There’s no shortage of retired professional skateboarders who’ve taken up tangential artistic pursuits that aren’t so tough on knee cartilage. Photography’s a big one. Filmmaking. Design. Postmodern art. And, of course, musicianship.
In the music department, San Francisco-native Tommy Guerrero – a living legend of Powell Peralta’s seminal Bones Brigade skate team of the 1980s – is a prime example. Except he didn’t transition to making music when his knees quit. He’s been at it all along, forming his first band, Jerry’s Kids, in the late 1970s with his older brother Tony and fellow skate rat Bryce Kanights (now one of the most respected and prolific photographers in skate history). By the time the Guerrero brothers’ Free Beer – a band name that tends to draw a crowd – took the stage in 1981(ish), punk rock and skateboarding shared subcultural harmonies and Tommy found their do-it-yourself syncopation a guiding life ethos. Skating by day and rocking by night, these founding fathers of a genre since dubbed “skate rock” gigged with Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Bad Religion, and many more three-cord punk pioneers.
Since then, Guerrero’s taken the jagged edge off his sound with more refined ingredients from an instrumental guitar jazz that’s as soulful and creative as the style-soaked skateboarding that made him famous. On Wednesday, July 15, he brings it to Goleta’s Mercury Lounge, which happens to be located one mile east of the Powell Peralta skateboard factory that still manufactures a tribute reissue of his Bones Brigade pro model. Guerrero will be backed by Josh Lippi on bass and drummer Chuck Treece, and his big brother’s band, El Diablitos, will open.
Tommy Guerrero plays Wednesday, July 15, at the Mercury Lounge, 5871 Hollister Ave. For more information, call (805) 967-0907.