I grew up on the westside of Los Angeles, where beach culture is intrinsic, thus placing each child at the mercy of a skateboard, surfboard, or cruiser…unless you were slightly lame, inspired by Sinjin Smith and shopping for day-glo at Smithers on Wilshire and 26th Street or joining the yuppie trend of Rollerblading, referred to as “fruit boots” by me and mine.
I spent my puberty with Powell-Peralta, Alva, and World Industries, loitering much of the time at Rip City Skates and Fred Segal Wheels in Santa Monica CA. Being that there was a fine line between the then-condemned skateboard culture and the post-“Decline of Western Civilization Part 1” music movement, it was hard to avoid the infectious grooves of Venice’s SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, especially since the thematic “Institutionalized” was getting regular play on KROC 106.7FM at the time.
Some years later, I found myself as a freshman in college with a rather impressive collection of vinyl, the product of some adventurous high school nights spent at La Casa in downtown LA and a slew of warehouse parties featuring disco, hip hop, and techno.
I had a college radio show at KZSU 90.3FM called “The Funky Fly Stuff,” which was a reference to REDMAN’s first album. I was the DJ and the host was one Michael Jones, a New York born-and bred with whom I learned the finer points of early 90s rap music. One of the 12 inches on constant play was a white-label pressing of WU-TANG’s “Protect Ya Neck”; this was the original joint with “After the Laughter,” not the later release with “Method Man” on the b-side. And we only retired that record when the PD busted us for profanity while broadcasting FAT JOE’s “The Shit Is Real.”
Later that year, I met Raekwon and ODB at Leopold’s Record Store in Berkeley CA while they were doing their first US tour. I attended the show, as did Bay Area faves Del tha Funkee Homosapien and the Conscious Daughters. There were about 25 people in that audience at The Glass Crutch in San Francisco’s North Beach. I was particularly excited by Inspectah Deck’s hockey jersey which read “Inspectah.”
At any rate, to those detractors regarding the authenticity of my fandom mentioned in the post How Will I Laugh Tomorrow –if the brief history above is not enough–I present some photo selections to you, as pictures are worth a thousand words:
Graham Funke in the late-1980s, shortly after subscribing to Thrasher Magazine, in which Mike Muir graced a cover.
Graham Funke at the turn of the century, having upgraded to a rare Suicidal Tendencies football jersey, which always gets a suspicious eye from the cholos in certain neighborhoods. Yes, that is Ginger Spice next to me. No, she is not a Suicidal Tendencies fan.