As a skateboarder on the Bones Brigade, Tommy Guerrero was known for his “relaxed style of street skateboarding.” In Future Primitive (be warned, it’s 80’s skating) he can be seen bopping down the streets of San Francisco, sliding around cars and pirouetting across the skate park. He doesn’t look choreographed or refined in the way modern skaters might – he’s having fun. He’s cruising San Francisco and enjoying the open air.
I like to keep the image of the younger Tommy carving down the streets in mind when I listen to his music. While his playing is clearly tight, that relaxed playfulness and joy always comes through. There are some artists you listen to and can just tell they put painstaking effort into every sound and note. It never feels that way listening to Tommy Guerrero.
As a Jazz professor once told me: “no matter how hard you’re playing you gotta make it look eeeeeasy.” Tommy Guerrero feels eeeeeasy.
Skateboarder or not, when you listen to his music, you can sense what it would be like to glide around the streets of SF on a perfect day. Lean your face into the sun and take a second to enjoy it.
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