Kill the Engine

Simpler Times

By Michael Sieben

A few days ago I was at my parents' house and they gave me a short stack of old Thrasher magazines they'd found in my old bedroom. Most of them were from the early 90s, but there was one in the mix from the late 80s that was one of the first issues of Thrasher I owned. Not the very first, but pretty close. I hadn't flipped through this thing in years. And by years, I mean probably five years. 

If you're a skate nerd I'm sure you're aware of the website The Chrome Ball Incident. Well, I thought today I'd get my chrome ball on and scan some of my favorite images from one of the first skateboard magazines I ever saw. If you're already bored, I totally understand. My wife feels the same way. Can't blame her. 

Let's start with the cover. In 1987 you could make the cover of Thrasher by simply bending down and grabbing your skateboard with both hands while rolling. Simpler times for sure. I'm sure the lack of a shirt, the earring, leopard print bandana, tattoo, blue leather glove, and sunglasses didn't hurt Salba's chances of making that front page. Window dressing was everything in the 80s. You could argue it still is. 

I thought I'd include this page since my last column included the original drawing for the Rip Grip logo. Remember? If not, head on back there and check it out

I was 12 years old when I first saw this magazine and there's really no way to accurately describe how awesome I thought it was that these dudes figured out a way to sneak the f-word into their ad. I thought it was phucking awesome. 

Natas photo by Kevin Thatcher. This is one of my favorite skate photos of all times. Somewhere I have a hand-drawn Sharpie t-shirt that I drew with this image on it. A few years ago my dad and I were flying to Kansas City together and I picked up a skateboard magazine in the airport. My dad flipped through it and said, "A lot of railings in this issue, not many cows." Probably the most insightful commentary on modern skateboarding that I've ever heard. My dad kind of rules. 

Another awesome Natas photo. Are there any bad ones? This one is by Steve Keenan. How radical was it when dudes started riding their skateboards on walls? They might have well been riding them on the ceiling as far as I was concerned. It was just too radical to comprehend. All my skateboard wanted to do was ride very slowly on the ground. 

I'm going to have to spend a little bit of time with the sticker column on the right side of the page. This was one of my favorite things in these old Thrashers. I'd stare at the designs for hours trying to choose which ones I was going to order next. I was lucky to get one or two new decks a year, but stickers, man… that was affordable culture. 

The 80s proclaimed rebellion, but there were actually lots of rules. 

I never really understood this one. Are they suggesting that you pull out your penis when you're not exactly sure what course of action to take? Seems like that might just make things even more confusing to all parties involved. 

I love thinking about the time when there was nothing ironic about this design. 

I'm still not sure what you were supposed to stick this sticker on. Who bought this thing?

Pretty sure some current professional skateboard poster boys would disagree. But I kind of concur. At least long term. 

Still true. 

I still have no idea what this means. But I like it nonetheless. 

If I owned a sports team this would be the mascot. 

This is an awesome page from an article about a skate demo/concert in Austin. As a 12-year-old kid in Seguin, Texas I had no idea that this kind of stuff was happening just one hour north of my town. I thought cool stuff only happened in California. Wrong. Also, still wrong. 

Both of these photos are from the Photograffiti section of the magazine, which still exists and is comprised of skate photos submitted by readers. This is still one of my favorite sections of the magazine. I like that at this time a lot of skateboarding involved not actually skateboarding. These tricks could have been done with a dictionary or a broomstick. No wheels required. 

Twenty five years later and still an awesome reason to wear a Thrasher t-shirt. R.I.P. MCA. 

One of the reasons I still can't stop drawing skulls. 

Ditto. 

If you like this column and/or you like old skateboard magazines in general you should check out Thrasher's cover archive on their site. It's an awesome way to lose a day. They have entire magazine scans of all of the issues between 1981 and 1988 up there. Get lost in awesome. 

Previously - Skate It or Hang It?

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