There are two things I remember from growing up that never happen any more, one is watching vhs tapes until they get worn out and fuzzy (I was reminded of this other day when I tried to watch my video of Species and all of it was fine except the sex scenes which were like watching a 19th generation copy).

The other thing is never being able to find music because I never had any money and I lived miles from a proper record shop. These things are now dead because of a little thing called the Internet, which is actually a great thing.

If you were into skateboarding in the 90s, you probably had both of those problems happen due to skate videos costing loads and only being available in skate shops, and the songs on them being from American indie bands that didn’t have very good distribution in the UK.

Conan Roberts is a man who likes music a lot, he runs a label/distro called Italian Beach Babes, plays bass in Graffiti Island, played in Ratt Att Agg and a whole host of UK hardcore bands and is generally seen to be someone who is a fan of music. He also enjoyed skateboarding a great deal in the 1990s (I’m lead to believe he even dabbles occasionally now) and watched a lot of videos to death. In a massive exercise in nostalgia and tracking things down on the internet, he made a mixtape of all his favourite songs from those big 90s skate videos that you may have had/may not know that you really want to see for Platform that you can download below. He called it ‘No War For Heavy Metal’ because it’s a line that Jason Lee (pro skater turned actor if you didn’t know..) says in Blind Video Days. Here’s what Conan had to say about it all:

What was so great about skate videos (and skating) in the nineties?
I’m sure for any kid growing up their era was cool, for me I grew up skating in the 90’s, it wasn’t anywhere near as popular as it is today and still had that real ’secret society’ kinda thing going on. You’d see people wearing skate shoes and knew they skated and could strike up conversations on that alone, or see skateboarders in the street and say hi and chat. For me that’s what made skateboarding incredible as a teenager.

What was your favourite video?
Toy Machine- Welcome to Hell.  It was one of the first proper skate videos i ever saw, my friend had about a 5th generation copy of it and we watched it to death. Just the whole vibe and atmosphere of the film is amazing and it takes me back to being 14 and spending every spare minute on my board. All the songs on that video are totally ingrained in my head now, I can’t hear Hallowed Be Thy Name without hearing the car alarm going off when Jamie Thomas ollies onto the bonnet.

I hooked up my tape deck to my VHS player and recorded the audio straight off the video onto tape to listen to while I skated. A few years later I tracked down every song on the vid and made a mix tape of the tracks in the order they appear, the only one I never found was the Satva Leung track. Still cant find it to this day, if anyone out there has it get in touch please.

Did you get into the music because of the videos or where you already into it?
Nah, I totally got into it because of the videos. There’s a massive variety of musical styles on this comp and all of them acted as a gateway into that genre for me. There was stuff I’d hear and then find in my dad’s record collection like Jethro Tull, Devo, Jefferson Airplane and then there’s stuff I’d spend years trying to track down. There was no internet around really then, so trying to find a Drunk Injuns record when you lived in the middle of Shropshire was pretty hard.

There’s so much stuff I’d never have found or given the time of day to if it wasn’t for hearing it on videos, Lungfish are one of my all time favourite bands for years and that’s from hearing it on Scott Bourne’s parts on the Consolidated videos.

And its still cool to be discovering stuff now, I never knew the first track on Anti Hero 2 songs was Screwdriver until i started putting together this mix.

What was the best thing about the music in these videos?
Just that sense of discovery you get finding new music, that’s what i remember most. Hearing songs and being like ‘fuck, I gotta find out what band this is’. If you were lucky they put it at the end of the video and you could start to try track a record down. If not, it was just a case of waiting and asking people and trying to figure out what it was. There used to be a pretty good record store in Birmingham called Tempest and I’d get the train on my own there every couple of weeks with a list of records I was looking for, and usually came home with a few new things off the videos.

The total best was randomly listening to an album and the song you were after coming on, that happened a few times. Such a good feeling!

No War For Heavy Metal.mp3 (click to download)


Where’s It Gonna End- Screwdriver (Anti Hero- 2 Songs)
Somebody To Love- Jefferson Airplane (Toy Machine -Welcome To Hell)
Training In- John Coltrane (Blind- Video Days)
Little Man With A Gun In His Hand- Minutemen (Volcom- Freedom Wig)
Civilisations Dying- Zero Boys (88- Destroy Everything Now)
The Metro- Berlin (Foundation- Art Bars Subtitles And Seagulls)
Highwaymen- The Highwaymen (Consolidated- Kings Of Promotion)
The Devil Went Down To Georgia- Charlie Daniels Band (Black Label- Label Kills)
Be Stiff- Devo (Anti Hero- 2 Songs)
Lotta Kill- drunk injuns (Zero- Misled Youth)
I Will Refuse- PailHead (Zero- Misled Youth)
T Shirt Tucked In- Huggy Bear (Heroin- Live From Antarctica)
Devil Eyes- Merciful Fate (Consolidated-Is What It Is)
Something I Learned Today- Husker Du (Toy Machine- Sucking The Life)
We’ve Had Enough- Ice And The Iced (88- Destroy Everything Now)
It’s So Hard To Fall In Love- Sebadoh (Foundation- Art Bars Subtitles And Seagulls)
Hallowed Be Thy Name- Iron Maiden (toy machine- Welcome To Hell)
Bouree- Jethro Tull (toy machine- Jump Off A Building)
Your Ghost- Kristin Hersch (Day In The City)
Tick Tock- Lungfish (Consolidated- No Tomorrow)
Where Were You- Mekons (Zero- New Blood)
Shit Luck- Modest Mouse (Zero- Misled Youth)
Between Us And Them- Moving Units (Foundation- Skim The Fat)
Archangel- Samhain (Zero- Misled Youth)

(Most of the videos the songs are taken from can be found in their entirety here, by the way…)