Punk and Skateboarding Fight for Attention in ‘Sibling Rivalry’

Photos by Cole Giordano

Skateboarding and punk music were always destined to cross paths.

Though not everyone who likes skateboarding likes punk, and vice versa, the two slightly outsider factions of culture have always found refuge in one another. Or, as writer Anthony Pappalardo states in the new book from photographer Cole Giordano, Sibling Rivalry, “Skateboarding and punk rock will always be holding hands. They’re relatives.”

Published by Duke’s Editions, Sibling Rivalry looks at the worlds of photographs of professional and amateur skateboarders and musicians from across the globe, through a series of incredible black and white photographers from the NY based photographer. We caught up with Cole to find out more about some of his favourite images from the book and how they came into being.

Pg. 99 was a screamo band from Virginia that my friends and I grew up idolizing. Some of my friends in high school even had a band that was basically just a rip-off of them. Page broke up when we were about 15 or 16 and played their last show in a high school gym in Virginia, a good eight hours drive from where I lived. We all wanted to go, but being young teenagers there was no way our parents were allowing us to drive that far by ourselves to go to a punk show. But my friend, who was much more rebellious than I, decided to run away from home for the weekend and hitch a ride with some people who were making the trek. He left a note for his parents saying “You would’ve done the same thing if you were my age.”

Cut to a couple of years ago and I’m at a bar with some friends, and friends of friends, who and other friends of theirs whom I had just met that night. One of them it turns out, was Blake (pictured above) the lead singer from pg.99. I told him how much I loved his band and the story of my friend running away to see their last show to which he replied, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard… it’s also really cool.”

Last fall, pg.99 reunited to do a very short stint of shows. I finally got to see them, two nights in a row, and snapped this pic of Blake, who went from singer of a beloved band, to guy I met at a bar, to someone who is now in this book. So weird how these things happen.

This photo was taken when Anthony Pappalardo and I were in London on assignment for Paper Magazine covering the release of a new Vans line. Vans was partnering with Swedish streetwear brand Our Legacy to do a collection inspired by 90s hardcore. The man behind Our Legacy, Jockum Hallin, came up in the Swedish scene in the 90s and played in some well known touring bands. From that time he came to know hardcore legends Youth of Today, and had planned the release of the collection around a tour they were doing in London so that they could play a show for the launch.

As someone who came up in the punk and skate scenes surrounding the Tri-State Area where Youth of Today is from, I was obviously a huge fan, and having never had the chance to see them, being there was already really exciting. What was so cool was that Our Legacy had legit connections to those scenes as well—it wasn’t just a fashion company trying to be ‘punk’ or ride the coattails of a subversive culture to seem hip.

I don’t think either Anthony or I expected to be having such deep-rooted conversations about skateboarding and punk that weekend. Getting to see Youth of Today play for the first time on the floor of a small art gallery in London to a crowd of about 100 people was something I could never had expected. I took a lot of photos I loved from that show, but we went with this one for the book as I really felt it captured how the show seemed to transport everyone back in time to the band’s heyday. This legendary band playing on the floor to an incredibly small crowd, a kid with X’d up hands moshing in the foreground—I didn’t know people even did that anymore, only for Youth of Today.

This diptych of Japanese skate icon Takahiro Morita is not only one of my favourite spreads, but also super important because he is in many ways the reason this book came to be. The founder of Duke’s Distribution, music producer Grant, initially contacted me because he wanted to license a photo of Morita I had shot for my zine Sakura (published by the Milk Gallery) to use as an album cover for Theory of Movement. We decided to do a project together, which ended up becoming this book.

I’ve worked with Morita for a while now, and he’s become a very close friend and collaborator over the past couple of years, but these were some of the first photos we shot together here in New York. They were supposed to run many times in many different publications but for whatever reason, never did. I was so happy that they were a good fit for this project and to finally be able to get them out there in the world.

Get your hands on a copy over at Duke’s Distribution right here.

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