Mike Vallely's Skate-Punk Fest Gives Us the Best of Both His Worlds
Sierra Prescott / Courtesy of Street Plant Brand
Mike Vallely is self-admittedly hard to pin down--and with good reason. Between his duties singing with Black Flag, skateboarding, acting, hosting a podcast, running his own company and having a family, there aren't enough hours each day. Despite this busy schedule, Vallely is putting on a skate-punk event at Alex's Bar on Sunday.
For Switchblades and Urethane Music Festival--inspired by a song by his band Revolution Mother--Vallely curated a lineup of bands that all have skaters in them. Vallely knew from the beginning he wanted Duane Peters to be the headliner, regardless of which band Peters was playing with since he's "the original skateboard musician."
But Vallely is most excited about the inclusion of McRad. "Anyone who grew up skating in the '80s knows their music was the soundtrack to all of the skateboard videos we used to watch," he says. "It worked out that Chuck Treece was going to be in the area, so I got him to play with McRad, and that, for me, is going to be the real treat. That's the real draw to this particular show."
Vallely's impetus for putting on this show is to showcase Street Plant. As the owner of the skateboard start-up, he says that such events are the ones that he'd like the company--and thus himself--to be engaged in. In January, he decided to "stop being a mercenary" and set up his own company. By bringing everything in-house, Vallely made the operation literally the family business. His wife and kids help him run Street Plant and are highly influential in shaping the direction of the company. This DIY approach inspired Vallely to live the ethos he taught his kids.
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"Working with my family and working for myself, good things start unfolding properly," he says. "We're having a great time with the brand and doing this festival. If I was working for the other companies, [it] wouldn't have happened in the way it has. It would be too convoluted and become a frustrating endeavor that I'd be over before it started."
The singer's goal is for the festival to be like a Sunday in July on which he and his pals can hang out, play and listen to music together. "Where music and skateboarding intersect is where I've always sort of lived," Vallely says. "That's an extension of me and the skateboard company. That's what sparked the inspiration to do this, but what started this particular idea was working with bands that had relatively known skaters attached to them."
Though he's already stretched thin, Vallely says the event is a labor of love above anything else. "It doesn't feel like that massive of an undertaking," he explains. "I've been doing music for a long time, and I have relationships with the bands and everyone involved in the festival. It's a different thing and different time in my life, and I'm glad to be able to do this now. I'm putting on an event I want to put on and how I want to put it on."
Switchblades and Urethane Music Festival, featuring the Duane Peters Gunfight, McRad, Revolution Mother, the Pushers, Powerflex 5 and Skatanic Rednecks, at Alex's Bar, 2913 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach, (562) 434-8292; www.alexsbar.com. Sun., 1-8 p.m. $10. 21+.
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