The Sole Tech owners got it all wrong in the mid-90s. Budget canvas shoes with vulcanized soles and some eco-concerns? That could never work. Then. I.e. in an Axion-packed skateboard world. Ever imagined the killing Sheep shoes would make today? But I’m partial, probably because the only video the brand put out bared two excellent reggae songs from two excellent reggae albums, and I’ve made my personal crusade to unveil them all, the eight of them.
I mean, I can’t see myself praising the Lou Reed and Pink Floyd classic albums heard on Life Of Leisure‘s soundtrack as well, for their complete works you should already own. I won’t discuss why this flick is a classic, with its subtle subliminal messages and collages using the tripped-out time lapses from the 1982 Koyaanisqatsi film -please thank Buttery Robbie for the reminder- and/or heteroclitic juxtapositions of Natives getting smoked next to Dukes of Hazzard clips. But it worked. So did Life Of Leisure‘s soundtrack. Here are three of its must-own albums.
Obviously, this one wasn’t “Matt’s dub”, as the ending credits stated. Thankfully, it didn’t take a particularly seasoned reggae collector to unmask the tune and recognize the familiar falseto voice at its highest-pitched: Horace Andy, singing his 1975 lovers hit Nice And Easy, musically not a stranger to a noticeable dose of disco influence. In true “dynamic rasta” style -remember that Big Brother caption?- Matt anihiliates positively, setting the mood to a tune that was to become a few years later one of the UK’s Lovers Rock, reggae’s equivalent to the slow jams trend, founding anthems once covered by Susan Cadogan. But that’s for later.
For now, that compilation should help you see clearer through the jungle of releases that Justin Hinds’ cousin has been heard on in his almost 40-years long career, other highly recommanded albums including Skylarking (Studio One label), DanceHall Style (Wackies), and In The Light (Blood And Fire).
A few times in his life, Ed Templeton skated not to Sonic Youth. It was so weird -like not having Jason Dill skating to the sounds of the latest band à la mode du jour. What’s weirder is to imagine who else is associated with the band, skate flick-wise : Jason Jesse in Streets On Fire. Now THAT’s an agnostic match in hell.
Even though all old-farts out there will forever lament over the band’s-now defunct SST label times, even their 1994 album, which contained probably their biggest hit (Bull In The Heather), is more than listenable, not to say absolutely crucial. Think Dinosaur Jr. Timeless, sorta. On an interesting side note, some will remember that Self-Obsessed and Sexxee was intended to be the second single from Experimental Jetset and No Star, but its promo pressing got cancelled, launching the copies already pressed (out on their side label Sonic Death) into the voracious Ebay jaws. Also, since Life Of Leisure is all about subliminal messages too, don’t forget that the band recorded EJTANS over the master tapes of Sister, so you can hear some of its tunes being played, faintly, in between tracks. A budget album for a budget shoe company’s video. How awesomely on point.
It’s fair to say that Sergei reached legend status. For his balls-out yet mellow skating of course, but also who besides a legend has their own, personal stalker? Her name is Trisha, hopefully she’s not a hoax, and no idea what she’s been up to since the last updates in 2002, but her blog was too hilarious, and weird, and embarrassing, not to mention it. One of the entries, for instance, reads: “Sergei spotted in dog park with current fat ugly slut girl friend and her stupid ugly dog who i fed a spider to when they weren’t looking. 6/12/01” OG Twitting! And so on…
Personnally not willing to comment on “the cute tight pants” he was seen in on Jan 11th 2002, I’ll just try and focus on his 1996 skateboarding, when Sergei was at his downhill-firecracker best, mastering SF ass-hauling to the aptly named “Wolves in Sheep Clothing” tune. It was sung by the nonetheless aptly-named Pioneers, a vocal trio out of Jamaica that reached their own legend status (without Trisha’s blog) within the early reggae, mod, non-fascist skinhead circles as one of the most revered ska/rock steady bands ever.
Mostly known for their late-60s Long Shot song, Sidney Crooks, Jackie Robinson and former tailor George Agard recorded for another legend, producer Leslie Kong, and had more than a hand in one of reggae’s most mysterious groups, The Slickers, that came, saw, and pretty much disappeared -the only extensive article about them can be read in this mag, in French though- after their one mega-hit, Johnny Too Bad. A bit like Trisha’s blog, alas.
Back to more musical concerns, even though it’s a song from after the Pioneers’ golden age, Wolves In Sheep Clothing, and the compilation album it’s the easiest to find it on, will remain as one of the classic anthems when it comes to bomb some Avenues, well-perched on a reliable set of Physics 60 mm wheels.