A whole lot more

From Sub Society to Operation Ivy, the Five-Percenters of skateboarding, yes you, the dying breed that looks back on a time when skateboard decks used to look like suppositories, might also remember that there was a pre-accordion, pre-Flogging Molly Matt Hensley. Not that there’s anything wrong* with the current Matt Hensley.
Having said that*, I recently got to ask the former Vespa Boy from Vista’s The Upsetters crew a few questions regarding his musical past. Which is still very much part of the present for a lot of people, it seems.


Shackle Me Not was all Mike Ternasky’s roommate’s music, he was a budding hip hop, electronic kind of guy. There were a couple really great bands in there, other than that it was mostly this dude’s music. A lot of that was that weird electronic sound going on. I didn’t pick the song out for my part. To be honest, that first video, noone knew that it was gonna do what it did, you know what I mean? Maybe Mike knew, but we never thought that a year later we’d be in Europe watching it in movie theaters and doing these huge demos.

After that, you can probably tell from the music in Hokus Pokus, the music was way more in tune with what everybody was doing. NOW you cared. It was like, ‘Now I’m pro, I wouldn’t skate to that song but only to this song.’ People got more involved. Sub Society was a band that someone at H Street, I forgot who, knew. When that song [A Whole Lot Less] came in, we listened to it and thought it was a great song. There were a couple songs I got to pick from, I can’t remember what the other ones were but Sub Society’s was really the best, it said San Diego, everything made sense about it. I did know some of the members, like I’d see them around the music circles, couple of them skated I think, but that’s not how it came to be. Separate kind of circles.

I used to be in a ska band around the same time caled the Spy Kids, I was the guitar player. It wasn’t that great of a band but we got to epen for The Selecter, which is cool. It was around for a year and a half, and the keyboard player went on and played with Unwritten Law later, which is a pretty popular band. Anyway, it was around that big ska period that I decided, ‘I want fucking Operation Ivy’ on my next part. From the Spy Kids I was already into ska and stuff, and I loved how Operation Ivy would play ska in a different manner. I’ve been a big fan of Tim Armstrong period, and Rancid, and that band. Actually on the latest Rancid album I’ve had the privilege to play accordion and banjo on one of their song.

I think Tim never said if being in skate vids ever helped them selling more records, he said something to me about skateboarding once, I think Lars might have said something, but it wasn’t bad, I hope we didn’t bum anybody out, because you’re not getting paid for it. Noone really understood the rights of musicians until you become a musician. Now I’m in this business, man, so if anybody just wants to rip a song and doesn’t get the rights for it, our agents and the people who work for Flogging Molly would freak out. That’s too bad but that’s the way it is. I really hope that Operation Ivy sold a lot more records because of H Street. And if they did, that puts a smile to my face.

I’ve had so many people come to me and thank me for making them discover these bands, that’s really cool. You gotta learn somewhere, I mean, no matter how you get it or where you get your sources. Cause again, all this was pre-internet, you had to work hard to find cool stuff, you know?”

Top 5 Hensley tunes (according to yours truly)

1. Patife Band: Teu bem (Shackle me Not)

2. Sub Society: A Whole Lot Less (Hokus Pokus)

3. Operation Ivy: Knowledge (Not The New H Street Video)

4. The Jam : News Of The World (Questionnable)

5. The Pogues: Sunny Side of the Street (Label Kills)

* Just came back to the US after my half of the year in Marseille, and first thing I had to do was to watch the whole latest season of Curb Your Enthusiasm in one serving. Might show in a few references here and there. Sorry.


Tags: , , , , ,

15 Responses to “A whole lot more”

  1. benj Says:

    Awesome. I discovered Operation Ivy and Sub Society from watching Matt’s parts, and it never hurt the music when it was paired with amazing skating. Still to this day I listen to those bands, as well as the two-disk H-Street soundtrack that features all of the songs from SMN and Hokus Pokus.

  2. me Says:

    the spy kids ruled. killer

  3. Robbie Says:

    Awesome post seb. So true about the pre internet search for new music..

    “you had to work hard to find cool stuff, you know?”

    Ah…. the discovery of new tunes via skate videos. Good memories.

  4. Niall Says:

    Lead on Seb, lead on!

  5. anonymous Says:

    hokus pokus is the shit!!
    that H-Street soundtrack is posted here:


  6. thecarbonite Says:

    damn, you mean you don’t get psyched on “Shoot To Thrill” in Not The New? come on now…

  7. sebcarayol Says:

    Carbo, You mean me, personally? What I’m gonna say caused me alot of trouble in life, shut me alot of doors and basically black-sheeped me for a while, but, ready? I HATE AC/DC. I swear I really tried, i have a few albums, put them on the turntable and tried to force myself to like that music but it never happened at all. That voice…. that truck stop rock thing they got going.. Yikes. And then I once read on You Will Soon that I think one of the dudes there dislikes them too, sio I felt a little better. Two against the world, not quite the Kis army yet but getting there.

  8. Seb Carayol Interviews Matt Hensley | Skateboarder Magazine Squawk Box Says:

    […] “Our friend and contributor, Seb Carayol, interviews Matt Hensley about his favorite tunes that accompanyied his video parts in the early ’90s.” https://avisualsound.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/a-whole-lot-more/ […]

  9. Matt Hensley: “I became, well, relatively known and it kinda freaked my life out. I wasn’t necessarily the happiest guy on the block for a while” « Memory Screened Says:

    […] and by the way, I had already pestered Matt with other stuff on my other blog, that no, I think, is not dead. […]

  10. Matt Hensley « Cleptomanicx Blog Says:

    […] A Visual Sound – a whole lot more […]

  11. matt Says:

    Does anyone know what the song was when Matt and the guys were skating at night? I believe it’s the same band playing when he was skating the mini ramp when the plane went over head and he did the kickflip 2 times in a row. email me, jr17192@gmail.com

  12. H-Street – Shackle Me Not (Soundtrack) « The Acid House Says:

    […] Brazilian punk bands, and some heavy electronic based music too. It is documented on the blog A Visual Sound  with an article that features Matt Hensly talking about how the music for Shackle Me not was […]

  13. matt Says:

    Who plays the Godoy part song – “I can’t win for losing, I got no soul to sell … I’m too bad for heaven baby but I’m too good for hell” It’s killing me! I need this song!

    • sebcarayol Says:

      Hey matt!
      I remember that song was in Shackle Me Not -not Hokus. I can’t find atrace for it but to me it does sound a bit “Kirk and the Jerks”-ish that were heavily used in Hokus Pokus. Just a guess, heh? I’ll keep looking, though.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: