About Me

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Detroit, Michigan, United States
I'm a punk rock guru from Detroit. Part skinhead, part crusty, part metalhead, part hardcore kid, part party kid, 100% punk rocker.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Interview with Garold Vallie

Garold Vallie interview
1. Who are you and what do you do now, for those who haven’t heard?
My name is Garold Scott Vallie. I am a professional skateboarder from Southgate, MI. I played drums in the hardcore band, Captain Feedback in the 90’s. I do a bunch of stuff, but currently I am shopping a TV pilot, do an internet radio show, skate, speak to schools, writing a book, produce art, skate….all trying to influence the younger generation to get off the couch, DIY, be yourself, follow your passion.
2. When and how did you get into punk rock? Did friends play a part or did you discover it on your own?
My cousin, Tim Tolley came to visit from California and brought the Dead Kennedys, Bed Time for Democracy with him. I was sold. I then started searching it out. At that time I was skating a vert ramp, Downriver, with some older guys…John had a big Mohawk and Bob had a shaved head, they were into a bunch of hardcore stuff. Those guys are who I wanted to be and so I wanted to listen to that music and follow what they did.
3. How do you feel skateboarding and punk rock continue to represent and relate to one another? Is it a corporate sponsorship connection (similar to how Vans is) or is it about something like similar ideals?
For me, skateboarding, punk rock, art…it’s all creativity and there are no rules. You can do it the way you want to. That is the connection. Punk rock has always been; DIY, do it your way, there is no uniform, structure, you really can’t do it wrong…its independence. Skateboarding is that same thing. Vans and the corporate thing, they helped me a lot with the Warped tour contest series, and have introduced a lot of great bands to a new generation, so in that sense they have helped punk get a wider audience. I am not all for the; go to the mall, buy the uniform, etc. Punk should be independent, do your thing….like I said, no rules.
4. What was playing in Captain Feedback like? Did you attract some decent crowds for shows? What was your favorite venue to play?
Playing in Captain Feedback was a great time in my life. I was skating a ton, working full time, and playing in a band….does it get any better? Eric and Jerry were the best bandmates and we had a lot of fun. We played some great shows at St. Andrews and the Miami. I liked the Miami a lot.
5. What was the Detroit punk scene like in the 1990s? Were there any particular up or down points that made a difference in its history?
For me, I thought the scene was real cool. It was still what I was excited about. Bands like the Clone Defects kept things true, and younger guys were killing it like the Scurvies. There were great bands and great friends. You know, even bands like Mudhoney and some of the Sub Pop stuff was still cool. People showed up, drank some beers, and danced. One of my most memorable shows was Stiff Little Fingers…that was freakin PUNK. They were dressed like dads. It was probably 95 (maybe) and they were not in any kind of; I wanna be 18, gear. They wailed and I was glad to see them.
6. Did you ever go to the original Blondies? If so, what was your opinion/feelings on it? Nope.
7. What was your favorite band of the old Detroit punk guard? Do you have a current favorite?
I liked a lot of Ska at that time as well. I really liked going to see Gangster Fun and the Exceptions; my favorite in the early 90’s was Hoarse. They were a little more poppy, but John Speck is a great guy and continues to produce quality music. I am a Suicide Machines fan (not sure if that is later)…Hellmouth is great by the way. I also like the A-Gang.
8. Why do you think people still look down on punk rock and skateboarding with a negative attitude, with a lot of unsupported assumptions? (Case in point, the Baltimore cop harassing the teenager a couple of years ago, video of it is on YouTube)
Well, I think it has changed. Skateboarding, if you play by the rules they put in place, is okay. Same with punk rock. If you go and buy the uniform at the mall and don’t go too far, you are okay. It’s when you push the envelope, take things to an uncomfortable limit…that’s when there’s friction. The real punks ask the questions and bring up issues that people just don’t want to address….that’s when trouble starts with anything.
9. Do you think any punk rock scene can be brought back up to the level of popularity it was at in the 80s? What do you think can be done, if anything?
I think shows like ‘Keep it a Threat’ are great. Zines like this are what the foundation of punk was built on. The Detroit scene is real cool and I think when you have economic and political unrest, Punk rock really gets some momentum. People who are really into Punk think for themselves and have a drive that few have. Why do you do a Zine, why does Transitions put on a concert, why do people screen shirts in there basement….the original ideals are still there. So much is handed to people now a days….people need to work for a cause, for what they want…it makes it 100 times better and worth it.
10. Does the advent of the World Wide Web, Photoshop, and the ease of use in technology help or hurt something like punk rock, which is more of a simplistic DIY lifestyle created without much technology?
No. It just gives a new avenue. You can reach so many people and do so much because of the ease. I have created a TV show, radio show, and continue to have ideas….look them up on the net….know that I can do anything and figure it out. I am not a TV person. Looked it up, figured it out, did it. That’s the DIY punk ethic…..get off your ass and do it….don’t talk about it. I don’t have to go to the library and read about screen printing. I can get it instantly and print tomorrow.
11. What kind of skateboards do you ride? Do you have a particular place you prefer to ride?
I have rode for several bigger companies and decided I didn’t really dig some of the stuff they did, so I joined with a partner and started a company in 2004. After 4 years and the company not doing what I was hoping, I decided to start my own company….PRPL HRT skateboards. We are 2 years deep, in 5 states, Canada….I do it. The graphics, the web, the team….I am not saying that for any kind of ego boost, I am saying that because….DO IT YOURSELF. PRPL HRT Has been built by word of mouth, being cool, showing up, skating, eating at peoples house, meeting new friends, sleeping on floors….I learned that by coming up the way I did.
12. Is it more fun to skate at a park on ramps or on the streets among other people? Why?
I like skating backyard ramps, pools and bowls. The new parks are great. Farmington Hills (Riley Park) is an amazing place. We didn’t have that growing up. I have friend that still rage the streets….break out generators and lights to skate a spot…that’s rad too. Skating…if its rolling done the street, doing a frontside grind or a switch tre, it doesn’t matter….it’s all good.
13. Why do you think kids don’t take as much of an interest in punk rock as before?
It’s different. They think that Punk rock is what you buy at Best Buy. There is some good music there, but the local scene…the actual people producing their own stuff…that’s what Punk was originally built on and kids don’t even know it exists. I brought a 12 year old with me to ‘Keep it a Threat’. It was my buddy’s son and he wanted to hang out and skate. That young person is a true punk fan and will chase it. He saw what the real deal is and wants a part of it. People like Bill Danforth, Duane Peters, John Broge, and Elmer Vallie….those are the guys I looked up to and I am trying to give the younger generation someone like that.
14. Anything you would like to add?
I want to thank you Dave for doing this. I wanna thank; PRPL HRT, VOX shoes, ATS skateshop, Indy, EFX, Global Vision, AGA, MID….I still what I do because people like that let me. THANKS.

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