chastain's store may be the most astounding manifestation of MTV's presence in Kingman. Chastain estimates that one fourth of his sales is rap tapes and CDs. Rap has been a hot item on the Top 40 for a couple of years, and its appeal cuts beyond the urban markets in which the music is created. But according to a brochure handed out by the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce, the city's population is 90 percent Anglo American. Blacks number only .2 percent of the populace; Mexican Americans fewer than 6 percent. Kingman High's black enrollment this last school year was one. The local radio station certainly doesn't play rap, and the distant signals of late-night radio don't adequately translate the music's full effect. Yet there they are, lining the top row of Boulevard's tape display: Ice-T, NWA, 2 Live Crew, Public Enemy and De La Soul. A junior-high-age boy came into Chastain's store once and asked to purchase As Nasty As They Wanna Be, 2 Live Crew's most notorious work of constitutionally protected speech. Chastain, concerned about maintaining good relations with city elders (and spotting the boy's mom waiting outside in the family car), told the kid he couldn't sell him the tape without his parents' permission. Well, said the kid, my mom would come in, but, um, she's not dressed appropriately. One theory holds that Kingman's pale young locals appreciate rap primarily for its terrifying bass sounds--which they use to demonstrate the sound systems in their bitchin' vehicles. Other equally extreme forms of music are as popular, of course. Kingman is a heavy-metal town, says Chastain, who also stocks a small selection of reggae (popular among the Hualapai Indians, who drive in from nearby Peach Springs) and, of course, some country music for moms and dads. In addition to watching out for the tender young sensibilities of his less-mature customers, Chastain provides the kind of personal service possible only in a small town. Regular customers are asked to give Boulevard Records a "wish list" of their favorite artists. When a release date becomes known for a particular band's album, Chastain will mail out postcards to everybody who might want to know. He also uses the store's PC to calculate his first shipments of hot albums, just so that nobody gets shut out. Still, it's not unusual, he says, for a line to form outside his door (posted opening hour: "10ish") when it is known that a new Metallica record will be delivered that day.