Now operated from Tunisia, Yoann Cimier’s site bares a name as plain (Skate Site) as its content is excellent. Besides his pretty cool photos and artistic manifestos, he’s also been compiling a bunch of vintage books, mags (some erotic ones in there too, you sleaze balls) and LPs that once bared skateboarding on their covers. Music-wise, here’s a small look at these doomed times when skateboarding in France was cool and all over the place. Makes you love these recessions even more…
Aimable : Un Air de Hit Parade
Alas deceased in 1997, French “suspended-piano” all-time champ Aimable (“loveable”, yes) can be seen as yesterday’s Pete Rock, as far as instrumentals go. For the anecdote, he recorded over 10,000 tunes and started as a sax player, until a soccer game with an empty can went wrong and broke all his front teeth as a kid. Rough and tough is the accordeonist life, dog.
Regarding this great cover shot, no idea how he came up with that daring concept, though. All the skateboarding world needs to know is that French balloche-style accordion’s heaviest-hitter sends a shout-out to “The Saint-Nicolas D’Igny high school skate club” in the credits. Matt Hensley beware, Aimable is rolling 12-deep.
André Brasseur : Skateboard USA
Hailing from neighboring Belgium, André Brasseur’s music was actually kinda super-cool. An acclaimed jazz Hammond player, he did experience success in 1965 with Early Bird Satellite, launched on the same time frame than the first telecommunications satellite. Today he probably would have composed The I Phone Boogie or something. Brasseur then went on to become very collectable to DJs/crate diggers for his handful of mid-60s sonic experiences, which happen to be very listenable, such as this 45.
Lady Skate & Les Skateboard Kids : Skateboard Baby
“The two feet on your skate, bend your knees, get ready/for the big slalom!” Lady Skate’s enthousiastic energy is just awesomely scary. Like when you stumble upon these Mormon kids who try to lure you in by being overly nice and it gets all awkward, you know? Creepy.
Set to a hybrid country-ish/rock background, Lady Skate’s only known 7” was a stellar one-hitter. Only, it didn’t really hit. Usually sells for under a buck on Ebay.
Topaloff : Les Rois du Skateboard
One of France’s favorite buffoons, Patrick Topaloff got famous in the ’70s, for his first single J’ai Bien Mangé J’ai Bien Bu got produced by disco-pop legend Claude François. He then proceeded to establish pure stardom by connecting to his fan base via breath-taking performances on camping grounds and/or supermarket parking lots. This all-out approach propelled the people’s choice icon into some of France’s finest slapstick movies such as Le Führer en Folie or Drôle de Zèbre, so surreal they might actually be worth something, some day.
More unbreakable than Zoo York, Topaloff relentlessly delivered the, mmh, “goods”. A tune with the biggest amount of puns based on he word ‘egg’? Check. Johnny Be Good adapted and sung in an Arabic accent under the name Ali Be Good? Check. The mandatory skateboard tune in 1978? Check. With Les Rois du Skateboard, Topaloff bonded strongly with skateboarding, as teh early version of this tune was sung by then-French skate pro Thierry Dupin. Before slowly disappearing from the limelight and becoming homeless. So that’s cool, France had its Andy Roy too. Minus the tattoos and probably the projectile vomiting, though.
Don’t forget to go see more on Skate Site, Yoann also has sound clips on there, and a ton of other songs, not all bad -JFA, Dead Kennedys and such. To complement it, also check the special Skateboard playlist on Bide&Musique, a website strictly dedicated to cheesy French tunes.